COSLI CLASS OF 2019
Codified by SB290 in the 2015 Session, Colorado Student Leaders Institute (COSLI), is the newest member of the 25-state Governor's School network (with 57 programs), an institution steeped in a rich 50+ year history and revered throughout the nation as a highly successful model for post-secondary preparedness
Colorado Student Leaders Institute (COSLI) is a state-legislated, summer residential program on the University of Colorado Denver campus. For one month each summer, Colorado's best and brightest students, chosen from a competitive pool of applicants, live and study on the campus and earn three hours of college credit. Students choose one of two majors: International Social Studies or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math), and explore diverse topics through a lecture series by university professors and 3 hands-on projects--Colorado Social Problem Lab, Short-Term Business Lab, and National History Day.
COSLI students do not have to be formally designated as gifted and talented students, but they must demonstrate through their application that they meet the academic rigors that the program requires. At least 50% of our students must be eligible for free and reduced lunch and/or be first generation college students.
COSLI prepares students for college by fostering leadership, independence, innovativeness, initiative, critical thinking, and creativity.
In most states, governor school programs are funded entirely by the state. Because of Colorado's unique budgeting paradigm, COLSI represents a strong partnership among public, private, and corporate champions. In addition to the inherent benefits students gain, it is noteworthy that up to 80% of students participating in a governor's school program elect to remain in-state for college and career, with up to 90% completing a four year degree in four years, instead of the now six year nationwide average.
Increased retention of our state's best and brightest is a critical component of a strong Colorado economy. Help us retain these important Coloradans.
An Important Message from the COSLI Student Board on Recent Events
Mohamed Ibrahim, Board President
Good friends of COSLI,
On May 25th, the nation watched as George Floyd uttered his last words “I Can’t Breathe” at the knees of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd's death has become yet another result of systemic racism, police brutality, and injustice within our country. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to all those affected by the cruelties and hardships of discriminiation and racial oppression.
Despite the very unfortunate murder of George Floyd, his last words “I Can’t Breathe” have resonated throughout the nation. Amidst a global pandemic, severe economic collapse, and a series of police brutality incidents, we all have been saying “I Can’t Breath,” not in the racial discrimination of police brutality but in the notion of our current adversities. However, this has illustrated our resilience as a nation and unity toward equal justice and opportunities for all.
During my experience at the 2019 COSLI class, I began to find the true qualities of leadership in times of civil dispute and disagreement. The skills and valuable interactive workshops fostered my approach to help those in need and fight toward change when necessary. I am not only speaking on the behalf of myself, but also the hundreds of past and future COSLI graduates who have begun and will continue the framework toward positive change and reform no matter their age, color, ethnicity, race, or background of origin. With that, I ask you all to become the needed leaders of today and tomorrow in these trying times.
Student Advisory Board President
Fareed Ahamad, Financial Officer
Hello all, my name is Fareed Ahamad, and I'm an incoming senior at Peak to Peak Charter School located in Boulder County. I went to COSLI in the summer of 2019 after my sophomore year, and am the current financial advisor of our Student Board. I am here today to initiate a civil discussion with you about my background as a minority and to dive into a discussion about how social media can heavily perpetuate racism or hate.
I am a Muslim American, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with an Indian background. My parents both immigrated to the United States in 1998 to pursue jobs in software engineering and eventually landed jobs in Colorado. My father went to college in KU, before coming to the states again, so he was affiliated with the United States for almost 30 years. I am a citizen of the United States, have been for about 17 years, yet despite the lengthy experience, my family has been subject to either casual or hostile racism that felt very degrading.
Growing up, I enjoyed privileges, much like many of my other peers in school. However, few people cannot help perceiving me in a different manner: a particularly negative one. When I was nine years old and blissfully traveling through the airport security, I was the only child who was patted down and x-rayed. I later asked my father, "why did they do it to only me?". He quickly responded, "because of our last name beta, because of our last name." I became distraught by this ridiculous occurrence that happened just because of my foreign name, Ahamad. I believed that prejudice was confined to formal settings like that of an airport, and would never happen in my community, but it showed its presence even in my classroom. My aunt had come to the class to describe her everyday life working as a software engineer. As it so happened, she wore a burqa that day, a religious garb that covers all of the body. As she fished out her computer from her backpack, one of my classmates announced "a terrorist! She is a terrorist!" A terrorist? My aunt? My aunt and I both turned red as ripe tomatoes, and I buried my face with sheer humiliation. The student was reprimanded, but it was too late to take back. And while I reflected upon this incident, I began to curse my background more and more as I fell into a state of pretty extreme sadness.
My attitude has developed, however. While the discrimination has been invigorating, I learned to fuel this anger in order to inspire me to have a more prominent role in advocating for Muslim American liberties. The Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2016 that 82% of American adults believe that Muslims are subject to injustice today in various settings. Additionally, more than 63% of U.S. adults affirm that being Muslim affects a person's opportunity for progress in American society. These figures seem less than ideal, and I desire a community in which my mother and sister have the freedom to wear their religious attire without judgment or stereotypes. As a Muslim, the greatest lesson I have learned about discrimination and hate is that you have to use all the anger you feel from it in order to spark a change. I have been doing this by speaking about my culture at diversity seminars and speaking about my culture publicly.
Through spreading my culture, I have found that one of the most controversial ways of spreading it is through social media. We are currently living through history, with a raging pandemic rampaging across the globe, murder hornets, and, more recently, a tremendous surge in the Black Lives Matter movement online, and social media have been right there alongside to document every moment. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or Snapchat. While social media platforms have become an increasingly common presence in people's lives across the globe within the past fifteen years, hate and toxicity have also been on the rise within the same timeframe.
Recently I witnessed a pretty interesting thing on one of the posts of an upperclassman, that quickly turned into a bloodbath. The situation was that this upperclassman had posted a picture of herself, nothing at all hostile or harmful, however then another classmate of hers commented on the following words: "You need to use your platform in a more positive matter! Post about #blm #acab #supportblacklives, people like you are part of the problem!" The post was lit ablaze with comments from people from everywhere, stating their own opinions. I was so confused, why are people arguing with one another instead of advocating against injustices like systemic racism? I talked with my father, and he said these words of wisdom: It is imperative to realize that social media is not the only platform where this issue can be advocated for and addressed. There are plenty of other ways to show support, and social media does not have to be the one and only. How they will support and where they will do it is not up to us to decide. And that may bother some people and rightfully so but why don't we stop the spread of negativity by tearing other people down and instead focus on how we can come together to support those who need us right now.
These words boomed in mind and were something that is important and needs to be shared. Currently, social media is genuinely being weaponized and has transitioned into a hostile environment, with people utilizing hate speech, and the worst I have seen is doxxing people who don't believe in the 'right' thing, which means finding their personal information and doing some pretty terrible things, all to propagate their points. I picture social media is a raging ocean in a storm where people are drifting aimlessly, however instead of helping each other to safety, they are yelling at each other about what they are doing wrong. However, to truly spark change, we as the Youth need to be the calming of this social media storm, by sparking change without hostility to one another, because all in all, democratic or republican, liberal or conservative, any background or religion, the majority seeks the end to systemic racism of our fellow African American brothers and sisters in society.
I want to end my discussion with one of my favorite quotes about youth impactfulness by William Allen White, a leader of the progressive movement in the early 20th century: "Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on" This insightful quote illustrates that we hold the key to change as the Youth, as we are the future leaders. As the class of COSLI 2020, you have been chosen for your academic ability, but moreover, for your power of innovation and imagination, you are problem solvers and have the most significant potential to generate a positive social change in the world, so use your power to the fullest.
COSLI is a proud partner of the Rose Community Foundation. Donate to COSLI Here!
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS
Wednesday, July 14 from 3:00-4:00 pm
Third Tuesday of most months, as determined by accepted Board Calendar, at Daniels Fund.
Joint Board Meetings For Executive and Advisory Boards held at Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
The 2020 is postponed until Summer 2021.