Page 1

Winter 2012 Vol. 14 Issue 1

04 05 08 12 16 Table of Contents

Meet The Staff

Letter From The Editors

Life at A Distance

A Valley Brimming With Sound Crafting Community

22 26 30 36 40 44

1,800 & Counting

A Cutting Edge Body Of Work

One Vote Among Many

An Ocean Away

Beyond All Borders

A Road Away From Home

Charlie Blackmer

Editor-In-Chief Junior Mass Comm/ Journalism

Sarah Rose

Senior Mass Comm

Cassie Heykoop

Editor-In-Chief Junior Mass Comm/ Journalism

Nicole Blake

Sophomore Mass Comm

Graphic Design

Monee Slaughter

Design Editor Senior Graphic Design

Parker Eyrich

Senior Graphic Design

Michael Wong

Photography Editor Junior Marketing/ Mass Comm

Jenna Penn

Junior Mass Comm

Public Relations

Michelle McDowell

Katie Bock

Ashley Foley



Advertising Director Mass Comm/ Public Relations

Senior Graphic Design

Audrey Maddox

Freshman Spanish

Promotions Director Mass Comm/ Public Relations

Carolyn Dean

Senior Mass Comm


Not Pictured: Bryan Wells Erin Scherb Prof. Cochran

Allison Ildefonso

Junior Mass Comm

Kristin Steele Junior

Public Relations

Catherine Foster

Senior Mass Comm/ Journalism

Brittany Chock

Junior Mass Comm

Caleb Fenske

Senior Graphic Design

Ally Hayduk

Senior Mass Comm

Public Relations

Letter From The Editors

Pieces Of a Whole


By Charlie Blackmer & Cassie Heykoop

ach person has a story to tell and within

she picked up the pieces of her life, Cassie took

those seemingly simple stories are intricate

on her responsibilities as Editor-in-Chief. In her

details that tie us to our peers and

temporary absence, other staff members stepped

community. No matter how big or small you think

forward as well. As everything fell together, it

your surroundings are, you play a part that no one

became clear to us that the them we wanted to

else can fill.

pursue was “Pieces of a Whole.”

We interact on local, regional and global levels.

When crisis hits, whether small-scale or large,

However, these realms are not mutually exclusive.

everybody has to adjust to reach the end goal

One stems from another and they are all connected.

(and meet deadlines). Adaptation and inspiration

Your neighbor may have started a program that

are what keep us moving. Though chaotic and

feeds your child’s classmates. Your classmate may

challenging at times, every team member was able

have grown up in a different country and a local

to fill a crucial role in the creation of this magazine.

volunteer has served your country in the U.S. Air

As you read these stories, take time to reflect

Force. Instead of focusing on the CMU campus,

on the pieces that make up your own life and how

this issue of Horizon Magazine is meant for the

you, in turn, are an integral component in the lives

community in its entirety, whether next door or

of those around you. While these stories highlight

thousands of miles away.

specific members of our community, they could

As a staff, we quickly discovered the

have just as easily been written about you. You are a

importance of each person’s role. Early on in the

piece of the whole.

semester, Charlie was confronted with a choice

Thank you for inspiring us. Enjoy!

when a family member was seriously injured. While

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Life at a Distance

A Family’s Dream to Sustain The Great Wide Open Story by Audrey Maddox Photos by Carolyn Dean


ust as the sun starts to rise over the Grand

finding places to graze cattle and feed prices,”

Mesa, Becky Dowd travels on foot across grassy

Dowd said.

fields to feed her many animals. She starts in

Eight years ago, the Dowds moved from the

the chicken coop, a wooden room with 11 chickens

Redlands to the countryside just outside of Grand

waiting for their morning sustenance. Roaming

Junction. In their old neighborhood, the close

through their outdoor pen, the chickens gladly

proximity to other houses clashed with the Dowds’

meet Dowd when she enters. She then makes her

natural desire for open space.

way over to a rabbit, named Jellybean, waiting in a wire cage right outside. Next, Dowd feeds the remaining animals: five horses, four cows, two pigs,

“My next door house, I could probably have reached out and touched,” Kyra said. The country experience was something Dowd

two dogs and two cats. After all this, she’ll get

really desired for her kids, so she bought the five

ready to leave for a day of work.

acres from her parents and their family moved.

This is a normal morning for the Dowd family,

“We have an interest in the agricultural lifestyle,

which includes Becky and her two children,

but it’s dying out and we just want to sustain it as

17-year-old Kyra and 12-year-old Austin. They

long as possible,” Dowd said.

live on 45 acres of Dowd’s parents’ farmland, five

Normally, the farm grows alfalfa and grass to

of which belong to them. The Dowds keep their

feed their animals, but they have also grown corn

animals on the surrounding acres and grow mostly

and winter wheat to sell. Every four years the

alfalfa and grass.

Dowds rotate their crops to ensure better growth.

“We have had to downsize [our animals] because of the drought, and the problem with

The required care for their crops includes plenty of irrigation and weed control.

Tending to the animals is a big responsibility for the Dowds. “You don’t get to take off anywhere spur of the moment, because twice a day you have to be here feeding them,” Dowd said. The pigs require some of the most involved care

supporting a way of life.” The Dowds also share their property with other roaming animals including coyotes, raccoons and bears. “There is a hill where the coyotes will stand and howl at each other at night,” Kyra said.

because they need sunscreen daily and their food

Not only does that interfere with the Dowds’

intake must be carefully regulated. The chickens

sleeping, but the coyotes pose a threat to the young

lay eggs about every other day, and each evening

calves and other animals.

the Dowds collect

A few years ago, before

them. Because many of

Dowd had built a fence

their animals are show

for the chicken coop, a

animals, they are walked

raccoon got in and killed

habitually to make sure

some of their chickens.

the animals are tame.

“Walking out to my

Kyra dedicates a lot

chicken coop, opening

of time to showing her

the door and seeing four

cows and pigs in county

mangled chickens was a

and national fairs. She

horrible thing,” Dowd

works with them daily

said. “But that has only

to ensure they are ready

happened once.”

to be judged.

Although the safety of

“You literally put

some animals is a concern,

your cow in a pen and

Dowd has always felt that

walk around in a circle,”

her children were safer

Kyra said. “You set it

in the country because of

up all good for the judge

the distance from the city.

to walk around and decide how good it is.” The best thing that can happen at a fair is for her to make a sale of one of her cows or pigs.

However, the whole family agrees that distance can be trying at times. “A lot of people are really surprised by how far

However, that doesn’t mean she’s lost the animal

out we live,” Dowd said. “If you forget the movie

for good. The businesses pay for the animals, but

in the DVD player, you don’t usually run back

often will not keep them. Instead, they return them

home to get it. You say, ‘I’ll pay the fine.’ We’re

to the owner at the end of the day. They receive

not all that different from anybody else…” Dowd

tax deductions and advertising, plus the feeling of

finished, and Kyra completed the sentence with

doing something good.

“We just live a long way from town.”

“It’s a way of supporting the community,” Dowd said. “It’s a way of supporting the kids and

It is true that living far from other houses and businesses concludes a major difference in their

daily lives. From many points of view, the Dowds are an ordinary family, with ordinary jobs and relationships. Their lifestyle differs when it comes to the added responsibilities the Dowds face.

further away from civilization and farm full time. “I’d pack up and get three thousand cows and live on a ranch, heck yeah,” Kyra said. According to the Dowds, lessons and experiences

Within the varied geography of Grand

of the country lifestyle are unparalleled to any others

Junction, there are many families like the Dowds.

they could imagine.

There is much open space and farming on the

“I think one of the greatest things of living out

outskirts of town, affording many residents a country

here and having so much to take care of is the kids

life. By the numbers, however, the majority of local

learn so much responsibility and about taking care of

families live within city limits.

other things,” Dowd said. “It can be a sacrifice, but

The Dowds are very happy with their life on the farm. In fact, if anything, they would love to go even

the lessons that we’ve learned are pretty wonderful.”


small desert city seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Grand Junction Colo. is unlikely to be thought of as a flourishing

musical town. Nonetheless, many talented musicians live within its borders. They may blend in during the day, but at night these musicians step onstage and entertain the residents and passersby of this town with powerful melodic force. Within its eclectic mixture, Grand Junction offers music for all tastes.

The Many Shapes Of Local Music Story by Audrey Maddox Photos by Michael Wong & Parker Eyrich

JACK+JILL Went Up the Hill… Indie-alternative rock group JACK+JILL came together in 2007 when guitarist and lead vocalist Aaron Seibert and violinist and vocalist Jessica Seibert wed. They went from duo to full-on

while being in the band is ideal. “[Being a parent] is awesome because our kids look up to us as role models,” Thornburg said. However, it takes a lot of balance. Aaron and

band by adding bassist B Braukhoff and stealing

Jessica often call their gigs “date nights” because it

drummer Mike Thornburg from another local

is their one chance to go out without feeling bad

group. Over the past few years, the band has

about leaving their toddlers behind.

bonded over creating great music together.

During the day, the Seiberts give music lessons,

“It is very much like a family,” Jessica said.

Braukhoff is a chef and Thornburg is an herbal

“Sometimes that can make it 10 times harder to be

apothecary. However, there is no work that the

in a band.”

members of JACK+JILL are more dedicated to than

In addition to playing shows in Grand Junction, JACK+JILL spend a lot of time touring across the western U.S. and Colorado. This led them to

their band and each other. They stay motivated to work on it from the love of music. “There is something really pure about music,”

Creed, Colo. now one of their favorite towns to

Aaron said. “You don’t have to understand all the


lyrics to listen to the song and think, ‘That makes

“People were just crammed in there, jumping all over the place,” Aaron said. “It’s like a recharge of the batteries of your musical self.” At the end of a show, every member heads home to take care of their growing families, but they don’t mind. In fact, they say that having kids

me feel good.’” The band just released their first music video for the song “Overplay Me” from their second album. They are currently recording their third album, which they expect to release next summer.

Staging Her Future at CMU Talented and dedicated, Kelly Dwyer will be

“I got to play a lot of really funny little bit

graduating with a degree in Musical Theatre from

roles,” Dwyer said. “I’ve never really cared

Colorado Mesa University this spring. She is

about being the front person, but it felt like I was

appearing in her 9th school-affiliated show this

constantly on stage even if I was in the background,


which was really fun.”

Dwyer grew up in a musical family – her father

Studying during the day and performing

played in bands, her sister studied music and her

at night can be intense, but Dwyer has stayed

mother encouraged her to try several instruments


of her own, such as piano, clarinet and percussion.

“Even though it’s hard work, it’s really worth

By the time she reached high school, Dwyer had to

it in the end,” Dwyer said. “I really do want to do

choose between marching band and theater. Theater

this for the rest of my life.”

won. “It just slowly happened, and now I don’t really have any desire to do anything else,” Dwyer said. Her first year at CMU, Dwyer performed in The Producers, which ended up being one of her favorite roles.

After graduating, Dwyer plans to audition for performance opportunities on cruise ships. “If that doesn’t work out, I’ll figure out what happens after,” Dwyer said. Regardless of what she ends up doing, Dwyer says she will never regret giving into her musical instinct.

A More Classical Approach Dr. Mary Bailey performs in the Grand Junction

China and play in an orchestra there.

symphony as principal oboe, the Grand Junction

In her small amount of off time, Bailey likes to

Rockestra as 2nd flute and teaches oboe at CMU

perform at fund-raisers with other local musicians.

as well. She entered the music world as a 4-year-

They get together and use their musical talents to

old taking piano lessons. Bailey then picked up

do something positive in the community.

the flute in 3rd grade, and by the time she reached middle school band, she was already too good. So she learned a new instrument – the oboe, and that was the one that stuck. “I thought it had a really neat sound to it,” Dr. Bailey said. “It’s sort of mellow and very relaxed and has a very dark sound.” Bailey graduated high school with the intention to continue studying music until she had a Doctorate of Musical Arts. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I

With all of the projects she participates in, Dr. Bailey has a lot to do. “My dream sometimes is just to be a check out girl so that I don’t have to think about my job when I’m not there,” Dr. Bailey said. “I can just go home and be done with it.” The time spent practicing is always worth it, and as she begins her fifth year in Grand Junction, Dr. Bailey still enjoys her time living here. “I feel like here I have that great balance,” Dr. Bailey said. “I get that wonderful teaching aspect,

never questioned it,” Dr. Bailey said. She succeeded

and then I have the performance side with the

with her plan, only pausing briefly to move to

symphony as well. I’m in a really great spot.”



K Tog’s Monday Nights on Main Street Story by Audrey Maddox Photos by Brittany Chock


hile most people may head inside for

Western world. In the early 1900s, the American

an evening of football and relaxation

Red Cross and many other organizations released

on a typical Monday night, women

knitting patterns of ski masks and gloves for people

in downtown Grand Junction gather with bags

to make and send to military forces. Knitting was

of needles and yarn inside Tangle knitting store.

taught in school up until the 1980s when the craft

They settle down in a circle of soft couches and

experienced a major decline, mostly due to cheaper

chairs, pull out their latest projects and get to work

clothing prices. However, a roaring revival arose in

knitting. Laughter and friendly voices fill the room.

the early 21st century, and knitters began to pop up

These are the women of K Tog, short for “knit together”. Throughout seemingly endless stitching and purling, these knitters spend two hours every

again. Internet sites formed and yarn stores opened. It was then that Tangle opened its doors in 2006. “I loved to knit and the store where I worked

Monday night dedicated toward the creation of

closed,” owner and founder of Tangle, Allison

blankets, scarves and friendships.

Blevins said. “I really felt like that would leave a

The store plays calm music and the walls are lined with colorful yarn. Tangle is an ideal place to

hole in the community, so I decided to open my own.”

spend the evening on one of the hardest days of the

It started in a little yellow house downtown

week. It appeals to people from all walks of life, as

and offered classes and knitting supplies. K Tog

knitting has long been a popular past time.

formed during football season as a Monday night

When the industrial revolution greatly reduced

knitting group called Monday Not Football. When

the necessity for knitting in the 1800s, the craft

the store moved to Main Street two years later, the

persevered as a hobby and useful skill across the

knitting group instituted year round meetings and

became K Tog. In the course of the past four years, K Tog has collected a diverse group of knitters. “The knitting scene in Grand Junction is a very mixed crowd,” Blevins said. “There are people of all

families. When one knitter falls into a problem with her project, another will stop and help her. They share stories, tips, compliments and recommendations throughout the night. “The knitting group is nice because people

ages. There are stay-at-home moms, retired people,

have a place to go,” Caspari said. “If they don’t

high school students, college students, everyone.”

have friends that knit, it’s always nice to be

Many are seasonal knitters who only come

around people that do the same thing. They can

during the cooler months. Although the group

sit together, they can chat, they can exchange

shrinks in the summer and grows in the winter,

experiences and they can get a little help as well.”

there are at least four to five regulars that come

Knitting has survived so strongly because it is

almost every week

a fun hobby. The design

throughout the entire

choices, the gratification of


creating something and the

“A lot of young

long list of readily available

people like to learn

challenges provides a good

to knit,” co-owner


of Tangle, Christina

“I learned to knit in

Caspari said. “Some

college,” Lentz said. “I

of them really get

made a lot of scarves and


hats because that’s all I

The time is well

knew how to make. Then

spent working on

I learned to read a pattern;

projects that vary from

that was the beginning of

blankets to toys.

the end.”

“It’s a nice two

“It’s just the greatest

uninterrupted hours

thing, I think,” Caspari said.

of knitting,” knitting

“It’s totally relaxing. After

teacher, Amy Lentz

a day of rushing around and

said. “You get a lot done.” Most of the creations are planned as gifts for friends. The companionship of K Tog is very important. “There is a great group of people that go,” Blevins said. “It really fosters a great sense of community.” Conversation floats through the air as the women discuss the intricacies of their lives and

everything, that’s what I look forward to - sit down and knit. I just like to work with my hands and see something come out of it.” Tangle also encourages community beyond the borders of Grand Junction. Blevins incorporates global humanitarianism into the store. “One of my goals was always to carry products that support women,” Blevins said. Community projects supported by Tangle

include knitting helmet liners for military troops

nights or has never come before, K Tog welcomes

and preemie sets for the local hospital. Both of

all with open arms. Crafters spend the night

these options include a free pattern and a discount

watching their hands stitch away, talking and

on yarn. Tangle also offers locally handmade

helping one another, and realize they are in an

donated yarn and Be Sweet yarn, which creates jobs

environment so friendly that they’ve found their

for women in rural Southern Africa. Nonetheless,

own community.

sometimes a local impact can be the most powerful.

Common interests, no matter what they are,

Tangle develops a comfortable and pleasant place

bring people together. The ladies of K Tog have

for all crafters and aspiring crafters to go, whether

found kinship and unity in Grand Junction and

for lessons, supplies or the Monday night K Tog.

Blevins has developed a global community with the

Locals in Grand Junction, who otherwise may

altruistic missions utilized by Tangle. Knitter or

have never known each other, become teachers,

not, anyone can take inspiration from these things

students and friends to one another.

and find a place where they feel comfortable and at

Regardless of whether a knitter missed a few


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1,800 and Counting

Battling Child Hunger One Backpack At a Time Story by Erin Scherb Photos by Michael Wong

I’m hungry and I’m cold. I had to sleep in

many who can’t eat anything during the weekends.

our car last night and I’m late for school.” There are words that can touch our hearts and

This means between lunch on Friday and lunch

souls, and then there are words that grab and shake

a number of children who don’t qualify for aid,

us right to the core. We find ourselves being woken

but still suffer from hunger because of indecent

up from the routinely tired ho-hum beat that


on Monday, kids go without any food. There are

drums the pattern of our comfortable lives from

“In October of 2003, my wife and I had just

the words of this little girl. A story such as this

walked our daughter to her first grade classroom”,

moves us deeply as it is difficult to be reminded of

founder of Kids Aid, Mike Berry said. As we were

suffering children. The prevalence and seriousness

walking back across the playground, a girl ran up

of the situation is yet to be realized by most

to us crying. We stopped and asked her what was

individuals. This heart-wrenching condition of

wrong, and her response still echoes in my soul

life is lived out worldwide every single day. Rarely


do we think of hunger affecting the children of

I’m hungry and I’m cold. I had to sleep in our car last night and I’m late for school. Kids Aid’s primary purpose is “helping kids be kids” through community solution and is the main platform of the Feeding Friends Backpack Program. Berry’s idea began as an echo of a program in Denver called Totes of Hope. This organization offers food to hungry students every

our city or town. Many times the need for food is more commonly heard of in third-world countries where poverty is more prevalent or severe. Not only did this story take place right here in Grand Junction, but over half the children in the school district of Mesa County qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. Of those who qualify, there are

Friday to last them through the weekend. After extensive research, Berry found no program similar to Totes of Hope in the Grand Valley and decided to take matters into his own hands. The Feeding Friends Backpack Program is similar to Totes of Hope in that both programs wish to bridge the gap of hunger during the weekends. The Backpack Program does this by sending children home on Fridays with bags full of non-perishable food items. Transporting food home in a backpack offers a discreet advantage to students who might be embarrassed by their situation. The food is incredibly kid-friendly. It can either be very easily prepared or eaten straight from the package. Spaghetti-O’s, ravioli, chicken noodle

schools between the end of the summer and the

soup, vegetable soup, boxed macaroni and cheese,

beginning of the 2008 school year. Canyon View

ramen noodles, pudding cups, granola bars, and

Church started participating and began providing

microwave popcorn are just a few of the options.

backpacks and food for local schools as well. By

With the help of the First Presbyterian Church

the end of the school year, 12 schools and 700

in March of 2008, Berry decided to attempt a

backpacks were being sent out by Kids Aid and

program at Orchard Avenue Elementary School.

Canyon View Church. As time passed, the number

“We sent backpacks of food home with 10

of children involved in the Backpack Program grew.

needy children for the last 10 weeks of school,”

The program served 17 schools in 2009 and gave

Berry said. “The program was very well-received,

out over 1,260 backpacks of food each week. Today,

and we became known as ‘food angels’ around

they send home 1,800 backpacks per week and serve

the school.” The impact that the program had

every school in District 51.

was quickly realized. The first week after Berry

Distributing the backpacks has become one

and volunteers delivered backpacks to Orchard

of the most interesting and detailed aspects of the

Mesa Middle School, a girl went skipping into a

whole process because there are so many meals that

counselor’s office Monday morning after receiving

must be assembled and delivered. Bags of food are

a backpack the Friday before.

delivered to the schools on Friday mornings and

“Her counselor commented on how happy she

given to the children in a subtle manner. There are

was and the girl said she had a great weekend,”

no financial requirements of any kind. The single

Berry said. “‘Oh really, what did you do?’ the

qualification to join the Backpack Program is for

counselor asked. The girl replied, ‘We got to eat.’”

a child and parent to fill out a form requesting the

The program soon became well-known, and 165 students signed up from five different

food. One teacher relayed the story of a girl in her

class who was in the breakfast and lunch program. Every day the girl would only drink juice for

worries for the weekend. Kids Aid offers a wonderful opportunity to

breakfast and take the breakfast bar home in her

start bringing the pieces of our community together

backpack. When the teacher noticed this behavior

by assisting and providing for one another in times

she asked the girl why she wouldn’t eat the

of need. Communal support is achieved by helping

breakfast bar. The girl told her that she saved the

to raise money, supply food, provide time and

bars every day so that she would have something

spread awareness. With a bit of effort in supplying

to eat over the weekends. She began participating

such elements, an impactful, caring and intentional

in the Backpack Program and is able to eat a

community establishes itself. It is time to make the

nutritional breakfast every morning with no

difference. It is time to be the change.

A Cutting Edge Body of Work

Inside CMU’s Forensic Investigation Research Station Story by Cat Foster Photos by Brittany Chock


ans of the TV crime-comedy-drama series

are placed at varying stages of decomposition so

Bones are undoubtedly familiar with terms

scientists can study how factors such as climate, soil

and phrases like “luminol,” “entomology,”

acidity and wildlife affect the decaying process. The

“particulates” and “toxicology.” The show is not

research station, located near Whitewater, Colo., is

for the weak-of-stomach. It shows fake human

currently under construction, but is anticipated to

remains that are still gooey and gross, with scientist

be finished early in the Spring 2013 semester.

characters who don’t seem bothered by examining

“I don’t want to give a time period for the

stomach contents or holding a skull. The show’s

farm,” Connor said. “We will just take it one step at

main character, Dr. Temperance Brennan, is a

a time.”

forensic anthropologist who can identify the age,

The process is highlighted by the towering

gender, height and weight of a murder victim just

stack of papers on Connor’s desk: Colorado state

by looking at a set of bones.

laws, legal protocols and healthcare laws that have

You could say that Dr. Melissa Connor is a real-life Dr. Brennan, only she works with actual human remains and not on-set props. Dr. Connor

to fall into place for the research station to accept human remains. “One of the things that drew me to CMU was

is Colorado Mesa University’s new Associate

the interest the university had to start up a body

Professor of Forensic Science and Director of the

farm,” Connor said. “My job is to get that going

Forensic Investigation Research Station. In other

and eventually use human remains to teach students

words, CMU is getting a body farm.

about decomposition.”

A body farm is perhaps academia’s most gruesome facility, where remains (usually human)

Connor received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in anthropology with a specialty

in archeology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and went on to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She worked as an archaeologist for the National Park Service, digging up and identifying remains at

“I had a five-acre property outside city limits when I lived in Nebraska,” Connor said. “There were probably about 10 pigs buried out there that I studied with my students.” Her neighbors on either side didn’t mind the

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

fact that there were almost a dozen pig graves

in Montana. While there, Connor was invited to


investigate evidence of genocide and war crimes in

“They thought it was a hoot,” Connor said.

former Yugoslavia as part of the Truth Commission

“They were never at a loss for dinner party

with the United Nations. Since then, she has


participated in humanitarian efforts in countries such as Iraq, Haiti, Rwanda and Nigeria. “My main field of study is taphonomy, which is the study of human decomposition,” Connor said.  Decomposition can answer several key questions about a person’s death, such as

In September, Connor put the first deceased swine in the facility and will add one a month for a year, to study the annual variation. Pigs are useful in the study of human decomposition because the fat distribution in pigs and humans is similar, causing them to decompose similarly.

approximately when he or she died and what has

Throughout the years, Connor has seen her

happened to the body since then, both of which

fair share of gruesome scenes, from mass graves in

are crucial during a murder investigation. It was

Rwanda to crime scenes in the U.S. She has been

the potential to work with human remains in an

brought in to work on murder cases with police

academic environment that drew Connor to Grand

departments in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb. There


were times while she was a professor at Nebraska

“There are only four places in the world that actually use human remains,” Connor said. CMU is working to be the fifth university with a body farm. It will be the first decomposition

Wesleyan when Connor would leave a crime scene to teach her class. “It was kind of sobering,” Connor said. “You’re doing it for the living people. You’re doing it as

research station that

part of a court case

is outside of the

that could help keep

humid, low altitude

the bad guys from

southern states.

doing it again, or

Connor will use pigs

keep the good guys

for her research, as

from going to jail.”

she has for the last

Connor said

nine years, until

that one of the most

the facility is ready

rewarding parts of

to receive human

her experiences with


victims of genocide is helping to bring

-Dr. Melissa Connor

closure to the families by finding and identifying a

body farm and lending her expertise to justice

loved one.

systems. She is working on developing a Forensic

Connor finds herself and her work being

Anthropology minor, something that could

compared to TV shows like Bones and “CSI”

compliment a degree in Criminal Justice, Biology

regularly, but it doesn’t bother her.

or Chemistry at CMU. A minor could help

“TV shows have been good and bad,” Connor

someone who wants to go into law enforcement

said. “The good part is that they have exposed

in an investigative position, or an archeology

people to this wide range of sciences. They can

student who needs to know the difference between

understand why things like body farms are

an old and a new burial site. A major in Forensic

important, because of those TV shows.”

Anthropology is not likely because the career

Sometimes, the shows make it seem like investigations are short, but Connor says that for

options for an area so specialized are slim. With a body farm in the works and a Forensic

the most part people understand the shows are

Anthropology minor developing, Connor has a lot

meant for entertainment and modern science isn’t

to look forward to.

quite as advanced. Currently, Connor is juggling the duties that come with teaching an Introduction to Forensic Science class, facilitating the development of the

“Having these kinds of facilities for students will be a wonderful opportunity,” Connor said. “It’s all just one step at a time.”

One Vote Among Many

Locals Weigh in On the Democratic Process Story by Charlie Blackmer Photos by Michael Wong


y the time you read this, the presidential election will be over. The citizens of the United States, members of the Electoral

system is losing funding.” In fact, in response to an anonymous survey conducted on the Colorado Mesa University

College and-- some could argue--other influences

campus and around the city of Grand Junction,

such as big business and lobbyists will have decided

only one participant agreed that the onslaught of

who will be inaugurated this January. However,

pre-election political advertisements influenced the

this is not a story about politicians, parties or

way in which--or if-- he or she would vote.

partisanship. This is a story about you, voters and non-voters alike.

“I’d have no problem choosing who to vote for, regardless of political affiliation if they [politicians] stopped that nonsense and put their money where

Skepticism on the One Hand In coffee shops and in classrooms, home offices and Home Depot, a sense of disillusionment blankets our community like a mid autumn fog. Of dozens of students and community members surveyed, a large number expressed a strong sense of disenchantment with the way in which our country elects its presidents. “I believe it’s a bit silly,” local business owner, Rebecca Robison said in regards to voting. “I believe it’s important to the big picture, but millions of dollars are being wasted on these political attack ads while people are hungry, homeless, have no healthcare and our educational

their mouth is,” Robison said. “Only the facts should be stated in advertising without all the negativity.” Another source of great concern, especially among college-aged individuals, stems from the seemingly nebulous role the Electoral College plays in presidential elections. CMU student Evan Linko believes the electoral college to be “an unnecessary step in the process.” “I voted, but I don’t think that vote will count very much in the presidential election,” Linko said, citing electoral votes as an important reason. “You are picking the lesser of two evils, almost always,” Linko added. “How could two people who are on opposite ends of the spectrum possibly represent the whole nation?”

Advocacy on the Other While many in the community convey a sense of

Dr. Timothy Casey, professor of political

uneasiness in regards to the general election, there

science at CMU, expanded upon Ehler’s belief in

are many more who believe wholeheartedly in our

the Electoral College by acknowledging that the

nation’s democratic process.

founders were “nervous about raw democracy” and

“I used to be very apathetic,” Mass Communication professor, Eric Sandstrom said. “I didn’t believe one vote could make a difference.” However, Sandstrom’s many years working as a

afraid of the “excesses of public opinion.” “The public is often uninformed,” Casey said. “They can be swayed by a pretty face.” Casey provided more insight into the

reporter in local government, courts and education

importance of the Electoral College for states, like

instilled in him a greater sense of awareness about

Colorado and our neighbors, with lower population

the importance of the political process.


“As I’ve gotten older and

“What would happen to less

more interested in public

populated areas [if we didn’t have

affairs and local government,

the Electoral College]?” Casey

it’s been easier to find my own

asked. “The candidates would pay

political beliefs,” Sandstrom

less and less attention to these

said. “I saw how much

states. If there were no Electoral

elections made a difference in a

College, you could only see

community. Now I find myself

presidential candidates by a jet

obsessed with elections.”

trail going from New York to Los

As chair of the Mesa


County Republican Party, Ruth Ehlers has no qualms when it comes to voicing her opinion about voting. According to Ehlers, voting is not necessarily a right, but a privilege, and one that should be exercised only by those who choose to get informed. “A vote is a precious thing,” Ehlers said. “If you

But, It’s a Thin Line Between the Two

don’t know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be

A few weeks before the election, I was surprised to

voting. If you don’t know what you’re voting for,

see a group of Democratic volunteers from Utah

you don’t have any business marking a ballot.”

who had set up in the CMU University Center.

Unlike CMU student Evan Linko, Ehlers also

Affiliated with the small organization, Utah for

expresses a straightforward confidence in the place

Obama, LaVonne Maloney of Salt Lake City and

the Electoral College has in presidential elections,

Dan Syroid of Park City spent the weeks prior to

citing its establishment as a means through which

Nov. 6 campaigning in Colorado. Maloney cited

to “give every state a voice in the election”, as

low voter turnout in Utah, among other things, as

intended by the founding fathers.

a reason why she and Syroid, both Utah residents,

were campaigning in another state. “Being from Utah, our vote doesn’t count like it would in a swing state like Colorado,” Maloney said, referring to the fact that all nine of Colorado’s

one another, regardless of their differences, with an inherent belief that we all deserve to be treated with dignity.” It’s hard to define one person’s political beliefs,

electoral votes go toward one candidate based on

let alone those of an entire community. Obviously,

preliminary results of the popular vote.

it is never as simple as saying, “yes, I vote, and

“There’s not much we can do there [in Utah],” Maloney said. “For this particular election, we came where our efforts really make a difference.” Despite a sense of disillusionment that stems

here’s why” or “no, I don’t believe my vote matters.” Every individual interviewed for this story possessed strong attitudes of conviction, skepticism

from frustration and confusion, business owner

and advocacy. In fact, if there is one thing we can

Rebecca Robison added to her remarks about the

all agree on, it is that each of us embodies the

silliness of voting and political advertisements:

sometimes juxtaposing elements of confidence and

“I believe it’s important to be part of this

cynicism. These pieces make up who were are:

process,” Robison said, “in hopes that one day my

emotional, uncertain and strong-willed human

children and children’s children will see people

beings who ask questions and make stands.

working together as one, helping and caring for


An Ocean Away

Students Reflect on Their Childhoods Abroad Story by Allison Ildefonso Photos by Michael Wong


hen students see Stan Schrock walking

“In the schools on the base they offer a

around campus or playing soccer on

Japanese immersion class that I took throughout

Walker Field, the one thing they’ll

high school,” Schrock said. “I consider myself really

probably notice is that he looks like he could be


just another kid from Grand Junction. With copper

red hair, bright blue eyes and lightly freckled

peers find out where he is from.

skin, Stan looks like any other American college

student…but he happens to be from a country

I’m from Japan,” Schrock said. “It’s kind of funny,

halfway around the world.

actually. Most people are really shocked, others are

Shrock was born in Naples, Italy on April 21,

Schrock gets a variety of reactions when his “Obviously when they see me they don’t think

confused. Some almost look mad, because at first

1992 to Steve and Nancy Schrock, teachers for the

they think I’m making fun of them or something.”

U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity.

“They got hired in Houston, Texas to work for

Schrock visited Wisconsin every summer. One of

one of the American schools on a military base and

the main differences he was able to observe living

their first station was in Italy,” Schrock said.

in Japan while getting a glimpse into American

life, is that the element of respect is significantly

After seven years in Italy, Schrock’s parents

Although he spent most of his life in Okinawa,

were transferred to East Asia. At age two, Schrock


and his older sister, Helen, moved with their

parents to Okinawa, Japan, where he lived until

“I think that’s one of the things I miss most,

graduating high school.

how people act. The level of respect and how

you interact and treat other people is completely

And yes, he speaks both English and Japanese.

“The respect thing is huge,” Schrock said.


year in the Mass Communication department at

Schrock ended up at Colorado Mesa

University after a trip to New Mexico. “I really had no idea where I was going to go

Schrock is almost halfway through his third

CMU – and his future is looking bright.

The same goes for 21-year-old Cat Foster.

after high school,” Schrock said. “I was planning

Foster was born in Bakersfield, California on

on attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison,

January 17, 1991, but she didn’t stay in the Golden

but I couldn’t get in-state tuition, and out-of-state

State for too long before moving to Indonesia at

was too expensive. I met the soccer coach for CMU

age three.

at the camp in New Mexico. I looked into the Mass

Foster’s father works for an oil company that

Communications and Journalism program and I

transferred him and his family to Jakarta, Indonesia

liked it.”

in 1994. After two years, Foster moved again, to the

Although he is

small country of Brunei. She

heavily involved in school

lived there for four and a half

and soccer, Schrock

years. At age 10 she journeyed

manages to go back to

back to Indonesia, to the city

Okinawa every Christmas

of Balikpapan.

and during the summer.

school there, so I went to

“It’s home,” Schrock

“There was no high

said. “I miss studying

a boarding school called

the language and being

Dalat International School

immersed in the culture.

in Penang, Malaysia,” Foster

Flying back and forth, as

said. “My junior year of high

soon as I get off the plane,

school, my parents moved us

I notice the difference.”

from Indonesia to Moscow,

Growing up in East


Asia has also had a

After graduating from high

significant impact on Schrock’s personality.

school among a class of 35 students, Foster spent

her first year back in the states in Greenville,

“I’m really shy,” Schrock said. “I think part of

it is growing up in Japan. There are just not a whole

Illinois, “in the middle of a corn field,” as she put

lot of loud people.”

it. Foster attended a private school, Greenville

As far as his future is concerned, Schrock has

College, for one year before coming to CMU.

several options, but is leaning towards one in


Indonesia. She explained that one of her favorite

things is how family-oriented the country is.

“I could go back to Okinawa and be a sports

Foster loved many aspects of growing up in

reporter for Stars and Stripes Newspaper,” Schrock

said. “It’s an American newspaper that serves all of

kind of all you got,” Foster said.

the military around the world. I would love to go back.”

“When you move around that often, family is At first glance, Foster also looks to be a

Colorado native rather than a young adult who

grew up in several countries and speaks Indonesian.

20 countries on five continents, Foster said in the

Back in Indonesia, however, Foster was considered

future she would like to live somewhere completely

anything but typical.


“I was one of five white people in my high

“I’ve been to Indonesia, the U.S., Russia,

school class, and people know that to be white

Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, New

means you must be rich,” Foster said. “A lot of it is

Zealand, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Switzerland,

just common sense and being responsible. I never

Scotland, England, Morocco, Austria, and the

felt like I was in danger.”

Czech Republic,” Foster said. “New Zealand is one

of my favorites though.”

Contrary to the reactions of her peers in

Indonesia, students at CMU have expressed mostly


out of their comfort zone.

“A lot of them don’t really know how to

Foster encourages her peers to travel and step “There’s this quote that I love, and it goes, ‘If

react,” Foster said. “Many don’t even know where

you speak three languages, you’re trilingual. If you

Indonesia is. The hardest part about first moving

speak two languages, you’re bilingual. If you speak

here was people expecting me to be normal.”

one language, you’re American.’ Language is a

muscle,” Foster said. “You’ve got to keep using it.”

In moving to the U.S. from Indonesia, Foster

had to adjust to changes in social norms. In

Southeast Asia, lack of eye contact is a conventional

Schrock and Foster have many things in common.

practice for women.

They were both raised in Asian countries, are

bilingual and ended up at CMU. Their stories may

“One of the biggest learning curves for me was

Although born and raised worlds apart,

looking people in the eye,” Foster said. “Indonesia

seem completely unfamiliar, but there are many

is Muslim except for Bali, which is Hindu. As a

opportunities available through CMU that enable

female I wasn’t allowed to look anybody in the eye.

students to travel the world and experience unique

It was illegal along with being a Christian, and you

kinds of adventure that are invaluable to most,

could be punished for that kind of thing.”

including Foster and Schrock.

Although she has visited a total of almost

Beyond all Borders

How a Question of Citizenship Led Sergio Galindo to CMU Story by Bryan Wells Photos by Brittany Chock


icense and Registration.”

of dark curls that can be put into a ponytail just as

“Yes sir, just a second,” he grabbed a small

easily as an afro, he tries to maintain what he calls

envelope and his license and handed them to

an “ethnically nondescript look.” This is rehearsed

the officer. His hands fidgeted slightly in his lap. “Was I speeding?” “What are you doing here?” the officer asked,

as well. Getting pulled over is usually enough to make anyone nervous, but Sergio Galindo, a 23-year-old

looking up from the license and registration.

student at Colorado Mesa University, has more to

He gets this question quite often. He has quick and

worry about than getting a speeding ticket. He was

rehearsed answers ready no matter where he is.

born in Mexico and made the dangerous trip across

“We were headed up to the monument for ...”

the border into the U.S. when he was just eight

“No,” the officer cut him off, “What are you

years old. He is not a citizen in either country.

doing in Colorado?” “Oh, I go to school here, at Mesa, at Colorado Mesa I mean.” The officer remained quiet. “I’ll be back in a second,” he said. He waited in the car, looking straight ahead. “My name is going to be what screws me over,” he said, “I could be anything if it weren’t for the name. I could be Hawaiian or Samoan.” He was right. At six feet tall with a head full

The officer returned. He handed the driver’s license back to Galindo and gave him a warning. His passenger side brake light was out. Instead of continuing up to the Colorado Monument to go on a hike with friends, Galindo went home. “It’s not good to push your luck,” Galindo said. Two days later, on June 15, 2012, Galindo’s luck turned around. President Barack Obama signed an executive order that would allow Galindo, and

others like him who qualified, to remain in the U.S.

continue his education. He met with immigration

and work without worry of deportation for at least

lawyers and would have done anything to become

two years.

a citizen and go to college. He asked if he should

“I was excited but also nervous,” Galindo said.

go to Mexico and try to apply for citizenship

“I didn’t know if this was something that a new

legally. The lawyer told him that he would sooner

president could just reverse. I’d spent the last 15

be banned from the U.S. for up to 10 years than

years lying about where I was from and now I

be granted a visa. Galindo heard that if he joined

was about to sign papers saying I was an illegal

the armed forces he could become a citizen, also


wrong. The lawyer said the armed forces do not

For 15 years, Galindo and his family had done everything they could to help him towards a better

accept illegal immigrants. “At that point I was just really disappointed,”

life in the U.S. He had gone to school, learned

Galindo said. “I was screwed because my family had

English, played sports, made friends, played the

done what they had thought was best for me. I was

trumpet and competed in robotics tournaments.

about to give up and just settle and then everything

When he turned 19, his family took him to New

turned around.”

Mexico where he could get a driver’s license

Galindo met a man at a potluck. The man was

without a social security number. He had saved

an engineer himself and he and Galindo began

money from lawn-mowing and other jobs and

talking about engineering. They were well on their

bought a nearly brand new Ford Mustang. He loved

way to becoming friends when the topic of why


Galindo wasn’t going to college came up.

During high school, Galindo excelled in mathematics and liked working with his hands. “I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, I wanted to make things,” Galindo said. Wanting, however, would not be enough. Galindo could not qualify as an in-state student without a social security number. He couldn’t afford to pay outof-state tuition without financial aid. He worked for a year after high school building fences and irrigating fields. “It wasn’t fun,” Galindo said. “I missed school. I wanted to do something with my life.” Galindo tried to find a way to

“I said I couldn’t afford college. He asked me

Engineering program through a partnership with

why I didn’t apply for financial aid. I usually avoid

Colorado University and a foundation had been

this. Grand Junction isn’t really known for its

established which would help pay Galindo’s tuition.

sympathy towards illegal immigrants. People don’t

Today, Galindo is a senior at Colorado Mesa

like us,” Galindo said. “But here I was thinking it

University and expects to graduate in the spring.

couldn’t get any worse even if I did get deported. I

By then he hopes that his application for Obama’s

told him.”

deferred action work permit will be accepted.

Galindo thought the man might stop talking

“If it works out I’ll have two years to work,

to him. He hadn’t expected that he would get a

hopefully as a mechanical engineer,” Galindo said.

call from the man later that night telling him to

“It’s a short time for an entire country to decide if

be at CMU the next day. In less than 24 hours

I’m worth keeping. I’ve got to make sure I’m worth

Galindo was enrolled in CMU’s first Mechanical


A Road Away From Home

From Saudi Police To Hollywood Sets, A Grand Junction local Talks about Her life in the U.S. Air Force Story by Cassie Heykoop Photos by Michael Wong


very evening in Saudi Arabia, practicing

rushed out of the parlor by their driver. They were

Muslims halt their businesses, close up

quickly escorted back to the Air Force base. It

shop and dedicate their time to prayer. It is

wasn’t until weeks later that Black found out what

required that citizens set their concerns and chores

kept her out of trouble that night. Mohamed had

aside to stand before their God. Teresa Black sat

paid the police $10,000 per person in the room as a

on a couch next to Mohamed, a man that she was

bribe to avoid punishment.

not married to. Her female lieutenant sat behind

“They would have immediately taken us to the

Mohamed’s desk. Not only is it frowned upon

women’s prison and the men to the men’s prison,”

to do both of these things, but it is illegal not to

Black said.

participate in prayer. They talked, laughed and

Since that night Teresa Black has served a total

exchanged ideas about each others’ cultures. This

of eight years in the U.S. Air Force and managed

was a normal night off of the Air Force base for

to make it back to her hometown, Grand Junction.

Black and her lieutenant, but on this particular

She has had an enormous impact on the lives of

night, Mohamed’s receptionist forgot to shut of the

many community members and still serves in the

porch light.

Air Force Reserve.

“All of a sudden the religious police came busting in on us,” Black said. “They ushered me and the lieutenant into the women’s parlor and

“It’s just home,” Black said. “All of my family is here, or was around when my son was born.” She enlisted in 1994 after graduating from

they took the men away. All we could hear was a

Casper College. Besides her father, who was a part

bunch of yelling and screaming in Arabic.”

of the National Guard before she was born, Black

Soon after, Black and her lieutenant were

is the only person in her family to have served in

the military. Right off the bat she enlisted for six

make sure that their military hospital looked right


or just make sure they were using the right jargon

“One of the real challenges is the first year,” Black said. “You get into it and you realize you’re

and everything had the right look and feel.” Besides her nights in Saudi Arabia or her days

in it whether you like it or not. It’s not a job you

on movie sets, Black has acquired a number of

can just quit. There’s that point when you’re

challenging and rewarding memories.

challenged or discouraged that you do feel a little trapped.” After testing very highly at the Military

“The most cherished memory I have is the people,” Black said. “You form bonds with people really quickly and you get to meet people

Entrance Processing Station in Denver, Black was

from all over. I could go almost anywhere in the

placed in Russian linguistics, which initiated the

country and have a spare bedroom to sleep in and

rest of her Air Force education. Soon after, she

somebody to go out to dinner with and catch up.”

transferred to the Public Relations and Journalism

After earning her Public Relations degree while

field. She was able to report for the military’s

serving, she received a Human Resources degree

newspaper and work on movie sets in Hollywood

from Colorado Christian and a Master’s in Business

as a technical consultant.

Administration from CMU.

“That was a chance to get out there and do this once in a lifetime thing and getting to meet Matthew Mcconaughey when he was nobody was

“I have more degrees than I can count,” Black said. Black returned home and now lives in Grand

cool,” Black said. “That to me was the most fun

Junction with her husband and two sons. She serves

stuff. They wanted me to come on to their set and

on the board of directors for both Boy Scouts and Diabetes Counts and serves as the executive director of Homeward Bound in the Grand Valley. “You learn to really cherish the time you do have with your family,” Black said. “When we get time off work, we go see family because that’s what you do in the military. You don’t just go on vacation. You have to maximize that time together because you never know when you are going to get deployed or sent somewhere.” Black has traveled the world and experienced a life that is far from typical. In the end she managed to make it back to Grand Junction where she has built a home for her family.

Horizon Fall 2012  
Horizon Fall 2012  

Horizon Fall 2012 Issue 14