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Alumni Association Scholarships: Fulfilling Dreams, Inspiring Gratitude

Two Saints and a Taco Tasting: Fun with a Purpose

This year’s Two Saints and a Taco Tasting (TSTT) event, set for Nov. 10 on the beautiful UST-Houston campus, promises tasty tacos, frosty beer and beverages, vibrant music, the joy of reconnecting with fellow UST-Houston alumni, and opportunities to enhance cherished UST memories.

But do you know what really fuels UST and the Alumni Board of Directors to undertake such party-of-the-year event planning? The answer is a fiery passion to make the dream of college completion come true for students. All proceeds from TSTT go to support crucial scholarships for deserving students.

Below are brief profiles of three such UST Alumni Association Scholarship recipients. All full of gratitude.

George Fakes, On the Pre-Med Track

Senior George Fakes, Alumni Association Scholarship recipient“I love problem-solving and helping other people in the community around me, so I realized the way to follow my passion is in medicine.”

After 21-year-old Houstonian George Fakes earns his diploma in Biology in the spring of 2024, he aims to go to medical school. For this first-generation college student, every day at UST is the realization of a dream.

“College was a luxury my parents could not experience, and I had begun to believe it would be the same for me,” he said.

But Fakes got into UST, and one day, while he was in the Center for Science and Health Professions, he learned he received the Alumni Association Scholarship.

He described the moment, saying, “I was ecstatic. My friends asked if I was alright because I was speechless! Then, I instantly called my parents to celebrate the good news. Because of scholarships like this one, I’ve been able to continue chasing my dream of a higher education. I’m truly thankful for the UST alumni who made this opportunity possible, aiding me on my path to becoming a doctor.”

Emily Maxell, Future Math Teacher

Senior Emily Maxwell, Alumni Association Scholarship recipientEmily Maxwell, 21, from Humble, Texas, will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Education. She is on her way to fulfilling her dream of teaching math.

Maxwell explained, “My mom is an elementary school teacher. She first inspired me to want to get into education, but I also had some fabulous math teachers along the way who led me to love math and want to share that love with as many students as possible. I’ve tutored math students of all ages, and it has strengthened my desire to be a part of educating the next generation of students.” 

Maxwell recalls feeling “huge relief” when she learned she would receive the alumni scholarship, but her mother’s reaction was even stronger. 

“She was almost in tears when she heard about the scholarship because it meant I could graduate debt-free. It lifted a huge weight off my shoulders that I didn’t fully realize I’d been carrying.”

As a transfer student, Maxwell found herself remarkably comfortable on the St. Thomas campus. 

“My favorite part is the small, tight-knit community of students that makes you feel right at home even as a transfer student. It’s easy to get to know people. Furthermore, the professors here get to know you right away, and they have been so helpful in pushing me toward my goals. That kind of professor support and welcoming community makes me 100% sure UST was the right decision for me!” 

Sarah Archer, Clinical Research Nurse in the Making

Junior Sarah Archer, Alumni Association Scholarship recipientDouble majoring in Nursing and Psychology, 29-year-old Sarah Archer recalls being at home quietly studying the day her phone rang.

“They said I was receiving the Alumni Association Scholarship,” she remembered. “I was speechless and shocked and relieved all at the same time. It was truly an exciting moment when I discovered I had been selected.”

The native Houstonian who expects to graduate in the spring of 2025 knew her life was about to change.

Archer said, “The scholarship made a significant difference in my life by alleviating the financial burden associated with tuition expenses. It enabled me to focus more on my education without worrying about affording each semester. The support has been instrumental in helping relieve a lot of the financial stress I experience while I pursue my degrees.”

The future healthcare worker plans to be a clinical research nurse.

“I hope to impact and make a positive difference in sick patients I will have the privilege to care for.”

Archer believes she is being prepared at the very best school for her.

“UST is the right school for me due to its strong Catholic identity and the sense of belonging I experience here,” she said. “Also, I want the Alumni Association to know how much I appreciate them as a community. Their continuous efforts to provide support and opportunities for students have a lasting and incredibly positive impact on the UST community.”

TSTT Event Supports Students Like These Through Alumni Scholarships

Two Saints and a Taco Tasting tickets are on sale now. Remember that your sponsorships, ticket purchases and attendance make education dreams a reality for students just like George Fakes, Emily Maxwell and Sarah Archer. Enjoy the Nov. 10 fun, and thank you for helping to fund UST’s Alumni Association Scholarships.