The COVID-19 pandemic may have knocked the plans of CSU’s Class of 2020 out of the saddle, but Chevi Ames, for one, is ready to get back on the horse.
In fact, growing up on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Ames was on horseback before she could walk. But she didn’t major in equine science. She’s been president of the Pre-Law Club, but her degree isn’t in political science, either.
Ames earned her bachelor’s of science in natural resources management from the Warner College of Natural Resources, with minors in conservation biology and legal studies, with the goal of helping protect the environment through policy making.
“I dabbled in different majors to find the path to go,” she said. “I took a class in water law that caught my interest, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
She had planned to attend law school next year, but with LSAT dates in flux, she’s taking a gap year to reset and be mentally prepared for the experience.
That’s not her only pandemic hurdle. Until the state’s stay-at-home order, Ames was earning money for school with her house-cleaning business.
“We were cleaning houses five days a week, and then the clients were all gone,” she said. Her younger sister, a hairstylist, lives with Ames north of Fort Collins and has only recently been able to return to work.
Ames has some experience picking herself up after a fall. She’s a member of a professional jousting troupe that travels the Renaissance Fair circuit performing mounted combat, more for accuracy than mayhem. That’s also on hold this summer, but she is sure they will remount in the future.
Ames graduated from La Veta High School, after her father became the caretaker of an 800-acre property in southern Colorado when she was 12.
“Colorado was so different from Hawai’i – I’d never really experienced winter – but I fell in love with the woods in my backyard, and I knew I wanted to do something with the natural world for my career,” she said.
Megan Mardesen, Ames’ adviser in the Warner College, met her in 2016, the same year she herself started at CSU.
“Chevi was so mature and independent, I had to step up my game to support her,” Mardesen said. “She wants to do all these things, but she has the awareness to make her decisions based on what will be the best in the long run.
“If I had to use one word to describe Chevi, it would be ‘delight,’” she added. “She delights in everyone and in everything that she is working on – that comes from within.”
That’s evident in her concern that her parents will miss the commencement ceremony for the first in their family to earn a college degree. She’s also delighted that her success has inspired her mother to go to nursing school.