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Kevin Ortiz and Jill Shuss named 2022 New Century Scholars.

Two FRCC students have been awarded the prestigious national New Century Scholarship—they are the only scholars selected from the state of Colorado. They were chosen from a national pool of more than 2,200 applicants from more than 1,200 college campuses across the US.

Kevin Ortiz has worked as a diesel mechanic and is now changing careers—he plans to transfer to UNC to complete a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. He was the top scoring applicant from Colorado in the transfer track, earning him the New Century Transfer Pathway award.

Jill Shuss is a first-generation adult college student—she has two kids and is studying business at FRCC. She was the top scoring applicant in the state in the career-technical track, earning her the New Century Workforce Pathway award.

New Century Transfer Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

More About Kevin:

Teachers describe Kevin as an “exemplary” student-scholar with tremendous character. During his time at FRCC, he has demonstrated significant leadership skills in the classroom and his community.

Kevin says he feels privileged and proud to be the first generation of his family born in the US and attending college. “Growing up, translating for my parents helped me gain confidence in public speaking and sparked a desire to advocate for my community.”

Finding His Path

After high school Kevin went straight to work as a diesel mechanic, but he wanted something more meaningful. He now has an interest in social work and plans to pursue a career in marketing—to help “highly effective charities and local organizations grow, despite their smaller marketing budgets.”

He volunteers with the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County where he has developed culturally relevant, bilingual social media and branding materials for several COVID-19 Equity Clinics serving underrepresented communities. Kevin is an active leader of the Chamber Student Network in Longmont and served as president of the Everybody’s Business Club on campus.

Connecting People

He has planned and facilitated several networking events that connected students with industry experts and business owners, helped them get internships and even enter their field of work. He has also organized events on campus that focused on equity, inclusion and student success.

Kevin has become a leader among his peers and looks for opportunities to mentor and develop other students. He plans to keep working while attending UNC to complete his bachelor’s degree in business with a focus on marketing. 

More About Jill:

Jill’s instructors describe her as a natural leader and a committed and dedicated student. “In the classroom, she sets an example of excellence and professionalism, as well as empowering and encouraging others to bring out their own strengths and brilliance,” according to FRCC Business Instructor Colleen Seltz.

Helping Others

Outside of the classroom, Jill has initiated and implemented several community support projects—including a food drive and a campaign to collect and provide clothing to elementary and middle school children in need. She also provides help to members of her community who have medical needs, including personally driving them to doctor’s appointments and shopping for groceries.

Getting to Work

Jill says her only regret in life is not having graduated from college. So she has now begun the journey to obtain a degree. Her immediate career goal is to become a Colorado Certified Residential Appraiser.

Once she earns her associate degree at FRCC, Jill plans to get to work in real estate as quickly as possible. She’ll take the required qualifying education classes and complete the required work experience hours—and then take the state exam to obtain a Colorado Residential Appraiser License.

This career path appeals to Jill because she’ll be able to continue serving her community while taking care of her family. She hopes to eventually complete a bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Colorado-Denver. Someday she would like to start an appraisal business and work for herself.

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.

About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.

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