Our Staff



Marilyn Thayer, Director

Marilyn has been a long-time supporter and friend to TRiO, and was both honored and thrilled to become an “official member” of the TRiO family when she assumed the position as the director of the TRiO Student Support Services / Academic Advancement Center in August 2013.  She divides her loyalties between being a Rainbow Warrior (received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Hawai’i) and a CSU Ram (earned her Master’s Degree in Education and Human Resources from Colorado State University).  After working in Hawai’i as a special education teacher and Montessori preschool teacher, she decided that it was time for a change of scenery and weather and moved to Fort Collins, which has been her “home” for more than thirty years.  She shares that she enjoys the different seasons and the diverse opportunities about living on the mainland, but she still considers Hawai’i, the place where she was born and raised, to be where her heart is. 
Prior to her current position that focuses on serving students at Colorado State University from first generation, low-income backgrounds and students with disabilities, she administered the Community Organizing to Reach Empowerment (CORE) Center which provided educational programs and support services to Hispanic/Latino, high need youth and families from neighborhoods in north Fort Collins.  As an advocate for children, youth, and families, she served on the Larimer County Integrated Family Enhancement (LIFE) Advisory Board, was chair of the Hispanic/Latino Community Inclusion Team, and was one of the founders of Imaginantes (a program that uses visual arts and creative expression activities to engage youth in learning about and celebrating their cultural heritage), and Rincon de Cuentos (a program that supports children and youth embrace bilingual story telling).  In addition, she supports diversity issues by serving as a trainer and consultant to provide professional development and technical assistance to school districts, community organizations, and government agencies.
Marilyn, her partner, Paul, and their children, Daniel and Maile, enjoy spending time together traveling, skiing, hiking, and wilderness canoe camping.

 Lucy Paltoo-Brady, Assistant Director 

Lucy joined the AAC team in the summer of 2011 as a Retention Specialist and Coordinator of our Peer Mentoring Program.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Work at the University of North Florida and her Master’s degree in Student Personnel in Higher Education at the University of Florida.  In 2009, she moved to Fort Collins and began working as an Advisor for the TRIO/SSS program at the University of Northern Colorado.  She returned back to Fort Collins in the summer of 2011, after spending a year backpacking throughout Western Europe and Southeast Asia.
She is excited to be working with the Academic Advancement Center, TRiO/SSS program here at CSU.  As a former first-generation college student, she has a genuine passion for identifying and supporting the distinct needs of under-represented students, particularly those students who are the first in their family to pursue a higher education.  In her time away from her students, she enjoys spending time with her partner Shawn, traveling, exploring Colorado, and cooking/baking.

Scarlett McFarland, Retention Specialist & Assistant to the Director

Scarlett joined the AAC staff in Fall 2014 as the Retention Specialist/Assistant to the Director. Scarlett is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she earned her BA in Broadcasting and Electronic Communications with a minor in English, from Marquette University. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Education program at Concordia University - Portland. Scarlett was a First Generation college student and a participant in the Educational Opportunity Program, TRiO SSS program at Marquette University.  During her undergraduate career she worked for a pre-college program where she worked with first-generation and low-income students, after graduating from college Scarlett did a year of service with AmeriCorps. Her passion includes helping students discover the tools to make them successful and able to go out and live their dreams. Scarlett is excited to be working with the Academic Advancement Center, and the opportunity to work for a TRiO SSS program.
In her free time she enjoys watching TV shows and sports, spending time with family and friends, and reading celebrity gossip blogs. 

Galeth Bolanos, Retention Specialist

Hello everyone my name is Galeth Bolanos and I am a new Retention Specialist at the AAC. I am a first generation Latino and it has always been my greatest passion to work in the field of higher education, particularly with underserved/diverse minority groups. I recently lived in Lawrence, KS for a few years where I obtained a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration at KU. I come from this great state of Colorado and do not have plans to leave anytime soon. In my spare time I enjoy learning about new cultures, being around family and friends, exercising, and eating delicious food. 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!

John Henneberg, Retention Specialist & Coordinator for Academic Programs

John returned to the Academic Advancement Center in the fall of 2015.  He worked at the AAC as the Assistant Director for Academics from 2003 – 2008.  He is now the Coordinator of Academic Programs which entails academic enrichment programming and supervising the tutoring component.  In 2008, John moved toFlagstaff Arizona and initiated and implemented a TRIO Student Support Services program at Coconino Community College.  He was the director of that program for 5 years.  John has dedicated most of his professional career to TRIO programs as he has worked in TRIO for 20 years. Before joining TRIO, John taught physical education courses at North Arkansas Community College.  John has presented tocongressional leaders in Washington D.C. and state legislators in 3 states on behalf of TRIO programs.  More importantly than all of those presentations, John takes the most pride in the fact that he has helped hundreds and hundreds of students accomplish and reach their personal and profession goals.  I feel to assist and guide a person on their life’s journey is the greatest contribution someone can make to humanity.  John received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO and a Master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Arkansas.  John describes himself as an avid outdoorsman who totally respects nature and all of her creatures in both the plant and animal kingdoms.  He spends much of his free time with his equine companions.  John speaks the language of the horse, performs basic equine veterinary care, does his own training and horseshoeing and keeps his companions for life.  He was a national champion in motorcycle moto-x racing and enjoys mountain biking, camping, water skiing, softball, volleyball, racquetball and is an accomplished hip hop dancer.


117 Gibbons Building - East Side of the Oval
Colorado State University
8100 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Co 80523-8100
(970) 491-6129    Fax: (970) 491-3476
E-mail: aac_receptionist@mail.colostate.edu