Cristi Rader is the newest member of the Corvias Foundation Board of Directors, the first scholarship alum to be appointed to the board. When we recently sat down with Cristi, she talked about networking with her Corvias Foundation family, how inspiring it is to hear fellow alumni share their goals and aspirations, and how she hopes to mentor and connect with current scholars.
How has Corvias Foundation’s commitment to reaching higher been influential to your growth as a person?
It has encouraged me to be open-minded to the possibilities and reach higher in all that I do! From furthering my education, to giving back projects, building more connections, and wanting more for myself and others. I am not restricted to one goal or one achievement, the opportunities to reach higher are limitless.
What did getting a scholarship mean to you?
It changed the trajectory of my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it truly did. I had the opportunity to be a part of an organization that provided a support network of military children that I could relate to. Corvias Foundation understood the college transition of a military child and provided resume building and internship opportunities while in school. After college they went above and beyond the dollar to connect with me and all alumni by bringing us together. Because of Corvias Foundation, I have found my passionate pursuit to give back to those that I share a unique and inspiring connection with.
What motivates you to give back? How important is it?
I feel I should lead with my heart in all that I do. My motivation is derived from witnessing the Corvias Foundation network give abundantly. Scholars, alumni, mentors, employees, friends, and family they have remarkable stories of giving. I am motivated by all of the stories and projects across the country because I genuinely believe they are all leading with their hearts. As I am watching and witnessing others give back, I have a daughter watching me. Listening, learning, and doing for others is the example I want to set. She is the reason it is important to me to give back and make an impact in our community together.
You spoke of the excellence of the Corvias scholars, can you give some specific examples of that?
John Picerne and I spoke about the difference between my 2007 incoming freshman cohort and the current incoming freshman scholars. They raise the bar every year. Reviewing applications I found myself surprised, now they literally bring me to tears. Their stories, competitive edge, and desire to learn is inspiring. I always look forward to meeting the new scholars in Boston and putting a face, personality, and energy with the name from the application, it just makes me smile with pride.
The alumni are the heroes around me. Out in their communities giving back and making a difference. Kaitlynn, is making a difference every day in her students’ lives as a teacher. On her limited off time, she is reaching higher and putting herself through school. She just graduated with her masters and is applying to a doctorate program by the end of this year. Completely changing her field of choice, which some may say is risky, I call it brave and ambitious. Paul, Kris, and Kaylan started their own businesses because they are driven individuals and had the courage to do what makes them happy. Kris offers a yoga program to honor Veterans and support joined forces. Brittany is literally reaching for the stars. She has dreamed of going to space since she was little. We have several alumni taking tremendous initiative in their professional medical fields. They are true trail blazers! These are a few examples of the examples of the nearly 100 alumni that are achieving excellence. We have a diverse group of subject matter experts in our alumni network and I am proud of all of them! They are all empowered, connected, and capable humans that inspire others.
As a new member of the Foundation board, what are you most excited about?
I am excited to hear and learn from existing Board members. Learning what is important to them as individuals and creating new innovative programs for scholars and alumni. I am excited to serve and support the exponential growth of Corvias Foundation.