Class of 2020 Scholarship Recipients

Carlos Barcenas

Carlos grew up a relatively shy and reserved child. It was not until he entered high school where he found the sport of cross country that he began to flourish in the opportunities that would present themselves in his future.

As the first in his family to attend high school, Carlos experienced a new sense of confidence through participating in sport that was unknown to him before. The change in his mental fortitude and the bonds that were created through a shared goal of the team gave Carlos purpose and made him feel as if he truly belonged. The community he became a part of helped him develop leadership skills and to realize his full potential if he puts in the work accompanied by the right mindset.

A person who now thrives on competition, Carlos prides himself on the ability to overcome barriers. The sport of running has enabled him to develop into an example for his peers, taking on roles such as captain of the cross-country team, president of the DECA club, and most importantly a son who is looked proudly upon by his parents as he will be the first in his family to attend college.

Carlos will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2020 and plans to compete in cross country. He is a finisher of the 2020 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.


Laura Carrasco Torres

Laura faced challenges she would have to work to overcome on her very first day on Earth. It is these challenges that have helped to provide motivation and inspiration for her to cross every finish line.

Born prematurely, Laura’s parents were told she would not be able to do things that most individuals can do. However, she began proving those preconceived notions wrong at the young age of three. She crossed one of many finish lines to come, when she ran her first race – a 100-meter run.

It was from that moment on she knew running would be a major part of her life. She trained tirelessly for her first half-marathon crossing that finish line at just nine years old. She recalls of the experience as, “an indescribable feeling crossing the finish line alongside my mom.” She was so happy and proud of herself that she felt like she could run another half-marathon.

Nothing else gave her the same feeling as crossing a finish line. As soon as she entered high school, she joined cross-country. The feeling of running alongside teammates and improving each season made her feel invincible. Running also taught her a very important life lesson, you must finish strong.

Laura believes running is often a metaphor for our lives. “If you do not do well in one race, there’s always a next one. Some days you could come in last but that just means that you have to train harder than ever before.” Running has shown her that the possibilities are endless and it is up to you how hard you try and the effort you put in. Laura says she runs so she can become a better person each day.

Laura will be attending Southwestern University in the fall of 2020 and plans to compete in both cross county and track. She began running the Aramco Houston Half Marathon at the age of 9 and has run the race six times.


Congratulations 2020 Scholarship Graduate

Abigail Smith


Abigail graduated Summa Cum Laude and Honors with distinction from Baylor University. She completed a B.A. in University Scholars, a degree offered through the Honors College that allowed her to explore various fields where she concentrated in Biochemistry and Philosophy. She fulfilled this degree with her senior thesis project on the chemical synthesis of small molecule vascular disrupting agents and their constructs for their potential use as cancer chemotherapeutics.

As for her future plans, Abigail will be pursuing her M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX starting in the fall where she is excited to have the opportunity to give back and serve her Houston community through medicine.