Newsletter 12


Hello Durango Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. Town felt busy, which is always a good sign. Restaurants were full, the slopes were packed and shoppers were out in force. The holidays are ultimately about family and friends, but a strong sales season for local businesses is always a nice bonus!

Over the objections of my kids, who are still reveling in vacation, my focus this week has already turned back to school. Specifically, I’m excited to share more news about the Geosciences, Physics and Engineering building that will officially welcome students as Fort Lewis College (FLC) classes resume this month.

Here’s the link to my latest ‘Your Front Row Seat’ blog post: “An Invigorated Fort Lewis College Commits to STEM-Focused Education.”

I had the pleasure to tour the new Geosciences, Physics and Engineering (GPE) building back in November. I was struck not only by the impressiveness of the facility, but also by what it means for the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in Durango and the community at large. The GPE building is just one element of a substantive commitment by FLC to bolster STEM-based programs. In fall 2017, the college will also offer a new major, a B.S. in Computer Engineering, along with an influx of new course offerings.

With discussion around FLC so often focusing on the school’s liberal arts approach, it was enlightening to learn of the strength of its existing STEM-focused offerings. As you’ll read in the post, FLC engineering students are passing the nationally-mandated Fundamentals of Engineering exam with sky-high numbers. The FLC pass rate is 90 percent, which beats the national average by 11 to 20 percentage points (depending on the engineering discipline). This is a clear indicator of the quality of education provided by FLC.

In the big picture, FLC is steadfast in its commitment to not just educate students, but to also help them develop into well-rounded people with marketable skills for securing good jobs. To that end, the college has actively sought input from science- and technology-focused business leaders in the community. It’s both a synergistic and symbiotic approach to strengthening the platforms of education, business and community.
You may also be interested in a recent article by the Durango Herald, “New FLC Science and Engineering Building will Rocket Us Forward.” (December 23, 2016).

Thank you for reading. Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous new year for all!

Melissa Youssef
Blogger, ‘Your Front Row Seat’

Focusing on Issues and Initiatives Significant to All who Call Durango Home

P.S. – Please DO remember that you’re invited to add your comments beneath any of my blog posts. You can also hit reply to this e-mail or contact me directly at Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you’d like to see more of and thank you so much for being an important part of my community here on “Your Front Row Seat.”

Published: January 3, 2017