Scholar Category: Education

Rokaya Abdulameer

Major: Biochemistry

Project: I want to create a mentorship program that guides students of color throughout their experience in upper-level AP/Honors/CE courses in high schools.

Inspiration: My experience in these courses inspired my Puksta project because I went to a very diverse high school however, the upper-level courses I was in did not reflect the diversity of the school I went to.

Future Goals: My main goal is to encourage students to challenge themselves and make them realize that they have a support system they can go to if they ever need it.

Betelhem “Betty” Tewodros

Major: Computer Science

Project: This year I plan on working with the Denver Police Department and a body cam company to prevent Police brutality. When police wear body cams, their actions are, and their power put in check. Which is already being implemented; however, many underfunded police departments can’t afford to buy cams and so don’t have the same amount of responsibility, which often can result in unchecked police brutality. Some police officers have figured out that you can turn off cameras and tamper with the evidence so they can get away with certain crimes they might have committed. To solve this issue, I propose the creation of an independent third party monitoring group entirely funded by tax money. This group would monitor police activity and conduct and vet their operations every week. My multi-year plan is to support and gather taxpayer money.

Inspiration: Seeing all the brutality on TV and the Police brutality seems to be on those who come from a low-income background which I am and minority families suffer under the oppression of the powerful in our society.

Future Plans: I hope to be able to get a body cam that is controlled by a company so the cops won’t be able to turn it off or delete evidence for the safety of the civilians and also minorites who are most likely targets of police brutality.

Ari Gibson

Major: Business Administration and Management

Project: Through my Puksta project, I am hoping to help fill the current void surrounding LGBTQ+ education in elementary, middle, and high schools. While other topics regarding diversity are becoming commonplace in classrooms, the important aspects of diversity surrounding those who identify as gender and/or sexuality queer are lacking. I believe that introducing the subject matter to youth in health and sex education classes would enable them to learn about these different areas while helping start a path of self-discovery related to gender and sexuality. Through connecting with educators, providing resources for schools, and giving in-class presentations, I can introduce this content in a friendly, discussion-welcoming demeanor. If one isn’t aware that other genders and sexualities exist, they may find themselves struggling to understand why they’re attracted to certain people and feel certain ways about their gender. The dysphoria that can surround being queer is hard to manage1 2, but our youth need to know they’ll always have support from other LGBTQ+ community members, organizations, and allies, including those who are present in their daily academic lives.

Inspiration: Friends that are part of the LGBTQ+ community have helped me notice the lack of education about their gender expression and sexual orientation. They’ve also helped me see what it can be like to live with daily gender and sexuality dysphoria, making me see the importance for everyone to be able to express themselves, be called their correct name, and use their correct gender pronouns.

Future Plans: I would hope that my project helps youth identify their gender identities and sexual orientations while educating them about all the different forms of gender expression and sexualities that exist. I also want my project to help shift cultural attitudes towards those that identify as gender or sexuality queer.

Karen Nunez Sifuentes

Project: Support/mentor underrepresented high school students and their families. Through my mentorship, I want to create awareness of resources and college opportunities. I want to encourage them to pursue a college career and remove any obstacles that might prevent them from attending college.

Inspiration: Ever since I started college at MSU Denver, I have had this passion to help underrepresented high school students pursue a higher education. I am a Mexican woman pursuing a biochemistry major, and it has not been easy. I often encounter obstacles, such as not having enough opportunities available or being looked down upon because it is uncommon to see people like me in the science field. I want my experience and story to encourage kids to go beyond their limits and provide them with an unlimited amount of resources and opportunities.

Future Plans: I hope that I will be able to visit different schools and organize events with students and their families to provide resources and inform them about college. I want to provide resources so they are able to accomplish anything they want, regardless of their situations. I do not want kids to simply give up their dreams because of their race, a lack of money, or a lack of support from family and friends.

Dulce Olmedo

Major: Biological Science (BA)

Project: My project will be used as a tool to raise awareness on-campus for incidents of bias. As well as market the resources available, such as reporting and support systems. A part of my project is to train Resident Assistants on how to deal with such reports and where to refer students. Another major part of my project is to create an online portion much like the alcohol and sexual assault workshops that are completed by incoming freshmen. My project is a form of intervention meant to inform, and educate. and decrease incidents of bias.

My passion for change and non-conformity is what inspired my project. There are many times when individuals are victims of hate crimes. In many of these cases, they are swept under the rug or when they are addressed nothing else happens besides an apology. On campus, many students do not know there is a reporting system for incidents of bias or how to go about it when they become victims.

Future Plans:
The main goal of my project is to be a form of intervention. I want to be able to educate students specifically incoming freshmen. By doing so they can be aware and conscious of how certain actions and comments are not acceptable as a member of any community.

Felicia “Fifi” Garcia

Major: Music Education

Project: Through the influence of music education, my project will bring a community of children together. My project will provide a program dedicated to bringing music to children where music may not be completely funded. While bringing music to underfunded communities, my project will also help to serve music communities that are lacking in the ability to provide extra personal development for the children who are learning their instruments.

Inspiration: Music Education has been a big impact on my life and I am looking to give back to the community that helped me be who I am today.

Future Plans: I am looking to develop and produce a project that is beneficial and helpful to the community that I can share as developmental research that will follow my degree. It is my hope that once finished with my research and established into my project I will be able to turn it all into words and into an undergraduate thesis that I will be able to share with people for a long time.

Angelica Prisciliano

Project: Student led state wide organization designed to build a strong community network to provide higher education and career resources for Colorado students and professionals regardless of immigration status. ULHE strives to build meaningful coalitions, organize resourceful events, and actively advocate for equitable policy.


Inspiration: Hard working immigrant community inspired me to want to do more work for equity rights.


Future Plans for Project: My goal is to reach my community and build a network where we can all advance in our careers and community.

Duvia Ortega

Project: Create awareness of college opportunities and support for DACA students


Inspiration: Little kids, and how they should know about college since they are small.


Future Plans for Project: To let them know what college is about and give them an idea that college is important.



Anthony Salazar

Project: My project concentrates on helping students specifically seniors navigating the financial aspect of college. Getting in is one step but anybody hardly talked about how to make it a financial reality which seems far out of reach for most students.  This tends to be the case a majority of the time. Although the thing really preventing students from coming to a University is a lack of education on how to make college a financial reality.


Inspiration: Coming from a low-income neighborhood there was an immense need for post-secondary option transition coaches. I only knew of one from my district who was hard to get help from. Seeing this as well as my peers struggle joking but being serious on how much harder it is to pay to college not get that acceptance letter. Inspiration sparked in me to help make a change to this.


Future Plans for Project: My main goal is to help the seniors in my current school and I hope it’ll have a ripple affect on upcoming seniors so they can see college is an obtainable goal.


Lluvia Macias

Project: I have been able to join a research lab through the Renee Crown Wellness Center through CU. As a team we were looking at feelings of trust or distrust between hispanic families and the school district. I worked on translating and transcribing interviews as well as coding them.


Inspiration: CU has a growing population of Undocumented students and must have a support system for them.


Future Plans for Project: I hope to gain Faculty/student/administrative support and get funds to retain undocumented students on campus.