Mission made possible

April 9, 2015

Edgar Maldonado helped create a concurrent-enrollment curriculum that enables students at Arrupe Jesuit High School to earn one credit hour at MSU Denver. PHOTO: Trevor Davis
Edgar Maldonado helped create a concurrent-enrollment curriculum that enables students at Arrupe Jesuit High School to earn one credit hour at MSU Denver. PHOTO: Trevor Davis

Edgar Maldonado, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems, is on a mission. He strives to improve public communication technology while also empowering minority youth, and he feels completely at home at MSU Denver doing both.

“I’ve been in several universities as a student and a teacher, but I really like the environment here,” said Maldonado. “The students and campus are so diverse, and we have the whole team of professionals.”

Maldonado first joined MSU Denver as a visiting lecturer while working as an affiliate faculty member at Regis University. He quickly found himself smitten with the culture at MSU Denver, something that his students today appreciate: Maldonado consistently ranks high on student surveys and is renowned for his patience and relevant teaching methods.

“I try to bring real experiences that my students can identify with and I think that helps them foster good communication outside of the classroom,” said Maldonado. “Like many of them, I’ve worked in restaurants through college and that serves as a great example to discuss what’s good team work and good management.”

A native Venezuelan, Maldonado has an extensive professional and academic background in engineering. He spent several years designing and implementing network solutions and systems internationally and is frequently consulted by the media on technology issues. Maldonado’s scholarly work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and he was a leader for a national case study titled “Research of Emergency Capacity Building,” which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Last spring, Maldonado was invited alongside Professor Vicky Seehusen to create a pilot concurrent-enrollment curriculum for Denver’s Arrupe Jesuit High School that would enable students to earn one credit hour at MSU Denver. He takes pride in teaching the high schoolers basic computer skills such as Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as professional communication skills like email etiquette that will help them thrive in their first jobs.

“I think it also helps attract students who want to come to college when they see someone like them,” said Maldonado of Arrupe Jesuit High School students who are predominantly Latino.

Because students are required to work once a week in a professional setting using the skills they learned in class, the Arrupe Jesuit High School program has assisted many students with job placement. Additionally, approximately one-third of the students have expressed a desire to go on to higher education in medical or engineering programs.

Maldonado recently submitted research on social media use by emergency communicators to the European Information Systems Conference that will be held in Münster, Germany, this May. Maldonado and his co-researchers interviewed several people who work within emergency management, including local law enforcement, to learn how social media is used to effectively manage and transmit emergency communications.

“Right now, agencies have only best practices or similar manuals to help guide them,” he said. “Our hope is to help push forward the proper use of social media in emergency communications.”

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