Lone Star College-Montgomery student Israel Gutierrez had just finished kindergarten when he begged his mother to buy him a multiplication book. He has a passion for math and now the largest private source of scholarships in the state of Texas has decided he has a passion for following his educational dreams. The Terry Foundation has awarded Gutierrez the Terry Transfer Scholarship.
This award is given to non-traditional students who are transferring from a Texas community college or university and are working toward their first baccalaureate degree. It covers approximately 65 percent of the scholar's cost of attendance.
In high school, Gutierrez would have preferred focusing on studies, but financial constraints had him working approximately 20 hours a week starting his sophomore year. During his senior year, he even worked as a janitor in his own school.
“I was accepted by several state universities,” said Gutierrez. “However, a lack of finances kept me from pursuing these opportunities. I knew LSC-Montgomery was a strong school with small class sizes, plus it was affordable and close to home so I attended there.”
Gutierrez worked hard and studied harder. He received two associates degrees from LSC-Montgomery. All the while he worked at least 30 hours a week. During the summer of 2016 he took 13 credit hours while working 32 hours per week and still ended up getting straight A's. This summer there were times he was working 60-70 hours a week, again as a janitor for Conroe ISD and as an LSC Police Department Parking Inspector.
He took a lot of mathematics classes at LSC-Montgomery.
“I truly enjoy math, all my academic role models I have looked up to were always math teachers,” said Gutierrez. “The professors at LSC-Montgomery were very helpful. Many worked with me outside of class if I was struggling.”
“Israel is so many things: tenacious, intelligent, funny, and friendly,” said LSC-Montgomery math professor David Benzel. “But the trait I most admire is his strong work ethic. He is one of the hardest working students I know.”
“I work with amazing students at LSC-Montgomery, but Israel is part of the ‘hall of fame’ in my mind,” said Dr. Juan Lebron, LSC-Montgomery faculty counselor. “He has a fire about him. From the moment I met him I was blown away by his intense desire to transform his life and become a professional engineer.”
Gutierrez will attend the University of Houston, this fall studying engineering and mathematics. He wants to start his career working as an engineer and plans to teach math when he retires.
“During my free time at LSC-Montgomery I also tutored in mathematics and chemistry,” said Gutierrez “I enjoy helping students, it makes me feel like I am making a positive difference. It fits nicely with one of my life goals: to motivate and lead by example. If you set a goal, stay committed, and motivated you can achieve it. I cannot believe I am a Terry Scholar. That award is a dream come true. I will get a bachelor’s degree debt free. Coming from a family that was low income and working class I never imaged saying those words. Neither my mother nor my father had the opportunity to receive a diploma in their home country. Thanks to this LSC-Montgomery and this scholarship, I will have a new life waiting for me, one that I did not expect and I am very grateful for it.”
The Terry Foundation’s mission is to improve and develop the state of Texas by awarding scholarships to Texas students to attend the state’s finest public universities. The Foundation hopes that these students will have a significant impact on the future leadership of the state and nation
Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 95,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.