Posted: 12/12/22

Four Educators Named Recipients of 2022 Zaffirini Teachers' College Student Loan Debt Grants



In this season of giving and holiday celebrations, four Laredo educators are also rejoicing as they have received generous grants to assist them in reducing their college student loan debts through a program established by Carlos Zaffirini, Jr. honoring his mother, State Senator Judith Zaffirini.

During a reception Monday at Texas A&M International University's (TAMIU) Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, the 2022 recipients of The Senator Judith Zaffirini Teachers' College Student Loan Debt Grant Program were named.

The honorees, recognized for their outstanding dedication to Laredo students, are Martha Salinas (’06), TAMIU College of Nursing and Health Sciences clinical assistant professor and a 2020 Doctor of Nursing Practice program graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Dr. Marissa Guerrero (’05), Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership (BASORGL) program director and faculty member at Laredo College, and a 2017 Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration program graduate of Texas Tech University; Francisco Maldonado, a teacher at Christopher M. Macdonell Elementary School and a 2020 Masters in School Counseling program graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Houston; Veronica Contreras (’08, ’11), teacher at Juarez-Lincoln Elementary School, and a 2011 Masters in Educational Administration graduate of TAMIU. Three of the four honorees are TAMIU alumni.

Recipients and their family and friends, community guests, and colleagues from TAMIU, LC, LISD, and UISD attended.

Each honoree receives $2,500 to help reduce his or her college student loan debts. To qualify, teachers must have taught in Laredo for at least five years, have a college student loan debt of at least $5,000, and be selected by his or her institution, based on program criteria. The program was launched in Laredo in 2018 and extended to southeast Austin in 2019. Participating institutions select their respective recipients each year.

Carlos Zaffirini Jr. said he established the program to honor his mother, who completed three degrees at The University of Texas at Austin thanks to a National Defense Student Loan, and struggled to pay it back, largely through teacher loan forgiveness programs.

Senator Zaffirini commended the honorees for their hard work and dedication.

"Carlos’ grants for teachers reflect our deep appreciation for teachers. They are devoted to our children and deserve our strongest support throughout the year. This year’s outstanding recipients were selected by their respective educational institutions because of their commitment and service beyond the call of duty. I am delighted that my son established this program to help them reduce their student loan debts," the Senator said.

Zaffirini Jr., an attorney, businessperson and philanthropist, is president and CEO of Adelanto Health Care Ventures (AHCV), LLC, a healthcare finance consulting firm. Since 2012, he has honored his mother annually with endowed gifts including scholarships at TAMIU, UT-Austin, and the Baylor College of Medicine, the Access to Justice Initiative at the UT Law School, and a family patient suite at the UT Dell Seton Medical Center.

TAMIU is a proud member of the Texas A&M University System's  state-wide campaign, “We Teach Texas.”TAMIU, along with the 11 universities in the A&M system, produces more fully certified teachers than any other university system in Texas.

For more information, please contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.218-, email prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268. 

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Registration for Wintermester and Spring 2023 classes at TAMIU is underway online via UConnect. To learn more about TAMIU’s Registration processes, visit the dedicated Registration Hub at https://go.tamiu.edu/registration. 

More on the University’s story is available at tamiu.edu and on the University’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. 


Group receiving Awards.
Recipients of this year's Senator Judith Zaffirini Teachers' College Student Loan Debt Grant Program awards are front, left to right:Sergio Mora accepting for Francisco Maldonado (Laredo Independent School District), Veronica Contreras (United Independent School District), Dr. Marissa Guerrero-Longoria (Laredo College) and Dr. Martha Salinas (Texas A&M International University). Back row, left to right: Dr. Tom Mitchell, TAMIU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU President; State Senator Judith Zaffirini; Dr. Minita Ramirez, President, LC, and  Judge Victor Villarreal, County Court-at-Law II.