Note to Reporters: A photo of Leslie Buttorff is available with the news release at http://news.colostate.edu.
Statistics alumna Leslie Cavarra Buttorff has donated a $100,000 cash gift to the Department of Statistics at Colorado State University to help students achieve degrees in statistics, which is a key component to Buttorff’s personal success.
“I have used Statistics successfully in my career to think differently about things, and to solve problems,” said Buttorff. “Probability and analysis come into play in almost every business opportunity we are involved with.”
The scholarship is intended to allow a student to receive $20,000 per year. The aim is to help a student stay in their Statistics degree program.
“Leslie’s gift is a testament to her belief in education and her commitment to our students,” said Jan Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Her business success sets an inspiring example for other statistics students to follow and shows how many doors this degree can open, if you dream big. With this in mind, I am pleased to announce we are in the process of re-establishing the undergraduate degree in the Statistics Department.”
“I hope the scholarship will enable someone like me to obtain a great and enjoyable education in the Statistics Department,” Buttorff said. “When I was in high school, we did not have a lot of money and I could not really afford to go to college,” said Buttorff. “Hopefully, this scholarship will allow someone to go to college who would struggle otherwise.”
Buttorff is CEO and President of Quintel Management Consultants, which is a company she founded in 2002 that deals with management, consulting and technology integration. Quintel is a woman-owned business focusing on performance improvement and SAP implementations. Before she founded Quintel, she was a director at Arthur D. Little where she was a key participant in business development, sales and other tasks.
“From my first job out of college until now, I have used applied statistics frequently in my career,” said Buttorff. “I spent 15 years at Stone and Webster working on regulatory matters for many utilities across the globe. Statistics was used to determine increment pricing, marginal power demands, and failure rates for nuclear and hydroelectric equipment. Statistical distributions are used for many applications in maintenance and procurement planning.”
Her degree in statistics helped her become successful in the business world. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State and her master’s degree from Iowa State University. She hopes to see more statisticians come from CSU in the future.
“I think statistics allows one to combine business, math and economics all into one subject and this is valuable for the business world,” said Buttorff. “Statistics teaches you to solve problems. When we hire Stat majors, I know we will get a person that is probably more innovative and less structured than a math major.”
Math had always been Buttorff’s favorite subject in school. She knew that she wanted to apply math to her future career somehow.
“I first remember being interested in math when my first grade teacher had contests using flash cards. I remember I liked to win,” said Buttorff.
It wasn’t until high school, however, that Buttorff was introduced to statistics. While attending Wheat Ridge High School in the Denver metro area, a CSU representative came to Buttorff’s math class and talked about statistics degrees. She decided to major in statistics at CSU.
“I really did not know much about the degree until I started taking classes. I just knew I wanted to apply my math aptitude,” said Buttorff. “The major was appealing because it offered careers in a field that I enjoyed and that would provide a good income. Both of these factors were important goals.”
While at school, Buttorff was influenced by her advisor, Tom Boardman.
“He helped me get work in the Stat Lab. The work that we did in the lab was very interesting and made me even more excited about staying with the degree,” said Buttorff.
Buttorff lives in Florida with her two sons and enjoys hobbies such as golfing, swimming, traveling, and skiing. She also enjoys basketball and is an avid Denver Broncos fan.