Growing up in a working class family, I learned early the value of hard work and perseverance.

Neither of my parents attended college, but they raised four children off the construction business they built themselves. I watched my dad swing a hammer every day until he fell asleep on the couch in exhaustion while my mom ran the books and tended to me and my brothers. When I graduated from high school, I knew I’d have to embody that same grit and determination to earn my degree and build my own future.

CU-Boulder gave me that opportunity. I am a proud alum and product of the CU system. In order to attend college, I had to cobble together private loans, Federal Pell grants, and work-study to pay my way. Thankfully, the work-study program allowed me to gain work experience at the University of Colorado Environmental Center where I ran the student chapter of the Rainforest Action Network. I’ll never forget how proud my parents were on the day I graduated – the first in my family – cum laude in geography.

After I graduated, I worked as an organizer on Congresswoman DeGette’s first campaign then moved to Washington, D.C. to work on fair trade issues. That experience gave me the desire to pursue my law degree and take my professional pedigree to the next level.

During law school, I worked for the ACLU, Earth Justice and served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group. As a young attorney, I served on the Board of Directors of Colorado Common Cause and built a law practice specializing in non-profit, public policy and government relations. I was eventually recruited to launch a nonprofit government watchdog group called Colorado Ethics Watch and later went on to serve as General Counsel for the Public Interest Network and Environment America.

Along the way, I became a mom and with that, I developed a deeply rooted resolve to provide them with the best possible opportunities — a future like the one I built for myself. I currently enjoy living in Denver with my two bright, wonderful teenage daughters Veda and Riley.