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Guaranteed College Admission at Saint Thomas University for 100 High-Achieving NHI Leadership Students

Posted: September 19, 2023 at 3:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

A story written by Sandra Soliz, Director of Communications at the University of Saint Thomas.

Texas-based National Hispanic Institute held its Collegiate World Series Texas summer event at the University of St. Thomas-Houston on July 26-30, 2023, bringing 100 high-achieving Latino high school juniors to campus for their NHI capstone college readiness and competition experience, which prepares them for their senior year. Created 30 years ago, the event aims to provide future leaders with as much insight and practice as possible to prepare for their transition to adulthood, emphasizing college readiness and leadership development. 

Students who attend this event have excellent GPAs and a wealth of community service, contributing to their leadership skills.

To stimulate the students’ college experience imagination, they stayed on campus for four nights in the Guinan Residence Hall. Students interacted with other NHI participants from around the country and internationally. Meanwhile, they had access to advisors, mentors, and speakers dedicated to helping students navigate the college admissions process – application, essay and interview.  

During the college readiness portion of the event, student competitions were fierce as they practiced their skills. The second half of the conference focused on making informed decisions, especially when considering their future.

NHI Alumna Angela Cardenas Brokers Partnership

As a mentor, NHI alumna Angela Cardenas was instrumental in forging the partnership between UST and NHI.

“Participating in the National Hispanic Institute during the summer of my sophomore and junior years in high school was transformative,” Cardenas said. “NHI helped me develop and hone my leadership skills while educating me on public policy and legislative processes. Through NHI, I had the opportunity to practice public speaking, debate, cross-examination and diplomacy. NHI shaped me into the leader I am today and empowered me to set my sights high with no limits. In addition to those skills, I also gained a stronger appreciation for my culture.”

Today Cardenas works for the United States Agency for International Development.

Cardenas continued, “When I learned about UST’s Rising Stars Internship Program, I was eager to introduce NHI to UST. Among the many opportunities UST has for its students, the Rising Stars is a great program, NHI is building future leaders, and UST is a perfect place for these leaders to land.”

UST is a Hispanic-Serving Institution with Tuition-free Financial Aid

The University of St. Thomas, which welcomes its largest incoming undergraduate class in University history this year, is a diverse and welcoming campus community. As such, UST is home to a large Hispanic population and is designated as a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) by the Department of Education.

Hosting the NHI event allowed UST to showcase its vibrant campus in the Houston Museum District, where faculty and staff know students personally. While at St. Thomas, attendees also learned about innovative tuition-free financial aid programs, such as St. Thomas Promise and the Rising Stars Internship Program.

“UST was thrilled to host the National Hispanic Institute’s Collegiate World Series on the UST campus,” UST’s Dan Garcia, director of the Rising Stars Internship Program and host for the event, said. “Bringing high caliber rising high school seniors onto our campus and seeing the amazing work they can do shows UST’s commitment, as an HSI, to serving the Hispanic community and providing opportunities to deserving students.”

Garcia added, “Students from across the country experienced feeling like part of the UST community and now have the opportunity to choose St. Thomas as their college destination.”

UST Offers Guaranteed Admissions to NHIers for Fall 2024

To the amazement of NHI students and their families, UST Director of Admissions, Sara Johnson, handed out letters offering all the attending NHI students “guaranteed admissions for fall 2024” at the University. 

Johnson said, “I was honored to extend the offer. These students are future leaders and would find a natural home of academics and community at UST.”

Nicole Nieto, executive vice president for NHI and the daughter of NHI founder Ernesto Nieto, said. “A guaranteed admissions offer to NHiers has never happened before and was a stunning surprise. Thank you, UST, for believing in the students and their work.”

NHI was founded in Austin, Texas, in 1979.

“We love the city of Houston, which is so open, international, and diverse and offers so many opportunities for career growth,” Nieto said. “We are pleased and proud to partner with the University of St. Thomas.”

Nieto concluded, “I hope the students take advantage of this offer of guaranteed admissions from UST.”

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