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Alumna Cheryl Frost was recently elected to the Southern Ute Tribal Council with an ingenious – and unique – campaign platform: She ran on no platform at all. “I know the kind of person that I am,” Frost (English, ’95) says. “I don’t make promises to people that I can’t keep. I don’t make deals with people. I’m not going to put myself in an ethical quandary before I’m even elected. That’s why I chose no platform.”
Durango is famous for its world-class mountain biking and road riding, and it’s the home to many professional and Olympic cyclists. But until the last decade, the town did not have a successful, dedicated, long-term program for junior cyclists. That all changed when two former Skyhawks cyclists founded Durango Devo, a program dedicated to developing young riders in a traditional team setting.
Most of us think accounting is all about crunching numbers. For alumnus Brad Tafoya, though, being an accountant is more about heart than about spreadsheets. He and his firm, Tafoya Barrett & Associates, are all about helping their clients and their community reach their full potential.
Rotem Ishay won an individual national championship with the FLC cycling team, with the assistance of a local performance center’s fitness testing. Now, not only does Ishay run that same center—he has also brought his career as an exercise specialist back to campus through a unique partnership. Ishay (Exercise Specialist, ’12) is now the director of the Durango Performance Center, a sports lab that provides performance testing to both elite-level athletes and everyday people who want to improve their health, wellness, and performance.
An engineer and an artist start a doughnut shop. That pairing is so unexpected that it sounds like the setup to a punchline. But Rendezvous Doughnuts in Durango is no joke. Owner and founder Charlie Shew (Engineering, ’17) and brand manager Hayley Kirkman (Art, ’17) are having serious fun with the craft bakery they opened in late 2017.
Durango is the kind of place people escape to, not from. It’s also the kind of place where people are always game for a new challenge. That knowledge was a primary reason Hanna Pierce felt confident opening Conundrum Escape Rooms in downtown Durango. Now nearly two years old, Conundrum offers two escape rooms and a board game store. What it really offers, though, is the chance for people to truly connect with each other.
First ascents tend to capture popular imagination. But not many people get known for their first descents. So photographer Stephen Eginoire recognizes just how rare it is that he gets to be the first human being to step into caves unseen by human eyes or trod by human feet in Grand Canyon National Park.
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.
Bill Hesford (Teacher Licensure, '05), assistant principal at Bayfield Elementary and Bayfield Primary, was named the 2018 Outstanding Assistant Principal for Colorado by the Colorado Association of School Executives.
Russell Elliott (Business Administration, '90) has been hired as the new Broadband Manager for the state of Wyoming by the Wyoming Business Council.
Elena (Benvides) Sweetser (Business Administration, '13) was recognized by Coldwell Banker as one of it's 2018 30 under 30 Award winners.
Bison Star Naturals, a hand-made soap and lotion company owned by husband-and-wife team Angelo (Business Administration, '12) and Jacqueline (Brisson-Stahl) (Spanish, '11) McHorse, was recently featured in The Taos News.
Chris Erickson (Art, '94) debuted an installation of his art, titled "Binary Opposition: Mole©ules," at the Art Base, in Aspen, Colorado, on June 8.
2018 RMAC Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and the 2017-18 RMAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year Skylyn Webb (Psychology, '16) won the women’s 800-meter run in May at the 2018 NCAA Division II track & field championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a record time.
More than 3,000 people turned out on in Smyrna, Tennessee, on June 9, for the dedication of a memorial in honor of Blue Angels pilot Jeff Kuss (Economics, ’06), who crashed while training for the Great Tennessee Airshow in June 2016.
Clifton Tanabe (Humanities, '88) was named dean of the College of Education at University of Texas at El Paso.
Phil Wehrli (Business Administration, '83) is the new Senior Vice President of Global Planning and Supply Chain at SMTC Corporation, a global electronics manufacturing services provider.
Chris Schauble (Journalism, '91), co-anchor of KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles, showed a photo on-air of his all-time favorite teacher, Larry Hartsfield, professor of English. He credits Hartsfield for supporting and encouraging him in his career...
Payson McElveen (Exercise Science, '16) defended his champion title at the Marathon Mountain Biking Championships in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Howard Grotts (Mathematics, '14) finished second.
Samantha Cameron (Exercise Science, ’12) is helping her family guitar-string manufacturing business, Curt Mangan Fusion Matched Strings, succeed from rural Cortez, Colorado.
Amy (Mohr) Bahl (Exercise Science, '05), head coach at Evergreen High School, was named 2018 All-Colorado girls coach of the year as her team scored their fourth Class 4A title.
Kayla Shaggy (Art, '17) celebrates Women's History Month with a comic honoring her grandmother.
WorldPay, formerly Vantiv and Mercury Payment Systems, is a large employer of FLC alumni in Durango. Computer Science & Information Systems graduates Dale Shumate ('06) and Chris Conrow ('12) share how their FLC experiences shaped their tech careers.
Barney LeBlanc (Business Administration, '02) debuted his patent-pending "Gnar Bike", a snow bike / snowmobile combination, at the White River Rumble in Meeker, Colorado in early February.
Blythe Morrison (Anthropology, '14) is FLC's new contract NAGPRA Collections Specialist. Her work will focus on the documentation and analysis of at least two significant collections of Native American items under the care of the Center of Southwest Studies.
Michaela Goade (Art, 14) won "Best Picture Book of the Year" from the American Indian Library Association for her watercolor illustrations in "Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy."
Kimberly Welch (English,'00) published Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South through the University of North Carolina Press.
Amy (Mohr) Bahl (Exercise Science, '05), the most decorated women’s basketball player in FLC history and a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, boasts a 113-37 record in her six years as head women's basketball coach at Evergreen High School.
Marshall Masayesva (Adventure Education '14) was recently inducted into the Emerging Leaders Program, a program of the Center for Jackson Hole, which trains a culturally diverse cohort of young outdoor recreationists for the conservation movement.
Former Skyhawks men's soccer forward Salifu Jatta (Marketing, '17) was signed to the Western Nevada Futbol Club.
Alan Tennison (Biology, '75), an FLC Hall of Fame punter, is featured on Episode #44 of podcast #SpinningIt with host Yale Vannoy. [PODCAST]
Former Skyhawk cyclist Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Exercise Science, '16) has signed with the Stan's/Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis.
Kevin Hatch (Accounting, '03) was named Chief Financial Officer at AppRiver, a cloud-based cybersecurity and productivity services provider.
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.