Published: March 1, 2023  |  

How a scholarship is helping this BVSD graduate build an engineering career

We proudly awarded Shannon Blanco with the inaugural Earl & Barbara Bolton Scholarship in May 2021. The $5,000 Bolton scholarship is renewable for up to four years, contributing $20,000 toward the college education of each recipient.

Shannon was planning to pursue biomedical engineering and the Business & Engineering Women in Technology program at CU-Boulder. We checked in with her two years later to see how the scholarship is supporting her education. 

What led you to apply for the Earl & Barbara Bolton Scholarship?

In high school I did a lot of extracurricular activities and volunteering. I really liked the values of the Boltons and I found that I aligned with them a lot. The Bolton Scholarship really values service and through college my goal is to help others by working in the biomedical field.

Learn more about the history of the Earl & Barbara Bolton Scholarship >> 

What are you involved with so far on campus?

Outside of classes I’m working in the soft tissue engineering lab on campus, which I got into through the CU Summer Program for Undergraduate Research. I work on 3D printing biomaterials like bone and cartilage. I’m in the biomedical engineering society and plan on joining another club this year – either the women engineering society or the mechanical engineering society.

I’ll be studying abroad in Rome this May and then participating in cancer research at Anschutz Medical Campus this summer! I’m also involved in club soccer.

What have you learned about yourself and your studies?

The most important thing I have learned is: failure is good. You’re going to face failures along the way and you shouldn’t see it necessarily as a drawback, it’s just something you have to work on and overcome. I failed my first statics test and I thought, “I don’t know how I’m going to pass this class.” But I was able to not get too down about it and I met with my professor. I worked super hard and was able to finish the class with an A. 

“Never let your failures set you back, keep plowing ahead.”

Shannon Blanco, 2020 Bolton Scholarship Awardee

How will this scholarship support your future?

To me, the biggest thing a scholarship provides is support. Not only do college students receive financial support, but it’s like having a mentor – someone else is there to help make sure you can get through and graduate.

What advice do you have for someone going through the scholarship process?

Apply to everything! Even if you don’t fully meet the requirements, it’s always worth applying. Also, reflect on your own values before you apply. You want everything you are saying to sound reflective of you and what you want to do in the future.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am extremely grateful for Impact on Education and their support for me in college. I really hope they continue to support other college students in the future!


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

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