Scholar Profiles

Dan Bishop’s varied career has included roles as a chemist, software entrepreneur, technical writer and college professor. But the common thread that unites those pursuits has always been a love of science and logic. It’s a love that has driven the 1962 Boettcher Scholar since his youth and continues to motivate his work as a community volunteer, lecturer and fundraiser in retirement. Born in Pueblo, Dan moved often during his youth, but he ultimately spent the final years of high school in Denver, where he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. He recalls coming of age as Sputnik and the resulting space race dominated the American psyche. High-performing students were encouraged to pursue advanced level courses in math and science. It was an area where Dan found a natural aptitude. “My dad worked at Lockheed Martin, and I kept a three-ring binder of all the launches and successes and failures” he recalls, adding that he also served in the corps of young “Sputnik spotters” on the University of Denver campus when he was a junior high student. Dan used his Boettcher Scholarship to attend the University of Colorado, where he earned a degree in chemistry. He spent a few years as a chemist for Sherwin-Williams near Oakland, California, before he decided to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry. He earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Kansas and taught college-level chemistry for several years before developing an interest in computer technology in the late 1970s. “It was just when personal computers were coming out, and I saw an opportunity to write some of the first educational software,” he recalled. Dan started a small business writing software, and his products included some of the first graphical laboratory simulations in chemistry. The software venture dominated Dan’s life until his wife, Ann, was transferred to Fort Collins and he once again returned to academia, this time in the engineering department at Colorado State University. After a brief hiatus, Dan became a technical writer and then a software programmer for a small company in Boulder. He was eventually lured back to teaching, this time in CSU’s chemistry department, where he taught until he retired in 1994. Retirement has been anything but quiet for Dan, who after moving to Salida five years ago, quickly became involved with the Central Colorado Humanists, a group whose philosophical approach to life focuses on science, rational thought and reason. Dan became president of the group and helped grow its membership to 150. As part of his work, Dan occasionally gives community lectures about Mars and other science-related topics, allowing him to rekindle the fascination from his youth. Dan also helps the group with fundraising for its scholarship program. Last year the group raised $7,000 – enough to fund seven scholarships for local graduates. It’s a great way to pay forward his own great fortune as a Boettcher Scholar. “I don’t think there is any way to really describe adequately the effect the (Boettcher) scholarship had on my personal life,” Dan said, adding that neither of his parents had attended college and affording college would have been a struggle for the family. In addition to his work with the Central Colorado Humanists, Dan’s hobbies include watercolor painting, playing the cello (a pursuit he took up at the age of 67) and spending time with his family. Dan and his wife have two daughters and two grandchildren....

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: Joel Minor Scholar Year:  2007 Hometown: Lafayette College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College, B.A. Environment Policy 2011; Stanford University, M.S. Environment & Resources 2014; Stanford Law School, J.D. 2014 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 a third-year associate attorney at Earthjustice, the nation's oldest and largest public interest environmental law firm. It's my dream job.  I focus on reducing air pollution and methane emissions from the oil and gas sector through litigation over nationally applicable regulations as well as administrative proceedings to address more discrete issues in Colorado. Every morning I wake up excited to go to work and advocate to protect communities in Colorado and throughout the West from the harmful health impacts of oil and gas development. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? I really took the idea of giving back to Colorado to heart.  I remain endlessly grateful for the opportunity to go to an amazing school like Colorado College for free. It opened my mind to so many ideas I never would have encountered, and opened doors to educational and career opportunities I never would have imagined. A big part of why I decided to come back to Colorado after law school was so that I could give back to the community that nurtured me and believed in me. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. I am on the Colorado College Alumni Board. I also volunteer with my local Democratic Party chapter and with the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. Right now I'm spending a lot of time campaigning for Angela Cobián, my friend from the Colorado College debate team, who is running for Denver School Board. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Don't go to law school until you know exactly what kind of lawyer you want to be. Too many people go to law school because they aren't sure what else they want to do. They end up getting saddled with a lot of debt and taking jobs that make them miserable, working long hours in a high-pressure environment on behalf of clients they don't agree with. It's better to take a few years to try out different jobs (ideally working with or around lawyers), and be absolutely certain that being a lawyer is right for you. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Rachel Carson.  She was so ahead of her time, and without her talent to present complex scientific concepts in an accessible, and even lyrical way, there would be no modern environmental movement. I also think it would be fascinating to eat dinner with Oscar Wilde and RuPaul. Although they lived a century apart, they fill such similar roles in LGBT culture by using art and humor to critique society.  They are also both so smart, opinionated and funny that I think I would be laughing for days!...

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: Lindsey Paricio Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Centennial College(s), Degree(s): Colorado State University, chemistry major, math and leadership minors, graduating spring 2018 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? TEACHING!! Well, as the end goal at least. My dream career is to be a high school science and math teacher, and that is definitely somewhere you will find me within five years of graduation. Before that, though, I have a few more degrees to finish, including a master's in chemistry for next year, and a master's in education the year after that. I am really hoping to teach internationally at some point in my career, but I plan to start off at home in Colorado. Basically, I am going to be in school for life! Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. To sum it up, I am an overly involved person! I have done everything from being an orientation leader, to teaching for the honors program, to research to the President’s Leadership Program. This year, I am a presidential ambassador, representing the students to donors and alumni, which has been amazing! I also am a member of our student government working in health, specifically food security, and I am the outreach coordinator for the chemistry department. For all of these, I joined because I love to talk to and teach people, and I wanted to give back to my university! Tell us about an important mentor you have had. I know it sounds cheesy, but my parents have been the best and most important mentors in my life. They are both teachers, and so we spent every day and night together growing up. They were always really honest with me about their jobs, their work and their passions, and they are always around to talk. I have tried or started a lot of different things, but no matter what adventure I’m currently on, they are always there to learn with me and help, whether it's a program, homework, or climbing a mountain. They demonstrate what it means to enable others, always. What's the best advice you've ever received? I would say that the best advice I’ve ever been given was by a family friend who was about to graduate college as I was starting it. She said that people are always waiting for an invitation. To do things, go on adventures, to be friends, to form study groups, to go on a date – all of these things require someone extending an invitation. She said to be that enabler, be the inviter, because it’s scary and the possibility of being turned down turns people away from asking. If you ask, you will create a rich life for yourself. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would definitely choose to have dinner with J.K. Rowling, the author and activist, and I would also throw in Albert Einstein (no introduction needed) and Malcom Lindsey, the outdoor educator and explorer for whom Mount Lindsey (and I) are named. I absolutely love Harry Potter, and I would love to pick Rowling’s brain about the books, about her activism work with Lumos and about her past teaching experiences. I honestly want to ask Einstein about his life – and also for help with my quantum mechanics homework.  And who doesn’t want to know the person they are named after?! ...

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: Benjamin Swift Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Crested Butte College(s), Degree(s): Colorado College ‘21 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Currently I’m hoping to explore a bit of everything during my first couple years of school, and I have a suspicion that I’ll want to major in near every class I take. However, right now I know that—during school and post-graduation—I want to be an activist. During high school I was really involved in environmental activism, and now I’m looking for ways that I can combine that with social justice. I’m thinking that one way to accomplish these goals could be with law, but we’ll see! Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. I’ve only been at CC for a few weeks, but this past year I was on a gap year in South America. There I traveled with Where There Be Dragons, learning about Bolivian and Peruvian culture and social issues, staying in homestays and eating way too many potatoes. I then worked as a research assistant with ecologists in Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, where I had the opportunity to travel deep into the Amazon to collect samples, work at a remote field site and measure thousands of mayflies. I ended my gap year volunteering at an animal rescue center in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where I helped maintain the center and lead bilingual tours. Throughout my year I enjoyed learning about different cultures. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Some of my most influential mentors have been my instructors on my Where There Be Dragons course. They opened my eyes to new parts of the world and new ways of looking at things that I had never considered. This was really influential throughout my gap year and into my time in college. What's the best advice you've ever received? My English teacher, Charlotte Camp (who was also my Boettcher teacher honoree), once told me to choose a path and don’t look back—whichever option I elect will be the right one. I love that advice to embrace the moment and to realize that there is more than one “right” path to achieving my dreams. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  This question is hard for me. History is so vast and filled with so many interesting people that I don’t think I could ever make a sufficiently informed decision. I think I would choose an average person from history, rather than a famous or influential figure. It would be fascinating to have dinner with a group of Haitians during the late 18th to early 19th century, the time of the Haitian revolution. Haiti is the only country that successfully gained independence through a slave revolt. I visited Haiti this past spring, and, though many Haitians have experienced significant struggle and hardship, they are also remarkably friendly and delightful humans....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better.  Name: Angelique Diaz Scholar Year:  1994 Hometown: Denver College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado School of Mines - B.S. Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering (1998), M.S. Environmental Science and Engineering (2003), Ph.D. Environmental Science and Engineering (2008) 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 currently an Environmental Engineer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I’ve been with the EPA since June 2008, and since that time my work has involved managing the program that regulates radioactive emissions from uranium recovery facilities, participating on national rulemakings, and leading interdisciplinary teams in the review of Environmental Impact Statements. My favorite aspect of working as an environmental engineer at the EPA is the opportunity to work across disciplines and programs to achieve the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Being a Boettcher Scholar, I am connected to the Boettcher Foundation and participate on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. Participation on this board has allowed me to interact with the Boettcher Family in various ways. With each interaction, I am in awe of the amazing things that Boettcher Scholars are doing throughout the world. I am inspired to  give more of myself in all that I do and to use my talents to give back to the people of Colorado, a state that my family has been a part of since it was a territory. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Outside of work I volunteer as often as I can to ignite a passion for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in girls and Latino youth. My volunteer work has involved conducting mock interviews, giving resume workshops, and participating as a panelist to share my experience as a STEM professional. I have been a member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni board for the last two and half years. I teach Sunday School, am a Girl Scout troop leader, and help however I can at my daughter’s school. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? I recently heard someone say that if you aren’t failing you are not learning. As someone that is risk-averse and does all I can not to fail, this resonated with me. I reflected on the times that I was unsuccessful (i.e., I failed...

Margaret Myers, a 1968 Boettcher Scholar from Denver South High School, worked her way up the ranks of the U.S. Army, ultimately retiring from the Army Reserve as a colonel. Now the director of the Institute for Defense Analyses Information Technology and Systems Division, Margaret is no stranger to high-profile jobs. She’s also no stranger to being one of only a few women in a male-dominated industry. “I had several jobs where I was the only woman in the room,” Margaret said, describing it as being one of the biggest challenges of her career. “I learned that you have to do your homework and be prepared so that when you do have the opportunity to speak up, you know what you’re talking about and people realize what you have to offer.” That’s why Margaret has made it a point to look out for other women—and men—in her career. “When one wins, we all win,” Margaret said. But when she followed her husband to Fort Bragg and joined the military in the seventies, there were very few women to look out for her. Despite this, Margaret served on active duty in the military, was a director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) and acted as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I Acquisition. Margaret is the recipient of three Presidential Rank Awards, as well as the Defense Department Distinguished Civilian Service Award and is a Volgenau School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni from George Mason University. Although she has made many career moves and received numerous accolades since, Margaret is grateful for having received the Boettcher Scholarship, which allowed her to attend Colorado College. “I decided early on in my senior year of high school that I wanted to go to CC, but it was too expensive. I didn’t even apply until after I found out I had received a Boettcher Scholarship,” she recalled. Margaret credits CC with exposing her to a liberal arts education, even though she was a math major, and giving her critical thinking skills that she has continued to use ever since. Her college education as well as the early years in her career taught Margaret to take risks—something she now encourages others to do, especially women. “When you want something, it’s always worth asking,” she advised. “Get over the fear and intimidation and think ‘why not? All they can say is no.’” This advice has proved effective in her own life and career. When she was a new second lieutenant, Margaret really wanted to do a different job than the one she had been assigned. So, she asked the colonel. He was impressed with her courage, and ultimately, Margaret got to do the job she wanted, which has led her to each subsequent job. In her current role, Margaret focuses on cybersecurity and other cyberspace challenges of national and global significance. When she’s not working, Margaret likes to travel to Colorado to ski. “A few years ago, I realized that wherever you go, you should always be a good ambassador for Colorado,” Margaret said. “Even though I no longer live in the state, I try to be a good ambassador.”...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better.  Name: Elizabeth Hoffner Scholar Year: 2014 Hometown: Center College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver –  finance major, leadership and psychology minors What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? My current work with nonprofit organizations has shown me that it is an area I want to work in. I have realized that I am motivated and passionate when what I do daily has a positive impact on society and not just my or my employer’s bottom line.  I plan to work for a year or two before pursuing a master's. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. When I arrived at college I wanted to join everything, but I am glad I was selective and chose the ones that I did. The Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP) has offered me a great deal of knowledge regarding leadership and myself, and has also provided me with lifelong friends. In addition to PLP, I serve as a senior senator and finance chair in DU’s Undergraduate Student Government, am past-president of the Undergraduate Business Student Association and am personnel chair for Chi Omega Sorority. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. It is difficult to pick one mentor in my life as I have been blessed with so many. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people I look up to and learn from in most areas of my life. My personal and spiritual mentor, Mimi Bailey, I met through PLP. I have many advisors that have helped me navigate being Personnel Chair. There are also many professors that keep me on track academically. Last, but not least, my parents who are constant counsel and support. What's the best advice you've ever received? “Blessed are the flexible for they will not be bent out of shape.” My mother has always said this, and it is something I believe has allowed me to overcome the challenges and enjoy the sweetness of my life so far. Unexpected things will happen, I usually can’t change them, but I can change my attitude. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would like to have dinner with Cornelia ten Boom. As a woman that experienced the ugliness of the world, she still had the faith and determination to help others and remain optimistic of the human race. I would love an insight into the development of her character....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Angelique Diaz. Name: Travis "TC" Ritz Scholar Year:  2001 Hometown: Frederick College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado State University, BA, double major in philosophy and economics, 2005; Colorado State University, BS, mathematics, 2006; London School of Economics, MSc, finance and economics, 2007 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 currently Head of Northern and Eastern Europe Energy Origination at Morgan Stanley, based out of London - which means I help large corporate clients manage their exposure to energy prices. I’ve been in this role at Morgan Stanley and previously Barclays for the past eight years, before which I worked in investment banking at Barclays in Frankfurt, Germany. The best thing about my job is working with people of diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds. I spend a significant amount of time traveling across Europe to meet with clients. Cultural differences and diverse ways of seeing the world is not only really exciting, it's what makes the world beautiful in my opinion. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? It gave me the confidence to aim for anything - and the financial springboard to take the most daring option which presented itself. A good example was when I graduated from CSU in 2005 and had a great job opportunity at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. Instead, I took an option which scared (but excited) me much more - a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany, which has turned out to be one of the most important life choices I’ve made. Another important role the Boettcher has played in my life is as a link back to our great State of Colorado, along with a strong sense of wanting to give back. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Through volunteer work here in London, I’ve become a strategic advisor to NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), the UK’s largest children’s charity, with whom we have partnered to build the UK’s first Child's House - a hugely important social effort to help kids who have suffered sexual abuse. Working with the NSPCC also led me to take part in the London Marathon this year (my first) - another hugely enriching experience. I have also recently accepted a position with the AgIndustry Leadership Council at CSU under Dean Ajay Menon, where I hope to marry three passions of mine - agriculture, technology and finance. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Make sure you love and are motivated by what you do. That’s first. If you can, try to match that (or at least elements of that) with something you’re good at and what’s valued in the marketplace. I’ve found that being valued and recognized for something you do helps keep your fire burning. If you can do what you want, where you want, with the people you want - you’ve hit the sweet spot of modern life, and even just two of those is fantastic. And the great thing is that it’s out there. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? Given current events on this side of the Atlantic, I’d have to say Winston Churchill. I’d love to understand his views on the UK and the European Union and what he would make of recent political developments around the world. It seems to me the world will continue to change at an ever-increasing pace, with its natural ups and downs, and the real challenge will be to continue working together. The ‘how’ and ‘to what extent’ will be the interesting questions....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Angelique Diaz. Name: Isaiah Koolstra Scholar Year: 2015 Hometown: Cope College(s), Degree(s): University of Colorado Boulder, Chemical and biochemical engineering What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Although I very much enjoy my area of study, I am not sure where I want to go with it.  After graduation I either plan to enter a graduate school program in chemical engineering or immediately work in industry.  I am most interested in engineering positions in energy or biotechnology. Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. The organization that I have been most involved with at CU is the Presidents Leadership Class which I have benefited from in the form of enriching experiences and amazing friends. I have also joined several chemical and biological engineering specific extracurricular clubs that help me explore opportunities in my field. I have also enjoyed fun-oriented organizations such as the hiking club and intramural sports. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. Although I have had many mentors who have advised me on my strengths, I have had relatively few mentors who guided me through my weaknesses. In this last year of school, some of my personal weakness became apparent and resulted in frustration and dissatisfaction in several areas of my life. Tiffany Anderson, the scholarship program director at the Boettcher Foundation, has been a great mentor for me through this. She is both approachable and encouraging while at the same time straightforward and realistic. Tiffany has given advice and support that has made me confident and excited for next semester. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I have ever received is “Make a different mistake.” If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  If I could have dinner with anyone from history, it would be Ernest Shackleton. He was an Antarctic explorer who loved adventure and was well known for the lengths he would go for his crew....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Angelique Diaz. Name: McKenna Asakawa Scholar Year: 2012 Hometown: Lafayette College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Colorado College, B.A. in sociology, minor in Spanish 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 working as the digital content editor for Nelson Treehouse and Supply for about a year now (you might recognize the company from the show Treehouse Masters). It’s a privilege to work at a small family business that has global reach, and to work alongside stunningly creative (and fun!) people. I write copy and manage a lot of our communications, including our blog at nelsontreehouse.com. I love witnessing the positive impact this company has on many lives: from its own staff, to local businesses, to fans from all over the world. Treehouses make people happy! What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Scholarship has been a liberating force in my life. For one, the foundation’s generosity gave me the financial freedom to take a leap and move for this job after graduation. I am also deeply grateful for the foundation’s ethos of exploration – I remember hearing a Boettcher staff member discuss how she was proud of alumni for doing whatever it is that makes them come alive. This genuine, equal respect for every scholar’s pursuits— whether that be graduate school or growing a family or building treehouses— encouraged me to try the things that led to what I do now. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work. Until recently, I was also working part-time as the development director for Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle-based nonprofit that hosts year-round carpentry programs for diverse youth. Many Sawhorse programs involve partnering teens with design/build professionals to construct tiny homes for local homeless communities. I also am beginning to volunteer with my local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. My favorite pastimes include cooking with my boyfriend, Evan; listening to music and podcasts (try The Flop House!); tasting wines in Woodinville (five minutes from my place!); and basking in the summertime Pacific Northwest sunshine (gotta stock up on Vitamin D now!). What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? Some of the best advice I’ve received came from Seanix, one of the Nelson Treehouse carpenters. He said, “Stop taking yourself so seriously, and start taking life and the things you love more seriously.” If I were to dole out some career advice at my wise age of 23, I’d say: 1) Don’t be afraid to change your plans as you yourself change. 2) Find the humor in it. 3) The people you work with can make or break your job satisfaction. Don’t underestimate the importance of the organization’s culture and the team you’ll be a part of everyday If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I’m reading Jacques Pepin’s memoir, The Apprentice, right now, and would love to have dinner with his mother, Jeannette. She was just a few years older than me during WWII in France (during which time she’d bike miles on her one day off a week to scrounge up enough food to feed her three sons!), and holy cow was she a tough person! I’d love to find out more about her sources of strength and time running her own restaurant. Plus, I bet the meal would be delicious!...