Fuel Wonder

The astonishing power of scholarships

By:
Katy Smith and Tim Vanderpool,
Student camping under the stars

 

A scholarship can change the course of an entire life. Many students wouldn’t be able to pursue college without financial assistance. Some give students opportunities to engage more meaningfully in campus life, study abroad or teach and lead others. Merit scholarships attract high-performing students who add to the university’s prestige and can put graduate school within reach for them.

While money matters to recipients, so does knowing someone is rooting for them. When persevering became difficult for Adriana Stohn ’19, who was awarded the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarship, she reminded herself that someone chose to support her work.

“I remembered that at least one person who read my application thought I could do it. 
Probably more, but at least one,” she says.

Stohn shared her empowerment with others, and she’s not alone. These stories illustrate how scholarships can help students find their places as learners and people, and why each journey matters.

Learn more about supporting the student journey at giving.arizona.edu.

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Carlos Chavez and Cisco Aguilar ’00 ’04

We brought Carlos Chavez and Cisco Aguilar together to talk about the Arizona Assurance Scholars Program and the UA.

It was the first time they had met, and it was magical. Chavez made a connection with a new role model, and Aguilar was reminded why he volunteers for a nonprofit that expands access to education.

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Chardee Allee '15: Advocating for STEM

Chardee Allee enjoys a career at the juncture of engineering and business. She takes full advantage of her STEM education, which included an active student life at the University of Arizona. 

Allee carried a full load of classes as an optical sciences and engineering major. But she always found time to volunteer as a STEM advocate. She rounded out her educational experience as an Engineering Ambassador and NASA Space Grant intern. 

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James Losole '18: Rising to the Challenge

In college, one great teacher can be a game-changer. That’s what James Losole learned as he built academic confidence. 

“When I got to the University of Arizona to study computer science, I always thought I was the worst student in every class I walked into,” he says. “My GPA didn’t reflect that, because I worked as hard as I could. But I never thought I could handle a project on my own.”

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Justin Palacios: Launching a Well-Rounded Life

Justin Palacios came to the University of Arizona hoping to progress as a musician as he learned to become an engineer. What he didn’t anticipate was falling in love with fencing as a freshman.

“It’s a great physical and mental sport that allows you to be you. You can be expressive in how you fence,” says Palacios.

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Shyla Dogan '12 '19: Becoming a Role Model

“I have relatives who say, ‘We can’t believe we have a Ph.D. in the family,’” says Shyla Dogan. “And that shows their children something. It shows people who start where we did can do it.” 

In high school, Dogan’s homework wasn’t always done because she dealt with recurring homelessness. Her counselor told her not to enroll in an SAT prep class because she would take up the space of someone who would actually go to college.

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Kelly Dorney: Learning to Serve

Kelly Dorney learned an unexpected lesson while studying in Guatemala this summer. 

“When I’m an advocate, I need to be very careful about what I assume people want.”

Dorney plans to become an attorney specializing in immigration or environmental law. She was surprised by some of what she heard from Guatemalans, such as positive views of the United States and reasons for distrusting their country’s elections processes and leaders. 

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Adriana Stohn '19: Inspired to Teach

A few weeks into living in Durham, North Carolina,  Adriana Stohn is enjoying the region’s famed barbecue and hush puppies. But the Arizona native misses the distinctive toastiness of Tucson’s weather and the time she spent teaching girls in middle and high school to code.

Stohn, who is studying for a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Duke University, might not be able to heat up the East Coast. But she is looking into starting a chapter of Girls Who Code in her new home. 

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Manuel Felix '16: Creating Partnerships

College is sometimes a serendipitous journey. Consider Manuel Felix. He graduated with degrees in political science and Spanish translation and interpretation, but today is a cyberrisk analyst in New York City.

How did Felix get from point A to point B? 

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Kameron Peyton: Carving a Path Forward

Choosing what you’ll do for the rest of your life is no simple proposition. When Kameron Peyton arrived at the University of Arizona, he chose a major that complemented two postgraduate options: law school and medical school. 

“Neuroscience allows me to go in both directions,” he says. “I want to connect with people, work one-on-one and watch people through the process of getting better — or, with law, let someone know I am there fighting for them, because I haven’t always had someone fighting for me.”

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