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.
Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015
University: University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies; BA/MA dual-degree program in international studies. Undergraduate minors in Spanish, leadership and sustainability; Master’s degree emphasis will be international development.
What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating?
After graduating this spring, I will be sticking around DU for another year to finish my Master’s degree in international studies. After my academic adventure ends (at least for the moment), I am considering a few different directions. I would love to teach abroad for a year through the Fulbright program, or possibly join the Peace Corps. Otherwise, rumor has it that eventually people get these things called jobs (?!), and so I think that working in diplomacy for the U.S. Department of State would be a challenging and rewarding experience. Regardless, I feel excited by the future and the opportunities it holds.
Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.
Looking back at my time in various organizations, three groups that hold fond memories and gratifying experiences are the Honors Program, Pioneer Leadership Program, and my sorority, Alpha Phi. These communities stand out because of the incredible relationships and networks they have fostered within my life. During my time at DU, I was also extremely fortunate to study abroad on a sailing program in the south Pacific Ocean through the Sea Education Association, and in Cochabamba, Bolivia through the School for International Training. These programs truly changed my life and cultivated a humbling, beautiful year that I will never forget.
Tell us about an important mentor you have had.
For as many times as I have been asked this question, I don’t think I will ever stop saying that the best and most important mentor in my life is my dad. When you know how much someone loves you, it makes it a lot easier to learn to love yourself and then replicate that type of unconditional support for others. He constantly challenges me to be more kind and curious, while also reminding me the importance of playing outside and getting a good night’s sleep. I am truly so grateful for his mentorship, friendship, and dadship.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
At a Boettcher conference two summers ago, I was reminded to “Be more, do less.” Over the last couple of years, I have thought about this piece of advice over and over as I try to unlearn and relearn the way I practice this in my life. It is so gratifying to give yourself the space to choose people and experiences that make you feel inspired and passionate. Equally important, is the advice from a close friend that you are never too busy to make time for chips and queso from Illegal Pete’s, something I have come to believe (and practice) wholeheartedly.
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why?
Okay, it’s not exactly history but I would quite possibly die if I could have dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m giddy just thinking about it! She confidently uses her intelligence to inspire and challenge the world, validating the way I (and others) think about being a student, feminist, and woman. We have so much to learn from her dedication to fiercely advocating for equality and refusing to be deterred by hostility and discrimination in our current political climate. Even without having dinner together (a girl can dream!), I feel so grateful that we have her on the Supreme Court.