Six high school students enrolled in Temple College’s Texas Biosciences Institute (TBI) Middle College Program were named 2022 College Board National Recognition Award recipients.
Award winners are Alexa Denman (Thorndale High School), Kristina Kempner (Thrall High School), Kevin Liu (Rockdale High School), Jimena Rodriguez-Gamez (Rockdale High School), Isabella Rentas (Hutto High School) and Caleb Snider (Temple High School).
College Board is a not-for-profit organization with a stated mission to expand access to higher education and connect students to college success and opportunity. The organization’s four recognition programs – National African American Recognition Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Indigenous Recognition Program, and National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Program—award academic honors to underrepresented students.
Among the qualifications to be considered for the award, students must be sophomores or juniors in high school, have a 3.5 GPA or higher when they apply, must take the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams, and they must be African American, Hispanic, Indigenous or attend high school in a rural area or small town.
“We were delighted to learn that the College Board named six of our dual credit TBI students National Recognition Award winners,” said Rosa Berreles-Acosta, Temple College’s Executive Director of Dual Credit and High School Partnerships. “We are incredibly proud of the achievements and contributions made by Alexa, Kristina, Kevin, Jimena, Isabella and Caleb. These students are hard-working and dedicated to their academics. I have seen them work hard every day to achieve success, and we are so pleased to see them accomplish great things.”
The Temple College TBI program is offered in two locations, Temple and Hutto. The program offers highly motivated high school students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in a STEM–focused (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) foundational curriculum. Many program participants earn an associate degree from Temple College before they graduate from high school.
Alexa Denman – National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award
Alexa Denman is a student at Thorndale High School and attends TBI-Hutto. She plans to attend Baylor Medical School to become a surgeon.
Kristina Kempner – National Indigenous Recognition Award and National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award
Kristina “Nina” Kempner is a student at Thrall High School and attends TBI-Hutto.
“I received the Indigenous Recognition Award for being Choctaw Indian and the Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award from College Board,” Kempner said. “I will continue my education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business management and then attend law school. I hope to become a business owner, working with rental properties alone and in a property management business my family created.”
Kevin Liu - National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award
Kevin Liu is a student at Rockdale High School and attends TBI-Hutto.
“I received the College Board National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award for my SAT score,” he said. “I want to pursue a dentistry degree path. As for colleges, my list is still wide open, but I hope to narrow it down soon. I enjoy spending my time powerlifting and expanding my math knowledge.”
Jimena Rodriguez-Gamez – National Hispanic Recognition Award
Jimena Rodriguez-Gamez is a student at Rockdale High School and attends TBI-Hutto.
“The Temple College Texas Bioscience Institute Program has made me a first-generation college student in high school. I received the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Award for my PSAT score and a five on the Spanish language and culture AP test,” she said. “I plan on attending Texas State University to major in public health and become a public health researcher to advocate healthcare disparities among underrepresented groups. I enjoy playing the alto saxophone and watching ‘Storage Wars’ with my twin.”
Isabella Rentas – National Hispanic Recognition Award and the National Rural and Small-Town Recognition Award
Isabella Rentas is a student at Hutto High School and attends TBI-Hutto.
“My goal is to graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in ecology and conservation biology,” Rentas said. “I plan to work as an environmental consultant or field scientist.”
Caleb Snider – National Hispanic Recognition Award
Caleb Snider is a student at Temple High School and attends TBI-Temple.
“I plan to attend Texas A&M University. I hope to graduate with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and secure a job at one of the major aerospace corporations,” Snider said. “I enjoy working as a team to complete tasks, and I like seeing how everything comes together. Machines (the parts that make them up and how they work) have always fascinated me. I have always enjoyed math and science, playing different instruments, and boxing in my free time.”
ABOUT TEMPLE COLLEGE
Temple College is a dynamic and growing community college that equips thousands of students throughout Central Texas and beyond with the knowledge and skills for 21st-century success. Temple College offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs to students who seek to earn credits for transfer, graduate with an associate degree, or complete a certificate for fast entry into the workforce.
Founded in 1926, Temple College has enjoyed an excellent academic reputation for more than 96 years. It is nationally recognized for excellence in its programs, from visual and performing arts to competitive athletics. The College has become one of the state’s premiere institutions for healthcare providers’ education and training, advanced manufacturing, and workforce development programs. The faculty and staff are committed to providing exceptional quality instruction.