Originally from Lima, Peru, Kristie Shirley ’20 is a first-year student at Colorado College. Coming nearly 2,000 miles from her current home in Florida to CC required a bold leap of faith that both petrified and excited her.

She has visited the Amazon region twice, and after seeing the incredible beauty of the untouched area, she wants to make sure that it remains that way. Her future goals include working to control populations of stray animals in South America and contributing to preservation efforts of endangered species globally, particularly in the Amazon rainforest.

Shirley is working toward achieving these goals by pursuing a pre-health track here at CC — taking the first step toward achieving her doctorate in veterinary medicine. In addition to her science classes, she also plans to major in sociology.

“Though I do not have a full-ride scholarship, I am fairly close to having all of my tuition paid for and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity,” she says.

Shirley thoroughly enjoys CC’s beautiful campus stating that, “There is nothing like being able to gaze out of the window of the room you’ve been studying in for five hours and catch a glance of the sunset on the mountains.”

She is also involved in projects off campus. She works at Seeds Community Café, which is helping to address food insecurity in the Colorado Springs community by serving organic food to the public, regardless of individuals’ ability to pay.

“I am doing activism to help fight food insecurity and fight the growing food deserts in the lower income areas of Colorado Springs. As a Seeds Sustainability Intern, I do a variety of tasks including helping out at the community garden at the Hillside Community Center as well as helping to organize charity events, such as Winter WonderJam, which raised money for our IndyGive event,” Shirley says.

Shirley believes that the contribution her grants and scholarships have made to her studies will continue to make a difference after graduation. One day, she hopes to give back and perpetuate the opportunities she has been given.