Class of 2018 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Herrera

Identity proved to become a call to action for Stephanie. Arriving in this country with bright eyes and optimistic ambition, she worked to overcome adversity and pursue her DACA dreams while also discovering ways of contributing to her community. During her undergraduate years, she invested time and energy not only into her studies but also into working with undocumented high school students so that they might also seek their dreams within the academic halls of a university. Stephanie intends to take a brief break now that she’s graduated and then make the big push to grad school where the stars will be the only limit. This is fitting, as she already is one within the Puksta family. Best wishes for the future and congratulations for shining so brightly. Cheers to you Stephanie!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Monica Simpson

Both humble and noble, Monica is the first to say that her background is nothing truly remarkable from her fellow non-traditional students, but her work at MSU was and will continue to truly be outstanding. During her time at university, Monica worked to create a community and establish an empowering support network for her fellow seasoned students. Her hard work is carrying on past graduation as she will bring The Wisdom Collective to the campus in order to better serve the unique needs of students who are bringing their life experiences to their higher education. Puksta celebrates you Monica. We offer you well deserved congratulations!


Class of 2018 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Alondra Palomino

Alondra has seen firsthand the struggles of the undocumented and as a first-generation citizen and new CU Boulder graduate, endeavored to eliminate many of the barriers that undocumented parents often experience when working to assist their children in the college application process. Leading a series of bi-weekly workshops, Alondra worked to create a safe space existed and where an open dialogue about a number of related topics was encouraged. This not only helped to demystify the college application process but offered a badly needed support resource for undocumented parents seeking a brighter future for their children. Furthermore, she worked to create a partnership with the Lafayette Peer Empowerment Project (LPEP) and have high school students facilitate this function after her departure from CU. Alondra is expanding the horizons of those struggling to realize the “American Dream” and the Puksta Foundation commends her for both her efforts and her accomplishments. Cheers to you Alondra!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Emina Mujezin

Having grown up within a community that didn’t promote healthy eating and perpetuated a belief that college was just simply financially unattainable, Emina endeavored to change these perceptions and promote student health and wellness on the DU campus. Forging a path of “inclusive excellence”, Emina led a nutrition program for her fellow students in which she also worked to promote fitness. Finding support in her local community and seeking solutions within a business context, Emina hopes to give back by developing a holistic approach that benefits to both the body and finances of those that have given her so much. Educating oneself can be challenging, but enriching others through academics and the promotion of financial planning is a challenge that Emina seems more than capable of accomplishing, especially her recent graduation. We celebrate your hard work and the promise you will bring to so many. Congratulations Emina!



Class of 2018 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Kiri Michelle

Eating healthy and regularly is often a silent obstacle for many students and Kiri worked diligently to remove this barrier for her fellow CSU scholars in a two-pronged approach. Not only did she have a “Freedge” (“Free + Fridge”) installed in one of the dorms, but also stocked a communal refrigerator in one of the student apartments buildings with free organic produce. Often prohibitively expensive for students, these goods were sourced from the CSU campus horticulture center, thereby creating a unique system where CSU students benefitted themselves. Not only did she provide students with nutritious food, Kiri removed a cost-barrier that is often present with organic produce. As an undergrad, she worked to expand the project to the entire campus and now envisions substantially eliminating student food access barriers as a graduate. Kiri is a shining star within the Puksta ranks and we are proud of the work she has done and will do. Cheers to you Kiri!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Reydesel Salvidrez

A shining star of the CU Denver Puksta posse, Reydesel dedicated his time to advocating for the undocumented through social media, local activism, and the arts while working to create a resource guide for his fellow students. Understanding many of the obstacles that his fellow undocumented students face in university, he worked to dissolve these barriers and make the path of academic success an achievable vision. With big dreams in his heart and a bright future ahead, Reydesel’s post-graduation plans are now to continue his work in making the world more accepting and accessible for everyone with big dreams, regardless of where they were born. Puksta is proud of you and salutes your good work!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Ismaat Klaibou

A 2019 graduate of the University of Denver, Ismaat worked diligently to assist those victimized by domestic violence through the Family Tree organization. Tireless in her pursuit to assist those displaced and often struggling during the transition from their previously destructive environments, Ismaat assisted victims with addressing their trauma and in finding more secure and productive futures. Without a doubt, she is a shining example of Puksta values and her work has made a profound difference to many. Cheers to you Ismaat!

#Puksta #PukstaScholars #SocialJusticeWarriors #DenverCommunity #ScholarPower #StudentsUnite #PukstaCare #PukstaLove #PukstaFamily #StudentAdvocates #CommunityEngagment #ScholarsAtWork #StudentsUnited #StudentWarriors #PukstaWarriors #SocialJustice #Colorado #StudentsOfColorado #ScholarsOfColorado #WeCare #Scholarships #CollegeScholarships #Apply #Happiness #FightForYourRights


Thanks to Alumni Ambassadors

Well deserved thanks to our Puksta Alumni Ambassador Committee!

This photo is just a small sampling of everyone who made it to our first annual Alumni Celebration or “family reunion” on the 27th and special thanks are due to these Puksta alumni who volunteered their time and energy to make the event the amazing success that it was.

Puksta Alumni Ambassadors:

  • Guillermo Ramirez
  • Esmerelda Rodriguez
  • Felipe Vieyra
  • Fatima Rezaie
  • Michael Chen
  • Nicholas Martinez
  • Nicholas Kukucka
  • Zeinab “Zakiya” Ali
  • William Mundo
  • Violet Gorrell

Because of their great efforts, our celebration laid the foundation of many more celebrations to come. Congratulations to all of our alumni, both old and new, and cheers to the future!

#Puksta #PukstaScholars #SocialJusticeWarriors #DenverCommunity #ScholarPower #StudentsUnite #PukstaCare #PukstaLove #PukstaFamily #StudentAdvocates #CommunityEngagment #ScholarsAtWork #StudentsUnited #StudentWarriors #PukstaWarriors #SocialJustice #Colorado #StudentsOfColorado #ScholarsOfColorado #WeCare #Scholarships #CollegeScholarships #Apply #Happiness #FightForYourRights


Remembering Harry Puksta December 30th, 1922 – July 4th, 1999

While we celebrate the 4th of July today, please take a moment to celebrate the life of a true hero and gentleman to the end, Harry Puksta. He lost his sweetheart, Eva, July 3rd, 1999 and died of a broken heart the next day. He never her left side and died on the 4th of July, a day fit for a World War II veteran who served his country with honor. Harry was a salt of the earth man who enjoyed an honest day’s work, watching the rockies and making wine in the basement. Their final wish was to help the the “good kids of the community go to college”. This gift has changed over 300 lives and will continue for many more. The  Puksta Legacy will live on in the hearts and actions of the “good kids” they have supported.    Thank you Harry – We will all be forever grateful


Celebrating the life of Eva June Puksta ~ Dec 22, 1920 – July 3, 1999

20 years ago today we lost a beautiful farm girl from Albion, Nebraska.


She moved to Denver after the war to work at the Veteran’s Affair’s office in Denver. Where she met the love of her life, Harry Puksta.


She was a knitter of owls


She was the bookkeeper for the Puksta’s


She was a warm soul


Now she is the angel watching over all of her Puksta Family.


Thank you Eva, you will never be forgotten!

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