Scholar Profiles

Will French has always loved horses, despite the fact that his parents were never really into them. He took riding lessons as a kid, and, in junior high, got horses of his own – but not in the most conventional way. “My dad is a lawyer, and he did some work defending ranchers in grazing fights,” Will said. “The ranchers couldn’t pay him all that they needed to in cash, so we got paid in horses, which I thought was pretty awesome.” As a fifth-generation Coloradan, Will grew up in Fort Collins and attended Poudre High School. After receiving the Boettcher Scholarship in 2003, Will chose a path that would allow for horses to remain a constant in his life. He attended Colorado State University to study equine science, continued on to attend veterinary school at CSU, then progressed to an internship at Littleton Equine Medical Center, a major equine referral hospital. “In the internship, we rotated through medicine, surgery, and emergency, and kind of got a taste of everything,” Will said. “After the internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job, and my wife was also offered a job there too — she’s a veterinarian also — so we both work at the same practice.” Will focused on lameness in sport horses, and performs various tasks such as chiropractic acupuncture, ultrasounds, general exams and X-rays. “I really enjoy the puzzle piece of cases, and trying to put all the pieces together — so kind of that critical thinking part,” Will said. “I love working outside and getting to see my work in action. When the horse is lame, and then gets to go back and do its job successfully, that’s a lot of fun.” For Will, the most significant impact being a Boettcher Scholar has had on his life is the call to service and giving back. As president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, Will spends plenty of time doing just that. The association is the professional organization for veterinarians in Colorado, focusing on advocating for veterinary practices in the state, providing educational opportunities for veterinarians and creating outreach to the community. The organization also has a charitable branch called PetAid Colorado that works to provide access to quality care for pets in low-income communities. Will’s work of making contributions to the veterinary profession, supporting pet and owners in need, and bringing horses back to health has left its mark on Colorado, and he is thankful the Boettcher Scholarship has encouraged such service. “To him who much is given, much is expected,” Will said. “We’ve been given an incredible opportunity, and to figure out the ways to give back to our community is super important.”...

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. Eric Paricio 2016 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant, Singing in the Birthplace of Opera This past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the La Musica Lirica Opera Program based in the small town of Novafeltria, Italy. Over the course of this five-week program, I was involved in two famous operas, Puccini’s La Bohéme and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and even portrayed the role of Benoit in La Bohéme. With these operas, my fellow cast members and I were able to travel to many places, including San Marino and Rimini, and perform these shows. In addition to these two operas, I took voice lessons, Italian language class and Italian diction lessons from certified “Bel Canto” (the Italian style of singing) instructors. These lessons and language classes afforded me the opportunity to perform in recitals through La Musica Lirica for the general public as well as learning to converse in Italian with a number of locals. Outside of the program, I was able to travel for three additional weeks (two with my family and one on my own). My family and I first toured the historic city of Munich, Germany, then went south into the famous mountains of Innsbruck, Austria, where we hiked in the beautiful Austrian Alps. Next, we moved through Lichtenstein on our way to visit both Zürich and Geneva, Switzerland. Passing through France, we moved south to Italy, touring Florence and the history-rich Rome. After my opera experience, I spent a week walking around Venice, hiking through beautiful Cinque Terre, Italy, and finished off my excursion at some of the world’s most famous landmarks in Paris, France....

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: Tommy George Scholar Year:  2001 Hometown: Rifle College(s) and degree(s): CU Boulder, BA - Economics, 2005; University of Arizona, JD, 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’ve been a lawyer for a little over eight years and I currently work at the law firm Spencer Fane in Denver. My specialty is organizing and representing special districts. Special districts are unique local governmental entities created under Colorado law, and are responsible for providing much of the public infrastructure and services necessary to support commercial and residential communities across the state. Whether you know it or not, you probably live in one. The best part about my job is working with the boards of directors who serve the various districts we represent and seeing the impacts these individuals and their efforts have on their communities. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Foundation and the Boettcher Scholarship cemented in me the constant internal question “Are you using your opportunities and abilities to benefit your community and the state of Colorado?” This question has played into just about every big decision I’ve made about my education, my profession, my career, my community service efforts, and where my wife and I wanted to start our family and raise our kids—right here in Colorado. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Over the past few several years I served on the CU Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Jefferson County Community Development Advisory Board, and co-chaired the Presidents Leadership Class Alumni Board. More recently I’ve been involved with political organizations, and I’m serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? My advice: slow down. It’s so easy to be overeager about progressing in your career and wanting to move quickly from one set of tasks or responsibilities to the next higher level. But it takes time to learn and master certain skills, and sometimes you just have to slog through seemingly mundane tasks in order to do it. If you can slow down you’ll produce a better work product and will obtain a deeper understanding of what you’re doing and why. But it’s okay to struggle with this—I still do, every day. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My clear first choice would be Jesus, for innumerable reasons that I don’t need to go on about here. But a close second would be to have dinner with both of my grandmothers. My grandmothers passed when I was in middle school and in high school. I was able to spend a lot of time with them when I was young, and I had great relationships with both of them. But now that I am an adult and a parent, there are so many stories, memories and laughs I’d love to share with them, and questions I’d like to ask about their lives. Most importantly, I’d want to seek their advice, guidance and observations on family, parenting, friendship, my career, current events and so many other things. Of course, I’d have to be clean shaven, be properly dressed and mind my manners for dinner with my grandmothers, or they’d let me hear about it....

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: Marianne Hughes Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Elizabeth College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, International Studies and French, BA 2020, MA 2021 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Thankfully, I will be pursuing my graduate degree in international studies from the University of Denver in tandem with my undergraduate studies, giving me a bit more time to discover where my many interests intersect in a professional setting, but I am very interested in spending substantial time abroad post-college. This could include joining the Peace Corps, using my bilingual skills in the Francophone world, or simply working in continental Europe for a period of time, but I definitely have no linear path for my future just yet. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Being a member of the DU Debate Union has certainly been the most important part of my intellectual development since coming to college. Not only does it make me more intentional in my analysis of the daily news and conversations with others but demands a broad and deep exploration of so many varied topics that I’m always kept on my toes. I also love living with my sorority sisters of Delta Zeta, serving in philanthropic capacities in our own community and having a powerful support system of incredible women to rely on. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. My high school history teacher profoundly affected how I understand my purpose in life, both personally and professionally, and how I should adjust my daily behavior to reflect what I value most. He had an interesting dichotomy, living for your eulogy or for your resume, that has always stuck with me as I confront situations in which I am forced to ration my time into ever smaller pieces. Do I choose to do things that will make the lives of others better and more fulfilling, or do I spend my life chronically “competing” or “performing” without adding real value to my life or the lives of those around me? What's the best advice you've ever received? In the words of the great thought leader, Mr. Kanye West, “nothing in life is promised except death.” My family has always reminded me to stay grounded and remember my roots, to not expect anything and to be grateful for everything. Everything I have earned is because I have had the support of those around me and been able to access incredible opportunities; therefore, I should always make the most of what I am lucky enough to have. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would love to have dinner with Yves Saint Laurent, an iconic French fashion designer and revolutionary in haute couture. He not only normalized the wearing of suits and tuxedos for women, but consistently searched for new ways to improve his creative eye, his stitching technique, his experimentation with new materials and textures and his craft. He empowered women to take on their new roles in society as active members of the workforce post-WWII while breaking down many of the barriers that exist in high fashion. He created opportunities for young talent to rise and consistently reimagined the modern woman through beautiful clothing....

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. Lindsey Paricio 2014 Boettcher Scholar International Education Grant: Massey University, New Zealand "Where ever you go, go with all your heart" This is one of my favorite sayings, but during my study abroad semester in New Zealand I discovered that it is impossible, and frankly undesirable, to go everywhere with a complete heart. In those six months, I have experienced more extreme joy, and yes, a little sadness, than I thought possible, in leaving home to go to New Zealand, and in leaving New Zealand to come home. Each place holds a piece of my heart. People in both places hold a piece of my heart. Memories of two different worlds and lives hold a piece of my heart. And they always will. In coming home to Colorado, I left a piece of my heart in New Zealand. But that's okay. I wouldn't trade my experiences for the world. That semester taught me that I need to live life by scattering pieces of my heart around the world, finding places and people that enthrall and love me. It's painful and sad, but also joyous and beautiful, and so worthwhile. My international education experience allowed me to continue to work towards my chemistry degree, take classes for fun (like theater!) and explore that incredible country. I have chased my Lord of the Rings obsession through Hobbiton and up Mount Doom. I climbed over, paddled through oceans and floated my way down glowworm caves. And I made incredible friends, both Kiwi and international, that I know will always be there for me, both literally and in my heart. On a slightly less serious note, I have compiled a list of the top 10 things I miss most about living in New Zealand. MEAT PIES! My friends Ocean and mountain in the same place Good (seriously good) chocolate Kiwi sayings (“sweet as,” “sust,” “banter,” etc.) Saying the letter Z as "zed" The “if you do something stupid it's your fault” attitude Not having to wear shoes Not having to go through airport security Making jokes about kiwi birds and kiwi fruits all the time Yes, I'd say it was a "sweet as" run. Thanks, New Zealand, I will never forget you. And in the words of a great man, "I'll be back."...

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. Katrina San Nicholas 2014 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant: Karlsruhe, Germany After a summer of laboratory research, I ventured to Karlsruhe, Germany to participate in a program with students from 22 different countries. Although I completed classes on international relations and intercultural communication, I learned the most from the casual experiences: taking the trains, walking down the street and eating at German cafes and restaurants. My original goals included making international connections, learning more about sustainable practices and earning course credit through the McBride Honors Program at Colorado School of Mines. The program surpassed my original hopes and my biggest takeaways are as follows: Multicultural groups are not as efficient—but that is okay. I worked on a group poster/oral presentation with a girl from China, a guy from Greece and another girl from Jordan. Because we all had such radically different ideas about what a presentation actually is and how it should be approached, it took us forever to even settle upon a topic. However, our finished result (which included some drawings and a small skit) was much richer and more diverse than could have been created with a mono-cultural group. Sustainable practices are everywhere in Germany. During my trip, I took the train on errands and for day trips to other cities and found the system to be quite manageable. Similarly, the recycling system in Germany, which differentiates between different colors of glass and types of paper, necessitates a bit of extra work but ultimately ensures that a wide range of materials are reused. Making these changes in the United States might be difficult, but Germany does set an example that the country could follow. I feel very fortunate to speak English. Even though I was in Germany, this program was conducted entirely in my language and this put me at a great academic advantage. English is a lingua franca, a business language of the world, and, even though I am gradually learning Spanish, many countries adapt to my communicative structure. As I pursue other adventures around the world, I hope to use this as a way to meet others but also to always respect local languages and customs. Shared interests can transcend all else. While I expected to be having very serious conversations about world politics and cultural variation, I actually connected with the other participants over more superfluous matters. Alkis (from Greece) and I spent several hours talking about the merits of the TV show Lost, and some friends from China and I talked a lot more about fashion than foreign policy. Ultimately, I would highly recommend this particular program. It is ideal for students who cannot go abroad for an entire semester and allows participants to meet people from all over the globe with similar interests. The program is annual and more information can be found here....

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....