San Jacinto College Upward Bound Math & Science Academy (UBMSA) student Jocelyn Yanez has been awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the first UBMS student to receive this prestigious scholarship.

Established in 1999, the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program is a $1.6 billion initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the GMS program is to promote academic excellence and provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. The GMS program has funded more than 20,000 Gates Scholars since 2000 and has awarded more than $934 million in scholarships between the 2000-2014 academic years. This year more than 53,000 high school students applied for a Gates Millennium Scholarship, and Yanez says she feels more than fortunate to be one of the 1,000 students selected.

“Being awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship is a blessing and is one of the best things that has ever happened for me, my family and my academic journey,” said Yanez. “Now I have a sense of security that my future is set, and that I no longer need to worry about finances. Receiving this scholarship isn't just about the money, it's also about giving back to the people who have supported me along the road to success. I've made my parents proud for all the hard work I've put into starting my path to becoming a nurse practitioner. I cannot wait to help patients in critical need in the U.S. and other countries. That along with making my parents proud, is all I ever wanted to do.”

The San Jacinto College Upward Bound Math and Science program, in collaboration with high schools in the Channelview, Sheldon and Galena Park independent school districts, is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Select students from public schools are mentored in the program throughout their high school years, beginning in the ninth grade. Workshops at San Jacinto College help the high school students with study skills, test taking, time management and similar issues.

San Jacinto College Upward Bound Math and Science Project Director Jacqueline Howard says that Yanez is just one of the many examples of Upward Bound Math and Science students who excel in their educational endeavors after having the mentorship and academic guidance the program provides. “I am overjoyed and proud of Jocelyn for stepping up and challenging herself, meeting the strenuous requirements, deadlines and the high demands of the program,” said Howard. “She is truly a testament to the success of UBMS.”

Yanez exceeded the minimum requirements for GMS applicants with a weighted GPA of 4.30 and significant involvement in student organizations such as PRIDE Team, student council, College Club, 21st Century, Interact, LULAC, Senior Class Representatives, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Youth of Christ organization president.

Yanez recently graduated with honors from Galena Park High School and is set to attend Texas A&M University in the fall with plans to major in nursing.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

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