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

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.

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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