Hannah Lang '18 October 20, 2020 10:03 AM updated: October 20, 2020 10:41 AM
This article originally appeared October 16, 2020, on Texas A&M Today.
Texas A&M University cadet Jazzlyn Gonzalez ’21 is the 2020 recipient of the Hispanic Network Boot Scholarship from the Texas A&M Hispanic Network (TAMHN).
The annual gift provides senior boots to cadets of Hispanic heritage who have excelled academically, served in leadership roles and are actively involved on campus.
“Every time I shine or put on my boots, I’m reminded of the work that has led up to earning my boots and how it was recognized by the Hispanic Network,” Gonzalez said. “That recognition fills me with pride knowing that it came from a part of my heritage, culture and background.”
In the Corps of Cadets, seniors earn the privilege of wearing distinctive knee-high leather boots, referred to as “senior boots.” In 1914 when the Corps of Cadets changed uniforms from the West Point uniform, the seniors wanted a way to differentiate themselves from the other classes. As a result, they began to wear distinctive military officer riding boots. By 1925, the boots became a part of the official cadet uniform.
Gonzalez is from Cypress, Texas and is a biomedical sciences major, minoring in public health. She was originally a member of Squadron 5, and has quickly become a leader in the Corps, her superiors said. She now serves as the career readiness officer for the Corps of Cadets, and is the executive officer of the Cultural and Diversity Expansion Team (C.A.D.E.T.) in the Corps.
Gonzalez said she enjoys volunteering with her church, singing and playing piano. Following her graduation from A&M, she hopes to obtain a master’s degree or attend medical school and become a family physician. She said she discovered the scholarship opportunity through her aunt, Margarita Arevalo, who is involved with the TAMHN.
TAMHN is a chartered constituent network of The Association of Former Students, serving as an advocate and support group for Hispanic students across campus and throughout the local community. Formally chartered by The Association in November 2006, the group began by addressing ways the university and former students could achieve the Vision 2020 goal of increasing diversity on campus. The TAMHN strives to increase the number of Hispanic students attending Texas A&M, while also enhancing their experiences at Texas A&M. The TAMHN provides resources such as scholarships and mentorship opportunities to support these students during their academic pursuits at Texas A&M.
Gonzalez said receiving the Boot Scholarship was special because her boots are a visible symbol of her hard work and dedication as a student and a cadet.
“As a student, you work so hard and wonder if it’ll really be recognized. Then you get that one recognition that makes it all worth it,” she said. “College is so expensive and all you want to do is be able to help your family in any way. Earning the boot scholarship was something that I was able to contribute toward my education. I think it’s important that these networks continue to inspire students to apply for opportunities that not only recognize their efforts but also their cultural backgrounds.”
Gonzalez said she encourages other students to take advantage of the opportunities that organizations like the TAMHN provide. “You only get one chance, with no re-dos, so search for these opportunities,” she said.
The Association of Former Students has a bold vision to engage 100,000 donors annually for Texas A&M by the end of 2020. To learn more, visit tx.ag/100Kby2020. To help us help more Aggies and offer more support for Constituent Networks, make a gift at tx.ag/Give.