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Amazon scholarship helps Colorado Springs senior become a first-generation college student

The Amazon Future Engineer grant gave $40,000 to eight Colorado students
Posted at 4:57 PM, May 10, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — A $40,000 scholarship from Amazon is helping one high school senior attend college next year.

St. Mary's High School senior, Christian Ruiz Mendez, is one of just eight seniors in the state to get the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship.

"I like to use the word, incomprehensible because it's like all the work I've done and what it means for my future," said Mendez.

Mendez said it's not all about the money, but more about the opportunity to represent his family as a first-generation college student. And he thanks his mom for everything.

"I share it with her, it's just as much for her as it is for me," said Mendez.

The scholarship helps underserved students pursue an engineering degree at any college.

"He's had more challenges than many of our students here at our private school have," said Mendez's teacher and mentor Mike Kloenne.

Kloenne said Mendez had to overcome a lot to get where he is, like learning English as a native Spanish speaker.

"I've had many students over my ten years here at St. Mary's and many work hard but none work harder than Chris," said Kloenne.

Mendez will study computer science at Loyola Marymount University in California.

"Now that [money] has been taken care of, I can do a lot more, a lot more from there because I want to do more," said Mendez.

All scholarship recipients will also get a paid Amazon internship after their freshman year.
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