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There are tens of thousands of students who benefit from giving to UTSA each year. Abi Muteanu is just one story.
Abigail Munteaunu is a Senior Biochemistry major in the College of Sciences
When her sister, Charissa, was graduating from high school, Abi was introduced to the concept of scholarships that would help pay for college. She was only in middle school at the time.
“We came from an economically disadvantaged family, so college always felt so far away,” said the senior biochemistry major. “But the thought that, if I worked hard, there will be someone to support me was instrumental in motivating me to do everything I could to push forward with my life.”
At William Howard Taft High School in San Antonio, she said she devoted herself to her grades and to club activities, “because I knew that if I did, if I worked really hard, I could have someone support me and I could actually accomplish my dreams.”
With that same laser focus, Abi enrolled at UTSA in the fall of 2018 with a plan. “I really thought about the cost a lot, to be very honest,” she recalled. “I already knew that I wanted to go to a graduate school, and I knew that UTSA was an amazing steppingstone for me to be able to do that. I wanted to stay at home close to my parents, but I also wanted to go to a big school, and one that I could afford.”
Her dedication paid off when she was awarded two four-year scholarships, a Distinguished Presidential Scholarship from the university and a San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. scholarship. That support allowed her to take the next step in her plan – to qualify for the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), a special opportunity created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education.
“You spend your first year prepping for your JAMP application,” Abi explained. “You need a lot of club activities, shadowing – you take a lot of requirements just to be eligible when you apply. So my freshman year, I joined a ton of clubs. I was very involved. I did a lot of volunteering. I even got a wonderful shadowing position at an emergency hospital.”
That was her life until her plan was somewhat derailed, she noted, describing her experience at UTSA as “pre-COVID” and “after COVID hit.”
“Before COVID, there were a lot of activities. I had teachers connecting me with wonderful interviews. The more I progressed through my academic career, the more opportunities I was getting,” she said. “After COVID, everything kind of shut down, and I actually lost a lot.”
That called for a change in plans. “I decided that I would rather focus on getting to medical school and studying for my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and that’s been my focus this year.”
Despite the twists and turns in her path, Abi hasn’t strayed from her goal, thanks to the support from her scholarships. “Having these donors is the reason I can keep motivating myself to work hard,” she said. “They are investing in me, and I understand this is a wonderful opportunity I’ve been given.”