Author: Kristi Arellano

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Name: Ashesh Thaker Scholar Year:  2000 Hometown: Greeley College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado Boulder – BA, 2004; University of California, Los Angeles – MD, 2009 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I joined the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in August 2016, after completing my postgraduate medical training, most recently a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a neuroradiologist and have a clinical practice at the University of Colorado Hospital, where I also train residents and fellows. I particularly enjoy teaching and research, with a specific interest in understanding changes that occur in the brain during disorders of cognition, such as in Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a real privilege to teach and work at my alma mater! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship helped me achieve my goals in ways more than just financial. The Boettcher community instills a sense of service; this ultimately pushed me towards academic medicine rather than private practice. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to return to Colorado after 12 years on the east and west coasts. I look forward to being more involved with the foundation and its many service activities now that I’m back home. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. My wife and I just had our first child, a baby boy, so he has been keeping us pretty busy outside of work! Having just moved back to Denver from California, we are hoping to get more involved in local groups and organizations. We are members at the Denver Art Museum, involved in the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of the Rockies, and joined our local neighborhood civic association in Hilltop. . What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? When I was a third-year medical student at UCLA on a surgical rotation, an intern (whose name I sadly can’t remember to give fair credit) gave me the great advice to “always function like I’m one level above my current position;” that is, act like an intern when a medical student, a resident when an intern, and a fellow when a resident. This is sound advice in a hierarchical field like medicine, but I think the message applies more broadly to any career. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Though not really a “historical” figure, I would love to have dinner with Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld (my favorite sitcom) and star of the current series Curb Your Enthusiasm. His style of comedy has always resonated with me, and I find his work refreshing. He reminds me to take life a little less seriously and a dinner date with him would be entertaining to say the least!...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Name: Serene Singh Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado; political science (BA) and journalism (BA) and leadership studies (minor) What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am interested in pursuing a law degree with a focus on constitutional and human rights law. Since I am interested in becoming a Supreme Court justice, I am excited to hopefully work for the American Civil Liberties Union where I will specialize in defending free speech rights and at The Sikh Coalition where I will help defend religious freedoms. Within all this, if I could squeeze in a chance to compete for Miss America, an opportunity to act in a Bollywood film and a way to release the first Indian-American female rapper mixtape, that would be great. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Some of the activities are The Serenity Project, the Appellate Court, the Colorado Bhangra Team, and 3P Speech and Debate. The Serenity Project is a fashion show with a yearlong “pageant reign” that helps women who are not our society’s traditional models become fashion models and ambassadors for inspiration throughout the community. The Appellate Court ensures legitimacy and defends student freedoms! The Colorado Bhangra Team is a Punjabi Indian dance team that spreads positivity. 3P Speech serves students across the country who are passionate and eager to be heard. My job is to help them speak effectively and to watch them change the world through their voices – a pretty awesome first job. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Mr. Brian Hoff. For me, he was not just a high school speech/debate coach, but an individual I highly respect. Despite having attended Rampart – a school without a forensics team – Mr. Hoff took me under his wing at The Classical Academy. Mr. Hoff challenges me to push myself and to take on adversity with a smile. His relentless belief in my abilities inspired me to one day enter public service – and more importantly, believe that I could do it. Whether it be pageants, relationships or life itself – Mr. Hoff has been there to encourage me to never give up and to use my voice to serve others. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received was from my mother who said, "If you want something you don't have, you have to do something you've never done." This has been a guiding philosophy in my life because I am constantly working to become a better version of myself. I often put myself in odd and uncomfortable situations in life (like when I first joined a pageant as a tomboy or when I interned at a strict Republican’s office as a social liberal) in order to remind myself that I never can stop growing and learning. If you could have dinner with one or more people from hstory, whom would you choose and why?  I would choose Mata Khivi Ji. Mata Khivi Ji has been an inspiration for me since I was a little girl. Mata Khivi Ji instituted free nutritious community kitchens called “Langars.” Langars are for all people – regardless of gender, race, etc. to sit alongside one another and break bread. Five hundred years ago, not only was this revolutionary, but it set up a foundation for “sewa” or selfless service to be the most central part to a Sikh’s life. Meeting Mata Khivi Ji would give me the chance to volunteer alongside an incredible figure, and learn as much as I can to be a stronger female leader in my community....

DENVER, December 6, 2017 — The Boettcher Foundation is pleased to announce that David Miller and Rick Pederson have been appointed to serve on the board of trustees beginning in January of 2018. Both Miller and Pederson bring extensive knowledge of our Colorado communities as well as specialized expertise in finance, investment, nonprofits and philanthropy. Comprised of some of Colorado’s most dynamic business and community leaders, the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees is responsible for supporting and guiding the foundation in its mission of investing in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. “In addition to their wealth of experience and specialized knowledge, Rick and David are dedicated Coloradans with a deep appreciation for our state and its communities,” said Russell George, chairman of the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are honored that they are bringing their talents and commitment to the Boettcher Foundation.” David Miller is executive director of the Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at the University of Denver, a position he has held since March of 2016. The mission of the Barton Institute is “to address major social issues and improve society by promoting and enhancing traditional and new forms of philanthropy, social enterprise, and partnerships among the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors.” Before joining the Barton Institute, Miller was president and CEO of The Denver Foundation, the oldest and largest community foundation in the Rocky Mountain region. Under his leadership, the assets of The Denver Foundation grew from $58 million to well over $700 million and donors contributed more than $1 billion to The Denver Foundation as a vehicle for their charitable giving. Miller is a Denver native and a fifth-generation Denverite. He is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Since then, he has worked in all three sectors: public, private and nonprofit. “I am honored to be part of a foundation that has had such a profound impact on our state and its people,” Miller said. “I am particularly pleased to join such a committed and talented group of trustees who are dedicated to supporting the individuals and nonprofits who are working hard and giving back in our state.” Rick Pederson is partner and chair of the advisory committee at Bow River Capital Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm that acquires interests in middle-market business services companies. Bow River is also a sponsor of real estate and energy investment funds. Pederson was born in Denver and grew up in Lakewood. After earning BSBA, MSBA and JD degrees from the University of Denver, he began his career at Harbridge House, a Boston management consultancy company.  Pederson returned to Denver and soon after founded Ross Consulting Group, providing real estate-related counsel to private and public clients worldwide. Subsequently, he created and managed a number of successful real estate co-investment funds as president of Foundation Properties Inc. He is a board member of several publicly-traded investment vehicles including the Westcore Mutual Funds complex, ALPS ETF Trust and Principal Real Estate Income Fund. His community involvement includes board positions with the National Western Stock Show Association and History Colorado. “The Boettcher family made a significant mark on Colorado, and I’m pleased to help continue their legacy,” Pederson said. “I am looking forward to engaging with the Foundation, its trustees and staff as we continue Boettcher’s good work state-wide.” High-resolution photos available upon request. About the Boettcher Foundation: At Boettcher, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come. Contact: Kristi Arellano 303.285.6208 kristi@boettcherfoundation.org...

After a successful career in film production, 1970 Boettcher Scholar Lee Gash-Maxey is using her storytelling prowess to help advance black-owned businesses in the State of Colorado. Lee is executive director of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since April of 2016. In her role, Lee is working to increase membership in the business organization by providing relevant programming and partnering with the business community to create opportunities for African-American students. Lee graduated from East High School in Denver and used her Boettcher Scholarship to attend Colorado State University where she graduated with a degree in radio and television production. She started her career with KOA radio, received her first Emmy nomination at KOA-TV, then relocated to Pittsburgh to work on Evening Magazine at KDKA-TV. Lee returned to Colorado where she began doing publications for the Governor’s Office of Energy Conservation, during the administration of Gov. Roy Romer. (“If you can write, you can work in almost any industry they’ve developed,” she said.) Eventually her role expanded to include creating and managing programs to employ young people in recycling and weatherization work. She was soon pulled back into media, however, when a friend told her that BET was starting a Movie channel in Denver. She was hired as managing producer of BET Movies. She later launched her own media production company, Maxey Media Production Group, and was focused on that when, once again, a friend told her about the opportunity with the Colorado Black Chamber. The organization, the friend noted, could benefit from somebody with her unique skills and connections. The position provided her with an opportunity to serve the black community and small business owners, two groups for which she has a strong affinity. “As a Denver native, the black community is very close to my heart,” she said. “My roots in Denver go deep.” Similarly, her own experience as a business owner gave her a deep understanding of the unique pressures faced by small business owners and the need for an organization to provide value to them. “We need to re-establish the reputation of the chamber, and that’s definitely happening,” she said, adding that small business owners are under extreme time pressure and have little time for organizations that don’t provide value. “We need to make it so small business owners know that we can help them grow their business.” In addition to providing training and resources for small businesses, Lee wants to provide value specifically for the younger generation of entrepreneurs while also partnering with businesses to create job opportunities for black students. The desire to give back is something that has driven Lee, and it is a strength she sees in the Boettcher Scholar community. “I think there is an underlying goal in most Boettcher Scholars,” she said. “They know somebody had the foresight to give something back, and they are thinking about how to give something back or pay it forward – maybe not in the exact way they were helped, but in a way that matters to them.”...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Angelique Diaz. Name: Karin Schantz Scholar Year:  1981 Hometown: Fort Collins College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): CU and CC, B.A. 1986 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I am on sabbatical, contemplating my next steps in life while following some passions through volunteer work, dividing my time between Lakewood, Colorado and Olympia, Washington. After graduation three decades ago, my career path has taken a few turns. I initially “delayed real life” (after canoeing the Mississippi River) and worked in Europe as a tour guide. Subsequently, I marketed Colorado as an international tourism destination, consulted on database design and management, was a financial advisor and estate planner, and most recently gutted and finished a home for resale.  I love designing, planning and working to reach a mutual goal. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I am eternally grateful that I didn’t have a decade of debt. I moved to Europe after graduation and explored different cultures. I improved my language skills which benefitted me in future jobs. I met lifelong friends, and my view of the world changed. I also thank the foundation for getting me through. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up and the scholarship carried me through graduation. In an attempt to “pay it forward”, I was active through grassroots efforts to launch a scholar alumni program which was later formalized by the foundation Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In recent years, I have served on the Jefferson County Horse Council board, raised a litter of Goldendoodles, was instrumental in creating a new zoning classification for my neighborhood, helped ensure Lakewood’s involvement as a sustainable neighborhood and headed up the R Cubed (recycling, repurposing, reusing) initiative; initiated and organized a community paint recycling day, which kept more than 8 tons of paint out of the landfills; raised money for the Lakewood High School Instrumental Music program; joined my boyfriend on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip in Paraguay; cared for aging parents and settled estates; gardened, hiked and snowshoed. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The best advice I received right out of college was from one of my friend’s mothers and is universal advice, regardless of a chosen career field. She encouraged me to open an individual retirement account or IRA (which I also recommended to clients a few decades later). Growing up, my family did not discuss finances. I never really received any kind of financial education from them probably because they hadn’t received any from their parents. My father was retired Air Force and relied on his military pension for retirement. Pensions are rapidly becoming things of the past, and it is important to plan early. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would love to have dinner with my ancestors who initially immigrated to the United States. My mother has enthusiastically been researching our family ancestry and has traced back multiple generations. It’s amazing what information is archived and accessible, giving a snapshot of lives on a daily basis. I would love to hear about the decision-making process and get a sense for shared personality characteristics. Is this perhaps where I got my sense of adventure, love of education, commitment to family, setting of goals, etc.? What else could I discover about myself and my role in this world?...

Boettcher Scholars throughout the United States participated in coordinated service events as part of the national Make a Difference Day effort on October 28. Boettcher Scholars in six communities organized and publicized the volunteer opportunity to their local Boettcher communities. We were thrilled to see the impact our scholars had in their regions and the joy they experienced as they reconnected. Below are reports from sites where scholars worked to make a difference. Colorado Springs Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado During the Make a Difference Day event in Colorado Springs, 16 wonderful volunteers (Boettcher Scholars, alumni, family and friends) helped to produce more than 500 senior food boxes for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program of Southern Colorado in conjunction with the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. These food boxes will be distributed to low-income senior citizens through such organizations as Marian House, Salvation Army, High Plains Helping Hands, Eastern Plains Community Pantry, Silver Key Senior Services, Springs Rescue Mission, Connections 4 Life Center and more. Colorado Springs volunteers made a difference in the lives of more than 500 seniors! – Carina Raetz Denver A Precious Child The Denver metro area Boettcher alumni scholars and their families had an amazing morning volunteering for Make a Difference Day! We worked at A Precious Child, a wonderful organization that assists children and families facing difficult challenges such as abuse and neglect, crisis situations, and poverty. A Precious Child helps these children and families navigate community resources and connects them with needed services, opportunities and educational support. They also help them meet needs for basic items such as good-quality used clothing and infant-care necessities, through their Resource Center. This is where about two dozen Boettcher volunteers spent the morning, helping this wonderful organization “make a dent” in the piles and piles of donations awaiting distribution. It was a fun, successful and rewarding day! – Jennifer Meyers Fort Collins All Aboard Animal Rescue Annie the Railroad Dog spent her days greeting visitors who traveled through Fort Collins in the 1930s and 40s.  Since then, residents have increasingly welcomed dogs into our hearts and our homes. This is precisely the goal All Aboard Animal Rescue supports, and Fort Collins/Golden Boettcher Scholars and alumni were able to spend the day raising awareness for the group’s foster events. Sporting Boettcher Make A Difference Day totes for our supplies, we created some healthy competition between the gals and guys scholars teams of who could place informational fliers in the most creatively impactful locations across town.  A couple of us have gotten together for various social events after having met that weekend, and apparently about 30 pups found their forever homes each adoption event weekend after Boettcher volunteers jumped aboard! – Krystal Kappeler San Francisco San Bruno Mountain Watch The San Francisco Bay Area Boettcher alumni scholars had a great time volunteering for Make a Difference Day! We worked with San Bruno Mountain Watch and spent the morning on the steep slopes of San Bruno Mountain, helping to weed out invasive plant species. We learned how to use a mattock gardening tool, enjoyed learning tons of naturalist lore from our hosts, and saw a lone coyote crossing the hillside. Five of us were there representing the Boettcher Foundation: Lee Granas, Meadow Didier, Zach Gonzales, Erin Arnsteen and her husband Jess (who drove 2.5 hours each way to join us)! Afterwards we had a great lunch together and brainstormed future Bay Area Boettcher Scholar activities that we hope to try out. It was a very fun and successful day! – Lee Granas Seattle EarthCorps Seattle Boettcher alumni enjoyed planting trees, shrubs and other native Pacific Northwest plants under beautiful blue skies at Camp Long in West Seattle. Two alumni, one Boettcher guest and other EarthCorps volunteers planted 200 saplings. EarthCorps staff encouraged us to name each plant and give it our blessing, which added a fun element to the day. McKenna Asakawa (2012) proudly named our last planting, a Douglas fir, “Claude” in honor and gratefulness for our Boettcher Scholarship founder. May Washington’s Claude grow tall and serve multiple generations well! – Karin Schantz Washington, D.C. A Wider Circle During the Make a Difference Day event in the Washington, D.C. area, Boettcher volunteers Bob Slevc (‘95), Scarlett Jimenez (‘13), Tracy Wahl (‘86) and Kitty Shaw Gardener (‘65) had a great time at A Wider Circle. A Wider Circle provides basic-need items to individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse or otherwise living without the essentials of life. There were some “small-world” stories shared during the day - Kitty and Scarlett realized that they both went to Hinkley High School, nearly 50 years apart! And - Scarlett and Tracy live only a few blocks from each other in D.C. but had never met! The volunteers were all impressed with the organization and are primed to do more volunteer work. It was a great day! – Tracy Wahl ...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Name: Morgan Smith Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, BA economics and public policy, expected 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I’m interested in essentially everything related to local government. I’m primarily passionate about local economic development and urban planning, but I also am deeply interested in how local government can better address real problems that affect our neighbors and friends. I believe that local policy issues are sometimes talked about in severely removed terms: an affordability crisis, for example, is usually discussed in terms of “housing stock” or “rent increases,” when in reality, it’s about families and children being displaced from stable homes. I’m really interested in addressing those intersectional issues at a local level. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. My sophomore year I helped start Roosevelt @ DU, a chapter of the nationally networked think tank: the Roosevelt Institute. Roosevelt gets young people involved with local elected officials to push policy reform on important issues. I was drawn to Roosevelt because it was non-partisan and focused on making sure young people had a seat at the decision-making table!   I’m currently the student body president, and I love it. I focus on a lot of the same things as Roosevelt, but on our campus instead of our city or state. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Nathan Hunt is the economic justice program director for the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. He works with people experiencing homelessness, champions initiatives and is just an incredible all-around guy. I worked for Nathan this past summer, and he constantly challenged me to think in human terms: the margins, the homeless, the poor, the foreign aren’t abstract groups and shouldn’t be described as such. They are as much human as we are and by removing our shared human connection when talking about it, we distance ourselves and presume we have no responsibility. He always challenges me to think deeper and act as such. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received has been from Mohammed Lotif, a staffer in Campus Life at DU: “Sit with the uncomfortable. Don’t run away from it: breathe through it.” I totally struggle with this, which is probably why it’s such good advice! If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I’d love to sit down with Teddy Roosevelt. Famous for his boisterous personality, I think he’d be a great dinner guest. He was a voracious reader, a dedicated conservationist and quite the thinker: I would love to just have a conversation with him and gain a deeper appreciation for his worldview....

The college application process can be daunting even for the students who rank among the highest-performing in their class. For Douglas County High School alumna, Katy Craig (class of 1995), it has been a long-standing passion of hers to give back to high school students the knowledge she has gained since the days of applying to colleges herself, so they can reach their full potential. Working first as the Scholarship Program Director with the Boettcher Foundation, and more recently the Foundation’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Craig has been touring high school auditoriums around the state, sharing information with high school students on how to create compelling college applications, how to sort through the inundation of resources, and coaching them through the anxiety that can set in.      ...

Dan Bishop’s varied career has included roles as a chemist, software entrepreneur, technical writer and college professor. But the common thread that unites those pursuits has always been a love of science and logic. It’s a love that has driven the 1962 Boettcher Scholar since his youth and continues to motivate his work as a community volunteer, lecturer and fundraiser in retirement. Born in Pueblo, Dan moved often during his youth, but he ultimately spent the final years of high school in Denver, where he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. He recalls coming of age as Sputnik and the resulting space race dominated the American psyche. High-performing students were encouraged to pursue advanced level courses in math and science. It was an area where Dan found a natural aptitude. “My dad worked at Lockheed Martin, and I kept a three-ring binder of all the launches and successes and failures” he recalls, adding that he also served in the corps of young “Sputnik spotters” on the University of Denver campus when he was a junior high student. Dan used his Boettcher Scholarship to attend the University of Colorado, where he earned a degree in chemistry. He spent a few years as a chemist for Sherwin-Williams near Oakland, California, before he decided to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry. He earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Kansas and taught college-level chemistry for several years before developing an interest in computer technology in the late 1970s. “It was just when personal computers were coming out, and I saw an opportunity to write some of the first educational software,” he recalled. Dan started a small business writing software, and his products included some of the first graphical laboratory simulations in chemistry. The software venture dominated Dan’s life until his wife, Ann, was transferred to Fort Collins and he once again returned to academia, this time in the engineering department at Colorado State University. After a brief hiatus, Dan became a technical writer and then a software programmer for a small company in Boulder. He was eventually lured back to teaching, this time in CSU’s chemistry department, where he taught until he retired in 1994. Retirement has been anything but quiet for Dan, who after moving to Salida five years ago, quickly became involved with the Central Colorado Humanists, a group whose philosophical approach to life focuses on science, rational thought and reason. Dan became president of the group and helped grow its membership to 150. As part of his work, Dan occasionally gives community lectures about Mars and other science-related topics, allowing him to rekindle the fascination from his youth. Dan also helps the group with fundraising for its scholarship program. Last year the group raised $7,000 – enough to fund seven scholarships for local graduates. It’s a great way to pay forward his own great fortune as a Boettcher Scholar. “I don’t think there is any way to really describe adequately the effect the (Boettcher) scholarship had on my personal life,” Dan said, adding that neither of his parents had attended college and affording college would have been a struggle for the family. In addition to his work with the Central Colorado Humanists, Dan’s hobbies include watercolor painting, playing the cello (a pursuit he took up at the age of 67) and spending time with his family. Dan and his wife have two daughters and two grandchildren....

By Joanne Ostrow  Contributing Writer, Denver Business Journal An empty darkroom used for storage at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities has been refashioned into a state-of-the-art digital lab, open to the public and offering classes for all ages, thanks to a collaboration among public/private, arts, business and philanthropic sources. The new Digital Creative Arts Lab (DCAL) at the Arvada Center offers classes in animation, digital printmaking, green screen technology, Photoshop, wearable art and more in a lab stocked with 3D printers, laptops and tablets.    ...