Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2004 Scholar Alexandra Aronson Phillips

Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2004 Scholar Alexandra Aronson Phillips

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004
Hometown: Fort Collins
Colleges/Degrees: University of Colorado (Go Buffs!): B.A. integrative physiology and leadership certificate, 2009; The George Washington University: master’s in health science and master’s in public health, 2014

Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
Currently, I’m working overtime as a mom on maternity leave after the recent arrival of our second son. These days, my main objective is keeping two small humans alive while maintaining some semblance of sanity. I’m most proud of my “mom” job title. In my “spare” time, I’m a physician assistant at National Jewish Health in the Department of Pediatrics where we specialize in allergy, immunology, and pulmonary medicine. I’ve been at NJH for 5 years. Last but not least, I’ve been a spin instructor for over 10 years. It’s my alter ego occupation. Favorite aspects? Helping people.

What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
Wow, where to begin?!? First off, it kept me in-state and enabled me to get an amazing education at CU Boulder that prepared me exquisitely for graduate school and the professional world. I cannot sing enough praises about the CU Department of Integrative Physiology and the Presidents Leadership Class! Second, it was a spring board to meeting phenomenal human beings that to this day, inspire, support, and challenge me. Some call this a “network.” I call them friends. Lastly, being a Boettcher Scholar has made me even more determined to plug in, show up, and do good; particularly in Colorado.

Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
Lately, I’ve tried to focus my energy into being the best mom, wife, physician assistant, and spin instructor I can be rather than over extending myself (which I’ve been known to do). More than ever, I want to do good work, not just a lot of work. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering with the Colorado Youth at Risk Organization (which I recently left due to a relocation) and various professional organizations, namely the Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants. But the activity I enjoy the most? Running uphill on a dirt trail.

What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
Three best pieces of advice I’ve received:

“Go where you belong.” — My husband

“The most consistent thing in life is change.” — My mentor. I thought she came up with it herself; turns out, it originated from a fancy Greek philosopher named Heraclitus.

“Turn left and keep your shorts on.” — My grandpa the track coach

I would tell graduates to be genuine, work hard, and always, no matter what, do what’s right for the patient.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? 
Though cliché, I’d love to meet Michelle Obama. Ideally, I’d love to take a spin class with her (I hear she’s frequents Soul Cycle classes) and then go grab brunch and get her perspective on current world events in addition to her insight on being a working mother, supportive wife, and one of the most (in my opinion) influential and inspiring women of our time.

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