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Congratulations to 2018-19 PIFP Fellows

PIFP Fellows

The Public Interest Fellowship Program is pleased to announce the incoming cohort of PIFP fellows. Below, meet this year’s fellows and learn which partner organizations they will be working with during the upcoming summer and year. PIFP offers paid summer and yearlong fellowships to CC students and graduates. This pipeline to nonprofit partner organizations provides fellows with significant experience, specialized training and mentoring, and the opportunity to make a difference in the issues facing our state and community. Over the past 15 years, PIFP has placed nearly 400 fellows and worked with 80 partner organizations.

Yearlong Fellows

Helen Griffiths ACLU of Colorado
Rowan Frederiksen Arc–Pikes Peak Region
Dorsa Djalilzadeh Bell Policy Center
Duranya Freeman CO Center on Law & Policy
Savanah McDaniel CO Consumer Health Initiative (policy)
Isabelle Nathanson CO Consumer Health Initiative (outreach)
Asheton Gilbertson Conservation Colorado
Amelia (Mimi) Smith Denver Scholarship Foundation
Salem Tewelde Denver Scholarship Foundation
Tia Phillip DSST Public Schools
Rachael Maxwell Innovations in Aging Collaborative
Naomi Randell OMNI Institute
Caroline Olin TESSA
Delaney Tight Volunteers for Outdoor CO

Summer Fellows

Jacqueline Nkhonjera ACLU of Colorado
Maria Cortner Arc of the Pikes Peak Reg
Bianca Lydia Thomas Atlas Preparatory School
Max Blackburn Atlas Preparatory School
Graham Campson Catamount Institute
Annie Engen City of Colorado Springs
Abe Lahr CO Dept Health Care Policy & Financing
Hannah Schultz CO Dept Health Care Policy & Financing
Maggie Mehlman CO League of Charter Schools
Carolyn Best Fountain Creek Watershed District
Jasmin Thibou Gill Foundation
Carter Eng Greenway Fund
Anna Smith NCSL Communications Div.
Meg DeMarsh NCSL Education Program
Riley Hutchings NCSL Energy, Environment & Transportation Program
Annie Zlevor NCSL Health Program
Alison Takkunen NCSL Health Program
Kendall Stoetzer One Colorado Education Fund
Hannah Pardee Palmer Land Trust
Alison Baird PEAK Parent Center
Logan Coleman ProgressNow Colorado Education
Mark Scaggs Towards Justice

Charge On, Tigers

EV Charger

CC has taken another step toward the goal of expanding its electric vehicle infrastructure to make charging more accessible campus wide.

CC has installed a dual-head (two-car capacity) ChargePoint electric vehicle charger just north of Tutt Library. The parking is open to members of the CC community and outside community members, as it is on the national ChargePoint network. The cost per hour to charge is 75 cents.

“Now that there are more electric vehicles on the roads and higher demand for charging facilities, it made sense to upgrade to the newest system, so now we’ll have more charging spaces,” says Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability.

Jim Burness ’90, CEO of National Car Charging, cut the ribbon on the new electric vehicle charger as part of the Earth Week celebrations. Burness’s company is working to improve the electric vehicle infrastructure in cities like Colorado Springs.

The company has worked on projects across the nation to jumpstart electric vehicle use by providing the necessary infrastructure. Burness says he’s passionate and enthusiastic about this issue in Colorado Springs and even helped CC use tax credit savings to subsidize the new charging station.

Ella Axelrod ’19 Uncovers Artifacts and Passion for Archaeology

Ella Axelrod on archeological dig site

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Some students enter college with an inkling of what they want to study, and Ella Axelrod ’19, was no different: they had a sneaking suspicion of their interest in archaeology after participating on an archaeology field trip in eighth grade. At CC, Axelrod dove in head first, talking their way into Professor Ruth Van Dyke’s archaeology class right after finishing their FYE, a 300-level class that took place in Castroville, Texas, north of San Antonio. The class sought to find signs of the early Alsacean settlements, built by Henri Castro and the French people he brought to the area in the mid 1840’s.

“This was a hard crash-course in archaeology for me,” describes Axelrod, only a first-year student at the time. “It was physically demanding, [with days spent] often crouched down, carefully removing layer by layer of dirt to look for features, hauling wheelbarrows or five-gallon buckets to screening stations, and sifting through the dirt for artifacts.” Despite the intensity of the class, Axelrod confirmed their love of archaeology and has been studying anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology ever since.

The following summer, Axelrod took a class in their home state of Hawaii, at the University of Hawaii West Oahu, working with a team to help uncover a World War II prisoner of war and citizen internment camp in western central Oahu. This dig was no easy feat either. Axelrod describes searching beneath vegetation for concrete left from the camp and the high temperatures: “The valley we were working in was literally nicknamed ‘Jigoku Dani’ or ‘Hell Valley’ by the Japanese-American citizens who were imprisoned there.” When people think of archaeology they often imagine unearthing dinosaur bones and forgotten civilizations; Axelrod proves that we have much to discover about even recent events. According to them, “going back and finding such difficulty in reconstructing something that seems like it should be recent, memorable history was significant and really highlighted to me how much we don’t realize about the history in our own backyard.”

The emotional and historical significance of this work was highlighted on the trip one lunch break. As Axelrod describes, “after a few days of surveying, while breaking for lunch on a hilltop, we noticed three flowering trees planted in a straight line, about on the border of the civilian side of the camp. Over 70 years ago, some unknown prisoner here probably planted those as an attempt to improve their living conditions in the almost shadeless, sweltering valley. For me, it highlighted the lasting impact we have on our environment and the archaeological record and the human aspect of what happened there.”

Axelrod’s next excavation would take them to the opposite side of the world from Hawaii, to Buysscheure, France. Over the course of the summers of 2016 and 2017, Axelrod would work as the youngest member and only undergraduate on a team of archaeologists set to find and recover the remains of Frank Fazekas, a pilot who was shot down in 1944. Just as labor-intensive as their previous expeditions, Axelrod describes their time in France: “I spent the majority of my first visit to France in a 15-foot deep, muddy hole pulling out countless twisted hunks of metal that used to be a plane and hoping to find the remains of its pilot, a man not much older than myself.” The task was as steeped in meaning as the dig in Hawaii: To bring a man’s remains home to his family. After two summers, many hours, befriending the older French couple across the street who didn’t speak English, and some rain that turned the dirt to mud, their hard work paid off. “Being there while we scrubbed 72-years’ worth of dirt of off what used to be wing-mounted machine guns and finally having confirmation that we found what we were looking for was like watching the puzzle pieces click into place.” Further digging eventually revealed Fazekas’s remains, which were removed and returned to his family.

Axelrod’s most recent archaeological endeavor took them to the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado near CC’s Baca Campus during Block 2. Professor Scott Ingram, of whom Axelrod “cannot speak highly enough,” taught the CC class titled Field Archaeology, which worked with the National Forest Service to survey a potential part of the Old Spanish Trail. One of the highlights of the trip according to Axelrod was “finding manos and metates, which are artifacts associated with food processing that, potentially, hadn’t been touched by another human in hundreds of years and were just lying on the ground.” Axelrod goes on, “Holding the traces of the people who lived here before any of us was an immensely humbling experience.”

Needless to say, this won’t be their last dig. Continuing their pattern of hard work and determination, Axelrod plans to continue pursuing their archaeological career at Colorado College and beyond.

Jeremy Zucker ’18 Prepping for Graduation and World Tour

Jeremy Zucker '18

By Alana Aamodt ’18

For any student, studying on the Block Plan is a major balancing act — fast paced and sometimes stressful, it all leads to those four days of block break when students can finally take that long awaited nap, hop in a car and drive to the desert, explore Denver or, in the case of Jeremy Zucker ’18, travel the country and perform music. Maybe they’re not your typical block breaks, but Zucker has spent his time at CC fostering a music career right alongside a molecular and cellular biology major.

Signed to Republic Records, Zucker has seen a growing following over the past few years with songs on his most recent album “idle” garnering millions of plays on Spotify, You Tube, and SoundCloud. Zucker’s record label, which has also signed artists such as Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Drake, describes his music as a “fusion of organic airy beats, lush soundtrack-style soundscapes, and biting Tumblr-worthy lyricism, Zucker’s catalog is eclectic: equally carefree and effortless as it is introspectively cathartic.”

Singer, songwriter, producer, and student, the balancing act is not easy, says Zucker. “Honestly, the deeper I get into my major the harder it gets to balance school with music. I couldn’t imagine doing it at any other school; often times I’ll fly out and do a couple shows over a block break or just stay at home in the studio I built in my basement and make music nonstop for five days. The way my mind works, I need to be able to focus my attention and effort on one thing at a time or I’ll go crazy,” he says, citing the Block Plan as the main way he is able to do both.

Zucker has been making music since middle school, consistently releasing songs on various platforms. His hard work and determination have paid off, and he has big plans coming up: Zucker is embarking on a European tour in April with the artist Lauv, a good friend of his, as well as appearing at the Firefly Music Festival, the East Coast’s largest music and camping festival in Dover, Delaware, in June.

“As my outlook on life changes and evolves, so do my songs,” Zucker says. “My process is really cathartic. I find myself digging through my subconscious, picking out feelings, fears, and hopes that I didn’t even know I had.” Even with graduation and a European tour approaching, Zucker will continue to create music. Listen to some of Zucker’s music and check out his tour dates.

Students Earning A+ Computer Certification with New Program

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Starting this week, students interested in computers and information technology are embarking on a 10-week A+ computer certification course. Meeting once a week, students will learn to maintain, customize, and operate personal computers with the goal of passing with an A+ certification, an entry-level certification for PC computer service technicians. The certification helps participating students prepare to enter jobs in information technology and other industries; the course proves they have demonstrated advanced computer skills, setting them apart from other students.

Tulio Wolford, the solutions service manager in ITS, as well as an adjunct instructor for Pikes Peak and Arapahoe Community Colleges, is the driving force behind bringing this opportunity to CC, and will be teaching the course. “Being the manager of the Solutions Center, my team hires student workers and I figured A+ certification would be a great way to train up these students,” Wolford shares. “When I spoke to Brian Young, the VP for ITS, about it, he thought offering it to ALL students would be a great way to further CC’s strategic plan. I have had great support on this venture from the president and cabinet and cannot wait to share the results.”

Upon successful completion of the course, ITS will pay for each student’s A+ certification test in Colorado Springs and provide transport to and from the testing site. The course started this Thursday, Feb. 1, and is held each Thursday night from 7-8:30 p.m. Contact twolford@coloradocollege.edu for more information.

Refining Big Ideas During Half Block

By Alana Aamodt ’18

The Big Idea competition is just a few weeks away and the Innovation at CC team has been hard at work throughout Half Block in its new student-designed space on the corner of Weber Street and Cache La Poudre, helping students perfect their pitches. The Big Idea is a startup pitch competition where teams of CC students propose entrepreneurial ventures to a panel of judges for the chance to win a chunk of the $50,000 prize money to fund their project.

The Big Idea Half Block class, which is optional for teams entering the competition, has spent nearly all of the past two weeks going through an entrepreneurial boot camp, taking students from business idea to viable presentation and business model.

The first week broke down the components needed to enter the competition, helping teams create mission statements and executive summaries, and generally refining their ideas. The rest of it has been spent creating comprehensive slideshow presentations, called “pitch decks” in the startup world. Collaborative and intense, the Big Idea Half Block witnessed teams’ ideas ranging from hot sauce to toys to iPhone apps.

To help prepare students to present, the class participated in the Career Center session Improv Theatre, the Job Market, and You led by Anne Braatas ’76, playing improv games to help with confidence and energy while pitching. In addition, the students have practiced their pitches multiple times, presenting to each other and the professors — Jake Eichengreen and Dez Stone Menendez. Eichengreen is the executive director of the QUAD Innovation Partnership and Menendez is the director of Innovation at CC. Menendez, who has a background in startup and small business consulting, says her “passion is empowering people to execute their ideas, particularly young people,” and that the most inspiring and exciting part of teaching this Half Block is seeing just how quickly students can build a pitch.

The finale Big Idea event, where finalists will pitch ideas on the stage of Celeste Theatre, will be held Thursday, Feb. 8.

Norberto Orellana ’20 Inspires with TEDx Talk

Norberto Orellana gives TEDx Talk

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Norberto Orellana ’20 wants people to know that success is always imminent.  The CC sophomore has overcome a lot in his 19 years; he’s been extremely successful and continues to have big aspirations.

Orellana was born with right spastic semihemiplegia cerebral palsy and has been through many surgeries to limit its effects. While often moving between states, Orellana also experienced homelessness in high school. Despite all of this, he was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He graduated with honors, as well as an associate’s degree, and now is a chemistry major at Colorado College. He hopes to attend medical school to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Orellana drew from many of these experiences for his talk titled “Success is Just Around the Corner” at the TEDx Colorado Springs event earlier this month.

After spending this summer on campus for research, Orellana wanted to find a way to become more involved in the Colorado Springs community. Through his searches, he discovered TEDx Colorado Springs. Orellana had already spoken at TEDx Youth Miami in February, so he knew right away he would be interested in speaking again. Orellana explains, “I enjoy being able to speak to [groups]. It makes me extraordinarily happy that my message can have such an effect on someone. I often don’t think much of this journey that I’ve been on, but I know that my journey is one of trials and struggles — and thus one that I feel the need to share.”

At the TEDx event, Orellana was the second speaker of the day, so he had the opportunity to watch the other eight talks. One particularly struck a chord with him;  a talk about mental health and suicide. Orellana says he hopes to incorporate these tough but crucial topics into his own speeches in the future.

TEDx reaffirmed Orellana’s love for public speaking; inspiring even one person makes it worth it for him. He also hopes to influence the way people think about life. “If we move forward in a loving and righteous direction we will find success and fulfillment,” he says. “We are not a fluke, our existence is not unsubstantial, we are not here on some sort of probation — our existence is absolutely fundamental. Success is always just around the corner.”

Recent Grad Published in Philosophy Journal

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Recent CC grad Lykkefry Bonde ’17 put her CC education to good use over the summer; she had an article published in the September issue of the journal Kierkegaard in Process. Kierkegaard in Process is an academic journal based out of the University of Copenhagen that allows undergraduate and graduate students a place to publish their own research and writing on Soren Kierkegaard.

Bonde is an international student from Denmark, and majored in Philosophy at CC. She wrote this article while doing an independent study with Professor Rick Furtak during her junior year. She drew from her knowledge of the Danish language to analyze Kierkegaard’s concept of love. In the article, she compares his two pieces Works of Love and Stages on Life’s Way, as well as the roots of the Danish words for “to live,” at leve, and “to love,” at elske. Through her analysis, Bonde explains the similarities between growing plants and loving other human beings. Bonde did not write this piece with the specific goal of being published, but did submit it to a number of journals so Professor Furtak could cite it in his own work. This is Bonde’s first published article, and she says it makes her happy that “someone finds my work interesting enough to publish.”

Currently, Bonde is working as a philosophy teacher at an international school in Armenia. She explains, though, that she misses being a student, and is looking to start a master’s degree at some point in the future.  This publication is a step in the right direction, she says.

Diverse Learners Week Becoming New Tradition at CC

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Colorado College is celebrating Diverse Learners Week.

Diverse Learners Week was initiated in 2016 with the goal of “celebrating and embracing the diverse ways that members of our campus community learn and contribute to learning environments at CC,” says Sara Rotunno, assistant director of Accessibility Resources. This year, Accessibility Resources collaborated with other partners to expand the events. Rotunno says she thinks the week will become an important tradition for CC “as it truly highlights CC’s commitment to value all persons and to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives.”

Events throughout the week were sponsored by a variety of campus organizations and offices, including Accessibility Resources, the Butler Center, and the Colket Center for Academic Excellence, among others.

There were a variety of events aimed at engaging the broader CC community on the topic of diverse learners. The main event was Eli Claire’s speech titled “Defective, Deficient, and Burdensome: Thinking about ‘Bad’ Bodies.” The presentation included poetry, stories, history, and politics to explain why some bodies are considered defective.

Another interesting event to celebrate diverse learners was a volunteer opportunity at the Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center. Organized by the Collaborative for Community Engagement, the event invited students, faculty, and staff to volunteer one or multiple days this week with children at the center. Niki Sosa, community partnership development coordinator at the CCE, says volunteers worked with children on outdoor and reading activities and had the “opportunity to adapt their methods of engaging with the children as they work through activities together.”

Other events this week included a workshop for faculty on working with students with learning disabilities and a tutor training for ESL students put on by CC Refugee Alliance. Upcoming events include a local hike this afternoon at 3 p.m., sponsored by Outdoor Education, and a faculty luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 31, titled “Practices Towards Accessible and Inclusive Classrooms.”

For more information, see https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/accessibilityresources/get-involved/diverse-learners-week.html

Hayley Bates ’18 Heads to Mountain Bike Nationals

Senior Hayley Bates is representing Colorado College on the national stage, heading to Missoula, Montana, this weekend to compete in her final Collegiate Mountain Biking National Championships. Bates says regular season racing this year has helped prepare her for the stacked field at nationals.

“It was the biggest and fastest field we’ve ever had in Colorado; we’re the most competitive collegiate state for mountain biking. And, with heading to Missoula, we have had the opportunity to train at altitude and in the cold.”

The races, Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21, include a cross-country course that lasts about 90 minutes, and a short-track course, which is a 20-minute race plus three laps on a short course. Missoula is home to professional mountain biking races, too, and Bates says it should be a fun place to ride. She hones her skills training in Colorado Springs’ Ute Valley and Palmer Parks.

It’s her third time toeing the line at the mountain biking nationals, though this season, she’s had an extra challenge to tackle.

“The idea of hitting my face again really affected me,” says Bates. Bates had a serious crash at the end of the 2017 road cycling season. She crashed two weeks before nationals and while she sustained a broken nose, broken teeth, and severe facial trauma, she was cleared to get back on the bike within a week of that crash. “My first ride outside was the day before nationals; it was great to have the support from everyone at that race, and people were so happy to see me there. It was a good comeback,” she says. “And it was intense.” Just days after that crash, Bates won a sprint to the finish and placed fifth in the nation in collegiate club road cycling.

While she is CC’s only representative at the collegiate mountain biking national competition (this is her third year as the team’s sole qualifier), her leadership has helped grow CC’s presence during the regular season. “The team at CC got huge this year, with an average of 20 cyclists going to races. I remember my freshman year six people going to races was huge; now, I think we’ve had a max of 24 which has been a significant increase.”

Bates says the growing cycling community at CC helps in her own training, with more riders on group rides. “It’s really nice that we can train together, even if we are doing our own efforts,” she says.

Wrapping up this final mountain biking season is bittersweet for Bates. “Collegiate cycling has done so much for me at CC. Initially, I had to convince my parents to let me bring my bikes out here (when she moved to CC from her home in California).  From there, I’ve built myself up to get my pro card and be considered for professional cycling teams; and so many of my friends are from cycling; it’s such a supportive community.”

Now, while Bates considers her next steps — likely law school eventually, and internships in the political science field — she’s also talking with teams in the competitive world of professional cycling. She says her strong suit is road cycling, which is what she plans to pursue post-collegiately. “I love mountain biking; it’s 100 percent your own effort when you’re out there. In road cycling, I like having the group dynamic, reading the field and that analysis element of it.”

Bates will get her chance to be a part of that group dynamic when road cycling season starts up in the spring. “I’ll take a break after nationals this month and will continue training year round. Then we’ll start road racing in March,” she says. Her family will be supporting her in Missoula this weekend and the campus community wishes her the best of luck!