Colorado State University Honors First Generation Scholars’ Determination to Succeed and Make a Difference Feb. 23

Colorado State University’s annual First Generation Recognition Celebration honoring five Distinguished First Generation Scholars will be held from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom on campus. The first generation students being honored include Kyle A. Clark, Joanna E. Larez, Rachel L. Rambo, Kim N. T. Ta and Stephanie C. Vasconez. Along with the five Distinguished First Generation Scholars being honored this year, 203 previous recipients of the First Generation Award also will be recognized for their achievements.

Clark, a junior business major with a concentration in management, plans to graduate in May 2006. His parents have encouraged him to succeed since first grade, and their efforts have paid off. He has broken the mold in a family where completion of a GED or high-school diploma is the norm. Clark has served as a peer mentor for the 2003 Black Issues Forum and also has been involved in Black Student Alliance, President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee, Colorado State University Diversity Summit planning group and Student of Color Retreat. He is a Partnership Award and Richard Pfeil Award recipient.

Larez, a technical journalism major with a minor in political science, serves as the campus editor of The Rocky Mountain Collegian. This summer, in preparation for graduation, she will return to the Greeley Tribune for a second internship, sponsored by the Chips Quinn Scholars Program. Larez is an inductee to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also is a past recipient of the Elizabeth Woodworth Scholarship, given in honor of Betty Woodworth, the former editor of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

"I can make a difference in people’s lives simply by writing," Larez said.

Rambo, a psychology major with a biomedical science minor, credits the President’s Leadership Program and AmeriCorps with providing her the opportunity to find her voice. Rambo will be site leader for the Alternative Spring Break Program at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation next month. She is a member of the Psi Chi National and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Societies and the Psychology Student Alliance. Rambo was the invited youth speaker at the Colorado Leadership Alliance Luncheon, sponsored by 9-News and TIAA-CREF.      

"First generation students have a quality of character unlike that of other students and a determination not only to succeed, but to make a difference in the world around them and to pave the way for future generations," Rambo said.

Ta is looking forward to a spring 2006 internship that will help her transition as a student majoring in apparel design and production to a future business owner.  Her campus activities have included the Ramnime (Japanese Animation Club), Really Intense Cultural Entertainment productions, Club Kulturang Pilipin, Korean American and Asian American Student Associations and her role as community coordinator at the International House through Colorado State Apartment Life. She is bilingual in Vietnamese and English and dreams of returning to Vietnam to open her own business.  

Vasconez was introduced to Colorado State when she attended the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session in the summer of 2000. She is a psychology major and French minor, who in her spare time volunteers at the Family Center tutoring children. She has an ongoing commitment to her role as team captain for the "Up till Dawn" fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, sponsored by Chi Omega Sorority, and she is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Psi Chi Honor Society.

"Being a first generation student has made me realize that it only takes one person to create a positive change in the lives of others," Vasconez said.

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 Edward Penley will present the address at this year’s celebration.

For more information on the First Generation Award program, contact Barb Musslewhite at (970) 491-3658. Applications for the 2005-2006 school year are due by April 1, 2005.