Puksta Fall Retreat 2019 Event Recap

A few short weeks ago, as the September heat was about to give way to October chills, our current and new scholars were invited to join family at the MSU campus for a day of fellowship, renewal of spirit, and expansion of awareness. As students arrived, they collected the latest in Puksta higher-education hydration technology: a sleek new custom water bottle complete with Puksta Scholar branding!

After coffee and snacks, the group settled into the day with a moment of reflection. Then Puksta Coordinators Roudy Hildreth (CU Boulder) and Sam Desta (CSU) offered a rousing presentation to the senior members while Executive Director John Mulstay took the new ones on a short walk where he extolled the values of the organization, expectations, and his vision for Puksta’s future.

When John and the incoming Puksta Scholars returned, they were given a surprise welcome back by the current scholars who offered hugs and handshakes to all. After a short break, the group resettled and were received by Riana Mitchell with the Chinook Fund who offered a discussion/workshop where members explored how her organization employs a “change not charity” approach to support funding when assessing nonprofits.

The group then strolled over to the MSU Student Success Building where they enjoyed a hearty and healthy lunch in the courtyard, sponsored by Protein Bar. After tummies settled and bodies were refreshed, new photos and headshots were taken followed by a trip back to the Puksta event HQ for an in-depth and spirited presentation led by local anti-oppression trainer: Regan Byrd who discussed anti-racism and intersectionality.

Finally, before the day came to close, a reflection on the day was offered and a Puksta poem was recited by Puksta Alumni: Rob Hatcher. Hugs and goodbyes were then given to everyone and our family journeyed back to their respective campuses to continue the good fight for a better world for all. In all, a great day for the Puksta family, both old and new!


Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Angelica Prisciliano

Angelica seeks knowledge and the rights of others to pursue the same. Focusing on the undocumented in Colorado, she endeavors to grow their knowledge of their rights and their access to a college education. Inspired by her history with hard-working migrant families, this MSU student is currently developing a network where the undocumented can obtain the tools to achieving the path of higher education and the promise of future prosperity. She drives herself not only to her own enlightenment, but to help others towards a brighter future. We are proud of your efforts Angelica and look forward to how you’ll help others shine just as brilliantly as you. Great work!


Puksta Scholar Spotlight: Aliyah Williams

Aliyah wants to help those who often can’t help themselves. In her time with Puksta, this DU student has been engaged in raising awareness and promoting mental health, especially for both those who are economically disadvantaged and those within the prison system. Fascinated by the human brain, she works to educate others on the complexity of the organ and destroy the stigma often associated with mental illness. In addition to personally advocating for those suffering, she has created a website dedicated to this effort and hopes to grow this into a full-fledged nonprofit after university. We are proud of how much you are doing Aliyah and promise to do in the future. Excellent work!


Puksta Self-Care: Walking the Block

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Hiking the trails is great, but why wait for the weekend to stretch those legs and enjoy some fresh air? Studies can sometimes create insular attitudes, so don’t allow your dorm or apartment to become a place of confinement. As simple as some sweats and sneakers, taking a walk is not just getting some light exercise, but also getting you out and familiar with your neighborhood. If you’re the type who needs a destination then why not a bookstore or a coffee shop? If you have some light shopping to do, then a brief visit to the local grocery store can be an answer to breaking up the grind of reading books and papers and writing essays. As with all exercise, a little stretching never hurts, but a simple trip outside can get your muscles moving and your lungs working.

Some tips for your neighborhood travel:

-Shoes are important! Comfort and grip, especially when the weather is less than perfect, is essential.

-Safety is paramount! Only walk in areas you feel are safe and if you can bring a friend along its all the better.

-The campus is a great place to get those steps and crunch those books.

Here’s what the Harvard Medical School has to say about the benefits of walking:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking


Puksta Retreat Highlight: CU Boulder Retreat

On Saturday, September 14th the Puksta Scholars of CU Boulder gathered at the NCAR Mesa Laboratory for a day of self-discovery, discussion, and trust-building. Led by their Coordinator: Roudy Hildreth and his successor: Allie Van Buskirk, the group started the day with a “trust hike” in which scholars walked along a trail without the ability of sight.

After a delicious lunch, the group engaged in personal narratives where they shared histories, stories, victories, and failures. Following this, the gathered group was visited by Puksta’s very own Director of Development and Community Outreach: NiChel Mulstay who introduced students to the new Puksta Alumni site.

Following this, the group enjoyed a presentation from CU’s very own Director of Community Partnership: Manuela Sisuentes. Afterwards, goodbyes were said and student life awaited back at school. In all, a day for building bonds, sharing, and making further strides towards Puksta perfection!


Puksta Self-Care: Massage Your Cares Away

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Student life can be stressful. One way to ease all that tension is to occasionally take a moment for yourself and get a massage. Though often believed to be a pleasure only for the rich, massage can be as simple and cheap as a friend administering a foot rub to as rich and indulgent as a spa weekend. Of course, your budget and time will be a deciding factor, but the healing touch has been enjoyed as long as history books have been written. Some enjoy massages on a weekly basis, but students might be inclined to think about either a start or end of the semester session as a means of preparing for or mending the body from the stresses of studies.

The Mayo Clinic suggests these as some of the benefits of massage:

-Helping to reduce anxiety

-Assisting with digestion and helping relieve headaches

-Easing certain muscle strains and treating sports-related injuries (consult a doctor before attempting either of these)

Some things to consider if you do decide to get a massage:

-Know the different kinds of massage and find what’s right for you

-Only get massages in places and from people you feel safe with

-Prices for the same service vary substantially. Shop around as many have web sites and posted prices

-Know what pressure level works for you and know you can have that altered during the actual massage

Before you call a center or start online pricing, make sure to check out the Mayo Clinic’s massage page at:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743


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!