UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > December 2001 Search

December 2001

Random Profile:
Teresa Rivas

Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a stochastically chosen staff member. This month we profile Teresa Rivas, a division administrator with the Atmospheric Chemistry Division.

Teresa Rivas with her husband, Guadalupé, and two youngest sons, Eduardo and René. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

What brought her to NCAR?

Teresa began working for NCAR 25 years ago as a receptionist for HAO. At the time, she was raising two young sons, and she had also legally adopted her two younger brothers—so she needed to reserve time for her family. "I was looking for a job that would mean I would be home weekends and evenings," she says.

After a year, "I wanted a little more opportunity for advancement." She landed a job as a secretary in the Atmospheric Quality Modification Division, which subsequently became ACD. She worked her way up, winning an administrative support award (now known as an outstanding accomplishment award) in 1983 and, in 1990, becoming a division administrator.

What she likes most about her job:

"The best thing about my job is all the people I work with. I'm really blessed that there are people here from all over the world. That's really exiting to have contact with different cultures. You come to learn that, basically, people are people the whole world over." She also enjoys being an administrator because, Teresa says, "I like to organize and put things together."

A tradition of mentoring:

Teresa says she strives to be as helpful to her staff as possible. She won a professional mentoring award last year from the Boulder Association for Community Living because of her supervision of a person with developmental disabilities. "Initially, it was difficult," she says of the experience. But she came to realize: "We all learn in different ways."

Teresa herself has benefited from the guidance of others. To this day, she remains appreciative of the man who hired her at HAO, Keith Watson. "He was the first one to give me an opportunity." She also bestows praise on Med Medrud, a former division administrator at ACD. "If you're lucky in this world, you'll meet a few people who have 110% good in them. And that was Med. He took me under his wing." She adds: "I have really been blessed with many good mentors."

Many-layered family life:

Teresa, who grew up in the southern Colorado town of Trinidad before moving to Boulder with her first husband, has raised three sets of children. First, she had two sons from her first marriage, Robert and Louis, who are now in their 30s and raising their own children. (Louis DiMarco is a heating and air conditioning mechanic in Physical Plant Services.) Then she adopted her brothers, Salvador and Tony, when she was just 19 years old. "It sounds kind of difficult, but in Mexican families it's not unusual for children to be raised by an older sibling, or by a grandparent." And now, in her second marriage, she is raising two sons, Eduardo and René, both of whom are at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette. She also has a stepdaughter, Adrian, who is in her 20s. "I have the ones who are grown up, and then I have the kids who are growing up real fast."

Teresa married her second husband, Guadalupé, a few days before Christmas in 1986. The two had met at a Mexican dance. "He's my very best friend," she says without any hesitation. The couple has made many trips to visit Guadalupé's family in Parral, a small town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Teresa had not previously spent much time in that country. "Going to Mexico has helped me get in touch with my own roots."

Making time for volunteer work:

Teresa has served on the boards of a number of community organizations, including the Boulder County Safe House, the Mental Health Center of Boulder County, and the Boulder County United Way. She explains her philosophy this way: "When you're blessed with good health and you have everything you need and a little extra, I think it's only fair that you give back. And I think it's important for my kids to understand that."

She has cut back her community work somewhat to spend more time with her sons, but she is a member of the Boulder County Latina Women's League, which raises funds for scholarships for Latina girls. She also teaches catechism to third graders, organizes altar servers at her church, and serves as "team mom" for Eduardo's basketball team—which means making sure everybody knows about schedule changes and directions to games.

But her main focus is on her sons. "I spend a lot time working with my kids on their homework. If you want your kids to do well, you have to put in homework time."

Recreation, relatively speaking:

For Teresa, there's no question that her greatest joy is spending time with her family. "I'm lucky that there are six of us brothers and sisters, and that my mom is still alive and quite healthy for her age—86. We all have children and grandchildren. I enjoy just getting together." The family, which is concentrated in the Denver-Boulder area, gathers every other month to celebrate the birthdays that fall in that time period. But, Teresa says, they've cut back on exchanging birthday and Christmas presents. "With a family of over 50 people, it's a lot of gifts. The important thing is that we not lose touch with each other."

• David Hosansky

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UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > December 2001 Search

Edited by David Hosansky, hosansky@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Dec 20 17:08:40 MST 2001