Alumni Board

Boettcher Foundation Press Release

19 Sep Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Benjamin Swift

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: Benjamin Swift Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Crested Butte College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College ‘21 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Currently I’m hoping to explore a bit of everything during my first couple years of school, and I have a suspicion that I’ll want to major in near every class I take. However, right now I know that—during school and post-graduation—I want to be an activist. During high school I was really involved in environmental activism, and now I’m looking for ways that I can combine that with social justice. I’m thinking that one way to accomplish these goals could be with law, but we’ll see! Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I’ve only been at CC for a few weeks, but this past year I was on a gap year in South America. There I traveled with Where There Be Dragons, learning about Bolivian and Peruvian culture and social issues, staying in homestays and eating way too many potatoes. I then worked as a research assistant with ecologists in Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, where I had the opportunity to travel deep into the Amazon to collect samples, work at a remote field site and measure thousands of mayflies. I ended my gap year volunteering at an animal rescue center in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where I helped maintain the center and lead bilingual tours. Throughout my year I enjoyed learning about different cultures. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Some of my most influential mentors have been my instructors on my Where There Be Dragons course. They opened my eyes to new parts of the world and new ways of looking at things that I had never considered. This was really influential throughout my gap year and into my time in college. What's the best advice you've ever received? My English teacher, Charlotte Camp (who was also my Boettcher teacher honoree), once told me to choose a path and don’t look back—whichever option I elect will be the right one. I love that advice to embrace the moment and to realize that there is more than one “right” path to achieving my dreams. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  This question is hard for me. History is so vast and filled with so many interesting people that I don’t think I could ever make a sufficiently informed decision. I think I would choose an average person from history, rather than a famous or influential figure. It would be fascinating to have dinner with a group of Haitians during the late 18th to early 19th century, the time of the Haitian revolution. Haiti is the only country that successfully gained independence through a slave revolt. I visited Haiti this past spring, and, though many Haitians have experienced significant struggle and hardship, they are also remarkably friendly and delightful humans....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

14 Sep Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1994 Scholar Angelique Diaz

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better.  Name: Angelique Diaz Scholar Year:  1994 Hometown: Denver College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado School of Mines - B.S. Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering (1998), M.S. Environmental Science and Engineering (2003), Ph.D. Environmental Science and Engineering (2008) 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 currently an Environmental Engineer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I’ve been with the EPA since June 2008, and since that time my work has involved managing the program that regulates radioactive emissions from uranium recovery facilities, participating on national rulemakings, and leading interdisciplinary teams in the review of Environmental Impact Statements. My favorite aspect of working as an environmental engineer at the EPA is the opportunity to work across disciplines and programs to achieve the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar, I am connected to the Boettcher Foundation and participate on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. Participation on this board has allowed me to interact with the Boettcher Family in various ways. With each interaction, I am in awe of the amazing things that Boettcher Scholars are doing throughout the world. I am inspired to  give more of myself in all that I do and to use my talents to give back to the people of Colorado, a state that my family has been a part of since it was a territory. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Outside of work I volunteer as often as I can to ignite a passion for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in girls and Latino youth. My volunteer work has involved conducting mock interviews, giving resume workshops, and participating as a panelist to share my experience as a STEM professional. I have been a member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni board for the last two and half years. I teach Sunday School, am a Girl Scout troop leader, and help however I can at my daughter’s school. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? I recently heard someone say that if you aren’t failing you are not learning. As someone that is risk-averse and does all I can not to fail, this resonated with me. I reflected on the times that I was unsuccessful (i.e., I failed...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

14 Aug Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 Scholar Elizabeth Hoffner

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better.  Name: Elizabeth Hoffner Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Center College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver –  finance major, leadership and psychology minors What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? My current work with nonprofit organizations has shown me that it is an area I want to work in. I have realized that I am motivated and passionate when what I do daily has a positive impact on society and not just my or my employer’s bottom line.  I plan to work for a year or two before pursuing a master's. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. When I arrived at college I wanted to join everything, but I am glad I was selective and chose the ones that I did. The Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP) has offered me a great deal of knowledge regarding leadership and myself, and has also provided me with lifelong friends. In addition to PLP, I serve as a senior senator and finance chair in DU’s Undergraduate Student Government, am past-president of the Undergraduate Business Student Association and am personnel chair for Chi Omega Sorority. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. It is difficult to pick one mentor in my life as I have been blessed with so many. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people I look up to and learn from in most areas of my life. My personal and spiritual mentor, Mimi Bailey, I met through PLP. I have many advisors that have helped me navigate being Personnel Chair. There are also many professors that keep me on track academically. Last, but not least, my parents who are constant counsel and support. What's the best advice you've ever received? “Blessed are the flexible for they will not be bent out of shape.” My mother has always said this, and it is something I believe has allowed me to overcome the challenges and enjoy the sweetness of my life so far. Unexpected things will happen, I usually can’t change them, but I can change my attitude. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would like to have dinner with Cornelia ten Boom. As a woman that experienced the ugliness of the world, she still had the faith and determination to help others and remain optimistic of the human race. I would love an insight into the development of her character....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

10 Aug Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2001 Scholar Travis “TC” Ritz

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: Travis "TC" Ritz Scholar Year:  2001 Hometown: Frederick College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado State University, BA, double major in philosophy and economics, 2005; Colorado State University, BS, mathematics, 2006; London School of Economics, MSc, finance and economics, 2007 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 currently Head of Northern and Eastern Europe Energy Origination at Morgan Stanley, based out of London - which means I help large corporate clients manage their exposure to energy prices. I’ve been in this role at Morgan Stanley and previously Barclays for the past eight years, before which I worked in investment banking at Barclays in Frankfurt, Germany. The best thing about my job is working with people of diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds. I spend a significant amount of time traveling across Europe to meet with clients. Cultural differences and diverse ways of seeing the world is not only really exciting, it's what makes the world beautiful in my opinion. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? It gave me the confidence to aim for anything - and the financial springboard to take the most daring option which presented itself. A good example was when I graduated from CSU in 2005 and had a great job opportunity at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. Instead, I took an option which scared (but excited) me much more - a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany, which has turned out to be one of the most important life choices I’ve made. Another important role the Boettcher has played in my life is as a link back to our great State of Colorado, along with a strong sense of wanting to give back. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Through volunteer work here in London, I’ve become a strategic advisor to NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), the UK’s largest children’s charity, with whom we have partnered to build the UK’s first Child's House - a hugely important social effort to help kids who have suffered sexual abuse. Working with the NSPCC also led me to take part in the London Marathon this year (my first) - another hugely enriching experience. I have also recently accepted a position with the AgIndustry Leadership Council at CSU under Dean Ajay Menon, where I hope to marry three passions of mine - agriculture, technology and finance. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Make sure you love and are motivated by what you do. That’s first. If you can, try to match that (or at least elements of that) with something you’re good at and what’s valued in the marketplace. I’ve found that being valued and recognized for something you do helps keep your fire burning. If you can do what you want, where you want, with the people you want - you’ve hit the sweet spot of modern life, and even just two of those is fantastic. And the great thing is that it’s out there. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Given current events on this side of the Atlantic, I’d have to say Winston Churchill. I’d love to understand his views on the UK and the European Union and what he would make of recent political developments around the world. It seems to me the world will continue to change at an ever-increasing pace, with its natural ups and downs, and the real challenge will be to continue working together. The ‘how’ and ‘to what extent’ will be the interesting questions....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

17 Jul Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2015 Scholar Isaiah Koolstra

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: Isaiah Koolstra Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Cope College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Boulder, Chemical and biochemical engineering What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Although I very much enjoy my area of study, I am not sure where I want to go with it.  After graduation I either plan to enter a graduate school program in chemical engineering or immediately work in industry.  I am most interested in engineering positions in energy or biotechnology. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. The organization that I have been most involved with at CU is the Presidents Leadership Class which I have benefited from in the form of enriching experiences and amazing friends. I have also joined several chemical and biological engineering specific extracurricular clubs that help me explore opportunities in my field. I have also enjoyed fun-oriented organizations such as the hiking club and intramural sports. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Although I have had many mentors who have advised me on my strengths, I have had relatively few mentors who guided me through my weaknesses. In this last year of school, some of my personal weakness became apparent and resulted in frustration and dissatisfaction in several areas of my life. Tiffany Anderson, the scholarship program director at the Boettcher Foundation, has been a great mentor for me through this. She is both approachable and encouraging while at the same time straightforward and realistic. Tiffany has given advice and support that has made me confident and excited for next semester. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received is “Make a different mistake.” If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  If I could have dinner with anyone from history, it would be Ernest Shackleton. He was an Antarctic explorer who loved adventure and was well known for the lengths he would go for his crew....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

17 Jul Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2012 Scholar McKenna Asakawa

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: McKenna Asakawa Scholar Year: 2012 Hometown: Lafayette College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College, B.A. in sociology, minor in Spanish Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I’ve been working as the digital content editor for Nelson Treehouse and Supply for about a year now (you might recognize the company from the show Treehouse Masters). It’s a privilege to work at a small family business that has global reach, and to work alongside stunningly creative (and fun!) people. I write copy and manage a lot of our communications, including our blog at nelsontreehouse.com. I love witnessing the positive impact this company has on many lives: from its own staff, to local businesses, to fans from all over the world. Treehouses make people happy! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship has been a liberating force in my life. For one, the foundation’s generosity gave me the financial freedom to take a leap and move for this job after graduation. I am also deeply grateful for the foundation’s ethos of exploration – I remember hearing a Boettcher staff member discuss how she was proud of alumni for doing whatever it is that makes them come alive. This genuine, equal respect for every scholar’s pursuits— whether that be graduate school or growing a family or building treehouses— encouraged me to try the things that led to what I do now. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Until recently, I was also working part-time as the development director for Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle-based nonprofit that hosts year-round carpentry programs for diverse youth. Many Sawhorse programs involve partnering teens with design/build professionals to construct tiny homes for local homeless communities. I also am beginning to volunteer with my local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. My favorite pastimes include cooking with my boyfriend, Evan; listening to music and podcasts (try The Flop House!); tasting wines in Woodinville (five minutes from my place!); and basking in the summertime Pacific Northwest sunshine (gotta stock up on Vitamin D now!). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Some of the best advice I’ve received came from Seanix, one of the Nelson Treehouse carpenters. He said, “Stop taking yourself so seriously, and start taking life and the things you love more seriously.” If I were to dole out some career advice at my wise age of 23, I’d say: 1) Don’t be afraid to change your plans as you yourself change. 2) Find the humor in it. 3) The people you work with can make or break your job satisfaction. Don’t underestimate the importance of the organization’s culture and the team you’ll be a part of everyday If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I’m reading Jacques Pepin’s memoir, The Apprentice, right now, and would love to have dinner with his mother, Jeannette. She was just a few years older than me during WWII in France (during which time she’d bike miles on her one day off a week to scrounge up enough food to feed her three sons!), and holy cow was she a tough person! I’d love to find out more about her sources of strength and time running her own restaurant. Plus, I bet the meal would be delicious!...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

14 Jun Boettcher Scholars Tour NPR Station in Greeley

By Amanda Cary 2014 scholar  In early June, current Boettcher scholars and alumni came together for a tour of KUNC, a public radio station that broadcasts NPR and other local news and music out of Greeley. Five members of the Boettcher community attended. They were: Paula Pulido (2016), Amanda Cary (2014), Doug Marek (1972), Steve Winograd (1968) and Ken Weaver (1963). KUNC began in 1967, but it was initially known as KCBL. After years of being affiliated with the University of Northern Colorado, the station became independent of the university in 2001 when UNC attempted to sell it to Colorado Public Radio. However, a community of dedicated listeners intervened and raised $2 million in 20 days to keep KUNC independent. Today, KUNC is operated by Community Radio for Northern Colorado, and monitored by a board of directors and advisory council. “It speaks to the value of the community,” said Neil Best, KUNC president. Though the station’s operations come from Greeley, KUNC’s presence is felt across the State of Colorado. There are 20 towers broadcasting KUNC programs across Colorado. KUNC was the first station in the state to air NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” KUNC will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, and so much has changed beyond just ownership in 2001. The station has grown from a small, college station to an organization with a budget of $3.2 million that is sustained by 32 staff members and has 220,000 listeners. Best also recognized the challenges in the radio industry, such as the need to engage younger listeners and adjust to the technology shifts that came in 2007, when more people relied on streaming services to listen to their music and news. Facilities have also been among the significant change to the station in the past 50 years. While KUNC was initially operated on UNC’s campus, the station is now operated from an office in west Greeley, where the tour was held. Best showed the Boettcher Scholars where both prerecorded and live broadcasts are transmitted from, along with the newsroom, control room and various offices. The modern technology used to operate KUNC was juxtaposed with old-fashioned radio sets from when the station was first launched. The lobby’s wall holds a large map of Colorado, with 20 KUNC icons located across the map indicating the 20 towers. After the tour concluded, the group went to enjoy dinner and each other’s company at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in downtown Greeley. The group was also able to check out the Greeley Blues Jam Kickoff event, an evening of live music and community celebration. The event brought together scholars who are all from different years and different fields, yet united in their curiosity to learn about a Colorado-based organization, and the desire to build community with their fellow Boettcher Scholars. **This tour was organized by Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board Programs Committee Co-Chair, Tracy Wahl, who worked at NPR headquarters in D.C. for 20 years....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

12 Jun Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2013 scholar Emily Wolverton

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: Emily Wolverton Scholar Year: 2013 Hometown: Montrose College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, B.S. in biology; minors in business administration, leadership studies and chemistry. Graduating June 2017 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am currently applying to medical schools all over the country, but I have a year off during the application process. I will be working as a scribe for a surgeon in Montrose until December, then I am participating in a program called Somos Hermanos in Guatemala for five months. In this program, I will take medical Spanish lessons for two months, then work in a health setting like public health outreach or as an aide in a clinic for the next three months. I have wanted to improve my Spanish skills, so I am excited to have this opportunity and hopefully become fluent! Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Throughout college I have been involved primarily in the Pioneer Leadership Program. Aside from earning a minor in leadership studies, I joined this program for the outstanding community it provided. I have volunteered in several hospitals both to stay engaged with the Denver community and to increase my exposure to the world of health. I worked as a tour guide and orientation leader at DU because I had an exceptional college experience and wanted to share my enthusiasm for the school with prospective and new students. Finally, I loved playing volleyball throughout my DU career in intramurals, a Wash Park league and just for fun on campus. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Throughout college I have appreciated the number and quality of mentors I have been privileged to know. However, one of the most helpful mentors is one I was paired with through the Pioneer Leadership Program, and she happens to be a Boettcher Scholar as well. Claudia Temmer and I first met electronically when I was a senior in high school because my grandparents knew her family and knew she received the Boettcher Scholarship. Back then, she chatted with me on the phone and gave me some interview tips. Four years later, PLP paired us through the Alumni Mentor Program and she has been pivotal in my preparation for medical school. Claudia has been important because she has not only provided support and comfort when I get worried about the medical acceptance statistics, but she has also called me to answer my questions, read draft after draft of my personal statement and met with me in person to share her experience in medical school. What's the best advice you've ever received? There is always time to do the things you love, so if you don't have enough time, you need to re-evaluate your commitments. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would choose to have dinner with Martin Luther King Jr. because I think he would have great stories to tell and could give me great advice about leadership and mobilizing people toward a goal....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

12 Jun Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1998 scholar Brian Peagler

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: Brian Peagler Scholar Year: 1998 Hometown: Denver College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Denver, Bachelors in Computer Engineering, Masters in Business Administration, 2005 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I currently work as the finance systems manager for eBags, the world’s largest online retailer of luggage, handbags and travel accessories. I’m responsible for our back office software, which allows eBags to pay vendors, order inventory and report our financials. I’ve been with eBags for nearly five years. The favorite aspect of my current position is that I’m given a lot of autonomy in the work that I perform. I am more involved in the day-to-day business of the company, use my expertise in application development and find ways to leverage my system to improve our company performance. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar has had a direct impact on where I am and what I do currently. Thinking back to my senior year of high school, I was dead set on heading out of state for college. Learning that I had won this scholarship quickly changed my mind. Weeks later, I had taken an internship with J.D. Edwards (a software company that has made my career) and was on my way to the University of Denver. There are a handful of life-defining moments and getting that congratulatory phone call is near the top of the list for me. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. A great deal of my time outside of work is spent in and around the University of Denver. From volunteering on the Alumni Association Board for the Pioneer Leadership Program to attending concerts and athletic events, I am an active alumnus and engage with the university in any way it will allow me to. The way for me to continuously stimulate my curiosity and push myself to learn new things is to be engaged in a community that fosters that environment. 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’ve received is to find what motivates you. Once you’ve found that, align your career to that motivation as best you can. The easiest way to find work/life balance is to find a career where your life is enriched by it, not weighed against it. For current graduates entering software development – focus on how you get things done. The syntax and languages will always evolve and change, but if you have a steady focus on your process for producing great applications and tools, you’ll always have the drive to succeed. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I feel like I should list a former U.S. president or world leader, but I would like to have dinner with Jackie Robinson. Besides the major implications he has had on the history of baseball (and American society), he is the single player that inspired me to play baseball and follow the game to this day. I feel that Major League Baseball does a tremendous job in honoring his legacy each year. I’ve read several books about his life, but I would want to learn firsthand some of the history behind playing for the Dodgers during that era....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

25 May Boettcher Scholars volunteer at Denver’s GrowHaus

By Beth Baker Owens Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board As part of our annual spring service project, 17 Boettcher Scholars and friends gathered at the The GrowHaus in north Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood on a sunny, cool Saturday in April to lend a hand and learn what’s happening there. The GrowHaus is a nonprofit community center that combines hydroponics, aquaponics and permaculture farming with a daily market, food pantry and education. The nonprofit is pioneering food access in a neighborhood that is known as a “food desert,” meaning there are no food stores for miles. Also, the soil in many places is contaminated from earlier industrial wastes, making traditional gardens problematic in the neighborhood. Inside the warm greenhouses is a paradise of edible plants. Some plants grow in water, others in ecosystems with fish in ponds that feed and water the plants. Others are in raised beds and hanging baskets. The Boettcher Scholar volunteer group planted, tended and watered plants. The worm beds needed new materials, so we shredded paper and mixed it into the worm bed for a tactile adventure. We also tore apart an old shed cover. While we worked, a group of about 15 kids and parents had an experiential class on growing food. The areas inside and outside were full of conversation and laughter. As the kids’ class ended, the market opened in the front of the building. A steady stream of neighbors came in to purchase fresh vegetables and herbs. The GrowHaus then became a quiet oasis where we finished with a potluck and sandwiches provided by the Boettcher Foundation. Many thanks to alumni board member Kelley Ritz and Boettcher staffer Marisa Pooley for their capable planning and implementation of this fun and educational event....
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