‘Broadening my horizons:’ NAU welcomes Flinn Scholar to Class of 2027

MIchael-Anthony Rodriguez headshot

Freshman Michael-Anthony Rodriguez came to NAU in part to prepare to be a biology teacher, but also to learn who he is and what he wants to do with his life, both in his career but also out of it.

Being one of only 20 Arizona high school students to receive a 2023 Flinn Scholarship is helping him on that journey.

“My goals at NAU are to broaden my horizons and find what I want to do in my future,” said Rodriguez, a biology for secondary education major from Eloy. “The Flinn Scholarship helps me in these goals because it pays for my undergrad, but it’s more than that. I am now part of a diverse group of scholars who can help me grow and network through all three universities in Arizona to create better lives for all the residents in the state.”

The Flinn Scholarship, which has an acceptance rate of 1.8 percent, is valued at more than $130,000. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, housing, meals and at least two study abroad experiences, as well as becoming a member of the Honors College. Rodriguez joins five other Flinn Scholars at NAU, all of whom represent diverse schools and backgrounds throughout the state. He is representative of the excellence of the 2023 cohort, said Anne Lassen, Flinn Foundation vice president, scholarship and education initiatives.

“Michael-Anthony’s leadership potential was evident from our first interactions with him as a candidate for the Flinn Scholarship. His communications skills, ability to build relationships, empathetic nature and dedication to service set him apart,” Lassen said. “It is reassuring to see talented young leaders like Michael-Anthony pursuing a career in teaching.”

“We are so pleased to welcome Michael-Anthony to the Lumberjack family as a Flinn Scholar, which demonstrates an impressive record of dedication and achievement,” President José Luis Cruz Rivera said. “I’m excited to see him learn and grow through the many opportunities available to him here at NAU and abroad and to contribute to the excellence of NAU’s community of learners and scholars.”

Rodriguez is only a few weeks into his college experience, but he’s happy with his major—for now. He’s keeping his options open.

“I am really passionate about education and fixing the education system in Arizona,” he said. “Growing up in a small rural town, I care a lot about the education in these areas and making sure they got on the playing field of bigger schools in more urban and wealthy areas.”

The other Flinn Scholars at NAU are:

  • Kaya Dickson, music secondary education
  • Emily Delabarra, social work
  • Claire Gibson, geology and philosophy
  • Sakina Lord, data science and modern languages
  • Parris Adams, hotel and restaurant management

“The Flinn Scholarship is the most prestigious academic award for Arizona high school students, and those selected are distinguished not only by their scholastic achievements but also by their record of leadership and service,” Honors College Dean Kevin Gustafson said. “It has been gratifying to see a growing number of Flinn Scholars choose NAU and the NAU Honors College. Michael-Anthony and the other NAU Flinn Scholars exemplify what is best about this university: academic excellence and a commitment to making a difference in the world.”

NAU Communications