Coal Ridge student using prestigious Boettcher Scholarship to one day become medical doctor |

Coal Ridge student using prestigious Boettcher Scholarship to one day become medical doctor

Coal Ridge senior Emma Morgan participates in a National Honor Society meeting Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Coal Ridge senior Emma Morgan has accomplished the outstanding.

Morgan, 18, was recently selected to receive the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship. One of 50 applicants in Colorado to be chosen, Morgan is set to receive $20,000 per year, which includes additional funding from Colorado’s higher education institutions to either cover tuition and fees or the full cost of attendance.

Annually, there are more than 1,500 Boettcher applicants — if not more.

“I’m greatly honored to be chosen,” Emma said on Monday. “It’s hard to believe.”

Morgan has her mind set on becoming pre-med and studying integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. And her journey there has already been furnished with multiple extra-curriculars — National Honor Society, captain’s and student counsel, volleyball, track — and a 4.3 cumulative grade point average.

But her journey also stems from challenging circumstances. Morgan’s father, Chad, died of cancer in 2014. But it was then Morgan grew enthralled by the various doctors and medical practitioners treating him.

This fueled Morgan’s desire to one day become a doctor, and since then she took up volunteering at the Calaway-Young Cancer Center of Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. She also helped raise more than $1,200 for Rally the Valley, an annual fundraiser hosted by Valley View to support cancer patients in the community, by doing things like bake sales at football games.

Meanwhile, Morgan’s brother, Jacob, went on to become the first Garfield Re-2 School District student to receive the Boettcher Scholarship and is now a medical student at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Emma’s older sister, Kara, also graduates pre-med this week from CU Boulder.

“I think that we all were inspired by the doctors,” Emma said. “All three of us want to be doctors and kind of give back to patients like they helped my dad.”

When their dad was gone, Emma said Jacob took on the role of the man in their household. Though he was already a big role model in Emma’s life, it was a huge deal when Jacob received the Boettcher in 2017.

“He was the first one at my high school to receive it, and so it was just crazy to me, and I looked up to him so much, and I didn’t think that I would even get a chance because I think that my brother is so amazing and smart and well-rounded,” Emma said. “He just definitely inspired me a lot and made me realize even more how big of a deal this scholarship is.”

On Monday, Jacob emphasized that not only is he proud of his younger sister for accomplishing such a feat, she is now a part of the Boettcher Foundation. This nationwide network grants lifetime membership to the alumni community, which offers leadership programs, community involvement opportunities and even trips to Colorado Rockies games.

“The Boettcher Foundation chose a great person to receive their scholarship, and I think that she really embodies all the qualities the Boettcher looks for,” Jacob said of Emma. “I’m just super excited for her, and it’s really cool to have it be my younger sister, too.”

If all goes accordingly, there’s a chance all three Morgans — Jacob, Kara and Emma — could become doctors.

“I think that’d be pretty cool,” Jacob said. “I know that’s what I want to do, I know Kara’s looking at doing the same thing — she’s probably applying (for med school) this year or next year — and Emma, I’m not quite sure if she is going down the doctor route or not. But I think that’s the way it’s looking right now.”

Jacob also described Emma as caring, helps other people first, is family oriented and helps their mother, Molly, a lot. He also spoke of how their father influenced their lives.

“I think that each of us kind of saw how inspiring that doctors could be, and we saw how much hope they can bring to people and how much of a unique relationship doctors have with their patients during that battle we had with cancer to my dad,” he said.

Tiffany Anderson, senior director of programs and strategic initiatives for Boettcher, praised Emma in a recent news release.

“The Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship selection process is competitive and rigorous,” Anderson said, adding that Emma really stood out her commitment both in and out of the classroom. “We’re proud to have Emma representing the Boettcher community, and we look forward to seeing how their future leadership positively impacts the State of Colorado.”

Emma’s graduation ceremony is slated for May 27. When she’s walking to get her diploma, she anticipates being really happy and grateful for everyone who has helped in her life — teachers, coaches and family.

She’ll also be thinking about her father, Chad.

“I think he would be proud to see what my brother and I have accomplished, and my sister too,” she said. “I don’t know… I think that he would be just really proud of everything that we have been doing.”

Post Independent Assistant Editor and lead western Garfield County reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at or 612-423-5273.

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