Posted: 6/07/12

Laredo Rotary Club Donation Funds TAMIU Scholarships, Endowment



Two Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students each received $1,000 scholarships and recognition for their academic excellence from the Laredo Rotary Club at a May ceremony.

“We wanted to recognize students for their academic excellence in the field of criminal justice and we are always happy to help TAMIU,” said Fred Villarreal, president, Laredo Rotary Club.

TAMIU College of Arts and Sciences Criminal Justice Program director Dr. Claudia E. San Miguel congratulated the recipients, Elizabeth Ortiz and Janelle Castillo.

“Both are ranked in the top of our Criminal Justice Program. They are truly deserving of this recognition. I am very proud of Elizabeth and Janelle,” Dr. San Miguel said.

The two $1,000 scholarships were a collaborative effort between the Rotary Club and Sheriff Martin Cuellar and part of a $29,000 gift to establish an endowment.

“This award represents and validates the dedication I put towards achieving academic excellence,” said Castillo, senior, criminal justice.

“I would like to express my gratitude to both Dr. San Miguel and the Rotary Club for providing students the opportunity to better themselves through higher education,” she acknowledged.

Castillo, along with other members of the TAMIU Criminal Justice Association, presented original research at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences National Conference in New York City during spring break.

The other recipient, Ortiz, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice. The TAMIU graduate received her bachelor’s degree in May.

“I am honored and feel privileged to receive this scholarship considering that out of all the students who could have received it, only Janelle and I were chosen. It’s proof that hard work does pay off,” Ortiz said.

She added she received help and that extra push from her professors, especially Dr. San Miguel; Dr. John Kilburn, professor, sociology; and Dr. Marcus Ynalvez, assistant professor, sociology—all of whom she considers role models.

Having always been drawn to criminal justice, she explored different fields. She said she settled on criminal justice because she wants to be a part of a field which helps and heals society.

Ortiz will have a chance to present her research on crime and the American Dream at the American Society of Criminology Conference in Chicago this November.

For more information, contact San Miguel at or 326.2529 or visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, 302J.

University summer office hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. – noon.

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