Author: Marisa Pooley

Boettcher Foundation Press Release

11 Apr Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 scholar Jazzy Middleton

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: Jasmine (Jazzy) Middleton Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Aurora College(s), Degree(s): University of Northern Colorado, Acting What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am currently pursuing a degree in acting! I’m hoping to act for a while after college but my long-term goal is to own my own theatre so that I may show how much art can positively impact any community. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time and I am working hard to make it a reality. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Being an acting major takes up quite a bit of time on its own… so most of the activities I’ve joined have stayed very close to the theatre. I have joined some wonderful student troupes that put-on productions here and there, which has been a unique experience. I also was lucky enough to be cast in a main-stage production second semester, which is wonderfully wonderful but also wonderfully time-consuming. Even with the business of a college performing arts career, I have been attending a multitude of public events put on by various student groups. It is a great way to be involved even when you can’t join a club. I’ve also been going to youth group with Intervarsity which is a great way to meet people. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of my most important mentors was my high school theatre teacher Eric Eidson. Not only did he teach me so much about my craft and about the importance of pursuing my passions, but he also taught me so much about navigating life and staying positive. Unfortunately, his dorky sense of humor rubbed off on me too, but he’s a person whose qualities are contagious if you’re seeking success, so I’m not too upset about it. We’re still very close even though I’m out of high school, and he’s still proven to be a mentor to me. I cherish getting to have such a great adult in my life! What's the best advice you've ever received? Something I always turn to when life is getting tough is something one of my incredibly wise friends told me in high school. She told me “always live life 15 minutes at a time”. It seems simple but it really changes your perspective on things! If you take life in 15 minutes it really takes the weight of the future off your shoulders, especially in an institutionalized education lifestyle where things feel like they’re hitting you all at once. Just breathe, worry about the next fifteen minutes and write everything long-term in your planner. (Have a really nice pack of pens to do it with, too!) You’ll never be stressed again, which opens life up for all the beauty that it holds. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have a sit-down dinner with Bob Marley I would be the happiest girl who ever has existed. He is inspirational in his outside-of-the-box way of thinking and his positive philosophies. He’s not one of those creepy positive people who you can just tell are faking it though, he’s down-to-earth and super meta. I feel like we’d vibe well. We’re also both Aquarians and that kind of rocks too....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

10 Apr Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1990 scholar Kenzo Kawanabe

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: Kenzo Kawanabe Scholar Year: 1990 Hometown: Alamosa  College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado, BA (1994), and Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1997) Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? For 18 years, I have been a commercial trial lawyer at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, one of Colorado’s oldest and largest law firms. I represent clients in a variety of matters relating to commercial disputes, mass torts and intellectual property, in a variety of industries including energy, technology, aviation, engineering and real estate.  I am a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and I enjoy helping my clients solve their problems. Prior to joining DGS, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Obviously, the Boettcher Scholarship paid for my college, for which I am eternally gratefully. But more importantly, the Boettcher family taught me about philanthropy and working towards the greater good of a stronger community and state. As a Trustee of the Boettcher Foundation and a member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, I am committed the paying this generous gift forward. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In the legal profession, I teach trial skills and the rule of law, and serve as the Pro Bono Partner at my firm. I was the first-ever General Counsel for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and serve on the Boards of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, CO Lawyers Committee and CO Legal Services. In addition to my legal community service, I have served on the Boards of the Boettcher Foundation, Denver Foundation, Sakura Foundation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Community Resource Center and CO Nonprofit Development Center. The activities I enjoy the most are spending time (traveling, eating, laughing, etc.) with my family including my wife (Irene), daughters (Mika and Aya), and 85-pound dog (Fozzie). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The rule of law is a pillar of our democracy, and attorneys are the guardians of the rule of law. The law opens so many doors to so many different jobs.  Find what makes you happy (your Happiness Factor). While I am not encouraging you to act on whims, I do believe that true introspection will allow you to obtain a satisfying career(s) in the law. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Carr: two lawyers who followed their moral compass to be on the right side of history....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

28 Mar Boettcher Scholar competes on “The Amazing Race”

Floyd Pierce had never been out of the country. That is, until the 2013 Boettcher Scholar embarked on a journey around the world as a competitor on the 29th season of the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race.” Floyd was determined to compete on the show ever since middle school when he first watched “The Amazing Race,” a reality competition show in which 11 teams of two race around the world, solving clues, navigating foreign countries and completing tasks. Each week, teams are eliminated, and the last team standing wins $1 million. But the minimum age to compete is 21, which gave Floyd years to plan his audition tape. In December 2015, Floyd, who is the drum major for University of Colorado Boulder’s marching band, convinced one of his band friends to audition with him. “I didn’t think anything was going to happen, but how could I not try?” recalled Floyd, lighting up as he remembers his bold decision.  On March 9 the following year, Floyd received a call from a CBS casting director. “At that moment I freaked out,” Floyd said. “Even if they were going to say no, I was just excited they had even called me.” But there was a twist. For the first time ever, “The Amazing Race” was not accepting pairs. Instead, the contestants would be paired with a random competitor at the starting line. The next few months were filled with a flurry of paperwork, a new audition tape and a weeklong casting process in Los Angeles. Three weeks later, Floyd received another phone call. He was officially cast on the show. As soon as he hung up, he began training, which he says consisted of a lot of running. “I think running is the single most important skill you can have on The Amazing Race,” said Floyd. Floyd then had to pack for the cross-globe journey, with little guidance from the producers. “They tell you to ‘pack for anything,’” Floyd said. Contestants must carry their belongings with them at all times, but simultaneously be prepared for any possible task, weather or environment. Floyd needed to be prepared for everything, but pack minimally. He flew to the starting line in early June, but there was still the unknown element of who his partner would be. However, Floyd was not as worried about that as you might expect. “Personally, I am confident that I can get along with virtually anyone,” Floyd smiled. “So, no matter who I was paired with, I knew I could make it work.” At the same time, Floyd had seen the show before and recognized that they typically do not cast “22 reasonable, easy-to-get-along-with people.” For that reason, the nerves started to set in. The biggest challenges for Floyd during the taping of the show? Remembering that there were cameras on him constantly, and not letting self-doubt and negative comments creep in and affect his performance. “It’s easy to worry that you may do something embarrassing on camera and let that occupy all of your thoughts, but I had to remember that I was living my dream experience, and regardless of what happened—good or bad—I needed to enjoy the ride,” Floyd said. Being the youngest contestant and the only one who had never before traveled outside the U.S., Floyd said the other contestants thought that he would be the easiest to beat. Early on, he let that bother him, but quickly realized he needed to ignore the negativity and focus on his journey. Floyd cannot yet discuss the outcome of the show, but wants to use his own experience on “The Amazing Race” to inspire others to overcome their fears and try new things. His intent is not to become famous from the show, but rather to impact others in a positive way. In the true Boettcher Scholar-style of serving others, Floyd’s throwing a premiere watch-party with a fellow contestant from Boulder to raise money for the nonprofit, Big City Mountaineers, which provides outdoor experiences for underserved youth in Colorado. When he’s not appearing in prime time, Floyd is a typical, albeit high-achieving, college student. He leads the marching band, is majoring in economics and applied math and hopes to earn a master’s degree in data analytics and work to help companies create meaningful relationships with the people they serve. He even organized CU’s very own “The Amazing Race,” during homecoming, which received great participation and is becoming an annual event. Reflecting on his experience, Floyd grins and says “It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was simply amazing.” To find out who Floyd is paired with and how far he makes it in the competition, tune in to CBS on Thursday, March 29 at 8 p.m. for the season premiere, then Friday nights for its regular time slot.   Learn more about Floyd and his fellow contestants here: http://theknow.denverpost.com/2017/03/16/the-amazing-race-final-season-contestants-colorado/139259/.   ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

15 Mar Seattle-area Boettcher Scholars help local community

In an effort to connect Boettcher Scholars across the country, both with each other and their communities, we've started organizing scholar service days in a variety of U.S. cities outside Colorado. Most recently, a small but mighty crew of alumni volunteered at a "community build" with Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides free, yearlong carpentry and design programs for diverse youth. McKenna Asakawa, a 2012 scholar,  now works for Sawhorse Revolution and helped to organize the service project. "Despite heavy rain, our community build on Saturday was a big success! Volunteers helped us make progress on the 'Parabay Homes,' a tiny house duplex designed for a homeless family," said McKenna. "In mid-April, we'll deliver it to a new, city-sanctioned tiny house village in Georgetown. The Parabay Homes are generating significant excitement, since they are the only homes designed specifically for a family experiencing homelessness." Volunteers spent the day measuring, cutting, and installing interior and exterior paneling.  Michael Estrada, a 2010 scholar, drove all the way  from Bellingham (near the Canadian border) to participate in the service day. "His building prowess, collaboration, and commitment really helped us move forward with the interior of the duplex half designed for kids," McKenna noted. "I was blown away by his dedication and so enjoyed connecting with him!"    ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

09 Mar Boettcher Investigator’s clinical trial is saving lives

For 2011 Boettcher Investigator Dr. Robert Doebele, the satisfying part of medicine is researching an idea in his lab, and then seeing that idea come to fruition in treating his patients. And that’s exactly what is happening in the first-of-its-kind clinical trial that he is currently leading. Dr. Doebele holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D., which allows him to spend part of his time in the lab and part with his patients, which is also what guided him to specialize in lung cancer.  “I like the patient relationship. Some doctors like healthier patients, and while I don’t like having sick patients, I don’t mind it,” Dr. Doebele explained. “I get to see my patients often, from diagnosis through treatment.” It’s that same patient interaction that helped Dr. Doebele to make a huge breakthrough in his lab. Dr. Doebele researches oncogene targeted therapy, or precision medicine, where he identifies the dominant genes that are critical for developing cancer. When those genes are specifically targeted in treatment, doctors are able to shrink tumors. “When I started working in lung cancer in 2005, the treatment for lung cancer was pretty much all the same,” Dr. Doebele said. “The treatment is now very different based on the genetic abnormalities present in each patient.” Because of this genetic research, lung cancer now has identifiable mutations that make gene-targeted therapy possible. But what happens when a patient has none of the identified mutations, is a non-smoker in her forties, and presents with stage-four lung cancer? Around that same time, Dr. Doebele realized there must be other targetable genes that can become cancer-driving cells. Thus, his most-recent research was born. His lab did not discover a new gene, but using modern techniques, they were able to identify that this specific gene was truly cancer-driving and, beyond that, they developed a method for targeting that gene in treatment. Working with Array Biopharma out of Boulder, Dr. Doebele helped develop a drug to test in these cancers. Unfortunately, Dr. Doebele’s inspiring patient passed away, but thanks to the tissue that she donated, Dr. Doebele was able to directly advance his research, initiate a clinical trial and literally save lives. The first patient to participate in his clinical trial was much like Dr. Doebele’s patient who donated tissue. She was incredibly ill with widely metastatic sarcoma in her lungs, and even moved to Denver with her family for a month to participate in phase one of the study. “I was nervous because this was the first test of my research to see if it actually does anything,” remembers Dr. Doebele. “You feel like you are laying your chips on the table, and it was my idea combined with a real patient.” Week by week during the clinical trial, his new patient improved. Now, almost two years later, she is still taking the drug he developed and has no measurable tumor in her lungs. And she’s not alone. All of the trial patients have had tumor shrinkage and most have had a highly measurable response. “This is not going to cure millions of cancer patients, but if we test patients and identify these mutations, it’s a very good start. It’s a bedside-to-bench-to-bedside approach,” said Dr. Doebele. Two companies are now developing drugs to specifically treat what Dr. Doebele identified, and are awaiting FDA approval. “It’s rare but satisfying when you get to come full-circle and see your research directly affect patients.” Dr. Doebele said. Looking back, he credits his scientific success with both luck and preparedness, plus a boost from the Boettcher Foundation. “The luck was finding a patient that had this mutation, but the Webb-Waring Biomedical research funding allowed me to prepare my lab to take on this project very quickly,” said Dr. Doebele. This combination allowed Dr. Doebele to publish his findings in approximately a year, which meant getting this treatment to clinical trial, and ultimately, to patients sooner. Since then, he has received more funding, including an R01 grant from the National Institute of Health. Looking ahead, Dr. Doebele is very interested in bringing increasingly better drugs to patients, and plans to continue testing new drugs and new ideas with the ultimate goal of saving lives.  ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

01 Mar Starbucks director and Boettcher Scholar pays forward the college experience through new program

How does an economics major from Littleton, Colorado become the director of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan? In her own words, “by continually taking on new challenges and pushing myself to try new things.” Mary Dixon has spent two decades working for the largest coffee chain in the world, but before that, she was a 1986 Boettcher Scholar who attended Colorado College. “I remember that moment of opening the envelope—it was so thin I thought it must be bad news—but when I saw that I’d received the scholarship, it was such a moment of pride,” Mary recalls. “It was in my nature to be involved in academics and in my community, and Boettcher validating those attributes strengthened my resolve to continue being of service to others.”  Serving others is what led Mary to her current role, directing Starbucks’ college reimbursement program for any employee who works at least 20 hours a week. Committed to its community, Starbucks aims to graduate 25,000 employees by the year 2025. “We’re constantly thinking about how we can make this program better, or what’s the next thing we can offer to our partners that grows both the organization and each of them individually,” Mary explained. Over the years, Mary has held several positions at Starbucks, ranging from retail to global responsibility, and though it may not seem like a traditional path, Mary credits her liberal arts education for the career she has today. “The jobs of tomorrow don’t even exist yet today, so it’s more about teaching critical thinking,” Mary said. “My liberal arts education gave me that base, and I’ve felt comfortable taking on new challenges because of that. It also gave me communication skills that are useful in any job.” After graduating from CC, Mary worked with foreign exchange students in Boston and Australia. From there, Mary realized she was ready for a new challenge and wanted to be back on the west coast working in the food industry. “A friend told me about this little company called ‘Starbucks’ that had a few hundred stores,” Mary remembers. She researched the company and liked the fact that it was centered around a mission and a set of core values. Shortly after Starbucks became a publicly traded company, Mary was hired into the manager training program in retail in San Francisco. In fact, Mary was part of the team that helped Starbucks expand into Colorado and several other states for the first time. She then became the director of global operations and helped Starbucks expand internationally, opening stores in 17 new markets, throughout Asia and Europe. “There are amazing people that work here, and we get to do amazing work—we are always pushing forward, giving back and thinking about what is the role and responsibility of a public company,” Mary said. After living in Amsterdam, opening stores throughout Europe, Mary returned to Seattle with her husband and infant son, transitioning into a role focused on corporate social responsibility. She helped to connect partners on a global scale and emphasized community service around the time of Starbucks’ 40th anniversary. “Helping others and connecting people to opportunities just seemed to be the way I’ve approached life” said Mary. That “way of life” has been present throughout Mary’s journey. Serving others helped her to earn her Boettcher Scholarship, and it’s also a large part of her current role where she gets to pay it forward to the next generation of students, and help them attend college debt-free. After 23 years with Starbucks, Mary continues to seek out new challenges, and is ever-appreciative to be in a place that remains driven by a mission and values that align with her own....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

20 Jan Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2013 scholar Chandler Price

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: Chandler Price Scholar Year: 2013 Hometown: Pueblo College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s):University of Northern Colorado, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2017 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduation, I am interested in pursuing a new graduate position in medical-surgical nursing. I would love to stay in Northern Colorado, but I am leaving my options completely open. I’m always up for a new adventure! I am also looking into returning to the University of Northern Colorado within a year after graduation to apply for the School of Nursing’s Post Bachelor's to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) Emphasis. I have fallen in love with traveling, so I am hoping to pursue nursing-related trips abroad as well. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. While at UNC, I joined three incredible organizations. I joined Christian Challenge because I wanted to build a strong, supportive community. I met all of my dearest friends there - it takes real friendship to support a nursing student! I joined the National Society of Collegiate Scholars where I served as Vice President of Community Service. I wanted to connect deeply with the Greeley community, and I became a huge fan of Habitat for Humanity. Lastly, I served as President of the Student Nurses Association for two years. I wanted to welcome, lead, and network with current and future nurses. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I am four months from graduation because of many fine individuals, but Deb Rojas, a professor in the UNC School of Nursing, is one mentor I would not be here without. Deb is the definition of a mentor – an experienced and trusted adviser. She allows students to see her heart. She emphasizes holistic, patient-centered care. She teaches the importance of self-care. Deb coordinates the nursing simulation labs and the 9Health Fair at UNC. She has taught me the importance of leading, organizing, and networking, and has given me the opportunity to work and learn alongside her. I am forever thankful. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received came from a picture I found while scrolling on Pinterest. It was written by Gretchen Saffles and the original sources was a website called Life Lived Beautifully. The lovely words said, “Dream your dreams, then ask God to shape them, scrub them, and steward them for His glory.” My jaw dropped as my eyes skimmed over the words again and again. I cherish the freedom I have to dream my dreams, but ultimately I want to glorify God with my life. I’ll be thriving off of this advice the rest of my life. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with one person from history, I would choose Mother Teresa. I love the authentic life she embodied. She lived with the servant heart I long for. She was quiet, kind, and compassionate, but she also showed a unique strength. She was passionate about helping others. She lived a quiet life but the impact she made was loud. I’d like to ask her how she handled conflict. I’d love for her to teach me her “Do it, Anyway” approach to life. If I was cooking dinner, I think her forgiving nature would also come in handy....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

01 Jan Katie Kramer named CEO of Boettcher Foundation

DENVER, January 1, 2017— As part of a transition plan announced in 2016, Katie Kramer has assumed the role of chief executive officer of the Boettcher Foundation. Tim Schultz will retain the title of president until his retirement in July of 2017. “This is a step in the ongoing leadership transition that the foundation trustees set in place over a year ago,” said Russ George, chairman of the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees. “Katie’s understanding of our foundation’s history, business structure, community relationships and her depth of experience makes her the perfect person to lead us into the future.” A Colorado native and Boettcher Scholar, Katie Kramer has spent almost 20 years in multiple roles at the Boettcher Foundation, including 15 years as vice president and assistant executive director. She has led nearly all of the foundation’s programming areas and played a key role both in directing the foundation’s day-to-day operations and establishing its long-term strategic vision. “I am very excited to guide the foundation as we build upon the legacy and impact that the Boettcher family had on Colorado,” said Katie Kramer. Kramer attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where she was a Presidents Leadership Scholar and honors graduate at the Leeds School of Business. In 2009, she completed her Executive MBA at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Kramer was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2016. She was also recognized as one of The Denver Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2014. She has served as the board chair for the National Scholarship Providers Association and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. 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. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kristi Arellano 303.285.6208 kristi@boettcherfoundation.org...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

20 Dec Boettcher Foundation awards grant funding to 13 Colorado nonprofits

DENVER, December 20, 2016 — The Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees has awarded $860,000 in capital grants to 13 nonprofit organizations in Colorado. The grants will help support projects that provide social services throughout the state. “The services that each of these organizations provide help to improve our communities right here at home,” said Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation. “From creating outdoor recreation programs for people with disabilities to providing services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, we’re happy to support organizations that are positively impacting our state and its diverse residents each day.” This year’s grant recipients in the Boettcher Foundation’s social services category are: Blue Sky Bridge Child and Family Advocacy Center – Boulder, $60,000: Toward renovation and expansion of the facility to allow for additional capacity Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center – Breckenridge, $40,000: Toward renovation and expansion of facility to increase programming capacity Centennial Mental Health Center – Fort Morgan, $125,000: Toward construction of a new facility in Fort Morgan to provide regional mental health services Chanda Plan Foundation – Lakewood, $75,000: Toward purchase and renovation of a new facility for centralized care Colorado Discover Ability – Grand Junction, $25,000: Toward construction of a new headquarters and programming facility Community Options – Montrose, $75,000: Toward construction of a comprehensive regional administrative and programing campus Denver Housing Authority – Denver, $125,000: Toward construction of the Sun Valley Multi-Use Business and Community Center, which will house nonprofits serving residents in the new mixed-income community Greccio Housing – Colorado Springs, $50,000: Toward the purchase and renovation of a facility for the Resident Resource & Opportunity Center Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley – Glenwood Springs, $50,000: Toward construction of a permanent location for the ReStore, which helps fund the organization’s operations Mile High Ministries – Denver, $35,000: Toward renovations at Joshua Station to expand its programming and administrative space Senior Resources Development Agency – Pueblo, $20,000: Toward renovation of programming space Special Kids Special Families – Colorado Springs, $30,000: Toward purchase and renovation of the facility which houses Zach’s Place Springs Rescue Mission – Colorado Springs, $150,000: Toward renovation and construction of facilities serving the homeless 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...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

12 Dec Boettcher Scholar returns home to improve her community in the San Luis Valley

Andréa Benton Mestas, a 1989 Boettcher Scholar, has given back to her home community of Alamosa for more than two decades in various roles at Adams State University. Currently the Title V activities director, Andréa focuses on Hispanic student success by using her own story of overcoming challenges as a Hispanic scholar. Andréa was a first-generation college student who grew up in a very low-income area. In fact, the two counties where she has spent the majority of her life are among the two poorest in Colorado. The full-ride to any Colorado university was appealing, but it was more than just the financial incentive that motivated Andréa to apply for the Boettcher Scholarship. “I remember looking over the application and how it mentioned looking for students who were giving back to the community, or ‘paying it forward,’” recalls Andréa. “I liked that the Boettcher Foundation really wanted to encourage young people to help grow Colorado.” Receiving the Boettcher Scholarship expanded opportunities for Andréa and allowed her to attend the University of Northern Colorado—an opportunity she would not otherwise have had. Beyond that, it allowed her to be a “part of something bigger.” “I honestly feel a swell of pride when I walk into the history museum and see a Boettcher Foundation plaque, or meet another scholar,” she said. Andréa was motivated to move forward and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics, despite numerous challenges, including having her son during her junior year of college. She soon returned to the San Luis Valley, where she was hired in the computing services department at Adams State University. Happy to have returned home, to be giving back to her community and to be close to her family, Andréa continued moving up at Adams State. She was soon hired as the Institutional Research Director, and was encouraged by the provost to enroll in the higher education administration and leadership master’s degree program. Andréa graduated with her master’s in 2012, again at the top of her class with a 4.0. “I loved that I was modeling how great it is to continue your education for my daughter,” Andréa said. “I started my master’s as she was finishing her senior year in high school.” Andréa realized that she loved teaching and developing curriculum, and she also loved serving Hispanic students, which led her to her current role in equity work and working with Adams State’s Title V grant. After attending a cultural workshop at the Hilos Institute, which teaches leadership skills to Hispanic communities, Andréa and some of her colleagues decided to pool their resources and bring that same type of curriculum to their students. Together they developed the curriculum and received grant funding to start teaching students. The course was incredibly successful, but soon the grant funding had run out. Around that time, Andréa happened to be at a Boettcher Foundation event where she connected with Kenzo Kawanabe, a 1990 Boettcher Scholar, a Boettcher Foundation Trustee and a fellow Alamosa native. Interested in giving back to his home community too, Kenzo provided the matching funds, which enabled Adams State to secure a National Heritage Area Grant and allowed the course to continue. Not only is this impacting students on a daily basis, but it has raised awareness statewide about the cultural richness in the valley. “I have a passion for education and for being able to help people out through a career in public service,” Andréa explained.      ...
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