Three Irving ISD seniors are among the 1,755 scholars nationwide to receive a 2022 QuestBridge National College Match to some of the nation’s top universities. 

Matched students receive early admission and a full-ride scholarship to one of 48 QuestBridge college partners. The generous financial aid package covers the full cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses.

Read about each of Irving ISD’s three QuestBridge Scholars below:


Stephannie Gallardo – Matched to Emory University 

MacArthur High School senior Stephannie Gallardo is headed to Emory University on a full-ride scholarship next fall, thanks to QuestBridge.

“I am beyond excited,” she says.

She plans to major in biology with hopes of attending dental school and opening her own dental clinic one day. 

“But it’s still open to more ideas to see if I find something that I am more passionate about in college,” she says. “I plan on joining extracurriculars in college and seeing what I feel is more fitting for me.”

She hopes her involvement will help her find a career passion, just like her extracurriculars in high school helped her find her purpose. 

“I am really involved with school, all of my extracurriculars and my class – making sure everyone feels welcomed, trying to make this a nice community within our school,” she says.

Not only is Gallardo involved, she leads many of the organizations she is a part of, including serving as president of the senior class, FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and NTHS (National Technical Honor Society).

“When I dedicate myself to something, I really put my all into it,” she says. “I don’t just tiptoe in the water. I fully throw myself out there and I’m not scared to be vulnerable on things that I’m passionate about – to make mistakes, to ask questions, to fully learn hands-on what I’m passionate about and what I care for.”


Golden Anni – Matched to Notre Dame

Life is all about the journey and perspective for Golden Anni, who matched to the University of Notre Dame through QuestBridge.

Anni, a student on the medical pathway at Singley Academy, plans to pursue a career in medicine by majoring in biology with hopes of one day becoming an anesthesiologist. 

In school, she has served as junior class officer, an Ambassador for her school, president of the Bible Club and vice president of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. She competes in HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) and UIL spelling, ready writing and calculator applications. 

She serves as a math tutor and volunteers at the South Irving Public Library and through her church. 

“I love meeting new people. You don’t know who you’re going to meet next, and you draw your inspiration from people you meet and the places that you go. It’s a journey that I love being a part of.”


Karen Valladares Villatoro – Matched to the University of Chicago

Going out of state for university, let alone for a prestigious school, was never a thought in Karen Valladares Villatoro’s mind until now. 

Irving ISD’s College, Career and Military Readiness Specialist Melissa Otero presented the scholarship opportunity to Valladares Villatoro, but she was initially reluctant to apply. 

“After speaking with two of my teachers, Katherine Beach and Julia Glowacki, I was inspired to apply,” she says. 

It’s teachers like these who she says have helped her prepare for the next step, specifically improving her time management skills – a necessity in college. 

Currently, Valladares Villatoro is enrolled in Irving High’s business, marketing and finance program, and she hopes to continue her education as a business and marketing major at the University of Chicago. After graduation, she aspires to work in the marketing industry for a corporation.