“What are you going to be when you grow up?”
Allie Gordon has been pondering that question a lot lately. After all, she’s graduating from Colorado State University in May with degrees in marketing and political science, and trying to figure out what’s next is somewhat daunting.
“Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life,” she said. “All I know is I’m excited about the future.”
That’s not surprising. Gordon, from Park City, Utah, has always had a relentless passion for life and all the adventure it can offer. She started skiing when she was 2, first hit the soccer field at 4 and began rock climbing at 6.
“I love the outdoors, and I thrive on adrenaline,” she said, laughing.
And expertly negotiating the ski slopes near her home – she was a national-level competitor until opting out at 16 – only tells part of her story. Her passion for outdoor adventure is matched or exceeded by her thirst for knowledge and academic success.
Gordon, whose family is actively involved in politics and education, has been in CSU’s Honors Program since arriving as a freshman, and she carries a 3.94 GPA despite earning degrees from two colleges: Business and Liberal Arts. A “B” in an honors course is the only blemish on her otherwise spotless record; fittingly, she was given the Student Achievement Award by the College of Business.
“I’ve always been motivated by grades, but really I just love to learn,” she said. “I want to understand more than what’s on the surface. Not everyone gets this amazing opportunity to go to college, and I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do everything in their power to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Personal care assistant
Still, one of her most gratifying experiences at CSU has nothing to do with skiing or climbing or academics. Gordon has always had to work to afford college, and last year took a second job as a personal care assistant for James, a CSU Ph.D. candidate who is quadriplegic.
“We got along extremely well from the beginning and have become very close,” Gordon said. “(This job) has nothing to do with my majors, but it has been an amazing experience. I love it, and I love him. He’s such an inspiring person – he’s been quadriplegic for 20 years, and he’s working on his fourth college degree. He’s a great friend.”
After graduating, Gordon will spend her second consecutive summer working in Juneau for Alaska Brewing Co., then head to Washington, D.C., for an internship with the National Education Association, where she will lobby for underprivileged kids. After that, she hopes to attend law school while earning an MBA.
“I still don’t have a solid idea on a career path, but I do know that I want to help people,” she said. “I’m not a sit-at-your-desk kind of person. I want to interact with people and change their lives.”