Colorado State on Feb. 26 Honors First Generation Scholars’ Perseverance to Move Mountains, Realize Educational Dreams

Note to Editors: The 2003-2004 First Generation Awards Dinner Feb. 26 will honor 220 students and their families beginning at 5:15 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom. This special evening will honor the personal and academic achievements of first generation students and Colorado State University’s commitment to encourage students from all backgrounds to complete their education. Interviews with award recipients are available by calling Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543.

Colorado State University’s 20th Annual First Generation Award Recognition Dinner, "Celebrating 20 Years of Moving Mountains," on Feb. 26 will honor Michelle Cochran, Amanda Hardy, Beverly Hill, Cristobal Rodriguez and Michelle Wellman as Distinguished First Generation and Boettcher Opportunity Award Scholars.

Cochran is a senior design and merchandising major with a concentration in apparel and production. She is active in the Colorado State chapter of the National Hispanic Institute and its Collegiate Leadership Network and has been a participant in the Latin American Student Organization. She is proud of being "first in line" in her family to complete a degree and considers it an honor and a responsibility to serve as a role model to her family and to children in the community.  

Hardy will graduate this May with a degree in psychology as an Honors Scholar and a member of the Students as Leaders in Science program. In her second year at Colorado State, she represented the university proudly as a cheer squad member and continues her interest in performance through Phantasia, an educational dance troupe composed of members from various cultural backgrounds. With her background as an active member of the National Hispanic Institute and a former member of an educational campus organization dedicated to improving cross cultural understanding, We Support Diverse Minorities, Hardy is setting the groundwork for a new interest group for a multi-cultural sorority.

Hill is majoring in speech communication and working toward a minor in anthropology and a certificate in ethnic studies. She has wanted a college education since she was a young girl and finally was able to embrace that dream when her children were grown. While pursuing her degree, Hill was a member in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key and Mortar Board Honor Societies. She has owned her own business for more than 10 years, has been a grant writer for the Northern Colorado Intertribal Pow-wow Association and has been a "Teach for America" volunteer.  

Rodriguez is a sociology major with a concentration in criminal justice and a minor in Spanish. He also will earn a certificate in ethnic studies. He is completing an internship at the Larimer County Detention Center in preparation for a career in law enforcement. He credits the TriO-funded Educational Talent Search, the Colorado State sponsored Bridge Summer Scholars and the Key Academic Community programs as resources that taught him the academic tools necessary to succeed at the university, as evidenced by his name on the Dean’s List.

Wellman will complete her undergraduate education in May 2005 with degrees in sociology and political science. She plans to go on to study for a graduate degree. Her role as a staff member of the Key Academic Community includes working as a peer mentor and student coordinator, membership to the Key Plus planning committee, Key Advisory Board, Key Student Organization and search committee duties for student staff hiring. Her plans include a trip to Budapest and Hungary while she continues to explore the "portals" that continue to open up for her as a result of her university experiences.

The awards dinner will honor the personal and academic achievements of first generation students and Colorado State’s commitment to encourage students from all backgrounds to complete their education. Colorado State President Larry Penley will present the address.

For more information on the First Generation Award program, call Barb Musslewhite at (970) 491-4311. Applications for the 2004-2005 school year are due by April 1.