The 2021 Scholarships are now closed.
The 2022 Scholarships will be available on January 1, 2022.

2021 Scholarships Recipients

2021 Charles Wilson Hackett Memorial Scholarship

Ruth Herenia Matamoros-Mercado
PhD in UT Austin Latin American Studies
Home country: Nicaragua
Ruth is part of a generation of PhD candidates seriously challenged by the effects of this pandemic period, with all its detrimental impacts on the pace of research endeavors…In Ruth’s case, as a mother of two children living alone with them in Austin, Texas, away from her husband and the rest of her family, during the Summer of 2020, she had to reorganize her living situation to stay in the United States…Ruth’s research project on the role of land politics as part of the indigenous Miskitu responses to the colonial and racial history of Nicaragua and the Central American region constitutes a tremendously relevant theme in the field of Indigenous Studies.
Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante. The University of Texas at Austin

2021 Jeannie Hunter Hackett Memorial Scholarship

Valeria Colunga
UT Austin – International Relations and Global Studies (Major 1) & Latin American Studies (Major 2)/ French Studies
Home country – Mexico
I met Valeria in 2020 when she joined the Humanity Lab Foundation as a Research and Policy Intern…In her work with Humanity Lab, Valeria worked directly with me and contributed substantially towards the policy and advocacy of our work…Valeria worked on research, research analysis and preparation of policy briefings for Humanity Lab’s executive team. Her thirst for information and understanding made her a crucial thinking-partner for me and our core leadership team. Her commitment, professionalism and passion for social justice was invaluable to the success of our work.
In working alongside Valeria, I am deeply aware of her passion for international development and social justice and her commitment to advancing herself in these areas of work. Having the unique vantage point of knowing Valeria and her work, I am confident that this scholarship will tremendously impact her personal life and will further enhance her capacity to be an asset to the University of Texas at Austin.

Hazami Barmada, Founder & Chairperson, Humanity Lab Foundation

2021 Mitty Guerra Memorial Scholarship

Danna Quiriarte
UT Austin Bachelors of Science in Public Health
Danna attends UT Austin, works two jobs, and supports her family. Danna was inspired to study Public Health as a result of serious illness in her family. She is described as “an  individual…who is consistently present and always more focused and more integrated in a conversation…she actively participates in her community, juggling part time education and working 30+ hours a week to care for her family. Danna does all of this with an unwaveringly positive disposition. She’s always smiling, always warm…she is a model student, more well-rounded and adept than many adults. She is the sort of individual that takes care of a task or responsibility without any question.
Bryan C. Parker, Cedar Ridge High School, Round Rock, TX

The First 2021 Gloria Mata Pennington Scholarship

Lilibeth Ramirez
UT Austin Applied Learning Development: EC-6 Bilingual Generalist Teacher Certification
First Generation Student – “Lilibeth is a critical thinker who can both analyze and synthesize information quickly and accurately, which is an important skill for students who endeavor to pursue advanced degrees. There were several instances where Lilibeth demonstrated initiative in creating supplemental learning opportunities and tools for herself and classmates, which, in my opinion, was very impressive, given that she was only a first-year college student. Those types of characteristics are rare in first-year students, so she definitely caught my attention. Her work and initiative in our signature course were exceptional, and we could always depend on her to be prepared and lead the class in discussions. On many occasions, she was the most knowledgeable, and her peers looked to her for her insight and opinions…I have come to know her as a hardworking and professional young woman who is focused, organized, and passionate about uplifting others’ lives. In addition, she is a bright young lady with great character. She possesses strong communication skills and an impeccable work ethic.
Tiffany T. Lewis, Ph.D., Director, Gateway Scholars & Longhorn Link (SSS) Programs Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE)

2020 Scholarships Recipients

Blanca Azucena Pacheco - 2020 Charles Wilson Hacket
Blanca Azucena Pacheco – 2020 Charles Wilson Hackett Memorial Scholarship

Blanca is pursuing a doctoral degree in Medical Anthropology. In her own words: “Currently, I am conducting fieldwork in southeastern Guatemala. I have been invited to co-lead the written and photographic documentation of the indigenous Xinka system of medicine. This work is both personally and professionally important. On a personal level, I have been able to return to the land where I spent the first six years of my life and reconnect with my indigenous roots. Professionally, this is an immensely important project, as this is the first time the Xinka medicinal knowledge and practices will be documented. Needless to say, that this historic project is a major contribution to the Xinka peoples, the nation of Guatemala, and is important to the global indigenous community.”

Alejandra Zuniga - 2020 Jeannie Hunter Hackett
Alejandra Zuniga – 2020 Jeannie Hunter Hackett Memorial Scholarship

Alejandra is majoring in Government and Political Communication. In her own words: “Currently, I am a community organizer at a labor union. I work with organizations like RAICES and American Gateways to develop and implement curriculum for ICE rapid response in Texas public schools, implement immigrant-friendly policies in school districts, and plan direct actions. I also coordinate community work against sexual misconduct within higher education. Law school is in my future, but only after I spend some more time advocating for my community. After I graduate, I intend to move to Washington D.C. and to work for an organization like, an organization that aims to reform the criminal justice and immigration system, as either an organizer or a policy researcher.”

Jessica Vega - 2020 Mitty Guerra
Jessica Vega – 2020 Mitty Guerra Memorial Scholarship

Jessica is majoring in Therapeutic Recreation at Texas State University. In her own words: “As a non-traditional student, I value college education, because I have learned what it is like to live with a passionless job, paycheck to paycheck. Through my struggles as a young mother, I have learned to be diligent and to put all my efforts into achieving my goal of being a role model for my daughter and my community. I have an 8-year-old daughter and work a full-time overnight job while enrolled in 15 credit hours at Texas State University. Therapeutic Recreation offers ways for some of our most vulnerable citizens to connect with themselves and the world in order to find happiness and improve their quality of life.”

2019 Scholarships Recipients

Chair of Scholarship Committee, Mary Gawron, pictured with (left to right): 2019 Charles Wilson Hackett Memorial Scholarship recipient, Ricardo Velasco Trujillo; 2019 Jeannie Hunter Hackett Memorial Scholarship recipient, Andres Miranda; 2019 Mitty Guerra Memorial Scholarship recipient, Katuscia Koch