Join the Jindal School Community!


How Three UT Dallas Students Leveraged $15,000 for their Entrepreneurial Future

read ( words)

Mohammad Elashi, BS ‘17, MBA ‘19
Shawnee Blocker, BS ‘18, MBA ‘20
Ngan Nguyen, BS’ 17, MS ‘19

Are you a go-getter who plans on thriving as a business leader? Imagine having $15,000 to use toward your entrepreneurial venture.

The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation is calling all Naveen Jindal School of Management students to apply for its $15,000 scholarship, which is supported by donors throughout the state. The Foundation will award up to three Jindal School students each a $15,000 award.

If you show leadership in the classroom, aspire to be a future business leader of Texas and beyond and demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit – this is the perfect opportunity for you.


- Enrolled in at least 6 hours  both Spring AND Fall 2020

- Graduate and MBA students preferred, but undergrads are still accepted and considered

- U.S. citizen

- Display entrepreneurial qualities and be a leader in and outside of the classroom

- GPA 3.0+ preferred

- Has outstanding moral character

The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Don’t just take our word for it, though, read what these three past recipients have to say about how the Texas Business Hall of Fame $15,000 scholarship helped advance them in life.

Mohammad Elashi, BS ‘17, MBA ‘19

“When I began as a business student in healthcare management at the age of 19, my initial aspiration was to open a physical therapy practice shortly after graduation. This was inspired by my years of playing soccer and the astounding impact physical therapy had on my life following multiple injuries. In my junior year at the Jindal School, I had an internship at a home health agency as an assistant to an administrator. I went there with the clear intention of opening a practice, so consuming as much knowledge and picking up on the business flow and processes was the goal of this internship.

I procured all the necessary startup items to get things going on a pediatric outpatient rehab facility, shifting my focus to speech and occupational therapy. This was motivated after witnessing my brother Omar, who has Down syndrome, empower himself through these services. I started by naming my business Synaptic Pediatric Therapies and securing other essentials, such as a domain, website, logo, business card, licenses, getting in-network with companies like BCBS, Texas Medicaid, United Healthcare, Amerigroup, etc. I then marketed with a few pediatricians to get patients in the door for speech and occupational therapy, secured a small $5,000 interest-free loan from a family friend and a small 800 square-foot location.

Fast forward three and a half years – we now have four locations in Richardson, Arlington, Wylie and Royce City. 

All of this happened while I was a full-time student in my undergraduate for healthcare management (BS’17), and then as an MBA student (MBA’19). The key to doing this was time management, which the Jindal School made easy by offering many night classes. I would not have been able to be a full-time student and start a business if there wasn’t such flexible course scheduling.

Being awarded the Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship was amazing, not only for the $15,000 award, but also for the opportunity to attend the gala full of business titans such as Warren Buffet, Herb Kelleher, Mary Kay, Robert Smith, Kendra Scott, Jerry Jones, and many more. The TBHF Gala was an unforgettable moment and a real milestone in my life. The connections you make and the opportunity to see how these legends started was an experience of a lifetime.” 

Shawnee Blocker, BS ‘18, MBA ‘20

“If you’re an entrepreneur with a unique business idea, apply now for the Texas Business Hall of Fame. You could be awarded $15,000!

Here’s my Texas Business Hall of Fame story and why I think every single person should apply…

Receiving the Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholarship in 2019 has already had a monumental effect on my life. In fact, upon receiving this award, I was asked to lead the Dallas region of the TBHF Scholar Alumni Association to help build the community of past and future legends.

Notable Legends in the community currently include: Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, Kelcy Warren, Mary Kay, President George H.W. Bush, Kendra Scott and 200+ outstanding business leaders who have made impactful contributions to their community and to the state of Texas.

This remarkable opportunity provides students with unique access to meet and directly speak with some of the most successful individuals, in a myriad of industries. It’s an instant qualification added to your resume, credibility, connections, and instant results.

And honestly, I never in a million years thought I’d ever be a qualified candidate, let alone a chosen recipient. And even now, being in a position to be involved in helping bridge the gap between young entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurial leaders.

If you have an idea, if you have a business, if you have a business idea, you should apply for the Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholarship right now because you might just receive a nice big check for $15,000.” 

Ngan Nguyen, BS’ 17, MS ‘19

“The Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship provides funding to further my higher education. It also gives me a framework for thinking that allows me to do seemingly impossible things.

Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF) Scholar alumni and business legends network is the most invaluable asset that The Foundation provides. The value of this network is demonstrated not only through mentorship, but also through the shared knowledge of both the successes and the pitfalls of entrepreneurship. The density of experienced entrepreneurs, who are willing to listen to our story and give free advice was unimaginable. When I wanted to partner with the National Forest Foundation to replant trees in the U.S. National Forest for Wildlife Recovery, members of the TBHF Scholar Alumni Association helped me make introductions.

The TBHF Foundation encourages me to think big and to reach higher and dream bigger for my entrepreneurial career. It was an amazing experience to see the positive impact of strong Texas business legends and their inspiring philanthropy and to be able to learn firsthand from them.

For TBHF scholars, the days following TBHF Induction Dinner represent the first days of the rest of our lives. This is the period when the real work begins, now that a course has been set, and the value of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation is in planting the seeds for our long-term success. As scholars, we are excited by the knowledge that we have become lifelong members of a community that can indefinitely offer much of the same support and guidance we received. There isn’t such a thing as “post-TBHF.”

If you are a young aspiring entrepreneur with an interest in business and a compelling idea to pursue, why not apply? The application process will be an introspective journey. You don’t need to be perfect to be selected, your strong personal drive to shape Texas and beyond is what counts the most and it will help distinguish yourself.

Beyond the scholarship to support your entrepreneurial goals, the number of doors TBHF opens is phenomenal. These are people who will challenge you, help you solve impossible problems, and (most importantly) be there to support you.”

So, now you’ve heard it straight from the sources: The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation $15,000 scholarship is beyond worth applying for. Not only will the monetary award be helpful for your future entrepreneurial endeavors, but also you’ll be welcomed into a community of legends.

Apply NOW – deadline is Friday, February 7th, 2020 at 5 p.m. 

If you have any questions, direct them to

External Affairs Staff

External Affairs Staff

Posts from External Affairs staff. Read more articles

Subscribe to JSOM Perspectives, one stop shop for everything you want to know about JSOM

Subscribe to receive our freshest post in your inbox every two weeks!