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When we face trying encounters with nature, we often discover what really matters in our lives. That’s the reason so many people undertake outdoor adventures, from day trips to backcountry expeditions – to learn about themselves by surviving tough challenges. And Josh Kling is the man who takes them there.
Shardai Pioche came to college knowing she wanted to help improve the health of Native American communities. Now, she’s making good on that desire, using her degrees in Public Health and Psychology to make a positive impact on Native students as a program coordinator in the NativeVision program in Shiprock, New Mexico. “Right now, we teach a health curriculum in school and after school,” Pioche (Public Health and Psychology, ’16) says.
“Forensic therapy” sounds like the premise for a dramatic television series. But the work Alex Easterbrook does as a real forensic therapist is far more challenging – and far more rewarding – than any scripted treatment could imagine. “Forensic psychology is the intersection between the criminal justice system and the therapy world,” Easterbrook (Psychology, ’13) says.
When it comes to embodying sustainable lifestyles, look no further than these two farmers. James Plate and Max Fields, friends since second grade, attended FLC together and founded Fields to Plate, a farm rooted in quality and responsibility.
It’s a tale as old as photography: you see pictures of a house you might buy, or an event venue you want to book. The shots entice you to call on the place. But when you see it in person, it looks nothing like the photographs. Jordan Alexander cannot count the number of times he witnessed that disappointment while working in real estate.
Like many young basketball fans, Andrew Sharp dreamed of joining the NBA. His dream finally came true after spending five years with the Navy and then graduating Fort Lewis College as a nontraditional student. But instead of suiting up as a power forward or point guard, he dons a different suit altogether. “I’m a staff accountant for the Phoenix Suns,” Sharp (Accounting, ’16) says.
The old adage says that those who can’t do, teach. Joslynn Lee is flipping that adage around—those who can do well, teach even better. In addition to training scientists around the country, Lee (Chemistry, ’06) draws on her own successes as a Native STEM student to mentor others pursuing higher education in any field.
When Holli Hipwell graduated from Fort Lewis College, she figured she’d have to move away to find fulfillment as an event planner. But not only is she still based in Durango three years later, she now gets to bring holiday magic to life for kids and kid-spirited adults across the country. Hipwell (Business Administration, ’13) works as a brand coordinator with Durango-based Rail Events, Inc., collaborating with a variety of tourist railroads to stage licensed events on their passenger trains.
When Lucian Davis set out to major in Sociology at Fort Lewis College, he had no idea that his path would lead to caring for his lifelong hero. But thanks to an extended line of heartfelt connections, that’s exactly what Davis (Sociology & Human Services, ’13) is doing now. Davis works as a caregiver in Maui. He explains that his work is comparable in many ways to any other caregiver’s.
Brandon Mathis is like many Fort Lewis College alumni: he’s an outdoor-oriented adventurer. “I love to ride and ski and climb all year long,” Mathis (Humanities, ’05) says. “It’s not just a summer or winter thing.” Rather than push his passions to the weekends, though, Mathis has developed a career doing the activities he loves during the workweek—and sharing his experiences with the outdoor community.
Brenda Todd (Anthropology, '03) is the new superintendent of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in Stanton, North Dakota.
Sean McCabe (Accounting, '97) is the new Director of the Division of Economic Development for the Navajo Nation.
Tim Jenkins (att '09-'12), a four-year starting quarterback at FLC and a former quarterback with the St. Louis Rams and Calgary Stampeders, founded Jenkins Elite, a specialty company that helps high school students and their families navigate the football recruiting process.
Rita Austin (Anthropology, '14), was awarded the Outstanding Student Poster Presentation in Anthropological Genetics Award at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists' annual meeting.
Luke Renner (English, '97), professor of the San Juan College Digital Media Arts and Design Program, has been appointed to New Mexico's Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries.
Connor Cafferty (Business Administration, '17) landed a prestigious Resilience Justice Fellowship at the University of Louisville's Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility, where he will be doing interdisciplinary research of justice and environmental responsibility.
Eric Smith (Mathematics, '16) co-authored an original research paper with Veronika Furst, associate professor of Mathematics, that was published in the current issue of Involve: A Journal of Mathematics.
Just months after bringing forward the idea at the Hawk Tank Business Plan Competition, Charlie Shew (Engineering, '16) has launched boutique bakery Rendezvous Doughnuts in downtown Durango.
Anthropology alumna Lynn Brittner left her mark on the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum before heading to California to executive direct the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. In this interview with the Santa Barbara Independent, she shares tidbits about her life and inspirations.
A degree in Biology and experience racing bikes for FLC led Emma Millar ('11) to be the perfect Head Crew Leader for Trails 2000 -- she gets to combine theoretical strategic plans with physical labor to create and repair local trails.
Sean Hackett (Political Science, '07), an environmental protection specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, was named to the National Wildlife Federation's list of "EcoLeaders Top 50 Inspirations" for his work as a change-maker.
John Arbuckle (Environmental Agriculture, '99), owner of Singing Prairie Farm in La Plata, Missouri, has created the first and only non-GMO, pasture-raised pork snack stick available nationally, called Roam Sticks.
Noel Altaha (Psychology,'13) was featured in The New York Times' "A Conversation with Native Americans on Race."
Christine Odle's (Business Administration, '90) new book, Rockin' Your Business Finances, made it to #1 on Amazon's Small Businesses Taxation list.
Ned Williamson (Biology, '79), a former deputy prosecutor and owner of a private legal practice in Hailey, Idaho, was appointed to the position of Fifth District Judge in Idaho.
Marissa Molina (Political Science, '14) spoke at a press conference about how DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, changed her life and made it possible for her to graduate.[VIDEO]
Trek Bicycle Corp. recently profiled FLC alumni Payson McElveen (Exercise Science, '16) and Levi Kurlander (Mathematics, '16) in a photo essay on the next generation of mountain bikers.
Andrew Webb (Mathematics, '04), who fell in love with kayaking the Animas during college, now works as a wave technician at Boise Whitewater Park, as well as a math coach for the Boise School District. [VIDEO]
Kayla Shaggy (Art, '17) was awarded Best in Show at the Durango Arts Center's 41st Annual Juried Exhibit in June 2017, for her piece, "Hell."
Stosh Kozimor (Chemistry, '99), a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was recently interviewed by the American Chemical Society about the challenges of doing research on the actinides, and their potential application in cancer therapy.
With the help of her NFL contacts, Cori Metzgar (Exercise Science, '98), Director of Sports Performance at Western Oregon University, is bringing an elite sports camp to youth in Juneau, Alaska.
Geoff Johnson (Theatre, '08) was profiled in The Durango Herald for his work as a popular character actor in the region.
Ultracyclist Amanda Coker (att '11) recently set the record for the most miles ridden on a bicycle in a single year—more than 86,000 miles, besting the previous record by over 10,000 miles. On the day she surpassed 95,000 miles, she posted on Facebook wearing her FLC kit.
Rosa Malloy-Post (Biology, '17) was awarded a GRIT Freedom Chair due to her community mindedness and appreciation of the outdoors, which she plans to share with others in the region through Adaptive Sports.
Heidi Steltzer, associate professor of Biology, and Chelsea Wilmer (Biology, '16) are utilizing Instagram to bring more attention to the work they're doing in Crested Butte on the Environmental & Earth Science Area’s Watershed Scientific Focus Area.
Dewitte Baker (Criminal Justice, '96) was recognized in the Southern Ute Tribal Council Chambers for his dedication to health and wellness.
Harris Abernathy (History, '14) is now the youngest member of the La Plata County Historic Preservation Review Commission, due to his experience in historic construction and restoration.
Jack Pestello (Business Administration, '91), senior vice president of Private Brands, Walmart US, will present the keynote address at Velocity: The My Private Brand Conference i September 2017.
Eva Moore (English, '00) was promoted to executive editor of the Free Times in Columbia, South Carolina.
Greg Aigner (Physical Education, '78), was recently profiled by The Denver Post for a "circus arts" club he runs at Welchester Elementary School in Golden, Colorado.
The town of Smyrna, Tennessee, is erecting a Blue Angels sculpture to honor fallen pilot Jeff Kuss (Economics, '06).
FLCconnects.com is a new service from Alumni Engagement that lets former Skyhawks, Raiders, and Aggies stay connected with FLC and each other, support and mentor current students, and network while advancing their own careers.
Payson McElveen (Exercise Science, '16) won first place and the stars and stripes jersey at mountain biking Marathon Nationals in Arkansas. Alumni Howard Grotts (Mathematics, '14) and Todd Wells (att '96) took second and fifth, respectively.
Just a few days after graduating, Malik Badawi (Sport Administration, '17) served as the center referee for a National Women's Soccer League game between the Boston Breakers and the North Carolina Courage.
Alumna Julie Levy Duvall (Political Science, '05), the new state director for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, talks about the lessons she learned at FLC in a recent interview with The Durango Herald.
Anna Ortega (Biology, '14) was awarded a highly competitive and prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her research will focus on will focus on the migration of mule deer in the Red Desert of western Wyoming.
Duke Jackson (Environmental Studies, '16) is making an impact on the local food community by creating food forests on campus and near Turtle Lake. [VIDEO]
Grace Fullmer (Biology, '12), was named Outstanding Americorps VISTA Member for her work with the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley, Colorado.
Amanda Schoolland (Music Education, '11) was honored with the Outstanding Young Music Educator Award at the CMEA Convention in Colorado Springs.
James Temte (Biology, '05) was selected as an artist-in-residence for Denali National Park and Preserve's 2017 program.