The Political Science Department would like to congratulate Casey Van Divier on receiving the 2017 Bartkus Family Scholarship. This scholarship was created by Tony Bartkus, who was inspired by his son Dale Bartkus, an educator, to give back to the community.
Casey, a sophomore at CU with a double major in English and Journalism, has been working for the department for almost two years as a student assistant. She found the scholarship on MyCUInfo, and when she saw the essay prompt, she felt encouraged to apply.
“The essay question was ‘20 years from now, what kind of person do you want to be’ and I was like, ‘oh, I can totally write an essay on that.’ I thought it sounded interesting.” Two key experiences Casey talked about in applying were her family and an internship she had in high school that really changed her life. “I peer-aided with the special needs department at my school,” she said. She made a lot of friends with the students there and felt inspired by them to become the kind of person she wanted to be in 20 years.
Just a couple months after applying, she received an email saying she was one of eight finalists.
“I’m not huge on interviews, so I didn’t know what to expect going in--plus there were seven other finalists,” she said. “I was nervous,” so naturally, “I got there super early.” Once she met the Bartkus family, however, Casey felt welcomed and comfortable. “They were all kind and laughed at my stupid jokes,” she said.
Less than a week after her interview, The Bartkus’ called Casey to let her know she won. “I was honestly so shocked. I was not really expecting it.”
Her family and friends were all very excited for her. “It was a great way to end the semester,” she said. “The department sent out an announcement, so that was nice to have everyone come in and say ‘congrats.’ I felt very loved.”
Casey will use the money to help her study abroad in England in the Fall of 2017. She’ll study at the University of Lancaster, and she can’t wait to explore the histories and cultures of Europe. “I always knew it would be England if I studied abroad,” she said. “I chose Lancaster because I’m a creative writing major and they were actually one of the first universities who offered creative writing as a major.”
She looks forward to using her time in England to expand her perspective as a writer and see the home of her favorite authors: William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.
Casey is also excited to spend her summer as an intern at Colorado Community Media, where she’ll write for several different papers around Colorado and get real experience in a newsroom. She also plans on writing an honors thesis her senior year.
“I would encourage anyone to apply to every scholarship you can. Not only because the financial aid is incredibly helpful, and you’ll be grateful down the road, but also because the different essays and interviews were great self-discovery experiences. It was nice to reflect on my past and think about how I want that to affect my future. I’m really glad I did it.”