Spotlight Series: Ellen Galindo
November 30, 2018
Palo Alto College's annual scholarship fundraiser, ¡Una Nueva Celebración!, raised over $1,000,000 in committed funds to directly support students, faculty, and staff in continuing their education. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) gave five full-ride scholarships (tuition, room, and board) for Palo Alto College students to attend UTRGV upon completing their associate degrees. Ellen Galindo was selected as one of the scholarship recipients.
Just a few credits shy of earning her associate degree from Palo Alto College, Ellen Galindo wasn't sure what her next step was going to be. She dreamed of becoming an occupational therapist, but she was having trouble identifying an affordable four-year university where she could continue to work toward that dream.
Galindo learned about the UTRGV information session from her supervisor at Palo Alto College's Ray Ellison Family Center, where she works part-time. She decided to attend to learn more about the university and for the chance of receiving one of five full-ride scholarships they were awarding on-the-spot. Galindo said that she really liked what she learned about UTRGV, and she would have considered attending even without the scholarship. But much to her surprise, she was one of the five students selected.
"It means a lot. It's always been a struggle to try and figure out how we were going to be able to pay for me going to university," said Galindo. "I really went into the [information session] not expecting to get anything... [Being chosen] was a big surprise and a big weight off my mom's shoulders and mine."
Galindo is the first in her family to attend college, though her mother always encouraged her to get whatever education she needed to achieve her dreams and make a better life for herself.
"My mom's support and encouragement and everything she knows I'm capable of is another reason why education is important to me," said Galindo. "I want to make her proud."
Even with the support at home, Galindo's college experience was not without its own trials. When she first started college, she split her time between being a full-time college student, working part-time, and caring for her elderly grandparents, who have since passed away.
"I want to create a future for myself that [my grandparents] would be proud of. The accomplishments I've had and the opportunity to receive this scholarship are things that I wish I could tell them," said Galindo. "It has been a challenge juggling school, work, and caring for them–and also dealing with the loss of both of them during my time here at PAC; but having the opportunity to take care of them only made me appreciate everything more and grow as a person."
Galindo said it will be hard to leave her family behind in San Antonio, but she will only be a few hours away. She is looking forward to living on campus and all of the learning that comes with it.
"The more you know and the experience opens opportunities and doors," said Galindo. "It will be a good chance to test myself and the responsibility I think I have."
UTRGV committed $815,000 in total to support the five full-ride UTRGV scholarships for graduating PAC students – Ellen Galindo, Taylor Ponce, Emily Harmon, Jonathan Guillen, and Gabino Olalde – while also committing 150 scholarships for employees to use toward their master's and doctoral degrees from UTRGV, funding for five research assistantships, and an additional $25,000 donation to the general PAC Scholarship Fund to support students currently attending Palo Alto College.
Funding provided through valuable partnerships, such as with UTRGV, provides scholarships to help Palo Alto College students attain their educational goals. The Alamo Colleges Foundation facilitates over 40 scholarship opportunities, which students attending Palo Alto College or anywhere in the Alamo Colleges District can apply for with a single application. The 2019 scholarship application will open on Jan. 7, 2019. To learn more, visit alamo.edu/pac/scholarships.