20 new Flinn Scholars chosen among Arizona’s top students

April 24, 2013

By hammersmith

PHOENIX—Twenty of Arizona’s most talented high-school seniors have been awarded the 2013 Flinn Scholarship, an intensely competitive and prestigious merit-based award that provides a comprehensive educational package at an Arizona public university.

Each award, provided through a partnership between the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation and the universities, includes tuition, room and board, international study-related travel, personal mentorship by university faculty, and other benefits. The package is valued at more than $100,000.

A total of 653 high-school seniors from throughout Arizona applied to be a member of the 28th annual class of Flinn Scholars.  

“Arizona faces many complex challenges, but I’m filled with hope about our capacity to meet them when I look at these 20 Flinn Scholars,” said Jack B. Jewett, President and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “These students emerged from an applicant pool larger than any we’ve seen in the past 25 years. Their accomplishments and dedication to their communities have already strengthened our state.”

The new class includes the first Flinn Scholars chosen from four high schools: BASIS Tucson North, Bioscience High School in Phoenix, Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson, and Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande.  The 20 Scholars represent 14 high schools in nine cities and towns across Arizona: Casa Grande, Chandler, Flagstaff, Glendale, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Prescott, Tempe, and Tucson. Five schools had multiple Scholars, including Hamilton High School in Chandler with three. The four schools with two Scholars each include Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools in Phoenix, University High School in Tucson and Prescott High School.

As a group, the new Scholars averaged 1464 out of 1600 on the math and verbal sections of the SAT and 32 out of 36 on the ACT.  Nine Scholars were finalists in the National Merit competition—a benchmark honor of the top high-school students nationally.

“It’s no surprise, given our new Scholars’ academic profiles and demonstrated leadership, that the most prestigious universities in the country recruited them intensely over the past two years,” said Matt Ellsworth, director of the Flinn Scholars Program and a 1993 Flinn Scholar. “In choosing the Flinn Scholarship, they underscore the magnificent opportunities available to honors students at Arizona’s universities—from engaging in the performing arts and scientific research, to the formation of personal partnerships with renowned faculty.”

Becoming a Flinn Scholar involves an application and interview process that is substantially more competitive than the admission process for the most selective liberal-arts colleges and research universities. Only 3 percent of applicants were selected for the scholarship. In March, 42 finalists were interviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of respected Arizona leaders. The 20 selected Scholars accepted their offers in April and will begin their undergraduate education in August.

The high-school seniors will be formally introduced May 4 in Phoenix, where they and 16 Flinn Scholars graduating from Arizona’s universities will be honored at a dinner attended by about 200 family members, university officials, and community leaders.  Each new Flinn Scholar will also recognize an educator of their choice who has influenced their education in a substantial way.

The Flinn Scholars Program is among a handful of statewide or regional merit-based undergraduate scholarship programs run by private philanthropies. In addition to expenses covering eight semesters of study at an Arizona public university, the scholarship package includes:

a three-week intensive summer seminar abroad;

at least one additional study/travel experience abroad or in the United States; 

mentorship by a university faculty member in the Scholar’s field of study; 

invitations to cultural events and activities designed to introduce the Scholars to leaders in various fields; 

membership in an active and mutually supportive community of 525 Scholars and alumni. 

Baseline requirements for applicants this year were:

a minimum 3.5 grade-point average; 

a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class; 

a minimum score of 1300 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT; and

participation and demonstrated leadership abilities in extracurricular activities.

To retain the scholarship, Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average and participate in campus or community activities.

The Flinn Scholars Program, begun in 1986, is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization based in Phoenix. The Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to the Scholars Program, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.