The Sky’s the Limit

Educational Enrichment Grants Provide Scholars Opportunities to Soar

By: Mary Margaret Hesse and Natalie Gill

Like many curious and introspective undergraduates, Maggie Holland has a wide range of interests and skills. A 2022 Boettcher Scholar studying environmental engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, Maggie’s interests range from environmental engineering to medicine. She volunteered with Worldwide Vets in Thailand, using an Educational Enrichment Grant (EEG) to explore her curiosity about veterinary medicine while pursuing her desire to do good in the world. 

Maggie Holland enjoying time with one of her patients in Thailand.

“My favorite thing that I learned in Thailand? How animal and human relationships take time to develop just as human friendships do, and the best way to gain the trust of an animal is to show up consistently for a week, and then the next Monday they expect to see you and this is when a bond forms,” Maggie said. 

The EEG is one of the Boettcher Foundation’s grants that offers Scholars the chance to pursue academic research, professional development, internships, or field sessions in the U.S. or abroad. Self-described as, “eyes and arms open,” embracing all that she can learn in life, Maggie chose her EEG experience the summer after her freshman year to hone in on her multiple interests. 

“The most surprising thing that came from this experience is how distinctly I remember each animal at the clinic,” Maggie said. “ I can name and describe every animal that I helped at the clinic eight months later, and I am surprised at how much I miss each individual animal and their own unique personality.” 

Myles Rubin, a 2023 Scholar also studying at CU Boulder, is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming a commercial pilot. 

“From the age of 3 on, I always loved things that move. I would be mesmerized for hours at a time by cars and airplanes. My grandfather flew both commercially and in the military, and he has always said “The sky’s the limit.” I took this literally and started my passion for aviation.” 

Myles Rubin during his flight training program.

Myles got his private pilot’s license as a senior in high school and is using his EEG to complete his instrument flight training. Receiving the Boettcher Scholarship provided the impetus for him to stay in Colorado for college when he otherwise would have attended an out-of-state aviation program. The enrichment grant provides the best of both worlds, Myles says, as it allows him to pursue his goals in aviation while he studies business at CU.

Last summer, the EEG enabled Leigh Walden, a 2021 Scholar attending Colorado College, to pursue an internship with National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, D.C. Before her internship, Leigh, a computer science major with a journalism minor, knew she was interested in journalism, but this experience uncovered a true passion for audio journalism and production. 

“It’s impossible to work with the people at NPR and not fall absolutely in love with the whole art of audio production.” She was the only intern working NPR’s Washington Desk that summer, which led to additional opportunities to participate in every aspect of the office’s work. 

Leigh Walden during press pool duty in Washington D.C.

“I got to be behind the mic, be in the field interviewing, do some editing, and do some writing. I spent a day at the Supreme Court and did White House duty in the press pool. It was an incredible experience.”

Enrichment grant funds facilitated Leigh’s success by funding her summer housing in Washington, D.C. Although NPR offers virtual internships and allows interns to work from home, Leigh felt that her experience was particularly rich because she went to the office every day. By showing up in person she took full advantage of all the opportunities available.

“I stuck around. They couldn’t get rid of me!” Leigh said.

Adding an enrichment grant to one’s educational journey isn’t just about gaining skills; it’s about unlocking potential and broadening horizons. These Scholars exemplify the ethos of embracing every opportunity and inspiring others to do the same.

That’s the spirit of Boettcher

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