Alumni Board

Saturday, June 23, 8:30 - 11:45 a.m. Denver Museum of Nature and Science Seven diverse alumni speakers will inspire you to explore your leadership, your purpose, and unique and surprising ways in which you can make your mark. Craig Heacock — The Psychedelic Revolution in Psychiatry Psychedelics are back and they are changing the way we treat mental illness. Psychiatric drugs typically dial down symptoms without changing the substrate of the illness-- these new psychedelic tools can offer the promise of transformation and even cure. Beth Skelton — Stumbling Into a New Leadership Style: Leading from Behind After Beth Skelton was scheduled to lead a class field trip to London, her co-leader, who knew London well, backed out of the trip just four weeks before departure. Beth had to create the conditions for the students to take a much more active role in the trip by empowering the students to take ownership and initiative. In the process, she fell into a new leadership style: leading from behind. Jeff Bauer — Creating a Difference: Career Transition from Health Care to Art and Music Knowing he could never quit working (retire), but tiring of the work he did for almost 50 years, 1965 scholar Jeff Bauer describes his purposeful transition from widely recognized health care expert to unknown artist and how the principles of creativity can help plan a major transition, at any stage of life. Veronica Fernandez-Diaz — Sin papeles. Sin Miedo. Sin papeles. Sin Miedo. Without papers. Without fear. Veronica, a 2015 scholar, shares the process of losing and finding herself alongside her undocumented familia, and how finding her own way of resistance motivates her life as a leader and advocate.  Mark Hess — If You Are a Lost Parent, Please Meet Your Child at the Service Desk at the Front of the Store Have you lost your child? No, not that one . . . the one inside of you. Have you kept the door open to the joy of being a kid, of living your passions, of following your heart? As a teacher of gifted children, Mark sees you — the Boettcher Scholar and the gifted adult — in his classroom and on the playground every day. Let's remember what it is like to play. Noha Kikhia - Why the World Doesn't Need More Changemakers In an increasingly connected world, we are more aware of social problems and their impact on communities across the world. Changemakers — individuals hellbent to solving those problems — have emerged and claim to be identifying new ways to solve these age-old problems. Yet aspiring to be a changemaker is not necessarily the best way to "make your mark." Dee Bradley Baker - Fan Conventions and the Human Need to Make the Fantastical Real Humans are creatures that love to create narratives, stories, and mythologies that reach beyond our mundane existence. Through conventions, we can participate and live in them. The inclusive and collaboratively creative spirit of fan conventions points to a better world, and is a model for how we as humans should be directing much more of our time. Get your pass to all Signature Event activities here! This event is open to current and Alumni Scholars, significant others, and adult family members....

By Gergana Kostadinova Boettcher Scholars have undeniably left their mark throughout the state of Colorado and the United States. Some, like Ambassador Arnold Chacón, have also left a global footprint through their public service. On March 12, Scholars had the opportunity to dine with Ambassador Chacón in Denver and learn about his career as a U.S. diplomat while discussing opportunities in the U.S. Foreign Service. Ambassador Chacón was in Denver to assist the Foundation with Scholarship interviews. He is a 1974 Boettcher Scholar from Denver North High School and graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a B.A. in international relations and affairs. Ambassador Chacón’s impressive career has taken him around the world. Currently, he is the Diplomat in Residence at Duke University. Immediately prior, Ambassador Chacón was the Director General and Director of Human Resources of the Foreign Service (2014-2017). He earned his title as the Ambassador to Guatemala (2011-2014) and also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Madrid (2008-2011). Throughout his career, he was posted at U.S. embassies in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Italy, Mexico, and Honduras, in addition to being part of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. In his current role as a Diplomat in Residence, Ambassador Chacón is responsible for recruiting individuals interested in internships, fellowship, and careers in the Foreign Service and had a captive audience of Boettcher Scholars who shared their personal stories of recent and anticipated engagements abroad. Some of the Scholars in attendance are actively pursuing roles with the State Department. No doubt, these impressive Scholars may one day rise to the rank of ambassador themselves....

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. Scholar Year: 2001 Hometown: Rifle College(s) and degree(s): CU Boulder, BA - Economics, 2005; University of Arizona, JD, 2009 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I’ve been a lawyer for a little over eight years and I currently work at the law firm Spencer Fane in Denver. My specialty is organizing and representing special districts. Special districts are unique local governmental entities created under Colorado law, and are responsible for providing much of the public infrastructure and services necessary to support commercial and residential communities across the state. Whether you know it or not, you probably live in one. The best part about my job is working with the boards of directors who serve the various districts we represent and seeing the impacts these individuals and their efforts have on their communities. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Foundation and the Boettcher Scholarship cemented in me the constant internal question, “Are you using your opportunities and abilities to benefit your community and the state of Colorado?” This question has played into just about every big decision I’ve made about my education, my profession, my career, my community service efforts, and where my wife and I wanted to start our family and raise our kids — right here in Colorado. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Over the past few several years I served on the CU Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Jefferson County Community Development Advisory Board, and co-chaired the Presidents Leadership Class Alumni Board. More recently I’ve been involved with political organizations, and I’m serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? My advice: slow down. It’s so easy to be overeager about progressing in your career and wanting to move quickly from one set of tasks or responsibilities to the next higher level. But it takes time to learn and master certain skills, and sometimes you just have to slog through seemingly mundane tasks in order to do it. If you can slow down you’ll produce a better work product and will obtain a deeper understanding of what you’re doing and why. But it’s okay to struggle with this — I still do, every day. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My clear first choice would be Jesus, for innumerable reasons that I don’t need to go on about here. But a close second would be to have dinner with both of my grandmothers. My grandmothers passed when I was in middle school and in high school. I was able to spend a lot of time with them when I was young, and I had great relationships with both of them. But now that I am an adult and a parent, there are so many stories, memories, and laughs I’d love to share with them, and questions I’d like to ask about their lives. Most importantly, I’d want to seek their advice, guidance, and observations on family, parenting, friendship, my career, current events, and so many other things. Of course, I’d have to be clean shaven, be properly dressed, and mind my manners for dinner with my grandmothers, or they’d let me hear about it....

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. Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Elizabeth College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, International Studies and French, BA 2020, MA 2021 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Thankfully, I will be pursuing my graduate degree in international studies from the University of Denver in tandem with my undergraduate studies, giving me a bit more time to discover where my many interests intersect in a professional setting, but I am very interested in spending substantial time abroad post-college. This could include joining the Peace Corps, using my bilingual skills in the Francophone world, or simply working in continental Europe for a period of time, but I definitely have no linear path for my future just yet. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Being a member of the DU Debate Union has certainly been the most important part of my intellectual development since coming to college. Not only does it make me more intentional in my analysis of the daily news and conversations with others but demands a broad and deep exploration of so many varied topics that I’m always kept on my toes. I also love living with my sorority sisters of Delta Zeta, serving in philanthropic capacities in our own community and having a powerful support system of incredible women to rely on. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. My high school history teacher profoundly affected how I understand my purpose in life, both personally and professionally, and how I should adjust my daily behavior to reflect what I value most. He had an interesting dichotomy, living for your eulogy or for your resume, that has always stuck with me as I confront situations in which I am forced to ration my time into ever smaller pieces. Do I choose to do things that will make the lives of others better and more fulfilling, or do I spend my life chronically “competing” or “performing” without adding real value to my life or the lives of those around me? What's the best advice you've ever received? In the words of the great thought leader, Mr. Kanye West, “nothing in life is promised except death.” My family has always reminded me to stay grounded and remember my roots, to not expect anything, and to be grateful for everything. Everything I have earned is because I have had the support of those around me and been able to access incredible opportunities; therefore, I should always make the most of what I am lucky enough to have. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would love to have dinner with Yves Saint Laurent, an iconic French fashion designer and revolutionary in haute couture. He not only normalized the wearing of suits and tuxedos for women, but consistently searched for new ways to improve his creative eye, his stitching technique, his experimentation with new materials and textures, and his craft. He empowered women to take on their new roles in society as active members of the workforce post-WWII while breaking down many of the barriers that exist in high fashion. He created opportunities for young talent to rise and consistently reimagined the modern woman through beautiful clothing....

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. Scholar Year:  2006 Hometown: Frederick College(s) and degree(s): University of Denver, Russian and Economics, 2010 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I currently work as a deputy sheriff for the Denver Sheriff Department. Over the last few years, our country has experienced a shift in the perception and respect for law enforcement. Given how I was raised to help and serve others, I am most excited about being a part of the change to the law enforcement community. I want to restore the public's faith in us because we help and protect a part of our community that most people don’t even want to think of. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Like every other Boettcher Scholar, this scholarship has changed my life, giving me opportunities I would have never had otherwise. Having no debt allowed me to explore options after college including volunteering as a victim advocate, which led me to find my passion in civil service/law enforcement. In addition, being a Boettcher Scholar has given me such enriching experiences with my Boettcher family. I have served on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, and as a Boettcher Ambassador and Boettcher Class Champion, the last few years where I have been able to reconnect with incredible Alumni and plan fun events that reengage and inspire Alumni, including the 2018 Signature Event in June! Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Beyond serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board planning events, and serving as a Boettcher Ambassador and Class Champion,  for more than four years I volunteered as an on-call Victim Advocate with Victim Outreach Inc. For years I have been paged in the middle of the night to respond to crime scenes and meet with victims of crime and traumatic events. I love being a part of each of these organizations because I believe so fully in their missions and contributions to the State of Colorado. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? First, find what makes you happy and settle for nothing less. And most importantly, the advice my mother taught us was that if you have the ability to help others, you also have a duty to. 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 my grandmother. She died when my mother was 10 and she talks about how similar we are. I would love to meet her and get her advice on everything....

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. Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Louisville College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College, English - Focus in Creative Writing (Poetry), Class of 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduation I will drive out to northern Massachusetts to work as a summer session teaching intern at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. I will be teaching the “Writing in the Outdoors” course alongside a master teacher during the six-week program. I am also waiting to hear back from the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. This fall, I also applied to teach English in Uruguay during the 2018-19 school year. Before I leave for Massachusetts and become an adult, I hope to make use of the touring bike I bought this summer and go for a multi-week tour in the western United States. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I joined the student radio station, the Sounds of Colorado College, during my first year at CC mostly so I could spend more time with a friend who also had a show on the station. Surprisingly, I’ve stuck with my radio show since 2014 and still spend an hour every Monday streaming music to around 17,000 listeners across the Front Range. Just kidding. At most, I have five listeners every week, but it’s still a good time. In addition to DJing, I am a writing center tutor, I lead backpacking trips with the Outdoor Education Community, and I was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper for two semesters. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. The boss of the ice cream shop where I worked in high school is probably the most important non-parental mentor I’ve had in my life. He always gets good haircuts, which is something I aspire to. In addition, he is a literal force of nature and wakes up every day with the desire to achieve his dreams. He recently told me that I should challenge myself and take risks in the next couple of years while I’m fresh out of college. This time in my life, he said, is one of the rare moments where my decisions will only truly affect one person: me. What's the best advice you've ever received? The Four Agreements were introduced to me by an Uber driver in Los Angeles in 2015. He had little water bottles and fun-size Snickers in his Honda Odyssey, but was also packing some indispensable life advice. The Four Agreements are as follows. 1. Be impeccable with your word, 2. Don’t take anything personally, 3. Don’t make assumptions, and 4. Always do your best. I encourage everyone to read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz to learn more. The agreements are based on the idea that humans live a “dream” conjured by their perception of the world, but it is possible to control this dream and attain happiness and peace. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  James Baldwin would be a great dinner guest. My dad recommended I watch “I Am Not Your Negro” last year, and I was very interested in Baldwin. I doubt he’d have much interest in having dinner with me, but I think our dinner would have the potential to be an enjoyable two- to three-hour experience. I would ask him some questions about his time living in France, his opinion on hip-hop’s place in American culture, and learn more about his writing process and favorite poets....

By the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board Would you like to become more involved with the Boettcher Scholar alumni community in your area?  The Scholar Alumni board is seeking Alumni to host Health and Wellness Challenge events around the country during the month of April. As you may be aware, recent survey data indicated that Boettcher Scholars report higher levels of stress than the general population. Since lower stress starts with personal wellness and strong social connections, want you to help put your fellow Scholars on the path to better health. What is the Health and Wellness Challenge? The Boettcher Scholar Alumni Boards’ Health and Wellness Challenge is an opportunity for Alumni around the country to join together to promote personal well-being for the Boettcher Alumni community!  During the month of April, Boettcher Alumni will be invited to compete to see which class decade (i.e. 2010’s, 2000’s, 1990’s, 1980’s, 1970’s, 1960’s and prior) can make the biggest impact in improving their personal health and wellness. Impact will be measured by hours spent on health and wellness activities, and the winning decade will be announced at the Signature Event in June. Alumni can participate in two ways, both of which will accumulate hours towards determining which class decade can claim the title of “Health and Wellness Challenge Champions”: Participate with fellow Alumni in their areas in a Health and Wellness Event.  This is the group event which you will be organizing and leading. You can choose the type of event you’d like to host, and the possibilities are endless!  Some examples include organizing a hike/bike ride/run, a yoga class, a healthy cooking class, a day of skiing, etc. Set an individual personal wellness goal and tracking the number of hours spent towards your goal If you are interested in hosting an event, please contact krystal@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. Scholar Year: 1984 Hometown: Lafayette College(s) and degree(s): Colorado College, B.A., Classics-History-Politics; Corpus Christi College, Oxford, B.A., M.A., Ancient and Modern History; Corpus Christi College, Oxford, M.St., Patristic and Modern Theology; University of Chicago, M.A., Ph.D., Social Thought Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? As director of seminars for the Aspen Institute, I help successful people live more philosophically. I organize humanities-based leadership seminars in which a deep exposure to classic and contemporary texts from around the world help senior leaders become more self-aware and more self-correcting. It is rewarding to see how the liberal arts become immediately relevant to how people think about living and leading in a complex world. Ideas in action — what could be better? What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship allowed me to attend Colorado College — something my family could never have afforded. And because of the scholarship, I had the freedom to pursue what I loved — interdisciplinary humanities. That freedom to pursue learning for its own sake, without immediate regard for its utility, has carried me on an extraordinary path to study at Oxford, to a PhD from the University of Chicago, to working with undergraduates (including Boettcher Scholars) at the University of Denver, to extending that love of liberal learning among senior adults who are making significant decisions all over the world. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. My activities outside of work are largely related to liberal education. I sit on the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the board of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars, the board of the Alliance for Liberal Learning, and chair the American Academy for Liberal Education. I still wear my academic hat, writing and lecturing, and my book On Creativity, Liberty, Love and the Beauty of the Law was published by Bloomsbury in 2017. Most important, I spend time with my wife, Allyson, and my children, Sarah and Lucus. I enjoy hiking, horseback riding, music, and running. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The best advice for any career, and for living: know yourself. Ask yourself: How do I match my talents with one of the world’s greatest needs? Your career rarely matches what you studied in college. Pursue what you care about regardless of its perceived value. Ideally, undergraduate education gives you the time, space, and freedom to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and to learn how to manage yourself. I work with a lot of CEOs and senior professionals who insist that they want people with integrity and purpose who can speak and write clearly, and who know how to learn. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I’d have dinner with an improbable pair: Michel de Montaigne and Teddy Roosevelt, both of whom loved horses. Both were men of unusually creative intellects who found ways of combining deep contemplation with energetic action. Both were wonderful storytellers, so our conversations would be lively and witty — and would provide much-needed perspective on life today. Beyond wit, both deepened their sense of proportion and grace as they passed through significant existential pain. Montaigne and TR also immersed themselves in the natural world and understood how connection to an order outside of ourselves helped inculcate a capacity for self-transcendence....

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. Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Lone Tree College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Boulder, civil engineering with minors in business and leadership, graduating in 2021 with my BS/MS What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am studying civil engineering because it is a degree that will allow me to improve the lives of people. Civil engineering is a central part of community development; economies and society cannot improve without basic and enabling infrastructure. I will improve the lives of people in developing countries by creating my own engineering company partnering with local and global organizations to help deliver infrastructure projects and enable economies to grow. After graduating I hope to complement my engineering degree with a master’s degree in business administration. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. My favorite activity in college is the computer science and engineering after school class that I teach to fifth graders. I teach at a low-income elementary school in Boulder, and many of the kids have never imagined themselves attending college one day. I love this job because I get to show my students what engineering is, why it is so exciting, and why they should aspire to attend college one day. I love to see their faces when I take them to Google, and they all tell me they will study computer science one day so they can work there. They know that they are working towards college one day. Additionally, this class is typically the first exposure the girls have to coding and engineering — I love to empower them so one day they can choose to study engineering without any hesitation. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Teachers make an immeasurable difference in the lives of their students. Mrs. Lay, my seventh-grade algebra teacher, was the toughest, strictest teacher I had ever had. And her algebra class was the first time I truly felt challenged at school. It often brought me to tears. I loved it. I felt that Mrs. Lay saw something special in me, but was never easy on me and always made me prove myself. She taught me to work hard. I was remembering that class last semester while taking Calculus 3. (Which is the second hardest math class I have ever taken – a close second to my seventh-grade algebra class!) What's the best advice you've ever received? Work hard and always be honest. I learned this from my parents. They taught me to love and value education. I don’t know who I’d be without them! If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  Sir Richard Branson. He is the founder and CEO of the Virgin Group. I love his story about his early years — his rebellion in his youth and decision to change his path and become an entrepreneur. His imagination is wild — his mind has no limits, his company ranges from spaceflight to music records!...

By Lori Prok 1992 Scholar Alumni Board Chair Greetings Boettcher Scholar community! On behalf of my fellow board members, happy 2018! We are looking forward to a productive and exciting year for our Scholar Alumni community. First, some acknowledgments and introductions: I would like to extend a huge thank you to Peter Maiurro, our outgoing Alumni Board chair. His commitment and contributions to the Board and Alumni community have been very valuable and are much appreciated. He has spent many hours commuting from Colorado Springs in order to lead our team, and we are all very grateful for his leadership and innovative ideas. I also offer my sincere gratitude to our outgoing board member, Rick Zier, who has given his time, creativity, and positive energy to continue to improve our Alumni outreach efforts. Please join me in a heartfelt welcome to our new board members: Brian Peagler and Ruthie Lestikow. We are excited to work with you! Next, some thoughts on the priorities of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board this year, and events to highlight on your calendar: Our board VISION: A connected, engaged, and empowered family of Boettcher Scholars whose collective impact of service, leadership, character, and achievement is exponentially greater than the sum of individual scholars acting alone. Our board MISSION: In partnership with and in support of the aims of the Boettcher Foundation, we cultivate, inspire, and collaborate with the community of graduated and current Boettcher Scholars to further professional and personal growth, promote ongoing learning and pursuit of life passions, and enable positive civic impact. This year, we are focusing our efforts in several specific areas: Our collective potential as an Alumni group — in our local, national and even international communities — is immeasurable. Our biggest ongoing goal as a Board is to facilitate using that potential for more impactful and meaningful relationships with the communities where we, as Boettcher Scholars, work and interact, and where our civic impact can be greatest. You will likely be contacted by your scholar year “Class Champion,” a fellow Scholar who will be your class contact point. He/she will be furthering our Alumni outreach efforts, with information about upcoming events and ways to become more involved in the Alumni community. If you are interested in being the Class Champion for your scholar year, please contact me! We are also making mentorship a priority this year, with hopes to streamline ways for Boettcher Scholars to connect with each other for professional and personal mentorship and other opportunities. Stay tuned… Our Alumni Ambassador program continues to expand, connecting Alumni with middle and high school students in underrepresented schools and communities, and raising awareness about the scholarship program. We will be offering educational and service opportunities throughout the year – more information is always available in our email newsletter or on the Boettcher Foundation website. On that note, we are very excited about this year’s inaugural Boettcher Scholar Signature Event, which will be held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science June 22-24, 2018. This will be an opportunity to connect with other Boettcher Scholar Alumni, hear some amazing TED-style talks from fellow alumni, engage in service opportunities, explore Denver and the surrounding areas, and have fun with your family and friends. Watch your email for a registration link. In addition, secured a discount hotel block at The Maven Hotel for $169/night. Book a room by calling 844.432.9374. And finally a request: I would love to hear from you! Our Alumni community is such an interesting, diverse, thoughtful group of people. In the spirit of achieving our biggest goal – leveraging the alumni community to make a real and meaningful impact on the community – I would so value your ideas about ways to expand our communication, programming, event offering, and involvement in our local Colorado communities. I’d also be interested in your personal or professional endeavors and accomplishments, service efforts, or life events you would like to share with the Boettcher community. You can reach me at lori.prok@ucdenver.edu. Thank you and here’s to a great year!...