Scholar Profiles

By Curtis L. Esquibel Laying the groundwork for an eventual manned mission to the moon, the Gemini Space Program launched its second unmanned spacecraft to test heat protection and structural integrity upon launch and re-entry. In other headlines, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery. The year was 1965. It was also the year that Peter Erdman received the Boettcher Scholarship as a senior at Fairview High School in Boulder. After opening his scholarship offer letter, Peter told himself that one day he would give back to the program that helped launch his career and pursue his love of science. Earlier this year, Peter donated a major gift to the Foundation in support of the scholarship program. (Visit here to learn about giving to the Boettcher Foundation). “I was the first in my family to go to college,” he said. “The financial support of the Boettcher Foundation gave me that opportunity.” Today, Peter teaches physics in the physical science department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. While he took the fall semester off from teaching, Peter sat down to answer some questions about his career path, life, and philanthropic interests. Share a little about your post-Boettcher Scholar life – family, career path, interests, and inspirations? “I finished at the University of Colorado with an undergraduate degree in physics and continued on to graduate school in physics at the University of Pittsburgh. There I completed a PhD in between making some mountaineering trips to the Himalaya, Andes, Canada, and Alaska. I have been married (41 years now) and have two daughters, who are all grown up. I continued as a research scientist at Pittsburgh, working in Earth upper atmospheric physics and chemistry by designing and building instruments for both laboratory experiments and for flights on sounding rockets and satellites. I moved to the Daytona Beach, FL area upon taking a faculty position at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1998 where I still teach physics. After moving, I soon developed a strong interest in hands-on observational astronomy as a way to increase student interest in science. My first challenge was then to convince anyone that ground-based astronomy could be done from a semi-urban location, so I delved into astro photography as a means of demonstration (a number of my images can be found on "astrobin.com,” search for "erdmanpe").  The images proved convincing enough to raise funding, and so I developed an Astronomy & Astrophysics undergraduate degree program, along with an observatory system right on campus with a 1-meter telescope (I believe the largest university telescope in the southeast) in order to give students access to state of the art instrumentation for their projects.  The undergraduate A&A program is now one of the largest in the country.” What made you choose to ‘give back’ to Boettcher through philanthropy? “I always considered my scholarship to essentially be a loan that I should pay back, with interest, when I could feel financially comfortable doing so. The obvious great need of so many people in these times reminded me of that obligation.” When you think about giving and your personal philanthropy, what are your priorities? “Primarily food banks and organizations providing emergency help and disaster relief.” What does being a part of the Boettcher Scholar community mean to you? “It reminds me that I've been helped by others, and it is my obligation to do what I can with my good fortune. I frequently remind myself and family, "do you realize how lucky we are?" As an educator and lifelong learner, what is the message you would share with young Boettcher Scholars today, perhaps those in college or early in their careers? “Remember that there were those you inspired you on your path, and who helped you along it. It is your obligation to society to continue that legacy for those behind you.” As an alum, did you know you can donate to the Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Program? If you are inspired to do so, your support can help us create additional academic, intellectual, and leadership opportunities for undergraduate Scholars. Learn more here. ...

By Cameron Elder, 2018 Boettcher Scholar In life, we all go through seasons that teach us things about others, ourselves, or the world around us. This past year has done all of the above in my life. From living in the big city to transitioning to small town life and the in between, I have changed and grown in ways I never anticipated. As with all of us that have experienced the unexpected our world has dished out, life is unpredictable and full of surprises of all kinds. I have quickly been humbled as I learn that my plans are not as set in stone as I brought myself to think. I believe this was a necessary wakeup, however, and am eager to see the ways my plans continue to change. I began last year as a student at the University of Denver, studying English Education and enrolled in the dual degree program with Morgridge College of Education to get my masters in Curriculum Development and earn my teaching license. Today, one year later, I am sitting in Dolores Colorado as an 8th grade English teacher and a graduate student at Fort Lewis College for an MA in Education. What I really want to highlight today though is the in between. Starting what would be my last year in Denver, I was incredibly hopeful about the future and the state of the world. Even though classes were still online, I could live in the city, go to my job, and continue building relationships with my friends which all felt normal, or the closest thing to normal in a long time. At the beginning of October, a close family member fell incredibly ill, and I decided to take the time off of my job to go home in order to help my parents with the situation. This opportunity was one of the many hidden blessings of the state of my schooling as I had the flexibility to stay on top of school while living at home for a couple weeks. While this period was full of a lot of heartache, it reintroduced me to my home and showed me the large portion of my heart that was still firmly planted in this place, no matter how hard I had tried to uproot it throughout my time in Denver. It is these unexpected moments that give us pause to reflect on our lives, priorities, and futures. What did I want my life to be like in five years? Where did I truly desire my priorities to be? The answers to questions such as this were ones I was only then ready to internalize. I have had a habit of turning my life and my happiness away from what I know deeply to be true and instead toward the things I believe others want from me or the expectations I assume they hold. I was finally ready to let go of this and accept who I was with no holds. I was not happy living in a big city. I was not fulfilled living away from my family. I was not living in a way that fit with what I wanted in my life. It was scary to know these things while having a hard time understanding practical ways I could make changes to bring my life closer to this picture I had in my mind. Through research and the course of about a week, I found an alternative to the graduate program I was currently enrolled in, pulled out of the program I was in, and declared my graduation for the following March. I felt so much peace over these changes which would allow me to live in my small town, close to my family, while still pursuing my goals of being an educator. Looking back now, it is difficult to find the reason why I was so timid to pursue a more simple, slow pace of life near my family. I do not understand the stigma that I, and many people I know, hold about living where we grew up or not following through with what is considered a more high-profile career path. The engraining of these things in my brain kept me from happiness and being who I am, and I feel grateful to have resources to support the pursuit of this level of happiness that I can now achieve. Our paths are all different, change is good, and it is important to be authentic with our unique passions. I hope this is an encouragement for anyone reading that it is okay to change your path many times because it will lead you to where you are supposed to be. Use this time and the flexibility we are afforded to discover who you are and what you want your life to look like in five years. The people around you will love and support you because you are doing what is right for you and that joy you achieve will be what it is all about....

By Noah Hirshorn, 2016 Boettcher Scholar and 2020 Colorado College Graduate How did you hear the news that you won the Boettcher? It seems that this question is the quintessential icebreaker when meeting a new Boettcher Scholar. Stories may involve waiting for the mail to come every single day after the interview. Others reflect on coming home to their parents who handed them a letter that had visibly been resealed. I received a call one morning, toothbrush in mouth, and still answered because I thought it was spam. Spoiler alert, it was not spam. We reflect on this moment as the start of our journey as Boettcher Scholars. Yes, being a Boettcher is a lifelong honor and commitment; however, it can’t be understated that earning an undergraduate degree closes the chapter on the time we spend as Boettcher Scholars. Simultaneously, the door opens to the Boettcher Alumni Community. But doors don’t open on their own. In other words, transitioning to post-college life is difficult and requires work. Whether it is determining what do after college, figuring out where to live, or reconciling what it means to be a life-long Boettcher there is a lot to think about when graduating. Today, I want to shine some light on what it was like for a recent Boettcher scholar to make that transition and step through the door to alumni life. “Hey Noah, what are you doing after college?” – Literally Everyone I constantly questioned what type of career I wanted to pursue while at Colorado College. Lawyer, doctor, professional hiker, and anything in between were all viable options. Because I enjoyed being outside and found science interesting, I decided to major in environmental science with a concentration in chemistry. Say that five times fast. More specifically, I thought that something in the realm of atmospheric sciences would be an interesting path to pursue. Taking an atmospheric thermodynamics course affirmed this hunch and encouraged me to pursue opportunities in graduate school. I liked atmospheric science and many jobs in the field require courses only available to graduate students. During my senior year, I applied and decided to attend the University of Utah for my degree in atmospheric sciences. The Boettcher Foundation’s unwavering support made attending graduate school an easy decision because I felt that I was making the Foundation proud. To all you who are reading this out there, please know that you have made the Foundation proud throughout your pursuits. One thing I have learned is that the Foundation will always support the Boettcher Scholar community. All they ask for in return is that we stay in touch, live our lives with a purpose, and maybe connect with a few Boettcher Scholars here and there. I know I am looking forward to a day when a current Boettcher Scholar comes to me for advice. “We need Colorado’s most dynamic thinkers, doers, and difference makers to stay in Colorado so they can positively impact communities across our state” – Boettcher Foundation One of the primary goals of the foundation is to keep Colorado’s best and brightest in Colorado, at least for college. Afterwards, there is no contract keeping us tied to Colorado. It still felt weird to leave Colorado after attending college on a scholarship meant to keep us in the state. Becoming an out of state Boettcher alumni was one of the aspects of transitioning to post-college life that challenged me to think about my role as a Coloradan. To reconcile with this thought, I reflected on what it truly means to have an impact on Colorado. In today’s world where everything is a click away and an airplane can get us anywhere in a matter of hours, it is evident that residing in Colorado is not required to impact the state. For example, yes, I live in Utah. Yes, I hope Utah wins against CU in football this fall. But attending the University of Utah presents unique opportunities to focus my research on Colorado. I work in a team of scientists that is focused on understanding atmospheric chemistry in the western US. The primary research facility I utilize is Storm Peak Laboratory on top of Steamboat Springs Ski Resort where I aim to understand how emissions from the forests on the mountain impact the formation of atmospheric particles. Out of all the schools I applied to, this was the best opportunity to focus my research on Colorado. It is fulfilling to have a continuous impact on Colorado even though it was best for me to move to Utah. As a Boettcher Scholar, you do have to attend school in Colorado. As a Boettcher Alumni, you have full autonomy to decide what path you want to take and how you continue to impact Colorado. It is important to consider how you can remain connected to Colorado regardless of where you call home. “I know that I do not know” - Socrates  Just because I graduated does not mean I have figured everything out. Will I end up pursuing a master’s or Ph.D.? What is the next step after graduate school? What will I have for dinner tonight (seriously, please send suggestions)? I have come to accept that it is completely okay to not know exactly what the future holds. It is not my job to have everything entirely figured out. As a Boettcher, my job is to always be the best I can be and to look for ways to give back to the community around me. That is the essence of being not just a Boettcher Scholar, but also a Boettcher Alum. If you ask a Boettcher Scholar the story of how they started their lives post-college, I guarantee that you will hear a different story each time. Today, you read my story of graduating and moving on to the next pursuit. I hope that by reading this you were able to reflect on what it was like for you to take your first steps after graduation. It is an honor to be a part of the Boettcher community and I hope that we may meet at events in the future....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2000 Hometown: Flagler College(s), Degree(s): Colorado State University: BS in Soil and Crop Science, 2004; MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics, 2006; PhD in Weed Science, 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'm an Associate Professor at Colorado State University, where I conduct research and teaching on weed science. I am fascinated by how weeds adapt and evolve to the toughest environments and to every single method we try to use to manage them. I love the process of scientific discovery, finding new insights and how that new knowledge can be applied to helping farmers and land managers with their weed management issues. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar had such a huge impact on my career! Because of the financial support, I was able to explore unpaid undergrad research projects that helped me find my interest in plant science. I also found my passion for international work through the study abroad program when I was supported to study in Australia. I later did post-docs in Australia and Germany that helped me gain a large international collaborative network. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Through my work at CSU, I get to spend time with the state and regional farmer groups for wheat, sugar beet, and corn, listening to their issues, designing new projects to address problems, and delivering the latest information on weed management. Outside of work, I like to donate blood to the local blood bank and this summer I've joined a pickle ball league! 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've received is that a scientist has to be an effective writer. Whether it's grant proposals, project reports, or publications, I spend so much of my time writing and editing. I would advise current graduates entering science to take scientific writing and communication courses/workshops, and to find a good mentor to help them continually improve their writing. 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 Rosalind Franklin! She conducted the critical work to discover the DNA double helix structure, but she was not recognized with the Nobel prize for her contributions. I study DNA every day and I would have so many questions for her! I'd also want her to know that history now recognizes her achievements....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2008 Hometown: Denver/Thornton College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, 2012, BA in Sociology with minors in Spanish and Leadership Studies; University of Denver, 2013, MSW with a concentration in High Risk Youth; University of Northern Colorado, 2021, Ed.S. in School Psychology 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 school social worker in Mapleton Public Schools since graduating in 2013. In 2018 I went back to school to get my Ed.S. degree in school psychology which I just finished in May 2021. I'm excited to continue working for Mapleton because I've had such a wide range of opportunities to grow my skill set. I've worked with all ages, from preschool through 12th grade. Right now I'm working at a K-8 school and the ability to work with kids of all ages is the absolute best part of my job! 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 chance to figure out who I really want to be and how to be my best self. It gave me the chance to go to school not only once but now twice, which I know I never could have done without the support of the Boettcher community. It is my proudest accomplishment, and I strive to believe in myself the way Boettcher believed in me years ago. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I love being a part of the Boettcher Alumni community and I try to stay involved in events as much as possible. Outside of work, my favorite activity is spending time with my family, no matter what that looks like. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? The best piece of advice I've ever gotten was that while intelligence and knowledge go a long way, it's the hard work and dedication that will make you stand out from the crowd and go the extra mile. For anyone entering either the education or mental health fields, the best advice I can give is to remember the importance of self-care. It's a very challenging and very rewarding world, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to remember to help yourself before you can help others. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Let's go on this journey together, because I've never really had a solid answer to this question. Lately I've been fascinated by sign language. Over the years I've picked up a few simple words and phrases from working with preschool students and students with a variety of disabilities from very mild to more severe. It's been so much fun to discover. This brings someone like Helen Keller to mind because she was such an advocate for disability rights, and of course to have the chance to learn about sign language too....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 1992 Hometown: Akron College(s), Degree(s):Colorado State University, B.S. in Agricultural Economics, 1996; University of Wyoming College of Law, J.D. Law, 1999 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 district court judge for the State of Colorado. My district is the northeastern seven counties and is the size of Massachusetts. I’ve been a state-court judge since 2004. My favorite aspect of the job is the mentoring and coaching that comes with the personal relationships you form in treatment courts. You have the opportunity to really impact a person’s life positively and watch as they realize the fullness of their potential. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Without the Boettcher Scholarship, I never would have been able to achieve what I have achieved. The Boettcher Scholarship changed my family tree. It lifted me from poverty and allowed me to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I could take on a reasonable debt for law school and then serve my country as an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. The Boettcher Scholarship allowed me to focus on public service without the fear of servicing crushing education debt. My children know a better life than I did growing up. They see the American Dream in action through three generations from my parents to them. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I continue to serve my country as an officer in the Reserve Component of the JAG Corps. I serve in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion. I volunteer at my kids’ school for various activities. What I like about volunteering is the sense of community connection and the understanding that my perceived problems in life pale in comparison to the problems others in my community overcome daily. 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 ever received is, as an attorney, all you have in this profession is your reputation. Guard it and never let it be called into question. The best advice I have for those entering this profession is there are three levels of right: moral, ethical, and legal. Strive to ensure your actions and leadership rise to the highest right, the moral right. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with one person, I would choose Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I always try to put Him above all else and act as He would. From dinner conversation I would gain insight on His ways and His parables. As the Son of God, He is the closest thing on Earth that we have to the Creator. I could ask Jesus questions about God and our relationship. This dinner would allow me to get some answers to the burning questions I have about my relationship with the Lord and His with us. I would get to know more about my faith and His plans for me....

By Tracy Wahl The hospital lobby in Trinidad has an incredible mural designed by a nun. It shows the history of the town of 10,000 people where I have been living for the last two years. One day, when I was waiting in the lobby for something routine, I noticed the huge mosaic of tiles spreading from one side of the wall to the other. I started Googling away and found that it was hung in 1979. The artist was a nun, Sister Augusta Zimmer, from the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati. It's a 2,000-pound ceramic mural, constructed in pieces. It's so heavy that the wall was reinforced so it could hold the weight of the ceramic tiles. I posted a picture on one of the Trinidad Facebook groups and next thing I know someone has responded, “I helped to hang that mural!” I messaged him and said let’s connect. When I first moved here after leaving Phoenix, Arizona, I had left a job that just didn’t fit. And the weather didn’t fit either. The weather in the summer was, as I have now said over and over again, well, it was just unlivable. So when I prepared to move back home to Colorado, I was drawn to Trinidad for the combination of arts community with deep sense of history tied back to the coal miners who once filled these streets. I started writing for the local paper — writing dozens of profiles, essays, and news pieces in the months before COVID struck. I started reporting for the local public radio station. It turned out the guy who responded to my query about the mural on Facebook had been head of the art department at Trinidad State Junior College decades ago when he got a call that Sister Zimmer needed some help to hang the dozens of ceramic blocks that made up the mural. Inspired, he decided to teach his students how to do similar mosaic projects. Those murals now grace the campus of the college. That same day I was walking down Main Street and was looking at a picture window display at one of the local galleries. A man whom I recognized from the school board meeting I had covered for the paper was standing next to me. His wife and he also own the local Hallmark card store next to the picture window where we stood. We were looking at a wonderful sculpture made of nuts and bolts and other metal parts. "The guy who did that sculpture is a police officer," he told me. Cool, I replied, saying that I had always wanted to learn to weld. Well, he said, there is a welding class at the local community college and, in fact, the person you need to call to find out more is married to the police officer who made that sculpture. Small world. Actually, small Trinidad world. About the time I moved here, a friend gave me a piece of pottery. It was curvy and undulating, a bowl but also a cloud shape. A few months later I took a pottery class. The teacher had taught the woman who made the bowl. That's just the way it works here. The fabric of the place is interwoven with art. Two years later, I have completed dozens of paintings, many of which hang in the co-op downtown. Before moving here, while working at NPR in Washington D.C.,  I had taken several continuing education art classes while I worked the overnight. I’d go to class from 6 pm to 10 pm and then drive to work at midnight.  Even though I had taken several of these classes, I had never had one of my paintings professionally framed and displayed in a gallery — that is, until I moved to Trinidad. Now, I had. It was in no small part thanks to my amazing painting teacher, and my high school boyfriend whom I had reconnected with. But it is also partly thanks to this place that is so layered with artists. One day I was working at the art co-op (as part of our membership we all agree to work a few hours a month) and a fellow artist came in and walked up to one of my paintings. They are mostly of local geologic landmarks and scenic views. "My grandparents live right behind this hill, and I grew up seeing that," he told me. I got a little thrill....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 1987  Hometown: Colorado Springs  College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College, 1991; Princeton University, 1995  Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?   Starting in 2013, my professional work has gradually phased into cleaning up oil and gas wells and well pads where companies have filed for bankruptcy and don't restore the land to its original condition. I'm part of a small team of finance, engineering, and environmental professionals who contract for oilfield maintenance and reclamation services year-round in dozens of Colorado counties. It's very rewarding from a public service point of view and has grown tremendously (about ten times in budget terms) since 2018.  What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?   The Boettcher Scholar community has helped me to keep a focus on Colorado and where I fit in its unique set of government, business, and environmental traditions. I've been in more than nine U.S. states in my life, coast to coast, while I worked or studied, and the Foundation's drive to add continuity to the Scholar community has been invaluable to me. I came back to Colorado in 2011 for the next chapter of my career after being away for 20 years, and the Boettcher Scholarship was perhaps the greatest reminder to me to be part of Colorado tradition of giving back. I would also have the chance to be grateful for being a recipient of this state's generosity and its investment in its people.  Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.   I've enjoyed a series of volunteer positions in my community, in particular for youth sports and religious nonprofit organizations. The positions often need the same level of dedication and skill on a per hour basis that my paid job demands. Since 2014, I've been a Treasurer on a couple of executive teams, a member of a Board of Directors and a Board of Management, and a member of an investment management committee. Each position is something I'd do all over again, none of them were effortless or thankless, and I can say that without these basic nonprofit functions covered by a competent volunteer team, the whole social mission of these organizations would suffer.  What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?   I adore the messages given to me about taking risks. Some Boettcher Scholar programs have repeated this refrain. Why does it matter? We can "play it safe" in our lives, but our world needs bold action that embraces risk more than ever. To my fellow Coloradans who aspire to public service of any kind or who choose a public finance career, I'd say that it pays to be picky about your organization as you advance. Sometimes there will be a disconnect between new leadership goals and the processes that line staff built over a decade or more. You may be on either end of that tension. How your leadership supports you in that tension will make or break your experience. So keep your antenna out and carefully listening for the kind of support that you just might need during a difficult period of change.  If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?   I guess MLK has been on my mind a lot since the spring of 2020. I've been lucky to be in a group that meets every Friday at midday to discuss the painful topics of racial justice, mental health, and other matters of our American legacy. I'd like to fill a dinner table with both historical and contemporary legends: Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, and Reverend Traci Blackmon. They'd have a lot to say about the underbelly of our American story, the 400 years of wounds that are most in need of healing, and the courage needed for the privileged among us to build a better community in which everyone can live up to her potential. ...

By Amelia Atencio For those reading this blog, I have the distinct pleasure of being the first of many guest authors to share my story. The first piece of financial advice I received was a snippet I overheard from a Youtube video, “Aim to save a year’s worth of your salary at any given point in your life. This way, if anything were to happen, you could secure your livelihood while you re-gain your footing.” For those I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, I am Amelia Atencio, a 2014 Scholar and ’18 Colorado College Alumna. Growing up, money was tight in my household and I was always aware of the cost of living. Years like 2008 were challenging and others like 2014 were filled with promise. If, like me, you’re shifting in your seat because this is a slightly uncomfortable topic, that’s because talking about money is taboo. Korrena Bailie, a consumer finance editor at Forbes Advisor says, “Not talking about money can have sweeping social effects, like stopping women from getting equal pay for equal work in the workplace.” March is Women’s History Month - a time to celebrate the achievements of woman across the world and a time to have conversations that carry the torch forward for equal rights, equal pay, and equal representation. I should share that I do not work in finance, I am just a young woman who wants to be able to better manage my money and be financially secure. I want the same for all women. So, how do we help women better manage their money? First, we can begin by being candid and not being embarrassed by financial conversations. Secondly, we can share resources, tips, and empower women to be champions of their own financial security. Most importantly of all, we can make banking and investing more accessible to women. I recently attended an event with History of Colorado to learn more about The Women’s Bank. One of Colorado's and Boettcher’s own champions, Judi Wagner helped found the Women’s Bank in Denver, CO. in 1978. At the time, banks were not favorable to women and until 1974 women still needed a male co-signer to open a bank account or line of credit. This law prevented many female settlers and widowed businesswomen from using a bank to manage their assets. Unlike other female-chartered banks in the U.S., this bank was intended for women. On opening day, they took in over $1 million dollars from women in the community. The success of the bank was so profitable that the annual return averaged ~14%. This success continued for 16 years until 1994 when the bank was acquired by the Colorado Business Bank. During the virtual event, I had the pleasure of asking Judi Wagner, “What advice would you share with women managing their money?” and she said, “To invest.” Not only should women learn to invest, but they should also create portfolios that will allow them to “sleep well at night” and are resilient to market bubbles. A great place to start is ElleVest, but she also stressed the importance of interviewing several brokers to ensure you trust the person managing your investments. I also asked Judi if she thought banking was more welcoming today. She said, “Yes, of course. There are many women in banking and investment roles today.” She also pointed to Jane Fraser saying, “We have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done.” Jane Fraser is a poignant example because she was appointed the CEO of Citigroup this past year — the first female CEO of a large financial institution. While her accomplishment marks an incredible achievement for women, it is also a reminder that appointing women in high-ranking positions is long overdue. Though March is coming to a close, it is important that the work continues. How can you empower the women in your life to play an active role in their finances? Perhaps you can start having conversations with your children at a young age or help them set up their first bank account. Or, if you are well versed in financial planning or investing, you can share your resources with women you mentor at work. At the end of the day, what matters most is dismantling the stigma around money and we can all do that by having candid conversations. Money doesn’t have to be so mysterious....

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2004 Hometown: Aurora, CO College/Degree: Colorado School of Mines for BS in Petroleum Engineering; Rice University for MBA 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 director of reservoir engineering and analytics at a small private equity backed oil and gas company that produces mostly natural gas. I live at the intersection of subsurface understanding and finance. I love that I get to deploy machine learning regularly to help make business decisions and that I get to help people in the organization develop. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Boettcher has been a great support infrastructure throughout my academic and professional career. Support started with funding of undergraduate research and a more recent example is through personal development coaching. Throughout my career Boettcher has provided substantial support beyond the scholarship that I have found helpful. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Outside of work I am most active through a startup nonprofit focused on early childhood education for at-risk children, where I am the president: Harbor School, Inc. I also participate in a few professional organizations around the topics of oil and gas, energy, engineering, and business. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? "A wise man can learn from a fool, but a fool can learn from no-one." It's a riff on a quote from Bruce Lee. I think these are wise words to live by whether professional or personal, and I try. If you are entering my career path today or you are starting out as a STEM professional I would recommend focusing in on people and soft skills. Both will matter as much as your technical skills. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? Right now the person I wish I could talk to most is James Baldwin. James Baldwin seemed to have understood a lot of things that would help us understand and fix many issues we deal with today as they relate to race (and class and sexuality) in America....