Puksta Scholar in the News!

A recent profile of Bailey Cross Boggs by Voyage Denver discusses her career as a small wedding and elopement photographer, as well as her continued passion for advocacy and social justice. Bailey was a CSU Puksta Scholar (’17) who created The (Blank) Monologues, a student-written and performed production about social issues facing students on campus.

Bailey’s commitment to ending human trafficking and her passion for justice have carried over into her business. 10% of all proceeds from Bailey Cross Photography go to International Justice Mission, the oldest and largest non-profit in the United States working to end human trafficking around the world!

Read more here: http://voyagedenver.com/about-voyage-media/


Wanted-Aspiring Artists

Hey Puksta fam. This is Rob Hatcher and I’m looking for two Pukstas who would be interested in joining Mateo, Fifi, James, and Betelhem on the stage by reading a poem from a collection of works written by incarcerated poets. You’d be on stage for a maximum of five (5) minutes and, since the event is free, you could bring along a friend or two to see you shine!


MSU Puksta Scholars Applications Are Open!

Will you be a Metro State University junior, sophomore, or freshman at the start of the Fall 2020 semester? Are you, or someone you know, interested in becoming a Puksta Scholar? We’re ready for your applications!

Submit you application by March 11 for consideration. Additional details about the program, as well as the application, can be found at: tinyurl.com/Puksta2020

Submit your application today!


Applications Now Open for DU Puksta Scholars Program!

If you are currently a high school senior enrolling in University of Denver and are interested in becoming a Puksta Scholar, or know someone who is, we’re ready for your applications!

The deadline is Monday March 16 at 10 AM. The application, as well as additional details about the program, can be found at https://www.du.edu/ccesl/ourwork/galvanizing_tomorrows_leaders/pukstascholars/puksta.html

Submit your application today!


Puksta Intercollegiate Winter Retreat 2020

We had a weekend of bonding for our Puksta Scholars across all campuses. We all partook in activities ranging from discussions on setting boundaries, issues that they are working on, dancing, karaoke, meditations, cooking, enjoying the beauty of nature and gathering around the campfire together. It was a weekend retreat that will not soon be forgotten. We want to send out a special thank you to our Alumni, Luis Paredes, who led our discussion of “What It Means to Set Boundaries”, our amazing Puksta Coordinators, and of course our Puksta Scholars for coming into to the weekend with open minds and hearts to form deeper connections with one another. 

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Monica’s touching speech for the MSU Spring Commencement 2019

Monica Simpson earned the Provost Award from MSU in the spring of 2019. Here is her amazing and inspiring speech.

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!


A look back at Puksta Alumni Kevin McQuirk’s project with STEM Mentoring

My project for the Puksta foundation is a yearlong mentorship between paired, college and high school students in the Denver Public Schools. The name for my mentoring program is “Impact the Youth.” Through Impact the Youth, I will immerse high school mentees into the higher education environment on the Auraria Campus. The high school students who Impact the Youth is designed for are minorities, undocumented people, and socio-economic disadvantaged students that are in their second, third, or last year of high school. The goal of the project is to present these students with multiple options of education through a university or community college. It is designed to show higher education as one of the best career options, encourage them to attend college, and remove any roadblock in the way of these goals. In Impact the Youth, I will build mentor-mentee relationships with high school students by inviting them to attend activities at MSU Denver throughout the year. These activities could be a presentation, laboratory research, lecture, or event on the Auraria campus. This will allow high school students to be familiar with college campuses and to experience many opportunities through organizations at MSU Denver. This will also provide high school students the potential to work with on-campus organizations that they may potentially become involved with if they attend MSU Denver in the near future.


Puksta Coordinator Spotlight: Roudy Hildreth

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Roudy Hildreth is an eternal student who has the Rocky Mountains in his soul and strong coffee in his veins. Growing up just west of Golden, he graduated high school as a Golden High “Demon” and then journeyed to the University of Virginia where he earned his first of many degrees as a UVA “Wahoo”. His academic pursuits took him many places, but it was his time at the University of Minnesota as a TA where he would initially meet a young woman who would eventually play a central role in both his life and in his heart. Running into her twice more, in the years that followed, the two finally started dating and eventually married. Over the years, his intense passion for academics has lead him to several other universities and scholarly positions, ultimately resulting in his current appointment at CU Boulder. In that time he has enlightened many and strengthened the institutions where he attained additional degrees, published papers, co-authored/edited books, wrote book chapters, and attained several accolades.

An activist since his childhood, Roudy’s first social justice experience occurred when he accompanied his parents in a protest against the Vietnam War. Since then, he has been an active social justice advocate who has undertaken numerous initiatives and programs, hoping to one day implement the Puksta values and practices to an entire university. Off-campus, he can be found in and around the many parks and libraries in Boulder, at concerts, home enjoying his favorite program: The Wire, or at the cinema enjoying the solemn works of Director Mike Leigh. Having come from a large family, Roudy finds comfort amongst his many Puksta scholars, citing the Puksta Passage and one-on-one meetings as some of his favorite experiences.

A dog lover with a penchant for colorful socks, Roudy brings an artful spirit of enthusiasm to his work and a hunger for learning that is mirrored in those he educates and supports. He believes that students can “do great things and change the world” and sympathizes with their daily struggles of commuting, studying, and working within the bureaucracy of universities. A firm believer in the power of education, Roudy envisions continuing his career and working to provide an environment that will embolden aspiring social justice advocates by nurturing them to develop their insights and abilities and allow them sufficient space, support, and time to dedicate their energies towards their work. Roudy is a shining gem atop the Puksta crown. His dedication, mindfulness, and expansive intellect have greatly strengthened The Puksta Foundation’s efforts and given hope and encouragement to many. A hearty cheer of celebration and thanks for all that you are and do Roudy!


Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Jenni Talcott

Jenni Talcott was an Englewood High graduate who attended DU with optimism and a talent for public debate. During her time, she approached her university life with vigor and enthusiasm, both as an avid Puksta scholar and as President of RAGE (rape awareness and gender education.). Seeking dual degrees in Criminology and Psychology, Jenni discovered an inner-calling to assist those in need and feels that Puksta offered her “a new lens to see the world”. Not only supporting her education, she thinks The Puksta Foundation gave her a “call to action” that matched her desires to make a better world. While spending her campus downtime at the student pub/restaurant: Driscoll Bridge, Jenni studied, created many cherished moments with her fellow students, and diligently completed her Puksta project which resulted in the Colorado Governor declaring the month of February as Dating Violence Awareness Month.

She met her husband while attending DU and relocated with him to Texas when he returned from military deployment in 2011. She immediately dove into social justice work there and has since grown and prospered, both personally and professionally, for nearly ten years. In addition to her current role as Development Coordinator for MOPS International, Jenni is a devoted wife and proud mother of two children (ages six and five) and three cats. Though she doesn’t miss the late nights of studying and dreading finals, Jenni remembers her time as a student with fondness. She lives in Denver with her family and is planning to complete the final year of her dual degrees. She intends to achieve a graduate degree afterward.

Looking back, Jenni is thankful for the experience and sees the foundation as something with immense potential and power stating that Puksta scholars are “world changers, not only because they are smart, but they are passionate. They have [the] drive to pursue change and because of Puksta they have the skills to affect that change.” She’s happy that her personal interests aligned with her career and wishes to stress to current Puksta’s to try and be mindful of the bigger picture while pursuing their studies, as she has noticed some former students struggle to match their passions to their professions. Jenni has become a beacon of light and hope within a world that truly needs the goodwill and fortitude she has to offer. She continues to carry the Puksta torch with pride and spreads the light of social justice with each passing day.

You are truly the embodiment of what Puksta was intended to accomplish and the foundation salutes you for everything you’ve done and for all the accomplishments you will certainly achieve in the future. A happy Puksta holiday salute to you Jenni!