May 18—Arianna McCarty and Adithya Bhaskara will begin classes this fall at the University of Colorado Boulder and will not only skip past many prerequisite courses freshman are required to take but will also attend without the added cost of tuition and fees thanks to a scholarship program and support of Front Range Community College.
"Front Range as a whole gave me an opportunity to keep reaching further in education," McCarty said.
McCarty and Bhaskara, who are part of Front Range Community College Boulder County campus' concurrent enrollment program, were recently awarded full-ride scholarships through the Boettcher Scholarship Program, which offers about 42 scholarships annually to students attending Colorado universities or colleges. This year, the program offered 50 scholarships — its largest cohort in history, according to its website.
Jessica Peterson, spokesperson for Front Range, said the college does not track the number of Front Range students who have received the Boettcher Scholarship. She added, the school's longtime president, Andy Dorsey, remembers other Front Range students receiving it during previous years.
Although they worked hard to obtain the scholarship, both McCarty and Bhaskara agreed Front Range and the opportunities it provides students, helped their applications stand out from the other 1,500.
"The opportunities I got, especially in math, are really unparalleled to what I've experienced before," Bhaskara said. "I was really glad I was able to do the concurrent enrollment program. It really opened a lot of doors for me."
McCarty, 16, a senior at Centaurus High School, said she has about 60 to 70 college credits under her belt because of the concurrent enrollment program, which gives high school students the ability to take college-level courses either at their high school or at a Front Range campus.
During her time at Front Range, she built a strong relationship with her math instructor, Ken Monks. He wrote McCarty's letter of recommendation for the Boettcher Scholarship, and she also nominated him for the 2022 Boettcher Foundation Teacher Recognition Award, which he received.
"Ken was one of those people that made you excited to learn," McCarty said.
Monks said the Front Range Boulder County campus will use the $500 grant he received as part of the award to start a math competition for middle schoolers.
"The fact that (McCarty) took the time to submit a nomination form was almost better than the nomination itself," Monks said. "I can use that $500 to help find future (McCarty's)."
Bhaskara, 18, is graduating from Silver Creek High School this month. He planned to attend college even if he didn't get the scholarship, but he said the aid quickly solidified his decision to attend CU Boulder where he will major in both computer science and math.
"Even if you are not sure you will get it, the answer is definitely apply," he said. "It has led to this whole sea of opportunities."
McCarty said she was thrilled when she received a package saying she was a scholarship recipient, but she still wavered on staying in-state to study chemical and biological engineering. A major motivating factor that is keeping her in Colorado — other than the scholarship — is the guarantee that all of her Front Range credits will transfer to CU Boulder.
"I have that flexibility and can start diving into the meat of what I am really interested in," she said.
The number of concurrent enrollment and non-concurrent enrollment students who have transferred from Front Range Community College Boulder County campus to CU Boulder has steadily increased in recent years. In 2019, 6.5% of Front Range graduates transferred to CU Boulder; in 2020, 6.7% of graduates transferred; and the following year, 8.1% of graduates transferred to CU Boulder.
"It's cool because a community college serves so many different roles," Monks said. "You do the career (or) technical side, and then you are also interfacing with four-year students and trying to build bridges that way. (McCarty and Bhaskara) both love challenges, and so now they will have that time to fully sink into those academic challenges."