Immersive leaders

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Inside Mines, Spring 2021 | 0 comments

In the world of higher education, Mines is not a large university. But even with more than 6,000 students, it’s possible to get lost in the crowd. That’s where the four scholar communities come in.

Undergraduate students accepted into these communities—either as Caldwell, Grewcock, Harvey or Vanguard scholars—gain access to unique leadership development and service opportunities, in addition to financial aid. And they become part of a tight-knit group from the start of their time at Mines.

Students in these communities are able to take part in workshops and events tailor-made for them, emphasizing skill development and campus involvement.

“It’s been really cool to get outside perspective on what leadership means to other people,” said Katie Lake, a first-year mechanical engineering student who is both a Grewcock and Vanguard scholar. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot about different styles of leadership and ways to work with other people. And it’s very applicable to my classes at Mines.”

For electrical engineering student Ben Baize, being a Grewcock Scholar means being able to find a community at a college far from his home state of Indiana.

“I knew zero people in Colorado before coming to Mines,” Baize said. “This scholarship specifically connected me and bonded me to these nine other individuals. I feel like without this experience, I would’ve struggled with meeting new people, but being part of Grewcock, it hasn’t been hard.”

Taking part in extracurricular activities is an essential component of the scholar programs. Baize said he sought out opportunities because the Grewcock program encouraged him to follow his passions, such as joining the rock climbing club. But when most of the club’s events were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, he had to take even more initiative. Instead of giving up on his interest in rock climbing around Golden, Baize emailed the club and was able to meet up with other members—physically distanced, of course—to do some climbing. He never would’ve been so proactive in pursuing his interests if not for the encouragement of the Grewcock community.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited certain hands-on experiences, students are still able to meet virtually or in smaller groups. Lake said that while it’s been disappointing to not be able to visit companies in person and see examples of leadership in the real world, with key experiences in the Grewcock program, she is still able to put into practice what she’s learning about leadership via Zoom or during outdoor meetings on Kafadar Commons.

With community involvement being a large component of all the scholar programs, Lake ran for programming chair for her residence hall, which she said she wouldn’t have done otherwise. And she said many of her fellow scholars in the Grewcock and Vanguard programs have similarly pursued positions around campus. The scholar communities teach the principles of leadership, but they also encourage students to put them into action.

“Leadership isn’t just something you have and doesn’t grow,” Lake said. “The more you practice it, the better you’re going to get.”

And the more she gets involved on campus because of her scholar communities, the more surprised she’s been by how the programs enhance the Mines community as a whole.

“I expected the talks and the workshops, but I never expected the aspect of getting close to people in the community and making a difference,” she said.

Beyond graduation, being part of a scholar community sets Mines students up for a successful career and the potential to make valuable contributions to the world. According to Andrew Flynn, director of alumni engagement, “Scholar communities allow Mines to graduate engineers that understand teamwork, are prepared to lead and recognize the value of contributing to their surrounding communities.”


Florence Caldwell Achievement Scholarship

Named for the first woman to graduate from Mines, this scholarship is awarded to three incoming first-year students who demonstrate a commitment to the legacy and ideals of Florence Caldwell to help pay for tuition, books and fees.

Grewcock Presidential Scholars Program

Founded by Debra and Bruce Grewcock ’76, this program cultivates the next generation of world-changing leaders. The Grewcock scholarship pays for four years of tuition and fees and is one of the most prestigious and intensive scholarships offered at Mines.

Harvey Scholarship Program

Established in 2009 with a generous gift from the Hugh and Michelle Harvey Family Foundation, this program recognizes and rewards merit in academic performance, outstanding character and leadership and fosters excellence in academic and life pursuits.

Vanguard Community of Scholars

An invitation-only program, Vanguard is for high-potential students possessing leadership skills and the desire to improve our world through science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This program is made possible through the guidance and resources provided by the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (WISEM) Program at Mines.

*Mines hopes to add more scholar communities to offer more students a unique, immersive Oredigger experience. Watch for news in future issues, and get involved at