Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2000 scholar Ruthie Lestikow

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.

Scholar Year: 2000
Hometown: Dolores
College(s), Degree(s), and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College BA in biology graduated 2004; Loma Linda University, master’s in physician assistant sciences, graduated 2008

Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?

I have been a physician assistant for eight years and have worked in beautiful places like San Diego and Washington, D.C. I have practiced in pediatrics, geriatrics, house-call medicine, and internal medicine. For the last four years, I have worked in Highlands Ranch at a small private practice in internal medicine, and not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Being a primary care PA is very rewarding. You are helping people be healthy and stay healthy while getting to know them and their families personally. I also feel great about being a part of a solution to the problem of a primary care provider shortage in our country.

What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?

Being a Boettcher Scholar has helped to instill philanthropy and service into my daily routine and mindset. It helped me to find a way to use my love of biology and science to give back to my community by working in the medical field. Turns out being a Boettcher Scholar also helped me to find the love of my life, my husband Greg. Without the scholarship I would have not been able to attend Colorado College where I met my great husband!

Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.

Outside of working as a physician assistant, I also precept physician assistant and nurse practitioner students from many universities and programs from across the United States. I am also a Boettcher Alumni Ambassador and recently took on heading up the Boettcher Class Champion project as part of the outreach committee of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. For fun, I love playing ice hockey and being with my family outdoors backpacking, telemark skiing, snowboarding, mountain and road biking, hiking, and really just being outside all year long.

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 received when considering going into the medical field was to take time and shadow, or at least talk to, multiple different people who worked in jobs or fields that I was interested in. My advice for current graduates wanting to go into medicine is to take a year or more off after undergraduate school. Allow yourself the opportunity to travel or gain experience in the field you would like to work in. When you go back to school you will be refreshed and can bring so much more experience to the table.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?

The first two people from history that come to mind that I would love to have dinner with are the physicist and chemist Marie Curie and the Dalai Lama. I would love to pick Marie Curie’s brain about her experiences as one of the first females in science to make significant discoveries. I also like to think that just by sitting next to the Dalai Lama I would gain more mindfulness and patience. For a person to still be so loving, kind, and thoughtful after all the pain and persecution he has suffered is truly inspiring.

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