Student support makes big impact

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Earrn-Learn apprentice Takiko Hirokawa is able to work part time for the college with partial private support.

More than 1,000 students received scholarships from the College of Engineering and Applied Science this year, thanks to $2.2 million in private support from individuals and corporations.

“I’m trying to pay my own way so as not to be a burden on my parents,” says a grateful Kathryn Warshaw, noting that her mother lost her job right before she was to start college a few years ago. Warshaw worked 20 hours per week as a gymnastics coach while she was in school, was able to study abroad, and in December she completed a double degree in environmental engineering and Spanish, thanks to various scholarship awards.

Besides helping so many deserving students pursue an education that will significantly change their lives, these scholarship awards have impacted the college as a whole by supporting the enrollment of the most diverse and well-qualified first-year class in history.

The fall 2011 entering class included 26.2 percent women and 15.1 percent underrepresented students, the highest percentages ever in both categories. The entering class also included 8 Boettcher scholars, 22 Boettcher semifinalists, and had an average combined SAT of 1291 and an average composite ACT of 29.1, which are also the highest ever.

Among the new scholarships this year is an endowment established by Lexmark International in the name of CU-Boulder alumnus Paul Curlander (ElecEngr ’74).

“Lexmark is proud to provide scholarships to University of Colorado engineering students in honor of our former chairman and CEO, Paul Curlander,” says Jeri Isbell, vice president of human resources for Lexmark. “As a leading global technology company that supports science, technology, engineering and math education, we recognize the importance of providing educational opportunities to students in diverse and underrepresented areas. We hope to encourage more students to pursue careers in engineering and help fuel growth and innovation for the future.”

Tiana Miller Jackson, who graduated in December with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, calls her scholarship, funded by individual alumnus Peter Teets (ApMath ’63, MS ’65), “a blessing.” As a first-generation college student, Jackson says, “I was able to attend school and, on top of that, volunteer in the summer without it being a hardship for my parents.” Someday, she says, she hopes to be able to fund a scholarship for another struggling student.

Also new this year is a graduate fellowship award created by retired IBM executive and entrepreneur Joseph Negler. The award will provide $5,000 per year for a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, along with a match of $2,500 from IBM.

“CU-Boulder’s aerospace department is arguably one of the best in the country, if not the best,” Negler says. “To make contributions to that science and the world, we need to attract, grow, and retain the best. If this helps the dean and chair to accomplish that, then we’ve helped the university toward its goal of continued excellence.”

In addition to scholarship and fellowship support, the college also funds part-time jobs for more than 100 students every semester through the Earn-Learn Apprenticeship Program. The program places engineering students in positions throughout the college, which contributes to their education while helping the departments meet their operational needs at the same time. Private support of the Earn-Learn program extends the college’s ability to offer these jobs.

Sierra Flynn, an Earn-Learn apprentice who is assisting with the introductory course in computer science, says: “I am so grateful for this experience, not only because it has allowed me to connect with fellow computer scientists and professors, but also because it is helping me grow as a person.”

For more information on supporting students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, contact the Engineering Development Office at 303-492-7899.

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