PHARR – Four seniors in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD have been awarded the highly competitive Gates Scholarship. Selected from a pool of over 36,500 applicants from across the country, the seniors will receive funds to pay their entire university career and post-graduate education.

The Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, full scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors. The scholarship is awarded to 300 top student leaders each year from across the nation with the intent of promoting their academic excellence through college graduation and providing them with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“Congratulations to the students for being awarded this competitive scholarship,” said PSJA Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “We commended you for your hard work and dedication.”

All four seniors are participating in the PSJA ISD Early College Program in partnership with South Texas College and will be graduating with Associate Degrees in May 2020. The student scholars are as follows:

PSJA North Early College HS

Melanny Garcia - Attending to Stanford University, and received an Associate Degree in Mathematics from STC last December Daija Esparza - Attending UT-Austin, and will be graduating with an Associate Degree in Mathematics from STC PSJA Southwest Early College High School

Marianno Salcedo - Attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and will be graduating with an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering from STC PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School

Maria Carrillo – Attending the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and received an Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies of Science from STC last December. According to PSJA College Transition Department Director Carlos Garcia, the students’ selection shows the joint efforts led by PSJA teachers, counselors, administrators, and their department to ensure students succeed in high school and beyond.

“We are extremely proud of our seniors, this is an amazing accomplishment,” said Garcia. “At PSJA ISD we really mean it, when we say we are a family, we have different departments working together towards our main goal which is student success.”

At PSJA ISD, all high schools are equipped with Go Centers where Financial Aid Advisors are there to assist seniors with the college application process. In addition, once students graduate and go to college, PSJA College Transition Specialists are available to support them and ensure their continued success at the university of their choice.

To continue serving seniors during the pandemic, the PSJA College Transition Department is currently offering Virtual College Advising. Students needing assistance can email or visit