East High School senior Nakiya Clausell says this isn’t the kind of thing that happens to her. When there is a small chance of getting something she typically hasn’t gotten it, plus she applied for other scholarships and been denied. So why would she get her hopes up?
But, much to her surprise, Clausell received the prestigious Daniels Scholarship, a full-ride four-year scholarship to any accredited nonprofit college or university in the United States. Scholars are selected from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The Daniels Scholarship Program has provided $108.5 million in undergraduate scholarships to more than 3,000 students.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” says Clausell, who lives in Green Valley Ranch. “It’s such a feeling of relief and I feel so blessed. Money would be a really big factor in the decision I make as far as college. To not have that burden and see my peers around me struggling with that, there are almost no words for it.”
When she told her mom, she screamed and jumped up and down.
Clausell thinks being different is one of the big factors that helped her in the selection process. She has always had a diverse group of friends. She runs track, participates in clubs, including the black student alliance, and is open to trying anything, like Frisbee, a sport African Americans typically don’t play at East. “Some of my African American friends were like ‘Why are you doing that?’ And I said, ‘Why not?’ I like being different.”
Clausell plans to attend the University of Miami in the fall and study environmental engineering.