Published: March 20, 2006

Jovan Quintana, a University of Colorado at Boulder sophomore, has been named the Latin American Educational Foundation's "student of the year," the organization's top award.

She was formally honored during the foundation's March 11 gala titled "SUEÑOS - Making Dreams Come True," held at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Denver.

Quintana was chosen from among 200 applicants and will receive a $2,000 scholarship for each of the next four years.

A first-generation college student, Quintana graduated from Horizon High School in Thornton as valedictorian, according to Jim Chavez, executive director of the Latin American Educational Foundation.

"Jovan had a very compelling essay about how she overcame obstacles in her childhood, and has set very high expectations for herself," Chavez said.

Quintana is planning to major in psychology and wants to earn a teaching certificate through the School of Education. She also is taking classes in CU-Boulder's Prehealth program, which will help her prepare to enter the healthcare field.

"It's a great honor to get this award," Quintana said. "This will help me with my goal of working in the medical field and serving underrepresented populations."

If she doesn't pursue a medical field, her next choice is teaching, she said. She already has experience as a volunteer working in English-as-a-second-language classes and plans to volunteer for the Denver Public Schools Summer Bridge program.

Founded in 1949, the Latin American Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides financial resources to help Colorado Hispanic students pursue higher education through scholarships and support programs. For more information about the foundation visit the Web site at