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Ingry Umanzor left her job as a bank teller to make her courses and clinical work in the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing her first priority. Umanzor, who said she relied on God to provide, is one of the 2013 Alumni Association Student Award recipients.
This year's Two Saints and Taco Tasting scholarship fundraiser, combined with funds from other endowed and annual Alumni Association funds, allowed $50,000 to be distributed to eight students. Umanzor will receive the largest amount of all recipients, $10,000, for the 2013-2014 school year.
Umanzor, a nursing major, chose to pursue nursing mainly because of her older brother, Wilver. At only 17 years old, doctors diagnosed him with heart failure because of a viral infection in his heart. For five years he waited for a new heart on a donor list, and Umanzor and her sister became his nurses.
"He had to carry a HeartMate LVAD, which helped him go back to his regular activities, but he was not the same brother I used to share laughs with," she said. "At 25, I am grateful to say he's a strong man. In 2011, he not only received a new heart but a joyful spirit as well. His strong will and passion for life made me realize how thrilled I was to be able to experience these great emotions with someone I love."
Umanzor is a transfer student who earned her associate's degree from Houston Community College, graduating as an honors scholar. She is entering her junior year at UST, and the Nursing Program made her decision to transfer an easy one.
"I love how this Nursing Program is based on a construct of healing and holistic care," she said. "It is of great significance as a nursing student to comprehend patient care and how it is associated with the physical, emotional, social, economic and spiritual needs of the person."
As a student, Umanzor is taking full advantage of what the University offers. She writes for The Summa, the campus newspaper, is a representative on the Nursing Student Association Board and she regularly makes use of the University's Tutorial Services Center, where she attends workshops on research paper writing, stress management and organizational skills.
UST Alumni Association President Daniel Elustondo '99 said awarding scholarships to students like Umanzor is one of the most rewarding experiences while on the Alumni Board.
"All of us who serve on the Board do so because we appreciate what the University did for us in our personal, spiritual and professional lives and want to give future students the chance to remain at the University, receive a great, well-rounded education and earn their degree. We enjoy giving back to the University and doing what we can to help the current student body succeed, as they are the future lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers and professionals of our great city and country."
Elustondo said recipients are chosen based on multiple factors including why they chose UST, how UST has made them the person they are today, what they intend to do with their degree and how they plan on remaining involved and giving back to the UST community. Other scholarship recipients include:¬†¬†¬†
-Christina Montoya, senior in finance
-Christine Nguyen, senior in psychology
-Amalia Torres, junior in nursing
-Daniela Angulo, junior in biology
-Nadeen Mustafa, senior in international development
-Andres Cuellar, senior in finance
-Kimberly Salinas, junior in marketing
-Christine Ghobrial, junior in nursing
Umanzor looks forward to the day she can give back to students as a member of the Alumni Association.
"I am happy to have been selected as one of the recipients, and I am very thankful," she said. "I can honestly say it would be of great pleasure to give back to the institution that has supported me."
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 Houstonís only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.
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