2023 Flinn Scholars commend distinguished educators and mentors  

May 10, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

2023 Flinn Scholar Carol Chen honors her distinguished educator, Debbie Nipar of Hamilton High School, during the May 6 Flinn Scholars Recognition Luncheon.

A teacher can have an impact on a student starting very early on in life.

In the case of Class of 2023 Flinn Scholar Ariana Delgadillo, it was her kindergarten teacher, Susie Pozo, at Silvestre Herrera Elementary School in Phoenix.

Pozo and 19 other Arizona elementary-, middle-, and high-school teachers and mentors were honored May 6 by the Class of 2023 Flinn Scholars at the annual Flinn Scholars Recognition Luncheon at the Omni Scottsdale at Montelucia.

The new class of 20 Flinn Scholars, which was announced by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation in April, each selected a “Distinguished Educator” who has made a substantial impact on their life and educational pursuits—and honored them on stage with a plaque and a words of praise and gratitude.

The educators taught the new class of Flinn Scholars a wide range of high-school subjects, including biomedical sciences, calculus, U.S. history, English, psychology, bioscience, robotics, and more. There were two elementary-school educators and a middle-school English teacher, as well as mentors from Upward Bound and Arizona State University West. 

Carol Chen of Hamilton High School in Chandler recognized her Honors Science Research teacher, Debbie Nipar.

“Mrs. Nipar’s enthusiastic support for both my scientific and crochet-crafting pursuits gifted me with relentless curiosity and taught me to take pride in myself,” Chen said.

Michael-Anthony Rodriguez chose to honor Joshua White, a music teacher at Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in Eloy.

“Mr. White played an important role in influencing me to pursue education and make a difference. My love of marching band and music sprouted and grew in his class. He was a major constant in my high-school education and was always there when you needed him,” Rodriguez said.

The 2023 Distinguished Educators are:

Alejandra Acedo
Upward Bound
Scholar: Samuel Gonzalez

Brian Bindschadler
English, Orange Grove Middle School, Tucson
Scholar: North Zhang

Rachel Cupryk
AP English Language and English Literature, Red Mountain High School, Mesa
Scholar: Quinlan Harris

Valerie Garcia-Denogean
Life Skills, Superior Junior/Senior High School
Scholar: Nathan Taylor

Christopher Harris
History, Desert View High School, Tucson
Scholar: Matthew Gibson

Arlie Hunt
AP Human Geography and AP U.S. History, Basha High School, Chandler
Scholar: Cameron Bautista

Joseph Kubiak
English and Psychology, BASIS Mesa
Scholar: Elizabeth Ghartey

Kayla Kully
Honors Biology, Honors Biotechnology 1 and 2, and Honors Forensic Science, Poston Butte High School, San Tan Valley
Scholar: Riley Campbell-Biter

Michelle Landreville
CREST Bioscience, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Gia Saggar

Joseph Arthur Mann, Ph.D.
Humane Letters, North Phoenix Preparatory Academy, Phoenix
Scholar: Sam Benavidez

Lauren Miller
English, Marcos de Niza High School, Tempe
Scholar: Makayla Johnson

Vernon Morris, Ph.D.
Research Mentor, Arizona State University West, Glendale
Scholar: Nagasriya Ramisetty

Debbie Nipar
Honors Science Research, Hamilton High School, Chandler
Scholar: Carol Chen

Michelle Okun
Robotics and Guidance Counselor, Desert Mountain High School, Scottsdale
Scholar: Zack Okun

Heather Polk
Science, Surprise Elementary
Scholar: Fatem Kadhem

Susie Pozo
Kindergarten, Silvestre Herrera Elementary, Phoenix
Scholar: Ariana Delgadillo

Harry Ramirez
Sixth Grade, Amerischools Academy Yuma-North
Scholar: Kaylee Woods

Kim Rodgers
Biomedical Sciences, Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale
Scholar: Taylor Raney

Dawn Stark
Calculus, Youngker High School, Buckeye
Scholar: Joshua Bunnell

Joshua White
Music, Santa Cruz Valley Union High School, Eloy
Scholar: Michael-Anthony Rodriguez

The May 6 event also introduced the Class of 2023 Flinn Scholars and recognized the accomplishments—and shared the future plans—of outgoing Flinn Scholars from the Class of 2019.

Each Flinn Scholar receives a full ride at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona—a value of more than $130,000. The comprehensive package includes the cost of tuition, fees, housing, meals and at least two study-abroad experiences.

The Flinn Scholars Program, now in its 38th year, is supported by the Flinn Foundation in partnership with Arizona’s three state universities. The merit-based award is the most competitive and prestigious college scholarship in the state, with a 2023 award rate of 1.9%.

There are now more than 700 current and alumni Flinn Scholars contributing to their schools and communities.
Read more:

Flinn Foundation selects 20 top Arizona students for 2023 Flinn Scholarship

Outgoing Flinn Scholars join alumni community, pursue graduate study and careers

Meet the 2023 Flinn Scholars (PDF)