Basalt High School graduate, first in her family to go on to college, earns rare scholarship

Graduating senior Frida Rojo of Basalt High School, like many standout students, is well rounded. She was on the varsity tennis team, took all AP classes her senior year, and participated in a variety of clubs.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

Only five high school seniors in the state received this scholarship, and the first American born in her family, Frida Roja, is one of them.

It can’t hurt that the The Amazon Future Engineer scholarship pays $10,000 toward tuition each year and comes with a paid internship. 

Frida Roja, who graduated Saturday from Basalt High School, was born in Glenwood Springs and lives in Willits. So where now?

“I’m going to Carleton College in Minnesota, she said. “I enjoy engineering but also wanted an opportunity to pursue liberal arts. I’d love to major in computer science with a minor in art history. I was also looking for a smaller school.” 

Carleton College checked off all Rojo’s boxes: small college of 3,000 undergraduate students, all living on campus for all four years, and there are single-sex dorms.

Like many standout students, she is well-rounded. She was on the varsity tennis team and took all AP classes her senior year. She’s the school’s treasurer for the National Honor Society, vice president of the school’s book club, and a member of Key Club and Girls Who Code. 

While Frida Rojo looks forward to her next adventure as the first in her family to go on to college, she understands it will be hard on her parents.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

“I had Frida in AP Literature and Composition, which is not her chosen field. She is a really talented writer and thinker,” said Michelle Collins, Basalt High School college adviser and English teacher. “She gets to what really matters in a text quickly. Even in the timed constraints of AP English, she writes creatively and thoughtfully. She’s also just a really nice kid. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.”

“I really enjoyed ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and I loved reading ‘Hamlet’ for the first time in AP Literature,” said Rojo. “The Odyssey” was less to her liking, much less, but she said she enjoyed the class’ review of classic literature and their Socratic discussions. 

But it was Ana Poe — Rojo’s computer science teacher’s recommendation to Rojo to apply for the Amazon scholarship — that truly will change the course of Rojo’s college experience.

“I’m excited for the internship portion,” she said. “I’m not sure where it will be, but options include various tech-places such as Silicon Valley in California.” 

She also looks forward to more diversity of students.

“In my computer science class, it’s mostly white males and a handful of girls, including me,” she said. “I know the big cities will be very different.”

She’s also looking forward to traveling.

“I spent last summer in Spain in the Basque region and tried kayaking for the first time,” she said.

Until college begins in the fall, Rojo said she is excited to visit family in Sinaloa, Mexico, and will be working at The Aspenite in Glenwood Springs. She’s also going to try to get her fill of Peppino’s buffalo pizza and plenty play time in with her dog before leaving for Minnesota.

While she looks forward to her next adventure as the first in her family to go on to college, she understands it will be hard on her parents. She has a 22-year-old brother in Denver, and a 15-year-old sister at Basalt High School. 

“I’m going to miss my mom’s ribs and soups, especially when I’m sick,” she said. “Even her scrambled eggs in the morning. Home is home.”