December 16, 2014 Issue
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AnneMarie Rossi is Changing the World One Mind at a Time

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.

AnneMarie's passion lies in serving the most vulnerable among us. She used a CU Denver Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Grant to complete research on the impacts of Mindfulness instruction on low socio-economic fourth grade students in a Denver Public School, and recently presented her findings at the Mind and Life International symposium, where the Dali Lama was the keynote speaker. AnneMarie is currently excited about her work with Urban Peak Youth Homeless Shelter, where she has created a class specific to homeless youth. There she will be working with Dr. Scott Harpin and Dr. Leah Swanson from the CU Medical School on a research project looking at the biological (cortisol levels) impacts of Mindfulness instruction on homeless teens. More than a research project, Mindfulness is a practice AnneMarie has dedicated her life to, and one that she believes can bring healing to those in need.

As a trauma survivor herself, AnneMarie's interest in the healing power of Mindfulness goes well beyond the academic. After the Aurora Theater shooting in 2012, AnneMarie and her family took it upon themselves to collect donations for the families of the victims; going door-to-door to businesses as well as setting up a website, ultimately collecting over $17,000. This is just one example of the dedication AnneMarie puts into reducing the suffering of others. She has also created a Random Acts of Kindness challenge campaign on Facebook, which she believes improves the world a little bit at a time, anonymously, every day.

AnneMarie talks about her experiences and pride in CU Denver in more depth here:

Why did you choose CU Denver?
I chose CU Denver because of proximity to my home, connection to Anschutz, as well as the availability of online courses.

What do you and why it's of interest it you?
I am a History major with minors in Education and Sociology. I have always been fascinated with the actions of humanity throughout our existence and hold a deep belief that if we do not learn our history we are doomed to repeat it.

What are your goals for the future?
I am the Founder and Executive Director of Be Mindful, a non-profit whose mission is to make the practice of Mindfulness accessible to the masses. I plan on continuing to bring this practice to the community, as well as engage in meaningful, scientifically validated research. I believe I will change the world, one mind at a time.

What scholarships did you receive, and how did those funds help you to achieve your goals?
I have been the recipient of the Alumni Scholarship three times, The Graham Family scholarship twice, the Schuman School of Education scholarship, as well as the CLAS Dean scholarship on four occasions. I have also been the recipient of the Undergraduate Opportunities Research Program (UROP) grant. This support has allowed me to engage in qualified research in a way that would not have otherwise been possible. It has also allowed for me to balance my work and home life. My children require a tremendous amount of support as they both suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (as do I) and without this financial aid I would not have been able to manage academics and parenting.

What does philanthropy or giving back mean to you?
I have dedicated my life to the service of others. I believe there is no greater joy, no more effective tool for healing, than engaging in acts of kindness. At Be Mindful we have been able to touch hundreds of lives by bringing the practice of Mindfulness to schools, homeless shelters, disaster relief victims, and youth centers in the projects. Mindfulness brought me a peace I did not know was possible, bringing this to others is the most fulfilling work I have ever engaged in. Philanthropy is not something you do, it is someone you are. I am constantly looking for ways in which I can show support, compassion, kindness, and love to those in need.

If you could tell people one thing about CU Denver what would it be?
CU Denver is a vibrant and diverse community filled with individuals deeply committed to the success of the students and the community.  They are also engaged in exciting and dynamic research. I am proud to be a Lynx!

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