Spur spotlight: Ashley Stiles

Ashley Stiles headshotName: Ashley Stiles

Role: Founder and CEO, Tribe Development. [On Spur, I’m working as a] development consultant, overseeing the placemaking and public engagement components of the project.

How you are connected to CSU Spur?

As a CSU alumna, I bleed Green and Gold. So, when the Spur team asked me to be part of this project, I couldn’t say no. I have extensive experience in helping businesses and organizations thoughtfully engage their communities with new developments, so it was a natural fit for me. This campus symbolizes the next frontier in higher education, and I’m extremely proud to be part of it.

When did you get involved with Spur and why is it important to you?

I first started working with Spur in 2019, and what a journey it’s already been. The question we posed at the onset of the project was, “How do we engage people in a higher education campus that doesn’t grant degrees?” As a first-generation college student, I understand the barriers people face when it comes to higher education. It feels out of touch and inaccessible to many in our communities. We’re figuring out ways to remedy that by building a campus that provides educational opportunities for all. Spur is designed to attract and interact with students early to introduce new ways of thinking. The exhibits are designed to show them a clear career path forward. I wish I had those kind of opportunities when I was a kid.

What outcomes have you seen or do you expect from work at Spur?

Spur is deploying a truly pioneering model to engage the surrounding communities in this project. We are essentially creating a blueprint for other university systems to follow. We want this campus to serve as a hub for the community, so the voice of the community has been an integral part of informing it – listening to what services they need and how they want to be a part of it. This ongoing community outreach has already helped shape many of the programs that will be available as well as exhibit content. We look forward to continually assessing and evaluating as needed once it opens.

What would you like others to know about Spur?

This is a place for everyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or background. It’s a unique way to interact with broad topics and walk away with thought-provoking lessons around food, water and health. This will be an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the surrounding communities and highlight the expertise that already exists here. I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.

BIDTAH BECKER

Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Ms. Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.  She is currently serving as an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  Prior to this position, she had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after serving eleven (11) years as an attorney for the Navajo Nation focusing on water rights and natural resources issues.  Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin, as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon.  Ms. Becker is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

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