ACP High School’s Students Make It to the 2023 Flinn Scholarship Semi-Finalists

ACP High Schools Students Make It to the 2023 Flinn Scholarship Semi-Finalists

The Arizona Flinn Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships for so many high school students entering into any of our three state universities, with only 82 Flinn Scholarship Semifinalists being chosen out of more than a thousand applications. The scholarship includes funding for tuition, housing, meals, and study abroad, a value of more than $130,000. But what really is exciting is how four of the 82 semifinalists attend Arizona College Prep High School’s Class of 2023, who are Dean Brasen, Mihira Karnik, Megan Dowd, and Diya Nath. Today, we’ll be talking with two of these Knights, Megan and Diya about the hard work the led up to this outstanding achievement.

Megan and Diya began their respective applications back in September and October 2022, as its due date was on October 17, 2022. In school, Megan is a member of National Honors Society, Future Health Professionals, Science National Honor Society, and Link Crew, as well as vice president of Science Club. Outside of school, she practices dance and plays the piano and cello. “Ballet is a large part of my life,” Megan comments, “and a huge time commitment, so I am not left with very much free time. Most days consist of doing homework, studying, and rehearsing. When I do have some free time, I enjoy reading.”

Our second interviewee, Diya, is an international bestseller of her book, Healthy Habits for a Healthier You, C.E.O. of her own superfood company, OxiBlast®, and a 5th year Hindustani classical vocalist, as well as additional community service regularly through SEWA International. During her free time, she loves to cook and bake desserts, play video games, go on walks, listen to music, and practice yoga.

When it came to her application process, Megan found herself charmed by the benefits of the Flinn Scholarship. “The process of applying did not take very long, but I did spend more time editing essays.” Megan plans on majoring in microbiology or molecular biology in college because she found herself “interested in biology at a minuscule level and my past teachers grew a passion for biology in general.”

Also enticed by the benefits of the scholarship, Diya recalls that the application process took her about a week because of how long the application is, and she worked on small parts every day. “There are three essays as well as short answer questions, and you have to add activities, honors, etc. to the application,” she explains. “You will also need two recommendation letters from high school teachers and an optional counselor recommendation.” When it comes to her future, Diya tells of her journey into the culinary and STEM world. “I used to be very closed-minded concerning the potential of science. I was dead-set on becoming a chef and would tune out any people telling me to consider STEM. However, with my mom’s guidance and passion for STEM Innovation, I quickly became immersed in the field of enterology, neuroscience (specifically neurodegenerative diseases), immunology and its connection to food.” Diya was inspired and merged her two passions together into a plan to immerse herself in undergraduate research opportunities at the college she will go to and major in neuroscience.

“From being an ACP student since 6th grade,”, Megan explains, “it is crazy to see how much both the school and myself have changed. Sometimes I wish I would’ve stopped in certain moments in time to take in what was happening, but I also know I would not have come this far without constantly pushing myself forward. From my high school experience, I hope to have gained the skills necessary to succeed in my young adulthood, both academically and socially.”

Diya, on the other hand, views her senior year as any other high school year: an opportunity to get a good education and another year to do the things that I love, as well as a way to spend time with friends and have some fun before college! Out of her high school experience, Diya hopes to have gained skills that will help her in life later on, such as self-advocation, stress management, collaboration, public speaking, and more.

Finally, when asking the girls what advice they would give to their respective younger, freshmen selves right now that they might have needed to hear, Megan replies, “I would tell my younger self to stop stressing about grades and try to have more fun while you can. And maybe inform my past self about the approaching pandemic and lockdown.” Alternatively, Diya says that she wants “to focus on myself and my passion. There are so many times where I could have invested my time better. For example, taking time to do things that I wasn’t passionate about, things that only gave me stress, doing what everyone else was doing, and not putting in more time for myself. If I focused more on things like my mental and physical health, passions, relationships, etc., I would be able to get better at doing things for other people, handling burnout, stress, and more.”

A hug congratulations to not only Diya and Megan, but also to all the Flinn Scholarship semifinalists! It is such a huge accomplishment, and I know that all of you are excited and relieved to see that the work you have put forth for so many years of your life has finally paid off. As always, Knights, remember to strive for the impossible and be extraordinary!