Miss Fiesta San Antonio 2020-21, Calista Burns, enjoys every celebration and community event that Fiesta brings to San Antonio. Calista holds Fiesta very close to her heart, encourages others to do the same and welcomes everyone to learn and commemorate what a remarkable city San Antonio has become.
Calista is a 19-year-old San Antonio native who grew up on the Southeast side of the city. Calista is proud to say she is Latina and embraces her background, with her mother being Hispanic. Being an only child, Calista learned to be independent at a young age. She always sought to be the role model for other students and enjoyed being helpful in any way she could.
At the age of 5, Calista joined Girls Inc. of San Antonio, where she began her journey and gained interest in the STEM fields. At Girls Inc. and 13 years later, Calista climbed to be a leader as an MVP (Mentor Valuing Peers) and a CPA (Camp Program Aid), where she guided and inspired the younger girls to be STRONG, SMART AND BOLD. Her commitment with Girls Inc. earned her the honor of being featured in the Latinitas 20 Under 20 Magazine in 2011. Calista also has seven years of experience in theatre from 6th grade to her senior year in high school. Being on stage has provided Calista confidence and experience in public speaking.
Calista is pursuing a degree in Education at The University of the Incarnate Word, where she is also double minoring in Mathematics and Reading. She has earned a spot on the Dean’s List each semester she’s attended UIW. In addition, she is on her second year in the Honors College Program. Her Honor’s research will be focused on evaluating the effectiveness of out of school time STEM programs in encouraging girls from underserved and underrepresented communities in picking the STEM Endorsement in High School and pursing a STEM career after post-secondary education. Calista wants to study and identify what activities encourage an interest in STEM and what activities discourage an interest. Her Honors program research will culminate in a published senior thesis. Calista plans to teach first and second grade as well as pursue her Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Education to later be a Professor in Higher Education. She dreams one day to be a university professor influencing the next generation of young girls in STEM.
This past summer, Calista took on the role of Head Camp Counselor for an all-girls middle school camp called miniGEMS. Calista planned, created and taught the curriculum during the 8-week summer camp for over 160 girls. In addition, Calista also lead and coached the very first Tafolla Middle School First Lego League (FLL) Robotics all-girls’ team that earned them 4th place out of 10 teams in January. This year, Calista is leading and coaching four FLL teams; one team from both Tafolla Middle School and Elolf Elementary School and two teams from Barkley-Ruiz Elementary as part of her service platform. She has received four Dell grants and two San Antonio Manufacturers Association grants for a total of $1,800 to help defer the cost of participating in FLL. Additionally, she has received $5,000 from the HEB foundation to help pay for food costs during the Saturday Robotic Build Days. Calista spends her Saturday’s helping the four FLL teams prepare for the upcoming 2020 Season which starts in January.
Calista’s passion has always been giving back and helping other young girls in Title I schools who would not have opportunities otherwise. Her community service project is to help educate, influence, and expose more girls to the STEM fields and provide hands on experiences in Engineering, Coding, Programming and Robotics giving the girls opportunities to expand their dreams, just as she has been given this wonderful opportunity of being Miss Fiesta San Antonio 2020-21.