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Desperation Turned to Determination for Transfer
10/1/2013

Desperation Turned to Determination for Transfer Join us for a Transfer Student Open House.

Rama Gerig credits the Divine with developments big and small in her life; everything from an inexplicable healing; to breaking a cycle of poverty and no education; to the smooth experience of transferring to UST.

Hers is quite a story. In their wildest dreams, no one who knew Rama Gerig as a teenager in the late 1970s would have predicted that the high school dropout from a troubled and underprivileged family in Pasadena, Texas, would become an honor student at Lone Star College and a leader earning three academic scholarships to a private university.

Their surprise would be understandable. After Gerig’s father left their lives as a convicted felon, her mother, with only a sixth-grade education, raised four children alone.

Gerig recalled, “We lived in a state of desperation and poverty.”

In 1988 when she was 22 and the mother of a toddler, Gerig was diagnosed with severe multiple sclerosis (MS) and given a prognosis of death. Years later, the MS would vanish, but that was only after a lengthy period of serious physical hardship. Then, the situation for this woman who maintains that God has always been there for her began to slowly change for the better.

She found gainful employment and instilled the right values in her daughter, who not only finished high school but also graduated from Texas A&M University.

Seeing her daughter’s success, Gerig gained confidence and a strong appreciation for education. She got her GED and enrolled in the Lone Star College System where she became an academic star.

Having earned a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship, a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship and UST’s Monaghan Scholarship, Gerig accomplished what she formerly believed was scary and out of her reach: she transferred to UST.

“A private university seemed so unattainable, but the admissions process was just amazing,” Gerig said. “They made me feel so welcome, and they knew me by name. And not just me—they knew all of the transfer students by name.”

Every one of her credits transferred.

“It was seamless,” she beamed.

Another fear had been that she would be just a number in giant classrooms packed with students.

“It’s just the opposite. UST’s ratio of students to professor is so low that the classroom experience is very personal,” Gerig said.

She also found that exams require students to demonstrate that they can apply knowledge as opposed to repeating what was memorized.

“It was a bit of a struggle but I learned that I am prepared for this academic environment,” Gerig said. “And I get the right help for my statistics class from UST’s amazing tutoring department.”

The plan by this self-described late bloomer is to get a bachelor’s in psychology and then go for her master’s in social work.

“My dream is to be in an area of social work where I can help children of incarcerated parents, so those kids don’t fall through the cracks,” Gerig said.

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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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