David J. Vandermeulen, J.D., Ph.D., is the grandson of William M. John, the donor of the Goree Scholarship at Princeton University. Through his familiarity with Mr. John’s correspondence about the Goree Scholarship at Princeton and his conversations with his mother, Mr. John’s daughter, he has a strong sense of the vision Mr. John had for the Goree Scholarship and is eager to carry forward that same vision in the new Mary John Goree Las Animas County Scholarship program. Since 1982, Mr. Vandermeulen has served on the Advisory Board of the Mary John Goree Scholarship for Las Animas County students at Princeton University. In that capacity, he has interviewed virtually all of Las Animas County students that have considered applying to Princeton in the past four decades and has assisted the Goree Scholars in navigating their way through Princeton. He took the lead in negotiating the restructuring of the Goree Scholarship at Princeton to permit the creation of the new Mary John Goree Las Animas County Scholarship program. He graduated from Princeton University in 1981 with a degree in history. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1985 and practiced tax law with the firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) in Washington, DC for a number of years. After leaving the practice of law, he received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia and currently works as an independent scholar.
Trevor S. Brown graduated from Princeton University in 1970 with a degree in architecture. Since 1972, he has worked in commercial real estate and is currently a senior vice president with Cushman & Wakefield in Denver, CO. He has been chair of the Advisory Board for the Mary John Goree Scholarship for Las Animas County students at Princeton University since 1980. His duties as chair have included interviewing Las Animas County students thinking of applying to Princeton and monitoring the progress of the Goree Scholars in their years at Princeton. In addition, he has assisted Mr. Vandermeulen in negotiating the restructuring of the Goree Scholarship at Princeton to permit the creation of the new Mary John Goree Las Animas County Scholarship program.
Alison K. Finsten (Sawaya) was born and raised in Las Animas County. She received an AA in Liberal Arts from Trinidad State Junior College (1989). She finished her pre-pharmacy requirements at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She received her Pharm.D. in 1996 from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. As a military spouse, she was licensed in 6 states and practiced until 2018 when she returned to Trinidad and briefly taught chemistry and pathophysiology at Trinidad State College until 2020. She is active in our community, manages a family business full time, and continues to practice pharmacy.
John E. Garcia was born and raised in Las Animas County. He received degrees from Trinidad State Junior College in Law Enforcement (1970) and Business Administration (1985). He worked as Clerk of the Court and District Administrator for the Colorado Judicial Department for 33 years. He served as Municipal Judge for the City of Trinidad from 1984 to 2017. He has served ad Municipal Judge for the City of Aguilar since 2012. In addition, Mr. Garcia is a member of the Trinidad State Junior College Education Foundation and serves on its scholarship committee. He has also been involved with and served as an officer of a number of local community groups.
Kathleen Griego was born and raised in Las Animas County. She attended the University of Colorado, majoring in accounting. After returning to Las Animas County, she owned and operated a local fast food franchise for 15 years. She is currently a licensed insurance agent and works at her family-owned business, Griego Insurance Agency. Ms. Griego is vice-president of the board of the Trinidad State Junior College Education Foundation. She is also a member of the board of trustees of Mt. San Rafael Hospital where she currently serves as president of the board. Ms. Griego has been and continues to be very involved in various other community organizations in Las Animas County.
Patricia (Pat) McFarland was raised in Boston, MA, and graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 1967. She has held several nursing positions in Massachusetts and has taught nursing in a hospital-based nursing program in Cambridge, MA. She received her Master of Science degree in public health from University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1980. After moving to Trinidad, CO in 1981, Pat has assisted her husband with his medical practice. She has been involved with and served as an officer in several local community groups and organizations.
Shauna Rienks, Ph.D., was raised in Las Animas County. She was a recipient of the Mary John Goree Scholarship and graduated from Princeton University in 1995 with a degree in Psychology and certificate in English. She completed the Princeton Teacher Prep Program and earned her teaching certificate in 1996 and was subsequently selected for a Princeton in Asia fellowship through which she taught college-level English in South Korea. After five years there, she returned to Colorado to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Denver where she is now Research Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work and serves as Director of Research and Evaluation Methods at the Butler Institute for Families. She brings her lived experience of benefitting from a Goree scholarship, her experience teaching and conducting research in a higher education environment, and her commitment to helping others achieve their educational goals to her service on our board.
Conflicts of Interest
In its business dealings and its scholarship selection process, the Foundation maintains a strict policy of avoiding conflicts of interest, or the appearance thereof. Members of the Foundation’s board of directors are required to refer potential conflicts of interest to the other members of the board for a determination as to whether an actual conflict of interest exists.