To help two aspiring first-generation college students gain valuable work experience, Austin FC and founding partner Netspend teamed up to provide two paid fellowships at the Club as well as scholarship funding.
Austin FC hired Victoria Hernandez and Rachelle Cardoza as fellows, who each also received a $7,500 scholarship and mentoring from Netspend throughout their time as fellows as part of Netspend’s commitment to funding better futures through education.
"At Netspend, we believe that education and professional development empowers individuals to grow their skills and pursue their dreams," said Netspend President, Kelley C. Knutson. "We were honored to partner with Austin FC and St. Edward’s University to support these two very deserving fellows as they continue to work towards achieving their academic and professional goals while making a positive impact in our community."
Hernandez is a 21-year-old entrepreneurship and marketing major at St. Edward’s University. Set to graduate in 2023, the Brownsville, Texas native is a Johnson-Turpin Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Scholar.
“The best part of the program has been working with the community,” said Hernandez. “I have been able to volunteer and plant trees, help the community through [Austin FC goalkeeper] Brad Stuver’s collaboration with The Laundry Project, work on an altar to celebrate Día de los Muertos, and the list goes on. Being able to celebrate and work with the community has been amazing and Austin FC is the best way to bring together a community of people regardless of their background.”
Cardoza, 23, is from Weslaco, Texas and studies kinesiology with an emphasis on pre-physical therapy. Like Hernandez, she is a Johnson-Turpin Scholar, McNair Scholar, and CAMP Scholar, as well as an honor student.
“Each project and task was a learning experience and became an opportunity to grow,” said Cardoza. “The skills I developed such as timeliness, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills will be useful in both my academic and professional journey.”
Both Hernandez and Cardoza worked directly with Austin FC’s community impact initiatives throughout their fellowships.