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Jordan Meinster (Economics, ’06) has grown a thriving business that is now blossoming into a successful franchise spreading across the country. And the roots of that business reach back to the Fort Lewis College campus.
"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.
KDUR journalist Sarah Flower, Journalism & Multimedia Studies majors Ryan Simonovich and Alex Semadeni, and Shane Benjamin (English, '99) won top awards from the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Associated Press Editors for their reporting with The Durango Herald.
Cyclist Sarah Sturm (Art, '12) won the pro women's criterium road race at the Sea Otter Bicycle Classic, in Salinas, California.
Long-distance runner Megan Finnesy (Psychology and Exercise Science, '92) was profiled by irunfar.com for her ultra running competition and work, and for founding the 62-mile Silverton Ultra Marathon, which launches this year.
Former ASFLC President Connor Cafferty (Business Administration, '17) was recently elected president of the Student Bar Association at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law.
To celebrate National Athletic Training Month, The Durango Herald profiled Brandi (Calderwood) Wenzlau (Athletic Training, '14), who worked with state championship-winning football, basketball, track, and dance teams at Bayfield High School last year.
Renowned ragtime pianist Adam Swanson (Music, '14) is now playing live scores to weekly silent films at Durango's Henry Strater Theatre, in addition to his regular performances at the Diamond Belle Saloon.
Shane Benjamin (English, '99) was promoted to deputy editor at The Durango Herald, overseeing the reporting staff.
Doug Landin (Recreation Administration, '88) was named chief information security officer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, overseeing the law and lobbying firm’s new security team.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol selected Alyssa (Green) Meyers (Business Administration, '13) as the agency's first-ever Agricultural Safety Program Coordinator, a new program to improve agricultural transportation safety in Wyoming.
Marissa Molina (Political Science, ’14) was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Metropolitan State University of Denver, making her the first DACA recipient to serve on a state board.
Jonny Radding (Sociology, '95) of Durango Organics has teamed up with with Matt Vincent (ATT '91-'95) of Ska Brewing to create Oh Hi Beverages, a line of THC-infused sparkling seltzers.
Artist Tracy Weil (English, '88) was profiled in Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine for using his art to build community.
Don Roberts (Business Administration, '89) talked about Wellness Toolbox, his guide to health and fitness based on his experiences as a personal trainer, nutritional coach, weight management consultant, bodybuilder, and gym owner.
Outside magazine featured a video looking at graduate student Anna Ortega (Biology, '14) and her team at the University of Wyoming, who are doing National Science Foundation-funded field research on mule deer migration.
Richard Julian Martinez III (Sociology & Human Services, '05) was named a fellow in the 18-month Community Leadership Network program by the Center for Creative Leadership and W.K. Kellogg Foundation for his gift of bringing people together.
Ben Burkett (Business Administration, '02) just started a new job as finance director for the town of Cortez, Colorado.
Mike Boone (Exercise Science, '05) is now the program director of Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Seth Damon (American Indian Studies and Anthropology, '08) was named to a two-year term as speaker of the Navajo Nation Council in January.
The (Cortez) Journal profiled two alumni from different generations who are teaming up to keep rural agriculture alive on a working ranch in southwestern Colorado.
Scottie Hazelton (Exercise Science, 1996) is the new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Kansas State University Wildcats football team. Hazelton played linebacker at FLC from 1992-94, and later became the Skyhawks’ defensive backs coach from 1996-1998 and defensive coordinator in 1999.
Rocky Schneider (Exercise Science, '99), a Skyhawks Football Hall of Fame and All-Century Team member, was recently hired as principal of Gering (Nebraska) High School.
Don Roberts (Business Administration, '89) has published Wellness Toolbox, a guide to health and fitness based on his experiences as a personal trainer, nutritional coach, weight management consultant, bodybuilder, and gym owner.
Denver's Westword magazine profiled Durango-based jam band Elder Grown -- formed by four FLC alumni when they were students -- as a rising star in the Colorado music scene.
Myron Lizer (Business Administration, '06) was sworn in as vice president of the Navajo Nation alongside new president Jonathan Nez on January 15 at a ceremony in Window Rock, Arizona.
Filmmaker Alexandria Bombach (Business Administration, '08) won the National Board of Review's 2018 "Freedom of Expression" award for her documentary On Her Shoulders, about Nadia Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
Matthew Welbourn (Business Administration, '17) is a contestant on NBC's new athletic competition TV series "The Titan Games," hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Irene Barry (English, '05) has published Surviving a Rural High School Shooting, based on her expreiences as an on-duty teacher at Aztec High School, in New Mexico, during a school shooting in December 2017.
Georgie Pongyesva (History, '16), a member of the Hopi Tribe, was interviewed by the Grand Canyon Trust about the role of Native Americans at the national park as it celebrates its centennial.
Melinda Arviso-Ciocco (Native American & Indigenous Studies, '12) has been selected to be the state director for the New Mexico for the Old Spanish Trail Association, which is dedicated to protecting, interpreting, and promoting the Old Spanish National Historic Trail.
Registered nurse Amber DeHerrera (ATT '98-'01) talked to the Durango Telegraph about the lessons she learned working with birthing mothers in Tanzania through the Durango-based Tanzanian Mission Project.
Indea Stroeve Rogers (Biology, '18) wrote about the value of field work for scientists for the American Geophysical Union following her experience aboard a research vessel in the Baltic Sea last summer.
The journey of Cristin Haase (Biology, '13) to bring dental care to Native communities was profiled in a cover story in the Fall issue of Winds of Change magazine.
Parvannah Lee (Pubilc Health, '18) wrote an editorial for Teen Vogue about her experiences learning about food and hunger issues in her home Navajo Nation.
In October, filmmaker Alexandria Bombach (Business Administration, '08) debuted On Her Shoulders, her documentary about Nadia Murad, who also won the Nobel Peace Price in October.
303 Magazine profiled Dylan Lipke (Art, '14) about his using old pizza boxes as canvases for his artwork.
Tracy Weil (English, '88) was interviewed in Westword magazine about his work founding Denver's art district known as RiNo, which he still oversees as RiNo’s creative director.
Shawn Pensoneau (Political Science, '92) was appointed Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Native American Affairs, overseeing the office's collaboration with American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
Mike Coyle (Adventure Education, '13) talked about the rewards and challenges of life as a professional skiing and climbing guide in Outside magazine.
James Tutt (Physical Science, '69), former president of Navajo Technical College, was named dean of the new School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics at Diné College.
Marsha Greyeyes (Political Science, '99) was profiled for her initiative in creating the Maryland-based Greyeyes Supply Company.