Puksta Scholarships Encourage Civic, Ethical Engagement, Give Students Opportunities To Lead

April 26, 2007

Six University of Colorado at Boulder students will receive scholarships from a program aimed at grooming the next generation of leaders who have a high sense of civic duty, ethical standards and strong academic goals.

This year's Puksta scholars are Ashley Tillman, Stephanie Rodriguez, Bryant Mason, Julie Hayes, Andra Wilkinson and Ruth Steinmetz.

Each will receive a $4,500 scholarship for the 2007-08 academic year from the Puksta Scholars Program, which encourages students to get involved in positive ways in the local community, said program coordinator Peter Simons.

"They are just an amazing group of students. They're big achievers academically and big achievers in the community," Simons said. "We don't call it a leadership program, but we ask students to take the lead. Our democracy depends on an informed and engaged citizenry."

Some of last year's projects included:

o Efforts to end the sexual abuse of children through a community outreach program;

o A fund-raising campaign based on the recycling of ink cartridges and cell phones to send medical supplies to Yateras, Boulder's Cuban sister city;

o Research into policy options for Western states facing severe water shortages over the next three decades;

o And efforts to develop the English-language reading and writing skills of immigrant children in elementary schools.

The scholars were selected from a competitive field of 45 applicants. The scholarships are the largest of their kind on the CU-Boulder campus, Simons said.

Simons said Puksta scholars must become involved with an intensive civic engagement project on campus or in a local Colorado community, working closely with a team of professors and university staff members.

The program, for which students do not receive academic credit, wants the scholars to see civic responsibility as a lifelong way of contributing to the greater good of society.

"We expect them to push the envelope, to go beyond volunteering," Simons said. "We tell the scholars that the whole world is open to them in terms of civic engagement. It's whatever their passion is."

The program, which accepts incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors, receives funding from Denver's Puksta Educational Foundation, established by Harry and Eva Puksta, and the CU Parent Fund.

To learn more about the Puksta Scholars Program, go to: (click here)

Contact: Peter Simons, (303) 492-1962
Deborah Méndez-Wilson, (303) 492-3117


Link to the story:
http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2007/177.html


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