Tag: CU Boulder

Celebrating our Incoming Scholars and Graduating Seniors at Puksta Passages: CU Boulder Edition!

Everyone say, "Puksta!"
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Last Wednesday, friends, family, supporters and CU Boulder Puksta Scholars gathered together via video chat to celebrate our first ever *virtual* Puksta Passages event (and Pizza Party)!

The evening began with the introduction of our newest scholars, Tiffany Rivera-Campos, Fernanda Maria Cerros, and Emily Rodriguez Aguirre. We are thrilled to have these three amazing individuals join the Puksta Family, and we look forward seeing how they engage with their campus and communities in the years ahead!

Next, our current scholars gave exciting updates on their projects. We were truly blown away by the level of creativity demonstrated in each presentation, as well as the scholars’ continued commitment to having a positive impact on their communities. Our scholars at CU Boulder are mentors, social justice warriors, and advocates for a more equitable world, and we couldn’t be more proud of them!

The final two presentations were delivered by our graduating CU Boulder seniors, Rebecca Robidoux and Jasmine Tran. In addition to their fellow Pukstas, friends and families joined in as audience members to cheer them on, as well as CU School of Education’s Assistant Dean of Advancement, Mia Axon, and Assistant Director of Development, Jeremy Jones.

Rebecca is a double major in Women and Gender Studies and Leadership and Community Engagement. She is actively involved in work addressing issues of sanctuary for undocumented residents and immigration justice. Rebecca’s presentation also explored the importance of acknowledging and navigating positions of privilege in community organizing spaces.

Jasmine is an Integrative Physiology major. Her passion focuses on issues of equity in health care. She has worked with Boulder County to administer and evaluate a nutrition and food assistance program for low-income residents. Jasmine also sought to enhance and expand affordable access to nutritious, healthy, and plentiful diets in mountain communities.

Puksta Coordinators Roudy Hildreth and Allie Van Buskirk each reflected on the growth of both Rebecca and Jasmine over the course of their years at Puksta, as well as their ongoing work as change-makers engaging in work to truly make the world a better place for all. A retrospective slideshow of pictures was also shared, with heartfelt notes from fellow CU Boulder Puksta Scholars interspersed throughout.

Presenting senior scholars with a graduation cord is traditional part of Puksta Passages. However, as the ceremony was moved to a remote format, we had to get creative. Executive Director John Mulstay and Director of Development and Community Outreach NiChel Mulstay arranged for Rebecca and Jasmine to receive their cords at home, and then virtually presented the cords to the scholars, congratulating each of them on their accomplishments and thanking them for their meaningful work as Puksta Scholars.

Thank you to all of the presenters, as well as our supportive attendees, for making this ceremony a success, and for being part of an evening of love and laughter. We’re so proud of all of our scholars– incoming, current, and graduating– and are grateful to have opportunities like this to celebrate, even if it’s virtually for now! This year’s CU Boulder Puksta Passage truly demonstrated that, in spite of the various challenges and uncertainties we’re all currently facing, Puksta is Love.

Best of luck to Jasmine and Rebecca in your journeys ahead, and thank you for being a part of our Puksta Family, now and always.

Puksta Alumni Spotlight: David Chiu ’08

Today’s featured Puksta Scholar is David Chiu, a member of the 2008 Puksta Scholar Cohort at CU Boulder. David’s Puksta project established a water quality monitoring program in Left Hand Canyon, Boulder County, to aid in environmental restoration of areas impacted by historic mining activity. His goals in the program were to meet similar like-minded people that shared a passion for helping others and improving our communities. Another goal of David identified was to learn tools and strategies for implementing sustainable and measurable civic service projects.

David is currently living in Bothell, Washington and works as an analytical scientist for Seattle Genetics, a pharmaceutical company focused on cancer therapies. Regarding his Puksta experience and how it connects to his current work, David shared his reflections on how the Puksta program gave him the confidence to lead a large project outside of the confines of the classroom. The scholars, staff, and advisors, he added, provided him with a positive and supportive network of individuals that helped him through challenging times. Through his Puksta experience, David says, “I was able to improve my mental fortitude, empathy, organizational skills, and had doors opened for me that continue to benefit me throughout my life.”

We also asked David to share any advice for current scholars or alumni. He offered these words of wisdom:

Identify your dream that you are passionate about. Develop a plan to achieve that dream. You will encounter setbacks, but have the self-confidence to believe in yourself and the determination to achieve those goals. We all change as people and our dreams change as well so stay true to yourself and focus on things that you are passionate about.

Life has a strange way of working out. Maybe you interview for a job and don’t get it, but then you see a new posting for the job of your dreams. Maybe you buy a shiny new car, but end up crashing it and hurting yourself. Live in the moment, don’t dwell on the past and don’t try to predict the future. If you carry yourself with humility, respect, and integrity, good things will happen.

Thank you for taking the time to share this update with us, as well as your reflections on your Puksta experience, David!

We love hearing from our scholars, past and present! If you have an update to share or a recent accomplishment to celebrate, let us know! Email Sarah Thomas at sthomas0519@gmail.com with your news!