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8 winners of prestigious Flinn Scholarship choose ASU

New scholars looking forward to opportunities across campuses

ASU sign on the outside of a building.
July 14, 2022

Eight Flinn Scholars, winners of the state’s most prestigious scholarship, have chosen to become Arizona State University Sun Devils this fall semester.

The eight incoming first-year students, among 20 Flinn Scholars statewide, will be in Barrett, The Honors College at their respective campuses. Five will be based on the Tempe campus, two at the Downtown Phoenix campus and one at West campus.

The Flinn Scholarship, supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation and Arizona’s three state universities, covers the cost of tuition, fees, housing, meals and at least two study-abroad experiences. The merit-based award is valued at more than $130,000.

Karah Mayer

Karah Mayer is looking forward to studying on the West campus.

“I chose ASU because of all the opportunities available,” said Mayer, a graduate of Tanque Verde High School in Tucson, Arizona, who is majoring in biology with a concentration in pharmacology and toxicology. She’s considering a career in researching drug and vaccine development.

“I loved how West was smaller because that was the college experience I was looking for. I can always be part of a huge university or go to a football game or switch majors or be part of the Tempe campus.

“I love that there are so many experiences I can have in one college experience.”

Mayer, a competitive jump roper who’s traveled internationally for matches, would like to start a jump-roping club at ASU.

“Throughout the U.S. there are competitive jump-roping clubs at colleges, and there is a collegiate level of competition to encourage more people to start jumping rope,” she said.

student's portrait

Mia Osmonbekov

Mia Osmonbekov will be a student at the Downton Phoenix campus in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication — her reason for choosing ASU.

"It’s not only one of the top programs in the country, but it’s so awesome that you get an immersive journalism experience as an undergrad,” said Osmonbekov, who graduated from Basis Flagstaff.

“I’ve been really into writing, and when I was thinking of possible careers, journalism really stuck out to me. I think it would be really fun to be an investigative journalist or a foreign correspondent.”

Osmonbekov is looking forward to extracurricular activities.

“There are a bunch of clubs I’m interested in, like the Asian American Journalists Association and the Cronkite Foreign Affairs and International Reporting Club,” she said.

“I can’t wait to make new friends and discover more.”

Diego Chavez

Before even applying for the Flinn Scholarship, Diego Chavez had already decided to attend ASU, where he will be on the Sun Devil wrestling team.

Chavez is a four-time state champion in wrestling and was valedictorian of his graduating class at Santa Cruz Valley High School in Eloy, Arizona.

“I was always planning on going to ASU for wrestling, and I kept good grades in high school and was shooting for valedictorian, which I was able to do, so the scholarship was extra blessing,” said Chavez, who will major in business entrepreneurship.

Chavez’s mother is a nurse, and her work has inspired an interest in health care administration.

“But I’m open to anything,” he said.

“Right now, I’m going into college being open-minded, and I want to figure out who I am as a person and not close any doors.”

The big Tempe campus is appealing to Chavez.

“I come from a really small town, so I’m excited to be living on campus and meeting new people,” he said.

“It’ll be crazy because it won’t just be the kids I’ve known my whole life — it’ll be people from around the world.”

One of Chavez’s high school teachers encouraged him to apply for the Flinn, which he had not heard of before.

“Of course, I was a little intimidated when I saw how many get accepted and the requirements,” he said.

“But I liked how Flinn was looking for people who are unique in their own way and they wanted to see what you do with your life outside of school.”

With each successive round, the questions became deeper, he said.

“I wasn’t really looking at the big picture of winning,” he said. “I was happy that I was able to tell my story that I come from a small town and I’m motivated to show kids in my town that they can be successful.”

Osmonbekov said that one of her teachers mentioned the scholarship to her when she was in ninth grade.

“When my senior year came along and I got a look at how expensive college was, I thought I might as well give it a shot,” she said.

“I never anticipated that I would actually get it, so it was so nice to hear that I did.”

Mayer enjoyed getting to know the other finalists during the Flinn process.

“I became very attached to them and made amazing friendships, which made the process even more intense,” she said.

“Finding out was so sweet because I get to spend the next four years with them.”

The other Flinn Scholars attending ASU, along with their high schools and majors, are: Neha Badhwar, Barry Goldwater High School, psychology; Simra Maheen, Basis Phoenix, psychology; Samantha Munoz, Bioscience High School, nursing; Hannah Lennon, Bradshaw Mountain High School, biological sciences; and Natasha Kiriluk, Westwood High School, political science.

Top image: The West campus is home to one of ASU's newest Flinn Scholars. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News