Khan, who moved to Brownsville at age three from Los Angeles, had her eyes set on Ivy League schools from a young age. After attending summer programs at universities in the Northeast, she applied and was accepted to Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As the oldest of four children, however, Khan knew that the cost of attending an Ivy League university would put an unnecessary strain on her parents. She researched schools in Texas and applied to Texas A&M, and her resume and drive led to her acceptance and to her selection as a Brownsville Scholar. The support she receives from the scholarship and other supplemental funding covers all of her tuition.
Now in her second semester, Khan participates in the College of Medicine’s Partnership for Primary Care program, which helps students who hope to bring quality health care back to their hometowns gain admission to medical school. “I can focus on my career goals largely because of the financial freedom afforded by my scholarship,” she said.
A Call to Coach
Jerry Barbosa ’20 also has a story rooted in the desire to help others.
Barbosa moved to Brownsville from Indianapolis at age two and developed a love for sports as a child. A sport management major, he hopes to return to Brownsville to grow the community’s local athletic programs—and perhaps even pave the way for the city’s first collegiate football program. “Sports teach community values and bring people together,” he said. “Making a mark on Brownsville through coaching and athletics would be a dream.”
For Barbosa, applying to college meant applying to schools where he could receive a substantial amount of financial aid. Like Khan, he is one of four children and will be the first in his family to graduate from college. Through visits to Texas A&M during his senior year of high school, he discovered that the friendly atmosphere in Aggieland reminded him of home.
“Receiving the Brownsville scholarship motivates me to be my best self,” Barbosa said. “Knowing that people like the Hernandezes believe in providing individuals like me the opportunity to make something of ourselves compels me to grow, both academically and professionally.”
A Fair Chance
The idea of creating a fair chance for students like Khan and Barbosa prompted the Hernandezes to establish the program.
Mike lived in Brownsville until age 15, when his family moved to Arlington, Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M, he worked in industrial distribution in Houston before moving to Dallas-Fort Worth in 1983 to work for D&M Auto Leasing. Today, he serves as chief executive officer.
He met Kelly, who is originally from Maryland, while working at the company. The two were married in 1992 and have four children. Kelly, who received a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, taught high school English in Grand Prairie for many years and understands the importance of a strong education in students’ lives. “Our intent is that this gift helps those who have the potential to attend college, but not the means,” she said.