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Congratulations 2019 Graduates!


    "Believe in yourself", "Always keep learning" and "Don't be afraid to ask for help". These were some of the empowering messages that CU Professor, Violeta Chapin delivered to the 2018 BCLL Graduates at this year's Ceremony held at CU Boulder on May 24th. The event was packed with proud parents, local University and college representatives and BCLL board members.

       This year, thanks to former Impact on Education's executive director, Fran Ryan, the graduates were individually photographed by professional photographer Anne Stodala and their pictures were featured in a two page spread in the Boulder Daily Camera that ran in June. (Be sure to check out more pictures on our new website at:

      Coupled with Professor Chapin's dynamic and heartfelt talk, it was the sort of empowering ceremony that we all needed to hear in order to recharge ourselves in the current political climate. Well done BCLL Board!

BCLL Scholars Abroad

by Luis Hernandez


     I was able to come to Istanbul through AIESEC, a non-profit organization that matches volunteer opportunities with volunteers from all over the world. One of the goals for this organization is to help achieve the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development set by the United Nations. Goal number 4 is to ensure equitable quality education for all. For me, equal access to education is really important, so I decided to work on a project that would help this cause. I taught some basic English lessons to children ages 5 to 12 and ensured that they were having fun at the same time.

     The best part about this experience has been the exposure to different cultures, some of my coworkers have different cultural backgrounds than me. I like to see how even though we have differences we are all working towards one goal. I also enjoy seeing the children making progress on their English speaking and writing. I'm happy when I'm able to share knowledge and to do something that helps to achieve sustainable development in the world.


Left photo: Luis in Denmark with other volunteers. Right photo: teaching children in Instanbul.

Letter to BCLL

November 12, 2018

     First, I would like to thank you for supporting our daughter Maritza Rodriguez with your scholarship.  This scholarship has been of great financial support for a great part of her tuition.  Everyone who takes part in this program is part of the fulfillment of our daughter's dream.

Not only has this scholarship been of great economic support, this scholarship has also provided emotional and moral support for my

daughter.  I strongly believe that every student   you    are   helping,  including   my daughter, asks themselves how someone who does not know them is willing to believe that they can accomplish their goals.  Your support produces encouragement and emotional support, which makes them commit to accomplishing their goals.

     My wife and I want to thank you for supporting and being part of my daughter's dream. We hope that God blesses your lives always.

Thank you. 



Luis E. and Miriam Rodriguez

Tips for the best First Year Experience: How to Make the First Year Memorable and Successful

                                                     by Melanie Rocha

     Often students overlook the challenge of staying in college and earning the degree they wish to earn. Completion comes with determination, perseverance, and the will to prioritize and accomplish ones' educational goals. Here are a few tips to help first year college students be successful:

   Tip # 1- Set realistic goals and keep them at the top of your mind. College is not easy. If it were, everyone would have a degree. It is simple to keep working hard when you have something to work toward. Remind yourself and others why you are attending college in the first place, and your plans for after you earn the degree you desire. Take time to think about the steps that are needed to achieve your goals, as well as the barriers that might be standing in your way.

     Tips # 2- Make school a priority. There will always be something you would rather be doing than attending class or studying. Connect with people on campus that have similar goals as you. The more support you have, the better. When I returned to college as an adult, I promised myself that no matter what happened in my life that I would not quit college, and that I would go to college until I earned the degree I desired. Eleven years later and many nights of hard work I earned my Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration Leadership from Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado.

     Tip #3- Schedule time for school work. For every one credit hour, students should expect to study up to three hours outside of class. Most students study for two hours and use one hour to complete the work. Create a schedule that will accommodate your studying needs. Be sure to let your family and friends know when you plan on studying, so they will not interrupt your study time.

     Tip #4- Get involved on campus. Whether you hold a work-study job on campus, form a regular study group, or join a club/organization, get involved! Research shows that the more students are involved on campus, the more likely they are to stay in college and earn a degree. When I began college, I was expecting my first child, so I knew that I needed to earn a wage while attending. I appreciated that the college had positions available on campus to help me obtain my goals. I also met other work-study students on campus, which made attending college fun and memorable. Today, I am still friends with the peers that I met throughout my college journey.

     Tip #5- Take advantage of resources. Colleges have many types of support services. As an example, Front Range Community College offers TRiO programming, financial aid advising, tutoring, an academic support center, disability services, mental health support, veteran services, and much more. A good place to start would be your Student Life office, Department of Admissions and Outreach, or Academic Advising. Don’t forget you also have instructors and faculty that can be excellent resources as well. All staff, faculty, and instructors have office hours available to meet with students as needed.

What are you doing to make sure that your first year college experience is an awesome one?


Melanie Rocha

Front Range Community College

Student Involvement Coordinator


CU Faculty Spotlight

       by Teresa Hernandez


     I grew up in El Paso Texas, with one older and one younger brother. My grandparents also lived in El Paso and we had most Sunday dinners with them at their house. My father, Louis R. Hernandez, raised my brothers and I on his own from when I was in junior high school. Not only was junior high a time of change in my family, but also socially because my brothers and I went to junior high at the school where my Dad was principal. This had good sides and bad sides to it as you might imagine. In junior high school I participated in a summer science camp. As part of that camp, we worked with a white rat, observing its behavior. I still remember the smell of the rat as we worked with it, and the softness of its fur. Later, when I was at the University of Texas (Austin), I had a pet rat.

Growing up in a close family with multiple generations gave me the roots I needed to succeed at what I set my mind to. My father used to say: "There is nothing that you cannot do.” He believed that with enough hard work, education (via financial aid and student loans, which were necessary in my family) and focus, my brothers and I could be anything we wanted to be. His belief in me helped me believe in myself and helped me to be braver than I thought I could be. He also always said, “Family first”. This taught me the value of my family and knowing who I am and where I come from. Family, however you define it for yourself, are the roots that provide the structure on which you will build and craft your life. 

     Although I have been in Colorado for almost 28 years, there is still something inside of me that feels “home” in El Paso and the desert. Family is also “home” for me. 

     At CU Boulder, I am a faculty member in Psychology and Neuroscience and a researcher in the area of traumatic brain injury and concussion. Currently, I am also the Associate Dean for Research. A favorite part of this job is to help students find and spend time doing what they love. Outside of the classroom, this usually falls under Research, Scholarship or Creative Works within the College of Arts and Sciences. This means the student might be working with a faculty member to study language development, how the brain works when it is injured, rap, artistic creations and/or theater productions. Not only does my job let me interact with students at CU, but also students in high school who are thinking about College and maybe even attending CU.

     One of the best things that I can recommend to do while you are in College, whether at CU or elsewhere is this: Get to know your professors. Go to their office hours (not just once, go more than once) and get to know them. Ask if they would mind telling you how they got to where they are when you hear about the paths that professors have taken to get to where they are, you will see how it is different for each person, and maybe even more flexible than you might think. It may give you some ideas about how to get to where you want to be. 

Floral Arrangement 3
Ester and Bob in Cuba.

Board Profile

Ester Quintana Matheson


     Ester grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico with Spanish as her first language. She came to Boulder in 1970 with her (then) husband and young son who later graduated from Boulder High. She went back to school and earned a business degree from CU. Ester and her son graduated the same year from CU and Boulder High respectively.

From the beginning she was and continues to be involved in her community as a volunteer working with a variety of organizations. Some of these organizations include the Elementary Spanish Program that provided Spanish lessons to elementary school children, Cub Scout leader, homeowners association board, league of women voters and much later on the boards of Community Foundation, Kiwanis Club, Impact on Education, Share-a-Gift among others. She had her own radio show for 11 years at the Radio Reading Service of the Rockies where she read children’s stories to the blind. For fun Ester and Bob were presidents of the University Dinner Dance Club (ballroom dancing) for 24 years. For the last 20 years, she’s been heading up a group of theater goers that enjoys going to Boulder Dinner Theater.

     In 1989, then single, Ester and Bob met on a blind date and were married in 1991. In 1998, she remembers sitting with her professional Latina friends and discovered that they all shared similar biases an discrimination throughout their lives. It was time to level the playing field. So she quit her job and together with Shirley Betancourt-Conley, they created Boulder County Latina Women’s League.         

Their goal was to help provide educational opportunities for Latino students in Boulder County. Scholarships were initially awarded only to girls but a few years later boys were included and the name shortened to Boulder County Latina League. We had no idea how fulfilling this was to become for us. There was so much happiness on the part of the students and pride from their families as students came forward to receive their award certificate. It was an emotion-laden event which continues to this day.

     Husband Bob also became involved from the very beginning and graciously accepted the job of computer guru and continues to this

day. He did all the computer work on invitations to fundraisers, League brochures, award certificates, programs, printing, etc. He even designed the League logo.

     Ester is passionate about education and believes that it is the road out of poverty for her fellow Hispanics. Ester is very proud to be working with a board (of women) that counters entrenched biases around race and gender and affirms and empowers the precious value of every person. She lives in Boulder with her husband Bob. They have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren living in Oregon and Massachusetts.

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