Krystal Castañeda, a first-generation college student from Cedar Hill, became the first Terry Scholar at UNT when she started graduate work in January.
In December 2009, the Terry Foundation, Texas' largest private scholarship program, announced that it would expand to include students from UNT. The first full class of 16 scholars will be selected this spring and start classes in the fall.
"Being part of the prestigious Terry Scholars program aligns perfectly with UNT's continuing commitment to enroll the state's top students and helping them achieve timely graduation and successful careers," says Troy Johnson, UNT's vice provost for enrollment management. "Krystal is a perfect example of the type of hard working and high achieving students that we will attract through the Terry program."
Castañeda was selected as a Terry Scholar in the spring of 2006 and spent the first seven semesters of her scholarship at Texas State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in advertising in December 2009. Upon graduating, Castañeda enrolled at UNT to pursue a master's in business administration with an emphasis on marketing.
It wasn't until after enrolling at UNT, that Castañeda found out that she would be able to apply her last semester of Terry funding to her first semester of graduate work. Castañeda says that she is excited to continue her relationship with the Terry Foundation.
"I feel very blessed. The Terry Foundation made my education possible. Without the financial support, I would probably have had to stay home and maybe attend a community college," says Castañeda. "The Terry program provided me with a great support system; it was like a small family."
After earning her M.B.A., Castañeda plans to pursue a doctoral degree. She says that as a first-generation college student, she wants to set a good example for her niece and nephews. While working on her master's degree, she wants to stay involved with the Terry Foundation by serving as a mentor for the incoming scholars.
The Houston-based Terry Foundation was established by Howard and Nancy Terry in 1986. Since its creation the Foundation has awarded more than $77 million in scholarships. Scholars are selected based on three criteria: leadership potential and character, scholastic record and ability, and financial need.
Alyssa Yancey with UNT News Service can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.