Alumni & Friends
Alumni Association Board of Directors
Joe Rice (’89)
Director of Government Relations, Lockheed Martin
In addition to holding the position as Director of Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Joe also is a Colonel in the Army Reserve with five combat tours of duty in Iraq and one peacekeeping tour in Bosnia. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of history, government, and public administration at the Colorado Campus of the University of Phoenix. He is a former member of the Colorado State of Representatives, and a former mayor of the City of Glendale. His wife of 21 years, Kendall, is also a MSU Denver graduate. Joe is a past recipient of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Community Service Award.
Julie Winslow (’02)
Vice President and Alumni Association Representative to the Foundation Board
Vice President Branch Manager, Schwab
Julie Winslow is a 2002 graduate of MSU Denver with a degree in Computer Information Systems and is the current Vice President of the MSU Denver Alumni Association and serves as the Alumni Representative to the MSU Denver Foundation Board. Presently, she is employed as the Vice President – Branch Manager at Charles Schwab where she leads a team of financial consultants providing expertise on wealth management, investing and portfolio analysis.
After leaving MSU Denver in 2002, Julie went on to earn her MBA in Finance from the University of Colorado, Denver (’10) and has worked as a financial advisor (for GCG Financial and Key Bank) and Assistant Vice President at Transamerica Capital before starting at Charles Schwab in 2015. Julie possesses Series 7, 9, 10, 26, 66 Securities Licenses and Life & Variable Annuity Insurance License.
In addition to her career in finance, Julie has also taught as an affiliate faculty member at MSU Denver in the College of Business. For eight years (from 2010-2018) Julie designed and taught a course titled “Money Issues for Women” to educate and empower students to set up a secure financial future, avoid common pitfalls, and make more informed financial decisions.
Magens Orman ('15)
Engineering Technician, Sierra Nevada Corporation
Magens Orman works in Colorado’s booming aerospace industry where she has been fortunate enough to work on everything from components to large-scale spacecraft during her time as a Mechanical and Systems Engineer with Sierra Nevada Corporation. She did not always have a passion for building things that brave the final frontier though. When she began her education at MSU Denver in 2008, she was a Fine Arts major. Orman found her path to space through an elective science class that changed her life. After finding her passion for space, she went on to be involved with multiple student organizations including the Orbital Mechanics Club, Student Commercial Spaceflight Federation and SEDS which helped to nurture her love of aerospace.
Since graduating in 2014, Orman has helped build several satellites, rovers and deep space probes. In her free time, she pursues her other passion, STEM education. Orman leads a variety of STEM outreach efforts at middle and high schools statewide. She also works with several university boards in the Metro Denver area including MSU Denver. Orman is currently acting Secretary of the Colorado Space Grant Advisory board to the University of Colorado Boulder and Treasurer of the MSU Denver Alumni Board.
Sarena Espinoza ('18)
50/50 Raffle Coordinator, Colorado Rockies
Sarena is originally from Southern California (Corona), and made her way to Denver on a softball scholarship. She was the first person in her family to get a degree. In four years at MSU Denver, she was a starter, scholar-athlete, and earned her BA in Sport Management and minored in Sports Media. Working in sports has always been a dream of hers so she started working in the Athletics Department in her off-season as an intern. The opportunity to work in baseball originated when the Colorado Rockies and MSU Denver decided to partner on a 50/50 raffle at Coors Field. She joined the Rockies as a part-time staff member in April of 2018, during the establishment of the program. In January of 2019, she became a full-time staff member as the 50/50 Raffle Coordinator in the Community Affairs Department. She is part of a program that has raised over $1.5 million in just two seasons. A BIG part of her program are the volunteers from MSU Denver, and Sarena has managed over 2,000 volunteers and believes they are the reason why the raffle is so successful. Other areas she contributes to in the Rockies’ Community Affairs Department are the youth initiative programs such as camps, clinics, school programs, and volunteerism around Denver.
Justin Darnall (’19)
Spacecraft/Satellite Engineer, Lockheed Martin
Justin started out his career by joining the Marine Corps out of high school in 2006. He served for 8 years as a KC-130J/Harvest Hawk mechanic and achieved the rank of Sergeant. During his service, he completed three tours of duty to Kandahar Afghanistan, Al Asad Iraq, and Djibouti Africa. After returning home in Colorado, he attempted college a few times but found other schools to be unfriendly to veterans and began a job in Texas working on FedEx and Hawaiian Airlines airplanes. In 2016, he decided to return to Colorado and finish his degree. Attending MSU Denver was the best decision he ever made. While attending MSU Denver he was named the 2017 A.C.E. Student of the Year. Justin graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology in August 2019 and employed by Lockheed Martin as a Spacecraft/Satellite Engineer. As part of the Alumni Board at MSU Denver, he hopes to help students achieve their education and career goals by helping with academic decisions as well as a trajectory toward career goals. On top of being a part of the Alumni Board, he volunteers as a Peer Mentor for the 2nd Judicial Veterans Treatment Court and serves as the Vice President for the Rocky Mountain Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) robotics competition.
Leon Duran ('15)
President, Honeycutz; U.S. Veterans Window Cleaning and Landscaping; U.S. Navy
After transitioning from active duty U.S. Navy to Reserve Duty in 2011, Leon Attended MSU Denver where he graduated in 2015 with a bachelor's in criminology and a minor in entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduation, Leon founded his first company. U.S. Veterans Landscape Design. Followed by HoneyCutz which is a post-workout recovery supplant which using local sources honey and plant-based amino acid and manufactured here in Denver. He is currently working on his third company InspiredbyLeon where he engages and mentors individuals to live a more fulfilling life style. Outside of his companies he is a mentor for the Denver Scholarship Foundation and is going on his 13th year in the United States Navy (active/reserve).
Judy George ('01)
Alumni Engagement; Scholarship & Awards
Vice President, Kirby Company of Denver
Judy is a Denver native and Vice President of Kirby Company of Denver, a family-owned-and-operated company formed in 1950, and is co-owner of Appraisals “By George” automotive appraisals. She received the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award for “Making a Difference” in recognition of her work with the Foothills Animal Shelter Foundation, where she served on the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2013, including three terms as President. As a student, Judy was a three-term Co-President of Golden Key International Honor Society and initiated the Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Research Awards for affiliate faculty members. Judy is a proud parent of two sons who are both MSU Denver graduates and credits them with her decision to go back to school and finish her degree. Most recently, Judy has joined the LearnOn steering committee and is excited to continue to be involved on campus and work to make MSU Denver great.
Amy Greinke ('15)
Insurance Advisor, Cherry Creek Insurance Group
Amy has been a professional in the areas of insurance and financial services for nearly 20 years. She is passionate about education and has earned Bachelor’s Degrees in both Finance & Marketing. Amy holds licenses in Health & Life as well as Property & Casualty insurance in addition to the Certified Insurance Counselor Designation, CIC. Amy prides herself on taking the time to get to know her customers and finding solutions to meet their unique needs. She is passionate about insurance and specializes in helping businesses navigate their way through benefit packages, compliance, The Affordable Care Act, and employee communication.
Vanesa López ('06)
Spanish and ELA-S teacher, Denver Public Schools
Travis Luther ('08)
Alumni Engagement; Student Engagement
President, Queen Anne Pillow Company, ValetAds and Law Father
Travis Luther is the Founder of Luther Media, LLC whose companies include Law Father, ValetAds, Queen Anne Pillow Company, and TrialLine.
Luther is the current Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Colorado Denver and a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Metropolitan State University’s College of Business. He is also a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and the Director for EO Colorado’s Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards (GSEA) Program.
He sits on the Executive Board of Scholars Unlimited, a Denver non-profit focused on improving child literacy among low-income and at-risk grade school children and founded their kid’s computer coding program, CodeSpire.
He is a frequent lecturer and author. In his free time, he plays guitar and enjoys international travel.
Judge Chris Melonakis ('74)
Scholarships & Awards; High School Recruitment
Retired District Court Judge
Judge Melonakis graduated Summa Cum Laude from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado in 1974 with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Political Science. He graduated With Distinction from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California in 1977. He was admitted to the practice of law in October, 1977. Before becoming a judge, he was in the private practice of law with a litigation practice in the areas of civil, criminal, probate and domestic relations law. He was appointed as a District Court Judge by Governor Roy Romer in 1998 and served on the Seventeenth Judicial District Court until his retirement in 2015.
He was named the 2007 National Judge of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, the 2005 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Colorado Judicial Branch, the 2003 Judge of the Year by the Colorado Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, was named Adams/Broomfield Court Appointed Special Advocates Judge of the year four times, received a 2006 Child Advocacy Award Recognition from the American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, was named the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association 2007 Volunteer Lawyer of the Year, awarded the Metropolitan State University Alumni Association Award for Core Value of Making a Difference in 2011, 2015 Adams/Broomfield Bar Association Excellence in Practice Award and has received numerous other professional and community awards.
Josh Noel ('14)
Program Coordinator, MSU Denver - Aviation and Aerospace Science Department
MSU Denver Graduate of 2014.
Stephanie Rayman ('09)
Scholarships & Awards; High School Recruitment; Student Engagement
Director of Strategy and Marketing/General Manager of Tivoli Taphouse, Tivoli Brewing Co.
MSU Denver Graduate of 2009.
Elisa Varela ('10)
Scholarships & Awards; High School Recruitment
PhD Student, University of Colorado
Elisa is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a 2010 alumna of MSU Denver’s Department of Communication Studies. Currently, her research focuses on democratic engagement across differences. Broadly, she draws on social interaction and feminist perspectives to dig into questions of discourse, difference, and democracy. In particular, she is interested in how persons in dialogue and deliberation engage in discursive practices that support and limit quality communication across differences and ultimately democratic action. Often times, well-meaning people perpetuate prejudice and polarization and the practical aim of Elisa's research is to support responsible, accountable, and critically reflexive communication practice that contributes to social change. As a member of the Alumni Board at MSU Denver, Elisa is committed to putting into practice the democratic values that ground her research through various MSU Denver community-focused projects.