Jindal Young Scholars Program Welcomes Its First Cohort for Fall
Four seniors from the Dallas Independent School District recently became the initial cohort of The University of Texas at Dallas’ Jindal Young Scholars Program during “signing day” at the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
From left: Giovanny Lopez, Jason Manzala, Mike Campos and Oscar Urrutia make up the initial cohort of the Jindal Young Scholars Program.
Mike Campos, Giovanny Lopez and Jason Manzala, all from the School of Business and Management at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center; and Oscar Urrutia, from W.T. White High School, signed pledges to enroll at UT Dallas this fall. Campos, Lopez and Manzala will major in finance, while Urrutia will study global business.
Billy Schewee, director of the young scholars program, spent the previous year putting the program in place and recruiting the initial cohort.
“I’m excited for these young men,” he said. “I’m proud to be a part of this program that provides this kind of opportunity and excited that this became a reality.”
In return for the four-year scholarship, the students will need to maintain a qualifying grade-point average, participate in program activities and involve their parents whenever possible. In addition, they will serve as the first ambassadors of the program.
“By being the first cohort, we provide inspiration and that leadership that everybody’s asking for,” Urrutia said. “Everything I do is based on goals that I want to achieve. I always set short-term and long-term goals for myself. I want to be successful in college. After college, I want to go out there in the world, be a leader and inspire people to believe in themselves.”
Campos is determined to complete the task he and his fellow scholars set for themselves.
“I’m ready to do it overall,” he said. “Everybody here had to do a whole lot of work just to get to this position. There’s nothing that’s going to keep us from continuing that work in college.”
Lopez offered advice to those who would follow him.
“If you put in the effort and work hard, it will pay off in the long run,” he said.
Manzala credited his parents for supporting him and instilling a work ethic in him. His family also attended the event.
“We tried to mentor him — tell him what’s good for him and what’s the best to go with,” said his father, Edmund. “We taught him to be his own man and be mindful for what he’s going to be. In the future, he can help somebody like (he is being helped) now.”
“By being the first cohort, we provide inspiration and that leadership that everybody's asking for. Everything I do is based on goals that I want to achieve. … I want to be successful in college. After college, I want to go out there in the world, be a leader and inspire people to believe in themselves.”
Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Jindal School dean and Caruth Chair, felt a sense of pride that his vision was finally coming to fruition after 10 years of planning.
Pirkul said he was optimistic that the program would grow and become a model program for other schools to emulate.
Dallas ISD Assistant Superintendent Usamah Rodgers spoke to Pirkul’s level of commitment to seeing the program through.
“This is what visionary servant leadership looks like,” she said. “It’s an amazing feeling to see something go from ideation to actualization. To see the students and their families and the smiles on their faces — this is just a life-changing experience, and we are extremely grateful.”
Representatives from State Farm, one of the major donors to the initiative, also attended the event.
“We have a commitment to building safer, stronger, better-educated communities,” said Darren Allred, philanthropy manager for State Farm. “The Jindal Young Scholars Program is the absolute definition of that. It’s starting with the children that are going to make a difference for many, many years to come.”
Schewee said the students will be the standard-bearers for future cohorts of the program.
“Anything that I could tell high school students pales in comparison to what these guys could say in terms of the experience they had in high school, what they had to do to earn these scholarships and the value of the education they will receive at the Jindal School,” he said. “It’s much more meaningful coming from them.”
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].