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Nizhonabah Davis, freshman of distinction

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Cyrus Norcross | The Daily Wildcat

Nizhonabah Davis finishes up her homework at the UA Main Library on Aug. 29. Davis comes from Ganado, Ariz. in the Navajo Nation and is pursuing engineering.

Nizhonabah Rene Davis walked into the heat of her freshman year this fall at the University of Arizona as a freshman of distinction and Flinn scholar.

“I am a very curious person so first I want to come to college because I want to learn,” Davis said. “Second, I hope to help my community because they've helped me in many ways. I hope to use my education in some sort of way to give back to my community.”

From Ganado, Arizona, Davis felt that Phoenix was too big of a city for her and Northern Arizona University was too close to home. Tucson was the perfect fit.

“Our top ranked students want the full package and UA really offers that,” Kasey Urquidez, dean of undergraduate admissions said. “It's not just focused solely on academics, we really look at the whole person when they're applying.”

Davis decided she wanted to major in physics after a class she took in high school sparked her interest, but after exploring different major options, she is leaning towards majoring in engineering and minoring in physics.

RELATED: UA engagement with new students brings most diverse class

Her senior year of high school, Davis became a part of UA's Native American Science and Engineering program and earned valedictorian at her graduation.

Kristopher Kuhl, an economics and government teacher at Ganado High School said what he remembers most of Davis is how often she would show up early for class and stay for any questions.

“She would work on college applications and scholarships consistently," Kuhl said. "Her junior year she stayed once a week to practice for the SAT. She was super dedicated in being prepared for college.” 

When Davis applied for the Flinn scholarship, she could not use the internet where she lived and at the time the dirt roads were not accessible because of the heavy snow. Davis needed to make it in time for a Skype interview for her Flinn scholarship so one of her teachers let her into the school for the interview so she could use the computers there

“Without this teacher's help, where would I be now?" Davis said. "They do the best to help me and all of my peers."

RELATED: UA boasts most diverse freshmen class in university history for Fall 2017

Davis is one of 10 Flinn scholars at UA this semester who helped increase the percentage of UA’s academically talented Arizona residents by 39 percent.

Since 2015, there has been a 7 percent growth in freshman at UA who are Arizona residents. For incoming freshman, 46 percent are coming from a diverse background as well as 51 percent of transfer students, according to UA’s analytics and institutional research.

The value of the Flinn scholarship is greater than $115,000 covering total cost of tuition for any of the three Arizona universities, as well as any mandatory fees and students rooms.

Davis also has interests in joining UA women in physics, women in engineering and the UA quidditch team.

Davis had one more thing to add: she said it would be that college does not feel real yet even though it's already started.


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