Brenau University President Anne Skleder, left, shakes hands with Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta Javier Diáz de León. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau signs grant to make scholarship funds available for Mexican students

Jul 26, 2021
Kathryne Davis

Brenau University signed a grant agreement with the Government of Mexico on Thursday, July 22, that will help students of Mexican origin offset tuition costs.

This marks the third consecutive year Brenau has received the grant funded via the Institute for Mexicans Abroad scholarship program, or IME Becas. The program was created to support Mexican students from low-income households who live in the United States and are completing basic or higher education or pursuing technological careers. For students to qualify, they or their parents must have been born in Mexico.

Brenau received $6,000 from the institute and is matching the grant, creating a total fund of $12,000 to offset tuition costs for six students over the coming academic year.

Three previous IME Becas scholarship recipients were on hand for the signing and shared how the scholarship has helped them pursue their goals while at Brenau.

Sheila Vasquez, a senior nursing major from Talmo, Georgia, said the scholarship has put her one step closer to her dream of becoming a nurse. Vasquez, whose parents are from Mexico, said she often had to translate for her family when she was a child and for Spanish-speaking patients when she later worked as a medical assistant.

“I wanted to learn more medical terminology and how the body works,” Vasquez said. “When I was translating, even with my parents, I didn’t know what I was translating sometimes. With this scholarship, it means that someone out there understands the Latino community and wants to help me with becoming a nurse so that I can help my community.”

Karina Gonzalez, sophomore pre-nursing major from Gillsville, Georgia, said she is glad to see more programs like IME Becas assisting students like herself, especially those pursuing careers in health care.

“When I was growing up and had to go to clinics, I never saw any Hispanic nurses,” Gonzalez said. “That’s changing now, and I want to be part of that growth.”

IME Becas recipient Yelixa Garcia is also planning on working in the health field. The senior psychology major from Oakwood, Georgia, said she plans to continue her education after finishing her undergraduate degree.

“I want to work with lower-income families and be able to provide mental health services, especially in the Hispanic community,” Garcia said. “I feel like there are a lot of things that contribute to why Hispanics don’t receive mental health services, and I want to be able to change that.”

Rosi Ponce, executive director of international strategy and partnerships, signed the agreement on behalf of Brenau during the ceremony on the university’s Gainesville campus.

“We are proud of this long-standing relationship and honored that the day has come to formalize it,” Ponce said. “True to our mission, we welcome continuing to contribute to the efforts led by the Mexican government to create opportunities for students of Mexican descent as they pursue their dreams of attaining post-secondary education. This partnership allows for us to become a more diverse campus, and therefore a stronger institution.”

Brenau President Anne Skleder said the university is grateful for the grant and the Government of Mexico’s support of students.

“At Brenau, we are committed to providing opportunities for students to further their education,” Skleder said. “This collaborative grant will pay dividends for our students in helping them achieve their goals. As we saw with the students in attendance, the grant has already helped in the health field and will only improve our community in the future. We are proud to have received this grant.”

In addition to the scholarship, Brenau provides support for Mexican students through a Hispanic peer mentoring program. Guidance from multilingual staff in admissions, financial aid and student services is also available to help students succeed at Brenau.

Read more about Brenau’s international education initiatives and the people behind those programs at