The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the Siemens Foundation have named 14 San Jacinto College students as Siemens Technical Scholars.
The scholarship awards are in conjunction with San Jacinto College being awarded with the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award for the College’s associate degree nursing and process technology programs.
Eight winning programs from seven community colleges across the country are receiving this award for providing outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. Additionally, these community college programs are also being nationally recognized for their intentional outreach and support of diverse populations that typically are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. San Jacinto College is the only institution to receive the award for two programs.
Each winning program will receive $50,000, with half of the funds allocated for program development and the other half allocated as scholarships for outstanding students, known as Siemens Technical Scholars.
The San Jacinto College process technology Siemens Technical Scholars are: Guadalupe (Lupita) Escandon, Matthew Gerken, Ceola Hart, Michelle LaCombe, Ryan Lambert, Norbery Orrego, and Joshua Roussell.
The San Jacinto College nursing Siemens Technical Scholars are: Jermeece Augustine, Margaret Brown, Leila Crawford, Dacia Hudson, Evanessa Lara, Cieara McGhie, and Kristen Pyeatt.
“San Jacinto College utilizes a holistic approach for equity in access and success to ensure that all students have an opportunity to earn a higher education credential,” said Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “We are incredibly thankful and grateful to the Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation for this award, and for recognizing San Jacinto College faculty and staff for the important work they do every day to ensure our students succeed.”
Process technology student Lupita Escandon says that this scholarship validates the fact that industry leaders are seeing the great work students in the program are doing.
“It means a lot to me to know that there is a group of professionals watching us grow and believing in us and how we are preparing for our futures,” she said. “As a full-time student and mother of three, it is a blessing financially to have the support and knowing that the completion of this journey will be more at ease.”
Specializing in instrumentation, Escandon says she was somewhat intimidated at first. On one hand, she was entering career training for an industry that is predominately male. On the other, she was starting her college journey later than most students. But shortly after settling in to her classes and attending the Women in Industry conference, her whole mindset changed.
“I was able to see my classmates as my team, and it even improved the way I communicated and worked everyone on group assignments. Serving as an officer in the P-Tech Club also allowed me to grow not only leadership skills but to understand that although we are different genders, at the end of the day we are a team, and we work together as a group.”
She adds that with the help of professors and other College leaders, she has accomplished more than she first set out to do.
“The journey has not been easy, but it is so well worth every bit of it. I have learned and continue to learn from professors and leaders that I have chosen to follow. Some have become mentors and friends, and I will forever be thankful for all the time they have invested in me. I have had the honor to meet people I never thought I would by being of service to the team.”
For Nursing student Dacia Hudson, the scholarship is definitely helps ease the financial stress many students incur when paying for college.
“This scholarship will definitely help to relieve some of the financial stressors that paying for nursing school can cause,” said Hudson. “Not having to worry so much about working to earn money leads to being able to spend more time on my studies and schoolwork.”
She adds that industry scholarships are beneficial to both industry sponsors and students training in those fields because technical training aspect can sometimes get lost among other areas.
“It puts a spotlight on the technical aspects of educations and careers. This is great for both industry and students. Many times, technical careers and companies are overlooked therefore, these scholarships contribute to the positive output on both students and companies.”
Hudson says she wants to specialize in labor and delivery or trauma due to the unexpected nature of each area. She was also personally impacted by nurses in these areas- those that helped deliver her daughters and those who took care of her husband when he had an accident this April. These nurses solidified her nursing goals and intrigued her interest even more.
“Being in the San Jac nursing program, I appreciate having professors that enjoy teaching and want you to succeed. One of the things I have enjoyed in this past year are the lifelong friendships I have been blessed enough to form in this program.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top 10 community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.