Freshmen aren't the only people new to campus this year: take a few minutes to meet a few of our new faculty!

Beth Dorman

Department of Teacher Education

Beth Dorman, Department of Teacher Education
What is your field of study? Why did you choose it?
My Ph.D. is in Instruction and Curriculum with a focus on Research in Teaching and Teacher Education. Within that broad field, my main areas of interest and study are cultural competence and teaching for social justice. I have taught a wide range of courses and consider myself a teacher education generalist. I chose this field because I am passionate about pedagogy and its effect on learners. I wanted to understand more in depth how people learn in ways that are active, meaningful, relevant, and memorable.
What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching in both the Teacher Education program and the brand new master's in Teacher Leadership. I will teach two different assessment courses and a secondary education teaching methods course. I will also be supervising student teachers and working on graduate program development.
What's your favorite thing about teaching?
I can't narrow it to one thing! I truly love so many things about it. It keeps me learning constantly. It is so rewarding to see my students grow and learn both content and in their own development as people. I get to tap into my creativity to find ways to engage students actively. I have to think and act on my feet all the time in order to be responsive to students' needs, and I don't have to sit in a cubicle tied to a desk all day!
Where did you live before Durango?
Louisville, Colorado, which is in Boulder County.
Why are you excited about living in Durango? Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?

Having grown up in a small town in the foothills of the Sierras in California, I am excited to be back in a smaller community again. In some ways it feels like coming full circle back to my roots. Of course I am thrilled to be surrounded by such natural beauty and endless outdoor recreational opportunities. The College's emphasis on "active mind in an active body" captures my approach to life, so it feels like a great fit for me. I really appreciate the focus here on high quality teaching and on close mentoring relationships with students. There seems to be a lot of support to help faculty be successful in facilitating student learning.


Lorraine Lobascio

School of Business Administration

Lorraine Lobascio, School of Business Administration

What will you be teaching?


This semester I am teaching Introduction to Tourism & Hospitality Management (BA 330) and Sustainable Tourism (BA 368). This course will look at tourism development that also strives to protect destinations for future generations to enjoy.

What's your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is when a class finds that magical balance of laughter and learning.

Where did you live before Durango?

I’ve lived all over.  Colorado is my seventh state of residence.  Most recently however, I was living in Clemson, South Carolina.

Why are you excited about living in Durango?

I love being outdoors and Durango offers plenty of options for things to do outside.  I am most excited about teaching at Fort Lewis College for the amazing study abroad opportunities.  The best way to learn about tourism is to travel!


Ryan Smith
Department of Physics & Engineering

Ryan Smith, Department of Physics & Engineering
What is your field of study?
Marine Robotics.

Why did you choose it?

All current recognized forms of life rely on an active hydrosphere; humans in particular as a hydrosphere require fresh water for sustenance. However, 1 in 6 people worldwide do not have adequate access to water. Also, water is a local resource; transporting water supplies at this time is logistically infeasible and energy limiting. Based on Earth’s population density distribution, as population continues to increase, so does the rate of urbanization and development in coastal (ocean, lake and river) communities. Land use and land cover, (the significant increase in impervious surfaces in these regions) are permanently altered and affect both the quantity of freshwater run-off, and its particulate and solute loadings. The results of these changes have an unknown impact -- physically, biogeochemically, biologically and ecologically -- on coastal ocean and downstream riverine communities and predicted effects are not positive. Aquatic observation and monitoring are key to understanding and ultimately predicting the long-term effects of urbanization and climate change in coastal regions across the globe, and can only be effectively facilitated through the use of automated robots.

What will you be teaching?

Fluid Mechanics (Engr 321), Measurements & Instrumentation (Engr 271), and Senior Seminar (Engr 496).

What's your favorite thing about teaching?
Engagement with students and witnessing the moment a difficult concept is understood (light bulb turning ON), and lifelong learning.
Where did you live before Durango?
Brisbane, QLD Australia
Why are you excited about living in Durango?
The community and the access to adventure.
Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?
The focus on student learning, engagement and the classroom atmosphere.


Shawn Meek
Department of Art & Design


Shawn Meek, Department of Art & Design What is your field of study? Why did you choose it?

My field of study is Communication Design. I went to school primarily to become a graphic artist and upon gaining my BFA, dove into the different direction of learning web design. This later turned to web development, and I became multifaceted working in both print and web based media. After graduate school, I wanted to be part of the creative process more, and away from more of the client-driven jobs that involved money, budget and clients. While in graduate school, I taught as an Adjunct professor at Texas State University where it became clear that I wanted to teach full-time, thus here I am. As a child I was always attracted to billboards, and as I got older, I figured out to how to pick the good ones from the bad, the best messages from just large images of burgers and fries. I think this is where I developed a love for concepts at a young age. I fell into an undergraduate program at Texas State University by careless luck, since at the time I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do - I just knew I was happiest doing art. I originally wanted to be a cartoonist and do animation. As I learned more, I realized that all along I did love this thing called 'Commercial Design'. I believe that many students have these 'eureka' moments when they realize that they are on the right path to what their true calling is. I remember having mine, and I knew Commercial Design was the field I wanted to grow in. Getting lost is a great thing, the narrow path is much easier to find.

What's your favorite thing about teaching?
Students. New minds - new ideas. I like collaborating with students on their projects and career paths. Being in the art and design field, hundreds concepts and ideas are thrown into the air weekly (if not daily in a class of 20 – 24). I love that and it honestly keeps me up at night and wakes me up early in the morning. Our industry is constantly changing - therefore adapting to the fact that 'change is the only constant' is a mantra I live by.
Where did you live before Durango?
My wife Kaily and I lived in San Antonio, Texas, for a decade. We have lived in Texas our entire lives up until this point. We are very happy to be here and out of the 103-degree August heat.
Why are you excited about living in Durango? Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?
The culture and buzz here are great. I feel a sense of refreshment mentally and physically. My wife is a veterinary technician. Our two spoiled dogs love Durango and the ability to venture to new places without being defensive (we are still working on that). I feel that Durango is a great place to enjoy great weather, great outdoor activities, food and to meet new people from different backgrounds. The fact that I sold my car and am able to bike anywhere speaks volumes in comparison to my colleagues in Texas.
Teaching at Fort Lewis College is a very exciting new endeavor in my life. I took a semester off last spring after receiving my MFA to refocus and rethink the next step. Being out of the school system for that time had an effect on me, and I am very happy to be in front of students again, discussing and discovering new ideas with them. I am fortunate to be part of the growing Graphic Design initiative within the Art & Design Department and hope to play a larger role in shaping the program from a web design / development standpoint. I hope this also leaks out into the work that the students take with them, along with their newly adopted skill sets, when they begin to apply for jobs in the national marketplace.


Steven Fenster
Department of Biology

Steven Fenster, Department of Biology

What is your field of study? Why did you choose it? 


My field of study is neural cell biology. I chose this because I became very interested in the cellular processes involved in learning and memory while I was in graduate school.  My research primarily focuses on identifying and characterizing the components of synapses and cellular structures that form between cells in the brain called neurons. Synapses are complex structures that mediate signaling between neurons. Proper formation and maintenance of synapses is fundamental to brain development so the study of synapses has been an area of intense research.

What will you be teaching?


This semester I will teach Introduction to Cellular & Molecular Biology (BIO 113) and Genetics (BIO 260).  I am one of four faculty members in the Biology Department that teach courses in the Cellular & Molecular Biology major and will probably teach other courses under this major. I hope to eventually develop and teach a course in Neurobiology. 

What's your favorite thing about teaching?

I enjoy helping students reach their intellectual potential and achieve their academic and career goals.  During my teaching career, I have seen many students with potential to succeed in biology initially struggle in their courses.  It has been especially rewarding to help these students overcome a difficult start, see them finish with high grades and matriculate to post-graduate programs and successful careers. 

Where did you live before Durango?


I lived in Ashland, Ohio, where I was a professor in the Biology Department at Ashland University for 7 years. I have also lived in California, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Why are you excited about living in Durango? Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?


I have been a competitive endurance athlete (running and biking) for over 28 years and Durango is an amazing place to live and train. There are many outstanding trails within a few miles of my house. Durango is paradise for an outdoor enthusiast like me! I am excited to join the faculty at Fort Lewis College for a number of reasons. I was impressed by the quality of the faculty in the Biology Department and the excellent facilities. The faculty are passionate about their work and clearly dedicated to helping students. I was also impressed with both the energy and diversity of the student body. It is clear that students really love going to college at FLC. 


Perry Solheim

School of Business Administration

Perry Solheim, School of Business Administration What is your field of study? Why did you choose it?
Accounting. Before I began graduate academic pursuits, I worked in accounting for nearly ten years. In practice, I often had "why" questions that could only really be answered by academic study. I was also concerned that many business curriculums were becoming too narrowly focused. I want to make sure that business students understand the historic, aesthetic, and philosophic context in which our economy functions. Returning to a liberal arts college (one of two of my alma maters) will allow me greater freedom (and perhaps sympathy) to explore the importance of a broad based education for business students.

What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching Introduction to Financial Accounting (ACC 225), Audit I (ACC436), Audit II (ACC 446), Accounting Ethics (ACC 320), and Advanced Accounting (ACC 426). Within the Advanced Accounting course, I will be teaching students about international accounting standards (IFRS), and Governmental/Not-for-Profit accounting standards.
What's your favorite thing about teaching?
Seeing new gears mesh for the first time in a student's mind as they connect concepts in ways they had never imagined possible.

Where did you live before Durango?
Las Vegas, Nevada, 18 years
Claremont, California, four years
Breckenridge, Colorado, two years
Durango, Colorado, 11 years
Salt Lake City, Utah, four years
Bozeman, Montana, six years
…now I am back home…
Why are you excited about living in Durango?
Look around. I love to fly fish, mountain bike, ski, paddle, row, sail, hike, explore. I have an 8-year-old daughter with whom I want to share the magic of the Four Corners Region.

Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?
As I said before, FLC takes its liberal arts mission seriously. It's not just lip service here. Students generally become very well-rounded by the time they leave, whether they specifically set out to or not.


Katie Mouzakis
Department of Chemistry


Katie Mouzakis, Department of Chemistry What is your field of study?
Biochemistry. I specifically study ribonucleic acid (RNA) structure and function using biochemical and biophysical techniques.
Why did you choose it?
I really enjoy learning about fundamental chemical reactions in the context of biological processes. When I started college I already had a love of chemistry, but after taking molecular biology I was fascinated by all of the processes occurring within the cell. Studying biochemistry allows me to understand these complex processes at an atomic level of detail.
What will you be teaching?
General Biochemistry I and II (Chem 311 and Chem 313), General Biochemistry lab (Chem 312), and General Chemistry lecture and lab (Chem 150).
What's your favorite thing about teaching?
I love having an immediate and significant impact on student learning and confidence.
Where did you live before Durango?
I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for the last 6 years, but I am originally from Rancho Cucamonga in southern California.
Why are you excited about living in Durango?
I enjoy running and cycling and there seem to be endless opportunities to do both of these in Durango.
Why are you excited about teaching at FLC?
The Chemistry department at Fort Lewis College is committed to teaching and research excellence and I am very excited to be a part of this dedicated group of faculty and staff. I am looking forward to getting to know my students and helping each of them succeed.