The Horatio Alger Association gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money to students all around the country. The program, funded through donors and association members, offers six scholarships to Nevada students in addition to the national scholarships it provides.
One northern Nevada student, Ryan Hopkins from Spanish Springs High School, was the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from the association.
"The scholarship will help me attend college by allowing me to not worry about money problems as much," said Hopkins. "With this scholarship, I will be able to concentrate much more on my studies and get better grades."
Hopkins is part of the University of Nevada, Reno's Upward Bound program, a program dedicated to helping students prepare for college out of high school. His Upward Bound counselor, Jennifer Alt, helped Hopkins through the application process and continues to help Hopkins in preparing for his first semester at the University in the fall.
"The scholarship is given to students who have overcome adversities and hardships in their lives and have succeeded in spite of those challenges," Alt said. "It is a national scholarship, and they only award six scholarships from this foundation to Nevada students. Out of the six awarded, Ryan was the only winner from northern Nevada."
The scholarship also requires that the student have a desire to complete a bachelor's degree at an accredited institution, have critical financial need, demonstrate academic and extra-curricular achievements and be a Nevada resident.
Throughout high school, Hopkins has had strong interests in physical fitness and nutrition.
"I am teaching myself biochemistry, organic chemistry, endocrinology, immunology and kinesiology," Hopkins said. "In college I plan to major in biochemistry, but I cannot wait three years to learn the information, as I need the knowledge for my current research in the previous subjects for my nutrition and fitness research."
Alt wrote Hopkins a glowing letter of recommendation as a requirement for his scholarship application. In the letter, she describes the hardship Hopkins faced in his high school years when his father passed away from cancer last year.
"Currently, Ryan continues to live on his own with his older brother, Sean, in the little house in Sun Valley his father left to them," Alt wrote. "Ryan has found strength from a place deep inside to continue to live and persevere in the face of adversity."
Hopkins looks forward to his time at the University and constantly challenges himself with his educational goals.
"My ultimate goal in life is merely to be educated in human sciences," he said. "My journey for education is my career, it is what truly makes me happy."
The Nevada scholarship is given to six recipients, funded by donor Stephen Wynn.