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!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Jorge Lomas

Hard work and persistence are nothing new to Jorge. From working with FEMA in the flood-ravaged city of Baton Rouge to assisting with the daily struggles of those who have come to this country to experience “the American dream”, he has repeatedly shown himself a person who is unafraid to get his hands dirty for a good cause. Mindful of the struggles and sacrifices his parents endured to allow him his opportunities, Jorge endeavors to pass their goodwill forward by both participating in public assistance programs and working individually with those who often find a monolingual existence too great an obstacle in achieving their prosperity in America. His efforts will continue past CU Denver as he continues his work as an Immigration Paralegal at Mercy Legal Aid Clinic and assists these populations in achieving computer literacy, particularly in regards to emergency aid response. Your prior good works and great future promise have not gone unnoticed Jorge and Puksta celebrates you!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Chelsea Situmeang

Guided by the optimistic hopes of her parents, Chelsea was a first-generation student who found her footing in service by addressing issues concerning body positivity within Asian American and Pacific Islander women. Hearing the call of public health and ethnic studies, she worked on a video series intended to help and empower AAPI women while focusing her sights on which graduate path she would pursue. Chelsea, a CU Denver grad, was and continues to be a shining light of pride for both her parents and The Puksta Foundation. There is no boundary to the light you promise to spread upon this world Chelsea and we look forward to the illumination that you will bring to so many in need. Congratulations!


Class of 2019 Puksta Alumni Spotlight: Anarely Marquez-Gomez

Seeing others achieve their full potential has been a major area of focus for Anarely. Often confronted with seeing the aspirations of the hopefull dashed by injustice, this CU Boulder grad strove to amend these ills through self-discovery and by working within the Created Raices organization. In addition, she worked to eliminate the “lives of fear” of her fellow dreamers by collaborating with groups such as AILA and assisting with legal workshops intended to address many of the concerns that have arisen from the increasingly abrasive interactions that have been occurring between ICE agencies and migrants. With her work and determination, there is a certainty that more will truly realize their full potential. Congratulations Anerely!