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Trio of Achievers

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    Nancy Juarez (center) will get plenty of support at Southwestern from her older brothers Roberto (left) and Juan (right).

Sister joins two brothers on full-tuition scholarships at Southwestern

First-year student Nancy Juarez won’t have far to go if she needs some family support this year.

Her two older brothers, Juan and Roberto, also are at Southwestern. All three have earned full-tuition Upward Bound Scholarships to attend the university. All three also have earned a variety of other scholarships to cover their room, board and books.

Juan, who is a senior, was the first to come to Southwestern. He’ll be graduating in May with a degree in political science and international studies and hopes to attend law school or join Teach for America. Juan has excelled at Southwestern, serving as president of Circle K International and the Pre-Law Society. He’s also the current captain of the Mock Trial Team and has participated in the Brooks Prize Debate. At the end of his sophomore year, Juan received Southwestern’s Emerging Leader Award and was selected to receive a fellowship from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation for his junior and senior years. He has worked as an SU Ambassador for the Admission Office the past two years and recently returned from spending a semester in Argentina.

Neither of the Juan’s parents finished high school. Juan said he applied for the Upward Bound program because it would help teach him what he needed to do to get into college.

“I wanted to have a successful career and knew education was the key to that,” he said.

Lorna Hermosura, director of Southwestern’s Upward Bound program, said Juan’s leadership abilities “really started to shine” when he became president of the Upward Bound Scholar Council his senior year in high school. Juan graduated fourth in his class at Jarrell High School and also was accepted at The University of Texas and the University of North Texas. He said he chose to attend Southwestern because of its small classes and good reputation with graduate schools. The Upward Bound Scholarship made his choice possible.

“If it wasn’t for that scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Southwestern,” he said.

Roberto, who was salutatorian of his high school class, was also accepted at UT and Texas A&M University, but said he chose Southwestern because it is close to his family’s home in Jarrell, where his father owns a natural stone business. Roberto is studying business and hopes to take over the family business someday. He also has been involved with Southwestern’s chapter of Circle K International and served as president last year.

In addition to the Upward Bound Scholarship, Roberto received a Dixon Scholarship from Southwestern which is covering the cost of his room and board.

Both Juan and Roberto are participating in Southwestern’s Paideia program. Juan is in the cohort led by Communication Studies Professor Julia Johnson that is focusing on social justice. Roberto is in the cohort led by Education Professor Michael Kamen that is learning about Central Texas.

Nancy also was the salutatorian of her high school class in Jarrell. She said she originally wasn’t considering Southwestern, but decided to come because her interview went well and she received the Upward Bound Scholarship. She is studying education and playing on the women’s basketball team.

Juan said it is “awesome” be able to share his experiences at Southwestern with his younger brother and sister. He’s been giving his sister plenty of advice on things like what classes to take and not take.

Nancy said she likes having people she can go to for advice who she knows and trusts.

“With their help, I feel like I’ll be guided the right way,” she said.

The Juarez family has two other boys – one who is a sophomore in high school and another who is five years old. Juan said Eduardo, the sophomore, applied for the Upward Bound program but wasn’t accepted because program administrators felt they needed to give the limited number of spots in the program to students who “had limited or no support” in preparing for and applying to college.

“It was a heartbreaking dilemma,” Hermosura said. “We would have loved to have him in the program, but there were other students who needed Upward Bound more.”

Hermosura said the Juarez family is not the first to have three students participate in Southwestern’s Upward Bound program, but it is the first to send all three to the same college.

“It’s amazing to see them succeed like this,” she said. “They work hard and definitely deserve the scholarships they received.” She noted that Juan and Roberto have given back to the Upward Bound program by serving as tutors through Circle K International. Juan also served as an RA for the Upward Bound summer program.

Even though Eduardo won’t be able to get an Upward Bound scholarship from Southwestern, Juan said he is considering joining his other siblings here. He spent a day on campus with Juan in August and also has participated in the summer cross country camp led by Southwestern coach Francie Larrieu Smith.