Author: Kristi Arellano

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 Angelique Diaz. Name: Susan Nicholson-Dykstra Scholar Year: 1998 Scholar (and 2008 Boettcher Teacher) Hometown: Aurora College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Denver, BS, molecular biology (with minors in leadership and chemistry), 2002 Dartmouth College, Ph.D., biochemistry, 2008 University of Denver, MA, curriculum instruction, 2010 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? My current role is director of teacher education accreditation for the University of Maine at Farmington. I collect and analyze data about our teacher candidates and programs, then assemble that data into a story to demonstrate how our programs meet the national standards for teacher preparation--my work truly combines my experience as an educator, an educational researcher and a scientist. Having had the opportunity to complete such a fantastic teacher prep program (Boettcher Teacher Residency), it’s really invigorating to help innovate and improve another teacher preparation program that has a similar focus on community, relationships and serving diverse students. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship opened opportunities I never could have imagined! As a scholar, I attended DU where I joined the Pioneer Leadership Program, conducted research and made amazing and brilliant lifelong friends. DU prepared me to enter a doctoral program where I conducted research and mentored students. The Boettcher Teacher Residency provided both a route back to Colorado and a transition from the lab to the classroom where I could share my passion for science. As a Boettcher Teacher Resident, I again joined an amazing cohort of leaders, and spent six years teaching science and conducting research with CU’s Streamline to Mastery Program. All of these experiences coalesced to provide the preparation for my current position. Truly, all roads lead back to Boettcher! Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. While in Colorado, I helped to start an annual Girls Engineering Day experience for girls at our school to partner and learn with female STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) leaders and students in the Denver/Boulder community. I also cosponsored our school’s MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) club. As a STEM teacher in Colorado, one of my favorite places to shop was RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers)--I was there so frequently that I got to serve on their Teacher Advisory Board! Now in Maine, my partner and I have started a small hobby farm (with goats, chickens and alpaca, oh my!), we play ice hockey, and we volunteer with MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? I still reflect back on the words of one of my middle school teachers, who recruited me in high school as an AVID tutor and helped me to discover my passion for teaching (she is also the teacher I got to recognize as a Boettcher Scholar!) Heather Ahrenkiel told me that, no matter where I was, regardless of the situation, environment or economic status, there would always be kids who needed a great teacher, who needed me. I have carried those words with me for nearly two decades--they inspire me to understand my students and peers, to know their stories and to find ways to help them shape their own paths for the future. For current graduates in education, I would reiterate her words. Our students need you--they need amazing leaders who care about them, who will be their advocates and who will teach them to advocate for themselves. Teaching is unquestionably the most challenging thing I've ever done, but it is also absolutely fulfilling. You might not see the impact immediately, or ever, but you WILL change the world through your work each and every day. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would love to sit down for dinner with Wangari Maathi--I had the opportunity to hear her speak about 12 years ago and have always been inspired by her advocacy for women and the environment. I would truly enjoy a good conversation with Temple Grandin, as I've appreciated her impact on research and advocacy for humane treatment and her role as liaison for individuals with Asperger's. And, I am confident that dinner with Michelle Obama would be a hoot--she's got such an amazing attitude and sense of humor--and I truly appreciate her work advocating for girls....

25th-anniversary event to recognize five-time award recipients August 12, 2016 — Forty-two Colorado teachers will be recognized this evening for the significant impact they have had on some of Colorado’s top students, while two others will receive special honors for being multi-year recipients of the award. The Boettcher Foundation is hosting its 25th annual Teacher Recognition Awards Program this evening at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The program allows each recipient of the 2016 Boettcher Foundation Scholarship to acknowledge the teacher who has impacted him or her the most. At the event, each Boettcher Scholar will deliver remarks about his or her teacher, and each teacher will receive a $1,000 grant from the foundation to be used toward an educational program or project to benefit students at his or her school. “These 42 teachers have played a significant role in shaping the educational experiences of our Boettcher Scholars,” said Tiffany Anderson, the Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship program director. “We are proud to honor these individuals for championing excellence in their classrooms.” In addition to celebrating the 42 teachers, the Boettcher Foundation will honor two teachers who have each been recognized five times over the 25-year history of the Teacher Recognition Awards. Richard Ransome, a retired teacher from Pueblo South High School, and Peter Mehlback from Lakewood High School, will be recognized at the event. In their honor, the Boettcher Foundation will make a donation to the Colorado nonprofit of each teacher's choice. “It is a significant achievement for a teacher to be recognized as the most influential educator in a Boettcher Scholar's life,” said Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation. “In its history of recognizing roughly 1,000 teachers, only a small number of teachers have been honored more than once, so it is truly remarkable for a teacher to be recognized five times.” This year's Teacher Recognition Award recipients are: Teacher School District Nominating Student Cindy Calder Horizon High School  Adams 12 Five Star Schools Leilani Osmundson Steve Lash Horizon High School  Adams 12 Five Star Schools Lina Osmundson Amy Stern Legacy High School Adams 12 Five Star Schools Lauren Plomer Adrienne Pere Adams City High School Adams County 14 Fernando Chavez Tammy Strouse Rangeview High School  Adams-Arapahoe 28J Alexis Wall Megan Noonan Aspen High School Aspen 1 Harriet Pryor Nathaniel Smith Grandview High School  Cherry Creek 5 Camilla Hallin Courtney Hendricks Cherokee Trail High School Cherry Creek 5 Janaye Matthews Eric Eidson Overland High School Cherry Creek 5 Jasmine Middleton Jim Techau Smoky Hill High School Cherry Creek 5 Eric Paricio Michael Mazenko Cherry Creek High School Cherry Creek 5 Grace Rooney Bette Anterra Colorado Springs School Cheyenne Mountain 12 Michael Gohde Hayley Raitz William Mitchell High School Colorado Springs 11 Jessica Perea Will Forrest Paonia Senior High School Delta County 50 (J) Chelsea Meilner Laura Marschke Southwest Early College Denver County 1 Cesar Caraveo Keith Oxman Denver East High School Denver County 1 Ethan Greenberg Michael Wylde George Washington High School Denver County 1 Maureen McNamara Lisa Nolte Chaparral High School Douglas County RE 1 Kellyn Dassler Staci Stech Mountain Vista High School Douglas County RE 1 Pranathi Durgempudi Brian Wood Mountain Vista High School Douglas County RE 1 Noah Hirshorn Lindsey Pahs Chaparral High School Douglas County RE 1 William Holtzmann Tina Stroman Legend High School Douglas County RE 1 Erin Jones Emily Franks Highlands Ranch High School Douglas County RE 1 Paula Pulido Robert Hazlehurst Castle View High School Douglas County RE 1 Kelly Winn Laurie Schlekeway-Burkhardt  Elizabeth High School Elizabeth C-1 Marianne Hughes Penny Grasmick Fowler High School Fowler R-4J Brennan Bates Marguerite Yowell Genoa-Hugo High School Genoa-Hugo C113 Kaeli Humphrey Charlotte Camp Crested Butte Community School Gunnison Watershed RE1J Benjamin Swift Eric Friesen Columbine High School Jefferson County R-1 Peter Heller Julie Dill Arvada West High School Jefferson County R-1 Korissa Straub Kait Cumsille Palmer Ridge High School Lewis-Palmer 38 Tanner Bobak Julie Larsen York International High School Mapleton 1 Kali Horn Jennifer Dickson Eyler* Grand Junction High School Mesa County Valley 51 Mari McCarville Nancy Jirka South Park High School Park County RE-2 Jesus Banuelos-Rivera Brad Beauprez Poudre R-1 Poudre High School Gillian Breuer James Glenn Rocky Mountain High School  Poudre R-1 Analise Iwanski Tony Filpi Pueblo South High School Pueblo City 60 Kaylene Khosla Andrew Roberts Niwot High School St. Vrain Valley RE 1J Rohan Baishya David Lavender Telluride High School  Telluride R-1 Madison Alexander Gregory Morrison Loveland High School Thompson R-2J Richard Ortecho Lori Birch West Grand High School West Grand 1-JT Jill Wilkinson Kelley Rebis Wray High School Wray RD2 Lauren Soehner   * Jennifer Dickson Eyler teaches at North Fork Community Montessori School. She is being honored by a student who graduated from Grand Junction High School. 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. For more information, visit www.boettcherfoundation.org.About the Boettcher Foundation FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kristi Arellano 303.285.6208 kristi@boettcherfoundation.org...

By Jason McKinney  Life on Capitol Hill Reporter The Rose Andom Center, Colorado’s first family justice center to serve domestic violence victims, opened June 29 with a special ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Denver Mayor, Michael B. Hancock, and District Attorney, Mitch Morrissey. The Andom Center will provide services and protection to victims of domestic violence in the Denver area and beyond. “Domestic violence is a terrible, traumatic experience. The Andom Center works to ensure that services are in one easily accessible, safe and welcoming place to the courageous souls who are seeking help,” Mayor Hancock said.    ...

A fortuitous speaker lineup helped Boettcher Scholar Leigh Gillette reconnect with the Boettcher Foundation and launch a second career as a teacher in Durango. Leigh, a 1989 Boettcher Scholar from Colorado Springs, spent her career as an environmental educator, helping people to understand and appreciate the world around them. While it was a rewarding role that had taken her around the state, she wanted to engage more directly with students and spend more time in Durango, where she had been working as an educator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “I’ve always been curious and a bit jealous of teachers and the relationships they can build with students,” Leigh said. “They have the luxury of time to work with students for a whole year.” Leigh began to seriously consider a career change when was speaking at a conference of superintendents in the San Luis Valley. She was listed on the agenda immediately after a presentation by the Boettcher Teacher Residency. “I heard their presentation, and I just knew that was the direction I would be taking,” The Boettcher Teacher Residency, funded by the Boettcher Foundation and operated by PEBC, the Public Education and Business Coalition, prepares people to have exceptional teaching careers through a hands-on master’s degree program. Boettcher Teachers are placed in classrooms with mentor teachers, allowing them to develop classroom experience from the start. Leigh explored the possibility of pursuing an alternative teacher licensure but wanted the professional support provided by a residency model. “The Boettcher Teacher Residency just seemed to be everything I needed,” she said, adding that her prior experience as a Boettcher Scholar offered an extra level of confidence. “Seeing the Boettcher name attached to the program sealed the deal for me. I knew it was going to be great.” While the Boettcher Teacher Residency is still relatively new compared to the scholarship program, Leigh is the second Boettcher Scholar who has entered the program and gone on to become a classroom teacher. She said that being a Boettcher Scholar enabled her to attend Colorado College without the burden of figuring out how to pay for it or graduating with debt. That freedom allowed her to accept her first environmental educator role at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Center in Northern Minnesota, even though the position only paid for her room and board. She went on to hold a variety of environmental educator roles, eventually taking her to Aspen and then to Durango, where she worked at the nonprofit Durango Nature Studies before joining the Colorado Division of Wildlife. After entering the Boettcher Teacher Residency, Leigh spent the year teaching sixth-grade science at Miller Middle School in Durango, a position she will return to next school year. As a newly minted-teacher, Leigh is eager to give back to Colorado by educating the next generation of students. “Personally I feel like I’m maintaining that Boettcher mentality of giving back to the state that has supported me so much,” she said.  ...

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 Angelique Diaz. Name: Tabitha Kalin Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Colorado Springs College, Major(s)  and Graduation Year(s): Colorado School of Mines, B.S. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, May 2018; M.S. Engineering and Technology Management, December 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am still not sure what the future holds for me as I approach graduation. I hope to complete my master's in engineering and technology management after I complete my engineering degree. The future after that is very open. As I have continued to explore the world and had internship opportunities, the list of things I would like to do and careers I am interested in pursuing continues to grow. Currently I am very interested in energy and genetic engineering. I would love to work in disease and vaccine development. I am also interested in working in alternative fuels and energy sources.  Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I am involved in biochemical research on campus, working with developing optical nanosensors for the use of medical diagnosis and improved efficiency. Outside of the classroom and lab, I have been fortunate enough to join several organizations across the campus. I have joined the Sigma Kappa Sorority, Kappa Kappa Psi service fraternity and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor fraternity. I have also joined the Society of Woman Engineers and the Colorado School of Mines Marching Band. I have been very fortunate enough to continue my passion for service and music in my extracurricular activities as I pursue a degree in STEM. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. My most important mentor and influence in my life has been my father. My father has always been my go-to when I needed advice or guidance on a direction, especially as I have started college and moved for internships. He has been very supportive and even ventured to Alaska to help me move. When you lose an exhaust pipe in the middle of the Yukon Territory, the real engineer comes out  and, somehow, we made it to Anchorage. My father has also helped me get involved in groups and activities that challenge me and help me grow, and I would not be the person I am today without him. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I ever received was to “Say yes more than no, because no experience can hurt you; it can only teach you.” Because of this, I can now say I have climbed a mountain in a blizzard and moved 3,000 miles away for an internship. As a very busy person, it is easy to fall into the trap of not trying new things or not rearranging your schedule because you think you have too much to do. However, the best moments are spontaneous and the moments that push you out of your comfort zone. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with someone from history, I would want to have dinner with the Gene Kranz, the mission control director the Apollo XIII mission, which was the the infamous “Houston, we have a problem” mission. As the director, Kranz, made it very clear that “Failure was not an option.” I would want to talk to Kranz and get a sense of what character he had and the determination that brought the Apollo XIII crew back to Earth safely....

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 Angelique Diaz. Name: Noel Lenski Scholar Year: 1984 Hometown: Littleton College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College, B.A. in Classics 1989; Princeton, M.A. 1992, Ph.D. 1995 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I have been in classics and ancient history since I was an undergraduate at Colorado College. I went immediately to graduate school and then got my first teaching job at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1995. After 20 great years at CU, I joined the faculty of Yale in 2015. My profession is wonderful. I get to work with motivated and clever young people and to teach them that they are not so different from the very old people I study. Our technologies allow us to realize more of our ambitions, but we humans are fundamentally the same across time and cultures. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar has been very important to my identity. Once I learned I had received this honor, I parked my ambitions to study out of state and am glad I did. Colorado is an outstanding state in which to study, and Colorado College offered me a first-rate education. Having lived in many places in America and abroad, I can say from experience that Coloradans are special people. Our environment, with its beauties and challenges, invites us to achieve amazing things and to grow and develop as whole, free people. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. My first ambition is to be a good father and husband. I love the time I have with my family. I’m an avid cyclist (road, mountain, cyclocross), going back to my youth. I ski when I can, especially cross-country, and love all sports. I’m also a carpenter, everything from furniture to home renovation. In addition, there are many aspects of my profession not directly attached to my job that keep me busy – I edit the Journal of Late Antiquity and work on a number of local, national and international organizations for the promotion of classics and the ancient world. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Follow your dreams, and work hard. A career in the humanities is not easy to manage in today’s environment. Parents, friends, the whole world are pushing you to think “practically,” but if you love humanities, there is room for you, provided you are dedicated and have passion. Treat your studies like a profession. Already as you get to your junior year, begin devoting your time and energy to the humanities like your engineering friends do to their degrees. Work outside the curriculum, learn new languages, travel, read broadly. Classics (or English, or Japanese) is every bit as demanding as engineering if you take it seriously. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I’d love to have dinner with Constantine the Great – the first Roman emperor publicly to convert to Christianity, and a big part of the reason why the West took many of the directions it did. He was a bundle of contradictions: a brilliant military strategist who by the end of his life wanted to be a priest; a convert to Christianity who filled his new capital with images of himself as a pagan sun god; a preacher of Christly virtues who managed to have his wife and son executed. How would he explain all that? I’d come armed....

By Kristen Browning-Blas Colorado State University Winning grants for mosquito research is just as competitive as “Dancing with the Stars.” Rushika Perera should know. The assistant professor of virology recently won a 2016 Boettcher Foundation Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award, one of 10 in Colorado, for her studies of mosquito-borne viruses at Colorado State University. When she’s not in the lab, she’s on a dance floor, competing in ballroom, Latin and West Coast Swing dance events around the country. She actually wrote the Boettcher grant application at a dance competition. “I was energized. I just sat and wrote for 12 hours, all through the night.” ...

By Jo Anne Busing Akron News Reporter On July 1, Akron resident Carl McGuire III, became one of the four 13th Judicial District court judges for the seven counties in the district. McGuire was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper on May 24 and will replace Judge Douglas Vannoy who has retired. The seven counties in the district include Morgan, Logan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Kit Carson, Yuma and Washington Counties. The other judges in the district are Judge Michel Singer, appointed in 2003; Judge Charles Hobbs, appointed in 2009; Judge Kevin Hoyer, appointed in 2005 and Judge McGuire is now added to the list.    ...

  When multiple partners come together to create shared community spaces, incredible things can happen. That’s why the Boettcher Foundation was honored to help fund a new community space being constructed by Colorado Mountain College in partnership with the Glenwood Springs library. The 13,000-square-foot, second-story space in the Cooper Commons building in downtown Glenwood Springs is being built to accommodate a flexible learning center featuring collaboration rooms, arts space and technical training spaces. In addition to being used by the Glenwood Springs Branch Library and Colorado Mountain College, the finished space will be open to community groups as well. The Cooper Commons project got its start a few years ago when both the library and the CMC offices were running out of space in their downtown Glenwood Springs facilities. The library was considering a new project outside of the downtown core, while CMC was seeking a place to expand. The two hatched a plan in which the organizations would collaborate on a shared space that would keep the library downtown and add much-needed employee parking to the area. The new facility opened in 2013, but the second floor above the library was left unfinished, with the idea that the two organizations would consider possible uses for the space at a later date. The groups reached out to the community—seeking input from groups ranging from students and nonprofit leaders to veterans groups and school districts—to determine how best to use the space, and the community needs spanned everything from a theater to a teen hangout to recording studios. “What it boiled down to is that to address all of our and the community’s needs, we needed a big, flexible space,” said Linda English, vice president for fiscal affairs for the college. In April, the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees approved a $175,000 grant to help fund the final buildout of the space. In addition, the collaborative nature of the project prompted the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District to award it a $750,000 grant – the largest it has ever given. Among the options in the new space will be a board room with interactive meeting technology, classroom spaces and a possible maker’s space for creative endeavors. The space will also include a kitchen and flexible spaces that can expand to accommodate a variety of audiences and uses. While Kristin Heath Colon, CEO of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, says the space will be used by the college for large meetings, it will also be used for community needs, including as a training space for the local school district. Such uses, she said, will help expand and reinforce CMC’s role as a partner and resource in the community. “It helps position us as an open-armed entity that is available to support and engage the community,” she said. Construction is expected to start this fall, and the opening is expected to coincide with the college’s 50th anniversary celebration.      ...

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: Francis Commercon Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Highlands Ranch College, Major(s)  and Graduation Year(s): Colorado State University, double majoring: Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (College of Natural Resources) and Biological Sciences (College of Natural Sciences), minoring in Chinese; graduating December 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Our society must find a balance between development and ecological sustainability. Around the world, especially in developing countries, animals’ ranges are shrinking at alarming rates due to habitat destruction and over-hunting. I aspire to work as a conservation biologist in a tropical developing country, researching appropriate tools for conservation of biodiversity, educating other biologists and reaching out to local communities. The approach must involve a major role as an activist and community organizer, as peer-reviewed papers cannot solve problems alone. I aspire to make conservation projects community-centered and locally driven for the benefit of the local people.  Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I have been passionate about birds for many years. During my freshman year a friend and I founded CSU Field Ornithologists, a birdwatching club that shares a passion for birding and avian ecology at Colorado State University. We organize at least two birding trips a month to a variety of local and distant destinations and we invite researchers to give talks about new developments in ornithology and bird conservation at our monthly meetings. Being co-president of this club gives me many opportunities to pursue my passion for birds as well as learn skills in leadership. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of my most important mentors is Meredith McBurney, the bird bander for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. Since I was 13, Meredith helped me develop a more scientific interest in birds. She taught me how to handle birds caught in mist nets and, recently, how to band and measure the birds. And through this, she helped me learn the confidence, patience and persistence so essential for success. Bird banders assume responsibility for the safety of birds caught for scientific and educational purposes. Meredith carefully invested trust in me in a way that forced me to learn responsibility. What's the best advice you've ever received? A friend and classmate on my semester abroad in China last fall told me, “do not fear failure but rather envision success.” At the time I put incredible pressure on myself to succeed in a particularly daunting project. My fear of failure made me anxious and unhappy. When, at my friend’s advice, I tried to think only about what success might look like, I found myself moving toward a goal in a positive way rather than fleeing from monstrous consequences. I was better able to enjoy the process itself. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would like to meet John James Audubon, the young Frenchman who immigrated to America to become one of this nation’s greatest early naturalists and painters. Audubon hiked through the nineteenth century American wilderness for weeks on end, observing and collecting birds and other wildlife. He was one of the first people to call for the conservation of America’s wilderness and wildlife. I want to know his thoughts on where we are today in America. What would he have to say about our prairies without bison or the fragmentation of eastern forests? And what advice might he give?...