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Awesome Aspirations

Posted 05/23/2017 by Cecelia Allen

Leo Busse and Chloe Richter are leading the way to success in the technology field. photo by Jerry Esparza

TJ juniors Leo Busse and Chloe Richter received a Colorado Women in Technology Award.

Juniors Leora (Leo) Busse and Chloe Richter won the Colorado Affiliate of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing, an award is meant to inspire young women to pursue technical/engineering careers in the future. The winners were recognized for the award Sunday, April 23rd, at the University of Colorado Boulder. Opportunities like these encourage women to go further in science or technology.

Both students applied for the award through a highly competitive selection process. “After completing five separate essays relating to my experience and aspirations in robotics and software engineering, I was advanced to consideration for the national awards,” Busse explained. Teacher Stacey Fornstrom nominated and encouraged Busse to apply for the award since she was in his class her sophomore year. Fornstrom said, “I nominated Leo for this award because she’s so driven. She doesn’t just care about the grade she’s getting, she wants to learn about what she’s doing.” Richter was also recommended for the award by Fornstrom, she said, “I got the award by being very involved in a lot of the CCT programs at TJ. Especially in robotics, it is kind of rare for girls to be in robotics and I think that’s something that gave me, as well as Leo, an edge. As far as the process of winning the award, I had to write essays about how I was involved in technology and what types and what I want to pursue in technology and how it helped me.”

Busse and Richter have been in robotics since their freshman years, participating in competitions both their freshman and sophomore years. “My team placed as a semifinalist in the First Tech Challenge. Later on in my sophomore year, my team qualified for the National SeaPerch Competition in Baton Rouge. Santam, Ms. Adair, and Mr. Fornstrom are awesome at making these incredible experiences realities at TJ,” explained Busse. This year, both Richter and Busse’s team competed in the Colorado Regional branch of the First Robotics Competition, which qualified for the national competition in Houston. Richter said, “I think going to state twice with my FTC robotics team and winning once is one of my biggest accomplishments. Also, the FRC team this year won the regional competition and traveled to Houston for the world championships, which I think is super impressive.”

Busse interned at Denver Health Medical Center during the fall. She said, “ I applied to the Medical Career Collaborative program, and after a competitive application and interview process, I was admitted into to the program at Denver Health. From there, I met with the Denver Health program advisor and requested to intern in the Emergency Department (D.E.) and the Trauma Research Lab.” As an intern at Denver Health, Busse participated in research studies. In one particular study, Control of Major Bleeding After Trauma, Busse performed thromboelastography tests (a method of testing the efficiency of blood coagulation) in order to determine the thrombosis of patients after traumatic incidents. Busse also ran several blood tests and repaired plasma-therms (devices to warm the plasma on-route) for ambulances. Busse added, “I also responded to multiple cases in the E.D. and observed multiple procedures. Analyzing CT scans with my mentors was also a very interesting part of my internship.” Busse interned for about 120 hours, and she is still part of the Medical Career Collaborative Program and goes on monthly field trips with other students to various medical sites.

Both students participate in many extracurricular activities: Busse is co-captain of the girls’ swim team, an honor roll student, and is involved in multiple AP classes this year. She also co-founded the Model United Nations Club as well as the Pre-Med Club, improving her communication and leadership over the past few years. Busse included, “I love TJ, and really appreciate all of my teachers’ efforts in making me the person I am today.”  Richter is involved with gymnastics, diving, and girls’ golf at TJ. She is also involved in two AP classes and helps out with several different clubs when she can. In her freetime, Richter likes to do gymnastics, work out, and spend time with friends.

The Colorado Affiliate of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is bigger than awards Busse has won in the past, due to the fact that this year she was honored with a national honorable mention alongside the Colorado Affiliate Award. Busse said, “350 women are chosen from across the nation for this honor, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to be a part of such a cohesive and enlightened community.” This award will open doors to scholarships and engineering programs for both Richter and Busse’s futures. Busse added, “Being part of such a great community of fellow scholars will only enhance my ability to contribute to the health and engineering fields. In such a conflicting society today, I think it is very important to establish and maintain relationships with others.”  Next year, Busse hopes to win the national award. Richter is excited about winning the award and the things she’ll get out of it, saying, “What I got out of this award is recognition for the school and the CCT Program and how it really does encourage a lot of girls to get involved in technology while they are younger and hopefully continue with it. Also, I am able to put that I won on college applications to better my chances of getting in. I also got to meet a wonderful community of girls while at the award ceremony that encouraged me to never give up and that no dream is too big.”

Richter plans to intern with a physical therapist this summer, which relates to her career plan in the future. She said, “I hope to learn a lot about the field, and how to get into the field. It’ll help me know what classes I need to take in college and what to expect when I enter the workforce.” Richter also plans on going to Florida and New Jersey over the summer to visit family. Busse was accepted into the Child Health Research Internship at CU-Anschutz, where she will study the development of the nervous system this summer. She plans on deepening her knowledge of medicine in hoping to pursue it as a career. Busse said, “I am confident I will pursue trauma surgery or bioengineering as my future career. Thanks to Mr. Thomas’ passion and teaching, I love medicine and want to have an impact on people’s lives.” Congratulations on the huge accomplishment, Leo and Chloe!