Published: June 12, 2024  |  

Cultivating compassion: How a former BVSD student is shaping the future of healthcare

Colorado is struggling to overcome a nursing shortage that worsened during the pandemic. As the state’s population ages, Colorado will need 10,000 more nurses in the next decade, according to projections.

Thanks to a scholarship from Impact on Education, the state will need one fewer nurse. Boulder High School graduate Adriana Aguirre, a recipient of the Earl & Barbara Bolton scholarship and an alumna of our Career Readiness Academy, represents the future of nursing with her big dreams of diversifying the industry and providing culturally competent care to her patients.

Overcoming financial and educational barriers

Aguirre, a University of Colorado in Denver student, recently finished her first year of college. She spent the year living in a dorm with other students, something she never envisioned for herself growing up. “As a child, my parents faced a lot of financial insecurities,” shared Aguirre. “As I got older and started thinking about college, I didn’t think it would be an option for me.”

Known in high school to be a quiet leader and role model for those around her, Aguirre was determined to find a way to continue her education, applying for and receiving the Impact on Education scholarship. Aguirre was awarded $20,000 towards college expenses, through the $5,000 scholarship that she is able to renew for up to four years.

“I have always had a passion for helping others, I love to serve and give back to my community.”

Adriana Aguirre

Building a support system

Once she overcame the challenge of funding her education, Aguirre encountered new obstacles as a first-generation college student. “The level of independence and responsibility I needed was more than I expected,” said Aguirre. “My parents don’t know what college is like, so I wasn’t able to ask them, ‘How does this work?’” Always persistent, Aguirre leaned into the support systems offered by the university and credits her successful first year to utilizing professor office hours and the campus tutoring center.

She also formed relationships with her TRIO mentor and her dorm roommate, who Aguirre will live with again next school year. “It helped to relate and bond with other students who have similar backgrounds or are first generation,” she said. “My roommate became my best friend.”

Aspirations for a diverse and inclusive healthcare future

Though challenging, the academic rigor of college was easier to overcome for Aguirre. Her favorite classes were the three science labs needed for her major—she loved hands-on learning. Continuing in nursing next year, Aguirre is excited to become a bilingual nurse who will bridge the communication gap and create connection and trust with her patients, especially those who speak Spanish.

“I have always had a passion for helping others, I love to serve and give back to my community,” said Aguirre. She also hopes to inspire future students of color to consider a nursing career, underscoring the need for increased diversity in healthcare. 

Aguirre says she would describe her future as “hopeful” and is grateful for her scholarship. “This scholarship for students like me isn’t just about paying for college,” said Aguirre. “It opens doors to better jobs and careers that will have a lifelong impact and possibly help future generations.”

We’re so excited to see what Aguirre accomplishes in her sophomore year!


Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the generosity of our community to put our mission into action.

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Impact on Education
721 Front Street, Suite A
Louisville, CO 80027

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