Scholar Profiles

Boettcher Foundation Press Release

15 Nov Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1974 scholar Ron Wiley

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: Ronald (Ron) B. Wiley Scholar Year: 1974 Hometown: Boone College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado State University - B.S. Bio-Agricultural Science, 1977; Colorado State University- M.S. Plant Genetics & Breeding, 1979; Azusa Pacific University - M.A. Organizational Leadership, 2008; Nova Southeastern University - Ph.D. (ABD) Conflict Analysis & Resolution, 2017 (anticipated). 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 Director of Field Personnel with Resource Exchange International, Inc., a small humanitarian development agency based in Colorado Springs. REI, Inc. places professionals alongside their counterparts in emerging nations -- hospitals, universities, business settings, development projects -- where they invest both in learning from and sharing with their colleagues, equipping them so that they can lead out in developing their nations. In Djibouti, our team has launched the first English-medium K-12 international school. In Vietnam, our staff are helping implement the “2020” program of introducing English as a foreign language into every classroom in the country. In Laos, our team launched the first surgical residency program. In Indonesia, poverty alleviation takes the form of a mango processing and drying project in collaboration with a grower cooperative, adding value, jobs and environmental and social sustainability. I’ve been with REI, Inc. for 22 years, including 16 years in Kazakhstan, and the last six in my current role. The favorite aspect of my current occupation is traveling to meet with our field staff in six countries, and encouraging them in the excellent work that they do. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar kept me in Colorado for my B.S. and M.S., and I met my wife while at CSU. My college years were transformational for me, and my entire career has been spent serving in the nonprofit sector as a result. My early engagement in opportunities for crossing cultures led to our long tenure living in and contributing to the development of Kazakhstan as an emerging nation. We’re back in Colorado involved in elder care, and it has given us the opportunity to give back to our home community in Southern Colorado, while continuing our traveling contribution internationally. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Besides involvement in a local church congregation, I moonlight as a restorative practices facilitator/trainer/consultant for Pueblo area schools, the justice system, and occasionally our local university. This has grown out of my doctoral studies into indigenous restorative conflict resolution practices. Besides my vocation, my avocation, and my studies, I enjoy hiking in the mountains in whatever part of the world I happen to be at the moment. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? The best advice that I’ve received are the words of Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” I consider my work and the work of our non-profit to be peacemaking work. As advice for anyone considering entering the field of peacemaking, I would offer this short poem, written by Edwin Markham, called “Outwitted”: "He drew a circle that shut me out Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout But love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in." If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would choose to have dinner with Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Badsha Khan, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I would want to join them in dialogue on the spirituality of nonviolent social change, religion and peacemaking, since each of them serve as inspiration for me in my life and work....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

31 Oct Boettcher Scholar juggles multiple roles as public servant

Professor, school board member, entrepreneur and puppy trainer. Any of these roles could be a full-time gig for most people, but in true Boettcher Scholar style, JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin finds a way to juggle all of these and more. A 2004 Boettcher Scholar from Hinkley High School in Aurora, JulieMarie was recently hired as an instructor in the Presidents Leadership Class at the University of Colorado. The new role marks another step in a career path that has centered around community engagement and leadership. JulieMarie studied political science at CU, where she also participated in the Presidents Leadership Class. Her plan was to go to law school, but an internship at the Colorado State Capitol sparked a passion for politics while also leading to a paid staff position for two legislative sessions. She ultimately pursued both a master’s degree and Ph.D., focusing her research on American politics at the state and local level. In addition to writing her doctoral dissertation on school boards in Colorado, JulieMarie campaigned for and was elected to the board of Aurora Public Schools in 2009. She continues to serve in that role, which she describes as both incredibly demanding and extremely rewarding. “It’s been a hard time to be in the education space,” she acknowledged, noting that budget cuts have meant that much of her time is spent trying to determine how to balance dwindling budgets with minimal impact on students.” The rewards, however, show up when JulieMarie attends high school graduations, helping to present diplomas to eager graduates. “Getting to shake their hands as they walk across the stage, that is one of the most important and most impactful things I get to do,” she said. “That’s where you get to see that decision-making, and all of the structures and policies we put in place come together.” During her tenure on the school board, JulieMarie served board as president for three years. She currently serves as president of the Colorado Association of School Boards. She has managed to do all this while also holding a full-time job. She spent three years as a researcher for the Spark Policy Institute before joining the staff at the Colorado Department of Education. She left the Department of Education to take on her new role at CU. JulieMarie is eager to share her passion for public service, and she recently participated in a panel for members of the Boettcher Scholar community who were interested in pursuing public service. When asked to offer advice for people interested in public service, she noted that there are numerous opportunities to be involved and serve your community. “People equate (public service) with elected office but there are so many meaningful ways to serve that aren’t elected,” she said. “Look for different boards and commissions. Most communities are in need of committed and informed citizens to serve in these roles.” She also advises not getting discouraged if you run for a position and aren’t elected, as was her own experience when she ran for the Colorado State Legislature two years ago. In addition to her busy schedule as a college professor and school board member, JulieMarie also operates a small business selling custom-decorated sugar cookies. The business, Frosted Jules LLC, is an outgrowth of one of her favorite hobbies. While she typically only handles two to three orders per month, each order usually takes upwards of four days from start to finish. JulieMarie also raises guide dog puppies. She and her husband, Michael Macklin, also have two of their own dogs, who she refers to as “career-changers” because they weren’t good fits as guide dogs. Raising guide dogs has been a constant since JulieMarie was a student, and she distinctly remembers bringing one of her earliest trainees to her Boettcher Scholarship interview, which she considers a major turning point in her life. “Boettcher made me who I am today,” she said. “Receiving the Boettcher Scholarship was such an amazing gift and honor. Not having to think about finances allowed me to focus and take advantage of college experience, be involved in clubs, travel, take extra classes – it opened up opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.”      ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

18 Oct Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 scholar Reilly Quist

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: Reilly Quist Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown:Delta College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado Denver, Major-Biology, Minor-Ethics, 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduation, I plan to go to medical school and hope to become a pediatrician in a rural community. I grew up in a small town and would love to go back to that area to serve my community. I would love to attend the Anschutz Medical Campus here in Denver, but I am also considering Michigan Medical School, Perelman School of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine. My dream as of right now is to be a primary care physician because they create such close bonds with their patients, and can be extremely influential in the children’s lives. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. The most amazing organization I have joined during my college career has been Roundup River Ranch (RRR). This is a camp for children with life-threatening and serious illnesses. I love camp because it really changes the campers’ lives. It is a place where they make their very first real friends. It is a place where they don’t feel any different or less than others. They can accomplish anything they want to at camp, no matter what their medical limitations are. I will continue working at RRR even beyond my college career when I become a doctor. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of the most important mentors I have met since coming to UCD is Dr. Charles Ferguson. I came from a small school where I usually only had one other person in my classes. During my first few months of college, I failed much more than I succeeded. I didn’t know what to do to fix that. Dr. Ferguson was always there for me, telling me that he believed in me and that I was here for a reason. Without his support, I probably wouldn’t have made it through my freshman year. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have received was actually from another student. His advice was to “fail forward."  He told me that in college we will all inevitably fail sooner rather than later. However, what we do after failing is what will define us and determine how far we will go. Failing forward means that each failure needs to encourage you to be better. You need to acknowledge what went wrong, make a plan for how to avoid those problems a second time, and then stop dwelling on that failure and instead look forward to the successes you will have. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with a few people from history, I would choose doctors who worked on unethical medical studies. Although this may sound like a strange answer, I think I would gain beneficial insight from them. As a future physician, I believe that it is our job to ensure that such unethical practices never happen again. The best way to ensure that is to learn exactly how a doctor just like any of us got to that mindset where they could do those sorts of things to other people. By understanding their journey, we can avoid it ourselves....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

18 Oct Boettcher Scholars learn “unreasonable” lessons in entrepreneurship

By Carlos Solorzano 2004 Boettcher Scholar “The reasonable man [& woman] adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in adapting the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man [& woman]” This is a powerful quote from George Bernard Shaw, and the way of life for the Unreasonable Institute. Now what is the Unreasonable Institute, you might be asking? They are a local, Boulder-based nonprofit whose mission is to support and leverage entrepreneurs as they solve the world’s greatest problems. Since 2009, more than 16 million lives have been impacted by Unreasonable, in areas such as environmental safety, malnutrition, education and poverty. Recently, Boettcher Scholars were fortunate enough to have Unreasonable’s head of global expansion, Banks Benitez, teach us about the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs. The greatest part about listening to Banks was learning that anyone could be an entrepreneur – it just means being willing to rethink the way you do things, and being okay with being “unreasonable.” As we progress through school, we are often taught that there is only one “right” answer. And if you spend enough time thinking through the problem, you will get to that single right answer. Let’s be real though, life (and its biggest problems) is never cut-and-dry. There are far too many variables and exceptions to have only one answer. Successful entrepreneurs understand that multiple answers exist, and more importantly, they recognize that their initial answer will likely be wrong. This is not some kind of self-deprecating attitude that entrepreneurs share, but rather a wisdom to understand the importance of feedback. Our first answer is based on our limited understanding of the problem, and this answer is made in isolation from the rest of the world. Feedback helps us understand our oversights and gaps, as well as our strengths. With each round of feedback our answer improves and becomes more complete. This is where the unreasonable man or woman has a leg up. We are trained to be thinkers first - to front-end our time buried in books or in our heads, until we decide on the “right” answer and finally take action. But entrepreneurs can concurrently take action while thinking, and they are not afraid to fail a few times until they get to their answer. Boettcher Scholars learned about one of the entrepreneur’s most powerful tools for getting feedback: rapid prototyping. Entrepreneurs rarely have enough time, resources, or money on hand (sounds a lot like a college student right?), but they must create a product regardless. So they go through fast and successive trials, tinkering and fine-tuning their product after each round. The first few prototypes might be failures, but they quickly learn why, and they do so with relatively little cost of time and money. Take Zappos for example – they are a highly successful retailer today, but when they started they didn’t know whether an online shoe store would be feasible, so they didn’t purchase any of their own inventory. But how do you start a shoe business without any shoes? When a customer ordered the shoes on their website, they went to the shoe store down the road, bought those shoes, packaged them up, and then delivered them to the customer. After a while, they realized that people would actually buy shoes online before trying them…and the rest is history. Rapid prototyping helped them cheaply and quickly test the feasibility of their business first without the need for heavy investment. Thinking through all the details would not have been nearly as fast or effective as the approach Zappos took. Our Boettcher Scholars practiced these same approaches during the recent weekend workshop, looking to tackle the problems of food waste, career exploration and debt reduction. The scholars went to the streets, called up friends and leveraged each other to get feedback on their initial solutions, and had successfully made multiple revisions to their approach. In a half-day, they created mock “phone apps” using construction paper, tested their business strategies with prospective clients and spoke with actual businesses to see if their analytical tool would meet their clients’ needs. They were amazed by how quickly they went from nothing earlier that day to testable products a few short hours later. If we give them a few months, who knows what they could accomplish! Whether or not this group goes on to become entrepreneurs in the future, they walked away with some great new entrepreneurial techniques to apply in their everyday lives. These lessons - like the willingness to fail and to take action while still having unanswered questions – could go far with the entire Boettcher community. A community who has impressive skill and aptitude that can change the world, but because of that same skill and aptitude, has also been conditioned to believe they need to excel in everything they do and always have the “right” answer. That pressure to succeed is a double-edged sword that can create artificial barriers to making large-scale and highly impactful change. Don’t let that hold you back though. Harness your inner-entrepreneur and remember that we will likely be wrong the first time around; but by going out there and trying anyway, we can learn a great deal more than we ever could by waiting until that elusive “right” answer appears. A great big thanks goes out to Banks Benitez, and to the Unreasonable Institute, for their time and genius this past weekend. Keep up the amazing work! For more information about the Unreasonable Institute, check out their website at https://unreasonableinstitute.org/....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

18 Oct Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1979 scholar Norma Mozeé

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: Norma Mozeé Scholar Year: 1979 Hometown: Denver College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado School of Mines, B.S. Mineral Engineering Mathematics, Minor in Geophysics – 1983 University Colorado Denver, Masters of Global Energy Management (GEM) – 2010 Grand Canyon University, M.A. Educational Administration, 2010 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I started my international business advisory consultancy, Afinidad Americas, two and a half years ago. "Afinidad" means "affinity" in Spanish. The vision and name came from a lifetime of personal and business experience. My passion is creating affinity between the U.S. and Latin America. Being born in Denver to an African American father and a Mexican mother, I sense I was born to this mission to bridge cultures through business, which results in deepening relationships and understanding on both sides of the border. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I am eternally grateful to the Boettcher Foundation for my scholarship. I have to share a deeply personal story: my father died on the second day of my second year in college. Without my Boettcher Scholarship, I would not have been able to continue and complete college. It still brings tears to my eyes to realize that the scholarship allowed me to complete school after my father’s death. I was able to concentrate fully on getting the best education. It also positioned me to contribute back to Denver and Colorado, and now the world. You know it’s prestigious when every time I mention that I was a Boettcher Scholar you hear the audible “Oohs" and "Ahhs.” Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. The list is long, but the running themes of my outside interests are the cross-section of creating global understanding and education. I’m on the board of WorldDenver, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting Denver and the world through the international delegations it brings to Denver and its speaker series. I’m also on the board of Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association. I recently started up the Women at Mines interest group. We’re dedicated to fostering opportunities for women interested in attending Mines and entering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.   What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? The mind has the power to ignite or snuff out your dreams. Manage your mindset, and you’ll manage your outcomes. It all starts with getting in touch with your authentic self and drowning out the background noise of what others think you should do versus what you believe in and are passionate about. Follow your passion and personal fulfillment will follow. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Obamas and Mother Theresa. They all beat the odds and broke through the tide of resistance. Their resilience, dignity, grace and resolve to unify humanity and make the world better for those that don’t have a voice or are invisible is the example I’d like to leave as a legacy. I find it important to stay anchored during this divisive political climate by remembering Dr. King’s words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

13 Sep Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 scholar Elise Collins

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: Elise Collins Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Highlands Ranch College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado Boulder, BFA Performance Major and Leadership Minor, and (hopefully) graduating in 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After college, I would like to perform theatre professionally and utilize theatre to create social change. I would like to start a theatre group that tells the stories of underrepresented groups and utilizes interactive methods to discuss social justice topics through performance. I hope to hold the mirror up to nature and provide audiences with the opportunity to rehearse how they would deal with various subjects in real life. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. In college I have been part of the Interactive Theatre Project, the Presidents Leadership Class, CU OnStage, salsa, blues and swing. The Interactive Theatre Project is a group that utilizes techniques from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to start dialogues about complex social issues and create positive social change. I joined this organization because I am passionate about social justice and theatre. The President’s Leadership Class has been a wonderful opportunity to study leadership, both in the classroom and in the real world. I have been president and secretary for CU OnStage, an organization that creates performance opportunities for students by organizing the annual CU Fringe Festival, a weekend full of free student performance art. I wanted to give students an opportunity to pursue their passion in an environment where it was safe to take risks and fail. I enjoy dancing salsa, blues and swing because it gives me a chance to listen to good music, move freely and spend time with friends. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Angela Thieman Dino, my professor for multi-level issues in leadership, greatly influenced the way that I lead and approach new challenges. She helped me learn how to approach challenges from a mindset of abundance rather than a mindset of scarcity. Her guidance has taught me how to research, given me the tools to become an expert on any subject within a month and showed me how to view every concept through a variety of lenses – an individual lens, an interpersonal lens and an institutional lens. She has given me confidence, perspective and the courage to create positive social change. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I received the best advice in the form of a phrase from a director’s pre-show ritual. Before every show, the entire cast would recite the following phrase “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” This quote always gives me perspective and strength in times of stress. It has shaped the way that I view the world and overcome obstacles in my life. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would like to have dinner with William Shakespeare, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosalind Franklin. I would ask Shakespeare about his writing process and the details about his life, ask Gandhi about his leadership style and finding a worthwhile cause to pursue, ask Eleanor Roosevelt for social activism advice and ask Rosalind Franklin about how she maintained such an incredible work ethic and overcame adversity within the male-dominated scientific community....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

13 Sep Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2003 scholar Jose Martinez III

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: Jose Martinez III Scholar Year: 2003 Hometown: Lakewood College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Northern Colorado, B.A. Social Science Secondary Education and an endorsement in ESL, 2007 Grand Canyon University, M.A. Educational Administration, 2010 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 getting into my 10th year of teaching high school social studies at Bear Creek High School in Jefferson County Public Schools. I teach economics, government, geography and broadcasting, and I think the most amazing part of my job is the fact that I get to help kids create pathways to their dreams. I feel like I have the ultimate privilege to have a direct hand in influencing the future. Every day I get to have fun at my job. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? As a Boettcher Scholar I remember how amazing it felt to have the social and financial support of such an incredible organization as I began my own college career. Now that I teach in a Colorado high school, the topic of higher education is constantly addressed, and I feel like it is an honor and duty to help my students prepare for their future. I always feel an overwhelming sense of pride in being an alumni and talking about the foundation. I think this enthusiasm leaves a significant impact on my students and encourages them in their own journey. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In terms of formal organizations, I’m a proud member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. Outside of that, my favorite activity involves spending time with my wife, Victoria, and my daughter, Penelope, but I also have a fairly wide range of hobbies. I began home-brewing a few years ago, and I love learning more each time a make a new batch. I DJ events from time to time and between gigs and my students, I am always getting a continual education in music. On top of that, I’m a huge tech nerd; I do graphic design and web design work on the side, and sometimes in the late evenings, I can get down on some Xbox with my buddies. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? I think the most amazing advice that I received at some point is best paraphrased by Conan O’Brien. He said, “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” I believe that success comes from doing more than the minimum even if no one ever recognizes it, and I always leave this sentiment with my students on the last day of class each semester. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Easy. I’d choose Ron Swanson, Tim Cook and the Loch Ness Monster. I’d pick Ron Swanson because it guarantees that our meal would be meaty, manly and would come with a side of scotch. I’d pick Tim Cook because I’d love to know what it’s like to try and innovate in the tech sector in 2016; plus I’m a huge fan of Apple products and Tim seems like a relatable guy. Lastly, I’d pick the Loch Ness Monster because then I’d have proof to go along with what I’ve always known....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

16 Aug Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 scholar Jared Russell

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: Jared Russell Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Pueblo College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College, majoring in political science and philosophy; minoring music What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Upon graduating from Colorado College, I plan on attending law school. Once I receive my J.D., I hope to work in a position that allows me to make a positive impact within my community. I would love to be a district attorney, and after some time, I wish to be appointed as a judge. My most ambitious of goals is to be appointed as a judge for the 10th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The 10th Circuit includes the State of Colorado, and I would love to serve my state in such a capacity. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Due to my interest in law, I compete on CC’s Mock Trial team. Additionally, I co-founded a chapter of the Roosevelt Institute at CC, a policy-writing group that seeks to engage young people in politics while making a positive difference. I am also a member of the Honor Council at CC, as I believe that academic integrity plays a key role on every college campus. I wanted to be more active in student life, so I joined Student Government (CCSGA) as the Parliamentarian. In addition, I also serve as a Writing Center tutor and a member of the President’s Council. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. The first professor that I had at CC, and my current academic advisor, is a political scientist named Tom Cronin. The transition into college is always subject to a steep learning curve, and going from an underfunded public high school to a private university, I was quite overwhelmed. Tom, in addition to being a great professor, legitimately cares about his students. He remembers every detail that you tell him about your life. He has pushed me to be a better student and a better person, and I can attribute many of my collegiate successes to his guidance What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I interned at the District Attorney's Office in Pueblo over the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. In that time, I spent several weeks assisting two deputy D.A.'s who were assigned to a murder case. As I helped them prepare for the case, I remember speaking with one of these individuals at length one night about why he became a D.A. He passed me a photo of the victim’s mother during the conversation, and said that no amount of money was worth the feeling he received for upholding justice in the community in which he was raised. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? The legal nerd in me will continue to shine through in this question, as I would love to have dinner with Chief Justice Earl Warren who sat on the Supreme Court from 1953 to 1969. He served as the Chief Justice during cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona (the foundation of Miranda Rights), Gideon v. Wainwright (the right to an attorney if you cannot afford one), and many other landmark cases in the history of the United States. I cannot even imagine where I would want to begin the conversation with this man....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

16 Aug Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1998 scholar Susan Nicholson-Dykstra

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: Susan Nicholson-Dykstra Scholar Year: 1998 Scholar (and 2008 Boettcher Teacher) Hometown: Aurora College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Denver, BS, molecular biology (with minors in leadership and chemistry), 2002 Dartmouth College, Ph.D., biochemistry, 2008 University of Denver, MA, curriculum instruction, 2010 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? My current role is director of teacher education accreditation for the University of Maine at Farmington. I collect and analyze data about our teacher candidates and programs, then assemble that data into a story to demonstrate how our programs meet the national standards for teacher preparation--my work truly combines my experience as an educator, an educational researcher and a scientist. Having had the opportunity to complete such a fantastic teacher prep program (Boettcher Teacher Residency), it’s really invigorating to help innovate and improve another teacher preparation program that has a similar focus on community, relationships and serving diverse students. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship opened opportunities I never could have imagined! As a scholar, I attended DU where I joined the Pioneer Leadership Program, conducted research and made amazing and brilliant lifelong friends. DU prepared me to enter a doctoral program where I conducted research and mentored students. The Boettcher Teacher Residency provided both a route back to Colorado and a transition from the lab to the classroom where I could share my passion for science. As a Boettcher Teacher Resident, I again joined an amazing cohort of leaders, and spent six years teaching science and conducting research with CU’s Streamline to Mastery Program. All of these experiences coalesced to provide the preparation for my current position. Truly, all roads lead back to Boettcher! Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. While in Colorado, I helped to start an annual Girls Engineering Day experience for girls at our school to partner and learn with female STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) leaders and students in the Denver/Boulder community. I also cosponsored our school’s MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) club. As a STEM teacher in Colorado, one of my favorite places to shop was RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers)--I was there so frequently that I got to serve on their Teacher Advisory Board! Now in Maine, my partner and I have started a small hobby farm (with goats, chickens and alpaca, oh my!), we play ice hockey, and we volunteer with MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? I still reflect back on the words of one of my middle school teachers, who recruited me in high school as an AVID tutor and helped me to discover my passion for teaching (she is also the teacher I got to recognize as a Boettcher Scholar!) Heather Ahrenkiel told me that, no matter where I was, regardless of the situation, environment or economic status, there would always be kids who needed a great teacher, who needed me. I have carried those words with me for nearly two decades--they inspire me to understand my students and peers, to know their stories and to find ways to help them shape their own paths for the future. For current graduates in education, I would reiterate her words. Our students need you--they need amazing leaders who care about them, who will be their advocates and who will teach them to advocate for themselves. Teaching is unquestionably the most challenging thing I've ever done, but it is also absolutely fulfilling. You might not see the impact immediately, or ever, but you WILL change the world through your work each and every day. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would love to sit down for dinner with Wangari Maathi--I had the opportunity to hear her speak about 12 years ago and have always been inspired by her advocacy for women and the environment. I would truly enjoy a good conversation with Temple Grandin, as I've appreciated her impact on research and advocacy for humane treatment and her role as liaison for individuals with Asperger's. And, I am confident that dinner with Michelle Obama would be a hoot--she's got such an amazing attitude and sense of humor--and I truly appreciate her work advocating for girls....
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

26 Jul Boettcher Scholar launches second act as Boettcher Teacher

A fortuitous speaker lineup helped Boettcher Scholar Leigh Gillette reconnect with the Boettcher Foundation and launch a second career as a teacher in Durango. Leigh, a 1989 Boettcher Scholar from Colorado Springs, spent her career as an environmental educator, helping people to understand and appreciate the world around them. While it was a rewarding role that had taken her around the state, she wanted to engage more directly with students and spend more time in Durango, where she had been working as an educator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “I’ve always been curious and a bit jealous of teachers and the relationships they can build with students,” Leigh said. “They have the luxury of time to work with students for a whole year.” Leigh began to seriously consider a career change when was speaking at a conference of superintendents in the San Luis Valley. She was listed on the agenda immediately after a presentation by the Boettcher Teacher Residency. “I heard their presentation, and I just knew that was the direction I would be taking,” The Boettcher Teacher Residency, funded by the Boettcher Foundation and operated by PEBC, the Public Education and Business Coalition, prepares people to have exceptional teaching careers through a hands-on master’s degree program. Boettcher Teachers are placed in classrooms with mentor teachers, allowing them to develop classroom experience from the start. Leigh explored the possibility of pursuing an alternative teacher licensure but wanted the professional support provided by a residency model. “The Boettcher Teacher Residency just seemed to be everything I needed,” she said, adding that her prior experience as a Boettcher Scholar offered an extra level of confidence. “Seeing the Boettcher name attached to the program sealed the deal for me. I knew it was going to be great.” While the Boettcher Teacher Residency is still relatively new compared to the scholarship program, Leigh is the second Boettcher Scholar who has entered the program and gone on to become a classroom teacher. She said that being a Boettcher Scholar enabled her to attend Colorado College without the burden of figuring out how to pay for it or graduating with debt. That freedom allowed her to accept her first environmental educator role at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Center in Northern Minnesota, even though the position only paid for her room and board. She went on to hold a variety of environmental educator roles, eventually taking her to Aspen and then to Durango, where she worked at the nonprofit Durango Nature Studies before joining the Colorado Division of Wildlife. After entering the Boettcher Teacher Residency, Leigh spent the year teaching sixth-grade science at Miller Middle School in Durango, a position she will return to next school year. As a newly minted-teacher, Leigh is eager to give back to Colorado by educating the next generation of students. “Personally I feel like I’m maintaining that Boettcher mentality of giving back to the state that has supported me so much,” she said.  ...
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