National Guard veteran receives President’s Award
Hard work and perseverance pay off for Aidan Quinn, who will be honored at MSU Denver’s Spring Commencement ceremony.
Aidan Quinn said that above all else, he’s devoted to hard work.
While studying Biology full-time at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Quinn worked as an unmanned-aircraft-services operator for the National Guard, an emergency medical technician and an Organic Chemistry learning assistant. He did that all while landing on the President’s Honor List three times with a 4.0 GPA and winning the 2023 President’s Award for student achievement.
“To say that this has been difficult is an understatement,” Quinn said. “I’ve had to persevere with all my effort to maintain proficiency in my classes while working 14-hour days for six days at a time. I am devoted and passionate to succeed and represent MSU Denver proudly.”
Quinn said he wasn’t really born with any specific talents, so he decided at age 16 to work hard and achieve more than he ever thought possible. And it turns out, he had an unlikely aid during his long days and nights of school and work: obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“I’ve been clinically diagnosed with OCD, and it drives me to succeed and persevere despite immense discomfort,” he said. “I just try new things and always wonder what I could accomplish if I try my absolute best. It starts as, ‘You know, I should try that!’ and quickly devolves into, ‘What would happen if I obsessed over every aspect of this to achieve perfection?’”
He also credits support from his family, saying he has had a strong support structure that has helped him through the darkest times, including struggling with depression over the past six years.
“Despite my amazing childhood and family that was always there for me, I’ve always felt like I wasn’t good enough,” he said. “My own brain has been my biggest opponent and biggest ally. The hardest part has been learning to not hate myself and learning to at least try to love myself for who I am.”
One of Quinn’s professors, Shailesh G. Ambre, assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said Quinn is kind, trustworthy, intelligent, devoted and reliable.
“Aidan is a lot more than an overachieving student,” Ambre said.
Quinn, who plans to apply to physician-assistant schools after a well-deserved break, will speak at the Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony May 12. He said he truly believes MSU Denver graduates are some of the most dedicated students anywhere.
“Here, you see hardworking adults dedicated to their academics and to pursuing a better life,” he said. “It truly is impressive the sort of unique people I’ve met at this school.”