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Interview with 2009 Scholarship Recipient Erik Burgos-Santos

1) What’s your major/minor, and what year are you?

I am a senior student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, minoring in Mathematics and on the course to earn a Master’s degree as part of the 4+1 Program within the Lyle School of Engineering.

2) What’s the most important reason you think people should give generously to the HAA Scholarship fund?

Thanks to the HAA Scholarship, it is now more viable for me to attend SMU this coming year. This means a lot to me, given that my financial aid options are extremely slim. I am greatly in debt to the donors of this honorable scholarship, as it positions senior students, such as myself, to graduate successfully without having to worry as much about the financial implications it often comes with. Consequently, it creates a greater incentive for Hispanic alumni to contribute back to SMU once they are well into their professional careers.   

3) What do you want people to know about your experience as a HAA Scholarship student?

Ever since I can remember, I have always dreamed of becoming an engineer. I transferred into Southern Methodist University the Fall 2008, and now I am currently working on graduate work as part of the 4 + 1 Program for Mechanical Engineering. I am a founding brother of the SMU colony for Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., and I am passionate about giving back to my community and empowering other students—especially those who are underrepresented—to pursue a college education.

This past summer I was fortunate to serve as a student coordinator for our second annual Dallas Hispanic Youth Symposium, which convened at SMU. More than 200 local Hispanic high school students and 100 community leaders came together for a life-changing event that raises the college-going trajectories of students around the Dallas community. The HAA Scholarship has reinforced my aspirations of earning my degree at SMU, while never forgetting to give back to my community.

4) What kinds of doors has receiving the HAA Scholarship opened for you? For which one are you most grateful?

The HAA Scholarship has opened the doors of hope, knowledge and empowerment for me. Seeing that SMU alumni invested their valuable time and efforts to develop and implement something like this gave me hope and motivation to keep working hard towards my degree. The mind is a sacred place of knowledge and understanding. This scholarship helped me on my journey as a lifetime scholar. Furthermore, and most importantly, it has alleviated my financial burden and allowed me to focus on my education. This is empowering.  

I am tremendously in debt to HAA’s kind support and can only hope to be able to assist other students in achieving their goals and professional aspirations as HAA has done with me.


View more information about the Hispanic Alumni Scholarship.

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