Halfway home: CSU’s All64 Project profiles show impressive variety of skills, experiences of Colorado students

NOTE: The pins in color (above) are the counties that are completed. The gray ones are not yet published. Return to this SOURCE page as the map fills up with Q&As from students from every corner of the state. You can zoom in and out on the map with your mouse or fingers (on mobile). Once you click on a pin via cell phone, the name and county will appear if you click on it (and perhaps scroll), it will pop up to reveal the photo and link. For an alternative accessibility list, scroll to the bottom of this page for an alphabetical listing of the counties published or click the “All64” tag at the bottom of the page.

One of the first 32 of Colorado State University’s All64 Project participants speaks three languages. Another studied in Thailand for a year. A third plans to be a physician-scientist.

Becoming  an ambassador to Mexico is the dream for another student. One has been their college’s outstanding graduate; another plans to become a criminal defense attorney; one graduate earned a 3.6 GPA while working 30-35 hours per week.

Those details are just a taste of what can be found in the first 32 of the Q&As of CSU students or alumni connected to each of Colorado’s 64 counties. To see what skills and experiences match up with what representative, click on the colored pins on the map and the links.

‘Rams take care of Rams’

A common thread is students feeling part of a friendly community. Kailani Moore, the Arapahoe County representative and a Fall 2022 graduate in business administration, said her favorite thing about CSU is that Rams truly take care of Rams.

“Whether it is through athletics, academics, clubs, Greek life or more, it is so easy to find your calling and community at CSU through the many opportunities offered on and off campus,” Moore said.

The first 32 include first-generation students, transfers, alumni, a current CSU employee, those getting master’s and Ph.D. degrees, plus people from varying backgrounds.

“When you have three young kids, a full-time job, you’re living in the mountains where you’re hours and hours away from people, it was a feat, really, to finish,” said Amy Swonger, a former San Juan County resident who got her online Master of Music Education degree in 2009.

Favorite traditions, instructors

Some participants’ favorite traditions included painting the “A,” Ag Day, the Homecoming bonfire, C.A.N.S. Around the Oval and the Flower Trial Garden. One studied in Poland. Another is in the CSU marching band. One has a pet tarantula and one has a black belt in karate.

“The community is what makes CSU so special to me,” said Cathy Thévenau, a Larimer County resident and an international student who graduated last December with a degree in interior architecture and design. “Everyone is so welcoming and friendly.”

Most participants named one or more favorite instructors, who tested students in the classroom but also showed support. So did fellow students, staff, faculty, advisors and others.

“You can not go wrong with CSU,” said Peter Sperl, a Hinsdale County native who recently graduated with an engineering degree. “You can learn almost anything there. Also, do not be afraid of the challenges of college. I met so many people who did everything they could to help me succeed.”

Check back on this page for the second-half participants in the All64 Project.

Feb. 16, 2023 update: 11 more counties added

Dec. 20, 2022 update: Nine more counties added

Nov. 16, 2022 update: Six more counties added

(Original story below)

Colorado State University serves all 64 of Colorado’s counties by providing research-backed solutions to local challenges, and access to higher education that builds careers and empowers communities.

From farms and ranches to cities and towns, from mountains to prairie, CSU embraces its mission to be a shining example of a “public research university that leads in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world.”

The Fall 2022 State Pride football game against Hawaii featured uniforms inspired by Colorado’s state flag. CSU’s All64 Project is a school-year long effort to illustrate how students describe their CSU experience.

During the 2022-23 academic year, we are highlighting one CSU student or alum connected to each county — from Moffat to Baca, Montezuma to Sedgwick and everywhere in between. The enclosed map with pinned county locations will show which profiles are done.

The clickable pinned locations will include links to the Q&As, which tell the tale of why people attended CSU, their favorite faculty member, Fort Collins hangouts and their career goals. The list will grow until all counties are represented.

Chelsea Alton (left) and Abi Tekeste.
Chelsea Alton (left) and Abi Tekeste.

Rural and urban

In Baca County (population 3,570), Chelsea Alton is the third sibling in her family to attend CSU. She said she often talks up her university to people in her county in the far southeastern corner of the state. Alton studies biomedical sciences.

“I do try to sell ‘em or at least try to get them to come up and see Fort Collins,” Alton said. “Like if you see Fort Collins, you’ll fall in love with it and you’ll want to go to CSU. I try to convince everyone, (saying) you have no idea just how great it can be.”

Abi Tekeste, the representative from Denver County (population 715,000), does the same.

“It’s a home away from home because you’re still here (in Colorado), you’re still in very close proximity (to Denver), so there’s that support from a distance,” said Tekeste, who is studying political science and international studies. “But there’s also a great support system here on campus. Whether it’s academic-wise, in terms of tutoring, to emotional support, CSU does a really, really great job of making sure their students are OK.”

Thomas Pannunzio (left) and Ila Jolly.
Thomas Pannunzio (left) and Ila Jolly.

Construction to Horticulture

Thomas Pannunzio, from Pueblo County (population 167,412) is studying construction management and was on the football team for parts of five seasons. He has chatted with students at his old high school about CSU: “Whenever I go down there to work out and I see the principal, he’s like, ‘Hey, can you come talk to a couple kids that are thinking about coming up there?’”

Ila Jolly, from Rio Grande County (population 11,300) in southern Colorado, transferred from another university to CSU to study horticulture. “Someday I would like to own a business that sells hydroponically grown produce and/or annuals and perennials,” she said.

Chris Moss (left) and Levi Kipp.
Chris Moss (left) and Levi Kipp.

‘Let’s pull through this together’

Chris Moss, a forest and rangeland stewardship major, is from Broomfield County (population 69,444) between Denver and Boulder: “With the knowledge gained through the courses I’ve taken here at CSU, I hope to develop and implement new wildland firefighting tactics to help diminish the number of structures lost with the WUI (wild-land urban interface).”

Coming from Washington County (population 4,869 in northeast Colorado), Levi Kipp said COVID-19 was a challenge for everyone, but was made easier by campus spirit.

“There were many challenges associated with learning during the pandemic,” said Kipp, a statistics major. “However, I’m glad many of my peers and instructors had a ‘let’s pull through this together’ mentality during the tough times.”

These first six students of the All64 Project show just part of the diversity of students, majors and personalities that make up the CSU experience. Throughout the school year, students from all eight colleges and CSU and dozens of majors will be represented.

All64 Project county-by-county Q&As completed