Scholarship Spotlight: Sayuri Byrd

Haca MisEducation

As told by Sayuri Byrd, HCV participant

My name is Sayuri Byrd, and I am 35 years old. I am the mother of two boys, ages 18 and 7. I recently learned I am expecting my third bundle of joy!

I am looking forward to raising my new daughter, and I intend to make wise decisions, and to make every effort to live my dreams – doing what makes my family and I happy.

One of my greatest accomplishments this year was witnessing my eldest child graduate from high school. My handsome 18-year-old son gives me motivation to become a better me. I look at him and see an intelligent young man, I am so proud of, and I am lucky to be his mother. He has come a long way, but there are still many obstacles both him and I must overcome.

I have lost two significant people in my life. It has been hard to get over their loss. But the loss of these two magnificent people has made me appreciate every breath that I take, and value every single person that’s a part of my life. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so I am blessed every day that I am alive.

I am forever grateful for the Austin Pathways HACA Scholarship I received last year. Although I have been gainfully employed at DentaQuest for almost five years, the award was a tremendous boost to my finances, and has allowed me to further reduce the amount of my student loans. The less money I borrow, the better off I will be in being able to provide for my family and live every day to the fullest.

With assistance from Austin Pathways and HACA, I earned an associate’s degree in business from Huston-Tillotson University in May 2017. I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree at HT, and I expect to graduate in May 2019. Obtaining a business degree will open up a wide range of opportunities.

I plan to own several businesses – one of them being an event/party planning service. As a party planner, I will organize a variety of events ranging from birthday festivities, to ceremonies, and showers.

This year, I would like to start off small by coordinating my own birthday party and baby shower, and possibly a few other events, so that I can use the party photos to create a professional-looking portfolio. Once I am comfortable and gain more experience, I would like to expand to bigger events, like weddings. As my company grows, my ultimate goal is to purchase a party boat that people can rent and use to host special get-togethers.

My sister and I also intend to partner with one another to operate an after-hours daycare for parents with unconventional work schedules, or for moms and dads who occasionally need child care during special events. Our strategy is to build daycare clientele through my event planning service.

Besides working and going to school, I am an active member of a trail-riding club and a local dance troupe. I also like to write. I have written several short stories and am currently writing a book. My book will include new and some previously written short stories that I hope to one day publish.

Thank you for choosing me to receive this scholarship for a second year in a row. This award will assist me in conquering my goal of owning a business, as well as demonstrate to my children that all things are possible with hard work, determination, and dedication.

For more information about how you can apply for an Austin Pathways HACA Scholarship, contact Felisa Epps at or call (512) 767-7825.