Cy-Fair ISD 2021 graduate looks forward to adding “Dr.” to her name to create safer surgical procedures for her future patients.
HOUSTON – Aria Richards is working on becoming an orthopedic surgeon. The 18-year-old Cy-Fair ISD graduate wants to devise a minimally invasive procedure that will reduce recovery time for her patients.
“I know my goals are ambitious, but they are achievable if I do the work,” Richards said during an interview on Zoom between her classes at Rice University.
Richards doubled down on her design after an investment in her future by the Greater Houston Frontiers Club.
She is the daughter of a Houston police officer and a human resources manager.
“I call it, I think, the curse of the middle class, because you don’t always qualify for government funding, but you also aren’t in a position where you can pay tuition directly.”
She relies on scholarships like the ones the Frontiers Club gives us to fund her future.
“I was definitely determined to get the scholarship,” Richards said of the prize money being given to some of the most talented high school seniors in Harris County.
The Greater Houston Frontiers Club is the largest chapter in the National Service Organization. Its mission is to “pay it forward,” giving dozens of students each year scholarship money that can cover everything from tuition to transportation.
The application process is difficult.
“We immediately put you in the front job interview,” said club president Donnell Cooper.
Applicants are required to submit an application, essay, transcript, and list of self-paid community service and, if they pass sufficient rounds of the screening process, must be interviewed by members of the Greater Houston Frontiers Club.
The vetting process is critical because the scholarships are seen as investments in Houston’s future.
“The Great Houston Frontiers Club does an amazing job finding students with dreams, desires, and designers,” Richards said. “As members of the community, you will ultimately get a return on your investment by investing in students.”
Richards was among 85 seniors at Harris County High School to receive a scholarship from a nonprofit organization in 2021, a recognition of his own given the number of students who have applied for the scholarship.
Before the pandemic, the Greater Houston Frontier Club was running through about 150 applications each year. In this pandemic, the pool of applications has jumped to about 450 students.
Community donations determine the number of scholarships that can be awarded, which is why the Greater Houston Frontiers Club is aiming for $100,000 in community donations this year.
KHOU 11 is collaborating with the Frontiers Club on a community service project to raise funds.
“I feel very lucky that there are people who can see my dreams,” Richards said. “And even if they don’t know me, I just look after and help support what I believe in and what I’ll do in the future.”