If Deanna Main was a superhero, she’d be The Flash.
From the moment she wakes and gulps down coffee to the time she rests her head on the pillow, she’s hard to keep up with. Juggling school, a job, and a scholar leadership position, this Daniels Fund scholar leads a full life. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
How it all happened
In high school Deanna was a highly involved leader — juggling five sports and student council throughout all four years. Her GPA and test scores were good, but she didn’t think they were high enough to place her in the running for the Daniels Fund Scholarship. Once her counselor told her she had a shot, she added it to a growing list of scholarships to apply for and didn’t think much more about it.
It was when she filled out the application that her interest piqued.
“When the application essays were hitting I just felt like this was a scholarship that was a little different,” Deanna explained. “The questions were really directed — not just basic ones, like ‘what do you want to do?’— they were more like, ‘how are you as a leader in the community? What have you done?’”
“My biggest tip for Daniels Fund finalists is to be genuine and give eye contact. It’s nice to prepare for questions, but tell them what you personally want to say, not just rehearsed answers.”
When she got the news she was a Daniels Fund Scholarship Finalist, the excitement and nerves set in. “When I found out I was a finalist, I was thinking about it every day,” she recalled. “It was really nerve-racking because there was a lot of competition, but I knew I had an advantage because I was involved and I had a passion.”
At her round-table interview, she remembers staying true to who she was. Her answers were genuine, and she even took a moment or two to consider questions before answering. She left the interview feeling confident, and rightfully so. Her life was about to change in a big way.
Full days, fuller life
As a second year student at CSU, Deanna manages a full course load in Health and Exercise Science and Criminology along with an aquatics manager position at the CSU Rec Center. To top it off, she spends her free time dreaming up group outings as a lead program coordinator for Daniels Scholars at CSU.
Out of all the colleges she was considering, Deanna chose CSU for the feel of it. She had spent time at schools all over the state, but when she came to CSU for a student council conference in high school, it clicked with her right away.
“Everyone was saying when I got the scholarship, ‘you can go anywhere,’ but I wanted to go where it felt like home,” Deanna recalled. “I came here for the community and I love the Rec Center. It’s been amazing.”
Community leadership is one of the major criteria Daniels Fund scholars are evaluated on. As a heavily involved high school student, Deanna saw a lot of opportunity to keep up her involvement at CSU. She enjoys how easy it is for students to step into leadership positions here.
“I’ve had some personal struggles and some health issues, but my scholar mentor Stephanie, my Key mentors, and [Daniels Fund] upperclassman have give me a strong support system. I feel that the Daniels Scholar community is a really supportive here.”
Once admitted to CSU, Deanna joined a Key Community, which allows students to focus on areas they’re passionate about and live with classmates who share their interest. Freshman year, she applied to the Rec Center and spent much of her free time on outings with fellow Daniels Scholars, including attending an annual weekend trip to the Mountain Campus.
An ounce of prevention
Family is everything to Deanna.
She grew up in the heart of Denver surrounded by hard-working parents, a twin sister, and her extended family, which includes two cousins with special needs. She understands how strong support can build you up, and realizes not everyone has that foundation to guide their way.
Deanna and her twin sister spent their summers as lifeguards and swim coaches at Denver’s city pools. Over the years, she built relationships with her students and saw the challenges faced by those with less guidance than she had growing up.
“My twin and I would come back to the pool every year to coach, and you’ll see kids that you know they’re up to trouble even when they’re 12 years old,” Deanna said. “I want to prevent the problems before they have to deal with the aftermath.”
After graduation, she plans to combine her Health and Exercise Science major and Criminology minor with her passion for at-risk youth and those with special needs. Her plan is to implement sports programs as a means of prevention; teaching them how to use physical activity as a way to deal with whatever life throws their way.