From Transfer Student to People Helper, Tawnya Boulier’s CU Denver Roots Run Deep

From Transfer Student to People Helper, Tawnya Boulier’s CU Denver Roots Run Deep

January 24, 2023

Tawnya Boulier first arrived at CU Denver as a transfer student from CSU. She knew she wanted to get a degree in something, but that was about it. 

“When I came here, I was undecided and honestly I felt a bit lost being in such a big place,” Boulier said from her office on the tenth floor of the Lawrence Street Center where she works. “But I found some really great people who helped me and mentored me.” 

Her experience inspired her to spend the first part of her career helping students achieve. She then shifted to helping those who support them. Today, she is the assistant director of Strategic People Operations within CU Denver’s new Human Resources area. In her role, she works with a team to improve the recruitment process, help attract diverse candidates, and achieve CU Denver’s 2030 goals of becoming a best place to work and providing education that works for all. 

“I find that I just love to help people and see them grow,” Boulier said. “Everyone on our HR team is excited and not afraid to be creative and innovative to reimagine HR to benefit our employees.” 

CU Denver, which started as a big scary place for Boulier, eventually turned into her second home. After she graduated with a degree in business administration, she went to work for a short time as a third-party recruiter in oil and gas in 2010. But she quickly returned to her first love: serving students. She worked first at CSU-Pueblo and then at the Denver Scholarship Foundation. She also spent two years at the Colorado Department of Higher Education.  

One of Boulier’s initiatives from the Denver Scholarship Foundation continues to impact students at CU Denver today. She started the Colorado Challenge program, where she advised CU Denver students who were Denver Scholarship Foundation scholars, Daniels Fund scholars, and Colorado GEAR UP scholars. The program later morphed into the current program that is run by the Denver Scholarship Foundation at CU Denver. 

In 2016, she made it back to CU Denver as the Associate Director of Scholarships and Student Development and earned her master’s degree in education and human resource studies. 

After 10 years of working with students, she took on a new challenge—a job at CU Denver’s Budget Office as a senior business and human resource professional. It stretched her skills in new ways and was another opportunity to help students by supporting the employees who serve them. 

“I’m excited about the students we serve,” she said. “Our student population is diverse and traditionally underserved. Many are first generation, like me, and I really enjoyed working with them. Now I get to support them by working with our employees who are serving them. Our employees really enjoying helping our students make it across the stage.” 

In 2022, she was promoted to her current position where her primary goal is to help attract and retain CU Denver employees. By helping them, she continues to make an impact on students as well. “It’s about the people,” she said.  

When she isn’t working, Boulier can be found enjoying time with her family, which includes her husband, who is a program manager in CU Denver’s bioengineering program, and their two young children. “We love going to Rockies games together,” she said. “We also enjoy cooking together and trying new foods.” 

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