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Academic Advancement Center

Assisting students in persisting, succeeding, and graduating

Marilyn Thayer, Director

As a long-time supporter and friend to TRIO, I am honored to serve as the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services Academic Advancement Center at Colorado State University since 2013. As an educator at heart, I have a life-long commitment to providing increased educational opportunities for students from underrepresented and under-served backgrounds. I truly believe in the potential and promise of every student, regardless of their background and circumstances and continue to work to support the persistence, academic success, and graduation of TRIO students and TRIO eligible students.

As a first generation college student, I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from the University of Hawai'i and Master's Degree in Education and Human Resources from Colorado State University. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner, Paul, and our children, Daniel and Maile, biking, hiking, skiing, traveling, and wilderness canoe camping.

Lucy Paltoo-Brady, Assistant Director 

I have been part of the AAC team since 2011 and am entering my 5th year serving as our Assistant Director.  I am a proud First-Generation college graduate and hold a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Work from the University of North Florida and a Master’s degree in Student Personnel in Higher Education from the University of Florida.  I have been working in higher education for more than a decade.  I have a background in housing and residential education and since 2009 have been working with TRIO programs.  As a First-Generation college graduate, I have a genuine passion for supporting students who are underrepresented on our campus as well as changing the institutional structures and climate to be more supportive of underrepresented student populations.  One of my professional interests is increasing access and opportunity for underrepresented students to engage in education abroad experiences.  When I’m not on-campus, I enjoy spending time with my partner, travelling, exploring Colorado, and baking!

Galeth Bolaños, Retention Specialist - Thrive Coordinator

Hello my name Galeth Bolaños and I am so excited to be a part of the AAC team as a Retention Specialist. I am a first generation college alumni and come from a Mexican-American background. It has always been my greatest passion to work in the field of higher education, particularly with under-served and/or diverse minority populations. Though originally from Colorado, after graduation I moved to Lawrence, KS where I obtained my Master's degree in Higher Education Administration at the University of Kansas. Today I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with and thankful for the students and staff I continue to build great relationships with.

In my spare time I enjoy learning about new cultures, spending time with my partner and family, being outdoors, and trying new food. Talk to me about sports, traveling, and your interests. I look forward to not only making great connections with students, but also supporting them throughout their college career. Let's make the best of this. GO RAMS!! 

Mitch Trebesh, Retention Specialist - Arrive Coordinator

I started working with the AAC in the spring of 2017 as a Retention Specialist and Coordinator of the Arrive and Group Navigator programs. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and my Master's degree in Counseling and Career Development, both from CSU. In 2015 I worked for the CSU Access Center as a coordinator for the Bridge Program. 

I have remained connected with CSU for fourteen years, and absolutely love my time here. I am very excited to be a part of the Academic Advancement Center and the TRIO/SSS program at CSU. In my time at CSU, I have developed a strong passion for working with students from all backgrounds and experiences. I am particularly honored to be able to work with and support under-represented students.

When I am not working or having fun on campus, I like to stay active by hiking, biking, and climbing. I also love talking about TV shows, Movies, and books.

Ricky Guzman, Retention Specialist - Programs and Events

Hello! My name is Ricky Guzman and I joined the AAC Staff in Spring of 2017 as a Retention Specialist and Coordinator for Events and Programs. I received my B.A. from Fort Lewis College in Humanities with focuses on Philosophy, Anthropology, and Psychology and double Minors in Religious Studies and Music.

As a Fort Collins native, I am glad to join the Ram Family and work on the CSU campus. Before the AAC, I was at the Office of the Vice President for Diversity working on projects such as the annual Diversity Symposium and Diversity Conference. As a first-generation college graduate and social justice advocate, I am excited to be working with AAC students to reach their academic goals.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, movies, games, and lots of music and concerts.

Betty Sims, Retention Specialist - Coordinator for Academic Programs

As an alumna of Colorado State University and of the Academic Advancement Center, I’m incredibly excited to serve as a Retention Specialist and Coordinator for Academic Programs. I joined the team in February 2018, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to give back to a program that helped me succeed in college and develop a passion for equity in education. I have a bachelors from CSU in Human Development and Family Studies. I also have a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights from Arizona State University, where I was able to work with a TRIO Student Support Services Program. In my spare time I love running, being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with my family.

Tim Kefalas, Administrative Assistant

As a new staff member (as of December 2017), I am thrilled to be a part of the Academic Advancement Center and TRIO. I received my undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. I largely work behind the scenes at the AAC, doing my best to keep the office running smoothly and taking care of administrative problems as they arise. 

Prior to working at the AAC I spent the previous seven years in business management and I'm excited to apply that skillset to an office dedicated and committed to helping students from under-represented backgrounds. 

Outside of the office, I am very happy to be able to spend time with my wife and new baby daughter (born June, 2017!). I've also been the head coach of the Men's Ultimate (frisbee) team here at CSU for the past ten years and work diligently within the Ultimate community as a volunteer.