Author: Boettcher Foundation

Boettcher Scholar Year: 1996 Hometown: Littleton Colleges/Degree(s): Bachelor of Arts, Colorado College; CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) credentials 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 spent my career in forensic accounting and developed a specialty in data analytics. Since 2011, I have been a partner in a Denver forensic accounting firm called Betzer Call Lausten & Schwartz. Forensic accounting is at the intersection of accounting and law. We analyze accounting information through a particular lens, frequently in the context of litigation, though sometimes as part of a fraud investigation. Since 2014, I have been an affiliate faculty member in Metro State’s accounting department, where I wrote and teach a graduate course titled “Data Analytics in a Fraud and Litigation Context.” I tell my students that data analytics is the process of turning data into information. My course is equal parts examining technical topics and learning to communicate complex work. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?  Being a Boettcher Scholar means more to me with each passing year. The connections I have made through the alumni group and at the foundation would never have been available to me otherwise (for example, today I met a potential client who worked for Boettcher & Co.). I love that whenever I talk with another scholar, I learn something new. Curiosity and discovery are innate to the scholar persona; these traits carry scholars far and wide and lead to experiences that I’ve found scholars very willing to share. Volunteering for the Boettcher Foundation helped me start my own firm and indirectly led to meeting my current business partners. Ten years ago, recently laid off, I went to the foundation to volunteer to help gather some information from the alumni database. I never expected those volunteer hours to morph into being the foundation’s database administrator and consultant, and from there to me opening my own consulting firm. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.  A good friend of mine told me that when you volunteer, you should participate in an organization for about five years, then move on. He said that was the best way for volunteer organizations to stay fresh and connected to their missions. I have found this to be excellent advice and have participated in a variety of nonprofits since I graduated. I was a graduate adviser for the Colorado School of Mines Kappa Sigma chapter and served as a founding member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, where I also served as co-chair. For the past five years, I have been the treasurer of the Grand Lake Yacht Club. I also regularly guest lecture for undergraduates, graduates and professionals about forensic accounting. Recently, I have spent much of my time with the FIRST series of programs (firstinspires.org). FIRST Lego League Junior and FIRST Lego League are programs that help students in grades K-3 and 4-8 learn about their world through Legos, science and technology. Teaching kindergartners one day then graduate students the next has certainly opened my eyes to the challenges and rewards of teaching. I love spending time with my wife Allison and my kids, Jake (21), Cody (8), and Ellie (5). We love sailing, snowshoeing, and hiking in the Grand Lake area and I enjoy playing water polo at the Denver Athletic Club. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?  I generally offer two pieces of career advice for current graduates.  First, get involved in the professional organizations in the industry that interests you. They are almost universally interested in having student members and typically offer free or highly reduced membership rates. This gives students an opportunity to meet people in the industry, understand real industry issues and provides something much more interesting to discuss in an interview than your favorite classroom textbook. My second recommendation relates to those interested in forensic accounting. I tell interested students that success in forensic accounting requires in-depth knowledge of accounting plus at least one related subject area such as tax or audit. I recommend that students look for internal audit positions where they can get training as well as audit and fraud investigation experience. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would love to have another opportunity to talk with my grandparents and to meet my more distant ancestors, particularly those who moved to Colorado in the 1870s and early 1900s. I’d love to learn directly about what motivated them to leave their homes and what brought them here. I’d love to hear what it was like to live in Lake City in 1876 and to learn how what is now my daughter’s bed (and had been mine, and my mother’s, and her father’s and his father’s) came from Lake City to Denver....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Parker University: University of Denver, double majors in International Studies and Media, minors in Leadership Studies and Spanish What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am hoping to go to law school in the future and would love to do international human rights. I am planning to take a couple gap years in between graduation and starting law school to work beforehand. I am looking at jobs on the east coast and specifically in the Washington, D.C. area. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I have been most involved in the University of Denver Programming Board (DUPB), the Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP) and the DU Club Rowing team. Each of these organizations has offered me a unique opportunity to become involved in community-building projects and activities that have helped to strengthen me and have given me the ability to give back in each group. In addition, I initially joined rowing to try something new and completely different from what I had done before. It was a new adventure that I came to deeply love! Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of the most important mentors who I have had is my career counselor at DU, Mary Michael Hawkins. I started going into her office in the beginning of my freshman year, with the plan to get an internship after my freshman year and to have someone to help me and mentor me as I pursued my goals. What started out as just occasional appointments turned into deep and enlightening weekly conversations that we still have even now. Meeting with Mary Michael was one of the greatest decisions I could have made. Mary Michael has helped me to narrow down my goals, better determine the kind of person I am and has helped me hone in on my talents while improving in areas where I struggle. She is kind-hearted, attentive and a genuinely wonderful person who I am blessed to have gotten to know over the past four years, and someone whom I hope to continue knowing for many years to come. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received is to be able to say "no." There have been countless times in my past where I have added more and more things to my plate, convincing myself that I could manage and could juggle it all. Most of the time, I was able to make it work, but it would leave me feeling drained and exhausted. In the past couple years, I started looking at reorganizing and prioritizing my time. I give my all into a few things, rather than little bits into countless activities. I am able to give more fully, and my involvement actually gives me energy, instead of taking it away. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would choose to have dinner with Wilma Rudolph. When I was in fourth grade, I did a character presentation where I had to do research on a historical figure and dress up as them, and she was the woman I chose to present. In the 1960s she was the first woman to win three gold medals and was the fastest woman in the world, even after struggling with polio and needing a leg brace for much of her youth. She made strides for black women and was regarded as a civil rights pioneer. As a fourth grader, I found her story inspiring and I still carry it with me years later. She has been a hero of mine since that time and I would love to learn about determination from a woman who embodied it so strongly....

Dear Boettcher Scholar community, As I reflect on 2018 and our work together as a network of engaged and active scholars, one word sums up my experience on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board: gratitude. Thank you for a wonderful year of learning, serving, building relationships, sharing experiences and growing our Boettcher Scholar community and its impact on Colorado and beyond. I am continually amazed by how much a small group of committed people can do together, and I am very grateful to be part of such a unique and amazing crew! I would like to sincerely thank our outgoing board members: Angelique Diaz, Tony Navarro, Edie Sonn and Carly Stafford. Thank you for your time, energy, great ideas and dedication to the Boettcher Foundation and the mission of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. I am very happy to welcome four new members to our alumni board: Theo Chapman, Lori Marchando, Jason Wheeler and Hannah DeKay (current scholar representative), who will be profiled in upcoming scholar newsletters. We are so excited to work with all of you! I would also like to introduce Tommy George as our incoming alumni board chair.  Tommy has been an active and dedicated member of our board, and we are thrilled to have him lead us for the upcoming year. 2018 was a busy and productive year for the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board and the alumni community. We focused on several areas of growth and impact, including: Staying connected. We continue to expand our network through our “Class Champion” initiative. You have likely been contacted by your scholar year Class Champion, a fellow scholar acting as your class contact point. We hope this will continue to be an efficient and useful way to keep you connected to the alumni network. The Boettcher Foundation is also preparing to roll out a new scholar portal that will facilitate communication, mentorship, service and networking opportunities for alumni. Look for updates on the new alumni portal in 2019. Our Alumni Ambassador program also continues to expand, connecting alumni with middle and high school students in underrepresented schools and communities, and raising awareness about the scholarship program. Building our alumni network. New scholars were welcomed at Scholars Weekend in August, and members of the alumni board hosted undergraduate scholars at various informal welcome barbecues at their homes. Graduating seniors were formally welcomed into the alumni network during spring president’s/chancellor’s events on each campus as well as at the alumni board’s annual spring Colorado Rockies baseball game. We hope to continue these traditions, so that our newest scholars and youngest alumni are an active part of the community, are inspired to maintain their connections and opportunities for impact through the alumni network and “pay forward” the Boettcher Foundation’s investment in them. Offering educational and service opportunities. Members of the alumni network helped organize service events in various cities, a “Beer and Blue Books” discussion regarding Colorado ballot issues and an online book club. Our biggest project this year, the first Boettcher Scholar alumni summit, was held in June at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and was a wonderful opportunity for both education and service. This year’s theme, “Make Your Mark,” allowed scholars and alumni to connect, hear inspiring and diverse TED-style talks from fellow alumni, engage in service opportunities, explore Denver and get inspired to become more engaged on a variety of levels. So…THANK YOU for a powerful year! I am thankful for the opportunities the Boettcher Foundation and the alumni network continue to give me and all of us. And I am very excited for the year ahead, and all the creative ways we, the scholar alumni community, can use our collective energy to make meaningful impact in our communities. Here’s to 2019! Cheers, Lori Prok, MD 1992 Scholar Outgoing Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board Chair...

2016 Boettcher Investigator Schuyler van Engelenburg has an audacious goal: understanding and disrupting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). “HIV is one of the most studied viruses in the world, so some people discouraged me from entering such a concentrated research field,” said Schuyler. However, imaging techniques utilized in Schuyler’s lab at the University of Denver have demonstrated potential for how HIV and genetic diseases can be treated. With support from a Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award from the Boettcher Foundation, Schuyler has refined the use of super-resolution microscopy in HIV, an imaging technique that won two Americans the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2014. Using high-power light microscopes, Schuyler flags and tracks the movement of single HIV molecules within living infected cells. A high-resolution image is created by combining images in which different molecules are activated, enabling a much clearer picture of previously unobserved viral infection pathways. “We’re bringing a technical, optical, and computational approach to quantitatively describe how viral assembly works. Or if you’re an artist, think of the imaging as a type of pointillism. Except instead of coming into view as you step back, this sub-viral resolution is crossing the micro scale frontier of what was previously visible,” explained Schuyler. “If successful, we should then be able to either prevent the virus from ever assembling or harness the virus to deliver corrective genes to patients’ cells who are suffering from genetic diseases.” A native of New Castle on Colorado’s western slope, Schuyler earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Fort Lewis College and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was offered a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, where he studied cell biology and optics under National Academy of Sciences member Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz. Schuyler’s experience at NIH was transformative, but he has enjoyed returning to Colorado, where, as an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Denver, he is able to teach and mentor the next generation of interdisciplinary biomedical researchers. “I’m excited by the thought of coming up with new technology and applying it to understand how our cells work at the molecular level. But all the while I want to mentor the next best and brightest scientists who can hopefully go on to make an impact on our understanding of biology in health and disease,” noted Schuyler. “That includes undergraduate [Boettcher] scholars who have been a great asset in my lab.” When asked if working with the smallest particles in the world was constrictive, Schuyler noted that his work was remarkably similar to astrophysics and astronomers in search of macro understanding. “In many ways, microscopy is riding on the tail of astronomers, who have led the research to see beyond what we can even imagine. The infinitesimally large universe and the inconceivably small nanoscale particles are ordered more similarly than we recognize. My work lends a perspective on the rules of bioassembly on this nanoscale.”...

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: Colorado Springs University: Colorado School of Mines - B.S. Mechanical Engineering, May 2019; M.S. Computer Science, May 2020 What are you interested in pursuing after graduating? This past summer I had the pleasure of working at a robotics startup called Misty Robotics in Boulder. It was a new experience for me, and I loved it. The company was only about 40 people and had only been around for about two years. I loved the tight-knit feel and the ability to work so closely with a new product. Because of this experience, I’m definitely considering robotics startups after I graduate. Of course, I have one additional year of grad school after I finish my undergrad before I dive into the real world. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I’m a huge robotics nerd, so of course I joined robotics club when I started college. This has by far been my favorite activity. When I first joined, the organization only had about 10 members and no budget. Now, three years later, we’re 60 members strong and have a $10,000 budget. It’s been amazing to help grow this organization into a powerful force on campus. Even more so, I’ve loved meeting all the intelligent and hardworking people that are part of robotics. Outside of robotics, Society of Women Engineers also holds a special place in my heart. I’m all about women’s empowerment. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I realize it is cliché, but nobody in my life stacks up to my dad. Whenever I come across a situation I can’t face on my own, my dad is the first person I call. I think what I appreciate the most about my father is he has raised me and my three sisters to be strong women. Just because we are girls didn’t mean we couldn’t do construction work in high school or be engineers. I continue to appreciate his mentorship to help make me the fiercely independent woman I am. I would be nothing without his continued guidance. What's the best advice you've ever received? Though not necessarily advice, one of my very best friends has a life motto of “just having fun.” As a Boettcher Scholar, fun is usually on the bottom of my list. Goals, expectations and responsibilities come first. It was not until I met this friend that I considered letting fun guide your life. But why shouldn’t it? I think about this often now. I think if you’re having fun and truly enjoying what you’re doing, your impact on the world will be far greater. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would love the chance to speak with Alan Turing. It would be so interesting to see how his mind works. I think it would be fascinating to hear about his work during World War II not simply from a factual perspective but also to hear about how he actually thought about what he was doing and its influence. I would also love to tell him how profoundly his work in computer science has influenced our world today and hear his thoughts on that. Also, how cool would it be to watch him experience a laptop for the first time?  ...

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....