Letter from Dean Pamela E. Jansma
Giving Back and Paying It Forward
In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CU Denver, we have amazing students who are outstanding in their service to their communities and their commitment to their education. We are so proud of all of them. The stories featured in this edition of Pinnacle highlight three individuals at different stages of their undergraduate careers and one recent alumnus; all of whom are pursuing passion, overcoming obstacles, learning leadership, and giving back. A common thread is the importance of scholarships to each of them in achieving their goals. The financial support has been essential and motivating, impelling them to pay it forward through volunteering and mentoring. Our students are wise beyond their years. As William Mundo said, "giving back…is not helping or fixing, it simply means serving with a purpose." What great words to ponder as we approach the New Year.
Pamela E. Jansma
- William Mundo will be the Type of Doctor the World Needs More Of
From a young age, William Mundo knew he wanted to help and heal people. William watched his father administer care and advice to others in his community, believing when he was young that his father was a doctor. It wasn't until William was much older that he discovered his father had not graduated from high school. In addition to always being there to help his neighbors and friends, his father labored hard to provide for his family. His father's training and knowledge in the healing arts came from a dedication to being of service, rather than from a classroom. William describes his father as a hero. He says that now when he looks back on all that his dad sacrificed to make sure his family and community was provided for it solidifies William's drive to become a doctor himself.
William was born in East Los Angeles, but the Mundos moved to Leadville, CO before William can remember. Until coming to the big city to attend CU Denver, Leadville was the only home William had known. William feels great pride and connection to his hometown, and was motivated to find ways to help and protect its residents as a young man. At sixteen he worked as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool, and in his first summer William rescued a boy who was drowning. He remembers the formative experience being both a rush and a revelation about how it feels to save a life. Because he and his friends liked to hike and be outdoors, and William felt it was important his friends could rely on him in an emergency situation, William received Wilderness First Aid Certification Training at seventeen. Taking it a step further, upon turning eighteen William became EMT certified before graduating high school and making the move to Denver.
In This Issue
- Frontlines - AnneMarie Rossi is Changing the World One Mind at a Time
AnneMarie Rossi's character, commitment to her community, and research work are intimately intertwined. A stand-out student and recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate award for CLAS, AnneMarie is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Society and the International Golden Key Honors Society, but her proudest achievements have come outside the classroom.
AnneMarie is the Founder and Director of Be Mindful, a non-profit organization aimed at making a difference in as many people's lives as possible through teaching the practice of Mindfulness. Having completed the Mindful School's curriculum training, as a certified .b instructor, AnneMarie has already taught more than 100 children from ages 5-19 about Mindfulness practice herself (with survey results showing that 95% of her students anonymously report enjoying her class and benefitting from the practice). TedEx Mile High recently named Be Mindful one of the fifteen most interesting and creative organizations in Colorado. With her credentials from CU Denver, AnneMarie will go on to teach and help many more students and adults through her organization, and plans to apply to Oxford University's Masters in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy program.
- Frontlines - Courtney Harrell is a CU Denver Storyteller
Courtney Harrell likes writing stories about people doing everyday things – but doing it in a way that gets her readers' attention. Writing as an intern for The University of Colorado Denver's Communications team, Courtney has worked hard to tell the stories of otherwise unsung efforts from students, faculty, and staff who are making a difference on campus and in their community.
She's written about students reaching out to mentor incoming freshmen, faculty doing groundbreaking research, and organizations making their political voices heard. As a "narrative journalist" Courtney plans to pursue an MFA after graduating from CU Denver and to work as a free-lance journalist before eventually returning to academia to teach the craft of writing to others. She knows from personal experience just how difficult it can be to have confidence in your own "voice" when you lose confidence in yourself.
- Alumni Profile - Noah McDermott Writes Tales of the Human Condition
Noah McDermott chose CU Denver because he grew up in the heart of the city and always loved city life. He never saw a campus sharing three institutions as a drawback; instead he embraced it as an opportunity. He describes the beautiful campus and the chance to meet so many different and unique people (students as well as professors) as the major draw for him. Besides location, Noah also chose CU Denver because it had a Theatre, Film, and Television program (in the College of Arts and Media) that he wanted to pursue initially.
But as is the case with so many students, Noah's interests evolved and changed over the course of his studies and he switched to a Creative Writing Major. He graduated with a BA in English in the spring of 2014, and is now dedicating himself to pursuing his passion for writing, as well as volunteering and introducing the passion to others. Noah loved his time at the university, embraced the breadth and depth of what he was able to learn in his time, and says he made a good decision choosing CU Denver.