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Spirit® is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Feature Stories

Student Impact

Howdy, Samantha Hernandez ’20

Samantha Hernandez ’20 shares how receiving a Terry Foundation Scholarship helped make her dreams possible.
Major: Biomedical Science
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Scholarship: Terry Foundation

What interested you in biomedical science?

I want to practice medicine. As a child, I saw my parents refuse to seek medical attention for minor health issues, because they didn’t have health insurance and wanted to avoid the incredibly high out-of-pocket expenses. My mom also had more severe health conditions that further opened my eyes to the danger that uninsured individuals face in the U.S. In addition, I come from a predominately Hispanic hometown, where I’ve seen how cultural differences and language barriers can prevent information from being correctly translated, in turn decreasing the quality of care provided. These issues faced by low-income communities and people of color demand change, and I look forward to being part of the generation of health care professionals who will enact new measures to offer better quality of care to our communities.

Tell us about your interview for the Terry Scholarship.

My most vivid memory was arriving at the parking garage, where my mom and I saw a few students entering the building. My mom noticed their enthusiasm, while the first thing I noticed was their nice suits, which reminded me that my blazer was two sizes too small. I felt small in that moment, like I didn’t deserve to be there. Later, during the interview, the panel asked me what this scholarship would mean to me. I thought about everyone in my hometown who didn’t see college as a possibility. I also remembered a girl in the grade above mine who received a large scholarship and how that showed me that people from my hometown aren’t limited in their potential. That’s what I told them in the interview—that I wanted to be a person who can inspire others, especially people of my cultural and economic background, and let them know they’re capable of incredible things.

Favorite Aggie tradition

I like whooping. I couldn’t wait to whoop! It’s become second nature.

Someone you’d love to have lunch with

Michelle Obama. I think she’s a very powerful, intelligent woman who carries herself well. She’s very accomplished and can connect with every single person in a crowd while giving a public speech. I want to radiate that same energy.

Favorite thing to do in your spare time

Listen to music, especially while cooking and driving. It’s a stress reliever.

Favorite study spot

The most productive place for me was the Medical Sciences Library. It has a lot of light and vibrant colors, so it keeps you awake and aware. I also highly recommend the second floor of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. So many people have not visited it, but it’s the most beautiful place to study on campus.

Hidden talent

Dancing. I started dancing in high school and learned different styles, including jazz, hip-hop and contemporary.

Favorite creative activity

Painting. It gives me a creative outlet that I crave. For my friend’s birthday, I painted him a pug reading a book. He loves pugs, and I wanted to gift him something meaningful to remind him how much I appreciate our friendship.

How DID Texas A&M University impact you?

Before I came to Texas A&M, I saw myself as a statistically at-risk student. But after being in Aggieland four years and being surrounded by such encouraging people, I’ve become more confident and self-aware of my abilities. It’s not something that any other university could have given me.

What student organizations WERE YOU involved with?

During my freshman year, I joined an organization called Dance Arts Society. It’s an extracurricular group that brings together people who enjoy different dance styles. I was also involved in the American Medical Student Association, a community for pre-medical students, and I loved it. I became media coordinator after my first year, and the year after that, I was the chapter’s director of public relations.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Becoming a Terry Scholar. It was one of my earliest accomplishments, and I still don’t know if I completely deserved the honor. I didn’t know many people when I first came to Texas A&M, which made it feel really intimidating, but the Terry Foundation provided a community of people who were friends and family. I had many incredible experiences made possible by this scholarship.

To learn how you can create a scholarship through the Texas A&M Foundation for an Aggie student, contact Marcy Ullmann '86 using the form below.

About The Terry Foundation

By providing access to education for incoming freshmen and transfer students, the Terry Foundation helps create a community of leaders like Samantha who utilize their talents to impact Texas and the world. Inspired by the scholarship that funded his own education, the late Howard Terry and his wife, Nancy, established the Terry Foundation in 1986 to help students help themselves. The Foundation provides four-year scholarships to 13 Texas universities for students with evidence of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and financial need who will positively reflect the organization’s pillars of scholarship, leadership, service and community. The Terry Scholar network consists of more than 5,000 recipients in various fields of study and industries across the globe, including 1,510 current and former Aggies who have received a combined total of $70.5 million thanks to the generosity of the Terrys.

Contact:

Marcy Ullmann '86

Senior Director of Scholarship Programs