Jerry S. Rawls College of Business student Luis Reyna is among 34 veterans nationwide to win a 2018 veterans scholarship from the Harold & Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Based in Florida, the foundation awards scholarships annually to U.S. veterans who were wounded in combat or deployed to combat zones. The foundation also awards scholarships each year to candidates pursuing a degree in marketing.
Founder and President Harold Berkman, himself a highly decorated U.S. Army World War II combat veteran, said his foundation wants to help Reyna and other veterans because of the limited funds many of them have.
"I know what it feels like for these guys and women. They often don't have enough
money for food, gasoline and rent," Berkman said Wednesday. "It's very distressing,
and I can tell you that tears come to my eyes when I read some of these application
letters. We're very grateful to be in a position to help these people."
The foundation experienced an overwhelming number of applicants this year to both scholarship types. From a total of 800 applications received, 70 individuals were selected, said Berkman, a retired vice dean and professor of management and marketing at the University of Miami who founded the Academy of Marketing Science and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
Reyna, an honorably discharged U.S. Air Force veteran from Houston, was deployed more than once to the Middle East – for Operation Enduring Freedom and for Operation Inherent Resolve. He also is a training squadron commander for the Texas Tech University 820th Air Force ROTC Cadet Training Wing; a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society; and a recipient of Texas Tech's Steve Morin Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Lang Childrens Memorial Scholarship, and Presidential Transfer Scholarship.
Reyna expressed gratitude for the scholarship from Berkman's foundation and the associated recognition: "It's very humbling. When compared with combat veterans and wounded warriors, the fact that the foundation chose me is a real honor."
Reyna first learned about the scholarship opportunity from Rawls College marketing and supply chain management instructor Jill Davis. Aware of Reyna's veteran status, she sent him information about the scholarship and encouraged him to apply.
The foundation chose recipients based on specific criteria, including each applicant's personal statement, military record, accomplishments, academic standing and financial need. Each scholarship is in the amount of $1,000, and the foundation places no restrictions on how veterans may use the money.
Reyna intends to use his award to pay for books and supplies for the upcoming spring
semester. Then, after graduating this upcoming May with a Bachelor of Business Administration
degree in supply chain management, he plans to rejoin the military as a commissioned
acquisitions officer for weapons systems.
Recognizing the career transition challenges that military members face upon leaving active-duty status and returning to civilian life, Reyna looks forward to advocating for greater educational opportunities for members of the military.
"When I jump back into the military, I want to help break down the barriers for enlisted members to pursue education," he said. "I would love to talk to supervisors and see if we can give the airmen free time inside and outside of work to pursue education. Not only would you be increasing morale in your unit, but you would be setting them up for success when they leave the military."
For more information about the Harold & Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation and details on applying for one of its scholarships for students or research grants for faculty members, visit www.berkmanfoundation.org.