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Some of the most elite high school graduates in the state want to devote their careers to giving back, and they’ve decided the best place to begin that journey is at Arizona State University.
Daniel Nguyen, whose father came to the United States as a refugee, wants to be a military doctor, and Camryn Lizik, whose family has been affected by mental illness, will research the roots of the disease. These future Sun Devils are among this year’s Flinn Scholars, winning one of the most prestigious scholarships in Arizona.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the research. There’s a lot of great research being done at ASU, and I’ve already gotten to speak with many professors and researchers there. I would love to be involved with the new partnership with the Mayo Clinic,” said Nguyen, who is in the 32nd class of Flinn Scholars and one of 10 who will attend ASU.
The scholarship, which started in 1985 and is supported by the Flinn Foundation and the universities, is offered to outstanding Arizona high school students who attend either ASU, Northern Arizona University or the University of Arizona, which also has 10 future students in this Flinn class of 20.
Flinn Scholars are chosen based on merit. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, room and board, and study abroad expenses and is valued at more than $115,000. The summer after their freshman year, the scholars travel together for a three-week seminar in China. The students also get support for off-campus internships and are paired with faculty mentors.
The Flinn Scholars coming to ASU will attend Barrett, The Honors College.
“It is always wonderful each year to hear that many Flinn Scholars will attend ASU and Barrett, The Honors College. We support, advise, guide and mentor them, and they add their extraordinary intellects and interests to our community,” said Mark Jacobs, vice provost and dean of Barrett. “It is a pleasure to see these top scholars from our state spread their academic wings and take flight at ASU and Barrett!”
Nguyen, who is graduating from Liberty High School in the Peoria Unified School District, will major in biological sciences and would like to be a military surgeon. His desire to give back was ingrained by his father, who came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam after the war and eventually became a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.
“He always tried to instill in me the attitude of service and giving back to the country that gave so much to us,” he said.
Like most Flinn Scholars, Nguyen is already quite accomplished, having earned certification as an emergency medical technician at Glendale Community College.
“I got to spend some time doing what EMTs do, which influenced my outlook on my career as well. The ability to work with patients on the provider level is amazing,” he said.
“It’s always felt homey and familiar, and I feel it’s a place where I could make an impact as a student,” said Lizik, who attends Arcadia High School in Phoenix and wants to major in biological sciences.
“My family has a history of mental issues, and I struggle with OCD and it’s something that has a stigma that I would like to see erased,” she said.
“I have a very strong interest in the connection between social science and biological sciences. I’m interested in studying mental illness and how it affects people on a chemical level and how to correct that permanently.”
Another Flinn Scholar and future Sun Devil, Ashley Dussault, also wants to use her major — sustainability — to help people.
“The program is about change, which is what I want to do. I want to plan cities to be better and to help with poverty,” said Dussault, who will graduate from Hamilton High School in the Chandler Unified School District.
She’s especially interested in the social-justice component of sustainability.
“I want to show the people of the world that just because sustainability is happening, they don’t have to be pushed out of their homes and that there’s a place for them in the world.”
Besides Nguyen, Lizik and Dussault, the other Flinn Scholars headed to ASU, along with their high schools and intended majors, are: