Tim BirchardTim Birchard, Program Director

Tim is passionate about helping students connect with their dreams. He holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (multicultural education) from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Communications from the University of Texas as a first-generation, low-income student. His career in education has taken him as far away as Takamatsu City, Japan, serving everyone from elementary students to college undergraduates to professionals in social service fields.

Tim is an author, recording musician, U.S. Navy veteran, and a proponent for human rights and diversity issues. He spent 4 ½ years directly advocating for secondary students as Student Services Coordinator for the Durango Adult Education Center before serving college students at FLC. He joined the STEM3 team in the fall of 2013 as a Coordinator of Academic Services, and became Director in June of 2016. He is delighted to lead the STEM3 team and to continue advocating for people of all ages and backgrounds striving to improve their lives through education.

With a love for Durango and a drive to give back to his community, Tim is a Leadership La Plata alumnus and is actively involved with the ManKind Project. In his free time, he enjoys running, mountain biking, and writing/recording original music. He serves as a QPR Suicide Prevention trainer and also volunteers with The PiƱon Project's "Boys To Men" program, Manna Soup Kitchen, and Mercy Hospice.

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Cacia PopeCacia Pope, Tutor Coordinator and Advisor

I was born and raised in Durango, Colorado and am a Fort Lewis College Alumni. In 2015 I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biology, minor in Chemistry, Cum Laude. I was also a participant in TRIO STEM3 as a low-income, first generation student from 2011 to 2015. STEM3 provided me with a sense of belonging here on campus and guided me towards being a successful college student. They always held me accountable and as a student worker, taught me to have a strong work ethic. In 2016, I was brought on as an Academic Advisor for STEM3 and have been here since!

Now that I have some experience working with our student population, I feel like I have even more to offer to our participants. My advising approach involves being caring, compassionate, and thorough. I hold our students to a high standard so that they will rise to the occasion. During appointments I coach, encourage, and make sure you are on track to meeting your goals.

I hold myself to the same standards. The goal is to keep moving forward, so I am always working to improve myself professionally and personally. I am a mother to two children, whom I enjoy spending time with out in nature during my free time. We often visit Lemon or Vallecito lake, take a drive up to Silverton/Ouray, or enjoy activities down in Durango, among other things.

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