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Ryder Billo and Manojna Kintada

Ryder Billo and Manojna Kintada

Running for a purpose: How Diploma Dash is changing lives


Every year nearly 2,000 runners, walkers, dogs and observers trek to The University of Texas at San Antonio to participate in the university's Diploma Dash, an Official San Antonio City Championship 5K Race.

Proceeds from the race benefit the UTSA Alumni Association and their scholarship program. Awarded to over 60 students annually, Alumni Association scholarships are helping students like Ryder Billo and Manojna Kintada pursue their degrees at UTSA. Billo, a marketing major, and Kintada, a biology major and Ms. UTSA 2015, know first-hand just how much scholarships help college students. Both are the recipients of a $5,000 scholarship made possible, in part, by Diploma Dash runners.

"Scholarships are everything," said Billo. "For many of us, if you don't get that scholarship then you don't get to go to school, or you don't get to study abroad. When people donate, they're donating more than just money, they're creating memories and experiences."

Thanks in part to the scholarship Billo, a native of Goliad, Texas, traveled last summer in Strasbourg, France, where he studied the history of Europe.

For Kintada, this Spring Break she will travel to Los Angeles to participate in Learning Enrichment in Clinical Anatomy, a week-long program for students committed to a career in health care. "The scholarship opened up a lot of opportunities," said Kintada, who aspires to be a radiologist. "If I didn't have the scholarship, I wouldn't be able to participate in the clinical program or take on a medical internship."

While both students are pursuing different degrees, both can agree that if it weren't for the Alumni Association scholarship their opportunities would have been limited. The scholarships have made a difference for these bright students who will no doubt change the world through their chosen careers. Knowing first-hand the impact of what the alumni scholarship has had in their lives, Billo and Kintada will also be participating in the 2017 Diploma Dash.

"Many people might not know this, but when you participate in Diploma Dash, you are actually helping to change lives," said Jana Kennelly, Executive Director of the Alumni Association. "A large portion of all the money raised from the event goes directly to the Alumni Association scholarships, helping a new generation of Roadrunners here on campus."

Open to runners, walkers, families, and pet owners, registration for the event is $15 for current UTSA students, $35 for adults, $25 for UTSA Alumni Association members and $15 for children under 18. Medals will be awarded for the top three finishers in each age category. Early registration ends on February 22, at noon.

At the event there will be appearances by Rowdy and the Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band. There will also be food, drinks and entertainment after the race.

- Yvonne Zamora Byrd

To register or get more information about Diploma Dash click here