JA Inspiration Scholarships are awarded to JA students who embody the JA spirit and show great promise in their futures. Read more about the outstanding students who received $5,000 JA Inspiration Scholarships in 2018.

Tristan Abarca
Graduated from DSST: Cole
Attending Stanford University

Isaac, Madison, Lilly, AJ, Adrian, Amarice, Gabriel. Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska. Imagine being the oldest of eight with those eight siblings living in three different states. How do you keep up with them? How do you show them the right path? How can you be a role model? Those are exactly the questions Tristan Abarca, a graduate from DSST: Cole High School, has had to answer not only for himself but also for his family. Without being able to be with his siblings physically, he knew the only way to truly lead them was through his actions. Whether it be by being the captain of Denver North High School soccer team for three years, or getting a 4.00 GPA, or leading walkouts at his school, Tristan truly believes in leading through his actions. By putting his best effort into everything he does, Tristan hopes to be the first, but not the last, of his family to attend and complete college.

Tristan’s first experience with JA was the summer of his sophomore year when he attended JA Business Week. He loved it so much that he returned for a second year, the summer of his Junior year. There Tristan not only won the competition but also found something he is passionate about: finance.

Next year, Tristan is going to be attending Stanford University with a plan to major in Computer Science. Although he won’t be studying finance, Tristan explains “I will never forget what JA Business Week has given me. I love finance and will do anything I can to continue learning about it.”

Tristan credits his acceptance to Stanford to all of the summer programs he has completed. He says, “At that point, everyone has the same grades and SAT scores. It’s what you do outside of school that sets you apart.” He thanks the summer programs he completed like Generation Teach, a 7-week teaching fellowship program for high school and college students, Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse American, a program that helps low-income students get into selective schools, and Junior Achievement for setting him apart.

Duncan Mazza
2018 Carson J. Spencer Scholarship Recipient
Graduated from Horizon High School
Attending Olin College of Engineering

Duncan’s is a driven, focused, and organized individual who’s thirst for knowledge and experiences has lead him to success in multiple pursuits. From a young age, Duncan was involved with music through piano lessons and has continued this passion throughout the years by playing for multiple bands, most recently his school’s top jazz orchestra. He hopes to continue music as a hobby while pursuing a degree in engineering.

While Duncan’s engineering endeavors stem from a love for math and science, they are not without a paralleled interest in business. Duncan’s first experience with business was the JA Business Week of 2016, where he led his company in the Otter Products Challenge. Through this experience Duncan developed immensely as a leader while also getting his first taste of marketing. As a bonus, his team won first place in the competition.

Since then, Duncan conducted a DECA market research project for Denver-based small business MOD Assistants to recommend implementations of social, local, and mobile marketing strategies. Following that, Duncan attended the JA Venture Academy and, along with some friends, combined his interests in marketing and music to conceptualize a company designed to boost local bands’ social media presence. While this company never came to fruition, Venture Academy mentor and entrepreneur Jon Kim employed Duncan as a social media marketer for his business University of Rock where Duncan still works to this day. Duncan also created another startup business plan with a friend – again leveraging the idea of helping others with their social media marketing – that that earned him a spot as a DECA state finalist for the Small Business Startup Plan event.

“What ties all of my different interests together is a love for creating something, be it music or a business plan. I dream of my creative tendencies leading to a future as an entrepreneur – and for this I attribute significant credit to JA for playing an integral role in stimulating my entrepreneurial desires and developing me as a leader,” said Duncan. Helping him achieve that goal will be his attendance at the Olin College of Engineering that both partners with Babson, a college widely recognized as the top school for entrepreneurship, and has an emphasis on entrepreneurship within its engineering curriculum. Duncan doesn’t yet know what type of engineering he will pursue, but he is confident that his experience with JA will make him an engineer – and perhaps entrepreneur – well-rounded in leadership and business skills.

The following students were selected to receive JA Inspiration Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $1,500:

Izzabella Gonzalez
Graduated from East High School
Attending the University of Southern California

Shaian Gutierrez
2018 Kinslow Scholarship Recipient
Graduated from Mapleton Early College
Attending Colorado College

Lexis Nylund
Graduated from Fossil Ridge High School
Attending Colorado Mesa University