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How the Fort changed my life!



Major: Chemistry
Hometown: St. Charles, MO

Year: Junior

For many years, I had a question in my head that would not go away – should I return to school and commit to earning a four year degree?

My late 20’s and early 30’s involved long summers working in backcountry settings followed by quiet winters, working random jobs to pass the time. I discovered Durango in 2009. At the time, I was managing a two-year project protecting sensitive high alpine environment in the San Juan Mountains. When I was in town, I had heard from many people that the Fort had a strong business program. This reputation for quality faculty and programs led me down a path that ended in enrollment at Fort Lewis College in 2011.

I will not pretend it was easy to go back to college as a 33 year old student. I had insecurities banging around inside my head from day one. My first hurdle was gathering transcripts from my early 20’s and transferring in credits. Along with meeting requirements for admissions, I sat down with faculty from multiple departments and discussed my interests. The one-on-one focus by Admissions and the availability of faculty was amazing. I knew I had found my place.

Today, I am a junior studying Chemistry and Mathematics. This past summer, I traveled to St. Louis and spent thirteen weeks participating in radiochemistry research at Washington University Medical School. This was an amazing opportunity and my success was due to the quality of my experience at the Fort.

As a student at the Fort, I know all my professors by first name and could tell you if they are a runner, mountain biker, kayaker, Scrabble player or climber. These small relational details illustrate why I love the Fort. Another part of my success is due to my peers.  As we enter our junior year, the amount of collaboration and discussion around academics is exciting. This is a place where you not only come to be a future leader and scientist; you also come to be a part of a small community with a focus on personal relationships, academic success and love of the outdoors.

Looking forward, my entire life has changed over the past few years. I never imagined I would attend graduate school and work towards a Ph.D. in anything… yet that is my exact intention in the future. After graduating from the Fort in 2015, I will pursue graduate studies in nuclear chemistry and look forward to an exciting future!
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