Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Jesús Bañuelos-Rivera

Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Jesús Bañuelos-Rivera

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2016
Hometown: Fairplay
University and Degrees: University of Colorado Boulder – BA in environmental design, sustainable planning and design; minor in leadership studies (May 2020)

What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating?

After graduation, I’d like to work toward solving affordable housing and other complex issues that our cities face. I believe that decent, affordable and safe housing is something that can help under-served communities and change not only their quality of life, but also give them new opportunities in life. I’d like to provide housing to people that need it and empower them to become self-advocates and for their communities. Housing is something that affects every facet of our lives, yet it is a commodity that so many people lack.

Tell us about what activities, groups and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.

I am a very active member of the President’s Leadership Class at CU Boulder. I have been on their student staff for two years; I was first a social media coordinator and currently am a first-year class advisor. PLC has been an amazing community full of incredible people that has helped develop me into a better leader and professional. I have also been very active in my architecture club, AIAS. I joined the CU triathlon team this year as well. I completed my first triathlon just this last fall. Most recently, I joined the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board as a student representative, and I am excited to help work on the new initiatives the board is pushing for.

Tell us about an important mentor you have had.

My parents were the most important mentors I’ve ever had. They have always pushed for me to do the best I can, and to never take anything less than that. Looking back now, their support and sacrifices for me to get an education are what really have shaped me into the person I am today. It’s thanks to them that I have the opportunities I have today and am the first in my family to go to college.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Always help those who have less than you.” -My Father

When I was young, I distinctly remember my father having just helped a woman change her tire in the snow when he told me this. We were eating tacos from a food truck in our warm car. Outside, a woman needed help, and was clearly having trouble changing the tire. Without saying anything, my dad selflessly helped her change the tire in the cold, without eating his tacos. When he finished, he came back to his untouched tacos and told me this quote. This memory is one of the most influential moments in my life that really defines the type of person he was, and who he inspired me to be like.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why?

Antoni Gaudí and Zaha Hadid. Gaudí was a revolutionary Spanish architect, whose style could be considered his own. Some of his works include the Park Güell, the Casa Milà, la Sagrada Família and the Casa Batlló. His works were largely inspired by nature and the forms found naturally in our world.

Zaha Hadid was one of the most prominent Iraqi female architects in history. She won the most prestigious award in the architecture profession, the Pritzker Prize, for her innovative designs. Furthermore, she overcame many barriers as a woman of color.

Both are incredible designers who pushed the creative limits of what was possible, defied expectations, and are an inspiration to any designer.

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