Student & Program News

Adams State’s Model UN team is competing in the Barcelona Model UN conference, April 19-24. They have been training hard for months in order to represent Adams State and bring back awards. With advisor Dr. Mari Centeno, the student team includes Sean Erice, Patrick Cleary, Gloria Quintana, and Jeremiah Medina.

AS&F Student Government Elections results:

  •      President – Alex Lopez
  •      Vice President for Internal Affairs – Brittany Wilson
  •      Vice President for External Affairs – John Owsley
  •      HPPE Senator – Chadwick Hovasse

Seniors Lauren Murphy and Vanessa Moore, secondary education/English majors, are passionate leaders creating awareness about domestic violence. On October 26, they organized the Red Flag Campaign, a day for ASU students, faculty, and staff to make a pledge against domestic violence. “Students were receptive and excited to break the silence about domestic violence. We gave them the chance to speak out and recognize a ‘red flag,’ and they took the opportunity,” explained Murphy. Over 150 people attended the event.

Preceding the Red Flag Campaign event on campus, Lauren and Vanessa visited ASU classes with an interactive presentation educating students about healthy relationships. This student service project was part of coursework in Methods of Teaching Secondary English. Their presentation placed third at Student Scholar Days.

Natalie Rogers, asst. professor of business, and nine students attended the PBL State Conference in Grand Junction, where seven ASU students qualified for nationals in Anaheim, CA, in June. The competitions included objective tests, live presentations, and hope site exams. ASU students placed in Accounting Analysis & Decision Making, Accounting for Professionals, Client Services, Computer Applications, Computer Concepts, Entrepreneurship Concepts and Justice.






The Adams State University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. James Doyle, presented six all-school assemblies at elementary schools in Durango on April 6-7 for over 1000 students. The ensemble presented high energy programs on behalf of the Music in the Mountains Goes to School program by performing and teaching Ghanaian dancing, drumming, and singing.

The Department of Sociology hosted students and faculty from Fort Lewis College and Western State Colorado University for the 11th Annual Undergraduate Sociology Conference, on April 7 and 8. Read more.

Alternative Spring Break Experience – Guaymas, Mexico

Spring break is a time when ASU students work, play, catch up on sleep, or … participate in Campus Ministry’s Alternative Spring Break Experience. The 2017 ASB experience was a road trip of 2,000+ miles through the US desert southwest and Sonoran region of northern Mexico.

ASB 2017 participants: Simone Jackson, Hilda Martinez, Soledad Dominquez, Julio Rodriguez, Hannah Vigil, DeShea Wilkes, Dana Gonzales, Adrian Reyes (ASB Student Leader), Elsa Goosen (Community Partner – SLV Immigrant Resource Center),  Shirley Atencio, Adviser, United Campus Ministry.

The nine students, their community partner and adviser experienced the rich cultural landscape of the border region through strategic stops along the way, with a particular focus on migration and immigration. Stops included a homestay along the border with a Mexican family in Naco, AZ, lunch and conversation with staff at the Alitas migrant shelter in Tucson, which serves women and children ICE detainees, and several days at Casa Franciscana in Guaymas, Mexico. There, students had the privilege of serving in various outreach programs.

Students made home visits to people who were elderly or disabled, served at a meson that fed Central American and Mexican migrants riding north atop a “Death Train” en route to Nogales, and helped install a roof for a local family. A highlight was the impromptu birthday party and soccer game students arranged for a local child. Another was meeting inspirational community leader Brother Ivo Toneck, founder of Bellas Artes Guaymas, a music conservatory for poor and marginalized children. Br. Ivo is behind the $3.5 million Conservatory of Music and new Guaymas City Auditorium currently being constructed, which are changing the face of Guaymas.

No ASB is complete without some fun. A final stop at the fishing town of Bahia de Kino on the Sea of Cortez provided opportunities for pier diving and selfies on the beach. The most significant take-away from ASB was summed up by one student who said, “I will take (from ASB) everything I learned from the people I have met” and by another who “wants to become more informed and educated about situations in other countries.” The group saw only one region of a large and multi-faceted country, and received much more than they gave.


ASU’s Phi Eta chapter of the Beta Beta Beta Biological National Honor Society (Tri-Beta) participated in the 2017 Western Region District 1 Convention on April 7-8 at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO. The following students presented original research and placed in the undergraduate oral presentation competition:

  • Alex Mullins – Oral Presentation – 1st Place (Research Advisor: Matt Steffenson)
  • Ryan Miller – Oral Presentation – 2nd Place (Research Advisor: Adam Kleinschmit)
  • Russell Geminden & Garrett Visser – Oral Presentation – 3rd Place (Research Advisor: Matt Steffenson)

The following Tri-Beta students and faculty also participated in this year’s conference:

  • Erika Ibarra-Garibay
  • Sam Ogden
  • Julie Starkey
  • Dr. Adam Kleinschmit – Tri-Beta Faculty Advisor
  • Dr. Tim Armstrong
  • Dr. Matt Steffenson
  • Dr. Megan Sherbenou – Keynote Speaker
Counselor Education

The Counselor Education Department, in partnership with SLV Behavioral Health Group, the SLV Joint Interagency Oversight Group, and Tu Casa presented the TEAMS symposium on March 15, 2017. This community event educated counselors, teachers, and community members on emergency preparedness, crisis response, and the aftermath of trauma. Frank DeAngeles, a retired principal from Columbine High School, was a keynote speaker.

Dr. Joel Givens, asst. professor of counselor education, was also a keynote speaker at the symposium. He discussed his experience with crisis response after the Aurora theater shooting. Other Counselor Education faculty members shared their expertise. Dr. Neil Rigsbee, asst. professor, discussed “Suicide risk: Assessment and interventions,” and Dr. Courtney Allen, asst. professor, facilitated a panel discussion on “Community crisis response.” Finally, Dr. Laura Bruneau, professor, presented on “Animal assisted therapy and crisis response.”

Doctoral students in Counselor Education also presented at state, regional, and national conferences:

  • Deanna McCulloch, a third year doctoral student, coordinated a break-out group at the Great Falls Children’s Bereavement conference in Great Falls, MT, on “Death and dying: Mitigating trauma after a loss.”
  • Gregg Elliot, a third year doctoral student, presented at the American Counseling Association conference in San Francisco, CA, on “Holding the tension: Congruence and ethics in supervising values conflicts.”
  • Christina Jurekovic and Becky Meidinger (second year doctoral students) also presented at ACA on “Promoting professional school counselor identity through educational leadership and advocacy.”
  • Megan Numbers, a second year doctoral student, presented twice at the North Carolina Counseling Association conference in Durham, NC, on “Healing the wounds of secondary traumatic stress in counselors from minority groups,” and “Supporting military spouses through group counseling: considerations and implications.” She also presented at the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center in Fayetteville, NC, on “Using Inside Out to facilitate a group that helps children identify feelings and create a toolbox of coping skills.” She was named President-Elect of the Military and Government Counseling Association, a division of the North Carolina Counseling Association.
  • Coreen Haym, a second year doctoral student, was a guest on Women in Depth Podcast with Dr. Lourdes Viado on the topic “Beyond the myths: Understanding BDS-M.”

Doctoral students will also present at the upcoming Colorado Mental Health Professionals Conference in Denver, CO. Christina Jurekovic, a second year student, along with Bill Spies and Christina Harrell (first year doctoral students) will present “Counselor identity variation across license types as measured by the PISC.” Vasti Holstun, a third year doctoral student, will present on “Spirituality in counseling: The good, the bad, and the helpful.” Vasti was also awarded a $1,000 research grant from the Graduate Research Fund Committee at ASU to pursue her dissertation research on “Student counselor perceptions of feedback and the impact on self-efficacy.”


Thirteen undergraduate and graduate Human Performance & Physical Education students attended the 2017 Rocky Mountain American College of Sports Medicine (RMACSM) conference in Greely, CO. The meeting theme was Health is Wealth: The Role of Exercise and Nutrition Across the Lifespan, and featured speakers from the region and across the country. The keynote speaker was J. Larry Durstine, Ph.D., a Distinguished Professor from the Normal J. Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. He reviewed the use of high intensity interval training in conditions of health and disease in both older and younger populations. The students really found inspiration during the student poster presentations and grant proposals. There is a lot of motivation moving forward for future research from this young group.  The students were joined by Visiting Assistant Professor, Lukus Klawitter.

Dr. Brian Zuleger and graduate students in the M.S. Applied Sport Psychology program — Melanie Shawcroft, Nico Jauregui, Martin Wolffe, Riley Robbins and Zachary Holloway — attended the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) southwest regional conference at University of Denver, April 7-8. The conference brought together universities and students for presentations on research done by current graduate students in Applied Sport Psychology. Presentations focused on past and current research done in the applied setting and consulting within the field of Applied Sport Psychology. Conference directors discussed the future of the field and gave examples of paths graduate students could take. The University of Denver facilities offered a great environment to listen and learn about new ideas in applied sport psychology for athletes, coaches, and consultants. Zachary Holloway and Riley Robbins presented on their research, “Utilization of self-talk with collegiate cross country runners.” They had a positive response to their research, and many people were interested in the future applications the study will have.

Dustin Oranchuk had his Master’s thesis accepted for publication in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, one of the most esteemed journals in the field of exercise science. He is the first author on “Comparison of the Hang High-Pull and Loaded Jump Squat for the Development of Vertical Jump and Isometric Force-Time Characteristics.”

The Sport Management class hosted the 2017 Special Olympics Basketball Showcase April 7 at Plachy Hall. Students dedicated much of their own time to plan and prepare for this event so each Special Olympics athlete could show off their skills in front of all their friends and family. The event was a fundraiser for the local Special Olympics program, the SLV Dust Devils. Enough money was raised to cover the costs for the athletes to attend regional track competition in May and support next fall’s entire bowling program, including regional competition. A total of 20 athletes were split into the red or blue team, each team playing with 3 Special Olympians and 2 partner-players from ASU football on the court at a time. After a hard-fought game between the two teams that went into overtime, the blue team was victorious with a final score of 38-34.


Psychology major Issac Serrano was selected for a paid internship at Duke University’s Wilbourn Infant Lab with Dr. Makeba Wilbourn. The lab’s summer research program is for underrepresented students in psychology. He was one of three students selected from a pool of 110 international students. Interns will gain hands-on experience conducting developmental psychology research with infants, children, and adults. Dr. Kristy Duran made the Psychology Department aware of the opportunity, and Kay Lewis, assistant director of Civic Engagement & Career Services, was integral in helping Isaac with the application process.

The following psychology students received Psi Chi (international honor society) travel grants for travel to the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention in early April:

  • AnnMarie Bennett– $250
  • Cole Maze – $250
  • Keren Bakke– $200
  • Shannon Rhodes – $250

The following students also attended the conference:

  • Mikayla Weiser
  • Nick Blazon
  • Seth Slover
  • Brittany Wilson
  • Jerome Rodriguez
  • Melissa Acosta
  • Chelsea Walljasper
  • Savannah Smith

Recent grads attended also:

  • Jocelyne Cabrera
  • Danielle Walters

Adams State students participated in the following presentations:

“Teaching Replication in Psychology: A Guide for Teachers and Students, Symposium” with Leslie D. Cramblet Alvarez along with Doug Colman (psych graduate and current doctoral student at Idaho State University)


  • “Perceptions of Famousness and Attractiveness: Preliminary Analysis” – R. Nathan Pipitone, Ian Wingstrom, and Chelsea Walljasper
  • “Student Attitudes Toward Concealed Gun Carry on Campus” – Nicholas Blazon, Seth Slover, and Robert Demski
  • “Cannabis Use Across the Adult Lifespan: Perceptions, Patterns, Purposes, and Outcomes” –Robert M. Kirk, Rob Demski, Courtney Allen, Chelsea Walljasper, Melissa Romero, Marisa Juarez, Savannah Smith, and Jerome Rodriguez
  • “The American Dream: Politics and Possibilities” – Leslie D. Cramblet Alvarez, Jocelyne Cabrera, Shannon Rhodes, Jerome Rodriguez
  • “Physiological Response to the Manipulation of Trypophobic Imagery” – Danielle I. Walters, R. Nathan Pipitone, and Brandon Gallegos

Author: jmwaecht

Assistant to the President for Communications
Editor/Designer of alumni magazine – A-Stater