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From Daunting Application Process to DU Success Story: First-Generation Student Shines

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Meghan Franklin

Advancement Writer

Profile  •
Campus Life  •

Growing up in the small town of Delta, CO, rising University of Denver third-year student Sameha Haque was overwhelmed by the college application process. “The other applicants seemed so sure about the process; I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t know what I was doing. The whole journey of trying to figure things out for myself was really daunting,” says the first-generation student.

Now, with the college application process well behind her, Haque says she is glad she landed at DU.

While she enrolled at DU intending to study molecular biology and pursue medical school after graduation, Haque recently decided to double-major in biology and political science with a minor in sociology and writing practices.

Haque says her love of writing, which her time at DU has bolstered, played a major role in her decision to switch fields of study.

She recently won an award for an essay on colorism — something Haque has personally experienced as the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants growing up in a predominantly white town. Her essay will be published in WRIT Large, A DU publication that showcases exemplary academic writing across disciplines.

While Haque says that being a person of color at DU has been challenging at times, she also says experiences like the Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (E-STEM) program have given her the chance to find community, bond with people with similar backgrounds and discover new opportunities. E-STEM creates pathways to academic success for students matriculating into DU from historically underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.

“Meeting STEM students with similar backgrounds to my own really helped me see that I wasn’t alone in my experiences,” she says.

Back at home, Haque has a nine-year-old sister and two-year-old brother. She says one of the most rewarding things about attending DU is seeing how much her sister looks up to her.

“She says she wants to go to DU just like me,” Haque says.

Haque says donors made her DU education possible. As a recipient of a Chancellor’s Scholarship, she says the cost for her to attend DU was similar to that of a public institution. Being able to choose DU, with its smaller class sizes and wealth of opportunities, is something for which she is truly grateful.

“It feels really great to know that my parents don’t have to worry about my tuition. Going to another college would have been an entirely different experience,” she says.

To past and future donors, Haque says she would like to thank them for all of the opportunities they have made possible for her and other DU students. When donors give, she says, “they are changing a student’s life.”

To learn about how your gift in support of scholarships can make a difference in the lives of students like Sameha, contact