06 Feb Alumni Board Current Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Paula Pulido
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.
What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating?
I am studying civil engineering because it is a degree that will allow me to improve the lives of people. Civil engineering is a central part of community development; economies and society cannot improve without basic and enabling infrastructure. I will improve the lives of people in developing countries by creating my own engineering company partnering with local and global organizations to help deliver infrastructure projects and enable economies to grow.
After graduating I hope to complement my engineering degree with a master’s degree in business administration.
Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.
My favorite activity in college is the computer science and engineering after school class that I teach to fifth graders. I teach at a low-income elementary school in Boulder, and many of the kids have never imagined themselves attending college one day.
I love this job because I get to show my students what engineering is, why it is so exciting, and why they should aspire to attend college one day. I love to see their faces when I take them to Google, and they all tell me they will study computer science one day so they can work there.
They know that they are working towards college one day.
Additionally, this class is typically the first exposure the girls have to coding and engineering — I love to empower them so one day they can choose to study engineering without any hesitation.
Tell us about an important mentor you have had.
Teachers make an immeasurable difference in the lives of their students. Mrs. Lay, my seventh-grade algebra teacher, was the toughest, strictest teacher I had ever had. And her algebra class was the first time I truly felt challenged at school. It often brought me to tears. I loved it. I felt that Mrs. Lay saw something special in me, but was never easy on me and always made me prove myself. She taught me to work hard. I was remembering that class last semester while taking Calculus 3. (Which is the second hardest math class I have ever taken – a close second to my seventh-grade algebra class!)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard and always be honest. I learned this from my parents. They taught me to love and value education. I don’t know who I’d be without them!
If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?
Sir Richard Branson. He is the founder and CEO of the Virgin Group. I love his story about his early years — his rebellion in his youth and decision to change his path and become an entrepreneur. His imagination is wild — his mind has no limits, his company ranges from spaceflight to music records!