Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Marianne Hughes

Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Marianne Hughes

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.

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.

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