Please welcome Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) as a new associate member to RMASFAA! DSF awards need-based scholarships as high as $13,600 over four years to Denver Public School graduates attending a college or technical school in Colorado. The Foundation partners directly with colleges to provide scholarship recipients with extra financial aid and ongoing support to help them succeed and ultimately graduate.
Q: Tell RMASFAA a bit more about the Denver Scholarship Foundation.
A: Renae Bruning, Director of College Access at DSF, responded that DSF works proactively with all Denver Public School seniors at “Future Centers” located inside the high schools. Each Future Center is staffed by a full-time DSF College Advisor who guides students through the college application and financial aid processes. For every $1 awarded by DSF to scholarship recipients, Colorado partner colleges award an average of $2 in additional financial aid. Partner colleges also provide critical support services, such as mentors, special seminars and tutors to help DSF scholars succeed.
Q: How are your staff members important to DSF’s mission?
A: All DSF program team members interact with students to provide access, scholarships and the opportunity to succeed! DSF’s staff have diverse skill sets and areas of expertise: higher education, teaching, non-profit management, school counselors, community based organization service providers, data/evaluation, etc.
Q: Renae, what brought you to DSF?
A: The work and mission of DSF is personal. I am a product of college access organizations and scholarship providers, and if it weren’t for my involvement with organizations like DSF during high school, my life trajectory would look completely different. Undergraduate and graduate school gave me the analytical skills needed to be successful as a director, but my passion comes from my lived experiences.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your work?
A: Renae: My colleagues. It’s an honor to work with a group of people who genuinely care about each other and our students.
A: Diana: Students are my favorite part of my job. I get to witness their discovery of what is possible and am lucky to be able to help them navigate it. Working with high school students has been the most rewarding job for me because I learn as much or more from them as they do from me.
Q: Do you have a favorite student story to share?
A: Renae: So many! Completing a post-secondary education is hard, especially for many of our students. I am amazed by each student who refuses to give up and finishes.
A: Diana: This is my first year as an advisor with DSF. I recently had a freshman student come in beyond excited. She had just returned from a field trip her class took to the Community College of Denver. She told me that she wanted to start taking concurrent enrollment classes because CCD told her of all the amazing opportunities she could have being the first in her family to go to college. She started crying as she told me how her parents didn’t finish the sixth grade and how happy and excited she was to know that she had so many opportunities. Needless to say I started crying too. This is why I do the work that I do.
Q: What do you do for fun/hobbies/favorites?
A: Renae: Yoga, run, cook, spend time with family, yard work, and live music!
A: Diana: I love to go dancing! Music is definitely relaxing for me and dancing is a way for me to exercise as well as de-stress.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Renae: Memories, especially when traveling around the world.
A: Diana: I collect jewelry from all over the world. I like to get earrings or necklaces from different countries. I haven’t traveled to too many places, but if friends do they always bring me back something.
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: Renae: Family road trips, and anything when I was with my two brothers.
A: Diana: My favorite childhood memory was when I went to my mom’s small town in Mexico one year that my grandfather was still alive. I was around six years old and got to play with the baby pigs, chickens and other animals at his farm. It was the first time I had seen an apple orchard as well. Lots of new exciting experiences for me.
Q: What’s your favorite family recipe?
A: Renae: My mom’s enchiladas! Except there is no recipe. She cooks based on smell and textures.
A: Diana: As simple as it is, my mom’s Mexican rice is still the best rice I have ever had. I have tried numerous times to make it exactly step-by-step how she makes it and it never turns out the same. Mom’s food always tastes the best!
Be sure to welcome DSF to RMASFAA and say “Hi!” to Diana at Summer Institute in Golden, CO next week!