Author: Boettcher Foundation

Boettcher Scholars participated in coordinated service events as part of the national 2018 Make a Difference Day on October 27. Scholars organized and publicized volunteer opportunities to local Scholars in communities across the country. We were thrilled to see the impact our scholars had in their regions and the joy they experienced as they reconnected. Below are reports from sites where Scholars worked to make a difference.     Colorado Springs Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado Eight Boettcher Scholars gathered to create more than 400 food packs at Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. They worked with assembly-line efficiency and an enthusiastic attitude to support the “Send Hunger Packing” program, which aims to feed families over weekends when students don’t have access to free or reduced meals. The volunteer tasks involved preparing and sorting bulk food, quality checks, and ensuring that the meal kits were complete. At the end of the day, 481 families had access to a weekend’s worth of meals as a result of the project.   Boulder/Denver A Precious Child Fifteen past and present Boettcher Scholars and their family members had a hands-on introduction to A Precious Child’s mission as they sorted donations to ensure that high-quality items made it to the families served as quickly as possible. Volunteers helped hang, size, and re-stock approximately 1,000 pounds of donated clothing that will serve 115 children who come to A Precious Child to receive clothing and other necessary items.       East Coast/ Washington D.C. United Community Food Bank Unfortunately, inclement weather on the East Coast caused projects in New York and North Carolina to be cancelled. However, Washington D.C./Baltimore area Boettcher Scholars were able to move from their nature preserve project to an indoor project utilizing their bilingual skills to help facilitate a food bank survey. They partnered with United Community Food Bank in Alexandria to help promote locally produced fruits and vegetables for the health and wellness of consumers. Kitty Shaw-Gardner also employed her creativity to craft a sign for their group that recognized the cross-country efforts of scholars on Make a Difference Day 2018.   Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity ReStore and FoCo Cafe Current and Alumni Boettcher Scholars and their families spent the day partnering with Habitat for Humanity Restore in the morning and FoCo Café in the afternoon. Scholars at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to helped to upcycle and/or demolish furniture that needed to move through the store and hauled doors throughout the facility as well. At FoCo Cafe, Scholars helped make fresh food and freshen the ambiance for the restaurant with the mission of providing nutritious and locally sourced meals to the people of Fort Collins, regardless of their ability to pay. A handful of the volunteers celebrated the day with lunch, connecting and discussing plans for continued service.     Phoenix  Public Lands Clean-up In Arizona two Boettcher Scholars ventured into area national park lands, cleaning trash along trails and waterways and talking to fellow adventurers to spread an attitude of gratitude as they reveled in the beauty of the parks.      ...

Jessica Cuthbertson, 1997 Boettcher Scholar, is an award-winning eighth-grade English teacher in Aurora Public Schools who has crafted a career as a teacher, instructional coach, and social media activist. Growing up in Rocky Ford in the 1980s, Jessica’s future in education was shaped by her parents and teachers. Mrs. DeLeon gave Jessica a strong foundation as an early reader and the chance to mentor and learn from bilingual students in a K-2 classroom community. Jessica’s middle school social studies teacher, Mrs. Bartolo, arranged a day at The Denver Post to foster Jessica’s interest in journalism. “Key teachers at the right time kept my love of learning alive and made me want to pursue a career in education, even though that’s not what I originally planned to do,” Jessica said. After graduating from Regis University in 2001, Jessica completed a year-long fellowship with the Boettcher Foundation, where she worked in outreach and communications for the Boettcher Scholarship. It was there that her passions coalesced, and she was inspired to pursue a career in public education: “Traveling the state fueled a desire to teach and advocate for Colorado schools and students.” As a National Board-Certified Teacher and self-described “edu-geek” who enjoys adolescent literature as much as her students, Jessica is committed to the growth of “budding journalists” in her eighth-grade class and to elevating the voices of educators across the country, who she believes are often excluded from decisions that impact them. Jessica is an active Twitter influencer, moderator, and writer whose thoughts on education innovation, policy, and equity have been published in Education Week, Chalkbeat and Smithsonian magazines. Jessica attributes much of her voice as an advocate to her time as a “teacherpreneur” with the Center for Teaching Quality, a position that allowed her to teach part-time while engaging in teacher leadership and high-level policy work. Through the center, Jessica discovered that social media, particularly Twitter, is one of the best tools for continued learning. “The reason I’ve been in education for 15 years is because I can write about classroom experiences, education policy, and systemic issues,” she said. “These conversations keep me engaged as a learner and a citizen, and they also make me a better teacher. My students see that I’m learning and working alongside them.” In addition to teaching and blogging, Jessica is active in her parish and on the Aurora Public Schools’ strategic taskforce, where she advocates for English-language learners representing more than 140 nationalities. Additionally, she is co-facilitating a pilot program to support 20 rural Colorado teachers in attaining their National Board certification as part of a teacher retention strategy for the state. Jessica credits this service ethic to her small-town upbringing, faith, and mission-driven education at Regis, which was supported by a Boettcher Scholarship. “As a result of the Boettcher Scholarship, I was able to attend Regis, my top in-state choice of college,” she said. “Their mission of ‘men and women in the service of others,’ combined with being a Boettcher Scholar, continues to drive my commitment to working toward a more equitable public education system for all students in rural, suburban, and urban districts across our great state.” Recently, Jessica has encountered an even more formative experience for her identity as an educator and advocate: becoming a mother to a current first grader who she and her husband recently adopted from Ethiopia in February of 2017. “Becoming a parent has fundamentally changed me as a teacher. As a mom, I’ve grasped how much parents trust that teachers are doing their best – and as a teacher it’s my obligation to do right by their children.”...

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 Hometown: Salida 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....

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 Hometown: Berthoud University: Colorado State University, Mechanical Engineering What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After college, I plan to pursue unique and effective ways of using engineering to help with the development of Latin America. These efforts will include learning Spanish, getting involved in a community internationally, and finding engineering connections that will allow me to directly serve the needs of that community. I am unsure how this will happen and will likely involve getting involved with graduate research in developmental engineering. I will also likely pursue an internship with Engineering Ministries International to practically learn how engineering can be used in developing countries. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Within the university, I have tried to focus on two primary clubs: Outpost Ministries and Engineers Without Borders. Through my time in Outpost, I have really learned how to create community, support friends, and grow as a leader. As a small group leader, I have learned the importance of outreach and the power of support. Joining the club Engineers Without Borders has shown me how to use my engineering tools in a practical project. I have been able to be a leader on the structural design process for building a community center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Through my time at the university, one of my biggest mentors has been Glen Gilbert. He is the practicing engineer who works with Engineers Without Borders. He has spent countless hours of his time to walk us through the structural design process. He is always willing to take more time to work on the project so that we have a better understanding. Also, in his life, he plays a vital role in the support of recovering drug addicts and community members. He has mentored me in life, engineering and my relationship with Christ. What's the best advice you've ever received? I am not sure who said it, but the phrase “your thoughts influence your words, which influence your actions, which influence your habits, which influence your character.” This advice has changed the way in which I have lived my life at school. The aspect I changed was to make sure my thoughts about myself, activities, and others were always positive. Through working on the way that I think about situations, it directly influences what my actions are. Although I directly try to change my daily actions and habits, the first step to changing anything in my own life is to first change my mentality. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? If I were able to have dinner with any one person in history, I would have it with Jesus. In my opinion, he is one of the most influential changemakers, and his teachings have drastically changed the world. In his lifetime, he established the foundation for the modern church that has touched every country in the world. Through his lifestyle, he was one of the greatest society changemakers, and I want to be able to positively influence other communities just as he had....

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: 2000 Hometown: Alamosa Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts in Biology; University of Colorado, MD 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 an otolaryngologist with a private practice in Pueblo. I finished residency at the Baylor College in Medicine in Houston in 2014 and have been practicing in Pueblo ever since. I love being in medicine and specifically being an otolaryngologist as it is a perfect mixture of the medical and surgical management of common ailments. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out complex problems on a daily basis while being able to help others and give back to my community. I also do three rural outreach clinics per month, which allows me to help other communities in need. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar allowed me to attend the college of my dreams, Colorado College. My education at CC was invaluable in being accepted at University of Colorado for medical school. The well-rounded education at CC gave me the foundation to succeed in medical school and ultimately obtain a spot in a strong residency program. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. One of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have had since finishing residency was participating in a medical mission to Cambodia. Through the organization Jeremiah’s Hope, I participated in a two-week trip in which our team evaluated and operated on many indigent patients in Phnom Penh. In Pueblo, I provide free annual oral cancer screenings at the Dorcy Cancer Center. I also am a member of the Pueblo Historical Society. Through this organization, I continually learn about the interesting history of Pueblo with a close-knit group that is working towards its preservation while improving our city’s future. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Your best teachers are your patients.  A mentor and one of the finest physicians I know would always say that, and I find it to be true every day. To those interested in a career in medicine I would say start looking for shadowing and educational opportunities as early as possible. It is a long arduous road, and you will need a strong support system of family and friends; it is important to maintain and nurture these relationships no matter how busy school and your career may become. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would dine with women who pushed boundaries in their professional fields, like the first female physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would want to thank them for their strength and perseverance, and honor their sacrifice in helping me achieve the personal success I’ve been able to attain in my career. I would ask for advice in how I can help the young women of today and tomorrow maintain the momentum towards gender equality....

When Richard Leggett explored future careers in middle school, he was pointed to three options: chemist, applied mathematician, and minister. However, the 1971 Boettcher Scholar from Colorado Springs had no doubts about which vocation he would chose: “I always knew that I was called to be a priest.” Five decades later, Richard is living out his calling as the recently appointed vicar of Holy Trinity Cathedral, an Anglican parish in New Westminster, British Columbia. In his role, Richard serves the spiritual needs of an urban, blue-collar congregation in one of Canada’s most secular and progressive communities. “My work is help answer how our faith community can live in the 21st century and translate the gospel into new ways,” Richard said. “How can we be leaven in the loaf of this downtown neighborhood?” One of the ways Richard is answering this question is through a large-scale development on the cathedral’s property, which is in the heart of the New Westminster’s historic center. Richard is working closely with the neighborhood to guide the construction of a 30-story residential tower that includes 42 units of affordable housing, a community plaza, and new parish offices and meetings spaces with commercial-grade community kitchen. The goal is to “reinvent the spaces and the conversations where we engage our neighbors.” About his challenging task of guiding the development, Richard joked, “No one taught this type of work in theological studies.” However, Richard is thankful for the life experiences that prepared him to lead this creative undertaking. After graduating from the University of Denver with a bachelor’s degree in French, German, and secondary education, Richard took various jobs in retail and teaching foreign languages before being ordained in 1981 and serving in Denver for three years. In 1987, he received his master’s in liturgical studies from Notre Dame and moved to Vancouver with his wife, son, and two cats for what he anticipated would be a three-year teaching position. While at Vancouver School of Theology, Richard completed his doctorate and helped to develop the first accredited master’s in divinity program in North America for people serving in indigenous communities. This work opened doors for Richard to travel to other parts of the world to develop and teach “dynamic cultural translations” that resonated with laity and clergy in diverse cultures. After 23 years teaching, Richard chose to return to congregational ministry as a rector at a church in Vancouver. Before accepting the appointment to Holy Trinity in 2018, he had also served as member of the staff of the Anglican Church of Canada and a national committee member. Looking back on his path, Richard is amazed by the opportunities he has had to advance his own education and to faithfully and creatively engage with modern culture. He’s also never forgotten the gift of the Boettcher Scholarship, whose plaque he has displayed in every one of his offices for more than three decades. “The Boettcher Scholarship was a tremendous gift of the generosity of the Foundation and family. If not for the scholarship, I don’t know what we would have done. The scholarship was the foundation for my success as a graduate student and the springboard for my career.” Richard noted that being a Boettcher Scholar impressed upon him a noblesse oblige, a responsibility to pay forward the gift he had received. The scholarship is also a reminder of the gratitude and joy he has found in following his vocation. “Remember that all that you are, and all that you have, is a gift. Living in gratitude means we live and respond in ways that build up other people and ourselves. Joy stems from this – the deep-seated conviction that you are doing and being who you are called to be. This is your purpose.”...

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: 2000 Hometown: Greeley Colleges/Degree(s): University of Denver: BA Spanish and International Studies; MA International Administration Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I've worked at Rise Above Colorado for the past two and a half years. Our nonprofit works across the state, directly with youth and with the adults who serve them, to empower young people with education and inspiration to prevent youth substance misuse. The best part of my role is the ability to connect people across the state and leverage the resources and expertise that exist in local communities. I also have the amazing privilege to innovate and create alongside our youth partners, which helps me feel motivated to always live up to their high expectations! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I’m forever grateful for the chain of events sparked by the Boettcher Scholarship that has led me to where I am today. Apart from a year in South India working at a local NGO after graduate school, I've been in Colorado-based work ever since. When I returned from India, I had the fortune to meet a Trustee of the Foundation who hired me onto the Community Initiatives team at a local bank. Five years later, I joined the State of Colorado, directing a grant program to fund youth prevention work. That position led me to Rise Above Colorado. Through these diverse opportunities to serve Colorado, my love for this state has continued to grow. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I like to joke about my ongoing extracurricular activities as an adult. For many years, I’ve played on a USTA tennis league in Denver, building a wonderful community of teammates and friends. And I also have been a member of the Cherry Creek Chorale, going on nine years now. I’ve dabbled in various other activities over the years (including a summer kickball league) and have volunteered at various youth-serving programs in the Denver metro area, including serving on the board of directors for Groundwork Denver and volunteering at Mi Casa Resource Center for Women and Urban Peak’s youth homeless shelter. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? When I entered the workforce, I was idealistic and adamant that the work I would do mattered more than anything else in selecting my first job. An advisor told me to be selective about the people I worked with as well as the nature of the job. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate her wisdom. We spend so much of our time and energy with our work colleagues, and our capacity to impact change is often influenced by them. So, I would advise new graduates, as I was, to surround yourself with people who will positively challenge and inspire you. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My maternal grandmother died when my mother was a young child, but her legacy has greatly impacted my life. I’ve heard so many stories about her and have even been compared to her at times. I would love to meet her to know who she was, and what her hopes and dreams for her family were. If my great-grandmother could be there, whom I did have the fortune to meet and know, I’d invite her for dinner too. And it would be awesome if they cooked for me!...

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: 2016 Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Boulder. Double-majoring in aerospace engineering and applied mathematics. Anticipated graduation 2021. What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I hope to be working for a local aerospace engineering company, redefining boundaries for humans in space as well as spaceflight technology. Furthermore, I want to continue working toward getting my pilot’s license. With these efforts, I will be one step closer to achieving my dream of becoming an astronaut. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I have always sought to find like-minded individuals as friends, as well as those whose views may challenge mine. I value diversity in all areas of my life. Thus, I decided to join Tau Psi Omega, a multicultural fraternity. These gentlemen embody the diverse perspectives that I was seeking in a group of friends. Some of these young men also encouraged me to join the CU Boulder Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where it is our mission to empower engineers of Hispanic descent. These opportunities have opened many doors for newfound friendships and passions. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Dr. Lucas Monzon, my professor for Calculus III for Engineers, inspires me to actively seek knowledge, rather than passively receiving my education. Lucas has opened doors for me including recommending me to my current position at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics where I analyze solar data from the SORCE (Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment) satellite. Lucas has also become a great friend. We enjoyed watching the FIFA Soccer World Cup games this summer; me rooting for his home team, Argentina, and him rooting for my beloved Mexico. I view Lucas as my greatest mentor because we share common interests, passions, and the curiosity to keep learning.  What's the best advice you've ever received? So much of college is a blur. You take the courses each semester, struggle and triumph, work and learn. It is far too easy to get caught up in what is next and new. Yet, these moments are memories in the making. I have found the best way to step back is to just simply take a deep breath and appreciate where you are in each moment. Turning your attention inwards beneath all of the responsibilities and stresses, you are alive. This is the greatest gift of all. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? One of my favorite bands has always been Coldplay. Their iconic piano intro from “Clocks” still sends chills through my body when I hear it. However, their new music is complete garbage in comparison to their older music. Coldplay is dead to me. So if I could have dinner with a few people from history, it would be this group. They may (technically) still be alive and well, but they are ancient history to me. Perhaps if they created quality music again, I would not have to put these artists as a group from history I’d dine with....

To wrap up the festivities of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board’s Signature Event, attendees had the opportunity to join one of six different excursions on Sunday. From a behind-the-scenes tour of Mile High Stadium, to a wildflower hike on Mt. Goliath, to a bike-and-brew tour in of Denver’s trendy River North Arts District, there certainly was something for everyone.   Wildflower Nature Hike  What a difference a day (and a few thousand feet of elevation gain...

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: 2003 Hometown: Aurora College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Business Administration   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 proposal engineer at Custom Instrumentation Services Corp. (CiSCO) since March of 2016. We provide the equipment and software necessary for power plants, refineries, and other operations to monitor and report their emissions data to the EPA. My favorite aspect of my job is that no project is ever identical to another –  some are relatively simple while others are complex. This has also been the first job of my career where the focus is on business development as compared to design and construction.   What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Denver native and spending most of my career in Colorado, everyone recognizes the Boettcher name. For me, I take it as a personal challenge to live up to that name each day by working hard, giving back, cultivating new relationships, learning as much as possible in a variety of realms and disciplines, welcoming constructive criticism to be better, and doing my best to make a positive impact in my organizations and surrounding community.   Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I am a Boettcher Foundation Alumni Ambassador, a Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) board member, the Black Alumni Association president at the University of Denver as well as an active alumnus of the Pioneer Leadership Program and the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. I am also a graduate and alumni advisory committee member of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado Chamber Connect program, as well as an alumnus of the New Leaders Council Fellowship. I look forward to future work with the Daniels College of Business advisory board and reconnecting with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES).   What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Never stop asking questions. The more you develop and learn, the more you realize just how much you don't know, which will keep you humble and hungry for new knowledge. Network with the intention of doing something for someone else instead of looking for what they can do for you. Also, network with everyone, from your fellow engineers to the accountants to human resources to the CEO to the custodians. Everybody has an important role, and if you take any of those roles away, the organization does not function properly. Show respect to everyone. Period.   If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would have dinner with my family members who are no longer here – grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers and mentors – so that I can be reminded of advice that has been forgotten, gain new advice to share with others, reminisce on the memories we had, laugh until it hurts, and earn their ultimate stamp of approval on whether or not I'm doing a good job in this game called life....