Office of Scholarship and Fellowship Advising

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2022 Scholarship and Fellowship Recipients

AAUW Dissertation Fellowship

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Kelly Nieto

Kelly Nieto is a fourth year graduate student working towards her PhD in Chemistry, and is a member of the Prieto Research Group. Originally from Houston, TX, Kelly is a first-generation college student who is passionate about battery systems for energy storage application. She believes that the future of our current technologies will be greatly dependent on and/or limited by our ability to store energy from renewable resources. Therefore, rapid development of batteries for use in mobile devices, the electrification of the transportation system, and large grid energy storage is important. During her graduate studies, she has been studying the reaction and degradation mechanisms of antimony-based anodes for Na-ion batteries. After graduating she hopes to work on energy storage problems and to continue to develop environmentally friendly, efficient, and reliable batteries for multiple applications to begin to fully electrify our society. In addition to her work on batteries, Kelly is passionate about encouraging other minority students to explore scientific careers through mentoring and establishing outreaches in underrepresented communities. In her free time, Kelly enjoys exploring National Parks, solving puzzles, building new Lego sets, and hanging out with her family, friends, and pets.

Astronaut Scholar

photo of Abigail Fennell

Abigail Fennell

Abigail Fennell is a 4th year undergraduate studying Chemical & Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. She has conducted research on cellular biomechanics in Dr. Soham Ghosh's laboratory at CSU and on digital PCR as a Bioengineering Research and Development intern at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her current research with Dr. Brad Borlee focuses on reducing insect vector competency through genetically modified bacterial symbionts.

Outside of the lab, she is an active member of the CSU community. She is the current President of CSU's section of the Society of Women Engineers, where she manages a team to advance the personal and professional development of women in STEM. She is also a Presidential Ambassador at CSU and enjoys sharing her experiences to connect donors, current students, staff, and alumni to gratitude and philanthropy at CSU. Finally, she enjoys singing in choir on campus.

Abigail is incredibly honored to receive the Astronaut Scholarship, and she is excited to continue and expand her involvements with the support of the Astronaut Scholarship

Boren Scholars

photo of Justin Frigault

Justin Frigault

I am a third year, transfer student at CSU pursuing a Bachelor's in English with a Language concentration and a Russian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor. I was born and raised in Irvine, CA, where I joined the Marine Corps out of High School. While serving in the Marines, I was selected to become a Marine Security Guard, where I served at U.S. Embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and Seoul, South Korea. Living overseas, traveling, and becoming involved in local communities sparked a desire within me to pursue working for the State Department as I saw the positive impacts they made. I was especially drawn to Eastern Europe and Eurasia, learning about the complexities of past and current relations in the regions. I wanted to become more proficient in my reading and writing abilities while beginning my pursuit to become fluent in the Russian language and learn about their complex history. With more understanding of the different histories in the region and the ability to communicate with the populations, I hope to contribute to an effort to promote peace and better relations in the region while offering my time and assistance to local communities.

After completing my service, I became a CO resident in 2020 and enrolled at CSU. I live and work on a ranch in Laporte with a wonderful couple who have become family to me. I spend my early mornings, evenings, and weekends tending to their two horses, Lily and Rose, with the help of their black labrador Molly. I also help keep up the property, assist with any projects, and enjoy the peaceful environment. I hope to earn more opportunities to study abroad, learn other languages, improve my Russian, and study the different historical perspectives that different countries have. Should the opportunity present itself, I would pursue a Master's Degree in International Relations focusing on Eastern Europe or Eurasia.

photo of Willa Sauer

Willa Sauer

Willa Sauer (she/her) is a Chemistry Major/Russian Language Minor in her senior year at Colorado State University. Willa is originally from a small agricultural community in Southern Illinois. In 2018 she started here at CSU to pursue her interest of the sciences and Russian language. Outside of her classes, Willa served as Russian Club president for the 21-22' academic year where she worked to organize language and cultural learning experiences for club members. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in the Air Force as an intelligence officer as she has been pursuing a commission through Air Force ROTC Detachment 90 here at CSU. She is most looking forward to experiencing Georgia and Kyrgyzstan's rich cultures and being immersed in the Russian language.

DAAD RISE Interns

Katie Chism

Photo of Florencio Guzman Diaz

Florencio Guzman Diaz

Having been born in the small, mountain town of Durango, Mexico and raised in the small town of Trinidad, Colorado, Florencio Guzman Diaz was greatly influenced to seek a degree that would allow him to research and develop solutions to environmental issues. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering with a focus on urban infrastructure at Colorado State University. A career in sustainability engineering and urban, green infrastructure is his current goal. Florencio is currently working on an indoor environmental quality study aimed at understanding the impacts of a government incentivized energy efficiency retrofit program. He has also worked on spatially analyzing ultrafine particle and black carbon concentration data measured in Bucaramanga, Colombia for land-use regression modeling.

Outside of his academics, Florencio is heavily involved in the CSU chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Florencio currently serves as the Professional development chair, where he plans, oversees, and executes professional and personal development events and academic tutoring. Florencio enjoys playing video games, painting, woodworking, and spending time with his friends and dog, Grogu.

Tatum Flatt

Hailee Nolan

photo of Hunter Ogg

Hunter Ogg

Hunter is a third-year with majors in Biochemistry and Data Science. He grew up in Loveland, Colorado and was involved in the sciences and community throughout high school through groups such as FIRST Robotics, Colorado Riverwatch, Science Bowl, and a programming club he started for middle school students. He works in Dr. Timothy Stasevich’s lab under the oversight of Dr. Ning Zhao and studies the potential of new tag systems for imaging live cells in real time, with a particular focus on the process of translation. This summer, he will be using correlative STED and SIC microscopy to study the roles of the cell membrane and cytoskeleton of oligodendrocytes in neurogenesis in Bochum, Germany through the DAAD RISE program. He hopes to obtain a PhD in computational biology, bioinformatics or an adjacent field and focus on the applications of machine learning and statistical modeling to these disciplines. He hopes to pursue research for the rest of his life and be able to use his knowledge to make science more accessible to the general public and advocate for the ethical use of technology. 

Outside of his research, Hunter serves as the president of the Biochemistry Student Association and the CNS College Council as well as the Co-Vice Chair of the University Technology Fee Advisory Board. He is passionate about teaching others about science and research through groups such as the CSU Chemistry Club and Triunfo. His hobbies include reading, listening to podcasts on everything from philosophical fiction to engineering disasters, and playing folk rock songs on guitar and harmonica.

Branden Pate

photo of Anna Parry

Anna Parry

Anna Parry is a second-year student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Spanish & Global Environmental Sustainability. She grew up in Waynesville, Ohio and was fascinated by biology, chemistry, and genetics during her high school courses. In her first year at CSU, she became especially passionate about environmental issues and international collaboration. Anna plans to pursue a postgraduate degree related to ecological genomics & genetics and a career in environmental research to combat global issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Outside of her academics, Anna likes to stay busy by working and being involved in multiple activities around campus. She is a student coordinator for the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities and a laboratory aide for the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation. Anna is also a CNS College Council representative and a peer mentor for both the Honors program and the Eco Leaders program. In her free time, Anna enjoys being outside and staying active through hiking, climbing, skiing/snowboarding, running, swimming, or any other adventure she can find.

Freeman Asia Scholar

Marie Handy

Born and raised in Colorado, Marie Handy has always loved to learn, to challenge herself and to enjoy life. For many years, she has connected with East Asian culture, and in the last few years has focused on becoming proficient in the Korean and Japanese languages. She's a student of East Asian culture. At CSU Marie is on the Dean's List, majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Asian Studies and minoring in Japanese. Marie plans to study in Korea this summer and in Japan for the upcoming academic year. Upon graduation, she intends to work for an NGO as an intern and enter private industry with an international company focused on US-East Asian business. Ultimately, she intends to serve in the US foreign service. Marie loves competitive swimming, has played the harp and piano for many years, and enjoys movies, listening to music, traveling, road trips, hiking, climbing and reading. She is the proud mom of her Morkie dog Oreo and her cat Heart.

Fulbright Scholar

Photo of Jenna Biedscheid

Jenna Biedscheid

Jenna Biedscheid is a Fall 2021 graduate from the School of Social Work with a minor in International Development. Her love for learning about other cultures led her to study abroad in Nepal in the Spring of 2020, where she studied Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya. During her study abroad, which ended early due to the pandemic, Jenna developed a passion for migrant worker rights, and became particularly interested in the experiences of Third Country Nationals, migrant workers who are employed on U.S. military bases to carry out military operations. In her final semester at CSU, Jenna conducted an internship with the Law and Policy Forum for Social Justice in Nepal where she assisted with a study with the International Labour Organization on the impacts of bilateral labour migration agreements (agreements made between two countries to govern labour migration) on Nepali migrant workers. For Jenna, applying for a Fulbright grant was her opportunity to continue learning about Nepali culture, labour migration, and the impacts the United States has in its international endeavors.

During her Fulbright grant period, Jenna plans to research the experiences of Nepali Third Country Nationals on U.S. military bases and spread awareness of their contributions and sacrifices. She plans to continue pursuing her passion in this arena after her Fulbright grant period by going to law school for international human rights and eventually becoming a human rights lawyer representing migrant workers and Third Country Nationals in the American legal system

photo of Keelan Kenny

Keelan Kenny

Keelan is a senior double majoring Biomedical Sciences and Environmental Public Health. Through her coursework and internship experiences, she found a love for One Health, a paradigm that views health at its nexus of human, animal, and environmental. With the Fulbright grant, she plans to pursue a master's in One Health at the Royal Veterinary College in London with the ultimate goal of applying the lens to tackle complex communicable disease scenarios faced by rural, underserved communities.

photo of Natalie Montecino

Natalie Montecino

Natalie Montecino is a senior Honors student in the College of Liberal Arts majoring in International Studies and minoring in French, Japanese, Political Science, and International Development. Her passion for rural development and revitalization has inspired her to undertake numerous independent research projects during her time at CSU, and she strives to be engaged with her community through her involvement with ASCSU, campus committees, and a CLA storytelling internship. In September of 2022 Natalie will move to Okayama, Japan to begin her Fulbright research grant wherein she will study the social effects of rural decline throughout the neighboring prefectures. In partnership with Okayama University, Natalie will also create a documentary-style compilation of the interviews she conducts during the fieldwork portion of her grant. She is incredibly excited to take a hands-on approach to research abroad and she looks forward to continuing her development studies at a foreign graduate school in the coming years. Ultimately, Natalie hopes to work as a city planner or rural development specialist to connect communities with the resources they need to thrive.

Goldwater Scholars

photo of Rachel Masters

Rachel Masters

Rachel is a junior majoring in Computer Science (CS) with a minor in Business Administration and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Rachel is currently the Lead Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for CS 163, Webmaster and Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Natural User Interaction (NUI) Lab, and a Software Engineer and licensed drone pilot at the CSU Drone Center. Rachel is also collaborating with the University of Minnesota to do research, and over the summer, Rachel will be a Kernel Engineer on the Nimble Platform at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Rachel decided to pursue CS because she thought it was a fun subject. She was introduced to computer science at an early age by her father and his coworkers at the Larimer County government and taught herself Java and Python. She was encouraged by her high school CS teacher, Mr. Vern Rhead, to continue her pursuit of computer science, and she came to CSU to continue her computer science education. She decided to add a business minor after managing her first business at the age of 17, and she collaborated with peers and Dr. Kipp Krukowski at the College of Business to learn to launch a startup.

Her sophomore year, Rachel joined an independent study under Benjamin Say and Christopher Robertson. Her and a team of researchers partnered with the CSU Drone Center to develop firmware to integrate a high precision inertial measurement unit (IMU) into an existing, open-source drone firmware suite. Her group successfully integrated the IMU and got their code accepted into Ardupilot, one of the most popular drone firmware libraries. Rachel also got her Part 107 drone pilot license.

Rachel is currently working on two research projects with NUI Lab under the guidance of Dr. Francisco Ortega. She is investigating how to create an optimal virtual reality (VR) nature immersion experience designed for stress relief and mental resource restoration. This technology would give people without access to nature the ability to experience similar benefits as real forest bathing. Rachel is also investigating how a VR intervention can be used to help rural youths recover from drug addiction. This technology would increase the accessibility of recovery options for people who are far from specialists.

Rachel is excited to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, and she plans to continue pursuing many of her new, fascinating ideas.

Photo of Alison Shad

Alison Shad

Alison Shad is a third-year honors scholar double majoring in Chemical and Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at CSU. She currently works in Dr. Munsky’s lab where she applies computational approaches to model single-cell and single-molecule processes. Using novel methods, she studies how to predict, interpret and quantify dynamic biological mechanisms.

Her continued involvement in various research projects has further reinforced her plans to acquire a Ph.D. and take a comprehensive approach to solving interdisciplinary issues at the forefront of modern technology. Aside from her research, Alison is vice president of CSU’s biomolecular design team, BIOMOD, where she is involved in a project aimed at engineering protein crystals to detect the SARS RNA virus, and mentors engineering students through the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Alison is honored to have received the Goldwater scholarship and is eager to contribute to the implementation of novel computational methods to solve complex engineering problems in her future research career.

Critical Language Scholarship

photo of Justin Frigault

Justin Frigault

I am a third year, transfer student at CSU pursuing a Bachelor's in English with a Language concentration and a Russian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor. I was born and raised in Irvine, CA, where I joined the Marine Corps out of High School. While serving in the Marines, I was selected to become a Marine Security Guard, where I served at U.S. Embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and Seoul, South Korea. Living overseas, traveling, and becoming involved in local communities sparked a desire within me to pursue working for the State Department as I saw the positive impacts they made. I was especially drawn to Eastern Europe and Eurasia, learning about the complexities of past and current relations in the regions. I wanted to become more proficient in my reading and writing abilities while beginning my pursuit to become fluent in the Russian language and learn about their complex history. With more understanding of the different histories in the region and the ability to communicate with the populations, I hope to contribute to an effort to promote peace and better relations in the region while offering my time and assistance to local communities.

After completing my service, I became a CO resident in 2020 and enrolled at CSU. I live and work on a ranch in Laporte with a wonderful couple who have become family to me. I spend my early mornings, evenings, and weekends tending to their two horses, Lily and Rose, with the help of their black labrador Molly. I also help keep up the property, assist with any projects, and enjoy the peaceful environment. I hope to earn more opportunities to study abroad, learn other languages, improve my Russian, and study the different historical perspectives that different countries have. Should the opportunity present itself, I would pursue a Master's Degree in International Relations focusing on Eastern Europe or Eurasia.

photo of Pike Wipperfurth

Pike Wipperfurth

Pike is a dynamic young professional with a host of experiences including serving as an international volunteer in Africa, Remote Wilderness Rescue/Emergency Medical Services as an EMT, and Ski Patroller. Pike is a transfer student from Colorado Mountain College where he received multiple degrees and awards in Outdoor Education, Anthropology, and Political Science. He has pursued professional and academic endeavors including, among others, service with the U.S. Department of State as a Negotiations and Conflict Resolution Intern during this past academic year. He is looking forward to continuing his education abroad and in partnership with CSU. Pike is pursuing education and professional opportunities within the international community including in government, diplomacy, intelligence, operations, language, and international relations.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

photo of Daniel Hueholt

Daniel Hueholt

Daniel Hueholt is a second-year M.S. Atmospheric Science student at CSU in the research groups of Dr. James Hurrell and Dr. Elizabeth Barnes. He holds a B.S. in Meteorology and Mathematics with a minor in Music from North Carolina State University, where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Sandra Yuter. Daniel works on climate intervention—the study of potential methods to intervene in the Earth system to counteract climate change. In his M.S., Daniel has focused on analyzing the global and regional climate responses to stratospheric aerosol injection using output from Earth system models, in order to identify potential benefits and risks of this method. Daniel is honored to receive an NSF GRF, which will support him as he explores new questions in this research area in his PhD.

photo of Sandy Kuster

Shady Kuster

Shady Kuster is a first year PhD student in the Cell & Molecular Biology program. She is in Dr. Dan Sloan’s lab, where she studies evolutionary interactions between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes.

Shady received her Bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Tarleton State University. There she initiated her research career path when she studied population genetics of pocket gophers inhabiting Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. She developed an interest in computer science, which led her to pursue a minor and participate in a computational biology REU. As a member of the Sloan lab, she has already expanded her computational skill set and will continue to do so.

Shady is honored and grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of the GRFP. She is passionate about science communication and helping students learn about science as a career option. The funds from the GRFP will allow her to explore these interests while pursuing the research that brought her here.

photo of Tamara Layden

Tamara Layden

Tamara is an Ecology M.S. student in the Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department at Colorado State University. Tamara is passionate about advancing ethical collaborations in ecological research, including the weaving of academic and Indigenous sciences to support community-centered conservation. Tamara aspires to cultivate a broad understanding of wildlife monitoring and ethical participatory methods to increase the accessibility and impact of ecological science for the benefit of wildlife, community, and culture.

Truman Finalists

photo of Aidan Lyde

Aidan Lyde

Raised in Thornton, Colorado, Aidan is a political science and international studies double-major who is passionate about sustainability, water resources, and climate change. His experiences studying abroad at the University of British Columbia in Canada and growing up alongside drought and wildfire in Colorado have informed his dedication to finding collaborative, multilateral, and innovative solutions to environmental challenges at the local, regional, and international levels. Aidan has engaged extensively with environmental issues and advocacy projects, including volunteering for the CSU Zero Waste Team where he serves as the Chief Financial Officer and works to divert landfill-bound recycling and compost and organize public education and outreach initiatives. He has interned for the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he researched the multifaceted and interconnected relationships between human and environmental stressors in the Colorado River Basin. He also volunteers for the U.S. Biosphere Network‘s Youth Board of Directors to facilitate connections at the local to global level among UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserves. Aidan intends to pursue an MA in public and environmental policy, in which he seeks to gain a holistic perspective of natural and social systems so that he can effectively implement policy solutions and bring about a more sustainable future.

photo of Christian Dykson

Christian Dykson

Christian studies political science, natural resource economics, and Spanish, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. As president of the student body at Colorado State University, Christian is committed to creating an environment of love, dignity, and respect, where every person is empowered, engaged, and uplifted. Christian is a servant-leader and his career goal is to be president of the United States. He has a heart for humanity and a strong desire to be the catalyst that unleashes the potential of his generation.

Christian was selected as an Ashoka Young Changemaker in 2019 for his work as founder of the Custodian Service Initiative (CSI) - transforming school culture by building relationships, improving attitudes toward littering, increasing student ownership, and fostering respect for custodial staff.

Christian intends to pursue a J.D. in environmental law at Georgetown University, with emphasis on environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and environmental justice. He is passionate about emboldening the voices of all people and defending those who experience the greatest environmental inequities.

Christian cherishes the stories, experiences, and wisdom of others, having interviewed many fellow students, former policymakers, university administrators, and business leaders. Christian has a passion for mountain biking, skiing, tennis, songwriting, guitar, and serving his community.

photo of Sam Moccia

Sam Moccia

East-coast born and Colorado raised, Sam’s pursuing a B.S. in Environmental & Natural Resource Economics and minoring in Geospatial Information Systems. Sam’s worked across government and non-profit agencies on varying issues his entire career, but his real passion lies in combating and preparing communities for the effects of climate change.

Sam works as a wildland firefighter and serves as Director of Colorado State University’s Student Sustainability Center, where he pushes for concrete commitments towards addressing climate and sustainability challenges, on campus and locally. He plans to pursue his M.S. in Resources, Environmental and Sustainability Management and to work closely with communities on the front lines of the climate era. Eventually, he plans to work as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State, concentrating on building stronger global climate agreements. Sam enjoys long hikes in the nearby Rockies, psychology journals, and a long-standing obsession with creative writing.

Udall Scholar

photo of Nizhoni Hatch

Nizhoni Hatch

Nizhoni Hatch is from Denver, Colorado and a third-year student at Colorado State University studying biomedical sciences with minors in chemistry and Indigenous studies. She currently serves her local Native community at CSU as a tutor, a peer mentor to first-year Native students, and the student coordinator for Native Women’s Circle. To support Native youth, she is currently designing the “Indigenous Science, Technology, Arts, and Resilience” two-week summer program in Fort Collins and serving as a camp counselor to promote ethical STEM education that empowers Native children. This past fall, she was hired as an undergraduate lab manager in an Indigenous-led research team working on developing an ethical research framework and will continue her passion for research this summer, examining the impact of uranium mining on Navajo Nation soil. After graduation, Nizhoni plans to continue serving her communities as a physician and researcher focusing on creating access and change within Indigenous communities.

photo of Aidan Lyde

Aidan Lyde

Raised in Thornton, Colorado, Aidan is a political science and international studies double-major who is passionate about sustainability, water resources, and climate change. His experiences studying abroad at the University of British Columbia in Canada and growing up alongside drought and wildfire in Colorado have informed his dedication to finding collaborative, multilateral, and innovative solutions to environmental challenges at the local, regional, and international levels. Aidan has engaged extensively with environmental issues and advocacy projects, including volunteering for the CSU Zero Waste Team where he serves as the Chief Financial Officer and works to divert landfill-bound recycling and compost and organize public education and outreach initiatives. He has interned for the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he researched the multifaceted and interconnected relationships between human and environmental stressors in the Colorado River Basin. He also volunteers for the U.S. Biosphere Network‘s Youth Board of Directors to facilitate connections at the local to global level among UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserves. Aidan intends to pursue an MA in public and environmental policy, in which he seeks to gain a holistic perspective of natural and social systems so that he can effectively implement policy solutions and bring about a more sustainable future.

Udall Honorable Mention

photo of Helen Flynn

Helen Flynn

Helen grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and studies Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at CSU. She also has minors in Conservation Biology and Watershed Science. She plans to pursue a research-based master's in Watershed Science at CSU following her undergraduate degree that focuses on snow hydrology and forest ecology.

During her time at CSU, Helen has been involved with the Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board (ATFAB), the Watershed Science Club, the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society, and Warner College Council. She now serves as the Chair of the ATFAB which oversees a student fee. Helen works for Colorado Forest Restoration Institute (CFRI) as a Post-Fire Forest Ecology Field Technician in the summer and Lab Technician during the school year. CFRI has allowed her to see many parts of Colorado and gain a better understanding of forest-fire interactions. She also serves on the CFRI Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Team. As an additional part-time job, Helen is a Warner College Ambassador in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office.

Some of Helen's hobbies include skiing, fishing, climbing, and camping. Being outside and spending time with friends and family are Helen's favorite things.

photo of Anna Parry

Anna Parry

Anna Parry is a second-year student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Spanish & Global Environmental Sustainability. She grew up in Waynesville, Ohio and was fascinated by biology, chemistry, and genetics during her high school courses. In her first year at CSU, she became especially passionate about environmental issues and international collaboration. Anna plans to pursue a postgraduate degree related to ecological genomics & genetics and a career in environmental research to combat global issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Outside of her academics, Anna likes to stay busy by working and being involved in multiple activities around campus. She is a student coordinator for the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities and a laboratory aide for the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation. Anna is also a CNS College Council representative and a peer mentor for both the Honors program and the Eco Leaders program. In her free time, Anna enjoys being outside and staying active through hiking, climbing, skiing/snowboarding, running, swimming, or any other adventure she can find.

photo of Hyatt Vincent

Hyatt Vincent

I am a 27 year old Native American undergraduate student passionate about research and serving Indigenous communities. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Public Health.

I grew up in Fort Collins and was a driven high school student, but before I graduated high school , I became a survivor of sexual assault. That experience put me on a unhealthy path, and as a late teenager I no longer felt driven to pursue my goals. I followed around an ex-boyfriend for over four years and didn’t care to try and do anything for myself. I was fully dependent on him, away from friends and family, and felt depressed and alone. The relationship was unhealthy and abusive, and in 2016 I finally came back home to Fort Collins. I got the courage to end that relationship, got a job, and started school at Front Range Community College. I stayed at Front Range for four years, not because I was a bad student, but because I loved that school and the classes there. I was pursuing an Associates of Science, but I was taking classes that didn’t apply to the degree because I was genuinely interested in learning more about many different subjects. I didn’t have help from my parents to pay for school, so I’ve had to rely on financial aid, grants, and scholarships. To be honest though, I like that I’m older while pursuing my Bachelors now. I feel like the life experience has helped me figure out what I want to do in life and helped me be more mature with managing my time.

Transferring to CSU after being at FRCC for four years was hard, but I transferred in fall of 2020 so it was still in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. I’m actually thankful that I transferred during that time because I only had one class on campus and my other classes were online. I think it was for the best because I was able to be on campus without the large amount of people and slowly work up to adjusting to the large campus size.

Furthermore, being Native American – enrolled in the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas – is both difficult and rewarding because I see so many of the injustices that my people face on a daily basis, but I also get to break barriers and show that Indigenous women can and should be represented in STEM. I have been doing genetics research since summer of 2020 and in fall of 2022 I will transition to researching neurodegenerative diseases. I hope my story helps others realize that bad things in life are only temporary and it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

I’d say I’m far from a typical student, but I do believe my background has given me a unique perspective that makes me who I am.