Two Red Mountain High School seniors have been selected to receive the prestigious Flinn Scholarship.
Heather Jensen and Roxanne Dyer both were announced as recipients of the scholarship, which awards a full-ride to any of Arizona’s three universities, covering all tuition and related fees, housing and meals. It is valued at more than $120,000.
Red Mountain also is the only high school in Arizona to field two Flinn Scholars this year.
“I always planned on paying for college myself, but I was always hoping for a scholarship,” Heather said. “The Flinn will allow me to sustain myself without having to work, which gives me so much more free time to do the things I’ve wanted to do.”
As part of the scholarship, Heather and Roxanne will also get a three-week summer seminar after their freshman year and one study-abroad experience.
According to the Flinn Foundation website, they will also receive mentoring from top faculty members at their university as well as exposure to Arizona and global leaders in a variety of categories, including business, government, science and the arts. The scholarship also enrolls them into the university’s honor college.
Heather plans to attend the University of Arizona next year and triple major in neuroscience, statistics and creative writing. She plans to take advantage of the scholarship’s study-abroad program – something she wouldn’t have imagined of doing previously due to the additional cost.
Along with maintaining a 4.81 weighted GPA, Heather is also involved with several extracurricular activities at Red Mountain.
She participated in the Speech & Debate Team and ran the school’s Spoken Word Slam Poetry Team, stepping down from her role as president this year. She also served as the vice president of Red Mountain’s National Honor Society and chaired for High School Democrats of Arizona.
Outside of school, Heather was a National Student Poet as a junior, representing the southwest region and travelling across the country to host workshops for high school poets. She also runs Creative Youth of Arizona.
“I hope to extend that program to Tucson when I go down there next year,” Heather said. “It’s something I really enjoy working on, giving people opportunities to grow creatively and be poets in this instance and other creative opportunities as well. Arizona doesn’t really have a lot of that so it’s exciting.”
Heather and Roxanne, who will attend Arizona State, both had to go through an application process with multiple essays and meet a number of prerequisites to even be considered for the scholarship.
Students must be a U.S. citizen and have lived in Arizona for at least two years. Generally, they have to had participated in extracurricular activities and shown an ability to lead at their high schools. They must also maintain a 3.5 GPA, be among the top 5 percent of their graduating class and have a minimum score of 29 on the ACT and 1340 on the SAT.
Heather scored a perfect 1520 on her PSAT and a 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT.
“We have a lot of really good academic programs and I know out of the Mesa Public School District, Red Mountain has the most AP classes,” Heather said. “But we also have a really good counseling department. I know I would not have been able to apply to Flinn or apply to a lot of the other scholarship I did without my college counselor. They really gave me all the resources I needed.”
The Flinn Scholars Program was founded in 1986 and is funded by the Flinn Foundation, a private non-profit created by cardiologist Dr. Robert S. Flinn.
The scholarship is awarded annually and this year, 1,014 applications are received, with only 19 selected for scholarships.
Heather and Roxanne are the 11th and 12th students to be selected for the Flinn Scholarship from Red Mountain. The first, Patricia Cumberland, was selected in 1994.
She went on to attend the University of Arizona to study biochemistry. Alexander Buckley was the last Red Mountain student to receive the scholarship in 2014. He went on to study mechanical engineering at Arizona State.
“I think last year Red Mountain had two students who were up for the Flinn Scholarship as finalists and now this year it has two students who received it,” Heather said. “It’s been a good couple of years for Red Mountain.”