RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Six University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students have been awarded scholarships from the Kemper Foundation, the Kemper Corporation’s philanthropic arm.

Now identified as Kemper Scholars, the new cohort for this academic year include:

  • Kayla Flores – Marketing major
  • Fatima Mancia Mendoza – Accounting major
  • Lizbeth Arely Ramirez-Gomez – Finance major
  • Alejandra Mayde Avilez – Finance major
  • Itzel Rojas – Accounting major
  • Josiah Gonzalez – Finance major

The RCVCOBE announced its partnership with the Kemper Foundation earlier this year when the foundation announced it would commit $4.5 million to the next generation of its Kemper Scholars Program.

The foundation will award 650 scholarships over the next five years to high-achieving, diverse college students at partnering Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, according to UTRGV.

Josiah Gonzalez, one of the new UTRGV scholars, was ecstatic to find out he had been chosen.

“I felt as though I completed a lifelong mission to prove myself. My involvement in the community leading up to the Scholars Program were all pieces of a puzzle to prove that I could do great,” the sophomore said. “The Kemper Scholars Program just might have been the final piece.”

Gonzalez, a finance major, grew to appreciate the business field thanks to his dad, who could “go on for hours talking about business,” he said.

Finance major, Lizbeth Arely Ramirez-Gomez said the field is versatile and she is eager to learn more from the program. It is a big deal for her and she said she hopes to be a good example for her younger siblings.

“I’m a first-generation student, so I hope that my siblings and other people in the community have the courage to apply for this scholarship in the future,” she said.

Some requirements for the program include: 

  • A minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. 
  • Qualifying majors in an academic are related to financial services or insurance, such as finance, data analytics, actuarial science and business. 
  • Eligible for a Pell Grant or demonstrated financial need. 

All students will receive a scholarship, with the amount determined by each student’s needs. The scholars also are working toward an opportunity to be given an internship with the local Kemper office, said UTRGV’s news release.