Scholar Profiles

Jade Gutiérrez’s varied interests may, at first, seem contradictory to one another. She oversees a research project at CU Boulder yet is critical of the ivory tower of academia. Her impossibly busy schedule allots time for, of all things, mindfulness and pottery making. And her work in CU’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience was preceded by her work as an art curator. These unexpected alignments may be puzzling on paper, but the common threads which unite and explain them are illuminated by the stories Jade tells of her personal and professional development. A 2012 Boettcher Scholar from Bayfield, a small town outside of Durango, Jade pursued undergraduate degrees in studio art and art history from CU Boulder which helped prepare her to teach high school art history in Colorado Springs and later curate for the Peyton Wright Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Jade’s specialty as a curator was “decolonizing artworks and methodologies from First Nations and Latin America.” She explains that the work of decolonizing artworks varies by context. She believes that sometimes, indigenous artworks should be returned to the people from whom they were stolen or otherwise misappropriated. Other times, they may be displayed but require tasteful and culturally aware exhibitions. Such exhibitions can make culturally dominant audiences uncomfortable. In her view, “members of dominant cultures should reckon with their oppressive histories when they appreciate the fruits of that oppression in a museum.” Beyond artwork, Jade is concerned with decolonizing methodologies as well. She focuses on auspicious approaches to art, wellness, and academic inquiry that have been largely discounted by western academia. Specifically, she has taken interest in mindfulness as a means of mental health care as well as community-based research (CBR) as a means of academic inquiry. CBR is a partnership approach to research that involves community members as equal partners in knowledge, discovery, and issue analysis. Jade’s commitment to elevating alternative methodologies drew her to CU’s new Renée Crown Wellness Institute. With its emphasis on CBR, the transition from the art world to the research world seemed natural. She now manages the Mindful Campus Project, one of the institute’s 15 research endeavors. The Mindful Campus Project is, in part, meant to accommodate ever-increasing student demand for CU’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services. In order to assess the degree to which mindfulness-based interventions can help address this demand, Jade is working with 12 undergraduate students who are part of the project’s target audience. In accordance with CBR, these 12 students co-design the project’s research and will be co-authors on whatever is published as a result. This lies in contrast to more traditional western research paradigms, under which members of a target audience might be studied as a focus group rather than treated as equal-stake investigators. The Mindful Campus Project keeps Jade busy, but it does not interfere with her work as an adjunct professor in MSU Denver’s Department of Art History, nor does it prevent her from pottery making or avid rock climbing. When asked how she manages all this, she responds: “Like most Boettcher Scholars, I have a pretty high threshold for multitasking.” She later reveals that coffee bears significant responsibility for this high threshold and that much of the pottery she makes is coffee-inspired. Jade also says her involvement in the Boettcher Scholar community has provided the kind of mental support she hopes the Mindful Campus Project will one day help provide to CU students at large. She says her gratitude for the scholarship is hard to quantify: “Maybe this is a little melodramatic, but [the Boettcher Foundation] probably saved my life.” Jade is thankful for the range of college options afforded by the Boettcher Scholarship and the freedom from working full-time or taking out loans to pay her way through school. Likewise, her career choices were made more possible by the absence of student loan debt. Jade Gutiérrez is a mosaic of a scholar; her successes show not only that one can have interdisciplinary and seemingly unrelated interests, but also that those interests can be quite complementary. Someone with such varied interests can never be too sure what their future holds, but one thing seems certain: Jade and her coffee-related pottery are just getting started changing the community for the better....

For Mark Paricio, science is not about sitting in a lab developing theories – it’s about telling stories and active learning. Consequently, this 1980 Boettcher Scholar has a long list of spellbinding professional experiences. From nuclear engineering at Rocky Flats to climate change research in Siberia, Mark amassed an eclectic collection of stories to share with the many students he had over the course of a long career as a high school physics teacher. Mark came to appreciate the role of stories in science and education after listening to those of his own high school physics teacher, who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. This teacher spent one day a week simply recounting his experiences and the other four teaching course material. Mark’s desire to be a teacher was sparked by that formative course. To become the most impactful teacher possible, Mark sought out guidance from his mentor and college professor, Bettie Willard. Willard suggested he work for at least a few years in “some controversial field” in order to build a stock of interesting life experiences to inform his teaching. Mark took his mentor’s advice and, after graduating from Colorado State University with a BS in chemical engineering, found one of the most controversial jobs he could: a nuclear and environmental engineer at Rocky Flats. Rocky Flats was integral to the United States’ nuclear weapons development effort, and at the time, all things nuclear were regarded with deep suspicion by the public. Despite the inherent controversy of his position, Mark strove to make a positive impact. Many of his more experienced colleagues were complacent about their techniques of nuclear byproduct management, which were harmful to both the local environment and its steadily growing human population. Mark, on the other hand, used his knowledge of environmental science and chemical engineering to help develop safer processes for dealing with nuclear byproducts. After five years at Rocky Flats, though, Mark concluded, “It’s better to teach people not to make a mess than it is to clean up after them,” and decided it was time to pursue the career in education he’d always wanted. Remembering the impact of mentors on his personal and professional development, as a teacher Mark connected his students with mentors of their own. He partnered with the ACE Mentor Program to foster relationships between high school students and people employed in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. This partnership led his students to make more informed choices about their collegiate studies, win numerous scholarships, and gain valuable experience. Working as a teacher, Mark was able to spend his summers conducting research and consulting on various projects. One of the most notable of these projects was his work with a team of international scientists at the Polaris Project in Cherskiy, Siberia, which is frequently featured by National Geographic. When asked about the impact of this research, Mark explained that “People don’t believe data; they believe stories.” It was one thing to see climate change data published by other scientists, but it was another thing entirely to conduct fieldwork and see climate change for himself. He brought stories from Siberia home to his students and believes his proximity to the research helped his students realize its relevance. This experience almost certainly helped him be recognized in 2015 with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Though Mark recently retired from his award-winning career in public education, he continues to reach young people through the Boettcher Alumni Ambassadors program. His work as an ambassador allows him to help high school students discover not only that they can make a difference in the world, but also that they can take tangible steps toward making that difference right now. Beyond his work as an educator, Mark is part of what he calls a “Colorado poster family.” Their favorite ski area is Ski Cooper, and Mark and his wife have climbed all of Colorado’s fourteeners together. Notably, both of their children are also Boettcher Scholars. Though he travels as much as possible, Mark loves living in Colorado because it allows him to live his motto: “Science, like life, is not a spectator sport.”...

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004 Hometown: Fort Collins Colleges/Degrees: University of Colorado (Go Buffs!): B.A. integrative physiology and leadership certificate, 2009; The George Washington University: master’s in health science and master’s in public health, 2014 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? Currently, I’m working overtime as a mom on maternity leave after the recent arrival of our second son. These days, my main objective is keeping two small humans alive while maintaining some semblance of sanity. I’m most proud of my “mom” job title. In my “spare” time, I’m a physician assistant at National Jewish Health in the Department of Pediatrics where we specialize in allergy, immunology, and pulmonary medicine. I’ve been at NJH for 5 years. Last but not least, I’ve been a spin instructor for over 10 years. It’s my alter ego occupation. Favorite aspects? Helping people. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Wow, where to begin?!? First off, it kept me in-state and enabled me to get an amazing education at CU Boulder that prepared me exquisitely for graduate school and the professional world. I cannot sing enough praises about the CU Department of Integrative Physiology and the Presidents Leadership Class! Second, it was a spring board to meeting phenomenal human beings that to this day, inspire, support, and challenge me. Some call this a “network.” I call them friends. Lastly, being a Boettcher Scholar has made me even more determined to plug in, show up, and do good; particularly in Colorado. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Lately, I’ve tried to focus my energy into being the best mom, wife, physician assistant, and spin instructor I can be rather than over extending myself (which I’ve been known to do). More than ever, I want to do good work, not just a lot of work. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering with the Colorado Youth at Risk Organization (which I recently left due to a relocation) and various professional organizations, namely the Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants. But the activity I enjoy the most? Running uphill on a dirt trail. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Three best pieces of advice I’ve received: “Go where you belong.” - My husband “The most consistent thing in life is change.” - My mentor. I thought she came up with it herself; turns out, it originated from a fancy Greek philosopher named Heraclitus. “Turn left and keep your shorts on.” - My grandpa the track coach I would tell graduates to be genuine, work hard, and always, no matter what, do what’s right for the patient. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?  Though cliché, I’d love to meet Michelle Obama. Ideally, I’d love to take a spin class with her (I hear she’s frequents Soul Cycle classes) and then go grab brunch and get her perspective on current world events in addition to her insight on being a working mother, supportive wife, and one of the most (in my opinion) influential and inspiring women of our time....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Aurora College/Degrees: Colorado State University – B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering; Minor in Ethnic Studies (expected December 2021) What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? My plan is to continue to graduate school and pursue a master's degree in global health innovation. My ultimate vision is to take technological health solutions that we see every day in Western societies and apply them to under-served communities around the world and to do so in a way that is still acknowledging and respecting cultural norms. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I am member of the National Society of Black Engineers, and I am in my third term on the Region VI executive board, this year as the Region VI chairperson. I am also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I joined each of these in search of communities of individuals whose common passion is to illuminate and normalize the Black experience in various settings. They’ve pushed me to transform and expand my understanding of public service, to critically consider how my leadership manifests in different spaces, and to own the role I have in shaping the future. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I never knew how to approach someone about becoming my mentor, but I realize now that it just starts with asking to have a conversation. One of my mentors has played a key role in giving me a safe space to talk about my identity as a Black woman engineer. It's nice to have someone who understands the academic rigor and the way that identity ties into that experience. She's provided the most sound (and logical) insight, usually when I'm overthinking something. It's a connection I'm glad I have and hope to provide for someone else in the future. What's the best advice you've ever received? Impostor syndrome has manifested in so many ways since I started college. I've found myself doubting my own abilities, denying myself of my own growth. During one of the hardest times I had with accepting that I was meant to be doing the work I was doing, one of my mentors told me this: "You are going to grow in ways that the people around you are not. Don't stop. Ever." I've learned that sometimes it's better to let others see the strength in me, and I simply have to trust that it's enough. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? Dr. Mae Jemison, Michelle Obama, Kendrick Lamar, Malcolm X, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, James Baldwin, The Squad. There's a specific reason for each person, but in a broad statement: each of these people has had a major impact on me and the development of my identity, be it academically, culturally or professionally. They have profound stories of persistence and carry a rich piece of history in their experience. In some cases, their show of strength has been an inspiration; in others, their words provided me with much needed hope....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2008 Hometown: Greeley College/Degree: University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A. Environmental Design, 2012; University of Colorado at Denver, M.A. Leadership for Educational Organizations, 2019 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I got involved in educational equity work immediately after graduation. I wanted to address inequity through direct community advocacy. I joined Teach For America in 2012 in Detroit and absolutely loved it. I then joined Teach For America's national recruitment team and have worked here for 6 years. I am now a managing director at TFA and manage our work in Colorado, Texas and Missouri in order to find incredible, diverse leaders who will dedicate their careers both inside and outside of the classroom to make sure that all kids have access to an excellent education. My favorite part is getting to develop incredible leaders who are making daily progress in disrupting systemic oppression. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher scholar has fundamentally changed my life, both financially and professionally. My family and I did not have the means to pay for college, and I would not have been able to attend CU and pursue the extracurricular activities I chose without the generosity of the Boettcher Foundation. Professionally, I have the career I do now solely because of the Boettcher Foundation and the Presidents Leadership Class at CU; through these groups I was able to develop my leadership skills and network, and gain experiences that helped me understand the systemic inequities in this country and identify that educational inequity is the most direct way we can disrupt those systems. My best friends, my colleagues and my husband are Boettcher Scholars and I couldn't possibly have my career, personal life and accomplishments without this life-changing experience. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. In college, I joined the Presidents Leadership Class in order to develop my local/global mindsets and skill sets and it was a critical part of my development. I also worked for Jane Goodall on an environmental publication for children and sought out a lot of student advocacy work through several organizations. Now, I volunteer for many different Teach For America alumni. Most recently, I served as the director of recruitment for Mike Johnston's US Senate run representing the state of Colorado. I play competitive volleyball and love horror movies. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? My dad sat me down as a freshman in high school and told me that he wanted me to know that it was okay to go into any industry, to do any type or work I wanted to. That validation stuck with me. He reiterated the adage, “If you love what you're doing, you won't work a day in your life." It's something I think about every day because I love what I do, and I adore the students I get to work with. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I'm going to be basic and say that I would love to see Tana French, Sandra Oh, Michelle Obama and the totally-not-fictional Severus Snape interact at a dinner party....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: *Denver College/Degrees: Colorado College – B.A. in Political Science; Minor: Environmental Issues (expected 2020) What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? An abundance of post-grad options pique my interest, and I am grateful for that. I am strongly considering teacher licensure programs and teaching high school social studies. I am also contemplating policy work either in the education, environmental, or criminal justice fields. I consider law school a long-term possibility, but not immediately after my undergraduate studies. In other words, I have many (perhaps too many) interests but have not decided the exact route I will pursue. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Every week I co-teach a class in the El Paso County jail through the Colorado College Prison Project, which I became aware of somewhat fortuitously by writing a newspaper article about their work. I have been involved in student government and I will serve as Student Body President for this upcoming academic year. Through a program called JusticeCorps, I work at the El Paso County Combined Courthouse with self-represented civil litigants. Finally, I play on the CC men’s club soccer team as well as intramural soccer teams, and I admit I often take the latter more seriously than the former. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Beyond family, a couple Colorado College Boettcher Scholars who graduated a few years ahead of me have provided invaluable guidance. In many ways, college was my ‘first big decision,’ and when I received the Boettcher, it reduced many of the external factors pressing on that decision. These CC Scholars were influential first in my decision to come to CC as a Boettcher and subsequently how I pursued my time here at CC. It has emphasized the importance of mentors who have recently gone through your experience but are sufficiently removed to have the benefit of hindsight. What's the best advice you've ever received? In terms of broad advice, I’m a fanatic of Yogi Berra quotes. A sampling: “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours; The future ain’t what it used to be; If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be; If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” And for the pragmatic: don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want read back to you later in life. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? A formidable question. It would be a dream to bring together legal minds/Supreme Court justices from distinct eras. Something along the lines of a table with John Jay, John Marshall Harlan, Louis Brandeis, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor… I would quickly run out of seats. There would be common knowledge of common documents, but vastly different time periods in which each person developed their philosophies. And of course, I would be remiss not to invite the Boettchers to the dinner....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004 Hometown: Kremmling, CO College/Degree: University of Colorado, B.A. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I am currently working on and managing my family's cattle ranch alongside my mom. I've been ranching for the past nine years and have also been working as a professional singer/songwriter for six years. My favorite thing about ranching is living outdoors alongside my animals while seeing wildlife and beautiful places every day. Growing food is a truly rewarding way of life! Singing has been enriching as well – it's been a wonderful way to travel and meet interesting people from all over the country. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar has given me the financial freedom to pursue a life that is less than conventional while introducing me to extraordinary people who inspire me and support me, even from afar. I'm proud to be working in-state in one of Colorado's heritage ways of life. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. While I'm not directly or heavily involved in any organizations, I enjoy volunteering as a judge for local 4-H interviews and exhibit days and donating concerts for our veteran's organization and for a foundation that helps local struggling ranch and cowboy families. I'm currently applying for the HERD Fellowship to attend the Quivera Coalition Regenerate Conference to learn more about sustainable and regenerative agriculture and how I can apply new principles to our ranch. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? If you are interested in either ranching or music, I recommend seeking out mentors and working hard to learn everything you can from them. Don't be scared to cold-call someone you've read about, and look into organizations such as the Quivera Coalition that support young people interested in holistic methods of agricultural production and land stewardship. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would love to share a meal with Joan Baez and Maya Angelou and talk about women in art and standing up for what they believe in. --------------------------------------------------------------- In January, Caitlyn was featured in the cover photo of an article in The New York Times titled "Female Ranchers Are Reclaiming the American West." Learn more about the article and Caitlyn's work on her family's ranch, here....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO College/Degree: University of Colorado Boulder, Ethnic Studies What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Currently, I am interested in pursuing a “mob” position with Dutch Bros. Coffee. This position would allow me to travel all over the U.S. to up-and-coming shops to train new hires and spread “Dutch” Culture. I’d like to spend more time with Dutch Bros. before beginning my teaching career as a high school English or social studies teacher. In the future, I see myself working as a teacher for a while before later becoming an administrator, then a principal, a superintendent and maybe the Secretary of Education while I’m at it. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I joined UMAS y MEXA (United Mexican American Students y Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) at CU Boulder because attending a predominantly white institution as a first-generation, Latinx student comes with many challenges and a need for extra support for yourself, especially through a community you can identify with. Additionally, activism on this campus is necessary for more minority representation at CU within the student body and faculty. I have an incredible job at Dutch Bros. Coffee. DB allows me to spread positivity, build relationships with new people every day, constantly improve myself, practice selflessness and genuine care for others, travel, laugh and always love. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. My parents have always been my two biggest mentors in my life. My dad is the strongest person and hardest worker I know. He never lets any obstacle stop him from doing whatever he can to provide for his family. He’s taught me that “Pereas never quit” and this motto has shaped my work ethic. In addition to strength, what I’ve learned from my mom is compassion. She takes everyone in as her own and practices genuine love for others on a daily basis. Regardless of who you are, she’s always willing to lend a helping hand. She’s taught me vulnerability. What's the best advice you've ever received? “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” This has been something I have consistently heard from my family throughout my life. It’s so simple, but so life-changing when you put it into practice. Just acknowledging that if there is a true will and desire to do or accomplish something, there is a way. No matter what, there is always a way. This piece of advice was something I held onto when it came time to apply for colleges knowing I was coming from a low-income family in which no one had attended university before. 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 a dinner with Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Dennis Banks (the leader and founder of the American Indian Movement). These three led civil rights movements for their communities and their conversations about the injustice woven into American institutions would be invaluable. Activism and social justice is something I am very passionate about and learning more about how to disrupt systems of oppression is something more necessary now than ever....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2005 Hometown: Cedaredge College/Degree: University of Colorado at Boulder, MCDB/Psychology, 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 am currently a primary care provider through Denver Health. I've been in this role for a little over one year. I completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics and currently take care of kids and adults in our clinic. I also spend time working in the inpatient pediatric hospital during the year, as well as working with medical students and residents. I love the people who chose to work at Denver Health and enjoy the purpose and mission of the organization. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? There is no doubt receiving the Boettcher Scholarship helped to create the momentum needed to be accepted and complete medical school and residency. The scholarship introduced me to people and opportunities that helped to grow my interest in the health sciences and encouraged working with an underserved population. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Now that my formal training is complete, I'm trying to grow in this area. I am very involved in our internal medicine/pediatrics residency program and serve as a core faculty member. I would love to reengage in meaningful community service and expand effort in groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. But I'll need to leave room for family, friends and as many ski days as possible! What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? If you have an interest in this field, pursue it very aggressively and try to imagine your life in the shoes of those you are shadowing/working with. Know that this field leads to very deep, real and complex interactions with fellow humans. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series. Would love to talk with J.K. Rowling prior to her success and imagine how crazy the idea of her book series would sound prior to its success....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2012 Hometown: Limon College/Degree: University of Northern Colorado, B.A.: Elementary Education, 2016 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I am a fifth grade teacher at one of the public elementary schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. Building relationships with my students is one of the best parts of my job. I love learning alongside them and using my position of influence for good in their lives. I enjoy teaching all subjects; it’s partly why I chose elementary over secondary. Between students and curriculum, my job is never dull! This fall, I’m looking forward to my fourth year of teaching and all of the freshness that comes with a new school year. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar helped me get the job I have now! My husband and I moved to Nebraska from Colorado late in the teacher-hiring season, so there were minimal openings for me to apply. Listing the Boettcher Scholarship on my resume helped me get a phone interview with the school where I work now. I was hired sight unseen, and I believe the strong reputation of the Boettcher Scholarship, even outside Colorado, helped the principal be confident in hiring me. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I’m very active in my local church. My husband and I lead worship once a month, which has been a fun way for me to continue singing like I did in college. I also contribute to the women’s ministry by participating in our monthly women’s gatherings and meeting with women one-on-one to encourage them. Recreationally, I enjoy playing on a co-rec slow pitch softball team and following Husker football. It really is a whole state affair out here! What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Seek feedback. Others’ eyes can be more perceptive than our own, and feedback is necessary for growth. It’s hard to hear sometimes, but it will yield progress if you humbly absorb and act on it. I want to continually be perfecting my craft as a teacher, and I’m thankful for my principal and the mentors that encourage and challenge me. This year, I even had my students give me feedback through a “Teacher Report Card." It was insightful, and I wish I had done it sooner! 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 a conversation with Corrie ten Boom. Her life is an incredible story of surviving the Holocaust, then choosing forgiveness over bitterness. That kind of grace amazes me, and I’d love to meet her in person to soak up some of her wisdom....