Colorado Transfer Students Awarded Prestigious PepsiCo Foundation Scholarship

Denver – Ten Colorado community college students will receive an annual scholarship of $25,000 from the PepsiCo Foundation as they transfer to a four-year university this fall.  

Hailing from the Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, and Front Range Community College, the recipients were among 50 scholars nationwide selected for the prestigious Success Matters in Life & Education (S.M.I.L.E) Scholarship. In addition to financial assistance, the program provides scholars with wraparound services, such as career advising and professional development, to support their educational journey. 

“Our S.M.I.L.E Scholars have demonstrated outstanding leadership in and outside the classroom and truly represent the best and brightest at our community colleges,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). “We are grateful to the PepsiCo Foundation for recognizing their accomplishments and investing in their continued success.”  

The program builds on the strong partnership between the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges and the PepsiCo Foundation. CCCS is among 20 institutions participating in PepsiCo’s Uplift Scholarship program, which is committed to supporting more than 4,000 students pursuing associate degrees. Since 2020, the S.M.I.L.E and Uplift programs have awarded more than 2,800 scholarships with 90% of scholars on track to complete their program of study.  

The new S.M.I.L.E program at CCCS will award $50,000 to each CCCS scholar over two years to earn their bachelor’s degree—a total commitment of $500,000. To date, the PepsiCo Foundation has provided nearly $900,000 to enrolled CCCS students through the Uplift Scholarship program.  

“The PepsiCo Foundation is a staunch advocate for community colleges and a true champion of our open access mission,” said J. Adam Cermak, chief development officer and executive director of the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges. “We are thrilled to be a part of the S.M.I.L.E Scholarship program to help exceptional transfer students reach their goals and achieve economic and social mobility.”  

The awardees are:

Anthony Alar, transferring to CU Denver, majoring in Computer Science and Programming

Joshua Forkell, transferring to CU Boulder, majoring in Marketing

Elmer Hernandez, transferring to CU Denver, majoring in Computer Science and Programming

Zikrya Quraishi, transferring to Colorado School of Mines, majoring in Computer Science and Programming