Hernandez honored with Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship by C-USA

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA soccer student-athlete Isa Hernandez is one of 11 Conference USA recipients of the Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship, officials from the league office announced on Thursday afternoon.

Hernandez was one of only 11 C-USA distinguished graduate student-athletes to be selected for a $4,000 scholarship, as selected by the league's Faculty Athletics Representatives and approved by the Conference USA Board of Directors. The 2023 edition marks the 15th year the award has been named after Dr. Jim Castañeda, who served Rice for 46 years as an educator, coach and Faculty Athletics Representative before he passed in 2008.

A native of Kyle, Texas, Hernandez played games in five seasons and spent six years as a member of the UTSA women's soccer program. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry during the Spring 2021 semester and is currently pursuing a PhD in Organic Chemistry.

Hernandez has focused her post-graduate work in the Frantz Lab as a graduate research assistant under Dr. Doug E. Frantz, making small-molecule analogs inspired by naturally-occurring compounds called taccalonolides (Taccas). Taccas are microtube stabilizing agents (MSAs) similar to current state-of-the-art treatments and have been shown to have nanomolar potency against drug-resistant cancer models – specifically breast and ovarian cancers. Hernandez' research is playing a leading role in the collaboration between Frantz and UT Health San Antonio's Dr. April Risinger on developing new clinical therapies for the treatment of women's cancers – the team was awarded a $1.05 million grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) based on Hernandez' project.

On the pitch for the Roadrunners, Hernandez was a two-time captain midfielder during two of the most-successful seasons in program history. The 2021 squad posted a school-record .632 winning percentage in her junior season, succeeded by the 2022's program second-most 12 wins, the first Conference USA Championship and the second UTSA trip to the NCAA Tournament to close out her career.

Across her UTSA career, Hernandez received Conference USA Academic Honor Roll recognition in all six years and earned the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for four of those years. As an undergraduate student, Hernandez was named to the UTSA President's List in four semesters and Dean's List in three semesters.

Hernandez played in 80 games (the second-most career games among Roadrunners) during her career, scoring 21 points, including nine assists and six goals. Hernandez made 39 shot attempts with 20 shots on goal, including 2-for-2 on penalty kicks. She wrapped up her career by earning College Sports Communicators Academic-All District accolades following her 2022 season and also received the UTSA's 2023 Will & Mary Hathaway Academic Female Athlete of the Year Award.

2023 Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients
Ariana Rivera, Charlotte, Track and Field
Sommer Baker, Florida Atlantic, Softball
Bailey Grossenbacher, FIU, Softball
Hannah Suder, Middle Tennessee, Women's Soccer
Katelin Cooper, Louisiana Tech, Softball
Nick Nakwaasah, North Texas, Football
Grace Forbes, Rice, Track and Field/Cross Country
Sierra Frazier, UAB, Softball
Isabel Clara Brooks, UTEP, Rifle
Isa Hernandez, UTSA, Women's Soccer
Ansley Cate, WKU, Women's Soccer

- UTSA -