Attend CC, FAC Listening Session Tomorrow Morning

CC-FAC Alliance

Start your Thursday with coffee and a light breakfast as you learn more about the CC-FAC alliance at a listening session tomorrow, Sept. 8, 7:30-9 a.m. in the Fine Arts Center Music Room.

This is your opportunity to share input about a new future between CC and the Fine Arts Center. There are also two more listening sessions this month: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 4:30-6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall; or Monday, Sept. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room.

You’re also invited to an open house for CC faculty and staff at the Fine Arts Center tomorrow, from 3-5 p.m. Take a tour, explore the galleries, and mingle with FAC colleagues.

Find out about the strategic planning process:

You’re Invited to FAC Open House

CC-FAC Alliance

Experience the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at an open house this week!

All CC faculty and staff are invited to an open house at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Sept. 8, 3-5 p.m. Take a guided tour, explore the galleries, mingle with FAC colleagues, and enjoy light refreshments.

Last week, President Jill Tiefenthaler and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin, announced an historic alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The alliance builds on the legacies of both the college and the Fine Arts Center, and will enhance the strengths of both. It also begins a four-year planning process for developing an operational structure that achieves CC and community strategic objectives.

Three community listening sessions are also planned:

  • Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:30-9 a.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, 4:30-6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall
  • Monday, Sept. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room

Learn more about the CC, FAC strategic planning process.

FAC Museum Staff Update

President Jill Tiefenthaler shared the following update with the CC campus community about staffing related to the CC-FAC alliance:

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce that on the heels of our exciting announcement of a new alliance with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, we are extending CC art and curatorial expertise to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Associate Professor of Art Rebecca Tucker is now the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s museum director, overseeing all operations of the museum including curatorial and educational programs. A professor of art at CC since 2003, Rebecca’s teaching focus on art, Southwest studies, and museum studies programs is a wonderful fit for the museum.

Jessica Hunter-Larsen, who has served as curator of Interdisciplinary Experimental Arts programming, including the IDEA Space at CC since 2006, is now director of academic engagement/IDEA curator. In this role, Jessica will work with the FAC curatorial team to develop innovative approaches to curating, and to build educational connections between the museum, the community, and the campus.

Briget Heidmous, assistant curator at CC, retains the same title but now also works with the FAC museum. She will continue to manage the IDEA Space and Coburn Gallery exhibitions and programming at CC during this academic year before moving to the FAC.

All of the previous FAC museum staff continue to bring their expertise, commitment and knowledge to the museum. Joy Armstrong, former curator and most recently acting museum director and chief curator, is now curator of modern and contemporary art. Michael Howell, FAC registrar; Jeremiah Houck, FAC preparator; and Lauren Tyson, FAC special projects/admin, continue in their current roles.

We hope to add a Southwest curator to the museum staff in coming months.

With our four-year strategic planning process for the FAC starting with a focus on the museum, it is important for the museum to be in a position of strength to begin the work. The vision for the museum will be implemented beginning in July 2017.

I’m thrilled that we can immediately start our collaboration with the FAC by combining our expertise and talents. I am grateful for the enthusiasm of Rebecca, Jessica and Briget as well as that of the FAC team members as we embark on this new partnership. With this dynamic group in place, we can start envisioning a bigger future for the arts at the FAC and CC.



Christine Siddoway Honored at Celebration of Women in Antarctic Research

Professor Christine Siddoway

Have you ever heard of a wikibomb? Wonder why one might be important? The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research is hoping to make a big impact with its wikibomb event and Christine Siddoway, professor of geology, is right in the middle of it.

By intentionally “bombing” Wikipedia with information about female researchers, Siddoway says the event helps to better capture the demographics that exist today in polar sciences. SCAR asked the Antarctic research community to nominate women and write their online biographies for the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. So far, about 100 women from 30 countries have been profiled, including Siddoway. About 75 Wikipedia biographies of Antarctic women researchers were launched during the wikibomb event at the annual SCAR conference this week. Siddoway’s was one of the biographies posted, drafted by colleague Trista Vick-Majors ’03, a microbiologist. This celebration of female Antarctic researchers, including Siddoway, aims to raise their profile to help provide more visible female role models for early career scientists.

“The contributions that women have made to Antarctic science are still under-represented on Wikipedia,” says Vick-Majors. “Many members of the public rely on Wikipedia as a source of information, and making sure that the wide breadth of Antarctic researchers are represented is key to furthering the public understanding of science.”

Siddoway traveled to Kuala Lumpur for the SCAR conference and coinciding wikibomb event Aug. 23. She says many more women are actively participating in – and leading – polar science research today than in what she calls the “heroic age of Exploration.”

“For example, my current Antarctic project, named ROSETTA-Ice, has five principal investigators from four academic or research institutions, and four of these are women. The women scientists all bring different expertise, and each has a strong funding and publication record that qualifies them to collaborate on this work. Just a couple of decades ago, a typical research program did not have that proportion of women in the position of scientific leadership and discovery – not just in United States research programs but in those of nations around the world.”

Vick-Majors, who was also featured in the wikibomb event, says Siddoway’s dedication to not only grow the scientific understanding of Antarctica, but also to share her experiences with others, makes her stand out. “It is rare for such a successful Antarctic researcher to simultaneously be a such a successful teacher, and [Siddoway] deserves to be recognized for her commitment,” says Vick-Majors.

Siddoway explains that there are stories worth telling about women students and women scientists, and plenty of achievements to be celebrated, though they’re stories not often told. “It’s beneficial to illuminate these personalities and weave women’s science into the fabric of human achievements now, when there is so much to celebrate,” she says. “Chances are that some aspect will lodge in the imagination of a student and at some stage that will aid the student’s ability to recognize a key question that provides direction or allows self-determination in life.”

Vick-Majors adds that while more women are working in Antarctica now than ever before, they are still often the minority in Antarctic research stations and that they must be prepared to meet a number of challenges – not just the scientific ones – in order to succeed.

“Antarctica is an amazing place to conduct scientific research. [But] field seasons are often long, with complicated logistics and less-than-desirable weather,” she says, “Antarctic scientists, especially the ones who choose to return year-after-year have to have a high level of dedication to their work, and an extraordinary amount of patience, in order to overcome the challenges of working on ‘the Ice.’”

Learn more about the wikibomb event and the 2016 SCAR conference

CC, Fine Arts Center Alliance Redefines Arts in Colorado Springs

President Jill Tiefenthaler shared this update with the Colorado College campus community about the CC-FAC alliance:

Dear Campus Community,

Along with Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin, I am pleased to share with you that we have achieved an historic alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. This morning, David and I announced to faculty, staff, and students, as you may have heard at Fall Conference, and to Fine Arts Center employees that we have reached an agreement that will support the missions of both organizations, greatly expanding teaching and learning opportunities for our students and faculty, while enriching arts and cultural programming and resources for the entire region.

This alliance builds on the legacies of both the college and the Fine Arts Center, and will enhance the strengths of both. We are excited about the possibilities for our faculty to integrate the nearly 20,000 pieces of Southwestern and Native American art into the curriculum to strengthen experiential learning and multicultural perspective; for our performing-arts students to have broader opportunities on the stage and behind the scenes; and for the college to positively influence the Pikes Peak region and beyond by providing greater depth, understanding, and context to arts and cultural offerings.

A series of three listening sessions, open to the community, are planned:

  • Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:30-9 a.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, 4:30-6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall
  • Monday, Sept. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room

We will now embark on a four-year planning process for developing an operational structure that achieves CC and community strategic objectives. In July 2017, the name will change to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. By July 1, 2020, plans for the museum, performing arts, and art school will be implemented, and the Fine Arts Center entity will be fully transferred to the college.

You may learn more via a story on our homepage,, and can read about the strategic planning process at

I am excited to embark on this wonderful new chapter in CC’s history. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and support!

Warm regards,


Keith Conger Uses Motorcycle Crash as Inspiration for Award-Winning App

By Angie Bardsley, ITS Administrative Assistant

Keith Conger, ITS systems administrator, won an Invent America contest in middle school for designing an oxygen-making diving suit, and he’s been inventing ever since. So it’s no surprise that he turned a serious motorcycle accident into a creative opportunity. A few years ago, he was riding in three lanes of rush hour traffic when his front tire rapidly lost pressure causing him to lose control. Thanks to the protective gear he was wearing, Conger wasn’t badly injured, but it got him thinking about how an app featuring audible alerts could help prevent future accidents.

He worked on the app for more than a year, but shelved it to work on other projects. But when he came across Google’s Android Experiments I/O Challenge and with just a week to add the finishing touches, he was able to finish the app and submit it in early Spring 2016. Google received entries from all over the world, and Conger’s app was selected as one of only five runner-up winners.

To build the app, he began with the complicated process of reverse engineering the messages sent between the different computer modules on his bike, pinpointing which data points were linked to each component, such as headlights and engine temperature. After gathering as much information as he could, he custom-built the hardware, wrote the software, designed the circuit board, and fabricated a dashboard replacement using a 3D printer.

His final product includes audio alerts for low tire pressure, light failure, freeze warnings when roads could become icy, and high engine temperature. The app also notifies the rider when fuel levels are low, and shows the location of the nearest gas station using Google Maps.

According to Google, “The communication between apps is really useful – like being able to locate nearby gas stations. Using technology in this way is inspiring to us all.” When it comes to creating new technology, Conger says he strongly supports collaboration and information sharing. While building his app, he worked with people in Australia, Germany, and the United States. He also open-source published his app. While it won’t work for all motorcycles, it does provide a foundation for others to build their own versions. “I believe in giving back,” he explains.

Conger now plans to build a custom seven-inch Android device to serve as his motorcycle’s dashboard because none of the off-the-shelf devices have everything he wants — more inspiration for whatever he invents next!

Students Get Lost in “Poetry and Photography from the Isles”

Tara in Ireland


“Ascend cliffs rising through the clouds. Wander the back alleys of Dublin. Skip moss-covered stones across a river tumbling from the frigid North Sea.” Sound like the summer vacation for you? With the intention of engaging in a creative experiment, Tara Labovich ’19 and fellow student Bryce Kirby ’19, spent the summer exploring those settings, Labovich in Ireland, Kirby in Scotland, trying to get lost in every sense of the word.

The project, to create and publish a book of photos and poetry that captures the experience, was inspired by questions about the creative process: “How will our perceptions of reality and creative expression, told through our poetry and photographs, change with the isolation and loneliness of the trail? In other words, how lost in place and self can we become? Can we represent our journeys in words and pixels?” ask Labovich and Kirby at the start of their project.

Those questions accompanied a video and website the students made to explain the project and request help in funding their travels. Labovich and Kirby each won separate Venture Grants to pursue their individual creative experiments; they joined forces after realizing they had parallel goals for their projects.

“We were doing separate projects, and both submitted different grants, unbeknownst to each other, and we realized we’re basically doing the same thing, so why not pull everything together?” says Labovich of how the two connected. So they did, writing poetry and taking photos, documenting their journeys and observations while getting lost.

“We want it to feel that when the reader’s looking at these poems and photos, they’re stepping into our experience and creating an experience of their own without having to actually get onto a plane,” Labovich says of her work. She says the locales, scenery, and time she devoted to the project during the summer helped her grow as a writer and as an individual.

“I definitely think it was some of the best writing I’ve done. It was interesting for me, because it was a shift — a lot of my poems before [the trip] focused on things I was feeling, and while I was over there, all of the things around me started to come alive. It was a new kind of inspiration.”

She says her travels helped make her more aware allowing her to devote time to just observe and write. “When I’m in a busy place, it can be over stimulating; in nature, there’s a lot more flexibility on the focus, the quiet, the scenery, there’s also a lot of mystery around it.”

It was also an opportunity for Labovich to travel on her own, find her own way, and solve her own problems throughout her month abroad.

“My family asked, ‘You’re not going alone, are you?’ and some of my extended family was concerned until I got back. But my mom’s family is Irish, and they were thrilled I was there. There were times when my lack of navigation skills was a challenge; there was no Wi-Fi access. It was the first time I was traveling when I didn’t have anyone else to rely on, to help find where I was. I built a lot of confidence in myself.”

The connection to her Irish heritage was also a special one for Labovich; she’d traveled to Ireland previously with her family and grandfather, and says she knew she would be back. Labovich is a creative writing major minoring in philosophy; she grew up in Germany, and has lived in Colorado for the past six years.

Her experience drafting poems for “Lost” is something she says will have a lasting effect on her growth as a writer. “This will be something to draw from, and it’s been such a good and changing experience that I think it’ll influence my writing for a very long time. As a writer, the project as a whole allowed me to learn a lot about self-motivation and when I work best (which is late at night and not convenient at all) and how I work both as a writer and as a person.”

Now, Labovich and Kirby have reconnected, going through all of the content, picking out the best and making it better, in preparation for self-publishing their book. “It’s challenging but also rewarding, because we have two different minds, different ideas, and that adds a little more variation,” Labovich says.

Ireland Photo

The final products are in the works: a book of poems will be completed in October, and a full book with poems and photography will be published at the end of the year. Catch a preview and place your order with The Isles Project.

CC Hosts Organizational Development Conference

Aug. 8-9, a contingent of great minds will come together on the CC campus to collaborate about the challenges and benefits of implementing a successful professional development program. The Organizational Development Conference addresses professional development in institutions of higher education.

“Considering our interest in professional development, in workplace excellence, it makes sense for CC to not only host this conference, but to also actively partner with institutions across the country,” says Lisa Brommer, senior associate director of human resources.

It’s the sixth annual ODC and CC’s first time hosting. Wake Forest University initiated the event when CC President Jill Tiefenthaler was there as provost. “It’s an interesting connection, to have President Tiefenthaler providing support and leadership in making professional development a strategic priority at these two different institutions,” Brommer says. Tiefenthaler will give the opening keynote address on the importance of professional development in higher education.

Throughout the two-day conference, presenters will lead discussions on a variety of topics, from building a professional development program, to increasing staff engagement, to evaluation of PD resources. CC’s Paul Buckley, assistant vice president and director of the Butler Center, will lead a segment on diversity and inclusion in professional development, highlighting the “Good to Great: The Journey to Inclusion at CC” Excel@CC program.

“We’re really looking at how we make sense of professional development and package it differently. In a program like what we’ve done with Excel@CC, we’re able to pull it all together and embrace professional development as a part of our institution’s strategic plan,” says Brommer.

The attendee list includes 19 new attendees, which is exciting for the organizers, and one of the benefits of bringing the conference to the CC campus. “We’re able to diversify the conversation by broadening participation throughout this region,” says Brommer. “This is a phenomenal place and we want to share what we’re doing with others.”

The more than 30 participants represent 25 different institutions from across the country. Expect to see representatives from a range of colleges and institutions, from Baylor University to Virginia Tech, Columbia University to the University of San Diego, and many in between. They’ll be on campus, primarily in the Spencer Center, Aug. 7-9.

The conference is an opportunity for CC to continue to build its professional development program and to learn from and support colleagues at the other institutions. It’s also a way for CC to set an example of how PD can be done, and done well, in higher education. “We can really showcase our professional development program. We can show what we’re doing, talk about the support and the resources we have for Excel@CC, and that we have the ability to do what we believe is right for our employees. This is part of our commitment to the college,” says Brommer, “to further enhance our own professional development program.”

SCoRe! Students Contribute, Collaborate in Summer Research Program

Summer Collaborative Research Program

What did you do this summer? Pose that question to Ricardo Tenente ’16, Caroline Boyd ’17, or a number of other students in the Summer Collaborative Research program (SCoRe), and you might get an answer like: “Just studying how bacteria incorporate DNA into their genomes by observing the process via an Atomic Force Microscope.”

Through the SCoRe program, Tenente, Boyd, and their student colleagues have spent months conducting real research, in a lab, and recording and analyzing their results. Completing a comprehensive research program on the Block Plan can be a challenge, so this program provides not only collaborative opportunities for students to work together and to work closely with faculty, but also allows for additional time.

“Research requires time and sometimes things don’t work out,” says Tenente. “If an experiment doesn’t work and you don’t get results on a short time frame, it is challenging. That’s why doing it for longer is ideal.” And while the extended timeframe allows for significant progress to be made over the summer, many SCoRe students are involved on an even more long-term basis.

Kristine Lang, associate professor of physics, and Phoebe Lostroh, associate professor of molecular biology, are working with Tenente and Boyd this summer, and have been for several years. The professors are conducting a research project funded by a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant and they collaborate with students each summer to help keep the project moving. By studying a type of bacteria that has a condition called competence, they’re using microbiology and microscopy techniques to observe how bacteria find DNA in the environment and import it into themselves, incorporating it into their own genomes.

“We’re trying to more fully understand how they accomplish this, using a combination of microbiology techniques and microscopy techniques. That’s the cool collaborative part, allowing us to put our skills together.”

They co-teach a First-Year Experience course based on their research project, and during that FYE, the students get one block of background information and introduction to lab work, and then spend a block conducting research. “The idea that you can bring in first year students and have them produce something and have this transformative experience so early in their careers, that’s unusual,” says Lang.

Tenente was exposed to the research program in that FYE course and says the opportunity to work directly on a research project provided insight in making career decisions. “This has defined a lot of my career path,” says Tenente, who graduated in May and is now working as a researcher on this project for the next year. “I knew I wanted to do something with biology, but that first year gave me an insight into what it meant to be a researcher, and I liked it, I liked finding results – that’s just a small part of it – and I liked the whole process.”

Lang says she and Lostroh often hire between two and four students out of that FYE class, so the research students are starting in the lab in the fall of their first year, “which is great for them, to get research experience early,” she says. “And, it’s great for us to have students who know they’re interested and have a background. These students typically work for us a couple of years throughout their time at CC.”

Boyd, who’s majoring in molecular biology, also became involved in research during her first year at CC, “which is wonderful,” she says. “Being able to do it for much longer than a block or a summer tells you how much goes into research. I also found out I love it.”

Boyd spent a semester doing research abroad, and says the experience she had already gained at CC enabled her to survive and contribute to the process overseas. “Through this research experience, I’m learning new ways of analysis that can be applied across other labs, learning things I would not have gotten in other classes,” says Boyd.

It’s a rare opportunity, for undergraduate students to participate so fully in research, and Lang says the time working with students in the lab addresses much more than the research project. “We’re a teaching college at CC, and the best part is feeling like this is an extension of my teaching. It is teaching them practical things, like lab skills; it’s teaching them how to interact with supervisors in a professional job setting; it’s helping them determine whether they like professional science and this kind of research and giving them the experience to make educated decisions about their academic futures.”

“I have lots of students I continue to mentor when they go on to be graduate students, so these are very long term, meaningful relationships. There’s lots more to the research, than the research and those other things are as important than actually the research product itself,” says Lang.

You can catch students discussing their summer work and findings during a final Summer Collaborate Research program presentation: Friday, August 5, in Slocum Commons, 12:15-1 p.m.

All Summer Collaborative Research program participants will present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, Friday, Sept. 30, 3:30-5 p.m. in Cornerstone Main Space.

Get to Know Jeff Montoya, CC’s New Information Security Engineer

Jeff Montoya

Jeff Montoya brings his years of expertise in information security to CC, helping to protect the institution’s data and technology infrastructure. He joined the ITS division this summer and shares some of the ways he helps keep your information safe, plus where you might find him when he’s not as his desk.

What does your job entail?

I provide risk analysis of the institution’s vulnerability to data or security breaches. This involves assessing CC’s security event logging and monitoring analyzers, the intrusion detection/prevention system (IDS/IPS) and firewall logs, and anti-virus products. I also oversee management and administration to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information assets and technology

Infrastructures by conducting security audits, developing security awareness instructional material, and coordinating and resolving any incidents of security breach.

How do you think your position will impact CC?

Data is the most valuable asset of any organization and it is important to maintain the integrity of that information. I hope to provide methods for ensuring the integrity of that data and protect the overall infrastructure from malicious attacks.

Where did you work before CC and what where you doing?

Prior to working at CC, I was the network and security officer for the Administrative Office of the District Attorney for the State of New Mexico. I spent 14 years with that organization, starting at a help desk position and advancing to a senior staff member overseeing the entire state’s prosecution infrastructure.

What do you bring to this job?

Security is an ever-evolving landscape. It has become a specialized role that requires a person who easily adapts to change. Taking the time to research these new trends along with a passion for IT are where my strengths reside.

What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had either at CC or outside of it that play into your current role?

I think most people have had their credit cards or bank accounts compromised at one point in their life. I am no exception and I think those kinds of things make you feel vulnerable once it happens. It becomes more important to be aware of the risks around you, professionally and personally. I would like to share my knowledge about that type of risk with those at CC to help protect themselves.

Who/what was the biggest influence on you?

My former IT director taught me not to fear new challenges and be open to others’ ideas. He is a strong individual who isn’t intimidated by the agendas others might try to impose. He taught me about believing in the simplicity and practicality of the business process.

What have you noticed about CC?

Coming from a government background, it’s quite a different environment. In terms of infrastructure, I see that it’s important to share ideas with other schools and other students. It’s a much more inviting atmosphere.

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a great town with a lot of similarities to Colorado Springs. I spent four years living in Denver before returning to New Mexico in 2001. I have a wonderful wife who will be teaching at CC in the Southwest Studies Program. We have a 2-year-old daughter who lights up our life.

What do you like to do when not working?

Mountain biking and playing music (drums and guitar).

Have questions about information security? Or just want to say hello? Contact Jeff: