JA Inspiration Scholarships are awarded to JA students who embody the JA spirit and show great promise in their futures. Following is a list of students who received four-year JA Inspiration Scholarships in 2015.


Jazmin Garcia, York International
Jazmin Garcia is tired. Tired of people thinking that the obstacles they put in front of her will slow her down. But Jazmin has proven time and time again that with persistence, passion and a positive attitude, anything is possible. “I know being able to successfully complete my higher education goals will be more difficult than if I was born here,” said Jazmin. “I will just continue to maintain a positive attitude towards everything and be thankful for the opportunities that I was lucky enough to be granted.”

Jazmin is a first generation college-bound student with the conviction that she will achieve the dreams that her parents could not. Jazmin is a top academic student who has already demonstrated success in college courses since her sophomore year in high school with a 3.3 college grade point average. In addition to being a top student academically, Jazmin is also very active in extra-curricular activities. She has served as Student Council President, is a member of the Debate Team and serves on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.

Jazmin is grateful for the support and dedication of her family and teachers. Her passion for business was discovered and explored through Junior Achievement programs. She credits her time at JA Business Week with showing her the importance of learning about entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. “Since this ignition, I have not doubted what I want to dedicate my career path for the rest of my life,” said Jazmin.

Jazmin plans to major in business marketing with an emphasis in economics at the University of Colorado – Denver. Her dream is revolutionize the way people think about marketing. “Jazmin finds herself beginning to realize all of the hopes and dreams her parents have for her and the sacrifices made so that she could dare to dream,” said Misti Gossett-Thrower, School Counselor for York International.

Mathivadhani Harikrishnan, Rock Canyon High School

Mathi Harikrishnan has haunting memories of her life in rural India. She has seen children with torn clothes and bruised bodies begging on the streets. He has seen a pregnant woman pleading for food so her child could survive. These nightmarish memories do not hold Mathi back; in fact, they fuel her dreams to establish a global nonprofit organization to fight hunger.

Anyone who has met Mathi knows that she has what it takes to accomplish her goals. “Mathi is a goal seeking and self-motivated, and genuine person,” said Janna Robinett, Business/Technology Teacher at Rock Canyon High School. “Her work ethic is unparalleled. She is a self-starter that applies her knowledge and skills to see a project through with success.”

Mathi is the president of DECA, vice president of FBLA, officer of the National Technical Honor Society and vice president of human resources for the High School of Business program. In addition to achieving academic success, Mathi has completed more than 500 hours of community service through her involvement with organizations including Littleton Adventist Hospital, Douglas County Library, Student Advisory Group, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Leadership Douglas County and the 9Health Fair. Her list of honors and awards is extensive and incudes commendations in Speech and Debate, Science Olympiad, as well as in numerous dance competitions.

Mathi credits her Junior Achievement volunteer with helping her to plan for her future. “I didn’t know what to study or what my interests were,” said Mathi. “When I started taking classes with my JA volunteer, she helped me carve my career path.”

Mathi plans to double major in accounting and global business with a dual minor in finance and management at Babson College in Massachusetts. She also plans to earn her MBA from Cornell University. “I will only rest when I know I have helped everyone I can,” said Mathi.

Ashley Pearl Mahan, Mountain Range High School
Ashley grabs life by the horns. She is a survivor who never looks at negative experiences as barriers, but as opportunities to grow, making her stronger and more determined to succeed. “Life is beautiful, no matter how much strife I have lived through,” said Ashley.

Ashley’s optimistic outlook has helped her to overcome obstacles in her past; however it is most evident when she talks about her future. “Business to me is an endless array of possibilities which I ached to grasp,” said Ashely. “The possibilities within the walls of business can lead me down more paths than my imagination would ever be able to conjure up.”

Ashley’s positive disposition has made her a role model at school where she maintains a 3.98 grade point average and participates in several extra-curricular activities including DECA, FBLA and the Key Club. Ashley also plays competitive volleyball for a state championship winning team.

Despite her busy school schedule, Ashely has worked an average of 30 hours per week for the past three years. On the job, her maturity and work ethic have made her a valuable employee. “Ashley always goes above and beyond to assist her co-workers and/or myself,” said Edith Crespin, owner of The Bagel Bakery. “It is rare to meet a high school student who is so mature, organized and results-orientated.”

Inspired by her Junior Achievement volunteer who built his business from nothing, Ashley is going to study business administration at Colorado State University. “Business is calling me,” said Ashley. “I can see my potential and where I feel I will go, I am enthusiastic to start my journey.”

Jillian Troftgruben, Grandview High School
What do you get when you combine the financial savvy of Warren Buffett and the inventing spirit of Steve Wozniak? Jillian Troftgruben.

Jillian is a driven, accomplished young woman who is not afraid to dream big. “My goal is to create a computer program that helps select stocks for international portfolios using a combination of advance mathematics and an understanding of emerging markets,” said Jillian. This career goal is not a pie-in-the-sky idea, but rather a well thought out plan to combine her interests in mathematics, computer science, international relations, foreign languages, entrepreneurship and finance.

Jillian is well on her way to achieving her goals. She is an accomplished student and active member of her school community. She represents the 2015 Grandview High School class as Valedictorian, achieving a 4.0 grade point average. She is also a leader in multiple capacities outside of the classroom. Jillian is president of Mock Trail, FCCLA, Chinese Club and the National Honor Society. She also serves as a youth board member for the Young Americans Center for Financial Education. When not in school, she volunteers as a student leader at the Morgridge Academy summer camp, serves as a teen court attorney, and assists the Colfax Community Network.

Jillian credits her Junior Achievement volunteers for teaching her the fundamentals of business, management, finance and marketing. “It also gave me many tools needed to excel in business and instill a passion for business and community involvement that has influenced my life goals,” said Jillian. “Thorough Junior Achievement, I have met lifelong friends, extraordinary mentors, and tremendous contacts to assist me in the future.”

In college, Jillian plans to further her education in mathematics, business and technology. She also looks forward to networking with other women in technology and business. “I am a very driven person who loves exploring a wide variety of interests,” said Jillian. “While my career path may be unconventional, I know that I will achieve my dream.”

JA also awarded one-time scholarships to:

  • Ariel Doub, Boulder High School
  • Kennede Reese, St. Mary’s Academy
  • Kayla Steffens, Englewood High School
  • Elijah Ullman, Monarch High School