Alumni Board

Boettcher Scholar Year: 1992 Hometown: Black Hawk College/Degree: Colorado State University – B.S. finance (1996); Harvard Business School – M.B.A. (2000) Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I'm currently on sabbatical after 13+ years at Google and a little under two years at Tesla, where I served as the CFO. I loved my work as a finance executive and CFO. It was a daily search for truth. In its simplest form, my role was to bring insights and foresights to the table each day to optimize resource allocation and decision making for the organizations for which I worked. What could be better than that? What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship was quite literally my only ticket to higher education. I have always felt that since I was granted this wonderful gift that I have an ongoing obligation to the foundation – and to the scholars that have followed – to make good use of it. My view is that the Boettcher Scholarship shouldn't be thought of as an end. It's the beginning of a life dedicated to the values of intellectual achievement, leadership, community involvement and character. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I keep myself busy with a variety of different things. I'm a serial team manager for our kids' sports teams. I serve on the audit committee of Sacred Heart Schools and on the alumni board of the Boettcher Foundation. I've also served on the national board of Positive Coaching Alliance. For the past two years, my wife and I have also been very active in politics – we have gotten to know many aspiring U.S. House of Representatives candidates and have helped campaign and raise money for them. Physical fitness is also a big deal in our house.  I'm psyched to have completed the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon twice, once in 2012 and again last summer. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? On values (from a business school professor): Integrity is binary. On excellence (from a former boss & mentor):  Winners don't believe in trade-offs or diminishing returns. My practical advice for new graduates entering finance: Hone the skills necessary to turn data into analysis, into insight and ultimately into action. When you drive action, you are adding value. The rest is just part of the journey. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? This answer changes depending on what I am learning about at any given time. The easy answer here is Abraham Lincoln. Leonardo daVinci as well. Currently though, I have a real interest in Lyndon B. Johnson. From my perspective, his domestic policies were a great legacy overshadowed by his handling (or not handling) of the Vietnam War. I'd really like to get inside his head and understand the calculus that ultimately led him to not seek re-election and indirectly pave the way for Richard Nixon to come to power....

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...

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.      ...

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: 2000 Hometown: Ignacio Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts; San Francisco Art Institute, Master of Fine Arts Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I’m an interdisciplinary artist and educator. I create images, cabinets of curiosity and interactions to address questions about energy, water, climate, health and microbes. My projects inform my work as an instructor and coordinator for STEAM (science, technology engineering, art and mathematics) related programs with the Genesis Innovation Lab at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (since June 2018) and at the UCLA Sci | Art Nanolab Summer Institute (since July 2014). I love activating people’s curiosity and creativity as tools for exploring and ameliorating the beautiful worlds inside and around themselves, from the molecular to environmental scale. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Foundation supported my vision of becoming an artist who integrates many disciplines by allowing me to attend my dream school of Colorado College, a hotbed of interdisciplinary thinking. Being a Boettcher Scholar has fueled a lifelong commitment to contribute inspiration to communities in many forms and in many places, with a special tie to Colorado. Although I am not currently based in Colorado, I return every few years both to create artistic projects in the state and to lecture at my alma maters: Ignacio High School and Colorado College. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In 2013, I began practicing yoga to deal with stress-related health issues. To share the benefits, I recently completed a yoga teacher training, and have been imparting classes to friends, co-workers and the general public in Echo Park, Los Angeles. My wife, Frida Cano, and I are founding members of an interdisciplinary cooperative called XOCIARTEK, through which we help organize and impart workshops and long-term projects for communities and youth in Mexico City, her hometown. We also work together building props for film and television and have created projects for 826LA, a nonprofit that helps children write stories. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? The best advice I received was from Buster Simpson, one of my mentors, who recommended not to get stuck making one definable art product or style, but to instead develop a conceptual and flexible process, to include contextual research and collaboration. I recommend that you find artists you admire and try to work for them and learn from them. Develop your vision through a daily practice, and inspire and educate others. 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 dinner with Lynn Margulis, to speak with her about her theories of endosymbiosis, the ideas that ancient microbes engulfed smaller bacteria to form partnerships that became animal and plant cells, and how the Gaia hypothesis arose from cellular musings. Physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrodinger, Yogis Maharishi Yogananda and Yogi Bajan, and artists JMW Turner and Joseph Beuys would ideally be at the table, to speak with them about the energies of the universe and ways of grasping those energy patterns through inquiry, imagination, and intuition....

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

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

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 College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, BS Biomedical Sciences, minors in Political Science and Biochemistry What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I was around six years old when my mom first told me about how sick my grandmother, who lived in the Kurdistan, was, and how hard it was to find doctors who could help her. Conversations continued, and I realized that I wanted pursue medicine and become a doctor. This desire has been churning inside of me ever since - I have been one of the lucky few who have known what they want to do with their lives forever! I hope to apply to medical school after graduation with dreams of reforming global health. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. From elementary throughout high school, I found myself in student council, so of course I had to join the Student Government Association at UCCS. I began as a justice and soon became the associate chief justice. This March, I was elected student body vice president. I see UCCS as a hub of opportunity –  my hope is to push other students into that opportunity! Outside of UCCS, I spent the past two years working with Colorado Springs School District 11, passing a bond and mill levy. After much door-knocking, Colorado Springs said “yes,” and our schools received more public support. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I have had the privilege of a wonderful relationship with my freshman chemistry lab instructor. I took honors chemistry for majors, an optional chemistry course designed with more rigor and was one of the few females in the course. My instructor, Tisha Mendiola-Jessop, is an avid critical thinker and excellent scientist and taught us to seek community in our endeavors. Tisha taught me how important it was to make strong relationships. She was the one who pushed me to apply for my Harvard research fellowship in the summer of 2017, and has since kept me as an assistant in her lab. What's the best advice you've ever received? I seek out advice from anyone I meet and I make a mental note of it, because I think the best way to learn is from others. The best piece of advice I have ever received, though, is a little tidbit I heard from a friend I made in Boston last summer. She told me that, amidst our incredibly busy lives, we need one day where we do not touch our work. Instead, we take that one day to ourselves; we write notes of gratitude and also write down any occurrence of a thought related to work. Essentially, “schedule balance in.” 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 anyone from history, I would choose Cleopatra. Cleopatra faced several barriers in her reign –  she was from a culture outside of the Egyptians, and she ruled a massive society and a male-dominated one at that. I would ask her for all her advice on leadership and diplomacy, and I would want to hear her perspective on our society and world today. I imagine it would be incredibly memorable....

By Paula Pulido Boettcher Student Scholar Committee. “Being here reminds me who I am and what I care about.” was the remark that rang true for all Boettcher scholars and family that I spoke to this weekend. As a current Boettcher Scholar, I was excited to take advantage of the many opportunities the weekend offered. From connecting with old friends to forming new connections, the vision of the Boettcher Foundation to create more relationships and watch impact grow in Colorado is well under way! The event was nothing short of amazing. Opening night took place at Wynkoop Brewing Co. We heard about the future of the Boettcher Foundation from president and CEO Katie Kramer and members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. For many 2018 scholars in attendance, it was their first introduction into a community that is exciting, dynamic and very welcoming. I was able to meet amazing mentors who spoke to me about their careers, relationships and philosophies. They were genuinely interested and excited to hear about my career aspirations and give me all the advice they had. I was reminded of the uniqueness of the Boettcher community; scholars are not competitive with one another and genuinely want to see one another succeed. The Signature Event continued the next morning at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. After breakfast, scholars entered the auditorium to hear TED-style talks from scholars including a psychiatrist, a voice actor, an elementary school teacher, a researcher and idea incubator from New York City and an education consultant. It was awe-inspiring to witness the far-reaching impact scholars are making in the world. From advocating for mental illness, immigrant communities and reminding us all about the child within us, Boettcher Scholars are touching countless lives all over the country. This is what it looks like to make your mark, bringing hope to the hopeless, bringing light and joy to a room of children and teaching those around you to become leaders. The talks were energizing and inspiring. The fun continued with my favorite part of the weekend: a wild and competitive game show with all the scholars and their family members. On Sunday, there were multiple excursions to choose from. I couldn’t choose, so I signed up for two. In the morning, I went on a VIP tour of the Denver Broncos stadium. The energy was high as we got exclusive access onto the field, into the Broncos locker rooms, security rooms with top-of-the-line technology and the most luxurious suites in the stadium. Later in the evening, I took a tour of downtown Denver and Union Station, learning all about the Boettcher family’s history and entrepreneurship in Colorado. I left the weekend with so much gratitude and renewed excitement to make my mark on this state, knowing that I am part of a team and legacy that is one of a kind! I can’t wait for the next signature event! ...