Scholar Profiles

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

17 Jul 1988 Boettcher Scholar Found her Calling in Teaching Colorado Students

There were times in college and even in her early career when 1988 Boettcher Scholar Carina Raetz felt directionless. Carina attended the University of Colorado Boulder and was involved in various activities, including serving as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Alzheimer’s patients and as a radio DJ for KUCB.  She switched majors from engineering, to business and ultimately, to English and anthropology. After graduating, Carina moved to California, worked as an advertising specialist at two different radio stations and married her husband, Ed, whom she’d met at CU. Carina began volunteering with various children’s organizations and substitute teaching, which is where she finally found her niche working with children with special needs. “Working with students finally gave me direction” Carina said. After deciding to pursue teaching, Carina attended California State University and received her Master’s of Education with a special education concentration, along with credentials in Clear Cross-Cultural Language Academic Development and Mild-Moderate Disabilities Teaching. “To teach children with special needs or who speak a different language, you have to really understand students and how to reach them,” said Carina. “I’ve always liked that challenge, and I love forming relationships with people. I also believe that diverse students are an asset to the classroom.” Carina excelled in the classroom, earning multiple accolades in California, including California State University’s Leader in Education and a recognition for her class’ achievement growth in English test scores. In 2003, a death in the family prompted Carina to move back home to Colorado, where she landed a role as the special needs teacher in the small town of Ellicott, about 30 miles east of Colorado Springs. Committed to serving the community, Carina also became the dean of students, the school assessment coordinator and served on administrative and advisory committees. While there, she created the Dean’s Award to recognize kids for positive behavior and received a special recognition from the school board. Soon after, she started working closer to home and began the English-as-a-Second-Language Program (ESL) at Carver Elementary, where she has continued to work for the past nine years. Under her guidance, Carina’s students started “Student Power!,” an effort to encourage staff and students to save energy. As a result of this work, Carina’s students had the opportunity to present to world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. “Meeting Dr. Goodall and watching my students present their ideas to her was one of the highlights of my career,” said Carina, who had idolized Jane Goodall since learning about her as an anthropology major at CU. She also initiated two programs at Carver to bring together ESL students and their parents to participate in language and learning activities. Carina is a member of the Colorado Chapter of the National Teachers of the Year, where she works with a group of teachers to positively promote education, something she says is critical to do in the U.S. right now. And if that wasn’t enough, Carina is also working with the deputy superintendent to solve the problem of teacher retention in Colorado and recently was a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Department of Education Teacher of the Year. “I think for some reason it’s my calling to help students overcome obstacles.” It’s that calling that continues to motivate Carina to find new teaching methods and new ways of encouraging the potential of the next generation....
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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

01 Jun Boettcher Scholar guides Greeley public policy

As a city attorney with decades of experience, 1972 Boettcher Scholar Doug Marek has helped set policy and guide legislation in both Colorado and Iowa. But before Doug was an attorney, he was a teacher.  He received both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts in teaching from Colorado College, and began teaching at a middle school in Colorado Springs. A few years later, Doug and his wife moved to Ames, Iowa, where he taught middle school, coached sports and ultimately decided to attend law school at Iowa State University. “For three years we were both in grad school and living in student housing,” Doug recalled. “We were both career-driven and focused on the next step in our lives.” After passing the bar exam, Doug channeled his background in teaching and became a professor of law at Drake University. He was later offered a position at the Iowa Attorney General’s office, where he reported to Tom Miller—the longest-serving Attorney General in the United States. In 2005, Doug become the City Attorney for Ames, Iowa—a university town with 62,000 people, half of which were students. “I loved being involved in legal decisions that improved the residents’ quality of life and in the development of public policy that shaped the town,” said Doug. Despite his success in Iowa, a trip home to Colorado for his 40th high school reunion ended in a job offer to be the Greeley City attorney, a position he’s now proudly held for seven years. “One of the luxuries of being a public practitioner and representing government entities is that we have more discretion on what position to take,” said Doug. “That’s different than a private practitioner who has an ethical obligation to pursue the position taken by their client.” As an advisor to elected city officials, Doug is able to recommend and steer some of the key positions that Greeley takes on litigation and local legislation. “It’s rewarding to see how you can improve the lives of people, either through litigation or long-range planning,” Doug said. Looking back at his career, Doug acknowledged that it has been the personal relationships that he’s created and carefully maintained which have led to his success. “I still contact people I worked with more than 20 years ago to ask for their advice or just check in,” said Doug. When he’s not in the courtroom, you’re likely to find Doug skiing, snowshoeing or cycling —“Pedal the Plains” is an annual favorite of his. Doug is also an avid supporter of arts and music in Greeley, serving on the Dean’s Community Arts Advisory Board at the University of Northern Colorado....
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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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