When Millennium High School senior Catherine Broski toured in-state schools with other Flinn Scholar finalists, she admitted she was a little intimidated.
“You get to know who you’re up against for the scholarship,” Broski said. “Everyone else was so amazing in the things they do. It was a real honor to meet them. I was worried that people would just drop hints about all the things they do, but it was the complete opposite of that. Everyone was welcoming, friendly and supportive of each other.”
She’s impressive herself. She was named one of 19 Flinn Scholars. A record 1,014 Arizona high school seniors applied for the Flinn Scholarships, producing a less than 2% award rate.
“There is so much to admire in each of these Flinn Scholars,” said Anne Lassen, Flinn Scholars program director. “They are all extremely bright and excel in the classroom. But what makes them stand out is how they engage with the world, their dedication to their schools and communities, and their motivation to have a positive impact on the future of Arizona and beyond.”
The merit-based award—supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation in partnership with Arizona’s three state universities—covers the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, housing, meals and a myriad of exclusive opportunities—a package valued at more than $120,000.
The Flinn Scholars Class of 2020 will attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona this fall. Broski is headed to UA, where she will major in its program for philosophy, politics, economics and law.
“I’d like to go to law school and either work on policy writing or human rights law,” Broski said. “I’ll see where undergrad studies take me.”
The other Flinn Scholars have selected a wide range of fields for their studies, including entrepreneurship, biology, astrophysics, philosophy, pre-veterinary medicine, public policy, chemical engineering, linguistics, pre-neuroscience and physiology.
“Each year, this rigorous and competitive application process offers us a glimpse into the potential and impact of Arizona students. I continue to be amazed at their academic accomplishment and dedication to extracurricular activities that serve the community,” Flinn Foundation President and CEO Tammy McLeod said.
“We are proud of the role the Flinn Scholars Program has played over its 35 years in Arizona’s educational ecosystem and the benefits it continues to offer not only the students who become Flinn Scholars but the entire state.”
During her time at Millennium, Broski organized a “Shoot for the Stars” workshop to encourage students in the community to be high achievers. The workshop was inspired by Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership’s World Leadership Congress that Broski attended as a regional representative.
The program teaches and inspires young people to think critically and to appreciate a life dedicated to service and social change.
Since June 2019, she has been the state director of March for Our Lives Arizona. During the quarantine, Broski has been creating graduate cards for students affiliated with Homeless Youth Connection.
“It’s a nice thing to do for students in that program,” she said. “I can make a changeable difference.”
Dolores Broski has always seen the ambition in her daughter. In the first grade, Broski was the first one who could count to 1,000. The precocious child had her eye on the sprinkle crayon prize.
“She’s really motivated,” Dolores said. “She’s self-motivated. When she was named state director of March for Our Lives Arizona, it was ‘hold on for the ride’ at that point.”
Broski saw protestors in Downtown Phoenix, but her experiences with HOBY convinced her parents that they could trust her maturity and judgment.
“Flinn’s a big deal,” Dolores added. “It’s a big deal for us. She was accepted at Stanford, the George Washington University, Vanderbilt and Duke, but then all this crazy stuff (COVID-19) happened. She wanted to be two hours away from home instead of 10 hours.”
Her father is just as thrilled.
“We’re really excited about her accomplishments and opportunities,” Joe said. “We’re very excited about Flinn. Academically, nonacademically, socially and with leadership positions, she’s always stretched herself to full capability. We’re very excited for her to move on to the next chapter and meet new friends and face new challenges.”