Published: Dec. 22, 2017

The end of the fall 2017 semester brings the latest cohort of alumni into the Forever Buffs family. Read on to learn about some of CU Boulder's outstanding graduating seniors.


Carolyn Castanon, ATLAS Institute

Carolyn Castanon, who developed a passion for web design after taking a class in ATLAS, focused her capstone project on her challenging childhood, ripped from her family at the tender age of 15. The interactive website, Being American, follows her story through a timeline, showing photos, videos, drawings, diary entries and other personal relics.

“I want others to be aware that an American citizen can go through something so tragic—yet be where I am right now—a fourth-year student graduating with an engineering degree,” says Castanon.

Robert Mason Eastwood, College of Arts and Sciences

Robert Mason Eastwood graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology and neuroscience, a minor in philosophy and a 4.0 GPA. The College of Arts and Sciences outstanding graduate loves to learn and likes hard questions—one reason his honors thesis explored whether taking a study break while reading a textbook chapter improved reading comprehension.

“The opportunity to be exposed to new information, cutting edge conversations, to think critically, and to interact with professors who both know what they are talking about and care about it, too, is an opportunity that I would take regardless of what kind of recognition I get for it.”

Caroline Vickstrom, College of Music

Caroline Vickstrom, a dual-degree student in choral music education and voice performance, as well as a full-time student-teacher, was honored as the College of Music's Outstanding Graduating Senior at their recognition ceremony Dec. 21. Graduating with highest honors, the super-achiever even opted to complete two semesters of calculus, although math isn’t required for her degree.

“As long as I can remember, I've never said ‘no,’” Vickstrom shared. “At the College of Music, there’s so much opportunity to try different things—why put yourself in one box?” 

Kimi Bourland, College of Engineering & Applied Science

After leaving a top engineering school in California, Kimi Bourland found her niche in CU’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. And her perseverance paid off: She’s graduated with a 3.907 GPA, a wealth of research experience, a new sorority formed under her watch and was named Outstanding Graduate of the College.

“I was always interested in research,” she said. “I thought it was really cool, the idea of doing something new that hadn’t been done before. It was kind of a blessing that I came to CU.”