The Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin (PBKAAGA) has always been committed to the encouragement and promotion of academic excellence in our community, and this year is no different.  Since 1999, the Association has awarded scholarships to graduating high school seniors who demonstrate academic excellence. A few years ago the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin began to focus on applicants who are the first generation in their family to attend college and, more specifically, through its partnership with Breakthrough Central Texas, make these selections from among high school seniors in our program. Breakthrough is incredibly grateful for this partnership that will further ensure recipients have the funds they need to transition into college this fall.

Along with the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin, we are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarships.  Seven Breakthrough high school seniors have been awarded scholarships that will go directly to the college of their choice.


Addision McKenna

Alexia Sanchez

Anthony Ortiz

Cindy Ruiz

Kelly Carbajal-Jaimes

Rosie Ramirez Castelan

Samuel Bautista Zamora

Read more about the Scholars below:



Addison McKenna (LASA)

Addison McKenna is a graduate of LASA High School. In their time at the school, they were the student representative on several AISD district committees, advocating for the betterment of the community around them. They have participated in anti-bullying projects such as the World Anti-Bullying Forum and webinars through Facing History and Ourselves. Throughout high school, they developed a passion for activism, civil rights, and advocacy. They plan to study Political Science in college and hopes to become an attorney specializing in special education law. Addison spends their free time studying to be an American Sign Language interpreter at Austin Community College and dancing in a local ballet folklorico troop.

Alexia Sanchez (Del Valle Early College High School)

Alexis Sanchez is a Del Valle Early College high school student set to graduate with an Associate’s degree along with a high school diploma, while maintaining the Valedictorian position of her class. Moving into postsecondary education, she hopes to major in computer science with a minor in neuroscience and apply her computer science skills in the forensics field.

Anthony Ortiz (Del Valle Early College High School)

Anthony Ortiz, an aspiring mechanical engineer, has connected with his community through community service and has initiated two different organizations: robotics and esports. He dreams of expanding the world’s technological advancements, as he says, “Technology can achieve anything if there is enough interest. We just need more people willing to do the work.”

Cindy Ruiz (KIPP Austin Collegiate)

Cindy Ruiz is a senior at KIPP Austin Collegiate and plans  to major in finance. She recalls one of her greatest accomplishments throughout high school years to have been maintaining a high rank, being in the top 10% of her class. Having been a self-declared competitive student in high school, she has always envisioned herself managing a business of her own. While in college, she plans to join clubs that will help her utilize her knowledge of finance to best serve her community, whether through mentoring others or even doing volunteer work for those seeking financial need and advice. This past summer, Cindy had the opportunity to dive into creating business portfolios and financial strategies, realizing the significant impact of large-scale economic decisions on marginalized communities, which fueled the urge to help her community.

Kelly Carbajal-Jaimes (Del Valle Early College High School)

Kelly is a senior at Del Valle Early College High School. Always keeping school as her number one priority, she has always worked hard to ensure that she was in good academic standing, maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout all of high school. Throughout high school, Kelly has been active in dance, receiving 1st division solos and duets throughout her dance career, winning multiple awards and event placing first place at AmeriCan Dance Contest and Ascension. 

Rosie Ramirez Castelan (LASA)

Rosie is a senior at the Liberal Arts & Science Academy. Driven by a passion to study Architecture in college, Rosie aspires to design buildings and homes. She is committed to designing beautiful sustainable homes for families in low-income communities to live comfortably in.

Samuel Bautista Zamora (Manor Early College High School)

Samuel is a soon-to-be graduate from Manor early College High School, en route to graduate with my associates degree and a certificate in app development. He has been a part of many STEM programs, all in effort to one day develop prosthesis for the disabled. To continue his studies, Samuel will be attending UT Austin’s computer science major program beginning this fall.