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How the Fort changed my life!

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.

Combating the Varroa Destructor Mite

Outside the beekeeping world, the word Varroa destructor does not cause the same fear as in someone who maintains bee colonies. This bug is one of the main culprits responsible for causing massive declines in worldwide honeybee populations. This past summer I had the opportunity, through the Fort Lewis College Chemistry department, to conduct innovative research on combating this pest.

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The road from history to biochemistry

Sitting in a Chemistry 150 lecture at 8:00 am on a summer morning was the last place I thought I would ever find myself. When I started at Fort Lewis College, being a history major, I waited a long time to fulfill this general education requirement, a science with a lab. Despite my apprehension, I found the hands-on problem solving in chemistry invigorating and the panoply of research topics riveting. In the two following semesters, I took chemistry classes “just for fun,” and they led to a life-changing decision.

Organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is known to be one of the most feared undergraduate classes by students nationwide, the gatekeeper course for of all pre-med and pre-veterinary students, the weeder class for biology majors.  Organic chemistry is defined as the chemistry of carbon compounds. It’s a difficult course because unlike most chemistry classes it’s not mathematically based; rather, it focuses on visual interpretation and the ability to spatially arrange molecules and elucidate the synthesis of compounds.

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