This is the fourth of 20 profiles of The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2017.
In March of her junior year of high school, Anna Borden noticed a tiny lump on her neck. She and her family didn't think much of it, but it continued to grow. She went to the doctor who ran lots of tests, but couldn't find anything wrong. Six months later, after many inconclusive tests, her doctor said that they needed to operate. When they did, they found that she had thyroid cancer. Her doctor was able to remove her thyroid completely.
"That process was definitely a defining moment," Borden said. She had faith before, but that experience really changed her. She said she was able to connect differently with people in her community at a different level.
"You go through these things, but they give you opportunities to connect," she said, adding that it opened her up to the idea that she is not alone.
Borden has had the opportunity to make many connections through life. In 2014, she went with her school as part of an exchange program to China, where she was born and lived for 15 months before being adopted by her American parents. While she and her fellow classmates were doing a lot of tourist activities and visiting a fancy school, she said there were areas where people didn't have anything. One woman said to her, "You're the lucky one."
"It was a wake-up call in China," Borden said. She said she knew she was fortunate even before that trip, but hearing that from that woman reinforced it for her, and has helped her think about what she wants to do in the future.
At Colorado School of Mines, she plans to study environmental engineering with a focus on hydrology. She said that a big part of what she is interested in is studying the ways in which we can help everyone access water efficiently at affordable costs, and how they can then maintain a clean water source for generations. She said they will be studying and creating ways to bring water to places that don't have it.
"A big part of going into this field is that I'm hoping to do missions work with it," she said. Not only does she want to provide people with clean water, but also share God's love. This could be in another country or in the United States.
"There are people here who need it just as much," she said.
Borden has grown up on a ranch in Black Forest and she loves the outdoors. She loves hiking, skiing and running, and she is excited to continue enjoying this state through college.