Nov. 9, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Tara Lestarjette
For sophomore Isaias Machuca, a Smith-Hutson scholar at Sam Houston State University, obtaining an education has been a struggle he has fought to overcome.
Machuca, majoring in banking and finance with a minor in accounting, chose to attend SHSU due to its reputation and because of the generous scholarship he was provided.
“The Smith-Hutson scholarship is really important to me,” said Machuca. “Since I want to major in business, the scholarship helped me decide on attending Sam Houston because it was the opportunity I was waiting for, a scholarship in the field I wanted to study.”
The Smith-Hutson Scholarship program "targets students primarily from rural areas in Texas who can demonstrate financial need, possess academic potential and are interested in pursuing one of the 10 majors in the College of Business Administration,” according to Valerie Muehsam, the assistant dean for scholarships and the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program coordinator.
Machuca moved to Goodrich, Texas, when he was 9 years old after living in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the previous seven years. He was lowered to third grade in school because he knew little English.
“School was difficult for me,” said Machuca. “I had to learn English in order to understand my classes. I listened to tapes in the English as a Second Language program. It took me a good year and a half before I felt comfortable speaking the language.”
By sixth grade Machuca’s effort to conquer English began to pay off. His grades improved, and he began to get involved in school.
“My teacher, Lillian Fisher, taught me how to be a leader,” Machuca said.“She spoke about my good grades in front of the class and constantly encouraged me to pursue and attain a career. She is still a source of inspiration and guidance for me.”
Machuca thrived in high school as he challenged himself by setting goals, a habit he carried into college.
“My long-term goals my freshman year in high school were to run in the cross country state meet championships and to receive the cross country most valuable player award,” said Machuca. “Thankfully, I got the MVP award my sophomore, junior and senior year.”
“Like all Smith-Hutson Scholars, Isaias is required to maintain a 2.5 overall GPA to continue to receive his scholarship, but instead of doing only what is expected of him, his goal is to graduate with a 3.5 GPA or higher,” said Muehsam.
Machuca said his brothers, Juan and Angel, influenced him greatly to seek a career as they both earned an associate’s degree from Angelina College.
“They have set a good example for me,” Machuca said. “Ever since I saw my brother Juan graduate as salutatorian, it was a motivation for me.”
Machuca hopes to graduate in May 2013 and work as a general banker or for a firm. As a first-generation college student and the only U.S. citizen in his family, the Smith-Hutson Scholarship made his college career at SHSU possible.
"I really want to be the best I can be at whatever I am doing," Machuca said. "Right now that is being a student."
At SHSU, Machuca helps his fellow classmates by working as a student assistant in the Student Advising and Mentoring Center. He helps at the study skills seminars, teaching students how to improve study habits.
“Isaias has embraced this mentoring opportunity and has excelled at SHSU. His outstanding work ethic has allowed him to build upon his natural talents to surpass expectations,” said Muehsam.
Machuca attributes his success to having a great adviser in Muehsam, "who has helped me tremendously,” Machuca said.
"I have met nice and important people, and I feel that I have been given privileges sometimes just because I am a Smith-Hutson scholar,” he said.
“Isaias is proud to be a Smith-Hutson scholar and is determined to be successful in the hopes of one day giving back to this program,” Muehsam said. “I am proud to know Isaias, not because he is a great student and makes my job a pleasure, but because he is a fine young man who appreciates what others have done for him.”
- END -
This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Director: Bruce Erickson
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.