Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Deborah Ilangikwa

Language plays a very important role for Deborah. Known to her friends as “Debbie”, this CSU student is opening the world to the students of Fort Morgan High School by helping them master their futures by mastering English. Acting as a friend and mentor Debbie works with a ESL class and engages students on a one-on-one level where she creates relationships and helps these students through the trials of better communicating with the world around them. Not only will this benefit them socially, but will greatly help them in the professional world, where language mastery plays an essential role. You are providing a bigger, better world for these students Debbie and Puksta is proud to have included you within their ranks. Keep clearing those obstacles to success and making the future more promising for so many!

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Sana Zulali

Sana is a believer. A believer in the U.S. constitution and in human rights. Working to improve the conditions of immigrants locally, this CU Boulder student is charging forward to make changes that will hopefully spread globally. With recent controversial actions within the nation, she is especially sensitive to immigrant children being removed from their families and is endeavoring to put a stop to these tragedic situations. The Puksta family is brightened by her inclusion and is proud of her efforts. We believe in you Sana and the good things you are working towards. Keep fighting for a better future and for the youth of this and all countries!

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Jennifer Cassidy

Jennifer won’t stop. Weathering adversity and shouldering responsibility, unlike many of the Puksta experience, this MSU student understands the challenges many fellow students and survivors often experience with obtaining the technology to empower their scholastic dreams. A benefactor of the TANF Gateway program, Jennifer wants to ensure that others have the ability to better control their future by soliciting and donating computers, and related gear, to the very people and communities that often have the most difficulty in getting these much-needed tools. After graduation, she wants to expand her efforts and help make the virtual world one in which everyone can participate, regardless of their wealth or circumstances. Jennifer, Puksta is excited to see where your project will take you and those who will be emboldened by your light. We offer you our most sincere wishes that you and your project will achieve amazing heights. Best wishes for your success!

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Sabrina Pribyl

For Sabrina, hope and change often marches in with four legs and paws. A long-time advocate for the disabled, she has focused her energy on the Puppy Pals project which endeavors to empower the success of students with the assist of service animals. This CSU student isn’t satisfied only with making a difference in the lives of scholars, but of athletes as well. After graduation, Sabrina hopes to work with the Special Olympics and further advocate for those challenged, but still seeking Olympic excellence. Seeking to affect people on a global level, Puksta is honored to celebrate this outstanding individual’s energy, optimism, and ambition. Keep the good work up Sabrina and Puksta will be there to trumpet your accomplishments!

Puksta Self-Care: Get Your Play On!

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Studies and public service are excellent, but sometimes you have to let your hair down for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.  Play is something that is often under-valued in our society and one thing that is often maligned as laziness.  Though it can easily become a negative distraction, letting your mind go with an act of pure enjoyment is something that even many experts agree is vital to student success.  From promoting social bonds to encouraging creativity and imagination, play can have tremendous benefits that help to ease stress and allows greater concentration when it counts. 

The type of play can also greatly vary.  From dancing to board games, concerts to video games, escape rooms, sudoku, reading, and hiking, play is a way of simply putting worries and stress aside and allowing one to enjoy some of the pleasures of life that can often be the reason why we worked so hard in the first place.  Put some time in your life for play.  Maybe it’s something you have to plan, but try to include some play into most of your days and give yourself a break and allow an opportunity to connect with others and yourself. 

Tips to increase play:

-Try to spend some time with the children in your life.  Sometimes they are the best teachers and often have no problem being playful.

-Sing or dance when possible.  You can be a driver’s seat songstress if you want to be!

-Try new things.

Here’s something that delves a little further on the importance of play, particularly for college students: https://www.theedadvocate.org/importance-play-universities-can-learn-preschools/#targetText=Play%20supports%20socialisation%20and%20decreases,driven%20play%20out%20of%20schools.

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Duvia Ortega

Children are important to Duvia and she’s working to make their lives better. Having received help and support from her teachers, as a child, Duvia is endeavoring to return the favor by creating awareness of the promise of university education to elementary students, especially for DACA kids. Keep up the good work Duvia! Not only is MSU happy to have your hard work and passion in their court, Puksta is even more overjoyed that you are on our team. Great work and keep it up!

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Jessica Rangel

Jessica has a history of getting involved. From holiday volunteering with her family at soup kitchens to working on immigration reform, she has never shied away from getting down in the trenches and creating change. This DU student knows how hard life can be and is not only concerned with getting people through the day but also getting many more a new life. Far more than filling a stomach with a nourishing bowl of soup, Jessica’s humble efforts and hard work promise to ease troubled brows and create hope which is why Puksta is proud to have her within our family. We have every confidence that she’ll keep making lives better and continue clearing a path to a happier life for so many!

Puksta Self-Care: Some Sound Thoughts on Getting Enough “Shut-Eye”

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The semester can be stressful.  Especially when you’re a Puksta, there often seems to be not enough time to fit studies, life, and work all into a week.  Though all of these elements are important, there is one thing that is critical to them all, but we often sacrifice to unhealthy levels: sleep.  Getting enough “shut-eye” might seem simple for some, but for many striving for academic perfection, sleep is often sacrificed or outright neglected so that we can study a little harder, play a little louder, and work a whole lot longer.

A number of negative effects have been attributed to those who get a lack of sleep.  From obesity to depression, loss of memory to sickness, a number of negative effects have long been attributed to not enough hours spent in dreamland.    Many sources recommend at least 7 hours of restful sleep for teens and young adults, so try to at least plan that many hours into your schedule.  If 7 hours at night doesn’t seem possible, try to fit a nap into your day to make up for the lost hours, but try not to make this a habit. 

Other tips for getting more sleep:

-Have an established sleeping schedule during the week!  Sure, the weekends are a good time to have some fun into the night but try to keep those weekdays on a regular schedule.  Your body will develop a rhythm that will benefit you in the long run.

-Try to reign in the extra hours at work.  Sure, we all have to pay the bills, but getting sick will likely cost you more money than you’d make by picking up that extra shift.  Keep this in mind when considering extra work.

-A sleep mask and earplugs (or noise-canceling headphones) can be perfect for creating a calm, dark, and restful inner-space for slumber even when the neighbors or roommates are noisy long into the night.

For more tips and information, check out the National Sleep Foundation: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Sophia Rosie Contino

Sophia’s work is inspired by those very close to her heart. Drawing from her experiences with her brother, she is working to promote sexual education amongst those with developmental and physical disabilities. Discovering these individuals are usually poorly educated on the subject and are often unaware when they’ve been victimized, she’s vowed to continue educating herself on the subject while striving to increase awareness and help empower those whom this often ignored reality afflicts. Your heart has led you to Puksta Sophia and we’ll be there to support your great work. We have big hopes for you and are proud of your efforts!

Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Mateo Manuel Vela

Artist and Puksta scholar, Mateo is making big plans in the time ahead. Already a proud member of the Denver youth slam poetry team Minor Disturbance “No Bedtime!”, Mateo is planning to flex his artistic muscles by working to bring arts activities back into Denver public schools. Starting with working to create a student writing retreat, he hopes to grow from there and provide artistic avenues particularly for students of color. In addition to providing a means of self-expression, Mateo is thinking of also offering some mentorship assistance for those seeking it. Puksta has your back and is looking forward to seeing you make a difference for so many. Keep up the good work!