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St. Mary's Graduate to Study Criminal Justice at BVU

May 28, 2020 5:12pm

Francisco Gonzalez-Vazquez has always wanted to be a police officer. His uncle, an inspiration, serves as a firefighter.

“I like helping others,” Gonzalez-Vazquez says. “It’s a strength of mine.”

Gonzalez-Vazquez can build upon that strength over the next four years while studying criminal justice at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, his hometown.

“I really like BVU’s new Center for Criminal Justice Studies,” he says. “I’m going to like working on the simulator there.”

The St. Mary’s High School senior learned that BVU could become his reality a couple of weeks ago when Director of Admissions Conner Ellinghuysen reached out via Zoom to inform Gonzalez-Vazquez he had qualified as one of the 15 freshmen to earn the University’s new Invest in Rural Iowa Scholarship, an initiative established through a $1 million gift from an anonymous BVU benefactor. The aim of the effort is to encourage and help make feasible the college education of 15 freshmen per year for the next four years. The renewable scholarship offers $5,000 per year to each recipient who indicates a desire to make a difference in their community or region following their collegiate experience.

“My dream is to one day become an FBI agent,” says Gonzalez-Vazquez, who played basketball and baseball at St. Mary’s High School. When not studying, Gonzalez-Vazquez worked at Bomgaars. Earlier this year, he landed a job at Tyson in the poultry division.

“I was speechless when I learned about getting this scholarship,” he says. “My parents are both proud of me and they have told me to take this opportunity.”

Gonzalez-Vazquez has gotten a good feeling about BVU with each campus visit. “It’s close to home for me and it’s not too big,” he says. “I like how it feels when I’m on campus. I have friends who attend BVU. I think it’ll be cool to go there.”