Naya Ziegler

When Naya Ziegler was in 8th grade, she participated in a robotics program, which sparked her interest in attending Mines. Her group was tasked to create a project that would improve bodies. After talking with amputees, they came up with a design called the Bio Sleeve that was supposed to help regenerate a limb. Now, five years later, Naya is a freshman at Mines and wants to build her career on her first experience at Mines; she hopes to help others once she graduates.

Naya is a first generation student from Sheridan High School, a low-resource school located on the outskits of Denver. Although her dream has been to come to Mines since that robotics program, she knew there were going to be some bumps along the way. "My parents never went to college. Trying to apply, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how FASFA worked. It was difficult to find a way to afford college," she said. She was lucky enough to be part of the Challenge program during the summer before her freshman year at Mines and that helped her create on-campus connections that proved to be helpful during the transition to college. 

"My parents always wanted to help out but they didn’t know what to do. It was hard for them to see this big number on the bill. Part of it was up to me to figure it out. I went to people who had been to college and asked 'how do I do this?'" 

Naya is the recipient of the Bliss Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to first generation students. This financial support has been crucial to Naya's success and enjoyment of her first semester at Mines. Naya is also strengthening her support system living in the Honors Themed Learning Community and socializing with them, as well as her friends in the Nucleus Scholars Themed Learning Communities.