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UST Rodeo Scholarship Student Roundup
3/7/2014

As rodeo season kicks off again in Houston, several University of St. Thomas students have a very different reason to put on their chaps and saddle up. Freshmen Tamara Esparza and Carina Tlapanco are two of six students selected as recipients of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarships for the 2013-2014 school year.

Dreams Come True for Tamara Esparza

Esparza, a pre-nursing major from Splendora, TX, said she felt excited and grateful to receive the rodeo scholarship, as it is one of the reasons she is able to attend a prestigious school as UST.

“This scholarship means the world to me,” Esparza said. “I don’t have to worry my parents with another payment to add to the numerous bills that they have to pay already. Because I come from a family that faces financial challenges, this scholarship allows me to put that worry aside.”

As a pre-nursing student, Esparza dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner to help as many lives as she can. She chose the University of St. Thomas because she felt the small university atmosphere would contribute to the pursuit of her dream.

“The teacher-to-student ratio really caught my attention and gave me comfort in knowing that I would be able to create a great relationship with the professor,” Esparza said. “[At UST], I am able to pursue my dreams and get the best education I can possibly receive because of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship.”

Opportunities Are Endless for Carina Tlapanco

Tlapanco, a psychology major and Houston native, also credits the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship for allowing her to attend the school of her dreams.

“The rodeo and all its sponsors are very important to me,” Tlapanco said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity they gave me to be a part of UST.”

As a first generation student, Tlapanco searched for a University that would challenge and engage her intellectually, all while being relatively close to home. The fact that UST is small, private and Catholic is a nice bonus, Tlapanco said.

“I chose UST because it met all my needs,” Tlapanco said. “I wanted to stay close to home, while attending a small university, where I wouldn’t just be another number. Learning about my Catholic faith was also a priority for me, and UST gave me the opportunity to do that while exposing me to other cultures with its diversity.”

Rodeo Scholarships Benefit Many

Other rodeo scholarship recipients include Andrea Arroyo, a junior joint major in general business and finance; Velckis Gonzalez, a junior psychology major; Hilary Mai, a freshman biology major; and Tiffany Mercado, a freshman pre-nursing major.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has contributed more than $300 million in scholarships and other endeavors since its inception in 1932.

For more information on scholarships and financial aid at the University of St. Thomas, visit Scholarships and Financial Aid.

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.
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