"You can't tell the American story without the indigenous story," says Jenni Monet (English, '11). But as a Native journalist, she also knows just how hard that task can be. Monet shared her insights and experiences with students and staff when she visited campus in September.
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.