Scholarships Make it Possible for Bara Hanzalova ’17

When she spoke during the 2016 Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon, held during Homecoming on Oct. 14, Barbora “Bara” Hanzalova ’17 took another step in her life’s journey, one that began in her hometown of Beroun, Czech Republic, and has already taken her across several continents. During her time at CC, Hanzalova has built on formative experiences — made possible by generous financial aid awards — to shape her view of the world and the contributions she makes to it.

Through each step Hanzalova has not been alone. Many generous people who possess the vision to see what she is capable of have helped out with guidance, scholarships, and financial aid awards.

“CC attracts people outside of the norm,” says Hanzalova. “When Matt Bonser ’98 from CC’s Admission Office spoke to our school, he inspired me to apply. I was drawn to the college because it is like my high school, which is a place that celebrates diversity.”

Shelby M.C. Davis, cofounder of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, also was a source of inspiration for Hanzalova, who attended Li Po Chun UWC high school in Hong Kong. A Davis UWC Scholarship opened Colorado College’s doors for Hanzalova for each of her four undergraduate years. Today, she is one of 54 Davis UWC scholars at the college.

A Pathway To Altruism

At CC, Hanzalova, who is a physics major, found an opportunity to learn how she could begin to make a difference when she was awarded a Keller Venture Grant. The grant, made possible by the Keller family, supported her project to travel with the Engineers Without Borders Colorado Springs Professional Chapter to work on a water supply repair in Suncallo, Bolivia. She received a second Venture Grant to attend an Engineers Without Borders conference and, afterward, started a CC student group that interacts with professional engineers in Colorado Springs.

The experience further enhanced Hanzalova’s interest in effective altruism, which focuses on using reasoning and evidence to maximize making a difference in the world.

In addition to the Venture Grants, Hanzalova also received a President’s Office Grant to travel to Morelia, Mexico, where she worked with the state ministry of development and Red de Servicios Económicos y Sociales, a small nongovernmental organization (NGO).

“Leaving high school and coming to CC, I was pumped up to make a positive difference,” says Hanzalova. “Yet, I didn’t have much of an idea about how to do it effectively. This changed with the opportunities I had at CC. I have been further developing my ideals regarding philanthropy and have been empowered to turn those ideas into action.”

Others Set a Generous Example

During her junior year, Hanzalova received a Euclid Scholarship, an award for students who demonstrate outstanding promise in mathematics and computer science. Like the Davis UWC Scholarships and Venture Grants, Euclid Scholarships have been supported by people who care about the world and the people in it as much as Hanzalova.

Since 2009, 30 Colorado College students have received Euclid Scholarships in Mathematics and Computer Science, which are given to first- and second-year students who have demonstrated extraordinary potential in both disciplines.

The scholarships were established by CC math alumnus John Tompkins ’89, and recently received another boost from Tompkins and from the estate of Jeanne Lenhoff Williams ’58, a CC mathematics major and career analyst, programmer, and software developer, who passed away in 2015.

With increased funding from Tompkins, Williams, and other generous donors, the Euclid Scholarships will reach even more deserving students like Hanzalova.

A Vision to Empower More Students

The recent gifts to the Euclid Scholarships by Tompkins and Williams also qualified for the CC Endowed Scholarship Challenge 101.

Established last year by an anonymous donor who committed $10 million, the challenge encourages others to support Colorado College scholarships with their own gifts or estate commitments. To date, 20 scholarships have been established or enhanced through the challenge, each one unlocking an additional$100,000 for scholarships from the lead scholarship challenge donor.

“Initiatives like the Endowed Scholarship Challenge 101 allow us to admit many more of the students who are drawn to this unique place, and to our original, and proven, education, regardless of their ability to pay,” says CC President Jill Tiefenthaler. “To do so requires significant financial aid.”

The college is committed to raising $90 million for scholarships for Colorado College students.

With generous members of the Colorado College community like those who have made Hanzalova’s CC experience possible, not only will scholarships continue to make a difference for students, they will empower these students to make a difference for countless others.

“Without the support of scholarships, I would not have had the opportunity to gain this mindset about philanthropy,” says Hanzalova.

When she graduates in May 2017, Hanzalova plans to further her education in and practice of altruism, either by entering a graduate program or by working locally in Colorado Springs, remembering those who formed her CC experience as sources of inspiration to make positive contributions of her own in the world.

“My life has changed,” she says. “I hope I’ll be able to send it forward.”