Scholar Profiles

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

As a journalist and investigative reporter for 9News, Chris Vanderveen has been recognized at the national level for coverage of the Aurora Theater Shooting, opiate abuse, and a query into the fuel lines of combusting helicopters that prompted a federal investigation. For these stories, Chris received Reporter of the Year awards from the National Press Photographers Association and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award. However, when asked which stories stand out the most from his 22-year career, the 1992 Boettcher Scholar noted, "It’s the small ones – stories that would have remained untold otherwise, about humble people living remarkable day-to-day lives.” Chris Vanderveen’s own story began in suburban Denver in 1973. While other kids watched cartoons after school, Chris grew up consuming television news and the daily paper: “When something was going on, I wanted to know more about it.” Chris’ inquisitiveness helped him earn a Boettcher Scholarship to attend CU Boulder, where he studied broadcast journalism and anchored the campus radio station. From there, he landed a job as a photographer in Casper, Wyoming, and soon was anchoring weekend newscasts. There, Chris realized a career in journalism was a match for his inherent curiosity and love of storytelling. “Journalism starts with something as simple as a curious reporter asking the questions that no one else is,” Chris said.  From there, “the story develops into something much bigger, something that can profoundly impact our community.” One of Chris’ most memorable stories took place in 2010, when he met an Army veteran who had been shot in the neck in Iraq and paralyzed. Over the course of a year, Chris documented the veteran’s recovery and his dream to have children. The day Chris received a call that the veteran’s wife was pregnant with twins was “one of the coolest moments to capture” in his career. Sharing remarkable stories fuels Chris’ passion for journalism and service, even in the face of adversity. While many might perceive the current social and political environment as an obstacle for journalism, Chris sees a unique opportunity to discuss free speech and advocacy. “I’m more proud and more excited to be a journalist, writer, and investigative reporter than ever,” stated Chris. “It’s a fascinating time in our country. We are having overdue discussions, and that’s a good thing.” Chris is a strong advocate for the First amendment, and lent his thoughts to the ongoing discussion about college campus speech: “We must listen to things we don’t agree with. Yes, we’ll hear things we despise. But supporting the ability of people to speak who you may not agree with is a critical form of leadership.” One of the ways Chris employs his skills to give back to the community is as a board member for The Blue Bench, a sexual assault prevention and support center in Denver. As an advocate for victims and the father of a young daughter, Chris is optimistic about the direction of recent discussions and the #metoo movement. “This country is having an overdue discussion about the role of powerful men and victims’ voices,” he said. “Victims need to feel they have an avenue to be heard and for justice to be pursued, and that’s finally coming to light. It’s okay to be uncomfortable.” Looking back, Chris admits at the age of 18 he was unsure about accepting the scholarship, when his dream had been to attend a program out of state. Yet today, he is grateful for the financial freedom and the encouragement to give back to Colorado that the scholarship provided him. “[The scholarship] was one of the greatest surprises that could have happened to me. I don’t take that gift for granted, especially with the perspective I have now.”...

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: Beth Skelton Scholar Year:  1984 Hometown: Littleton (currently in Crawford) College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): German Language and Literature (BA, 1989) with secondary teaching licensure; Curriculum and Instruction in Multicultural Teacher Education (MA, 1994) 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 independent educational consultant. I support schools and educators across the United States and internationally in their quest to provide equitable education for English Language Learners. I love the challenges and variety in my work and the ability to impact students’ education. I have the opportunity to work directly with students, coach teachers, support principals, and facilitate workshops. Since I began consulting in 2002, I have worked with schools in 19 different states, in 12 different countries and on five different continents. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? During my junior year at Colorado College, I won a scholarship from the college to study abroad in Germany for a year. I was able to put my Boettcher Scholarship on hold for that year, which meant I had an additional year of funded undergraduate study. During this fifth year at CC, I used the Boettcher Scholarship to earn my teaching certificate, which unexpectedly launched me into my career. I continue to be an involved Boettcher Scholar alumni serving as an Alumni Ambassador and on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In addition to serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, I also serve on the board of the Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. I regularly do yoga, hike, cross country and downhill ski, canoe, work in our organic garden and spend as much time outside as possible. I’m also an avid reader and have been part of a local book club for the past 19 years. This past year I took on a new challenge and started learning to play marimba with a local group. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? In my first week of college, a senior Boettcher Scholar advised me to “major in professors, not classes.” This older Boettcher Scholar pointed me toward the best professors in all academic fields, and I ended up taking courses from calculus to philosophy in the first year. “Majoring in professors” meant that I was interested in every class and learned a lot about the magic of teaching from these dynamic and engaging individuals. I would advise current graduates entering education to share their passion freely with their students. Ignite them with your love of your content and set them on the path to lifelong learning. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? If I could share a meal with anyone from the past, I would choose my mother. Although isn’t mentioned in a history book, she made a huge impact on my life and the lives of the nearly 1,000 kindergarten and first-grade students she taught to read during her career. She left this earth before I turned 30, and I would love the chance to talk to her again. I would ask her the personal questions that were never posed while she was alive and discuss educational issues with her again. Most of all, I would love to introduce her to my daughter, her namesake....

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: Noah Hirshorn Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Highlands Ranch College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College; environmental science (chemistry) 2020 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am interested in pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering so that I can work on the development of clean and renewable energy. After graduate school, I would like to begin work in the aviation industry to make traveling on airlines better for the environment. In my free time, I would like to finish climbing all of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado and learn how to whitewater river kayak on the Animas River. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I am currently on the Boettcher Scholar Student Committee, which has been a great opportunity because it allows me to help improve the experience of all scholars while learning more about the foundation. I am also a member of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse team at CC. Lacrosse has been a part of my life since I was 10 years old, and I'm glad I can continue playing in college because I believe being a student athlete helps me build character, leadership skills and time management skills. In addition, I am part of the Early Scholars Tutoring Club and visit Bristol Elementary School once a week to tutor students. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Dr. Jake Herman was a great mentor to me in high school. As my lacrosse coach, he pushed me to work as hard as possible to become a better player. Yet, it was the relationship we had outside of lacrosse that I cherish the most. Dr. Herman supported me in all endeavors that I pursued in high school. His passion for lacrosse and science along with his ability to be a great leader all played a role in developing me into the person I am today. What's the best advice you've ever received? When I was a freshman in high school, my grandpa gave me a piece of advice that I have held onto ever since. He said that when it comes to making decisions, I should decide what is best considering the information that I already know without making assumptions. While it seems like a simple piece of advice, I have found that it has always worked. Decisions can be hard, but by only looking at what is certain, I have found that making decisions has become an easier process for me. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would have dinner with Dave Grohl. Dave Grohl was the drummer of Nirvana and the lead singer/guitarist for the Foo Fighters, which are two of my favorite bands. Music has always been a huge part of my life and hearing about Dave’s experience in two of the most successful bands of all time would be amazing. Furthermore, I want to ask about how he believes grunge music has changed popular culture. Dave, if you are reading this, feel free to invite me to dinner next time you are in Colorado....

On the high plains of Colorado, an emerging leader is driving wild mustangs and the policies that manage them. Stephanie Linsley, 2011 Boettcher Scholar, is the head trainer and equine manager at the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS), a Colorado nonprofit that provides training, adoption and advocacy for wild mustangs and burros. After graduating with a degree in psychology from Colorado State University, Stephanie joined GEMS full-time in 2016. Since then, Stephanie has lived and worked on a 1,000-acre ranch in the eastern Colorado town of Deer Trail, managing up to 80 horses at a time and facilitating on-range operations with a lean staff of three. Last year, the organization helped more than 200 wild horses find homes instead of being sent to holding facilities where they are often destroyed or sold for slaughter. The mission of GEMS means Stephanie’s days are largely spent in the saddle socializing wild mustangs and educating adopting owners. Unlike many horse enthusiasts, however, she wasn’t born in the saddle. Her love for horses – and psychology – emerged when she received her first horse at the age of ten: “I realized there was more to owning a horse than loving him…I recognized early on that I needed to figure out how to communicate with this horse if my life with horses were to go any further.” Soon after, Stephanie began volunteering with wild horses and decided to pursue a degree in psychology. For her, the connections between the disciplines are clear: “Working with horses, there’s a whole other animal to deal with: people. Understanding how both animals are motivated and learn is critical to horsemanship and running an organization.” Stephanie’s all-in passion for wild horses and understanding animal behavior has enabled GEMS to enact positive change beyond the boundaries of the ranch. The organization’s philosophy of cooperating with the Bureau of Land Management and other key stakeholders has given GEMS a respected voice in wild horse management, an oft-contentious issue. Last winter, the Bureau of Land Management wanted to conduct a helicopter round-up of the Sand Wash Basin mustang herd near the northwestern Colorado town of Craig. Helicopter round-ups are a quick but often traumatic method which can lead to injury or even death. GEMS successfully lobbied to conduct smaller scale bait-trapping and field sterilization with the assistance of their on-range support team. Forty-three mustangs in total were rounded up, and all have landed in safe homes or found sanctuary at GEMS. In October, Stephanie was invited to present to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board about these efforts. Receiving the Boettcher Scholarship was a catalyst in Stephanie becoming a leader in her field at just 23 years old: “Without that opportunity from Boettcher, I wouldn’t have had the chance to pursue this type of advocacy work at a nonprofit, in a field I love. That gratitude is always in the back of my mind, guiding me to serve.” With more than 100,000 wild horses across the country, Stephanie acknowledges that GEMS can’t tackle the whole issue. However, as the only organization in the country that provides on-range and off-range support, she believes GEMS and its cooperative approach can serve as a successful model for other states. Looking ahead, it’s clear Stephanie’s passion for horses and commitment to understanding them will continue to guide her impact: “Horses are our greatest teachers. They tolerate our mistakes, they forgive us, and they encourage us. No other creature can inspire such passion in a human, and for that, I've dedicated my life to interpreting their lessons.”...

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: Ashesh Thaker Scholar Year:  2000 Hometown: Greeley College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado Boulder – BA, 2004; University of California, Los Angeles – MD, 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 joined the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in August 2016, after completing my postgraduate medical training, most recently a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a neuroradiologist and have a clinical practice at the University of Colorado Hospital, where I also train residents and fellows. I particularly enjoy teaching and research, with a specific interest in understanding changes that occur in the brain during disorders of cognition, such as in Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a real privilege to teach and work at my alma mater! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship helped me achieve my goals in ways more than just financial. The Boettcher community instills a sense of service; this ultimately pushed me towards academic medicine rather than private practice. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to return to Colorado after 12 years on the east and west coasts. I look forward to being more involved with the foundation and its many service activities now that I’m back home. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. My wife and I just had our first child, a baby boy, so he has been keeping us pretty busy outside of work! Having just moved back to Denver from California, we are hoping to get more involved in local groups and organizations. We are members at the Denver Art Museum, involved in the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of the Rockies, and joined our local neighborhood civic association in Hilltop. . What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? When I was a third-year medical student at UCLA on a surgical rotation, an intern (whose name I sadly can’t remember to give fair credit) gave me the great advice to “always function like I’m one level above my current position;” that is, act like an intern when a medical student, a resident when an intern, and a fellow when a resident. This is sound advice in a hierarchical field like medicine, but I think the message applies more broadly to any career. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Though not really a “historical” figure, I would love to have dinner with Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld (my favorite sitcom) and star of the current series Curb Your Enthusiasm. His style of comedy has always resonated with me, and I find his work refreshing. He reminds me to take life a little less seriously and a dinner date with him would be entertaining to say the least!...

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: Serene Singh Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado; political science (BA) and journalism (BA) and leadership studies (minor) What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am interested in pursuing a law degree with a focus on constitutional and human rights law. Since I am interested in becoming a Supreme Court justice, I am excited to hopefully work for the American Civil Liberties Union where I will specialize in defending free speech rights and at The Sikh Coalition where I will help defend religious freedoms. Within all this, if I could squeeze in a chance to compete for Miss America, an opportunity to act in a Bollywood film and a way to release the first Indian-American female rapper mixtape, that would be great. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Some of the activities are The Serenity Project, the Appellate Court, the Colorado Bhangra Team, and 3P Speech and Debate. The Serenity Project is a fashion show with a yearlong “pageant reign” that helps women who are not our society’s traditional models become fashion models and ambassadors for inspiration throughout the community. The Appellate Court ensures legitimacy and defends student freedoms! The Colorado Bhangra Team is a Punjabi Indian dance team that spreads positivity. 3P Speech serves students across the country who are passionate and eager to be heard. My job is to help them speak effectively and to watch them change the world through their voices – a pretty awesome first job. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Mr. Brian Hoff. For me, he was not just a high school speech/debate coach, but an individual I highly respect. Despite having attended Rampart – a school without a forensics team – Mr. Hoff took me under his wing at The Classical Academy. Mr. Hoff challenges me to push myself and to take on adversity with a smile. His relentless belief in my abilities inspired me to one day enter public service – and more importantly, believe that I could do it. Whether it be pageants, relationships or life itself – Mr. Hoff has been there to encourage me to never give up and to use my voice to serve others. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received was from my mother who said, "If you want something you don't have, you have to do something you've never done." This has been a guiding philosophy in my life because I am constantly working to become a better version of myself. I often put myself in odd and uncomfortable situations in life (like when I first joined a pageant as a tomboy or when I interned at a strict Republican’s office as a social liberal) in order to remind myself that I never can stop growing and learning. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would choose Mata Khivi Ji. Mata Khivi Ji has been an inspiration for me since I was a little girl. Mata Khivi Ji instituted free nutritious community kitchens called “Langars.” Langars are for all people – regardless of gender, race, etc. to sit alongside one another and break bread. Five hundred years ago, not only was this revolutionary, but it set up a foundation for “sewa” or selfless service to be the most central part to a Sikh’s life. Meeting Mata Khivi Ji would give me the chance to volunteer alongside an incredible figure, and learn as much as I can to be a stronger female leader in my community....

After a successful career in film production, 1970 Boettcher Scholar Lee Gash-Maxey is using her storytelling prowess to help advance black-owned businesses in the State of Colorado. Lee is executive director of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since April of 2016. In her role, Lee is working to increase membership in the business organization by providing relevant programming and partnering with the business community to create opportunities for African-American students. Lee graduated from East High School in Denver and used her Boettcher Scholarship to attend Colorado State University where she graduated with a degree in radio and television production. She started her career with KOA radio, received her first Emmy nomination at KOA-TV, then relocated to Pittsburgh to work on Evening Magazine at KDKA-TV. Lee returned to Colorado where she began doing publications for the Governor’s Office of Energy Conservation, during the administration of Gov. Roy Romer. (“If you can write, you can work in almost any industry they’ve developed,” she said.) Eventually her role expanded to include creating and managing programs to employ young people in recycling and weatherization work. She was soon pulled back into media, however, when a friend told her that BET was starting a Movie channel in Denver. She was hired as managing producer of BET Movies. She later launched her own media production company, Maxey Media Production Group, and was focused on that when, once again, a friend told her about the opportunity with the Colorado Black Chamber. The organization, the friend noted, could benefit from somebody with her unique skills and connections. The position provided her with an opportunity to serve the black community and small business owners, two groups for which she has a strong affinity. “As a Denver native, the black community is very close to my heart,” she said. “My roots in Denver go deep.” Similarly, her own experience as a business owner gave her a deep understanding of the unique pressures faced by small business owners and the need for an organization to provide value to them. “We need to re-establish the reputation of the chamber, and that’s definitely happening,” she said, adding that small business owners are under extreme time pressure and have little time for organizations that don’t provide value. “We need to make it so small business owners know that we can help them grow their business.” In addition to providing training and resources for small businesses, Lee wants to provide value specifically for the younger generation of entrepreneurs while also partnering with businesses to create job opportunities for black students. The desire to give back is something that has driven Lee, and it is a strength she sees in the Boettcher Scholar community. “I think there is an underlying goal in most Boettcher Scholars,” she said. “They know somebody had the foresight to give something back, and they are thinking about how to give something back or pay it forward – maybe not in the exact way they were helped, but in a way that matters to them.”...

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 Angelique Diaz. Name: Karin Schantz Scholar Year:  1981 Hometown: Fort Collins College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): CU and CC, B.A. 1986 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 on sabbatical, contemplating my next steps in life while following some passions through volunteer work, dividing my time between Lakewood, Colorado and Olympia, Washington. After graduation three decades ago, my career path has taken a few turns. I initially “delayed real life” (after canoeing the Mississippi River) and worked in Europe as a tour guide. Subsequently, I marketed Colorado as an international tourism destination, consulted on database design and management, was a financial advisor and estate planner, and most recently gutted and finished a home for resale.  I love designing, planning and working to reach a mutual goal. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I am eternally grateful that I didn’t have a decade of debt. I moved to Europe after graduation and explored different cultures. I improved my language skills which benefitted me in future jobs. I met lifelong friends, and my view of the world changed. I also thank the foundation for getting me through. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up and the scholarship carried me through graduation. In an attempt to “pay it forward”, I was active through grassroots efforts to launch a scholar alumni program which was later formalized by the foundation Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. In recent years, I have served on the Jefferson County Horse Council board, raised a litter of Goldendoodles, was instrumental in creating a new zoning classification for my neighborhood, helped ensure Lakewood’s involvement as a sustainable neighborhood and headed up the R Cubed (recycling, repurposing, reusing) initiative; initiated and organized a community paint recycling day, which kept more than 8 tons of paint out of the landfills; raised money for the Lakewood High School Instrumental Music program; joined my boyfriend on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip in Paraguay; cared for aging parents and settled estates; gardened, hiked and snowshoed. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The best advice I received right out of college was from one of my friend’s mothers and is universal advice, regardless of a chosen career field. She encouraged me to open an individual retirement account or IRA (which I also recommended to clients a few decades later). Growing up, my family did not discuss finances. I never really received any kind of financial education from them probably because they hadn’t received any from their parents. My father was retired Air Force and relied on his military pension for retirement. Pensions are rapidly becoming things of the past, and it is important to plan early. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would love to have dinner with my ancestors who initially immigrated to the United States. My mother has enthusiastically been researching our family ancestry and has traced back multiple generations. It’s amazing what information is archived and accessible, giving a snapshot of lives on a daily basis. I would love to hear about the decision-making process and get a sense for shared personality characteristics. Is this perhaps where I got my sense of adventure, love of education, commitment to family, setting of goals, etc.? What else could I discover about myself and my role in this world?...

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: Morgan Smith Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Colorado Springs College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, BA economics and public policy, expected 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I’m interested in essentially everything related to local government. I’m primarily passionate about local economic development and urban planning, but I also am deeply interested in how local government can better address real problems that affect our neighbors and friends. I believe that local policy issues are sometimes talked about in severely removed terms: an affordability crisis, for example, is usually discussed in terms of “housing stock” or “rent increases,” when in reality, it’s about families and children being displaced from stable homes. I’m really interested in addressing those intersectional issues at a local level. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. My sophomore year I helped start Roosevelt @ DU, a chapter of the nationally networked think tank: the Roosevelt Institute. Roosevelt gets young people involved with local elected officials to push policy reform on important issues. I was drawn to Roosevelt because it was non-partisan and focused on making sure young people had a seat at the decision-making table!   I’m currently the student body president, and I love it. I focus on a lot of the same things as Roosevelt, but on our campus instead of our city or state. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Nathan Hunt is the economic justice program director for the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. He works with people experiencing homelessness, champions initiatives and is just an incredible all-around guy. I worked for Nathan this past summer, and he constantly challenged me to think in human terms: the margins, the homeless, the poor, the foreign aren’t abstract groups and shouldn’t be described as such. They are as much human as we are and by removing our shared human connection when talking about it, we distance ourselves and presume we have no responsibility. He always challenges me to think deeper and act as such. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received has been from Mohammed Lotif, a staffer in Campus Life at DU: “Sit with the uncomfortable. Don’t run away from it: breathe through it.” I totally struggle with this, which is probably why it’s such good advice! If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I’d love to sit down with Teddy Roosevelt. Famous for his boisterous personality, I think he’d be a great dinner guest. He was a voracious reader, a dedicated conservationist and quite the thinker: I would love to just have a conversation with him and gain a deeper appreciation for his worldview....