Glendale grads get full rides to state universities

College freshmen have enough to worry about — first time being away from home, making new friends, keeping their grades up — but paying for it won’t be one of them for two Glendale graduates.
Abigail Verdugo and Yuliana Lopez have both earned the Dorrance scholarship, which gives recipients a full ride to Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or University of Arizona.
The Dorrance Merit Scholarship, now known as the Dorrance Scholarship Programs, was established by Jacquie and Bennet Dorrance in 1999 with 10 scholarships. The number of scholarships awarded has grown every year, with 36 given this year.
Eligibility requirements include graduating from an Arizona high school with a 3.0 GPA, being the first in their families to attend college and demonstrating financial need.


Verdugo, who graduated from Ironwood High School in Glendale with a 4.0 GPA, has chosen NAU, and Lopez, who graduated from Metro Tech High School in Phoenix with a 3.95 GPA, will attend ASU.
Verdugo cited climate as one of the major factors in choosing NAU.
“Since I’ve lived in the heat most of my life, I’m really excited for the snow,” she said. “I especially chose going here just because I love the environment and all the trees, I’m really excited.”
She is majoring in chemistry with an emphasis in forensics.


Lopez, who will major in biomedical engineering, chose ASU because of its school of engineering, she said.
“I looked into that, I researched it and I saw that it was a really good engineering program, so I based it off that,” she said, adding that the school’s proximity to her home as well as being accepted into Barrett Honors College also played a part in her decision-making process.
“I really like that small community within a really big one,” she said of the Honors College.
Both girls are currently at NAU completing the Dorrance Summer Bridge Program, one of the requirements for the scholarship.
“One of the reasons we do our Bridge Program is to get our students from all three universities in one place and let them spend time together, get to know each other, get to know us, learn more about the program, what we require and bridge the gap between high school and university, which for some of them is a pretty wide gap,” said Jim Hensley, Dorrance Scholarship Program executive director.
During the Bridge Program, which runs June 9 to July 27, the scholars take math and English courses, which they receive college credit for.
Lopez and Verdugo said the Bridge Program is helping them transition from high school to college.
“The Bridge Program is preparing me for college because it’s giving me initial insight of how the transition from high school is in comparison to college,” Lopez said. “The workload that we get in high school is not comparable to what we get in college. The Bridge Program is pretty much giving us a head start on that. I’ve always been told that going from high school to college is a big transition, it has to do a lot with time management, and your studying strategy, and I didn’t really realize that until the Bridge Program. It’s giving us a little taste of how our class schedule will be when we go into college.”
Verdugo said college courses are more rigorous than high school classes.
“I know it’s helping me with this fall semester,” she said. “I know that I’ll be ahead in how to study and I’ll have a good work ethic, I believe.”
Students attending the Bridge Program also attend faculty lectures to expose them to a variety of different disciplines.
“If you’re worried about money and what it costs and finishing without debt, sometimes you don’t feel like, and maybe you really don’t have, the luxury of exploring, so we try to give them some time to do that with us during the summer program before their first year of four actually gets underway,” Hensley said.
Scholarship recipients also must live on campus their freshman and sophomore years, maintain a 3.0 GPA and 12 credit hours per semester, volunteer 40 hours a year and participate in all aspects of the scholarship program, including regular meetings with advisers.
The application for next school year will go live Oct. 1 at dorrancescholarship.org/applicants/.
The deadline is Feb. 6, 2019.

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