Author: Boettcher Foundation

By Katy Craig, Director of Strategic Initiatives From Little League to the Olympics, we all recognize the value of having a coach in sports. But we may not think about how valuable a coach can be in our daily lives, in helping us understand our values, in achieving our goals, and in supporting us through our leadership development. And yet this type of coaching is an immensely successful method of integrating new skills and behaviors in adults – skills and behaviors that they themselves choose to develop. For that reason, the Boettcher Foundation has decided to invest in coaching for the Boettcher community. We’ve supported a group of Scholar Alumni through professional coach training who can now give back to Boettcher Scholars via confidential coaching. Coaching has been proven to be one of the most effective means of solidifying growth and leadership development. In fact, companies around the world such as GE, Goldman Sachs, and Google regularly invest in coaching for their employees due to its significant power in helping them clarify their goals and produce results. A recent Forbes article showed that the return on investment for coaching is seven times the initial investment. Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to become a certified professional coach as part of the Boettcher Foundation’s coaching corps. As a coach, I love to hold the ground and create the space for others to grow in their power. My coaching focuses on leadership development and enhancing existing strengths and passions. It's a focused relationship designed to serve the coachee and for them to get more of what they want, accomplish their goals, and make the most positive impact on the world. I love coaching because it's empowering. It encourages continuous stretching and breaking down barriers that the coachee previously didn't see or didn't think were possible to overcome. As one of my fellow coaching corps members, Kara Penn, says, "Coaching is dynamic, collaborative, and engages one’s whole life — not just work or school. How refreshing and empowering not to be siloed into one area of our lives!" I've had my own coach for years, and what I love about her is that she helps me to really get clear on what I think and feel, as well as what I want to do and — more  importantly — who I want to be in the world. She calls me forth to be the best version of myself. So, what exactly is coaching? Coaching is not about misplaced optimism. It is about heightening your awareness of habitual behaviors and thoughts so you can bolster those that serve you and manage those that don't. It's about focusing on self-awareness and realizing that you control your thoughts and attitude. Coaching is also not an endless to do list. It’s an opportunity to make the most of what you’re already doing. The coach doesn't give advice or pass judgment, he or she asks powerful questions to help spur your own thinking as you clarify your most resonant desires and values. Coaching is an act of self-compassion, as it gives you focused time to reflect with someone who has no agenda for you, no stake in what you do or do not do. It is a space that is free of criticism, where you can rediscover your own passions and values. Topics for individual sessions can be anything. I've coached people around transitions such as starting a degree program or looking to change careers, the illness or death of a loved one, roommate issues, not knowing what they want to do with their lives, diffusing self-limiting beliefs, wanting more fun and recreation, and all kinds of other things. Whatever the reason people have come to coaching, and whatever the individual topics are, the feedback we’ve received has been extremely positive. Being a small part of that kind of transformation is incredibly fulfilling, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to extend this resource to Scholars. If you'd like to learn more or are interested in confidential coaching by a Boettcher Scholar who is a member of our coaching corps, email marisa@boettcherfoundation.org.  ...

The following individuals were selected as Boettcher Investigators for 2016. For detailed profiles of their research, click on their names. Colorado State University  Rushika Perera, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of RNA Virology – Exploiting vulnerabilities in mosquito metabolism for prevention of human arboviral transmission Timothy J. Stasevich, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Imaging cancer epigenetics in living cells   National Jewish Health  James L. Crooks, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics – Wildfire smoke and pediatric asthma   University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus  Wen-Yuan Elena Hsieh, M.D., Assistant Professor of Immunology & Microbiology and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology – Immune dysregulation in pediatric SLE pathogenesis Ethan G. Hughes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology – Intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms regulating cortical remyelination Bernard L. Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medical Physics – Achieving safe and effective dose escalation in pancreatic SBRT through tumor tracking and robust treatment planning Cristin Welle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Bioengineering – Development of high-density neural sensors for bioelectronics therapeutics Hongjin Zheng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics – Mechanical studies of disease-related substrates entering mitochondria via protein import machinery TOM-TIM   University of Colorado Boulder  Sabrina Spencer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry – Elucidating the causes and consequences of slow-cycling cells within isogenic population   University of Denver Schuyler van Engelenburg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Biological Sciences – Site-specific targeting of engineered retroviruses to the Interleukin 2 Receptor locus for correction of genetic immunodeficiency ...

2010 Scholar Devon Tivona was recently featured in the New York Times, the Pana blog and in the Real Leaders podcast.  By Paul Ballas  Pana The three-person co-founding team is phenomenal, and I’m particularly grateful to work with our co-founder and CEO, Devon Tivona. This week, Devon was featured in the Real Leaders Podcast (on Soundcloud, iTunes, and wherever podcasts are found), and it’s a great chance to hear the backstory for the company and our CEO. For example, you may not know that the company originally had nothing to do with travel. Devon is just 24, and he is a rare mix of tech and EQ, getting energy from making human connections as well solving complex technical problems. These qualities permeate our app. Devon’s combination of talents also has garnered for him and Pana real loyalty among investors and advisors. He recognizes the value of this circle: “In order for a concept to be successful, you have to have this inner circle of people who are obsessed with your product.”    ...

Though you may have never seen Dee Bradley Baker, a 1981 Boettcher Scholar from Greeley, you’ve likely heard his voice. As a voice actor, Dee has brought literally thousands of characters to life, including animals in Disney’s latest The Jungle Book, Perch Perkins in Spongebob Squarepants, Klaus the German fish in American Dad, Fish in the Boxtrolls, and even Daffy Duck and Tasmanian Devil in the 1996 movie Space Jam. Dee’s voice acting career has now spanned three decades, but as a Boettcher Scholar at Colorado College, he never planned on being an actor. In June, Dee visited the Boettcher Foundation office, where he talked about the impact of receiving the Boettcher Scholarship. He also treated the staff to a variety of his most famous character voices and entertaining sound effects. (Check out the video below for Dee's voice acting tips and creature noises that actually scared our office neighbors). “The reason I can do what I do now is from the education that I was allowed,” said Dee. “I always liked animals, monsters, biology, and arts. I’m a liberal arts poster child.” Attending college as a Boettcher Scholar, Dee was able to take classes in a variety of areas and explore all of his passions. His majors reflected his top interests: philosophy, biology, and German. Now, he’s able to apply all of those degrees daily in his career. His knowledge of biology gives him insight into how non-humans communicate, and his German shines through in Klaus, a character that was originally intended to be French until Dee auditioned as German. “Happily with a Boettcher scholarship I emerged into the real world debt-free, which allowed me to not freak out, and not enter the world with a sense of fearfulness or dread like many students unfortunately do,” said Dee. After college, Dee began doing musical theater and singing telegrams in Colorado Springs. He also did amateur stand-up, finding inspiration in Monty Python and Steve Martin. He discovered his comedic niche in making “weird sounds.” “I had no acting goals and didn’t think about it as a career. I just liked it,” said Dee, slipping into his best Beetlejuice voice. A few years later, Dee performed in Disney World Shows, including Beetlejuice, and finally made his way to L.A. to perform in his first show, Legends of the Hidden Temple, an action-adventure game show for children on Nickelodeon. From there, he continued honing his craft, becoming a go-to-guy for character voices in movies, animated shows and even video games. Though he has tried on-screen acting, Dee has always preferred voice-acting, which he thinks is in-part due to his Colorado roots. “Voice acting has more anonymity and fewer liabilities. As an actor, you can end up with a somewhat insane life,” explained Dee, “And that’s what I like about coming back to Colorado. It’s nice to reset yourself to your roots and your ‘normal.’” Dee appreciates the focus on community, quality of life, rationality, and sense of health that is present in Colorado. “Plus, it feels like home to me,” said Dee, even though he’s now lived in L.A. for half of his life. While in Colorado, Dee also has the opportunity to spend time with his family and practice his hobbies — insect and flower photography, learning to play bass so that he can combine 70’s funk with the music of Bach, and his most recent pursuit of studying American history to better understand the current political climate. “I love taking pictures of bugs and flowers. I am amateur but I love the feeling that I am walking past a poem,” Dee said while buzzing like a bee. During his time in Hollywood, Dee has seen many actors give-in to Hollywood pressures, which is why he operates a free informational website where he shares his experience and tips for young people interested in voice acting. “You don’t solve your life by gaining fame or money. Ultimately it’s what you stand for and how you treat people.” Dee said. And for Boettcher Scholars, his advice is to take risks and to trust yourself. “The Boettcher Foundation gave me the gift of freedom of mind space. I was able to graduate college with those tools to try things and to not be afraid of failure. I always say: Find your career at an intersection of what you love and what you’re good at (so good that people will actually pay you money to do it). You may not yet know what that is and finding it may take years of trial and error. Trust yourself. I was an amateur actor until my late 20s.” ...

The vote of confidence inherent in being named a Boettcher Scholar allowed Tracy Wahl to feed her curiosity, search for her “inner spark”, and eventually find her place as executive producer for editorial franchises at NPR. Tracy, a 1986 Boettcher Scholar, has worked at NPR in Washington, D.C. for twenty years, but still feels a strong connection to her Colorado roots. “My job is incredible, but my heart will always be in Colorado,” said Tracy. The daughter of a federal hydrologist, Tracy spent much of her childhood moving around the country, but her parents always wanted to settle in Colorado to be close to Tracy’s grandparents. By the time she entered high school, Tracy’s family permanently relocated to Arvada. From there, Tracy attended the University of Colorado and majored in communication, forming a tight network with her fellow Boettcher Scholars. “When I was at CU, Boettcher Scholars seemed to gravitate toward each other,” said Tracy. “When I met someone who was a Boettcher Scholar, I knew there was something special about them. I knew we’d share a common bond — openness and curiosity.” Tracy’s unique view of the world and desire to explore prompted her to move to Tokyo — without a job — after graduating college. She attributes part of that fearlessness to the confidence that came from being named a Scholar as an eighteen-year-old. While in Japan, Tracy helped to open a library that catered to local English teachers. She contributed to the procurement of books and partnerships, and to designing the store, which later turned into a multi-million dollar company. When she returned to the U.S. to attend graduate school, Tracy volunteered at a radio station and learned to cut tape. “At the time, that was the type of skill you needed to get in the door at media companies,” Tracy remembered. It was because of that skill that NPR hired Tracy as a temp. She worked the overnight edition — a shift that had less-than-glamorous hours. Soon after, she began working for the Morning Edition. While her then-boss was receiving chemotherapy treatments, Tracy acted as interim executive producer. “I was definitely punching above my weight, but I knew I needed to keep the show going at the highest-quality and give my boss time to recover,” Tracy said. As a result of her hard work and ability to handle stress, Tracy was later hired as the permanent executive producer of the Morning Edition. In her current role, Tracy supports the various public radio member stations across the country by helping to connect them both with their local and national communities. Just like in college, Tracy is ever-motivated by curiosity — a value she tries to infuse into her work at NPR every day. Similarly, she encourages others to pursue opportunities that “light your inner spark.” In her spare time, Tracy enjoys researching outlets for storytelling. Her favorites: Instagram and Netflix. “Part of my job is to see how storytelling is done on different platforms,” Tracy said. She especially enjoys social photography and the value of a community of people who come together to share their passion in a creative way. Even from outside Colorado, Tracy feels tied to her Boettcher community. “I still love forming relationships with Scholars and I think we can all have an increased impact on our world if we’re connected,” she said. Currently, Tracy helps the Boettcher community build these relationships by serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board....

Arnold Chacon leads an agency responsible for such high-stakes, far-reaching work as negotiations with Iran to reach a nuclear agreement, opening a new chapter in the United States’ relationship with the Cuban people, combating terrorists linked to ISIS, and forging international alliances to mitigate the effects of climate change. He admits that his early experiences did not necessarily make him a natural for a career in diplomacy, but a love of public service and a desire to give back propelled him to his current role as Director General of the United States Foreign Service. A 1974 Boettcher Scholar, Arnold Chacon has led a life of service ever since he was in college, free to explore his passion for diplomacy without the burden of paying college tuition. A Denver native, Arnold attended North High School and later University of Colorado Boulder, where he was part of the President’s Leadership Class and majored in international studies. “Initially, I believed that the best way to help my community was to become a doctor, hence my seven summers doing volunteer work in Central America providing children with vaccinations and other public health services,” said Arnold. While based in Central America, he worked closely with U.S. development workers and diplomats, which inspired him to consider a new field of study. “I was smitten by the possibility of service abroad, switched my major to international affairs, joined the Foreign Service and found my calling in public service,” said Arnold. As a diplomat, he was posted in Honduras, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Italy, and Spain, as well as in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. His domestic assignments in Washington D.C. included service as Deputy Executive Secretary for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. As part of her team, Arnold traveled extensively to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. He also served as the American Ambassador to Guatemala prior to becoming Director General. “Those of us in Foreign Service work to help shape a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world. The painstaking work of a diplomat, especially in the current international environment of fear and daunting challenges, is a privilege and high honor,” said Arnold. Though Arnold has a deep-seated service ethic, he would not have predicted his extensive career in government. “My family was among the first Spanish and Mexican settlers in Colorado and New Mexico. For generations very few people in my family traveled far from home. Nothing in my background and working class upbringing would have suggested that a diplomatic career was in my future,” said Arnold. His roots are what motivated him to work hard in school, give back to his community, and apply for the Boettcher Scholarship. “The Boettcher scholarship allowed me to indulge my passion for international travel and take advantage of volunteer internship opportunities, which would have been difficult if not impossible had I needed to finance my education. The prestige and support inherent in a Boettcher scholarship opened many doors to me as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado, giving me the confidence, mentorship support, and leadership skills I needed to succeed academically and professionally,” Arnold said. In his free time, Arnold enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending time and traveling with his wife and three children. His wife, originally from Honduras, is also a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. His oldest daughter is an attorney in Silicon Valley, and his younger daughter is helping to develop a new museum at the State Department called the U.S. Diplomacy Center. His son is an economics and philosophy major at the University of Chicago, and plans to go into public service as well. Arnold has been serving his country for nearly four decades, and is still fueled by the same passion that inspired him to join the Foreign Service. “I’m passionate about educating students, especially students from historically underrepresented communities, about the different opportunities in the State Department and at our embassies overseas,” he said. When asked what advice he would give to current Boettcher Scholars, Arnold said “follow your dreams and ‘go long.’ Whether you are overcoming ordinary life challenges or extraordinary hurdles and circumstances, if you dream big — and complement that dream with grit and perseverance — big things will happen. You will certainly lose nothing, and possibly gain an extraordinary life.”        ...

Boettcher Foundation Staff recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit Boettcher Scholar alumni whose diverse careers and passions took them to the East Coast. While there, we had the chance to reconnect with the impressive Alumni who live in the D.C. area at a reception hosted by the U.S. State Department and by the Director General of the Foreign Service Arnold Chacon (who also happens to be a Boettcher Scholar). In an increasingly globalized world, we’ve been focused on reconnecting with Scholar Alumni, wherever they may live, because we believe we can all serve our communities more effectively if we’re linked to one another. Many of the Alumni who live in the D.C. area have careers in public service, nonprofit, and government. Alumni attendees ranged from 1965 Boettcher Scholars to recent college graduates. Among them were Tracy Wahl, executive producer for editorial franchises at NPR and Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board member; Phillip Juengst, federal financial manager for the U.S. Department of Education; and several members of the Foreign Service. The Alumni reception was hosted at what will soon be the U.S. Diplomacy Museum, and we were joined by Foreign Service fellows and directors from the U.S. Bureau of Human Resources. “What makes this event very special is that both the Alumni and the State Department employees share the value of giving back and making a difference in our communities, whether that’s Colorado, the United States, or the world,” said Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation during his remarks at the reception. Not only did we have a chance to catch up with our D.C. Alumni, we also talked about ways for them to stay connected with the Boettcher community, even from afar. We also discussed opportunities with Director General Chacon’s team, including possible internships and fellowships for Boettcher Scholars. During the reception, Director General Chacon mentioned the profound connection he has felt to the Boettcher community since receiving his scholarship in 1974, and that he is glad to share that bond with 2,400 other Alumni. These regional receptions offer a way for us to gather Scholar Alumni, share great conversations, and continue to build our community. “I was grateful to connect with Scholar Alumni in the D.C. area as well as state department staff and fellows and learn more about the great work happening in all of our communities,” said 2004 Scholar Mackenzie Parker. We host these receptions several times a year, in cities across the country. If you’re an alum outside of the Denver-metro area, make sure your contact information is updated so we know where to find you and watch our Boettcher Scholars Facebook page for updates on where we’ll be travelling next! ...

Jack Pottle, a 1973 Boettcher Scholar, has helped shape some of Colorado’s top industries — from working in cable to providing homes for some of Denver’s trendiest new restaurants. And though Jack has called Colorado home for his entire life, he likely would not still be here without the Boettcher Scholarship. A Denver native, Jack Pottle attended Kennedy High school. Like many Boettcher Scholars, he originally planned to attend college out of state, setting his sights on a liberal arts college in California. “I hadn’t even applied to Colorado College, but after receiving the scholarship, it turned out that CC was an extraordinary place to go to school,” Jack said. Being a liberal arts major, Jack jokes that he could not decide what to do, which has led him to have five distinct careers. After graduating from CC, Jack began his career in the research and consulting business. Soon after, he began a career in cable, at the time when the growing industry made Denver the “cable capital of the world”, by joining Rifkin Communications as vice president of operations. He continued his tenure in cable as the president and chief operating officer of Fanch Communications. After selling the company in 1999, Jack joined the competitive telephone business, an industry he considers both very challenging and very rewarding. After selling that company in 2006, Jack became a managing partner at Viridian Investment Partners, a firm specializing in private equity. Currently, in his fifth career, Jack works to redevelop and repurpose old, historic buildings in North Denver. Recently, he helped to transform one of Denver’s historic brothels into Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox restaurant in the LoDo neighborhood, as well as redeveloping Cobbler’s Corner in the Sunnyside neighborhood. And still, Jack prioritizes community service and the spirit of giving back. “I think the fact that I am still in Colorado now is because of receiving the scholarship, and I think it also instilled in me a desire to give back.” His community involvement has primarily focused on education. He has served on the boards of the Young Americans National Bank, Colorado College, and now Escuela de Guadalupe — a dual language school in Denver, whose mission is to develop its students into compassionate leaders. “I came from a family of educators, which taught me the importance of education and that there is no 'magic ticket' in life, but that receiving an education is as close to one as it gets,” Jack said. It is that idea that fueled him during his own education, and has inspired him to help shape education in Colorado....

 Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation  DENVER—University of Denver senior Neda Kikhia was named Colorado Leadership Alliance (CLA) 2016 Student Leader of the Year at the CLA Summit on Saturday at University of Colorado Denver. The award is given by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation annually. Get to know the Student Leader of the Year, Neda Kikhia:  Kikhia is majoring in communications and religious studies and minoring in leadership studies  Member of Pioneer Leadership Program, one of 13 leadership training programs that’s part of CLA  Committed to social justice, Kikhia has served as a team lead for Public Achievement, a University of Denver program that connects its university students with students in Denver Public Schools, aiming to create a positive school culture and encourage academic achievement.   ...

The Boettcher Foundation invests in Boettcher Investigators as a way to support the best minds in scientific innovation. Similarly, we support the best students in Colorado with the Boettcher Scholarship. So when Boettcher Investigators and Boettcher Scholars collaborate, it’s no surprise that they achieve amazing results. By applying to participate in a “collaboration grant,” 12 Boettcher Scholars had the opportunity to conduct research alongside Boettcher Investigators this past summer. Whether researching cancer therapeutics and tissue regeneration at Colorado School of Mines, working on the African Sleeping Sickness drug-discovery project at Colorado College, or studying lung disease while also examining emphysema patients at National Jewish Health, Boettcher Scholars left their research internships with much more than just technical skills. “Through the collaboration, I developed my personal and scientific skills, gained access to a network that will help me immensely, and kindled lasting curiosity for science and discovery,” said Andrew Pham, a 2013 Boettcher Scholar at the University of Denver. He spent the summer in Dr. Chad Pearson’s lab at University of Colorado Anschutz Campus, studying how cell structure affects various bodily functions. Last fall, Boettcher Investigators applied to the Boettcher Foundation with a collaboration grant idea. If the idea furthered research and fostered collaboration with a Boettcher Scholar, the proposal was approved and the Investigator was awarded a grant to use for research supplies or as a Scholar stipend. Next, Boettcher Scholars were invited to the competitive application process, which required a letter of interest and an interview. Once selected, Scholars had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a field they plan to pursue after college. “I was not just given simple tasks — which I honestly do not mind; instead, I was allowed to completely renovate a project and bring it a step closer to publication. It was experiencing this that assured me that I have chosen the correct path as a researcher,” 2012 Scholar and DU student, McKenzie Ramirez said of her experience. For other Scholars, it solidified an interest in going to medical school, and likely gave them a leg up in the process. Typically, undergraduate students are not offered hands-on lab internships. Collaboration grants allowed participating Scholars the opportunity to take their knowledge from the classroom and directly apply it to experiments like cell culturing. But it was building relationships with Investigators that the Scholars valued most. “The best part of the collaboration was the mentorship I received. This was completely invaluable,” Andrew said. The Investigators equally enjoyed the experience of having highly-skilled Boettcher Scholars working in their labs. “The best part of a [collaboration grant] was having a hard working, thoughtful, and intelligent young scientist working in my lab. She was simply remarkable,” Dr. Keith Neeves at Colorado School of Mines said. Dr. Tingting Yao at CU Boulder agreed, citing the best part as “seeing the growth of the student during the three months and sharing the passion for laboratory research.” Together, the Investigators and Scholars achieved real results and made significant headway on important research. A few examples include: Scholar Lucas Suazo and Dr. Rachel Zemans designed and carried out an experiment examining which, if any, cellular proteins are involved in lung cells exposed to cigarette smoke at National Jewish Health. McKenzie Ramirez and Dr. Keith Neeves created a new protocol for growing endothelial cells at Colorado School of Mines. Scholar Maddie Walden and Dr. Amy Dounay, who is both a Boettcher Scholar alum and a Boettcher Investigator, designed and synthesized 21 compounds that will be tested against the parasite that causes African Sleeping Sickness. “The uniqueness of the collaboration grants is that it bridges the best students and best young Investigators who are interested and able to closely mentor the students in their early career stages,” said Dr. Yao. *If you are a current Scholar interested in applying to work with a Boettcher Investigator as part of a collaboration grant in 2016, email Marisa@boettcherfoundation.org to request an application and a list of proposed projects.  ...