Flinn Scholar, Christina Niyigena


Dacey Cervantes, Senior Spotlight Editor

The Flinn Scholarship, a merit-based award for Arizona high-school seniors, covers the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, housing, meals, and a myriad of exclusive opportunities—a package valued at more than $120,000.  A record 1,014 students applied for the 2020 Flinn Scholarship.  A record 1,014 students applied for the 2020 Flinn Scholarship – they selected twenty winners – and Sahuaro’s Christina Niyigena was one of them. She submitted an application in September. ” I did not think I would be picked, but I lose all the chances I don’t take, so I decided to reply.” Christina shares, she took a leap of faith and even though it was nerveracking she went for it, writing three essays where she had to present herself at her most vulnerable place but also expressing her ambitions and motivations. Ms. Hughes, her freshman English teacher shares that, “To get the Flinn scholarship, Christina had to get through a paper application. Then she had to go to Phoenix for an interview to become a finalist. So, it was a very competitive process. Christina moved to the US in elementary school and overcame many obstacles in her life. She is an incredibly hard worker and the most avid reader I’ve ever met. This scholarship means that she will be able to pursue her dream to go to medical school and will be life changing for her and her family.”

Christina later found out she was a semifinalist, while happy and weary she kept her head up. Some time later, “When I found out I was a designated scholar I was at the library and I started dancing,” she shares as the reality of the biggest opportunity approached her. She has decided to use this scholarship and attend the University of Arizona due to their vast recourses and their pre-med program. Ms. Niyigena would like to major in cognitive and neuroscience.

One dream of Niyigena is to travel to Spain, she’s been learning Spanish since she was 10 and has always felt “gravitated towards their culture,” and one day wants to be fluent in speaking Spanish. With the Flinn Scholarship she has the opportunity to study abroad, in which case she can achieve her dream and live in it while still majoring in the classes she has chosen.