Scholar Profiles

Long before becoming the first in his family to attend college, 2016 Boettcher Scholar Cesar Caraveo was learning to thrive in whatever circumstances came his way. At just one week old, Cesar faced major surgery for spina bifida, a condition with serious health and mobility risks. Not only did he surpass his prognosis by walking at the age of one, by age three, he was playing soccer. Less than a decade later, severe scoliosis put Cesar in a body cast for three months and sidelined him from soccer for more than a year. Instead of being discouraged, Cesar used the experience to study, recover and develop a sense of unconventional optimism, a philosophy that has shaped his life and led to his rapid return to the soccer field and school. “Whatever obstacles that come my way, I strive to overcome by learning from them,” Cesar said. “I let them make me better.” Cesar’s optimism opened doors for leadership with his soccer team and within his high school. His parents encouraged him to take advantage of every opportunity that came along. That led him to volunteer with the Spina Bifida Association of Colorado and to travel to Europe with a youth exchange program – both experiences he believes contributed to his earning a Boettcher Scholarship. “When I got the letter, the first words that caught my attention were ‘Reach new heights as a Boettcher Scholar,’” he recalled. “In that moment I realized that what I’d been working for—what my parents had worked for—could actually happen. And I knew that the Boettcher Scholarship was the community I wanted to be a part of.” Now in his third year at the University of Denver, Cesar is pursuing a degree in computer science along with minors in business administration, mathematics, leadership and Spanish. While he is involved with the DU club soccer team, Pioneer Leadership Program and 1GenU, a program for first generation DU students, Cesar has perhaps been most challenged and inspired by the summers he’s spent interacting with high schoolers in Brazil. Cesar recently completed his second summer as a teaching fellow with US-Brazil Connect, a Denver-based organization that builds cultural connections and leadership through English-language instruction. After traveling to Brazil in 2017 with a Boettcher Educational Enrichment Grant, Cesar was recruited as a senior fellow to teach English online and onsite in the Brazilian Amazon. The program honed his leadership skills and inspired a love for teaching that has convinced him to apply his computer science degree as a teacher. “US-Brazil Connect was life-changing. Not only is it the reason I want to one day teach, it gave me a more grounded perspective that time spent with people and in relationships is what matters,” he said. Cesar is once again expanding his cultural horizons, currently spending his fall quarter in Barcelona, a city where another one of his passions – soccer – can run wild. “Soccer is basically another religion in Spain. To be somewhere where I can partake in that culture will be amazing.” When Cesar thinks about the Boettcher Scholarship, he doesn’t dwell on the accomplishment, but sees how it has prepared him for something greater. “Because of Boettcher I could go to DU, travel the world and develop a love for teaching. My trajectory is so different and so exciting,” he said. “The Boettcher Scholarship is a turning point, but it’s only the beginning.”...

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: Berthoud University: Colorado State University, Mechanical Engineering What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After college, I plan to pursue unique and effective ways of using engineering to help with the development of Latin America. These efforts will include learning Spanish, getting involved in a community internationally and finding engineering connections that will allow me to directly serve the needs of that community. I am unsure how this will happen and will likely involve getting involved with graduate research in developmental engineering. I will also likely pursue an internship with Engineering Ministries International to practically learn how engineering can be used in developing countries. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Within the university, I have tried to focus on two primary clubs: Outpost Ministries and Engineers Without Borders. Through my time in Outpost, I have really learned how to create community, support friends and grow as a leader. As a small group leader, I have learned the importance of outreach and the power of support. Joining the club Engineers Without Borders has shown me how to use my engineering tools in a practical project. I have been able to be a leader on the structural design process for building a community center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Through my time at the university, one of my biggest mentors has been Glen Gilbert. He is the practicing engineer who works with Engineers Without Borders. He has spent countless hours of his time to walk us through the structural design process. He is always willing to take more time to work on the project so that we have a better understanding. Also, in his life, he plays a vital role in the support of recovering drug addicts and community members. He has mentored me in life, engineering and my relationship with Christ. What's the best advice you've ever received? I am not sure who said it, but the phrase “your thoughts influence your words, which influence your actions, which influence your habits, which influence your character.” This advice has changed the way in which I have lived my life at school. The aspect I changed was to make sure my thoughts about myself, activities and others were always positive. Through working on the way that I think about situations, it directly influences what my actions are. Although I directly try to change my daily actions and habits, the first step to changing anything in my own life is to first change my mentality. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? If I were able to have dinner with any one person in history, I would have it with Jesus. In my opinion, he is one of the most influential changemakers, and his teachings have drastically changed the world. In his lifetime, he established the foundation for the modern church that has touched every country in the world. Through his lifestyle, he was one of the greatest society changemakers, and I want to be able to positively influence other communities just as he had....

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: Alamosa Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts in Biology; University of Colorado, MD 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 an otolaryngologist with a private practice in Pueblo. I finished residency at the Baylor College in Medicine in Houston in 2014 and have been practicing in Pueblo ever since. I love being in medicine and specifically being an otolaryngologist as it is a perfect mixture of the medical and surgical management of common ailments. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out complex problems on a daily basis while being able to help others and give back to my community. I also do three rural outreach clinics per month, which allows me to help other communities in need. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar allowed me to attend the college of my dreams, Colorado College. My education at CC was invaluable in being accepted at University of Colorado for medical school. The well-rounded education at CC gave me the foundation to succeed in medical school and ultimately obtain a spot in a strong residency program. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. One of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have had since finishing residency was participating in a medical mission to Cambodia. Through the organization Jeremiah’s Hope, I participated in a two-week trip in which our team evaluated and operated on many indigent patients in Phnom Penh. In Pueblo, I provide free annual oral cancer screenings at the Dorcy Cancer Center. I also am a member of the Pueblo Historical Society. Through this organization, I continually learn about the interesting history of Pueblo with a close-knit group that is working towards its preservation while improving our city’s future. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Your best teachers are your patients.  A mentor and one of the finest physicians I know would always say that, and I find it to be true every day. To those interested in a career in medicine I would say start looking for shadowing and educational opportunities as early as possible. It is a long arduous road, and you will need a strong support system of family and friends; it is important to maintain and nurture these relationships no matter how busy school and your career may become. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would dine with women who pushed boundaries in their professional fields, like the first female physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would want to thank them for their strength and perseverance, and honor their sacrifice in helping me achieve the personal success I’ve been able to attain in my career. I would ask for advice in how I can help the young women of today and tomorrow maintain the momentum towards gender equality....

When Richard Leggett explored future careers in middle school, he was pointed to three options: chemist, applied mathematician and minister. However, the 1971 Boettcher Scholar from Colorado Springs had no doubts about which vocation he would chose: “I always knew that I was called to be a priest.” Five decades later, Richard is living out his calling as the recently appointed vicar of Holy Trinity Cathedral, an Anglican parish in New Westminster, British Columbia. In his role, Richard serves the spiritual needs of an urban, blue-collar congregation in one of Canada’s most secular and progressive communities. “My work is help answer how our faith community can live in the 21st century and translate the gospel into new ways,” Richard said. “How can we be leaven in the loaf of this downtown neighborhood?” One of the ways Richard is answering this question is through a large-scale development on the cathedral’s property, which is in the heart of the New Westminster’s historic center. Richard is working closely with the neighborhood to guide the construction of a 30-story residential tower that includes 42 units of affordable housing, a community plaza, and new parish offices and meetings spaces with commercial-grade community kitchen. The goal is to “reinvent the spaces and the conversations where we engage our neighbors.” About his challenging task of guiding the development, Richard joked “No one taught this type of work in theological studies.” However, Richard is thankful for the life experiences that prepared him to lead this creative undertaking. After graduating from the University of Denver with a bachelor’s degree in French, German and secondary education, Richard took various jobs in retail and teaching foreign languages before being ordained in 1981 and serving in Denver for three years. In 1987, he received his master’s in liturgical studies from Notre Dame and moved to Vancouver with his wife, son and two cats for what he anticipated would be a three-year teaching position. While at Vancouver School of Theology, Richard completed his doctorate and helped to develop the first accredited master’s in divinity program in North America for people serving in indigenous communities. This work opened doors for Richard to travel to other parts of the world to develop and teach “dynamic cultural translations” that resonated with laity and clergy in diverse cultures. After 23 years teaching, Richard chose to return to congregational ministry as a rector at a church in Vancouver. Before accepting the appointment to Holy Trinity in 2018, he had also served as member of the staff of the Anglican Church of Canada and a national committee member. Looking back on his path, Richard is amazed by the opportunities he has had to advance his own education and to faithfully and creatively engage with modern culture. He’s also never forgotten the gift of the Boettcher Scholarship, whose plaque he has displayed in every one of his offices for more than three decades. “The Boettcher Scholarship was a tremendous gift of the generosity of the foundation and family. If not for the scholarship, I don’t know what we would have done. The scholarship was the foundation for my success as a graduate student and the springboard for my career.” Richard noted that being a Boettcher Scholar impressed upon him a noblesse oblige, a responsibility to pay forward the gift he had received. The scholarship is also a reminder of the gratitude and joy he has found in following his vocation. “Remember that all that you are, and all that you have, is a gift. Living in gratitude means we live and respond in ways that build up other people and ourselves. Joy stems from this – the deep-seated conviction that you are doing and being who you are called to be. This is your purpose.”...

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: Greeley Colleges/Degree(s): University of Denver: BA Spanish and International Studies; MA International Administration Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I've worked at Rise Above Colorado for the past two and a half years. Our nonprofit works across the state, directly with youth and with the adults who serve them, to empower young people with education and inspiration to prevent youth substance misuse. The best part of my role is the ability to connect people across the state and leverage the resources and expertise that exist in local communities. I also have the amazing privilege to innovate and create alongside our youth partners, which helps me feel motivated to always live up to their high expectations! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I’m forever grateful for the chain of events sparked by the Boettcher Scholarship that has led me to where I am today. Apart from a year in South India working at a local NGO after graduate school, I've been in Colorado-based work ever since. When I returned from India, I had the fortune to meet a trustee of the foundation who hired me onto the Community Initiatives team at a local bank. Five years later, I joined the State of Colorado, directing a grant program to fund youth prevention work. That position led me to Rise Above Colorado. Through these diverse opportunities to serve Colorado, my love for this state has continued to grow. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I like to joke about my ongoing extracurricular activities as an adult. For many years, I’ve played on a USTA tennis league in Denver, building a wonderful community of teammates and friends. And I also have been a member of the Cherry Creek Chorale, going on nine years now. I’ve dabbled in various other activities over the years (including a summer kickball league) and have volunteered at various youth-serving programs in the Denver metro area, including serving on the board of directors for Groundwork Denver and volunteering at Mi Casa Resource Center for Women and Urban Peak’s youth homeless shelter. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? When I entered the workforce, I was idealistic and adamant that the work I would do mattered more than anything else in selecting my first job. An advisor told me to be selective about the people I worked with as well as the nature of the job. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate her wisdom. We spend so much of our time and energy with our work colleagues, and our capacity to impact change is often influenced by them. So, I would advise new graduates, as I was, to surround yourself with people who will positively challenge and inspire you. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My maternal grandmother died when my mother was a young child, but her legacy has greatly impacted my life. I’ve heard so many stories about her and have even been compared to her at times. I would love to meet her to know who she was, and what her hopes and dreams for her family were. If my great-grandmother could be there, whom I did have the fortune to meet and know, I’d invite her for dinner too. And it would be awesome if they cooked for me!...

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: 2016 Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Boulder. Double-majoring in aerospace engineering and applied mathematics. Anticipated graduation 2021. What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I hope to be working for a local aerospace engineering company, redefining boundaries for humans in space as well as spaceflight technology. Furthermore, I want to continue working toward getting my pilot’s license. With these efforts, I will be one step closer to achieving my dream of becoming an astronaut. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I have always sought to find like-minded individuals as friends, as well as those whose views may challenge mine. I value diversity in all areas of my life. Thus, I decided to join Tau Psi Omega, a multicultural fraternity. These gentlemen embody the diverse perspectives that I was seeking in a group of friends. Some of these young men also encouraged me to join the CU Boulder Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where it is our mission to empower engineers of Hispanic descent. These opportunities have opened many doors for newfound friendships and passions. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Dr. Lucas Monzon, my professor for Calculus III for Engineers, inspires me to actively seek knowledge, rather than passively receiving my education. Lucas has opened doors for me including recommending me to my current position at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics where I analyze solar data from the SORCE (Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment) satellite. Lucas has also become a great friend. We enjoyed watching the FIFA Soccer World Cup games this summer; me rooting for his home team, Argentina, and him rooting for my beloved Mexico. I view Lucas as my greatest mentor because we share common interests, passions and the curiosity to keep learning.  What's the best advice you've ever received? So much of college is a blur. You take the courses each semester, struggle and triumph, work and learn. It is far too easy to get caught up in what is next and new. Yet, these moments are memories in the making. I have found the best way to step back is to just simply take a deep breath and appreciate where you are in each moment. Turning your attention inwards beneath all of the responsibilities and stresses, you are alive. This is the greatest gift of all. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? One of my favorite bands has always been Coldplay. Their iconic piano intro from “Clocks” still sends chills through my body when I hear it. However, their new music is complete garbage in comparison to their older music. Coldplay is dead to me. So if I could have dinner with a few people from history, it would be this group. They may (technically) still be alive and well, but they are ancient history to me. Perhaps if they created quality music again, I would not have to put these artists as a group from history I’d dine with....

A 2007 Boettcher Scholar, Cristina Gonzales entered the University of Denver as a business major. However, she soon realized her true passion was in art history. Rather than continuing to take art classes “on the sneaks,” Cristina made a bold move and declared an art history major at the height of the recession. She then went on to complete a MBA in museum studies and nonprofit management. “It was the best, ‘bad’ decision I could have made,” she said. Cristina’s decision to pursue her passion in art history paid off when she found a trajectory to positions at cultural nonprofits such as History Colorado, Museo de las Americas and the Latino Chamber of Commerce, as well as with the media giant Comcast-NBC. She was recruited to Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation’s development team during the final phase of the hospital’s $100 million capital campaign. Cristina is currently the development manager for Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. In her role, she coordinates donor engagement for Denver's oldest private teaching hospital, which occupies a newly constructed campus just east of Downtown Denver. Cristina describes her position as “one of the hospital’s faces of community good” and enjoys working closely with donors to identify opportunities to support Saint Joseph’s mission, as well as attending community outreach events. At just 29 years old, Cristina’s résumé has more diverse experience than many mid-career professionals, an accomplishment she attributed to following her interests and receiving support from those who believed in her potential, a message she received when she opened her letter from the Boettcher Foundation. After opening her letter in the Pueblo Central High School parking lot, Cristina remembers jumping up and down and soon being surrounding by other staff and friends at the school who heard she had been offered a Boettcher Scholarship. “My whole village was celebrating, and they deserved to. My accomplishment was theirs as well, because they supported me. That’s why I will always believe in giving back.” As a first-generation college student, the journey to receive a scholarship was not always easy. She remembers classmates telling her to drop out of the Boettcher process: “They’re never going to pick someone from Central,” she was told. However, Cristina persisted in serving her community and following her passions – a theme that has defined her journey. In the broader community, Cristina seeks to create the same life-changing opportunities for others as her “village” and the Boettcher Foundation did for her. Her service on the boards of DU Art at the University of Denver and CultureHaus at the Denver Art Museum provide an ideal mix of her professional expertise and passion and inspire her to live a “creative life.” When she’s not creating innovative fundraising strategies or traveling to see unique art exhibits, Cristina enjoys “hosting ridiculously themed dinner parties for friends.” Cristina hasn’t built the resume that she or others initially expected when she entered the University of Denver as a business major. Instead, she says she ended up with something much richer. Her advice for those hoping to do good through their profession is to pursue opportunities that they truly enjoy. While that may seem like a risk, the reward is almost guaranteed. “If you really love what you do, you’ll be the best at it and your contributions will be greater than thought possible. Find that niche, embrace it. You can’t go wrong with following your heart.”...

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

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, BS Biomedical Sciences, minors in Political Science and Biochemistry What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I was around six years old when my mom first told me about how sick my grandmother, who lived in the Kurdistan, was, and how hard it was to find doctors who could help her. Conversations continued, and I realized that I wanted pursue medicine and become a doctor. This desire has been churning inside of me ever since - I have been one of the lucky few who have known what they want to do with their lives forever! I hope to apply to medical school after graduation with dreams of reforming global health. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. From elementary throughout high school, I found myself in student council, so of course I had to join the Student Government Association at UCCS. I began as a justice and soon became the associate chief justice. This March, I was elected student body vice president. I see UCCS as a hub of opportunity –  my hope is to push other students into that opportunity! Outside of UCCS, I spent the past two years working with Colorado Springs School District 11, passing a bond and mill levy. After much door-knocking, Colorado Springs said “yes,” and our schools received more public support. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I have had the privilege of a wonderful relationship with my freshman chemistry lab instructor. I took honors chemistry for majors, an optional chemistry course designed with more rigor and was one of the few females in the course. My instructor, Tisha Mendiola-Jessop, is an avid critical thinker and excellent scientist and taught us to seek community in our endeavors. Tisha taught me how important it was to make strong relationships. She was the one who pushed me to apply for my Harvard research fellowship in the summer of 2017, and has since kept me as an assistant in her lab. What's the best advice you've ever received? I seek out advice from anyone I meet and I make a mental note of it, because I think the best way to learn is from others. The best piece of advice I have ever received, though, is a little tidbit I heard from a friend I made in Boston last summer. She told me that, amidst our incredibly busy lives, we need one day where we do not touch our work. Instead, we take that one day to ourselves; we write notes of gratitude and also write down any occurrence of a thought related to work. Essentially, “schedule balance in.” If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? If I could have dinner with anyone from history, I would choose Cleopatra. Cleopatra faced several barriers in her reign –  she was from a culture outside of the Egyptians, and she ruled a massive society and a male-dominated one at that. I would ask her for all her advice on leadership and diplomacy, and I would want to hear her perspective on our society and world today. I imagine it would be incredibly memorable....

By Gergana Kostadinova Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. The “Make Your Mark” presentations were remarkable! They covered a wide range of topics, and each speaker left the audience with an enduring lesson. The overarching message of the morning reminded me of the words of Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” To start the day, Craig Heacock, a 1985 scholar, shared the cutting-edge research to return psychiatry to its shamanistic roots, specifically by using ketamine to treat depression and prevent suicides, and utilizing MDMA, better known as “ecstasy,” to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Craig reminded us to never stop questioning what is possible. Beth Skelton, a 1984 scholar, told a story from her time as an educator at an international school in Germany, when she discovered the importance of “leading from behind” and creating the social architecture to empower her students to create their own experiences. Veronica Fernandez Diaz, a 2015 scholar, recounted how the Boettcher Foundation made her baggage of living as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipient, easier to carry. She shared how she is constantly fighting to convince people of the humanity of her community, and challenged us to “Be Active. Do Something,” and stand up against injustice. Jeff Bauer, a 1965 scholar, had a successful career as a health futurist and medical economist for nearly 50 years before he embarked on a second career as an artist. Jeff encouraged us to take on a new challenge at any age and to consider doing something totally unpredictable. The visual art he shared was fantastic! Mark Hess, a 1984 scholar, on the other hand, tried to retire once and realized that there’s nothing else he’d rather do than be a teacher because he has observed invaluable lessons from his young students. Mark reminded us to follow the example of kids, who create genuine social connections because they’re not afraid to be vulnerable. Noha Kikhia, a 2013 scholar, challenged us to rethink community development as a crucial shift towards social change that focuses on empowering people to enact change for themselves and those around them. This model is more effective than seeking to inspire leaders to be independent “changemakers.” Dee Bradley Baker, a 1981 Boettcher Scholar, shared his experiences as a voice actor and the beauty of bringing characters to life. A sampling of his many famous credits include Klaus from American Dad and Daffy Duck in Space Jam. Dee challenged us to embrace and comprehend those who are different with the same hospitality as fan conventions, and to remain flexible by welcoming our future with many voices. A special shout-out to Katy Craig, a 1995 Boettcher Scholar and the leadership coach and content developer for the Boettcher Foundation. She served as a flawless emcee and spent the past several months helping the speakers prepare. To conclude the morning, Lori Prok, chair of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board and 1992 Boettcher Scholar, encouraged the audience to make their mark with a quote from Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision –  then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ...