Published: Feb. 10, 2023 By , ,
Ryan Pak

Last year, CU Political Science established the First Year Scholarship Award to recruit high-performing high school seniors who intend to major in political science. The scholarships are offered to students with strong high school academic records and demonstrated financial need. The department selects students for the award after they are accepted to CU but before they decide to choose CU, so it is a tool to recruit the most talented admitted students. In its first year, the department offered $500 dollars each to 39 different students.

Ryan Pak, now a freshman at CU and a recipient in this inaugural cohort, shared some of his thoughts about the scholarship. Ryan is from Colorado and was drawn to the Political Science program because it will provide a strong foundation for his future goal to study law. Given the department’s wide range of course offerings on the topics of law and policy, this is a common path that draws students to CU Boulder. Naturally, the financial benefit was itself an attraction, but being offered the First Year Scholarship also made Ryan feel welcomed as he began his college experience: “I noticed the department’s dedication to providing for its students, and I personally wanted to be a part of that inclusivity.”

Feeling welcomed into the department motivated Ryan to seek more opportunities to get involved. When a position opened for a student assistant in the department, Ryan was an enthusiastic and successful applicant. He has also joined the Political Science Club and Mock Trial. In the Political Science Club, he is learning about current events, legislation, and policy, and he is engaging with the perspectives of other political science majors. In addition, Mock Trial has allowed Ryan to explore the Pre-Law track that drew him to the university in the first place: “In Mock Trial, I am able to apply the foundations of politics and use it within mock in-court trials. We train every year and develop a case that represents the Plaintiff/Prosecutor and the Defense in the structure of a real case trial.” Extracurricular activities like these are fantastic ways for students to engage with the university and to start developing professional networks that they will continue to grow throughout their careers. The beginning of students’ college careers is critical for their long-term academic success, so the Political Science department is excited to announce that this scholarship will be an ongoing opportunity for its high school senior recruits.

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