Author: Boettcher Foundation

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. Name: Michael Gohde Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Colorado Springs What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After I graduate, I plan on attending grad school to study either computer systems or machine learning. I have worked for three cutting-edge labs for the last four+ years and they have all in some way shaped what I want to do. Among these experiences, my work with the Cox Lab at Harvard University has had the greatest influence. The Cox Lab is currently focused on developing biologically inspired machine learning systems, which fascinate me. I have worked in their lab for two years and will return this summer. In the long-term, I would like to start a business specializing in one of these fields. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. From prior experience, I’ve learned to try to stick to a few core activities so my schedule can remain somewhat flexible. I somewhat regularly attend swing dance, car club and comedy club meetings as time allows. These clubs represent some of the most interesting options available to me. I was also actively involved in campaigning for one of the tickets in the recent CU Student Government elections since I was able to meet the candidates and believed that their platform and passion made them worthwhile. Besides this, I have continued to make and distribute cancer care kits at Penrose Hospital. I also work for both CU Boulder’s Dowell Lab and during vacations, I return and help out at the Vision and Security Technology Lab at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.   Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of the greatest mentors I’ve ever had was Dr. Dana Wortman at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. As my Intro to Computer Science professor, she was monumental in transforming my general and scattered interest in computer science into a well-directed vision. I attended my first class with her when I was 13, and, despite the significant age difference between all of the other students and myself, she made me feel as though I belonged in the class. She never treated me as anything other than an equal, and she always challenged me to strive for more and to do better. Later on, I took her Game AI and C++ classes, where I learned to write clean code and documentation. In the times when she was not my teacher, she was a mentor and good friend. What's the best advice you've ever received? Some of the best advice that I’ve gotten was from Dr. Terrance Boult, who told me to build solid working relationships and have a reputation as a hard worker. Working for him and taking his advice has and will continue to provide opportunities for me, and someday it will allow me to provide opportunities to others.   If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  If I could have dinner with one or more people from history, then I would be most interested in meeting any of the directors of Bell Labs. It would be fascinating to learn how they fostered a culture and atmosphere of such outstanding productivity and creativity within a for-profit institution....

Robert “Skip” Seward has spent the last four decades ensuring that the food we eat is safe. A 1970 Boettcher Scholar, Skip has led food safety at Fortune 500 companies like ConAgra Foods Inc., Oscar Mayer Foods and McDonalds. Skip attended CSU and later Oregon State University for his master’s in microbiology. Less than glamorous, he got his start in research by studying the growth of algae on pig manure. “Needless to say, I was not very popular at the greenhouse,” Skip said with a chuckle. Soon after, he took his first job as a bench microbiologist at Del Monte Corp.  “I’ve always credited what I’ve done to good mentors, and I had two of them at Del Monte who helped me decide that I needed to go back and get my Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin,” Skip said. At the time, Skip studied modified atmosphere packaging—placing fresh fish in packaging without oxygen for consumers to purchase—while also preventing the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the cause of foodborne botulism. He then launched into his career, moving from a bench researcher to directing food safety and eventually to serving as vice president of global food safety at ConAgra Foods. Skip spent decades working hard and advancing research, but he has kept in touch with his mentors and professors along the way, citing their influence as the reason he landed where he is today. “You find inspiration in someone, and they set you in a direction,” said Skip. “That’s why I tell people, ‘don’t forget who helped you along the way, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to give back, do it.’” Along the way he also met his wife, Dee, who ignited his passion for giving back. After receiving her teaching license in six different states as Skip toured the country with different companies, Dee retired from teaching first grade. She and Skip moved to Washington, D.C., where she became very involved with the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which supports residents and preserves the history of Capitol Hill. “My wife has always promoted giving back, and has really taught me the value of helping others,” Skip said. “And when you give back, it sure makes you feel good. It makes the world seem a little bit smaller and little more purposeful.” He’s also kept in touch with the Boettcher Foundation, looking for opportunities to give back and pay forward his scholarship to the next generation, including naming the Boettcher Foundation in his will. Skip now owns Seward Global Consulting, which helps companies comply with the latest government regulations in food safety. He says that generally, companies want to do the right thing and produce safe food, they just need a little help sometimes. Nominated by his peers, Skip is currently in his fourth two-year term serving on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. This committee is sponsored by and works to advise the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense. When he is not working, Skip and Dee enjoy travel. In fact, when a coconut water project recently took him to Thailand for four months, he and his wife took the opportunity to travel throughout Southeast Asia and China where they hiked the Great Wall for several weeks. Skip has already accomplished so much in his career, but he remains excited by the opportunities still to come. “I am still stimulated by my job and helping food companies improve their food safety. There are always new challenges associated with emerging pathogens. I have enjoyed going to work each morning because I enjoy what I do and interacting with new and old friends along the way. And it all goes back to the great opportunity that the Boettcher Foundation gave me in 1970.”...

DENVER, April 26, 2017 — The Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees has awarded $525,000 in capital grants to educational institutions in the state. The grant funding includes support for expansion at four higher-education institutions and continued support of the Qualistar Colorado Capital Fund, which impacts early childhood education centers. “Boettcher Foundation has a long-standing tradition of funding education in our state, and we’re pleased to do so with this group of projects,” said Katie Kramer, CEO of the Boettcher Foundation. “Each of these grantees brings communities together and prepares Colorado students for successful futures, and their expanded or new facilities will help them continue to achieve their goal of serving the state’s youth.” This year’s education grant recipients are: Colorado College – Colorado Springs, $100,000 Toward the renovation and expansion of Tutt Library, which will serve as the intellectual hub of the campus, and will help the campus achieve environmental sustainability. Colorado State University – Fort Collins, $100,000 Toward construction of the health and medical center, which will provide more efficient integrated health services for its students while also providing additional healthcare options to employees and community members. The center will also house innovative research and community programming. John McConnell Math & Science Center – Grand Junction, $75,000 Toward construction of a new facility adjacent to Colorado Mesa University, to be used both by students and the broader community. Metropolitan State University of Denver – Denver, $100,000 Toward construction of the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building. This building will provide up-to-date technology and real-world experiences to prepare students for successful manufacturing careers in a variety of sectors including aerospace, aviation, energy, communications and biomedicine. Qualistar – Statewide, $150,000 Toward Qualistar Colorado Capital Fund for early childhood learning centers. About the Boettcher Foundation: At Boettcher, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come. Contact: Kristi Arellano 303.285.6208 kristi@boettcherfoundation.org...

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. Name: Jasmine (Jazzy) Middleton Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Aurora College(s), Degree(s): University of Northern Colorado, Acting What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am currently pursuing a degree in acting! I’m hoping to act for a while after college but my long-term goal is to own my own theatre so that I may show how much art can positively impact any community. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time and I am working hard to make it a reality. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Being an acting major takes up quite a bit of time on its own… so most of the activities I’ve joined have stayed very close to the theatre. I have joined some wonderful student troupes that put-on productions here and there, which has been a unique experience. I also was lucky enough to be cast in a main-stage production second semester, which is wonderfully wonderful but also wonderfully time-consuming. Even with the business of a college performing arts career, I have been attending a multitude of public events put on by various student groups. It is a great way to be involved even when you can’t join a club. I’ve also been going to youth group with Intervarsity which is a great way to meet people. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of my most important mentors was my high school theatre teacher Eric Eidson. Not only did he teach me so much about my craft and about the importance of pursuing my passions, but he also taught me so much about navigating life and staying positive. Unfortunately, his dorky sense of humor rubbed off on me too, but he’s a person whose qualities are contagious if you’re seeking success, so I’m not too upset about it. We’re still very close even though I’m out of high school, and he’s still proven to be a mentor to me. I cherish getting to have such a great adult in my life! What's the best advice you've ever received? Something I always turn to when life is getting tough is something one of my incredibly wise friends told me in high school. She told me “always live life 15 minutes at a time”. It seems simple but it really changes your perspective on things! If you take life in 15 minutes it really takes the weight of the future off your shoulders, especially in an institutionalized education lifestyle where things feel like they’re hitting you all at once. Just breathe, worry about the next fifteen minutes and write everything long-term in your planner. (Have a really nice pack of pens to do it with, too!) You’ll never be stressed again, which opens life up for all the beauty that it holds. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have a sit-down dinner with Bob Marley I would be the happiest girl who ever has existed. He is inspirational in his outside-of-the-box way of thinking and his positive philosophies. He’s not one of those creepy positive people who you can just tell are faking it though, he’s down-to-earth and super meta. I feel like we’d vibe well. We’re also both Aquarians and that kind of rocks too....

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. Name: Kenzo Kawanabe Scholar Year: 1990 Hometown: Alamosa  College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado, BA (1994), and Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1997) Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? For 18 years, I have been a commercial trial lawyer at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, one of Colorado’s oldest and largest law firms. I represent clients in a variety of matters relating to commercial disputes, mass torts and intellectual property, in a variety of industries including energy, technology, aviation, engineering and real estate.  I am a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and I enjoy helping my clients solve their problems. Prior to joining DGS, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Obviously, the Boettcher Scholarship paid for my college, for which I am eternally grateful. But more importantly, the Boettcher family taught me about philanthropy and working towards the greater good of a stronger community and state. As a Trustee of the Boettcher Foundation and a member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, I am committed the paying this generous gift forward. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In the legal profession, I teach trial skills and the rule of law, and serve as the Pro Bono Partner at my firm. I was the first-ever General Counsel for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and serve on the Boards of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, CO Lawyers Committee and CO Legal Services. In addition to my legal community service, I have served on the Boards of the Boettcher Foundation, Denver Foundation, Sakura Foundation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Community Resource Center and CO Nonprofit Development Center. The activities I enjoy the most are spending time (traveling, eating, laughing, etc.) with my family including my wife (Irene), daughters (Mika and Aya), and 85-pound dog (Fozzie). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The rule of law is a pillar of our democracy, and attorneys are the guardians of the rule of law. The law opens so many doors to so many different jobs.  Find what makes you happy (your Happiness Factor). While I am not encouraging you to act on whims, I do believe that true introspection will allow you to obtain a satisfying career(s) in the law. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Carr: two lawyers who followed their moral compass to be on the right side of history....

Floyd Pierce had never been out of the country. That is, until the 2013 Boettcher Scholar embarked on a journey around the world as a competitor on the 29th season of the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race.” Floyd was determined to compete on the show ever since middle school when he first watched “The Amazing Race,” a reality competition show in which 11 teams of two race around the world, solving clues, navigating foreign countries and completing tasks. Each week, teams are eliminated, and the last team standing wins $1 million. But the minimum age to compete is 21, which gave Floyd years to plan his audition tape. In December 2015, Floyd, who is the drum major for University of Colorado Boulder’s marching band, convinced one of his band friends to audition with him. “I didn’t think anything was going to happen, but how could I not try?” recalled Floyd, lighting up as he remembers his bold decision.  On March 9 the following year, Floyd received a call from a CBS casting director. “At that moment I freaked out,” Floyd said. “Even if they were going to say no, I was just excited they had even called me.” But there was a twist. For the first time ever, “The Amazing Race” was not accepting pairs. Instead, the contestants would be paired with a random competitor at the starting line. The next few months were filled with a flurry of paperwork, a new audition tape and a weeklong casting process in Los Angeles. Three weeks later, Floyd received another phone call. He was officially cast on the show. As soon as he hung up, he began training, which he says consisted of a lot of running. “I think running is the single most important skill you can have on The Amazing Race,” said Floyd. Floyd then had to pack for the cross-globe journey, with little guidance from the producers. “They tell you to ‘pack for anything,’” Floyd said. Contestants must carry their belongings with them at all times, but simultaneously be prepared for any possible task, weather or environment. Floyd needed to be prepared for everything, but pack minimally. He flew to the starting line in early June, but there was still the unknown element of who his partner would be. However, Floyd was not as worried about that as you might expect. “Personally, I am confident that I can get along with virtually anyone,” Floyd smiled. “So, no matter who I was paired with, I knew I could make it work.” At the same time, Floyd had seen the show before and recognized that they typically do not cast “22 reasonable, easy-to-get-along-with people.” For that reason, the nerves started to set in. The biggest challenges for Floyd during the taping of the show? Remembering that there were cameras on him constantly, and not letting self-doubt and negative comments creep in and affect his performance. “It’s easy to worry that you may do something embarrassing on camera and let that occupy all of your thoughts, but I had to remember that I was living my dream experience, and regardless of what happened—good or bad—I needed to enjoy the ride,” Floyd said. Being the youngest contestant and the only one who had never before traveled outside the U.S., Floyd said the other contestants thought that he would be the easiest to beat. Early on, he let that bother him, but quickly realized he needed to ignore the negativity and focus on his journey. Floyd cannot yet discuss the outcome of the show, but wants to use his own experience on “The Amazing Race” to inspire others to overcome their fears and try new things. His intent is not to become famous from the show, but rather to impact others in a positive way. In the true Boettcher Scholar-style of serving others, Floyd’s throwing a premiere watch-party with a fellow contestant from Boulder to raise money for the nonprofit, Big City Mountaineers, which provides outdoor experiences for underserved youth in Colorado. When he’s not appearing in prime time, Floyd is a typical, albeit high-achieving, college student. He leads the marching band, is majoring in economics and applied math and hopes to earn a master’s degree in data analytics and work to help companies create meaningful relationships with the people they serve. He even organized CU’s very own “The Amazing Race,” during homecoming, which received great participation and is becoming an annual event. Reflecting on his experience, Floyd grins and says “It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was simply amazing.” To find out who Floyd is paired with and how far he makes it in the competition, tune in to CBS on Thursday, March 29 at 8 p.m. for the season premiere, then Friday nights for its regular time slot.   Learn more about Floyd and his fellow contestants here: http://theknow.denverpost.com/2017/03/16/the-amazing-race-final-season-contestants-colorado/139259/.   ...

In an effort to connect Boettcher Scholars across the country, both with each other and their communities, we've started organizing scholar service days in a variety of U.S. cities outside Colorado. Most recently, a small but mighty crew of alumni volunteered at a "community build" with Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides free, yearlong carpentry and design programs for diverse youth. McKenna Asakawa, a 2012 scholar,  now works for Sawhorse Revolution and helped to organize the service project. "Despite heavy rain, our community build on Saturday was a big success! Volunteers helped us make progress on the 'Parabay Homes,' a tiny house duplex designed for a homeless family," said McKenna. "In mid-April, we'll deliver it to a new, city-sanctioned tiny house village in Georgetown. The Parabay Homes are generating significant excitement, since they are the only homes designed specifically for a family experiencing homelessness." Volunteers spent the day measuring, cutting, and installing interior and exterior paneling.  Michael Estrada, a 2010 scholar, drove all the way  from Bellingham (near the Canadian border) to participate in the service day. "His building prowess, collaboration, and commitment really helped us move forward with the interior of the duplex half designed for kids," McKenna noted. "I was blown away by his dedication and so enjoyed connecting with him!"    ...

For 2011 Boettcher Investigator Dr. Robert Doebele, the satisfying part of medicine is researching an idea in his lab, and then seeing that idea come to fruition in treating his patients. And that’s exactly what is happening in the first-of-its-kind clinical trial that he is currently leading. Dr. Doebele holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D., which allows him to spend part of his time in the lab and part with his patients, which is also what guided him to specialize in lung cancer.  “I like the patient relationship. Some doctors like healthier patients, and while I don’t like having sick patients, I don’t mind it,” Dr. Doebele explained. “I get to see my patients often, from diagnosis through treatment.” It’s that same patient interaction that helped Dr. Doebele to make a huge breakthrough in his lab. Dr. Doebele researches oncogene targeted therapy, or precision medicine, where he identifies the dominant genes that are critical for developing cancer. When those genes are specifically targeted in treatment, doctors are able to shrink tumors. “When I started working in lung cancer in 2005, the treatment for lung cancer was pretty much all the same,” Dr. Doebele said. “The treatment is now very different based on the genetic abnormalities present in each patient.” Because of this genetic research, lung cancer now has identifiable mutations that make gene-targeted therapy possible. But what happens when a patient has none of the identified mutations, is a non-smoker in her forties, and presents with stage-four lung cancer? Around that same time, Dr. Doebele realized there must be other targetable genes that can become cancer-driving cells. Thus, his most-recent research was born. His lab did not discover a new gene, but using modern techniques, they were able to identify that this specific gene was truly cancer-driving and, beyond that, they developed a method for targeting that gene in treatment. Working with Array Biopharma out of Boulder, Dr. Doebele helped develop a drug to test in these cancers. Unfortunately, Dr. Doebele’s inspiring patient passed away, but thanks to the tissue that she donated, Dr. Doebele was able to directly advance his research, initiate a clinical trial and literally save lives. The first patient to participate in his clinical trial was much like Dr. Doebele’s patient who donated tissue. She was incredibly ill with widely metastatic sarcoma in her lungs, and even moved to Denver with her family for a month to participate in phase one of the study. “I was nervous because this was the first test of my research to see if it actually does anything,” remembers Dr. Doebele. “You feel like you are laying your chips on the table, and it was my idea combined with a real patient.” Week by week during the clinical trial, his new patient improved. Now, almost two years later, she is still taking the drug he developed and has no measurable tumor in her lungs. And she’s not alone. All of the trial patients have had tumor shrinkage and most have had a highly measurable response. “This is not going to cure millions of cancer patients, but if we test patients and identify these mutations, it’s a very good start. It’s a bedside-to-bench-to-bedside approach,” said Dr. Doebele. Two companies are now developing drugs to specifically treat what Dr. Doebele identified, and are awaiting FDA approval. “It’s rare but satisfying when you get to come full-circle and see your research directly affect patients.” Dr. Doebele said. Looking back, he credits his scientific success with both luck and preparedness, plus a boost from the Boettcher Foundation. “The luck was finding a patient that had this mutation, but the Webb-Waring Biomedical research funding allowed me to prepare my lab to take on this project very quickly,” said Dr. Doebele. This combination allowed Dr. Doebele to publish his findings in approximately a year, which meant getting this treatment to clinical trial, and ultimately, to patients sooner. Since then, he has received more funding, including an R01 grant from the National Institute of Health. Looking ahead, Dr. Doebele is very interested in bringing increasingly better drugs to patients, and plans to continue testing new drugs and new ideas with the ultimate goal of saving lives.  ...

How does an economics major from Littleton, Colorado become the director of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan? In her own words, “by continually taking on new challenges and pushing myself to try new things.” Mary Dixon has spent two decades working for the largest coffee chain in the world, but before that, she was a 1986 Boettcher Scholar who attended Colorado College. “I remember that moment of opening the envelope—it was so thin I thought it must be bad news—but when I saw that I’d received the scholarship, it was such a moment of pride,” Mary recalls. “It was in my nature to be involved in academics and in my community, and Boettcher validating those attributes strengthened my resolve to continue being of service to others.”  Serving others is what led Mary to her current role, directing Starbucks’ college reimbursement program for any employee who works at least 20 hours a week. Committed to its community, Starbucks aims to graduate 25,000 employees by the year 2025. “We’re constantly thinking about how we can make this program better, or what’s the next thing we can offer to our partners that grows both the organization and each of them individually,” Mary explained. Over the years, Mary has held several positions at Starbucks, ranging from retail to global responsibility, and though it may not seem like a traditional path, Mary credits her liberal arts education for the career she has today. “The jobs of tomorrow don’t even exist yet today, so it’s more about teaching critical thinking,” Mary said. “My liberal arts education gave me that base, and I’ve felt comfortable taking on new challenges because of that. It also gave me communication skills that are useful in any job.” After graduating from CC, Mary worked with foreign exchange students in Boston and Australia. From there, Mary realized she was ready for a new challenge and wanted to be back on the west coast working in the food industry. “A friend told me about this little company called ‘Starbucks’ that had a few hundred stores,” Mary remembers. She researched the company and liked the fact that it was centered around a mission and a set of core values. Shortly after Starbucks became a publicly traded company, Mary was hired into the manager training program in retail in San Francisco. In fact, Mary was part of the team that helped Starbucks expand into Colorado and several other states for the first time. She then became the director of global operations and helped Starbucks expand internationally, opening stores in 17 new markets, throughout Asia and Europe. “There are amazing people that work here, and we get to do amazing work—we are always pushing forward, giving back and thinking about what is the role and responsibility of a public company,” Mary said. After living in Amsterdam, opening stores throughout Europe, Mary returned to Seattle with her husband and infant son, transitioning into a role focused on corporate social responsibility. She helped to connect partners on a global scale and emphasized community service around the time of Starbucks’ 40th anniversary. “Helping others and connecting people to opportunities just seemed to be the way I’ve approached life” said Mary. That “way of life” has been present throughout Mary’s journey. Serving others helped her to earn her Boettcher Scholarship, and it’s also a large part of her current role where she gets to pay it forward to the next generation of students, and help them attend college debt-free. After 23 years with Starbucks, Mary continues to seek out new challenges, and is ever-appreciative to be in a place that remains driven by a mission and values that align with her own....

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. Name: Chandler Price Scholar Year: 2013 Hometown: Pueblo College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s):University of Northern Colorado, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2017 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduation, I am interested in pursuing a new graduate position in medical-surgical nursing. I would love to stay in Northern Colorado, but I am leaving my options completely open. I’m always up for a new adventure! I am also looking into returning to the University of Northern Colorado within a year after graduation to apply for the School of Nursing’s Post Bachelor's to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) Emphasis. I have fallen in love with traveling, so I am hoping to pursue nursing-related trips abroad as well. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. While at UNC, I joined three incredible organizations. I joined Christian Challenge because I wanted to build a strong, supportive community. I met all of my dearest friends there - it takes real friendship to support a nursing student! I joined the National Society of Collegiate Scholars where I served as Vice President of Community Service. I wanted to connect deeply with the Greeley community, and I became a huge fan of Habitat for Humanity. Lastly, I served as President of the Student Nurses Association for two years. I wanted to welcome, lead, and network with current and future nurses. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I am four months from graduation because of many fine individuals, but Deb Rojas, a professor in the UNC School of Nursing, is one mentor I would not be here without. Deb is the definition of a mentor – an experienced and trusted adviser. She allows students to see her heart. She emphasizes holistic, patient-centered care. She teaches the importance of self-care. Deb coordinates the nursing simulation labs and the 9Health Fair at UNC. She has taught me the importance of leading, organizing, and networking, and has given me the opportunity to work and learn alongside her. I am forever thankful. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received came from a picture I found while scrolling on Pinterest. It was written by Gretchen Saffles and the original sources was a website called Life Lived Beautifully. The lovely words said, “Dream your dreams, then ask God to shape them, scrub them, and steward them for His glory.” My jaw dropped as my eyes skimmed over the words again and again. I cherish the freedom I have to dream my dreams, but ultimately I want to glorify God with my life. I’ll be thriving off of this advice the rest of my life. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with one person from history, I would choose Mother Teresa. I love the authentic life she embodied. She lived with the servant heart I long for. She was quiet, kind, and compassionate, but she also showed a unique strength. She was passionate about helping others. She lived a quiet life but the impact she made was loud. I’d like to ask her how she handled conflict. I’d love for her to teach me her “Do it, Anyway” approach to life. If I was cooking dinner, I think her forgiving nature would also come in handy....