Each year, two incoming CC students from Colorado are awarded the distinguished El Pomar Scholarship, which helps them experience an exceptional liberal arts education, gain valuable hands-on exposure to the El Pomar Foundation’s work in the nonprofit sector, and encourages them to pursue a career in public policy or nonprofit work by covering the annual cost of tuition and fees, standard dorm room, and meal plan at Colorado College. In order to be considered for the scholarship, candidates must be a high school senior, a Colorado resident, eligible for need-based financial aid and have demonstrated leadership in, and passion for, community service and public policy. For 2017-18, the annual value of this scholarship was over $68,000.
In April, all finalists met and interviewed with Carly Stafford and Will Schiffelbein from the Office of Admission, and Richard Bishop from the Collaborative for Community Engagement. We’re pleased to announce that this year’s recipients of the El Pomar Scholarship are Deksyos Damtew and Abby Mercier!
Deksyos Damtew moved from Ethiopia to the United States with his family at the age of 3. With the support of his family, he has overcome numerous obstacles, including cultural, linguistic and economic barriers, to become a respected leader in many different areas in high school. A successful International Baccalaureate student at Lakewood High School, Damtew has been active in soccer and cross-country, the president of both the Debate Club and DECA, an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, and a member of the local KIVA Club, which distributed microloans to individuals in countries across the world to improve their livelihood and enhance business prospects. Damtew has also been an active member, and is currently serving as vice president, of the Reach for the Sky Foundation, an organization that provides dental supplies such as toothbrushes to underprivileged students within the Denver area. Finally, though certainly not least among his accomplishments, Damtew has been an intern for the Colorado Court of Appeals, learning about the legal system, honing his debate skills, and assisting with various needs of the court. Damtew currently plans to pursue a career in business, economics, or communications. As stated by Will, “It’s rare to see a student who embodies both humility and confidence in equal measure. Deksyos is true to form in both respects. I’m excited to witness his positive attitude and intellectual prowess change our campus—and community– for the better.”
Abby Mercier comes to Colorado College from a family with a strong military connection. Her father went to the Air Force Academy, and impressed upon her the importance of service before self. Mercier’s success at having an impact on the community stems from her ability to relate to others – to give her time and attention to help reach others at a personal level, and then provide the help they need. At Fairview High School in Boulder, much of Mercier’s community work and passion has centered on tutoring, especially Spanish-speaking youth – something she hopes to continue at local schools. When not tutoring, Mercier spent much of her time playing club and varsity soccer. Last summer, she worked at Spyder Active Sports, where she provided administrative and customer service support. This fall, she plans to begin her focus on a medically-focused education so she can begin a career supporting military veteran health. Carly reflected that “Abby’s passion to not only pursue a career in medicine but to use this knowledge to serve underserved and underrepresented populations is nothing short of admirable. She is talented inside and outside the classroom — she’s a whiz in her science classes but also massively talented on the soccer field. Abby is intelligent, articulate, driven, and cares deeply about giving back to the state of Colorado. We couldn’t be happier to name her a winner of the El Pomar Scholarship, and we are lucky to call her one of our own!”
Congratulations to both of these outstanding and deserving students, as well as all of the other remarkable students who applied and interviewed for this award. We all look forward to see what they do while at Colorado College and beyond!
For more information on the El Pomar Scholarship, click here.