NAU welcoming two new Flinn Scholars

Emily Delabarra and Kaya Dickson

Two of the top high school students in the state are headed to NAU with the support of the prestigious Flinn Scholarship.

Emily Delabarra, a senior at Gilbert High School, and Kaya Dickson, a senior at Page High School, are among the 20 Arizona high school seniors selected for the merit-based Flinn Scholarship, which has an acceptance rate of 1.8 percent; the scholarship is valued at more than $130,000. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, housing, meals and at least two study-abroad experiences. Delabarra and Dickson also will be members of the Honors College and will join the four Flinn Scholars already studying at NAU.

“Being selected as a Flinn Scholar is a testament to these students’ achievements both in and out of the classroom and their goals for the future, which NAU is proud to be a part of,” said President José Luis Cruz Rivera. “I am excited to welcome Emily and Kaya to the Lumberjack family, and we are eager to have them contribute to and benefit from the academic excellence of NAU and our Honors community.”

“This new class of Flinn Scholars persevered through a pandemic and excelled in the classroom and as athletes, volunteers, musicians and school leaders during an incredibly challenging time,” said Anne Lassen, Flinn Foundation vice president for scholarship and education initiatives. “The foundation is excited for what lies ahead for this new class of Flinn Scholars as they begin their undergraduate journeys intent on improving our state and world.”

Getting to know the new Flinn Scholars

Delabarra chose NAU because it offered her a chance for independence while still being close enough to family to go home for weekends. She also appreciated the close-knit community at NAU, particularly in the Honors College. She hasn’t picked a major yet, but she said she’s leaning toward social work—though she has some other tasty interests as well.

“I own a small baking business already, so I think I might double major in business or entrepreneurship alongside social work to one day open up my own storefront,” she said. “But at the end of the day I am pretty much interested in anything’s being everything for my college career!”

She’s excited for the opportunities available through the Flinn Scholarship—in addition to paying tuition, room and board, Flinn offers mentoring and partnership opportunities and study abroad experiences, which is at the top of Delabarra’s list. Gaining a global perspective is key in making a positive change in the world, and no matter her career direction, that’s exactly what she wants to do.

Dickson is planning to major in music education and music performance; it was the music program, in fact, that attracted her to NAU, alongside the forest scenery. Throughout her senior year, she met many faculty members, who were fun and supportive and gave her confidence in the quality of education, mentoring and opportunities she would receive.

One of those opportunities is the travel the Flinn Scholarship offers; she wants to broaden her knowledge in other musical techniques, styles of learning and composition to prepare her to open a studio after college.

“I’m excited to work with talented and experienced professors while being able to do what I love,” Dickson said. “I’m inspired to gather all the knowledge I can and return to my hometown and ultimately transform the current music department—advancing the needs of students to make the program thrive. The Flinn Scholarship is just the beginning of my journey in achieving my goals and plans.”

The other Flinn Scholars at NAU are:

  • Sakina Lord, majoring in data sciences and modern languages, minor in international studies
  • Parris Adams, majoring in hotel and restaurant management, minor in sustainable and resilient communities
  • Maya Steinberg, majoring in women and gender studies, minor in community engagement
  • Claire Gibson, majoring in geology and philosophy with a minor in astrogeology

“NAU is proud to have a record cohort this year,” said Honors College Dean Kevin Gustafson. “The increased number of Flinn Scholars on the Flagstaff Mountain campus is a testament to the growing reputation of NAU and the Honors College for offering a truly exceptional and personalized educational experience.”

Flinn Scholarship benefits

The Flinn Scholarship enables recipients to complete their undergraduate degrees without debt. Other benefits include:

  • Funding for an international summer seminar after the Scholar’s freshman year and at least one additional study abroad experience
  • Participation in an extraordinary communityof nearly 700 current and alumni Flinn Scholars, including about 80 scholars studying at the three universities at any given time
  • Membership in a university honors college, with amenities including small classes, access to top researchers, and guest lectures
  • Personal mentorship from top faculty and exposure to Arizona and global leaders in business, government, science and the arts at exclusive events
  • Intellectual, cultural and social activities developed for Flinn Scholars by both the Flinn Foundation and the universities
NAU Communications