Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Kelly Camacho | College of Science
February 27, 2024

Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Kelly Camacho

Meet Kelly Camacho, a UNT biology major who was one of the most recent recipients of UNT's Kuehne Speaker Series Scholarship, one of the largest donor-funded scholarships at UNT. Kuehne Scholars receive a life-changing $25,000 scholarship along with mentorship and networking opportunities to help set them up for academic and career success.

"When I first received the news, I called my mom and read her the email just to make sure it wasn't a scam," said Kelly. "Once we confirmed it was real, I was ecstatic and could not believe the news in front of me! Receiving the Kuehne scholarship made me even more determined to excel in my studies at UNT."

Because Kelly started her academic journey here through the TAMS program as an early applicant, she is already looking at graduating with her bachelor's degree this summer at eighteen years old. At TAMS, she was awarded the Academy Spirits Award for being an outstanding student representative of the program. Despite her early successes though, she was still struggling to make ends meet to stay in school.

"Without the help of this scholarship, I probably would not have continued studying," said Kelly. "It lifted financial burdens from not just me, but my whole family. This gift has allowed me to thrive in academia rather than constantly worrying about loans, debt, and payments."

Prior to receiving the scholarship, Kelly spent the 2022-23 school year under the mentorship of UNT mathematics professor Dr. Iaia. It was in his classroom she discovered her passion for research and made the decision to pursue it.

"We explored various topics including the gamma function from differential equations and fluid dynamics rooted in physics," said Kelly. "Dr. Iaia's research mentorship taught me the importance of determination in face of "unsolvable" problems, skills that have transformed my academics and were imperative to my success."

With her research project, Kelly aims to develop a better understanding of individual particles in fluids and hopes that students who come after her will continue the research work. She said that patience and disciplined time management have been the keys to success during her time at UNT, as well as the support of fellow scholars.

"The student population at UNT really made me feel welcomed when I first got here, and it has continued to contribute to my happiness while attending UNT," said Kelly when asked what made her choose TAMS and UNT for her studies at such a young age. "As a Hispanic student attending college with the added hurdle of being a senior at seventeen years old, things can be daunting, but I have grown more confident in myself over the years thanks to my mentors and peers."

Kelly said that she has found her biggest inspiration through her mother and grandmother; without their unconditional support, she said, she doesn't know if she would have come so far.

"I cannot thank them enough. These strong, independent, brave Hispanic women have seen me through every hurdle and have been there to support me every step of the way. They are two of the most intelligent people I have had the pleasure of calling family," said Kelly.

As ambitious as ever, Kelly's dreams for her future include becoming a trauma surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, so she is studying for the MCAT and hopes to be accepted to medical school after UNT. We're #UNTproud of her success and can't wait to see what she does next!