Boettcher Scholar Year: 1992
College(s), Degree(s):Colorado State University, B.S. in Agricultural Economics, 1996; University of Wyoming College of Law, J.D. Law, 1999
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 a district court judge for the State of Colorado. My district is the northeastern seven counties and is the size of Massachusetts. I’ve been a state-court judge since 2004. My favorite aspect of the job is the mentoring and coaching that comes with the personal relationships you form in treatment courts. You have the opportunity to really impact a person’s life positively and watch as they realize the fullness of their potential.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
Without the Boettcher Scholarship, I never would have been able to achieve what I have achieved. The Boettcher Scholarship changed my family tree. It lifted me from poverty and allowed me to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I could take on a reasonable debt for law school and then serve my country as an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. The Boettcher Scholarship allowed me to focus on public service without the fear of servicing crushing education debt. My children know a better life than I did growing up. They see the American Dream in action through three generations from my parents to them.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
I continue to serve my country as an officer in the Reserve Component of the JAG Corps. I serve in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion. I volunteer at my kids’ school for various activities. What I like about volunteering is the sense of community connection and the understanding that my perceived problems in life pale in comparison to the problems others in my community overcome daily.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
The best advice I ever received is, as an attorney, all you have in this profession is your reputation. Guard it and never let it be called into question. The best advice I have for those entering this profession is there are three levels of right: moral, ethical, and legal. Strive to ensure your actions and leadership rise to the highest right, the moral right.
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 one person, I would choose Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I always try to put Him above all else and act as He would. From dinner conversation I would gain insight on His ways and His parables. As the Son of God, He is the closest thing on Earth that we have to the Creator. I could ask Jesus questions about God and our relationship. This dinner would allow me to get some answers to the burning questions I have about my relationship with the Lord and His with us. I would get to know more about my faith and His plans for me.