Scholar Profiles

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Parker University: University of Denver, double majors in International Studies and Media, minors in Leadership Studies and Spanish What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? I am hoping to go to law school in the future and would love to do international human rights. I am planning to take a couple gap years in between graduation and starting law school to work beforehand. I am looking at jobs on the east coast and specifically in the Washington, D.C. area. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I have been most involved in the University of Denver Programming Board (DUPB), the Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP) and the DU Club Rowing team. Each of these organizations has offered me a unique opportunity to become involved in community-building projects and activities that have helped to strengthen me and have given me the ability to give back in each group. In addition, I initially joined rowing to try something new and completely different from what I had done before. It was a new adventure that I came to deeply love! Tell us about an important mentor you have had. One of the most important mentors who I have had is my career counselor at DU, Mary Michael Hawkins. I started going into her office in the beginning of my freshman year, with the plan to get an internship after my freshman year and to have someone to help me and mentor me as I pursued my goals. What started out as just occasional appointments turned into deep and enlightening weekly conversations that we still have even now. Meeting with Mary Michael was one of the greatest decisions I could have made. Mary Michael has helped me to narrow down my goals, better determine the kind of person I am, and has helped me hone in on my talents while improving in areas where I struggle. She is kind-hearted, attentive, and a genuinely wonderful person who I am blessed to have gotten to know over the past four years, and someone whom I hope to continue knowing for many years to come. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received is to be able to say "no." There have been countless times in my past where I have added more and more things to my plate, convincing myself that I could manage and could juggle it all. Most of the time, I was able to make it work, but it would leave me feeling drained and exhausted. In the past couple years, I started looking at reorganizing and prioritizing my time. I give my all into a few things, rather than little bits into countless activities. I am able to give more fully, and my involvement actually gives me energy, instead of taking it away. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would choose to have dinner with Wilma Rudolph. When I was in fourth grade, I did a character presentation where I had to do research on a historical figure and dress up as them, and she was the woman I chose to present. In the 1960s she was the first woman to win three gold medals and was the fastest woman in the world, even after struggling with polio and needing a leg brace for much of her youth. She made strides for black women and was regarded as a civil rights pioneer. As a fourth grader, I found her story inspiring and I still carry it with me years later. She has been a hero of mine since that time and I would love to learn about determination from a woman who embodied it so strongly....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Colorado Springs University: Colorado School of Mines - B.S. Mechanical Engineering, May 2019; M.S. Computer Science, May 2020 What are you interested in pursuing after graduating? This past summer I had the pleasure of working at a robotics startup called Misty Robotics in Boulder. It was a new experience for me, and I loved it. The company was only about 40 people and had only been around for about two years. I loved the tight-knit feel and the ability to work so closely with a new product. Because of this experience, I’m definitely considering robotics startups after I graduate. Of course, I have one additional year of grad school after I finish my undergrad before I dive into the real world. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I’m a huge robotics nerd, so of course I joined robotics club when I started college. This has by far been my favorite activity. When I first joined, the organization only had about 10 members and no budget. Now, three years later, we’re 60 members strong and have a $10,000 budget. It’s been amazing to help grow this organization into a powerful force on campus. Even more so, I’ve loved meeting all the intelligent and hardworking people that are part of robotics. Outside of robotics, Society of Women Engineers also holds a special place in my heart. I’m all about women’s empowerment. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I realize it is cliché, but nobody in my life stacks up to my dad. Whenever I come across a situation I can’t face on my own, my dad is the first person I call. I think what I appreciate the most about my father is he has raised me and my three sisters to be strong women. Just because we are girls didn’t mean we couldn’t do construction work in high school or be engineers. I continue to appreciate his mentorship to help make me the fiercely independent woman I am. I would be nothing without his continued guidance. What's the best advice you've ever received? Though not necessarily advice, one of my very best friends has a life motto of “just having fun.” As a Boettcher Scholar, fun is usually on the bottom of my list. Goals, expectations, and responsibilities come first. It was not until I met this friend that I considered letting fun guide your life. But why shouldn’t it? I think about this often now. I think if you’re having fun and truly enjoying what you’re doing, your impact on the world will be far greater. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? I would love the chance to speak with Alan Turing. It would be so interesting to see how his mind works. I think it would be fascinating to hear about his work during World War II not simply from a factual perspective but also to hear about how he actually thought about what he was doing and its influence. I would also love to tell him how profoundly his work in computer science has influenced our world today and hear his thoughts on that. Also, how cool would it be to watch him experience a laptop for the first time?...

Jessica Cuthbertson, 1997 Boettcher Scholar, is an award-winning eighth-grade English teacher in Aurora Public Schools who has crafted a career as a teacher, instructional coach, and social media activist. Growing up in Rocky Ford in the 1980s, Jessica’s future in education was shaped by her parents and teachers. Mrs. DeLeon gave Jessica a strong foundation as an early reader and the chance to mentor and learn from bilingual students in a K-2 classroom community. Jessica’s middle school social studies teacher, Mrs. Bartolo, arranged a day at The Denver Post to foster Jessica’s interest in journalism. “Key teachers at the right time kept my love of learning alive and made me want to pursue a career in education, even though that’s not what I originally planned to do,” Jessica said. After graduating from Regis University in 2001, Jessica completed a year-long fellowship with the Boettcher Foundation, where she worked in outreach and communications for the Boettcher Scholarship. It was there that her passions coalesced, and she was inspired to pursue a career in public education: “Traveling the state fueled a desire to teach and advocate for Colorado schools and students.” As a National Board-Certified Teacher and self-described “edu-geek” who enjoys adolescent literature as much as her students, Jessica is committed to the growth of “budding journalists” in her eighth-grade class and to elevating the voices of educators across the country, who she believes are often excluded from decisions that impact them. Jessica is an active Twitter influencer, moderator, and writer whose thoughts on education innovation, policy, and equity have been published in Education Week, Chalkbeat and Smithsonian magazines. Jessica attributes much of her voice as an advocate to her time as a “teacherpreneur” with the Center for Teaching Quality, a position that allowed her to teach part-time while engaging in teacher leadership and high-level policy work. Through the center, Jessica discovered that social media, particularly Twitter, is one of the best tools for continued learning. “The reason I’ve been in education for 15 years is because I can write about classroom experiences, education policy, and systemic issues,” she said. “These conversations keep me engaged as a learner and a citizen, and they also make me a better teacher. My students see that I’m learning and working alongside them.” In addition to teaching and blogging, Jessica is active in her parish and on the Aurora Public Schools’ strategic taskforce, where she advocates for English-language learners representing more than 140 nationalities. Additionally, she is co-facilitating a pilot program to support 20 rural Colorado teachers in attaining their National Board certification as part of a teacher retention strategy for the state. Jessica credits this service ethic to her small-town upbringing, faith, and mission-driven education at Regis, which was supported by a Boettcher Scholarship. “As a result of the Boettcher Scholarship, I was able to attend Regis, my top in-state choice of college,” she said. “Their mission of ‘men and women in the service of others,’ combined with being a Boettcher Scholar, continues to drive my commitment to working toward a more equitable public education system for all students in rural, suburban, and urban districts across our great state.” Recently, Jessica has encountered an even more formative experience for her identity as an educator and advocate: becoming a mother to a current first grader who she and her husband recently adopted from Ethiopia in February of 2017. “Becoming a parent has fundamentally changed me as a teacher. As a mom, I’ve grasped how much parents trust that teachers are doing their best – and as a teacher it’s my obligation to do right by their children.”...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Salida University: University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies; BA/MA dual-degree program in international studies. Undergraduate minors in Spanish, leadership and sustainability; Master’s degree emphasis will be international development. What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After graduating this spring, I will be sticking around DU for another year to finish my Master’s degree in international studies. After my academic adventure ends (at least for the moment), I am considering a few different directions. I would love to teach abroad for a year through the Fulbright program, or possibly join the Peace Corps. Otherwise, rumor has it that eventually people get these things called jobs (?!), and so I think that working in diplomacy for the U.S. Department of State would be a challenging and rewarding experience. Regardless, I feel excited by the future and the opportunities it holds. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Looking back at my time in various organizations, three groups that hold fond memories and gratifying experiences are the Honors Program, Pioneer Leadership Program, and my sorority, Alpha Phi. These communities stand out because of the incredible relationships and networks they have fostered within my life. During my time at DU, I was also extremely fortunate to study abroad on a sailing program in the south Pacific Ocean through the Sea Education Association, and in Cochabamba, Bolivia through the School for International Training. These programs truly changed my life and cultivated a humbling, beautiful year that I will never forget. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. For as many times as I have been asked this question, I don’t think I will ever stop saying that the best and most important mentor in my life is my dad. When you know how much someone loves you, it makes it a lot easier to learn to love yourself and then replicate that type of unconditional support for others. He constantly challenges me to be more kind and curious, while also reminding me the importance of playing outside and getting a good night’s sleep. I am truly so grateful for his mentorship, friendship, and dadship. What's the best advice you've ever received? At a Boettcher conference two summers ago, I was reminded to “Be more, do less.” Over the last couple of years, I have thought about this piece of advice over and over as I try to unlearn and relearn the way I practice this in my life. It is so gratifying to give yourself the space to choose people and experiences that make you feel inspired and passionate. Equally important, is the advice from a close friend that you are never too busy to make time for chips and queso from Illegal Pete's, something I have come to believe (and practice) wholeheartedly. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? Okay, it’s not exactly history but I would quite possibly die if I could have dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m giddy just thinking about it! She confidently uses her intelligence to inspire and challenge the world, validating the way I (and others) think about being a student, feminist, and woman. We have so much to learn from her dedication to fiercely advocating for equality and refusing to be deterred by hostility and discrimination in our current political climate. Even without having dinner together (a girl can dream!), I feel so grateful that we have her on the Supreme Court....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2000 Hometown: Ignacio Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts; San Francisco Art Institute, Master of Fine Arts Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I’m an interdisciplinary artist and educator. I create images, cabinets of curiosity, and interactions to address questions about energy, water, climate, health, and microbes. My projects inform my work as an instructor and coordinator for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) related programs with the Genesis Innovation Lab at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (since June 2018) and at the UCLA Sci | Art Nanolab Summer Institute (since July 2014). I love activating people’s curiosity and creativity as tools for exploring and ameliorating the beautiful worlds inside and around themselves, from the molecular to environmental scale. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Foundation supported my vision of becoming an artist who integrates many disciplines by allowing me to attend my dream school of Colorado College, a hotbed of interdisciplinary thinking. Being a Boettcher Scholar has fueled a lifelong commitment to contribute inspiration to communities in many forms and in many places, with a special tie to Colorado. Although I am not currently based in Colorado, I return every few years both to create artistic projects in the state and to lecture at my alma maters: Ignacio High School and Colorado College. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. In 2013, I began practicing yoga to deal with stress-related health issues. To share the benefits, I recently completed a yoga teacher training, and have been imparting classes to friends, co-workers, and the general public in Echo Park, Los Angeles. My wife, Frida Cano, and I are founding members of an interdisciplinary cooperative called XOCIARTEK, through which we help organize and impart workshops and long-term projects for communities and youth in Mexico City, her hometown. We also work together building props for film and television and have created projects for 826LA, a nonprofit that helps children write stories. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? The best advice I received was from Buster Simpson, one of my mentors, who recommended not to get stuck making one definable art product or style, but to instead develop a conceptual and flexible process, to include contextual research and collaboration. I recommend that you find artists you admire and try to work for them and learn from them. Develop your vision through a daily practice, and inspire and educate others. 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 Lynn Margulis, to speak with her about her theories of endosymbiosis, the ideas that ancient microbes engulfed smaller bacteria to form partnerships that became animal and plant cells, and how the Gaia hypothesis arose from cellular musings. Physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrodinger, Yogis Maharishi Yogananda and Yogi Bajan, and artists JMW Turner and Joseph Beuys would ideally be at the table, to speak with them about the energies of the universe and ways of grasping those energy patterns through inquiry, imagination, and intuition....

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

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Berthoud University: Colorado State University, Mechanical Engineering What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? After college, I plan to pursue unique and effective ways of using engineering to help with the development of Latin America. These efforts will include learning Spanish, getting involved in a community internationally, and finding engineering connections that will allow me to directly serve the needs of that community. I am unsure how this will happen and will likely involve getting involved with graduate research in developmental engineering. I will also likely pursue an internship with Engineering Ministries International to practically learn how engineering can be used in developing countries. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Within the university, I have tried to focus on two primary clubs: Outpost Ministries and Engineers Without Borders. Through my time in Outpost, I have really learned how to create community, support friends, and grow as a leader. As a small group leader, I have learned the importance of outreach and the power of support. Joining the club Engineers Without Borders has shown me how to use my engineering tools in a practical project. I have been able to be a leader on the structural design process for building a community center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Through my time at the university, one of my biggest mentors has been Glen Gilbert. He is the practicing engineer who works with Engineers Without Borders. He has spent countless hours of his time to walk us through the structural design process. He is always willing to take more time to work on the project so that we have a better understanding. Also, in his life, he plays a vital role in the support of recovering drug addicts and community members. He has mentored me in life, engineering and my relationship with Christ. What's the best advice you've ever received? I am not sure who said it, but the phrase “your thoughts influence your words, which influence your actions, which influence your habits, which influence your character.” This advice has changed the way in which I have lived my life at school. The aspect I changed was to make sure my thoughts about myself, activities, and others were always positive. Through working on the way that I think about situations, it directly influences what my actions are. Although I directly try to change my daily actions and habits, the first step to changing anything in my own life is to first change my mentality. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why? If I were able to have dinner with any one person in history, I would have it with Jesus. In my opinion, he is one of the most influential changemakers, and his teachings have drastically changed the world. In his lifetime, he established the foundation for the modern church that has touched every country in the world. Through his lifestyle, he was one of the greatest society changemakers, and I want to be able to positively influence other communities just as he had....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2000 Hometown: Alamosa Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts in Biology; University of Colorado, MD Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I am an otolaryngologist with a private practice in Pueblo. I finished residency at the Baylor College in Medicine in Houston in 2014 and have been practicing in Pueblo ever since. I love being in medicine and specifically being an otolaryngologist as it is a perfect mixture of the medical and surgical management of common ailments. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out complex problems on a daily basis while being able to help others and give back to my community. I also do three rural outreach clinics per month, which allows me to help other communities in need. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar allowed me to attend the college of my dreams, Colorado College. My education at CC was invaluable in being accepted at University of Colorado for medical school. The well-rounded education at CC gave me the foundation to succeed in medical school and ultimately obtain a spot in a strong residency program. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. One of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have had since finishing residency was participating in a medical mission to Cambodia. Through the organization Jeremiah’s Hope, I participated in a two-week trip in which our team evaluated and operated on many indigent patients in Phnom Penh. In Pueblo, I provide free annual oral cancer screenings at the Dorcy Cancer Center. I also am a member of the Pueblo Historical Society. Through this organization, I continually learn about the interesting history of Pueblo with a close-knit group that is working towards its preservation while improving our city’s future. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? Your best teachers are your patients.  A mentor and one of the finest physicians I know would always say that, and I find it to be true every day. To those interested in a career in medicine I would say start looking for shadowing and educational opportunities as early as possible. It is a long arduous road, and you will need a strong support system of family and friends; it is important to maintain and nurture these relationships no matter how busy school and your career may become. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would dine with women who pushed boundaries in their professional fields, like the first female physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would want to thank them for their strength and perseverance, and honor their sacrifice in helping me achieve the personal success I’ve been able to attain in my career. I would ask for advice in how I can help the young women of today and tomorrow maintain the momentum towards gender equality....

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

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Boettcher Scholar Year: 2000 Hometown: Greeley Colleges/Degree(s): University of Denver: BA Spanish and International Studies; MA International Administration Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I've worked at Rise Above Colorado for the past two and a half years. Our nonprofit works across the state, directly with youth and with the adults who serve them, to empower young people with education and inspiration to prevent youth substance misuse. The best part of my role is the ability to connect people across the state and leverage the resources and expertise that exist in local communities. I also have the amazing privilege to innovate and create alongside our youth partners, which helps me feel motivated to always live up to their high expectations! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I’m forever grateful for the chain of events sparked by the Boettcher Scholarship that has led me to where I am today. Apart from a year in South India working at a local NGO after graduate school, I've been in Colorado-based work ever since. When I returned from India, I had the fortune to meet a Trustee of the Foundation who hired me onto the Community Initiatives team at a local bank. Five years later, I joined the State of Colorado, directing a grant program to fund youth prevention work. That position led me to Rise Above Colorado. Through these diverse opportunities to serve Colorado, my love for this state has continued to grow. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I like to joke about my ongoing extracurricular activities as an adult. For many years, I’ve played on a USTA tennis league in Denver, building a wonderful community of teammates and friends. And I also have been a member of the Cherry Creek Chorale, going on nine years now. I’ve dabbled in various other activities over the years (including a summer kickball league) and have volunteered at various youth-serving programs in the Denver metro area, including serving on the board of directors for Groundwork Denver and volunteering at Mi Casa Resource Center for Women and Urban Peak’s youth homeless shelter. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field? When I entered the workforce, I was idealistic and adamant that the work I would do mattered more than anything else in selecting my first job. An advisor told me to be selective about the people I worked with as well as the nature of the job. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate her wisdom. We spend so much of our time and energy with our work colleagues, and our capacity to impact change is often influenced by them. So, I would advise new graduates, as I was, to surround yourself with people who will positively challenge and inspire you. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My maternal grandmother died when my mother was a young child, but her legacy has greatly impacted my life. I’ve heard so many stories about her and have even been compared to her at times. I would love to meet her to know who she was, and what her hopes and dreams for her family were. If my great-grandmother could be there, whom I did have the fortune to meet and know, I’d invite her for dinner too. And it would be awesome if they cooked for me!...