Dallas College News Update


Media Contact: Cherie Yurco; CMYurco@DallasCollege.edu

For immediate release — Aug. 22, 2023

(DALLAS) — The latest Dallas College students to earn the Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement (ETK) Foundation scholarships are Ingrid Mirella Silva de Lima, Arianna Villarreal and Aislyn Elizabeth Smith. The scholarships were awarded based on their academic achievement and demonstrated courage and perseverance in the face of adversity. The recipients not only receive funds for tuition and books for six consecutive semesters but have access to various leadership and professional development programs, mental health counseling as well as social and cultural events. They receive support from an ETK Foundation board mentor.

Distributed by Dallas College Foundation, the ETK scholarship honors the life of Erin Tierney Kramp, a private equity professional, who fought a courageous battle against breast cancer only to succumb to the disease in 1998. Kramp left a series of intimate videos for her own daughter, and her story of courage was covered widely on national media.

Scholarship recipients are also eligible to apply for ETK Emergency Grant funds of up to $2,500. If they meet certain criteria, they may continue their education by applying for ETK transfer scholarships to attend Southern Methodist University (SMU) or Austin College.

“For the past 24 years, the ETK Foundation has consistently selected outstanding individuals deserving of this prestigious scholarship. The family of current and former ETK recipients share a common bond in that they have all demonstrated tremendous courage and steadfast perseverance in the face of some unimaginable adversities. Our board is humbled by their stories and inspired by their tenacity and achievements,” said Michael Brown, president/founder of the ETK Foundation. “Our mission with the scholarship is to provide the additional skills and resources so that they can continue on their path of leading successful, happy and productive lives after graduation.”

Three students awarded 2022 ETK scholarships to attend Dallas College have graduated and will continue their education thanks to ETK transfer scholarships. Lynn Mounce and So My Ho are attending SMU, while Daisy Donjuan is attending Austin College. Jonalda Basha, also a 2022 recipient, is returning for her second year at Dallas College. Read about the 2022 ETK recipients.

The 2023 ETK scholarship recipients are:

Ingrid Mirella Silva de Lima​​

Ingrid Mirella Silva de Lima

In the neighborhood of Brazil where Ingrid Mirella Silva de Lima grew up, most kids don’t finish high school because they need to help support their families. “My parents did the best they could to provide me with a good education, against all odds, so I could have a better future than they did,” she said.

“Getting accepted to college in Brazil is challenging,” said Silva de Lima, who was the first in her family to go to college. While earning a degree in biological sciences from the Federal University of Pernambuco, she volunteered tutoring children with autism while also working for the Atlantic Forest, studying animal behavior for three years.

Following her graduation, Silva de Lima moved alone to the United States to seek better opportunities as well as improve her English. She discovered the “American dream” was not what she thought as she faced the COVID crisis unsure of the culture and without the support of family or friends.

Rather than surrender to these difficulties, she became determined to become a nurse because it would allow her to help other immigrants, especially those without access to proper health care and too afraid to ask for help.

“I realized that I wanted to do something better for immigrants who, just like me, had very little to no access to the U.S. health care system. I want to help other people through my profession,” she said. After completing her associate degree at Dallas College, Silva de Lima plans to transfer to complete her bachelor’s degree and eventually become a cardiac NICU nurse.

“I truly believe that this award will help me to achieve my career and personal goals,” she said.

Arianna Villarreal

Arianna Villarreal​

Arianna Villarreal had a nomadic childhood where she lived in seven different cities and five different countries, moving every three years or so. That alone was challenging, but it pales in comparison to the adversity that struck during high school when she was separated from her family at age 15.

“The news of our impending move to Mexico struck me to the core — the thought of leaving behind the life I had come to love in Dallas,” said Villarreal. After much deliberation, her parents made the difficult decision to allow Villareal to remain with family friends in the United States.

“Without the direct support, guidance and unwavering love that my family provided, I felt as though I was in unchartered territory,” she said. “I had to shoulder responsibility for many aspects of my life, and it left me with no choice but to embrace ownership of my own growth and development.” Villarreal said resilience and discipline became the pillars of her life.

Villarreal was overwhelmed with joy when she found out she had been awarded an ETK scholarship. “It is a true testament to the sacrifices my parents made and the generosity of all the people who helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “Just a few months ago, I couldn't even fathom the possibility of being selected for this scholarship.”

Villarreal’s passions are economics and law. Her goal is to transfer to Georgetown University to major in economics and international studies. “I intend to explore the influence of economic theoretical frameworks on different generations and delve into the economics of immigration,” she said. She plans to pursue a juris doctorate in constitutional law and then hopes to have a career in economics and foreign affairs.

Villareal says her academic and career ambitions are driven by her faith and a deep passion for serving others, creating opportunities for success amidst challenges and embodying authentic leadership that imparts wisdom to future generations.

Aislyn Smith

Aislyn Smith

For many years, Aislyn Smith has suffered from debilitating chronic migraines, making it challenging to participate in school-related activities and build relationships with her peers. Due to family difficulties, she was left to support herself and pay for her education independently, with no federal aid.

Despite these adversities, Smith has achieved several leadership accomplishments. She is an active member of the National Honor Society and participates in volunteer activities that allow her to help those in need. She was president of her local Health Occupations for Students of America chapter and has won medals and awards as a member of the National Speech and Debate Association.

Her dream is to earn a master’s degree in computer science and minor in information science. Eventually, she would like to become a computer programmer, specializing in network security. She hopes to make a difference by working with organizations and companies that focus on making the world better.

When Smith was informed she had won the scholarship, she felt both hopeful and proud. “My hard work and perseverance were paying off, and I could finally begin to see a path forward that would allow me to accomplish my goals,” she said. “It was truly a life-altering moment, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

“With the ETK scholarship, I will be able to attend Dallas College and save money for university costs,” she said. “It will greatly reduce the financial burden and allow me to spend my energy on other aspects of life — bettering myself and my community.”

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About Dallas College

Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965 and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 125,000 credit and continuing education students annually. Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is the largest community college in Texas.

About Dallas College Foundation

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, Dallas College Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 whose mission is to advance economic mobility for students in our community by channeling the power of philanthropy to help Dallas College rise to new heights of innovation, equity and excellence. Since its creation in 1973, the foundation has raised more than $103 million in private donations and distributed more than $65 million in scholarships and grants to support thousands of students at Dallas College.

About the Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement Foundation

The Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement Foundation was founded in 1997 by the Dallas/Fort Worth Private Equity Forum, comprised of more than 50 private equity firms. The forum was created to support and enhance the private equity community in Dallas/Fort Worth and has members throughout the United States. In February 1999, the ETK Encouragement Foundation established a permanent scholarship endowment with the Dallas College Foundation.