Life after high school was once a fleeting thought for KC Royals Scholar Colton Russell.
As a high school sophomore being introduced to the 20/20 Leadership program, Colton simply thought it was an opportunity to get out of school.
Once he realized he needed to focus, he began preparing for his future and hasn’t looked back since.
After graduating from Turner High School in 2015, Colton began studying electrical engineering at Wichita State University.
He says a love for math steered him toward the major and the feeling of belonging helped him decide on the campus.
“It was a friendly environment and it felt like home.
I enjoy the one to one interactions that I am able to have with my professors,” he said.
As a rising sophomore, Colton is involved in a number of activities on campus, including the Honors College, Emerging Leaders and recently landed a stint as a DJ.
The role he enjoys the most is within the Student Ambassador Society, where he has the opportunity to showcase his school to prospective students.
“I enjoy giving back and this one opportunity that I have to do so with high school students,” he said.
In the spirit of giving, Colton frequently provides some of his time to the program.
Last summer, Colton, along with other 20/20 Leadership alums were asked to present at the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) meeting and at that time, he talked to a board member about internship opportunities.
Colton was connected with human resources.
Fast-forward to summer 2016 and he is now an electrical engineering intern at BPU.
“Without 20/20, I would not have been able to make that connection,” he said.
And without 20/20 Leadership, Colton would have also missed a royal opportunity: being one of five students presented with a $10,000 scholarship from the Kansas City Royals.
“I would describe the opportunity as life-changing.
Without it, I would not be able to do as well in school.
For me, it is nice to know that someone is behind you,” he said.
In addition to earning a scholarship from the KC Royals, Colton was also named a Koch Scholar and received an award of $22,000.
Only ten students from Wichita State are selected for this award.
Colton is honored to take part and attributes this distinction to his continued hard work and focus.
“I was eligible for the scholarship as a result of my grades and it feels great to know that out of 16,000 students, I was selected,” he said.
The KC Royals scholarship is made possible by a generous donation from the Kansas City Royals and Royals Charities. Participants in 20/20 Leadership are eligible to apply for the scholarship.