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San Antonio Student Is Headed to MIT

  • Maria García-García has been attending the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA), an all-girl, STEM-focused school in San Antonio since the 6th grade. Her seven-mile journey from her home to the school involved riding a city bus and then walking another mile. 

    This fall, she will embark on another journey, heading to Boston to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 2020 salutatorian of her class, García-García received a full, four-year scholarship to MIT as part of the QuestBridge National College Match program. She plans to enroll in a dual major of computer science and electrical engineering.

    The QuestBridge initiative is an admissions and scholarship application process that helps outstanding high school seniors who could not otherwise afford it attend the nation’s most selective colleges.

    Out of 14,926 applicants this year, QuestBridge selected 5,842 as finalists for the scholarship. Among these finalists, 1,127 students, including García-García, were selected as this year’s Match Scholarship Recipients.   Maria García-García

    The scholarship, worth more than $200,000, will cover not only her tuition, but also room and board, books and supplies, travel expenses, and other fees.

    “I was blown away when I found out,” García-García said in a story that appeared on the San Antonio Independent School District website. “I was in shock! I ran out of the room and ran to all of my teachers to tell them.”

    She said she likes MIT because they are ranked no. 1 in the nation for the two programs she is interested in, and also because the institution has a strong community.

    ”People are there to help each other learn and collaborate and engage with each other so we can make the world a better place,” said García-García.

    At YWLA, which provides students with a college preparatory curriculum, she was able to explore her love of math, computer science and engineering. She also was a member of the robotics club, played sports and participated in dance. 

    Regina Arzmendi was García-García’s sixth-grade science teacher and then became her principal. She recalls that García-García was a student who inspired not only her peers, but also school administrators. 

    "She's an overcomer. She just truly knows what she wants in life," Arzmendi said in an interview with television station KENS5. "She's not going to let anything get in her way."


    The oldest of three children, García-García will be the first in her family to attend college and hopes to return to San Antonio after graduation and give back to her community.

    One of her favorite quotes is from Michael Jordan: "If you ever come across a wall, don't stop. Figure out a way to go over it, under it or around it."