Scholar Profiles

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2017 Hometown: Silverton College/Degree: Regis University – Majoring in biology (emphasis on pre-veterinary medicine), minor in art history What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I would like to pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine after graduating. I’m highly interested in the pharmaceutical aspects of animal sciences, disease research and the biomedical application of drugs in agricultural industries. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I am currently involved in multiple clubs on campus and contribute to a research project under the biology department head. The research I am working on focuses on the bioluminescent systems of two particular genus of deep-sea fish: Paratrachichthys and Aulotrachichthys. The clubs I am currently an active member of are the Regis Ramblers Musical Theater Club, the Crochet Club, the Ski and Snowboard Club and the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society. I participate in these clubs because they reflect my interests and cultivate student communities of which I want to be a part. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. An important mentor who has impacted my life for the better is my high school ski coach, Sally Barney. She not only helped me improve my skiing abilities, but also gave me confidence in myself and pushed me to define my core life values that I live by today. Her encouragement and support broke down my fears of failure, and as a Boettcher Scholar at Regis University pursuing my passion for life sciences and art history, I certainly am better for it. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received was given to me by my father in the spirit of Leo Tolstoy’s three questions: “Always stop and reflect on when is the best time to do things, who is the most important one and what is the right thing to do”. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would choose to have dinner with Marie Curie, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Mahatma Gandhi. I would choose these individuals because their humility is beautiful in alliance with their amazing influences on the world. None of them are overly grand in their philosophies and seem like they would be relatable and create an interesting conversation between each other. I also would add comedian Victor Borge to my dinner party because I think we all need someone to make us smile and laugh. ...

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....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Denver University: Colorado School of Mines – B.S. in computer science (December 2018), M.S. in computer science (anticipated December 2019) What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am enrolled in a master’s program with plans to work for the defense industry after graduating in the winter of 2019. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. As of this fall, I have been doing theater for almost a decade. So when I came to Mines, I joined the theater community where I act in, direct and produce shows. I am also the editor for the Oredigger newspaper's arts and culture section. I think it is important to pursue passions outside of what you are doing in school to avoid burning out on the same subjects. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. When I've needed advice, I've turned to a lot of professors at Mines. Some of the best career and life advice I've received has come from my data structures professor, for whom I went on to be a teacher's assistant. He worked in industry for years before going into teaching, which is the same path I'd like to take with my career. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I've received recently was from my stage manager while I was directing a show. We had a rough dress rehearsal for the show, and I was rather stressed. She reminded me that everything comes together in the end. In theater, perfection isn't necessary for a good show. As in life, perfection isn't always worth the stress. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would love to have a conversation with Julie D'Aubigny because she has an absolutely fascinating story which really needs to become a play or a movie. Long story short, she was a 17th century French woman who was an accomplished swordsman, opera singer and rogue. As an aside, there is a musical about her which debuted in 2017....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 1983 Hometown: Brush College/Degree: Colorado State University – B.S. in chemical engineering 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 my own business providing project management and custom database software for agricultural businesses in Colorado, including the country’s largest satellite cattle auction firm and several irrigation companies. In 2007, I combined my children’s participation in competitive gymnastics and my knack for event planning to become first the coordinator, and now the director, of the Rocky Mountain Open Men’s Junior Olympic Gymnastics Meet, held every year at the Air Force Academy. My work is different every day, which keeps life interesting. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? After graduating from CSU, I moved to Los Angeles to realize my dream of working for the space program. As a design engineer with AlliedSignal Aerospace, I worked as part of the team developing the carbon dioxide removal system currently flying on the International Space Station. Being a Boettcher Scholar gave me the courage to make this first big move, but I always hoped to return to Colorado. In 1994, my husband and I moved back, started our family and raised two amazing children, Paul and Sydney. I’m excited for the opportunity to give back to the Boettcher community through the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Most of my volunteer activities have been associated with my children’s interests. I was a Girl Scout troop leader for 13 years, treasurer and volunteer coordinator for the Highlands Ranch High School Band Boosters for three years, a member of the School Accountability Committees at both Highlands Ranch and Rock Canyon high schools for seven years, and the event organizer for the Rock Canyon/Regis Jesuit High School “Catch for the Cure” breast cancer awareness softball game and fundraiser from 2014-2016. Now that I’m an empty nester I’m looking for new opportunities to get involved in the greater Colorado community! 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 at my first engineering job was not to worry if you don’t have all the answers but to ask questions and learn something from each person you interact with. I would offer this same advice to all new graduates. Never feel like you must know all the answers, but always stay curious and open to new experiences. Getting a degree is hard work and takes a lot of dedication, but it is not the end of your education. In fact, it’s really the start! If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would enjoy having dinner with the astronauts from the Mercury program. My dream of working for the space program started when I saw the movie The Right Stuff. Talking with John Glenn, Scott Carpenter or Alan Shepard about their training and experiences in space would be fascinating. I would want to know more about how they and their families dealt with the excitement and the dangers of early space travel, what motivated them to join the program and what they want their legacy to be....

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

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

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?  ...

Jessica Cuthbertson, 1997 Boettcher Scholar, is an award-winning eighth-grade English teacher in Aurora Public Schools who has crafted a career as a teacher, instructional coach and social media activist. Growing up in Rocky Ford in the 1980s, Jessica’s future in education was shaped by her parents and teachers. Mrs. DeLeon gave Jessica a strong foundation as an early reader and the chance to mentor and learn from bilingual students in a K-2 classroom community. Jessica’s middle school social studies teacher, Mrs. Bartolo, arranged a day at The Denver Post to foster Jessica’s interest in journalism. “Key teachers at the right time kept my love of learning alive and made me want to pursue a career in education, even though that’s not what I originally planned to do,” Jessica said. After graduating from Regis University in 2001, Jessica completed a year-long fellowship with the Boettcher Foundation, where she worked in outreach and communications for the Boettcher Scholarship. It was there that her passions coalesced, and she was inspired to pursue a career in public education: “Traveling the state fueled a desire to teach and advocate for Colorado schools and students.” As a National Board-Certified Teacher and self-described “edu-geek” who enjoys adolescent literature as much as her students, Jessica is committed to the growth of “budding journalists” in her eighth-grade class and to elevating the voices of educators across the country, who she believes are often excluded from decisions that impact them. Jessica is an active Twitter influencer, moderator and writer whose thoughts on education innovation, policy and equity have been published in Education Week, Chalkbeat and Smithsonian magazines. Jessica attributes much of her voice as an advocate to her time as a “teacherpreneur” with the Center for Teaching Quality, a position that allowed her to teach part-time while engaging in teacher leadership and high-level policy work. Through the center, Jessica discovered that social media, particularly Twitter, is one of the best tools for continued learning. “The reason I’ve been in education for 15 years is because I can write about classroom experiences, education policy and systemic issues,” she said. “These conversations keep me engaged as a learner and a citizen, and they also make me a better teacher. My students see that I’m learning and working alongside them.” In addition to teaching and blogging, Jessica is active in her parish and on the Aurora Public Schools’ strategic taskforce, where she advocates for English-language learners representing more than 140 nationalities. Additionally, she is co-facilitating a pilot program to support 20 rural Colorado teachers in attaining their National Board certification as part of a teacher retention strategy for the state. Jessica credits this service ethic to her small-town upbringing, faith and mission-driven education at Regis, which was supported by a Boettcher Scholarship. “As a result of the Boettcher Scholarship, I was able to attend Regis, my top in-state choice of college,” she said. “Their mission of ‘men and women in the service of others,’ combined with being a Boettcher Scholar, continues to drive my commitment to working toward a more equitable public education system for all students in rural, suburban and urban districts across our great state.” Recently, Jessica has encountered an even more formative experience for her identity as an educator and advocate: becoming a mother to a current first grader who she and her husband recently adopted from Ethiopia in February of 2017. “Becoming a parent has fundamentally changed me as a teacher. As a mom, I’ve grasped how much parents trust that teachers are doing their best – and as a teacher it’s my obligation to do right by their children.”...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Salida University: University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies; BA/MA dual-degree program in international studies. Undergraduate minors in Spanish, leadership and sustainability; Master’s degree emphasis will be international development. What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduating this spring, I will be sticking around DU for another year to finish my Master’s degree in international studies. After my academic adventure ends (at least for the moment), I am considering a few different directions. I would love to teach abroad for a year through the Fulbright program, or possibly join the Peace Corps. Otherwise, rumor has it that eventually people get these things called jobs(?!), and so I think that working in diplomacy for the U.S. Department of State would be a challenging and rewarding experience. Regardless, I feel excited by the future and the opportunities it holds. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Looking back at my time in various organizations, three groups that hold fond memories and gratifying experiences are the Honors Program, Pioneer Leadership Program and my sorority, Alpha Phi. These communities stand out because of the incredible relationships and networks they have fostered within my life. During my time at DU, I was also extremely fortunate to study abroad on a sailing program in the south Pacific Ocean through the Sea Education Association, and in Cochabamba, Bolivia through the School for International Training. These programs truly changed my life and cultivated a humbling, beautiful year that I will never forget. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. For as many times as I have been asked this question, I don’t think I will ever stop saying that the best and most important mentor in my life is my dad. When you know how much someone loves you, it makes it a lot easier to learn to love yourself and then replicate that type of unconditional support for others. He constantly challenges me to be more kind and curious, while also reminding me the importance of playing outside and getting a good night’s sleep. I am truly so grateful for his mentorship, friendship and dadship. What's the best advice you've ever received? At a Boettcher conference two summers ago, I was reminded to “Be more, do less.” Over the last couple of years, I have thought about this piece of advice over and over as I try to unlearn and relearn the way I practice this in my life. It is so gratifying to give yourself the space to choose people and experiences that make you feel inspired and passionate. Equally important, is the advice from a close friend that you are never too busy to make time for chips and queso from Illegal Pete's, something I have come to believe (and practice) wholeheartedly. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? Okay, it’s not exactly history but I would quite possibly die if I could have dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m giddy just thinking about it! She confidently uses her intelligence to inspire and challenge the world, validating the way I (and others) think about being a student, feminist and woman. We have so much to learn from her dedication to fiercely advocating for equality and refusing to be deterred by hostility and discrimination in our current political climate. Even without having dinner together (a girl can dream!), I feel so grateful that we have her on the Supreme Court....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 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....