Border fence settlement leads to scholarships to the University of Texas at Brownsville

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 8:14am

A border fence leads to future funding, by way of scholarships, for nursing students, in a round about way. Na'Tassia Finley explains how one woman is giving back part of her settlement with the federal government to the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez, UTB Assoc. Professor, "You can take my land, you can build a wall across it, but you're not going to take my voice."

The land she's speaking about is a remnant of the San Pedro Carracitos Land Grant and it's been in her family since 1767, but in 2007 the federal government wanted to build an 18 foot iron border fence right through her property.

This UTB nursing professor wasn't giving up without a fight though, a lengthily courtroom battle ended with her winning a settlement, but compensation only played a small part in her fight.

Na'Tassia Finley, "The Tamez's family property sits on a quaint three acres, but the family says the acreage holds a lot of sentimental value."

Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez, "I had a long time to think about it and because I have in my memory the hard work that my father and grandfather and even my mother, in order to make the land be fruitful and give and helped us carve a life for us, I decided I wanted to do was to have them remembered always."

So a portion of her settlement will go towards establishing the Jose Cavazos Garcia and Lydia Esparza Garcia Scholarship Endowment in honor of her late parents, "Given their love and advocacy for education and how they educated my sister and me to the level that we're in, I want that to continue. I want that legacy to continue."

The scholarship fund will provide scholarships for students in the masters of science and nursing program at UTB. Dr. Tamez, who has worked in the field for 27 years holding a masters and doctoral degree in nursing, before entering academia, says the Valley needs more nurses with higher level education.

Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez, "With a higher level of degree beyond the level of a bachelors of science degree so they do gain some leadership skills, some other skills sets to help be a decision maker in how patient care is provided for patients in South Texas."

Right now, Dr. Tamez and the university are working to determine the scholarship values. She adds any UTB nursing student looking to pursue their graduate degree may apply for the scholarship.

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