Central Colorado Humanists recently announced recipients of their $1,000 scholarship.

Humanists wrote that “all are high-achieving students with grade point averages exceeding 3.9. They exemplify the values of the Central Colorado Humanists: informed by science, guided by reason, inspired by art and nature and motivated by compassion. All of them wrote compelling essays about the integrity of science. Not all have confirmed the college of their choice (they had multiple acceptances).”

Aja Hogan from Buena Vista High School is her school’s senior class president and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a member of the basketball, cross country and track teams.

Hogan describes herself as “very passionate about helping others who are less fortunate than herself, and a degree in international development could open up amazing opportunities to do so.”

Valeria Amanda Fallas Zuniga, from Cotopaxi High School, hopes to study biomedical engineering and will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder.

She has served on the student council, played volleyball, participated in the Knowledge Bowl, is a member of the National Honor Society and is a volunteer at The Alliance.

Zuniga speaks several languages and recently taught herself Russian prior to participating in a Russian exchange program.

She has also received numerous awards for her artistic aptitude. Her hope is that her “university education will help me to be one of those who understands the truths of science and thus be able to show others how it works.”

Allyna Bright from Salida High School is a member of the National Honor Society and is on the swim and tennis teams.

She has been working as a lifeguard, waitress and in retail sales.

Bright plans to major in psychology and anthropology. She said she believes that “receiving higher education, will allow me to develop a broad background in current and past scientific research ... learn new ideas and concepts, which will enable me to understand the world better. I will follow the facts, provide the evidence, draw valid conclusions, and create the respect and integrity that science truly deserves”

In addition to her outstanding academic record, Cassidy Gillis, Salida High School senior, has been active in the mountain bike team, Interact Club, ski and track teams.

She served on student council and is a member of the National Honors Society.

She is editor-in-chief of the Tenderfoot Times. Her volunteer activities and numerous jobs throughout her high school years have prepared her for a major in environmental studies with the hope of one day becoming an environmental lawyer.

“[my education] will assist me by broadening my knowledge base, opening new avenues of thought, and hopefully teaching me to weed out all the preposterousness of the media. The only way we can stop the spread of falsified fact is by educating people on discerning the truth,” Gillis said.

Hadley Ross is graduating from Buena Vista High School.

She has been a member of the National Honor Society and Odyssey of the Mind.

She participated in student government and has been a member of the volleyball and soccer teams. Her goal is to become a secondary education science teacher and she hopes that “My pursuit of higher education will assist in restoring scientific integrity through education. With my college education and extensive knowledge of science, I will be able to walk into my classroom daily and help America’s youth find the truth and a respect for science.”

Reece White has successfully completed several college level courses in addition to her high school curriculum at Salida High School.

She competed on the soccer team and was president of the GSA Club. In addition, she worked as a volunteer for Guidestone and for Colorado Parks and Wildlife while also working at the Animal Care Center.

She plans to major in biology or biochemistry and to become a veterinarian. “Continuing my education by attending college, in which I have already embarked, will allow me to further access and discern science and facts from scientists and educators who are credible to increase my understanding of the world.”

Central Colorado Humanists also announced continuing students who received scholarships last year and will receive an additional $1,000 toward their second year of study.

Amelia Tonnesen – University of Northern Colorado

Finley Petit – University of California Santa Barbara

Madison Patch – University of Colorado Boulder

Rebecca Ogden – Mesa State University

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