Last year the lives of 85 UH Engineering undergraduate students changed drastically when they received scholarships donated by the incredibly generous alumnus Dr. William A. Brookshire. On Feb. 9, these students had the opportunity to meet and thank the man who made such a lasting impact in their lives at the Brookshire Scholarship Luncheon held at the UH Hilton.
Undergraduate students at the UH Cullen College differ quite a bit from the “average” college undergrad. For starters, the majority of UH Engineering students are the first ones in their families to pursue a college degree. In addition to keeping up with rigorous course work, laboratory research and extracurricular activities, many UH engineering students also work full-time to pay for their education.
Brookshire, a chemical engineering alumnus, can relate. He was the first in his family to earn a high school diploma.
“I had to work a full-time job during the day while attending night classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Houston,” Brookshire has said.
Recognizing the unique challenges faced by students who work in order to fund their education at the Cullen College, Brookshire founded two scholarships to help ease their financial burdens while recognizing their continued dedication to their engineering education. The William A. Brookshire Scholarship is for students taking a full course load (12 hours) and working at least 20 hours a week, and the William A. Brookshire IMPACT Scholarship is for students who are working, taking a full course load and paying for college on their own with no outside financial support.
Electrical engineering student Nancy Ibarra said that receiving the William A. Brookshire Scholarship allowed her to complete her degree during a very difficult time in her life.
“Dr. Brookshire’s scholarship gave me the confidence to finish my senior year and help provide emotional and financial stability during this transition into my professional life,” Ibarra said.
At the Brookshire Luncheon, scholarship recipients took turns personally thanking Brookshire, detailing how receiving his scholarship was transformational for their personal and professional lives.
Christopher Avalos, an industrial engineering student who received the Brookshire IMPACT Scholarship, said hearing the stories of other Brookshire Scholarship recipients “helped me realize and appreciate the opportunities that I have.” One day Avalos hopes to give back to his alma mater by changing students’ lives for the better, just as Brookshire did for him.
“I am inspired to continue working hard and to try to provide this impact on others in the future,” Avalos said.