University of Houston-Victoria graduate student Kristen Lindley is the recipient of a $25,000 2011-12 Rotary Foundation Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarship that she hopes to use to study abroad in Hong Kong and learn how to run environmentally friendly businesses.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to travel someplace completely different and spend the school year increasing awareness of and respect for our cultural differences. I’m thrilled that I was selected,” said Lindley, who completed a year-long term in May as the student regent on the University of Houston System Board of Regents.
Lindley was encouraged to apply for the scholarship through the Sunrise Rotary Club in Victoria, where Wayne Beran, UHV vice president for administration and finance, serves as the president-elect, and James Martinez, Victoria College Police Academy director, is the president.
After completing an application, two essays and listing her past accomplishments, Lindley and five other students interviewed June 5 in Corpus Christi with a committee representing Rotary International South Texas District 5930, which is made up of 56 clubs.
A couple of weeks later, Lindley found out she was selected to receive the scholarship to study abroad during the 2011-12 school year.
“Competition was stiff, and we are so happy for Kristen,” Beran said. “This is basically a goodwill scholarship where we send our best and brightest to foreign countries and vice versa. I can’t think of anyone better to represent South Texas than Kristen.”
Martinez agreed that Lindley was a great choice.
“If you had to look for someone who is the future face of Rotary International, it would be her,” he said.
Rotary International will select which university Lindley attends during the 2011-12 school year, but she has requested the University of Hong Kong in Pokfulam, Hong Kong. While there, she would like to complete the university’s executive diploma in green management and possibly take some graduate-level accounting and business classes.
“I wanted to go somewhere that was totally different than what I typically experience on a daily basis,” Lindley said.
Lindley also will complete a community service project while in her host country, give presentations and attend Rotary meetings.
The 2009 UHV alumna graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration. As an undergraduate, she spent two years pitching for the UHV Jaguars softball team and was co-captain her junior and senior years. She also was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American Team her senior year and served as president of the UHV Student Senate.
After spending last summer interning at Grant Thornton, an international accounting firm in Houston, she returned to UHV in the fall of 2009 to begin working on her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting.
She was hired as the special assistant to the UHV vice president for administration and finance and was appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a one-year term as the student regent on the UHS Board of Regents. The board is the governing body that oversees the UH System made up of UHV, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown, UHS at Sugar Land, UHS at Cinco Ranch and the main campus in Houston.
“I learned so much from being a student regent,” she said. “It challenged me, and now I’m ready for even more new experiences.”
Lindley, who originally is from Spring, Texas, will spend this summer taking the different sections of the Certified Public Accountant exam and joining a five-week study abroad program in London to study international business.
When she returns in the fall, she plans on continuing classes toward her MBA and planning her fall 2011 trip overseas.
“Two of my biggest passions are learning and serving, so the opportunity to do both of these things in a foreign country was just something I couldn’t pass up,” she said.