Scholar Profiles

Boettcher Foundation Press Release

16 May Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1992 scholar Mary Margaret Knudson Hesse

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: Mary Margaret Knudson Hesse Scholar Year: 1992 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A. in Spanish and English, minor in Mathematics, 1997; M.A. Georgetown University, Security Studies and International Security, 2004 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? My primary focus in recent years has been on raising my children. I currently also work part-time with a local nonprofit, Raising a Reader, promoting early childhood literacy for low-income, at-risk and immigrant families on Colorado’s western slope. I formerly served as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State overseas and in Washington, D.C., as a civil servant with the U.S. Department of Defense and for a defense contracting company working for NATO and the U.S. Joint Forces Command. I continue to serve as a senior foreign affairs consultant for a global defense company. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Receiving the Boettcher Scholarship was life-changing. The freedom from financial pressures that came along with the scholarship allowed me to pursue international study and work experiences as well as a heavy course load in college, helping to jump-start my career in foreign affairs. I appreciate the Boettcher Foundation’s ethos of service and community and believe we all have roles to play in supporting and uplifting our communities. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. I support my children’s school as a weekly volunteer providing math enrichment, serve on the school’s accountability board, and enjoy speaking with high school students about the college scholarship and admissions process as a Boettcher Ambassador. I serve periodically as a volunteer interpreter on international medical brigades, and am working to expose my children to the broader world through Spanish instruction at home and annual language/immersion trips to Guatemala. Living in rural western Colorado, I enjoy participating in many outdoor mountain activities. In the summer I coax a few vegetables out of a community garden plot. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Concise, incisive writing and speaking are highly valued skills in many careers, including the Foreign Service. A mentor once counseled me to always consider the question, “So what?” (why does this matter?) in my writing. I would advise students to keep this question in mind in life in general as well as in work. It is useful periodically to take stock of what we are doing and to consider, “So what? How is who I am and what I am doing making the world, or the day, better for someone? Is this the best way to use my time and talents?” If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I recently read Guatemalan human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Rigoberta Menchu’s autobiography, and I admire her work to support the rights of women and indigenous people. She came from an extremely humble background and had very little education and few resources. Despite suffering though persecution as well as the torture and murder of several family members at the hands of the military regime, through her tenacity and dedication she drew worldwide attention to the plight of indigenous Guatemalans and has supported an international movement for peace, justice and equality....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

02 May Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 scholar Michael Gohde

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: Michael Gohde Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Colorado Springs What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After I graduate, I plan on attending grad school to study either computer systems or machine learning. I have worked for three cutting-edge labs for the last four+ years and they have all in some way shaped what I want to do. Among these experiences, my work with the Cox Lab at Harvard University has had the greatest influence. The Cox Lab is currently focused on developing biologically inspired machine learning systems, which fascinate me. I have worked in their lab for two years and will return this summer. In the long-term, I would like to start a business specializing in one of these fields. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. From prior experience, I’ve learned to try to stick to a few core activities so my schedule can remain somewhat flexible. I somewhat regularly attend swing dance, car club and comedy club meetings as time allows. These clubs represent some of the most interesting options available to me. I was also actively involved in campaigning for one of the tickets in the recent CU Student Government elections since I was able to meet the candidates and believed that their platform and passion made them worthwhile. Besides this, I have continued to make and distribute cancer care kits at Penrose Hospital. I also work for both CU Boulder’s Dowell Lab and during vacations, I return and help out at the Vision and Security Technology Lab at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.   Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of the greatest mentors I’ve ever had was Dr. Dana Wortman at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. As my Intro to Computer Science professor, she was monumental in transforming my general and scattered interest in computer science into a well-directed vision. I attended my first class with her when I was 13, and, despite the significant age difference between all of the other students and myself, she made me feel as though I belonged in the class. She never treated me as anything other than an equal, and she always challenged me to strive for more and to do better. Later on, I took her Game AI and C++ classes, where I learned to write clean code and documentation. In the times when she was not my teacher, she was a mentor and good friend. What's the best advice you've ever received? Some of the best advice that I’ve gotten was from Dr. Terrance Boult, who told me to build solid working relationships and have a reputation as a hard worker. Working for him and taking his advice has and will continue to provide opportunities for me, and someday it will allow me to provide opportunities to others.   If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  If I could have dinner with one or more people from history, then I would be most interested in meeting any of the directors of Bell Labs. It would be fascinating to learn how they fostered a culture and atmosphere of such outstanding productivity and creativity within a for-profit institution....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

28 Apr 1970 Boettcher Scholar spends career ensuring food safety

Robert “Skip” Seward has spent the last four decades ensuring that the food we eat is safe. A 1970 Boettcher Scholar, Skip has led food safety at Fortune 500 companies like ConAgra Foods Inc., Oscar Mayer Foods and McDonalds. Skip attended CSU and later Oregon State University for his master’s in microbiology. Less than glamorous, he got his start in research by studying the growth of algae on pig manure. “Needless to say, I was not very popular at the greenhouse,” Skip said with a chuckle. Soon after, he took his first job as a bench microbiologist at Del Monte Corp.  “I’ve always credited what I’ve done to good mentors, and I had two of them at Del Monte who helped me decide that I needed to go back and get my Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin,” Skip said. At the time, Skip studied modified atmosphere packaging—placing fresh fish in packaging without oxygen for consumers to purchase—while also preventing the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the cause of foodborne botulism. He then launched into his career, moving from a bench researcher to directing food safety and eventually to serving as vice president of global food safety at ConAgra Foods. Skip spent decades working hard and advancing research, but he has kept in touch with his mentors and professors along the way, citing their influence as the reason he landed where he is today. “You find inspiration in someone, and they set you in a direction,” said Skip. “That’s why I tell people, ‘don’t forget who helped you along the way, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to give back, do it.’” Along the way he also met his wife, Dee, who ignited his passion for giving back. After receiving her teaching license in six different states as Skip toured the country with different companies, Dee retired from teaching first grade. She and Skip moved to Washington, D.C., where she became very involved with the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which supports residents and preserves the history of Capitol Hill. “My wife has always promoted giving back, and has really taught me the value of helping others,” Skip said. “And when you give back, it sure makes you feel good. It makes the world seem a little bit smaller and little more purposeful.” He’s also kept in touch with the Boettcher Foundation, looking for opportunities to give back and pay forward his scholarship to the next generation, including naming the Boettcher Foundation in his will. Skip now owns Seward Global Consulting, which helps companies comply with the latest government regulations in food safety. He says that generally, companies want to do the right thing and produce safe food, they just need a little help sometimes. Nominated by his peers, Skip is currently in his fourth two-year term serving on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. This committee is sponsored by and works to advise the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense. When he is not working, Skip and Dee enjoy travel. In fact, when a coconut water project recently took him to Thailand for four months, he and his wife took the opportunity to travel throughout Southeast Asia and China where they hiked the Great Wall for several weeks. Skip has already accomplished so much in his career, but he remains excited by the opportunities still to come. “I am still stimulated by my job and helping food companies improve their food safety. There are always new challenges associated with emerging pathogens. I have enjoyed going to work each morning because I enjoy what I do and interacting with new and old friends along the way. And it all goes back to the great opportunity that the Boettcher Foundation gave me in 1970.”...
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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 grateful. 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

14 Mar Boettcher Scholar, historical reenactor helps museum with Viking exhibition

Chelsea Carr lives three lives. A 2006 Boettcher Scholar and recent graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, Chelsea is working as a law clerk in the 19th Judicial District. After hours and on weekends, however, Chelsea becomes either Svara or Sveni, twin brother and sister from the Viking-age trading town of Birka, circa 850 to 900 AD. Chelsea is an active member of the Fjellborg Vikings, a historical reenactment group dedicated to the accurate portrayal of the Viking age. The group conducts reenactments at festivals and educational events throughout the state. During those events, Chelsea dons hand-sewn clothing and historically accurate battle gear as she teaches visitors about the backstories of her two characters. The Fjellborg Vikings will be on one of their biggest stages soon as the group has been called on to assist with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s upcoming exhibition “Vikings: Beyond the Legend,” which runs March 10 through August 13. ”It’s a recognition of how far we have come as a group and that we are committed to this level of historical accuracy,” said Chelsea, who also serves on the Fjellborg Viking executive board. The group, which includes approximately 30 members, will perform at VIP opening events and family days, and they have contributed their own handmade, historically accurate materials, including a lute and Viking boat, to expand the exhibition. They are also helping to prepare the museum’s on-staff historical reenactors for their own roles in the exhibit. “We are helping them to create their own historically accurate ‘kits’ that will include everything from clothing to shoes to the details of their lives,” Chelsea said. While historical reenactment may seem like a fun opportunity to get dressed up and play a role, participants are obsessively committed to historical accuracy and setting the record straight when it comes to misconceptions about the Vikings A big one for Chelsea is the fact that Vikings didn’t wear the horned helmets frequently associated with them. “The beards are real; the horns are not,” she said, explaining that a pamphlet promoting an opera in the 1800s is responsible for popularizing the false characterization. Chelsea’s connection to the Fjellborg Vikings started when she was an undergraduate at CU, majoring in English and journalism and minoring in geology and Nordic studies. The Fjellborg Vikings would visit campus to participate in a Nordic market day and conduct occasional combat demonstrations. Chelsea stayed in touch with the group and joined after graduation, but she wasn’t able to commit significant time to the pursuit until she graduated from law school. “It was a way to stay active in something I really loved and keep doing something I enjoyed even though my life was taking a different path,” she said. In addition to maintaining a connection to her Nordic studies minor, Viking reenactment provides a link to Chelsea’s youth. “I grew up in the country in a small town,” she said. “I grew up making butter and sewing things.” One part of Viking life that wasn’t part of Chelsea’s youth: combat. The Fjellborg Vikings have twice-monthly training sessions where they work on their battle techniques. They are frequently assessed on their battle styles and have to pass tests before they are allowed to practice combat in front of people. The bows and arrows used by the Fjellborg Vikings are modified so they’ll never strike their target with force harder than a paintball. The group also uses handmade shields and swords that are not sharp but are heavy enough to inflict serious bruises. For her part, Chelsea prefers to do battle with an axe, and she’s hoping to become certified as an archery instructor for other historical reenactors. As Chelsea contemplates the path her life has taken since becoming a Boettcher Scholar, she’s certain that her life as Svara and Sveni – or as a law school grad – wouldn’t have been possible without the Boettcher Foundation’s support. “Getting a Boettcher Scholarship changed my life,” Chelsea said. “I came from a big family in a small town that did not have the money to send me to college. While Chelsea figured she’d find a way to pay for college, she had her sights set on a less expensive college, and she certainly didn’t consider law school a possibility. The Boettcher Scholarship also allowed Chelsea to study abroad in Sweden, helping to cement her interest in Nordic studies and the Viking Age.  ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

13 Mar Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2015 scholar Suraj Renganathan

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: Suraj Renganathan Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Fort Collins College(s), Degree(s):University of Denver, International business and public policy/leadership What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am currently considering several different options upon graduation. On one hand, I would like to pursue a career in government relations and serve as a liaison between the public and private sector. Specifically, I would like to perform economic and market research in investment or corporate banking, thereby functioning as an advisor for policymakers, other businesses and interest groups. However, I am also considering applying for post-graduate fellowships and pursuing a master’s degree abroad. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Rather than focusing on a few activities and going “all in,” I have always preferred to involve myself in a wide variety of pursuits. Right now, I am the president of the University of Denver Roosevelt Institute, which is an undergraduate policy think-tank. The Roosevelt Institute attempts to promote a cause dear to me, namely youth engagement in politics. In addition, I am also a research assistant at the Pardee Center for International Futures. Perhaps one of my more “surprising” extracurricular endeavors is acapella, where I sing bass and beatbox for the DU Idiosingcrasies. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Probably the most significant mentor I have had in my life was my AP U.S. history teacher, Ms. Matthie. Not only was her class my favorite course throughout high school, but Ms. Matthie played an important role in shaping my goals and ambitions. She instilled in me a confidence to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone and tackle issues which initially seem daunting. Though I am now a couple of years removed from high school, I still consider Ms. Matthie to be a strong influence in my life. What's the best advice you've ever received? Regardless of what you achieve, always remain humble. This saying, which was constantly repeated to me by my mother throughout my life, is the most meaningful piece of advice I have received. It serves as a personal reminder to avoid the pitfalls of complacency or arrogance. Despite whatever successes I may have gained, this piece of advice helps to keep me grounded. It also functions as a motivator to constantly try and improve myself and not feel satisfied with the status-quo. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Ronald Reagan and Alexander Hamilton. Reagan because “The Gipper” was a transformational figure in American history and Hamilton because Lin-Manuel Miranda can spit some serious rhymes about our founding fathers!...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

13 Mar Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2000 scholar Ruthie Lestikow

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: Ruthie (Martin) Lestikow Scholar Year: 2000 Hometown: Dolores College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s):Colorado College BA in biology graduated 2004; Loma Linda University, master's in physician assistant sciences, graduated 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 have been a physician assistant for eight years and have worked in beautiful places like San Diego and Washington, D.C. I have practiced in pediatrics, geriatrics, house-call medicine and internal medicine. For the last four years, I have worked in Highlands Ranch at a small private practice in internal medicine, and not a day goes by that I don't learn something new. Being a primary care PA is very rewarding. You are helping people be healthy and stay healthy while getting to know them and their families personally. I also feel great about being a part of a solution to the problem of a primary care provider shortage in our country. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar has helped to instill philanthropy and service into my daily routine and mindset. It helped me to find a way to use my love of biology and science to give back to my community by working in the medical field. Turns out being a Boettcher Scholar also helped me to find the love of my life, my husband Greg. Without the scholarship I would have not been able to attend Colorado College where I met my great husband! Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Outside of working as a physician assistant, I also precept physician assistant and nurse practitioner students from many universities and programs from across the United States. I am also a Boettcher Alumni Ambassador and recently took on heading up the Boettcher Class Champion project as part of the outreach committee of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. For fun, I love playing ice hockey and being with my family outdoors backpacking, telemark skiing, snowboarding, mountain and road biking, hiking and really just being outside all year long. 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 received when considering going into the medical field was to take time and shadow, or at least talk to, multiple different people who worked in jobs or fields that I was interested in. My advice for current graduates wanting to go into medicine is to take a year or more off after undergraduate school. Allow yourself the opportunity to travel or gain experience in the field you would like to work in. When you go back to school you will be refreshed and can bring so much more experience to the table. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? The first two people from history that come to mind that I would love to have dinner with are the physicist and chemist Marie Curie and the Dali Lama. I would love to pick Marie Curie's brain about her experiences as one of the first females in science to make significant discoveries. I also like to think that just by sitting next to the Dali Lama I would gain more mindfulness and patience. For a person to still be so loving, kind and thoughtful after all the pain and persecution he has suffered is truly inspiring....
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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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