CSU Hillel Alumni: Where are they now?

Over the years CSU has grown in size and popularity as the university has rapidly expanded. Since the late 1960’s Hillel has existed in some capacity on campus, though only formally since the ‘90s. Hillel has always been a home for Jewish students, and that hasn’t changed, but now CSU Hillel is certified sustainable and more popular than ever. We caught up with a couple of our Hillel alumni to discuss Hillel memories, life update, advice for freshmen and more. 

Amanda  Kravitz

Amanda in her biohazard suit.

Amanda Kravitz graduated CSU in 2015 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences she completed in 4 years. She is currently in veterinary school in Virginia. 

What do you do currently?

I’m currently in the second year of my DVM/PHD dual degree program, with this degree I will complete a doctorate of veterinary medicine and a doctorate in philosophy of biomedical sciences at Virginia Tech University. Leaving Colorado was tough but moving to Virginia was a good decision.

What is a favorite memory from CSU?

I love Fort Collins so much and really everything about CSU, that is what I really miss. I know this time of year too the leaves are changing and the oval looks so beautiful. The oval will always be one of the most memorable spots on campus for me. Also my time working at the Veterinary teaching hospital was great and has been invaluable to where I am today. 

Memories from CSU Hillel and Judaism in your life today?

Freshman year parents weekend I went to the Hillel house and that was a lot fun and nice to have my family around. Also over the years I attended a few Shabbats and the High Holiday services. My favorite though was the bagel brunch every Wednesday (Now on Friday’s in the LSC 11–1) because it was a great way to break up the week and talk with the Jewish community. 

Advice for a CSU freshman?

Find something you’re passionate about and get involved. Ask how you can get involved in any capacity and go from there. Go out a find a friend group and grow from there. If you ever feel like you’re overwhelmed know you aren’t alone, everyone get those feelings. Have fun. Learn. Grow. 

Meredith Rauch

Meredith Rauch

Meredith came to CSU from San Diego in 2012 and graduated with a Marketing degree in 2016, she currently lives in Denver. 

What do you do currently?

I work at a hospitality marketing agency in downtown Denver. (She also worked as Hillel’s marketing intern during her undergrad!) 

What is a favorite memory from CSU?

Majority of the people I met were so down to earth and friendly! Also the constant pick up sports happening on the IM fields was a huge plus when trying to keep busy.

Memories from CSU Hillel and Judaism in your life today?

Being on the student board, I went to majority of the events Hillel put on. My favorite memory was being in the sukkah or in the front yard roasting marshmallows late at night. It brought in students that don’t typically come to events and was a relaxed environment for everyone. I also occasionally go to young Jewish events in Downtown Denver. 

Advice for a CSU freshman?

Get involved! I know it may seem scary to go to an event alone, but bring a friend (Jewish or not)! Get to know the student board, they love making new friends too and they’ll be the ones at majority of the events! Find your place at CSU and you’ll have a speedy fast college journey, and hopefully a good one that makes you want to come back years later to “steal” free bagels from the Hillel House! 

Note: according to Alex Amchislavskiy (Hillel Director) a Jew cannot “steal” a bagel, they can only “reclaim” one

Michael Shulman

Michael’s children, “Future CSU Rams,” Claire and Landon.

Michael Shulman is currently Director of Enrollment Services for the Colorado Community College System. He has two young children and currently lives in Denver. 

What do you do currently?

I started this October as Director of Enrollment Services for the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). I work with Admissions, Registrars, Testing Centers, and Academic Advisors at all 13 state community colleges to help ensure our students have a successful college experience. Prior to this I was a Project Manager in IT for CCCS working on enrollment-related projects, and before that I was a traveling consultant working with various institutions of higher education around the country.

What is a favorite memory from CSU?

Being involved in student organizations such as Hillel, ASCSU, and my job in the student center. I also loved hanging out in the LSC.

Memories from CSU Hillel and Judaism in your life today?

I have two young children, Landon and Claire, who go to a Jewish pre-school. I enjoy watching them learn about the Jewish holidays and traditions. We go to synagogue and I was so proud this year when my 5 year old wanted to go to the adult Yom Kippur service with me rather than the kids service. My favorite memory with Hillel was probably our trip to Israel, this was before Birthright, but the trip was very similar. I met several of my closest friends on that trip and we are still close today  It was incredible to take everything I had learned about Israel over my life up until that point, and be able to see it and live it. While traveling abroad often feels to me like I am exploring something new, visiting Israel felt more like coming home.  

Advice for a CSU freshman?

I encourage CSU freshman to step outside of your comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people. It may be scary, and it might take time to figure out who you are. This is okay. Going to college is your first chance to be on your own and discover who you are as a person. There are so many opportunities at CSU, so many people who can be mentors, and so much fun to be had. Try something you wouldn’t normally do, play a sport, go to an event, plan an event, take on a leadership role you think you are not prepared to do, or just say hi to someone you see walking alone. You never know what opportunities you will discover, and where it will lead you in the future. And also study, because what you learn in class, and what you learn from your experience outside of class, are equally an important part of your college education. 

Tucker Hensen

Tucker in the mountains.

Tucker Hensen graduated CSU in 2017 with in mechanical engineering degree, he now serves a research assistant at CSU’s research lab. 

What do you do currently?

Materials and Mechanical Engineering for CSU Research Labs doing 3D printing with ceramics and nanoparticles

What is a favorite memory from CSU?

So many groups and clubs with a bunch of people who are all stoked on the same things that you are.

Memories from CSU Hillel and Judaism in your life today?

Some memories from Hillel were the Shabbats. Every Shabbat has been a fantastic time for me at Hillel. It’s always a great way to de-stress and share some personal time with friends around great food. And as far as my Judaism, it’s a constant learning experience, and it challenges me to better myself. I am always exploring events and holidays that are new to me.

Advice for a CSU freshman?

Pick a few things that you like to do consistently, and step up your involvement a little. Eventually, you’ll find yourself surrounded by familiar friends in a community that you’ve grown to love because of what you’ve put into it and how you’ve helped shape it. Being a participant on the fringes can be fun and exciting, but lacks the deeper personal connections and development of yourself.

CSU Hillel serves as an important bridge from the Jewish kid world to the Jewish adult world. We empower students to become leaders, and provide a warm and welcoming home-away-from-home for every student. Additionally, at CSU Hillel we take pride in cultivating a strong community with our weekly shabbats, sustainability projects and community mitzvahs around Fort Collins, as well as, helping our students learn about Judaism and Israel in whatever capacity most comfortable to them. To learn more about CSU Hillel visit our website and make sure to follow us on social media on Facebook at CSU Hillel and Twitter @CSUHillel.