Paradise Valley High School graduating senior Julia Groman, 18, has been speechless just once in her life: when she received the Flinn Scholarship.
“When I received the call, I was absolutely thrilled,” Groman said. “I’ve never really been speechless in my life before, but the magnitude of getting the scholarship was pretty overwhelming.”
Groman is one of 19 Arizona high school students who recently learned they’ve received the prestigious scholarship this year.
In partnership with Arizona’s three state universities, the Flinn Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, housing, meals and more – a value of more than $120,000.
But for Groman, it isn’t solely about the money.
“The Flinn Scholarship to me is an amazing opportunity to access a network of fellow scholars and to be able to travel abroad without the worries of paying for college,” the northern Scottsdale resident said.
Flinn Scholars must attend one of Arizona’s three state universities and 12 of the 19 chose the University of Arizona, six picked Arizona State University and one selected Northern Arizona University.
According to UArizona, this year’s crop is the largest in about a decade – and includes Groman, who was also accepted into New York University, Brandeis University, American University and Lehigh University.
“The University of Arizona offers me all the opportunities necessary to pursue my future,” Groman said. “I really liked the campus feel and the programs at the University of Arizona. Everyone I talked to was extremely supportive and helpful.”
Groman also received the Wildcat Distinction Scholarship and the Spirit of Excellence Award.
She also received four other scholarships but didn’t accept them: the Baird Scholarship, Brandeis Presidential Scholar, American University Presidential Scholar and the Lehigh University Trustees’ Scholar.
“[The Baird Scholarship] also covers full tuition/room and board, so to accept both is redundant,” she explained.
Groman will become a member of UArizona’s Honors College and receive mentoring from top faculty.
The Flinn Scholars also have the opportunity to study abroad in a country of their choice.
“Their Honors College is modern and very nice to live in and there are many opportunities to start in research projects immediately,” Groman said.
At Paradise Valley High School, Groman was the president and debate captain of the school’s speech and debate team.
And she was a member of in HOSA-Future Health Professionals, the National Honors Society, the Society of Women Scholars, and the Spanish Honors Society.
She also performed in the orchestra.
“Julia is an excellent student, a caring peer, and a selfless contributor to our school community,” said Principal Ian Deonise. “PVHS has built a culture of P.R.I.D.E. the Julia exemplifies in all that she does.”
P.R.I.D.E stands for Prepare, Respect, Initiate, Do and Excel; and, according to Deonise, Groman is a role model for her peers in all aspects.
“I know how competitive and prestigious ‘the Flinn’ is, and I believe Julia is an excellent choice,” he said. “I know she will take full advantage of all the opportunities the Flinn Scholarship affords her and make the most of them. She’s driven to succeed and to make the world a better place as she does so.”
“I couldn’t be more proud to have Julia Groman represent PVHS as a Flinn Scholar,” Deonise continued.
Over the past seven years as principal of the school, Deonise has seen at least four other seniors receive the Flinn Scholarship.
“In fact,” he added, “another PV student was offered the Flinn this year as well as Julia.”
Amulya Bhaskara took the McDermont Scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas instead.
The Flinn Scholarship is intended to keep Arizona-based talent in the state.
According to Terry Hunt, dean of UArizona’s Honors College, when top students leave smaller states, like Arizona, statistics show they often do not come back.
“This ‘brain drain’ means that talented and promising leaders in their fields are not here to enrich Arizona and help us better succeed,” Hunt told UANews.
The 19 Flinn Scholars’ chosen fields include entrepreneurship, biology,
astrophysics, philosophy, pre-veterinary medicine, public policy, chemical engineering, linguistics, pre-neuroscience, and physiology.
Groman plans to study journalism and political science foreign affairs.
“But I’m also considering minoring in a language,” she added.
“I’ve always been interested in journalism, politics, and diplomacy, and have had some involvement with working with refugees in Phoenix, so I wanted to pursue a major both interesting and that places me on the right track for my interest area,” Groman explained.
A record 1,014 Arizona high school seniors applied for the Flinn Scholarship.
“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.”
“I’m so honored and grateful for the Flinn Foundation and the awesome teachers and programs in PVUSD,” Groman added. “I’m looking forward to being a Wildcat!”