Colorado G.I.R.L.: Cheyenne Footracer

Tell us about yourself.
I am currently a senior in Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and will be graduating December 2018. I went to high school at Agua Fria HS in Phoenix, Ariz. I am also a Native American of the Navajo tribe and I am from Fort Defiance, Arizona. I originally started out at Mines playing varsity volleyball, but my main focus is now on my academics, clubs and organizations, and on-campus jobs. I came to Mines because I heard nothing but great things about the school, atmosphere, and location. With that being said, I love outdoor activities that have come along by attending my school, such as snowboarding, hiking, rafting, tubing, and more!

When in your life/career have you been a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I believe everyone experiences being a G.I.R.L. every day in their own way. The first time I believe I showed the qualities of a G.I.R.L. is when I made the decision to participate in the Green Program. The Green Program is a 10-day summer study abroad program designed to help students understand the sustainable efforts and goals that need to be enforced or are being enforced in different parts of the world. For example, I attended the program in Iceland (August 2016) where I learned how the country continues to remain at the top for sustainable renewable energy. By visiting their geothermal and hyropower plants, I began to realize the direction I wanted to take in my major. I enrolled into energy classes and connected with faculty who were working on renewable energy projects the semester after the program. I am still heavily interested in renewable energy and hope to work or intern with a great company that fits these interests.

In addition, this was my very first trip outside of the U.S. and the very first trip I would be taking alone, so of course I was very nervous but I was more excited as well. My entire family has not done very much traveling, so this was a big step not only for myself but for my family too. I wanted to show my younger sisters and family that world travel is not scary, and can be very educational. On another note, the program is considered somewhat pricey and was the main set back for not going forward with the trip. However, I started to save and look into scholarship opportunities so I could take this once in a lifetime experience.

What does it mean to “take the lead?”

“Taking the lead” to me means becoming the leader who is very passionate about a topic that they will take full responsibility for and fully complete the task. I personally see this phrase being used in two scenarios. As a senior, group projects have become more important, intense, and real-world focused, which helps individuals discover who they are in a team situation. Fall semester of my junior year, students in my ArcGIS class (a.k.a Epics 2 for environmental engineers) were presented with different topics to conduct and complete a project using the ArcGIS program to solve a company’s problem. I immediately took the lead on a project for an Alaskan native community that needed help finding alternative-renewable sources of energy in their isolated town. Needless to say the group project turned out great and the clients were impressed! On the other hand, I also define “taking the lead” as being a “go-getter”. It is taking your own lead and realizing that you want to be amazing in your own way. It is finding the drive and passion within yourself to accomplish personal, professional, and/or educational goals. In other words, taking the lead of your best life.

Why is it important for girls and women to “take the lead?”

As previously mentioned, it is important for girls and women to “take the lead” because it allows them to discover who they are as an individual in this crazy, growing, optimistic world; and ultimately, leading them to positively impact and change the world.

What has helped you achieve success?

My family is my backbone and they are the most important value I hold. They not only provide for me, but have taught me lifelong values that I have used to help me get to where I am today. The most important being, “Take pride and confidence in everything you do, every day. Remember where you came from, be proud of your background, and be able to use it to your fullest potential.” They continue to believe in me and encourage me to work hard, stay focused, and be confident in everything I do. They, as well friends, professors, and mentors, helped me throughout my school career by opening up the doors to endless opportunities.

Were you a Girl Scout? If so, tell us about your experience and what is the most important thing Girl Scouts taught you?

I was a Girl Scout Brownie when I was in 2nd grade in Farmington, NM. Although this experience occurred years ago at a very young age, I remember building relationships (some of which I still have today), getting excited every time I earned a badge, and speaking to my mother’s co-workers to sell as many cookies as I could. From these events, I learned how to be considerate and caring, to respect myself and others, and to work hard to accomplish goals set for others and for myself.

We want to tell your G.I.R.L. story! We’re inspired by the women we meet around us every day and want to share their stories to inspire girls across Colorado to reach their full potential like these amazing women. Share your go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader story and a photo and help us spread the word that every girl can unleash her inner G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader) and draw a direct line from their experiences as a Girl Scout to their future success as adult women.

Girl Scouts of Colorado