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Texas A&M Foundation Trustees Honor Outstanding Students

Posted May 05, 2017

The Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees named Brenda Castillo as one of two recipients of its fifth Outstanding Student Award during a dinner on May 3 at the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center on the Texas A&M University campus.

BrendaCastillo

Castillo, a graduating senior who is the first in her family to attend college, was recognized for excelling academically while distinguishing herself as a leader at Texas A&M and in the community.

She set her heart on attending Texas A&M after coming to the campus as a high school student to participate in the state science fair.

“When we visited the campus, I immediately liked the environment and the people,” the Regents’ Scholarship recipient said. “I applied to other schools, but Texas A&M was the only one that I could see myself attending.”

Castillo, a molecular and cell biology major and Spanish minor, plans to pursue a medical degree after graduating this month. Originally born outside of Chicago, Castillo moved with her family to a small Mexican town when she was a young girl. There, she watched as relatives and community members were unable to easily access medical care. One of these relatives was her father Eduardo, who died of leukemia when Castillo was 2.

As a teenager, Castillo moved with her mother to San Antonio. There, she saw how many U.S. doctors have difficulty communicating effectively with Spanish-speaking patients, thus creating a barrier to quality health care. After completing medical school, Castillo plans to help fill this gap by working primarily with Spanish-speaking patients.

“Brenda’s desire to help people who are experiencing difficulties in accessing quality health care is the epitome of selfless service that every Aggie strives to exemplify,” said Bill Toler, chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “She is an excellent representative of the kind of student and Aggie for whom this award was originally created.”

Castillo was a research assistant at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and volunteered for several organizations, including health care facilities and the Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network.

She served as the vice president of the Hispanic President’s Council and managed the website and social media for Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honor Society. As a sophomore, she also participated in the Spring Leadership Exchange, during which she had the opportunity to travel to Texas A&M’s Qatar campus. In addition, she worked as a mentor for the Regents’ Scholarship FOCUS Learning Community and as a supplemental instruction leader.

“Texas A&M has been a place of growth for me in different ways,” Castillo said. “The academics were challenging, and I’ve had to overcome a lot to graduate. The opportunities I’ve had have made me a better individual by allowing me to understand people from different cultures and backgrounds.”

Castillo will enroll in Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in the fall.

“The Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award is like a farewell gift from Texas A&M,” Castillo said. “This award will allow me to begin the path toward being able to serve both of my countries as a bilingual physician.”

Former Foundation trustee Melbern Glasscock and his wife Susanne created the endowed Outstanding Student Award in 2012 to honor exceptional students at Texas A&M University. Besides succeeding academically and as leaders, recipients have overcome significant personal or family financial challenges to attend Texas A&M. The Outstanding Student Award includes a cash prize of $2,500.

To read about the other recipient, Joshua Sutton, click here.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities. To learn more about scholarships, fellowships and program-focused giving to benefit Texas A&M University, contact the foundation at txamfoundation.com, 800.392.3310, or 979.845.8161.

This story was written by Monika Blackwell, Texas A&M Foundation.



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