by Sara Hoover Martin
In July, through the generosity of the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association, President Mengler and his wife, Mona, combined with University funds, St. Mary’s offered the Rattler Impact Scholarship to further support nearly 1,000 students in Fall 2020.
The Rattler Impact Scholarship was a direct reflection of the Marianist family spirit and the St. Mary’s commitment to taking care of their community in the midst of a pandemic.
When Carlos “Antonio” Rangel, a junior Criminal Justice major from San Antonio, first heard about the scholarship, his dad was in a rehab hospital after being on a ventilator for days due to contracting COVID-19.
“When I told my mom I got the scholarship, she was relieved. It was one less thing to worry about,” Rangel said.
After moving back home to Brownsville at the beginning of the public health emergency, Aracely Ortiz, a junior Biology major, was faced with uncertainty, like so many others. As a result of the pandemic, her mom lost her job, relying solely on her father’s income.
“The Rattler Impact Scholarship allowed me to continue to afford my education at St. Mary’s,” Ortiz said.
“2020 just keeps taking and taking,” said Sarah Nguyen, a junior Electrical Engineering major and recipient of the one-time scholarship.
Her great-aunt died of the coronavirus and, shortly after the semester began, her mom was diagnosed with cancer.
“This semester has been really challenging,” said Nguyen, who added a silver lining: “spending extra time with my mom, dad and even my brother,” since they are all home together.
After losing her paid internship due to COVID-19, Nguyen worried she might have to take a gap year. Luckily, receiving the Rattler Impact Scholarship gave her “the ability to focus on other things,” Nguyen said, “a real blessing.”