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Front of campus by the flagpole

CWC announces two retirees this summer, Jewel Dirks, professor of psychology and Deb Starks, counselor and disabilities coordinator.

After serving the college for more than 27 years, Dirks retired in May.

Dirks began her career as a vocational counselor for single parent/displaced homemaker in 1990 which was a grant funded position. Dirks has a Bachelor of Music in piano from Colorado State University, a Master of Music in composition from the University of Rochester, a Master of Arts in agency counseling: marriage and family therapy from the University of Northern Colorado and a Doctor of Music Arts in composition from the University of Rochester.

In September 1991 she became the Director of Student Support Services, a position she had for 10 years. She served as the director of the honors program in 1994. In August 2001 she became an instructor of psychology.

Dirks served on the Cultural Think Tank committee from 2007 to 2008 and the Retention committee from 2009 to 2014.

“I have had such an incredibly rich and fortunate life because of all of you,” Dirks said to CWC employees.

Dirks said she will enjoy music and tying flies in her retirement.

“Always the graduation ceremony is the best memory,” Dirks said, as both with pride and a relief.

Starks will retire at the end of August after serving CWC for 6 years.

Beginning her career in Casper, Starks worked at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. She then worked for the college preparatory program, TRIO, at the University of Wyoming through Casper College. Moving closer to family in Riverton, she began her work with CWC as a case manager for the Second Wind grant program and accepted her position as CWC’s counselor and disabilities coordinator a year and a half later.

Throughout her work at CWC, Starks paramountly enjoyed her work with students. Prior to her current position, she had not practiced disability services and has thoroughly enjoyed meeting and learning about students with disabilities.

Helping [students] have a plan to be successful and seeing their successes is very cool. I love my work with the students directly; it is such a cool job to work directly with students with counseling and disability services. ”

She said she will greatly miss her one-on-one time with students.

Starks looks forward to creating her own schedule post-retirement. However, she does not plan to slow down. Starks said she hopes to dedicate herself to helping her parents and pursuing career interests including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.

“It’s a cool therapeutic technique to help people through trauma,” Starks said about EMDR. “I’ve seen it work and have referred students to it. I’ve been amazed at the work people experience with EMDR and how it helps with painful memories. It frees people to be able to continue their lives.”

Aside from her goals of continuing her practice and and expanding her craft, Starks also plans to relax, garden and cook.