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Scholarships make the DU dream possible for second-generation Pioneer

By Sam Faktorow

Achieving excellence is a way of life for Aurora Joe, even in the face of a challenge. This University of Denver student is reaching for her dreams and beating the odds through determination and the help of scholarships at the University of Denver.

A second generation Pioneer, Aurora has lived in Denver since the age of four when her mother came here to pursue a master’s at the University of Denver; her blood runs crimson and gold. In high school, she was a 3.85 GPA student, captain of the poms team, and Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. Simply put, she was an exceptional student. Then, at 17, she unexpectedly became pregnant and feared that she would be another statistic. “My college acceptance letters were arriving in the mail along with baby coupons from Target and I truly didn’t have any idea how I was going to raise a child,” Aurora remarked.

Through hard work, tenacity, and a fierce drive to beat the odds, Aurora graduated from high school, gave birth to her daughter Elena, enrolled at Arapahoe Community College, and finally transferred to the University of Denver in Fall 2011.

Completing her studies in Fall 2014, Aurora has a double major in Business Marketing and Mass Communications and double minor in Legal Studies and Art. Through the Herbst-Dillon Endowed Scholarship, a fund specifically intended for single parents enrolled at DU, and the Taylor Endowed Scholarship, a grant for undergraduate students of color at Daniels, she has been able to successfully pursue her educational goals while raising her daughter.

In her own words, Aurora believes that there are “so many young people like myself out there in the world, with their own unique stories to tell and goals to accomplish, working hard for an opportunity. And I hope the day comes where they are rewarded with an opportunity like I have been.”

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