Scholar Profiles

Saturday mornings in the southeast Colorado town of La Junta (population 7,000) are more active – and muddier – than they used to be. Each Saturday, regardless of the weather, 1971 Scholar Barry Shioshita and a group of friends gather at a variety of locations to train for obstacle racing. The core members, known as Team OGZR (“Old Geezer”), began meeting five years ago to train for Spartan mud runs after Barry, a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo, sought a new training regimen. However, not long after completing their first race, they realized the potential for a new mission: transforming a muddy arroyo into a channel for community wellness. As the CFO for Southeast Health Group, a nonprofit that provides behavioral and primary care health care, along with comprehensive wellness services across six counties in southeast Colorado, Barry was aware of the lack of community awareness and the stigma associated with those suffering from mental illness. He also knew that the arroyo bordering the Southeast Health Group building was the location of a long-planned trail. Inspired by these two needs, Barry, Team OGZR and employees of Southeast Health Group launched La Junta’s first-ever Mud Sport event in April 2013, in celebration of Children’s Mental Health Month. “The first mud run helped us to grow a concept, and develop the course route,” said Barry. Since then, the event has become a staple in La Junta each April, with nearly 250 runners enjoying muddy obstacles, music and a tour of Southeast Health’s integrated healthcare facilities. Recently, the city and Southeast Health Group developed a disc golf course adjacent to the trail, a permanent amenity that engages up to 50 people on sunny Saturdays, and is indicative of Southeast’s philosophy of healthy lifestyles. “In rural Colorado, if you don’t partner, you don’t get it done. You can have a great idea, but it takes collaboration and hard work to make it happen.” Barry loves rural life, and the slower pace and the opportunities for connection it brings. “You have the opportunity to know the people you sit next to in the coffee shop. People truly care about each other, and look out for each other’s kids.” Growing up on a family farm in the San Luis Valley, Barry raised animals, harvested alfalfa and potatoes, and loaded semi-trucks with 50-pound bags of cabbage. “We learned to work hard, and to appreciate that when you give 100 percent, you get 100 percent back.” After attending Sierra Grande High School and receiving the Boettcher Scholarship, he studied business administration, economics and marketing at Adams State. Barry and his wife moved to La Junta where he began a three-decade career as a county administrator, overseeing the day-to-day operations of counties in Colorado and northern California. He returned to La Junta in 2011 to provide financial and strategic oversight for Southeast Health Group, the largest healthcare provider in southeastern Colorado. As a healthcare administrator in rural Colorado, Barry has a direct hand in responding to community needs and adapting to challenges.  A few years ago, the community was faced with a drastic reduction in the number of primary care providers who were in the area.  Southeast Health recognized an opportunity not only expand its market, but also provide an integrated approach to healthcare. Barry, staff and volunteers spent weekends and nights on the facility renovation, taking it from concept to opening in seven weeks. In response to changing needs, Southeast Health has also added a mental health peer advocate drop-in center, fitness equipment and the only hydrotherapy pool between Pueblo and Kansas. Barry is a strong believer that the integrated healthcare model of one-stop shopping for primary care, behavioral health and physical therapy works. Barry said, “If we are successful in our risk taking, then the end goal is a benefit to our community and the region that we serve.” For Barry, community isn’t just where he lives – it is how he lives. Community-building has shaped his profession and public service since winning the Boettcher Scholarship in 1971. “Winning the Boettcher Scholarship meant the opportunity to go to school and pursue whatever my dreams were going to be. People believed in me, and in turn I was going to do my very best for my community.”...

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers.  Recently several Boettcher Scholars volunteered to blog about their travel experiences. Here’s one of their stories. Amanda Cary 2014 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant, Washington D.C. Using my Boettcher Educational Enrichment Grant to participate in an academic and internship program in Washington, D.C. was truly one of the best decisions that I made in my four years of undergraduate education. As a journalism major earning a political science minor, participating in a rigorous, hands-on journalism program not only taught me valuable tangible skills, but also gave me hope for the future of journalism. In addition to the academics, interning at the U.S. Department of Education allowed me to learn more about education in America – a topic I am passionate about. After I graduate, I will be headed to South Carolina to teach secondary English. Had I not spent time in such an empowering yet challenging environment like the Department of Education, I do not think I would have opened my eyes to the potential of a postgraduate position with Teach For America. D.C. challenged many of the constructed ideologies that I once held about the world and about my own path. I am so grateful that the Boettcher Foundation opened this door for me, and I am committed to paying it forward in my future....

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: Raquel "Kelley" Ritz Scholar Year:  2006 Hometown: Frederick College(s) and degree(s): University of Denver, Russian and Economics, 2010 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I currently work as a deputy sheriff for the Denver Sheriff Department. Over the last few years, our country has experienced a shift in the perception and respect for law enforcement. Given how I was raised to help and serve others, I am most excited about being a part of the change to the law enforcement community. I want to restore the public's faith in us because we help and protect a part of our community that most people don’t even want to think of. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Like every other Boettcher Scholar, this scholarship has changed my life, giving me opportunities I would have never had otherwise. Having no debt allowed me to explore options after college including volunteering as a victim advocate, which led me to find my passion in civil service/law enforcement. In addition, being a Boettcher Scholar has given me such enriching experiences with my Boettcher family. I have served on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, and as a Boettcher Ambassador and Boettcher Class Champion, the last few years where I have been able to reconnect with incredible alumni and plan fun events that reengage and inspire alumni, including the 2018 Signature Event in June! Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Beyond serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board planning events, and serving as a Boettcher Ambassador and Class Champion,  for more than four years I volunteered as an on-call Victim Advocate with Victim Outreach Inc. For years I have been paged in the middle of the night to respond to crime scenes and meet with victims of crime and traumatic events. I love being a part of each of these organizations because I believe so fully in their missions and contributions to the State of Colorado. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? First, find what makes you happy and settle for nothing less. And most importantly, the advice my mother taught us was that if you have the ability to help others, you also have a duty to. 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 grandmother. She died when my mother was 10 and she talks about how similar we are. I would love to meet her and get her advice on everything....

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: David Andrews Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Louisville College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College, English - Focus in Creative Writing (Poetry), Class of 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduation I will drive out to northern Massachusetts to work as a summer session teaching intern at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. I will be teaching the “Writing in the Outdoors” course alongside a master teacher during the six-week program. I am also waiting to hear back from the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. This fall, I also applied to teach English in Uruguay during the 2018-19 school year. Before I leave for Massachusetts and become an adult, I hope to make use of the touring bike I bought this summer and go for a multi-week tour in the western United States. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I joined the student radio station, the Sounds of Colorado College, during my first year at CC mostly so I could spend more time with a friend who also had a show on the station. Surprisingly, I’ve stuck with my radio show since 2014 and still spend an hour every Monday streaming music to around 17,000 listeners across the Front Range. Just kidding. At most, I have five listeners every week, but it’s still a good time. In addition to DJing, I am a writing center tutor, I lead backpacking trips with the Outdoor Education Community, and I was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper for two semesters. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. The boss of the ice cream shop where I worked in high school is probably the most important non-parental mentor I’ve had in my life. He always gets good haircuts, which is something I aspire to. In addition, he is a literal force of nature and wakes up every day with the desire to achieve his dreams. He recently told me that I should challenge myself and take risks in the next couple of years while I’m fresh out of college. This time in my life, he said, is one of the rare moments where my decisions will only truly affect one person: me. What's the best advice you've ever received? The Four Agreements were introduced to me by an Uber driver in Los Angeles in 2015. He had little water bottles and fun-size Snickers in his Honda Odyssey, but was also packing some indispensable life advice. The Four Agreements are as follows. 1. Be impeccable with your word. 2. Don’t take anything personally 3. Don’t make assumptions 4. Always do your best. I encourage everyone to read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz to learn more. The agreements are based on the idea that humans live a “dream” conjured by their perception of the world, but it is possible to control this dream and attain happiness and peace. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  James Baldwin would be a great dinner guest. My dad recommended I watch “I Am Not Your Negro” last year, and I was very interested in Baldwin. I doubt he’d have much interest in having dinner with me, but I think our dinner would have the potential to be an enjoyable two- to three-hour experience. I would ask him some questions about his time living in France, his opinion on hip-hop’s place in American culture, and learn more about his writing process and favorite poets....

Gina Gonzales-Wagerman’s life has been defined by seizing opportunity. As a result, her journey has led to diverse pursuits ranging from teaching primary school in Bulgaria to working on marketing for popular TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. These experiences have opened many doors for Gina; much the same way that opening the letter informing her that she had won the Boettcher Scholarship set her on the path for a lifetime of opportunity. Gina, a 2000 Boettcher Scholar from Pueblo Central High School, attended Colorado State University with her scholarship. Though she began in mechanical engineering, she soon shifted to a major that allowed her to combine her interests in math and drawing – fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. After graduation, Gina felt the urge to give back through service in some capacity – a common desire among Boettcher Scholars who are selected in part for their strong service ethic. “I applied for the Peace Corps, and the process took about six months, so I had forgotten all about it,” Gina said. “Then, I got this call [when I was] coming out of a theater after a movie, and they asked, ‘are you ready to do your duty to your country?’ I was wondering who it was, and they said ‘this is the Peace Corps! We have a project for you in five weeks, are you ready’?” Gina moved back home, packed up, and left for Bulgaria, where she taught primary school English and started an after-school sports program. Her experience in the Peace Corps prompted a desire to become further involved in international development, leading her to pursue a graduate degree in global marketing communications and advertising from Emerson College in Boston. There, Gina heard a guest lecture from chief marketing officer from Warner Bros. speak as a guest lecturer. She followed up with the speaker and ended up receiving an internship with Warner in Burbank, California. That internship set the path for her career. “I started at Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Marketing as an intern graphic designer,” Gina said. “I basically started there, worked many different positions, and, after 10 years, I am a director here.” As director of creative services, Gina works on marketing for various Warner Bros. television shows, including Ellen, The Big Bang Theory and Arrow. One of her favorite moments with Warner Bros. was yet another instance in which she grabbed an opportunity that allowed her to combine her passions – training people in Ethiopia on how to start a radio program and market it. “This opportunity was really exciting, because I was able to do international development, marketing, and graphic design all at once,” Gina said. “I always battle with myself because I’m working in an entertainment company, which is basically the opposite of international development, but I do think that these opportunities are there for overlap. And if they are not, you can make them for yourself.” Being a Boettcher Scholar has not only taught Gina the power of pursuing opportunity, but also the importance of giving back. Whether through mentoring a high school student through Warner Bros.’ volunteer branch, serving as a running mentor with her running club, or hosting a writing club with her husband, Gina values investing in others to help them actualize their potential, just as the Boettcher Foundation has done in her own 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. Name: Todd Breyfogle Scholar Year:  1984 Hometown: Lafayette College(s) and degree(s): Colorado College, B.A., Classics-History-Politics; Corpus Christi College, Oxford, B.A., M.A., Ancient and Modern History; Corpus Christi College, Oxford, M.St., Patristic and Modern Theology; University of Chicago, M.A., Ph.D., Social Thought Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? As director of seminars for the Aspen Institute, I help successful people live more philosophically. I organize humanities-based leadership seminars in which a deep exposure to classic and contemporary texts from around the world help senior leaders become more self-aware and more self-correcting. It is rewarding to see how the liberal arts become immediately relevant to how people think about living and leading in a complex world. Ideas in action—what could be better? What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship allowed me to attend Colorado College—something my family could never have afforded. And because of the scholarship, I had the freedom to pursue what I loved—interdisciplinary humanities. That freedom to pursue learning for its own sake, without immediate regard for its utility, has carried me on an extraordinary path to study at Oxford, to a PhD from the University of Chicago, to working with undergraduates (including Boettcher Scholars) at the University of Denver, to extending that love of liberal learning among senior adults who are making significant decisions all over the world. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. My activities outside of work are largely related to liberal education. I sit on the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the board of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars, the board of the Alliance for Liberal Learning, and chair the American Academy for Liberal Education. I still wear my academic hat, writing and lecturing, and my book On Creativity, Liberty, Love and the Beauty of the Law was published by Bloomsbury in 2017. Most important, I spend time with my wife, Allyson, and my children, Sarah and Lucus. I enjoy hiking, horseback riding, music and running. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The best advice for any career, and for living: know yourself. Ask yourself: How do I match my talents with one of the world’s greatest needs? Your career rarely matches what you studied in college. Pursue what you care about regardless of its perceived value. Ideally, undergraduate education gives you the time, space and freedom to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and to learn how to manage yourself. I work with a lot of CEOs and senior professionals who insist that they want people with integrity and purpose who can speak and write clearly, and who know how to learn. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I’d have dinner with an improbable pair: Michel de Montaigne and Teddy Roosevelt, both of whom loved horses. Both were men of unusually creative intellects who found ways of combining deep contemplation with energetic action. Both were wonderful storytellers, so our conversations would be lively and witty—and would provide much-needed perspective on life today. Beyond wit, both me deepened their sense of proportion and grace as they passed through significant existential pain. Montaigne and TR also immersed themselves in the natural world and understood how connection to an order outside of ourselves helped inculcate a capacity for self-transcendence....

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....