Colorado State University Names Five Monfort Scholars

Colorado State University has awarded five outstanding incoming freshmen full scholarships as part of the Monfort Scholars program, a program designed to reward the best and brightest students from Colorado and around the nation.

The recipients are Sally Embrey of Roanoke, Va., Matthew Figgs of Greeley, Abbigail Larsen of Canon City, Aaron Palumbo of Littleton, and Julie Simpson of Aurora. All have scored at least a 1300 on the SAT or 30 on the ACT, ranked in the top 5 percent of their graduating class, shown leadership skills and outstanding character, and demonstrated a high-level of service to their school and community.

"We are pleased to welcome this exceptional group of incoming freshmen, some of the brightest young minds in the nation, to Colorado State University. These students demonstrate not only outstanding academic abilities but outstanding character as well," said Anthony Frank, senior vice president and interim provost at Colorado State. "We are also very appreciative of the Monfort family for continually supporting student opportunity and academic excellence at Colorado State University."

Embrey, a student at the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School, hopes to make a lifelong career focusing on women’s healthcare and related cancers. After someone close to her was diagnosed with uterine cancer, Embrey was motivated to research the connection between uterine cancer and tampon use. She developed a three-year study analyzing the levels of dioxin in tampons using gas chromatography. Dioxin has been known to cause cancer if used over time. She presented the research nationally in 2004 and has been published twice. In addition, Embrey is a star track and field athlete and a dedicated volunteer to causes such as the Special Olympics, Rescue Mission and aiding trainable mentally disabled people.

Figgs, a student at Northridge High School, plans to study civil engineering and has a goal of eventually working on a city’s infrastructure. Figgs, who is a top student and scored a 5 on the Advanced Placement government exam in 2004, also is a devoted Christian and wants to work as a missionary. He plans to use his engineering skills to impact areas in less fortunate countries by creating infrastructure such as bridges, buildings and roads. Figgs is a worship leader at Calvary Chapel of Greeley and created Lightshine, a Christian student club at his high school. In addition, Figgs is a tutor to an at-risk third-grader through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

Larsen, a student at Canon City High School, wants to use music education to enable special needs students to thrive rather than merely survive in public education. For that reason, she was attracted to Colorado State’s music therapy and special education programs. As a drum major in the Canon City High School band, Larsen, who plays the French horn, was active in rewriting music and tutoring special needs students in order to make their experience in the band successful. Larsen also is a youth volunteer and representative at Shepard of the Hills Lutheran Church and active in the Canon City High School theatre program.

Palumbo, a student at Chatfield Senior High School, serves as his school’s student body president. In that role, he has represented Chatfield at County Council, where all schools in Jefferson County come together to plan and organize community outreach events. He has been instrumental in planning and implementing school functions and helped gain support for a bond and mill levy for Jefferson County Schools through the Film on the Field project. Palumbo earned a 4.0 grade point average while taking numerous advanced placement and honors classes. He also worked on community service projects such as the annual Trick or Treat Street for children in the community and a holiday outreach party for underprivileged youths.

Simpson, a student at Overland High School, aspires to become a cardiologist to help those whose lives are in jeopardy. Her own mother died of a sudden heart attack in December 2003. While Simpson had to take on more domestic responsibility after her mother’s death, she continued to be a leader inside and outside the classroom. A strong student, she scored a 5 on the advanced placement mathematics test after her junior year and earned high grades in other academic subjects. Simpson also has been on her school’s yearbook staff for three years, is a member of the cross-country team, tutors elementary students two afternoons a week, teaches Spanish at her church and has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.

The Monfort Scholar program was endowed by the Monfort family. Each Monfort Scholar receives full tuition and fees, a room and board stipend, and a book allowance for four years if they maintain academic standards. Selection of scholars is based on superior scholastic ability, leadership, service to community and school, and outstanding character.

For more information about the Monfort Scholars Program, part of the the Monfort Excellence Fund at Colorado State, visit the Web at