From the Beach to the Mountains… and the Women who Helped Make it Happen.
by Leah Elkins, Outdoor Student & RA
I just moved here from the south. The warm, highly oxygenated air of my hometown has become but a valued memory as Leadville’s winter approaches. Charleston, SC, with its infinite sunshine and beaches, didn’t prepare me for mountain living. Why did I move to Leadville? My family and friends back home couldn’t completely understand my reasons. I never fully understood, either. From the beginning, I just had an indescribable, radiant feeling that Colorado Mountain College in Leadville was a place to thrive.
I transferred from the College of Charleston to CMC to challenge myself and follow my inspirations. I spent a year of my life coordinating with CMC Leadville’s faculty and staff to find the major that was right for me and pursued it with all my energy. My friends and family back home, with the comfort of their year-round tank tops and flip-flops, laughed and questioned my seemingly bizarre choice. You want to move from the beach, an international paradise at zero feet in elevation, to the highest elevated city in the country? Move to a place where it sometimes snows even in the summer? Move alone? Move without the promise of a career? Leave your life behind, leave your only support system, because you think this opportunity is somehow “magical”?
The best decision I’ve made up to this point was this: throwing myself out of my comfort zone with passion, simply trusting my own drive and curiosity, and finding myself in this unique, genuine, inspiring community at 10,152’ in elevation. A community that, barely over a year ago, I didn’t even know existed. And even when I tried to learn about it from 2,000 miles away, trying to prepare myself to attend these new classes and live in this new community, I had no idea the magic I was getting myself into. All the research, attention to detail, planning, back and forth emails, phone calls, deliberation, and paperwork on top of paperwork that I finagled from across the country couldn’t possibly show me the real heart of CMC, the part I wouldn’t learn until I arrived: the community of CMC is what makes this experience magical.
The faculty and staff who work at Colorado Mountain College, not just the Leadville campus but the entirety of CMC, stand out from any college professionals and leaders I’ve had the opportunity to work with before. And don’t even get me started on how passionate and dedicated the student body is.
To show you some star players who work at CMC, here are 11 women you’ll be lucky enough to have by your side when you start the process of joining the CMC Leadville community.
12 Helpful CMC Leadville Women you should get to know
1. RACHEL POKRANDT, Vice President & Campus Dean
You’ll know right away when you’ve met Rachel – she radiates boundless energy and passion: she lives for the students! She’ll do anything to ensure we’re all learning and laughing in a safe environment conducive to growing. She’s also been known to join the Residence Hall Karaoke Nights and jam out with the students.
2. & 3. ANNETTE JOHNSON, Enrollment Services Assistant | LAURIE EANES, Senior Coordinator of Enrollment Services
These leading ladies consistently go above and beyond their job titles to make themselves known as fabulous resources in both academics and campus activities. Need to register for a class? Need help finding certain CMC resources? They’ll give you the answers you need.
4. KELLEE RICKENBACH, Financial Aid Specialist
Kellee definitely doesn’t suffer from the confusion that plagues us all when it comes to financial aid. She’ll take your uncertainties away and deliver you to the promised land of stress-free understanding. Kellee will help you understand how to manage your financial resources on your own so you can focus on your education. She, as everyone on this list, is as important as they come.
5. ACACIA FIKE-NELSON, Academic Advisor
How many credits do you need to graduate? How many of your transfer credits count towards your degree? What will it take to pursue a double major? While CMC’s database for academic planning, Basecamp, can help you answer these questions, Acacia is your first resource to figure out what classes you should be taking for your degree or how to utilize Basecamp as efficiently as possible. You’ll never catch her without a smile.
6. KELLI MCCALL, Discipline Coordinator
Kelli teaches developmental education courses, such as College Composition and Reading and Developmental Math, to boost student success in higher education. If your math skills are rusty, she’ll help you get to where you need to be!
7. BROOKE LARSON, Assistant Coordinator of Student Life
The Resident Assistants work with and under Brooke to create a dynamic, fun, and memorable community experience living in the Mountain View Residence Hall. Brooke is the anchor who holds the Residence Assistant team together to ensure every campus program, event, and game takes off and gets students involved together! While you may spend more face time with the Resident Assistants, Brooke is the mastermind behind the scenes ensuring the play goes on.
8. KATIE BOSIO, Director of Student Life
Katie oversees the Residence Life field from the top. She carries herself with the optimism of a people person and connects with others naturally, radiating the persona of a leader of a college community. She manages campus community involvement and resources for life in the Mountain View Residence Hall. The value she places on developing student life reflects her willingness to accept suggestions from students.
9. BRIT RASMUSSEN, Admissions and Enrollment Representative
Brit is the first point of contact for prospective students. If you’re considering CMC, she’ll help you sort out what you need to know about your options for success. She’s an active recruit with a passion for conversing with new students about their futures. Her open door policy encourages students to contact her for guidance and setting ducks in a row for smooth transitioning to the grand, adventurous CMC.
10. MOLLIE SORENSON, Executive Administrative Assistant
Mollie is the liaison for communication for both students and faculty. She’s a resource for students with issues or needs to help direct them in the proper direction. She’s always available to help students address their needs and figure out their next steps.
11. JENNIFER SPEIGHT, TRIO Student Support Services Coordinator
Jennifer is the campus go-to for one-on-one mentoring and life coaching to students who stand to benefit from her support. First Generation students, income eligible, or disabled students look to Jennifer as they navigate through college life and grow as successful adults.
12. SUSAN ESTES, Accounts Manager
Susan is here to handle all your numbers for college billing. She does the math for your financial accounting so you can focus on your education. Have any billing questions? Need to pay tuition or housing expenses? Want to know who’s managing your financial account with the college? Susan has your back! It’s always good to have a numbers person in your corner.