Idararosa Ekong wants to help her community by serving some of the most vulnerable among us—children. As a pre-med student double-majoring in biology and public health, she’s well on her way.
“My biggest aspiration is to become a pediatrician, and I can’t see myself doing anything else,” she says. “UTA gives me the ability to network with medical programs and opens doors for me to continue my passion for earning a quality education.”
Ekong, who was salutatorian of her graduating class, is only 18 years old—but she’s set to graduate in just a few years. That fast-track to success is thanks to her participation in the Lion Scholars program, the result of a strategic partnership between UTA and the Arlington Independent School District (AISD).
The Lion Scholars program allows students at Arlington Collegiate High School who are within six hours of completing their associate’s degree through Tarrant County College to begin taking classes toward a bachelor’s degree at UTA. AISD pays for the students’ UTA tuition at dual credit rates, along with textbooks and other required fees, until the students earn their high school diplomas. Once those students graduate high school, the University will review their status to determine eligibility for scholarships that could offer up to $10,000 in tuition assistance.
“UTA and AISD are breaking down barriers to a four-year university degree,” says state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington. “We need to see more partnerships like this, where highly ranked and nationally respected public institutions find innovative ways to make college degrees at the highest level of quality more accessible and more affordable.”