Alumni & Friends
Fall 2019 - Alumni Award Winners
10 Under 10 Award Winners
Devon Alper '11 | Aviation Technology | Captain | SkyWest Airlines
Devon Alper, originally from Boulder, CO, graduated from Metropolitan State in the fall of 2011 with a degree in Aviation Technology. While attending, Devon served as a First Officer for Great Lakes Airlines, and later as a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines. After graduation, Devon returned to Metro State to share expertise with students in the Turboprop Flight Simulation
and Professional Flight Standards courses as a guest speaker. Devon sustains involvement with the Shades of Blue organization, whose purpose is to provide young people with the educational opportunities needed to pursue careers in the aviation and aerospace industries. In 2014, Devon upgraded to Captain for SkyWest Airlines flying the Embraer 175 regional jet. This transition brought him to Chicago, where he continues to work to advance the Shades of Blue organization’s goals. Devon serves as a valuable career mentor to several Metropolitan State students who have themselves found success in the airline industry.
Dr. Kelsey Asplin '11 | Integrative Healthcare | Naturopathic Doctor | Self Owned Private Practice
Dr. Kelsey Asplin, a Colorado native and Naturopathic Doctor, manages her private practice in the Denver area. She graduated from MSU Denver with her Bachelor of Science in Integrative Therapeutic Practices (now the Integrative Healthcare program) in 2011 before going on to obtain her doctorate from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. In order to expand the toolkit with which she could help her patients, Dr. Kelsey also earned her Massage Practitioner license and became a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner while completing her graduate coursework. Upon graduating in 2015, Dr. Kelsey packed up her life in Seattle and drove back to Colorado to begin serving her local community. Five days after completing her board exams, she started teaching as an affiliate faculty member for the Integrative Healthcare (IHC) program at MSU Denver. Three months later, she opened her private practice in Highlands Ranch, among other providers at an integrative medicine clinic, and was later awarded the "Best of Best" for holistic/naturopathic medicine in Highlands Ranch.
Dr. Kelsey continues to teach classes in the IHC program, and she has since become a Core faculty member and now assists with administrative tasks for the program, as well as mentors other affiliate faculty and advises students on their degrees and future plans. She has contributed to curriculum revision for a number of courses and consistently receives positive reviews from her students, despite her courses having a reputation for demanding a high degree of work ethic. Dr. Kelsey attributes much of her own courage and success to the amazing professors she had as a student of the IHC program and plans to continue nurturing the program as a professor in the years to come.
This summer, Dr. Kelsey moved her private practice, taking over a long-standing Naturopathic Clinic in Denver. Along with her patient load, she also mentors new naturopathic graduates while helping them build their practices, and offers internship positions for the students of the IHC program. In the coming years, Dr. Kelsey hopes to expand her reach by opening multiple clinics that can offer naturopathic graduate residencies as well as undergraduate student internships. She plans to build group-centered programs to encourage stronger community support, education and camaraderie. Dr. Kelsey has written a number of articles in the peer-reviewed Natural Medicine Journal. She also serves as a board member and as Vice President for the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors, which aims to support Naturopathic Doctors in Colorado and guide their legislative efforts.
Chantal Baca '15 | Speech Communication Studies | BOLD Student Success Senior Professional | University of Colorado Boulder
Chantal Baca graduated in 2015 with her Bachelors of Arts in Speech Communication and Leadership Studies. She also holds a Masters of Education and Human Resource Studies with a specialization in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change from Colorado State University. As a first-generation Native American-Latina, she is committed to enriching the college student experience and supporting students and families in higher education. Her commitment to Inclusive Excellence (IE) is rooted in her cultural lens and lived experience. Her perspective shapes her academic rigor, professionalism, and community service by her knowledge and practice of Inclusive Excellence pedagogy, equitable decision-making, social justice programming, and organizational leadership.
During her undergraduate academic and professional career at MSU Denver, Chantal was an employee for the Student Academic Success Center, Office of Admissions, and Excel Programs. She supported students in their pre-collegiate journey through degree completion. She was also actively involved in student clubs and organizations where she dedicated her time to community service and mentorship. Due to Chantal’s leadership and advocacy at MSU Denver she was selected to be an intern for Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Office Internship Program in the Executive Chambers Office Scheduling, Reception, and Advance.
Collin Caffrey '13 | Aviation Management | Charter Sales Executive at Mayo Aviation and Founder/President at Angel Hawk Drones
Collin graduated MSU Denver in 2013 with a major in Aviation Management and a minor in Business Administration. During his time at MSU Denver, Collin was able to make key relationships in the Aviation industry that led to his employment in Private Aviation. Over the course of 7 years, Collin worked from fueling and towing aircraft, to coordinating flights in the operations department, to his current position in Private Jet Charter Sales at Centennial Airport. In 2014, Collin founded Angel Hawk, a Drone company based in Denver, Colorado. Angel Hawk provides pilots and drones for commercial purposes and humanitarian causes. Collin has operated drones internationally to
aid in rebuilding impoverished Countries, utilized drones in Search and Rescue efforts, as well as hired and trained current MSU Denver students as commercial drone pilots. Since graduation, Collin volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring High School students to pursue a career path and higher education, volunteered with Douglas County Search and Rescue, travels annually as a church missionary to foreign countries to rebuild infrastructure after natural disasters, and frequently guest lectures in the MSU Denver Aviation Department.
Joanna Cummings '12 | Human Nutrition | Director of Clinical Nutrition Programming | Oregon Health & Science University
Joanna Cummings, MS RD CNSC is an instructor in the Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Director of Clinical Nutrition Education and Research in Lao PDR. She received her BS in Human Nutrition from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and her MS in Clinical Nutrition from OHSU and is a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. In collaboration with the Lao Ministry of Health, Joanna coordinates the clinical education and research program on behalf of OHSU in South East Asia to provide clinical nutrition education to Lao doctors and nurses with the goal of building capacity of clinical nutrition in the low-resource country of Lao PDR. In addition to her educational activities overseas, Ms. Cummings also teaches Global Nutrition course at OHSU. Her research interests include nutrition screening, severe and moderate malnutrition, nutrition management of neglected tropical diseases, diabetes, thalassemia, and ethics of global development. Joanna has previously worked at University of Colorado Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado. She is currently the Member Services Chair for the Global Member Interest Group and a member of the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a Nutrition Focused Physical Exam Trainer for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dacia Johnson '11 | Journalism | Journalist | 9News/KUSA
Dacia is an award-winning journalist who spent the first part of her career working in newspapers before making the leap to broadcast and joining the 9NEWS team's nightside digital desk earlier this year.
Dacia spent four years at The Denver Post after graduating from MSU-Denver, then spent
five years in Florida working in digital for the USA TODAY NETWORK where she won awards for her digital storytelling for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and digital work in politics. She spent most of 2018 producing and co-hosting a crime/investigative podcast called Uncertain Terms, digging into Miller v. Alabama rulings and the direct impact on the local community.
A Colorado native, Smoky Hill High School grad and volleyball player, Dacia worked for Met Media for several years and received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from MSU-Denver in 2011. She recently received her master’s degree from the University of Florida focused on digital and social media.
Dacia has been back to MSU on several occasions to speak to classes about the reality of working in the industry and soon plans to join the MSU family again, this time as adjunct faculty in the journalism department.
Dacia lives in Denver and is mom to one rather lazy pig named Paxton.
Kristina Tinajero '15 | Criminal Justice & Criminology | Probation Officer | Colorado Courts Division of Probation Services 2nd District
I am a first generation college graduate. I began my journey in the Criminal Justice arena at the age of 16, when I began my involvement with the Denver Police Explorer Program. I dedicated five years of my life to this program, which provided me with law enforcement training, leadership training, as well as discipline. This program was big on giving back to the community and I volunteered at any and every event possible and in 2011, I was recognized and give the Outstanding Community Service Award. I left the program as the Post Lieutenant and pursued my studies in Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
While studying in this wonderful place, I had to opportunity to build an amazing relationship with my professor Denise Mowder, who saw a spark in me and motivated me to present in two Criminology Conferences. The first, for the American Society of Criminology in Washington D.C. where our research first in its kind, regarding the Legalization of Retail Marijuana in a Colorado, was presented. I also presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 53rd Annual Meeting on the same topic. I proudly represented MSU at these conferences and was happy to show my roadrunner spirit. I also had to opportunity to meet Dr. Rebecca Rivera, who was my professor and inspired me to consider Probation as a career path. She motivated me to the point I sought an internship with Aurora Municipal Probation and fell in love with the job. This, beginning my journey in this career.
I graduated in December of 2015 with Cum Laude honors despite holding a full time job and attending school full time. Prior to graduating, I began interning at Aurora Municipal Probation. There, I was mentored by a few Probation Officers who were fundamental in my journey. At the same time, I was also interning at the Glendale Police Department. There I learned to foster community relationships with the Latino community and the Police Department and learned that being bilingual is an asset in a police department.
In August of 2016, I was fortunate to begin my career in the Criminal Justice field by becoming a Pretrial Officer for Arapahoe County. I built many professional relationships with my organization, Arapahoe Courts, stakeholders, and defendants, which enabled me to adequately supervise defendants out on bond and promote community safety. I excelled in my duties while in Arapahoe and was elected as a Member-at-Large for the board of the Colorado Association of Pretrial Services.
After investing 2.5 years as a Pretrial Officer, I knew I was ready to venture out to my desired career in Probation. I began working for the Colorado Courts and Division of Probation Services at Denver Adult Probation. I am currently in the Administrative Unit and conduct intakes for defendants ordered probation in Denver. I am thrilled to be working with such a great department who shares my vision and commitment to Criminal Justice Reform. I am excited for my future at this Organization.
Although I work hard, I also play hard l. In my spare time I like to do Zumba, yoga, meditate, go hiking, fishing and shooting. I love spending time with my family and love to create memories with my husband and our dog Azul. I am grateful to receive this award and appreciate your consideration.
Amy Watanabe '11 | Physical Education | Assistant Volleyball Coach | MSU Denver
Since graduating in December of 2010, Amy Watanabe has been a volleyball assistant coach, primarily for her alma mater. As a player, she is still the program’s all-time leader in digs, and she has been a contributor as a player and coach as the Roadrunners have extended their streak of NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances to 19 consecutive years. As an assistant coach, she has overseen volleyball camps at MSU Denver, while also serving as the program’s academic coordinator and community service coordinator. She has also worked with alumni relations and boosters, has assisted with the athletics department’s fundraising auction, and with fundraising for the program at Colorado Rockies games. Additionally, she worked on the celebration committee for the volleyball program’s 50-year celebration. Her community service involvement includes serving the Food for Thought, Special Olympics Colorado and Habitat for Humanity programs, as well as contributing to volleyball clinics at Prairie Middle School, York International School and Gold Crown. She has also taught a fitness class in the Department of Human Performance and Sport.
Nick Kay '15 | Biology | Professional Basketball Player | New Zealand Basketball League
Mitch McCarron '15 | Sport Management | Professional Basketball Player | New Zealand Basketball League
Fall 2019 - Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Mike McCasky '83 | Aviation | Managing Director of United Airlines Flight Operations | United Airlines
Captain Mike McCasky is the Managing Director - Flight Training for United Airlines. The Training organization is responsible for pilot recruiting, pilot hiring and provides Initial, Transition, and Recurrent training to 12,500 pilots, on six fleets, with a fleet of 47 Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs) and 500 Instructors and Evaluators. Mike currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the IATA “pilot training task force” and has recently served as the Chairman of the Airlines for American (A4A) Training Committee. Mike is a former industry “Trustee” for the University Aviation Association (UAA) board and a member of the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). Mike recently concluded the consolidation and renovation of United’s Flight Training Center effort in Denver.
Before returning to Flight Training, Mike was the Southwest Region Chief Pilot where he was responsible for the Denver and Los Angeles pilot domiciles, managing approximately 1400 pilots. During his time as a Chief Pilot, Mike led the effort to develop an enterprise-wide program to measure and manage Flight Operations performance which generated industry-leading results for the airline.
Mike has had various other leadership roles in Flight Operations to include the Director of Flight Training, Assistant Chief Pilot, Manager of Human Factors, and Line Check Airman for the A320 fleet. Mike was an integral part of the merger of the United and Continental pilot training programs and managed the harmonization of the policies and procedures between the Denver and Houston Flight Training Centers.
Initially hired in June of 1990 as a 727 Second Officer, Mike holds type ratings on the 727, 737, A320 and Convair 580 airplanes. Before his career at the airlines, Mike flew for several corporate operators, including Mitsubishi Aircraft, Whittle Communications, and Kroger Foods while exercising his CFII/MEII privileges at the same time.
Fall 2019 - Philanthropist of the Year
Brad Kaplan '82 | Accounting | Retired - Former Vice President at Comcast
Brad’s dynamic career began shortly after graduation from MSU Denver. After stints in public accounting and as Chief Financial Officer of an oil and gas supply company, Brad began his career in the telecommunications and entertainment industry. Working for companies that resulted with Comcast’s name on the building (through acquisitions). Brad’s roles included domestic and international experience in Finance, Human Resources, Operations and Customer Experience. When Brad retired from Comcast (after a successful 31 year career) he oversaw financial operations totaling over $4 billion.
Brad also was involved with the Institute of Management Accountants, holding many volunteer positions including National Vice President and as the United States representative to the Professional Accountants in Business committee of the International Federation of Accountants.
Brad’s volunteer efforts with MSU Denver include being a member of the College of Business Dean Advisory Council, helping establish a pilot program for Alumni to mentor current students and as a member of MSU Denver Champions.
Brad believes strongly that a college education provides the skills required to succeed in today’s competitive work environment and through his annual and Legacy giving, hopes his contributions help students reduce the cost of their education.
Past Alumni Award Recipients - 2019 Spring
10 Under 10 Alumni Awards
Nic Garcia ‘11, Journalism | Reporter | The Denver Post
Nic Garcia still has nightmares he didn’t graduate. Thankfully, it was only a nightmare. He has since worked as a journalist covering a variety of issues that matter to Coloradans. Following graduation, Garcia went to work for Out Front, Colorado's oldest and largest LGBT news organization. There, he served in a variety of roles including editor and associate publisher, and revitalized the news organization by focusing on local issues and promoting the voices of transgender folks and people of color.
In late 2013, Garcia moved to Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers one of America's most important topics - public education equity. He reported on nearly every topic in Colorado, including Denver's inner-suburban school districts that, in recent years, have received less attention. After almost five years at Chalkbeat, he joined The Denver Post to cover state politics and returned to MSU Denver an affiliate instructor teaching journalism. In 2018, he covered the state's gubernatorial contest, which included co-moderating the last gubernatorial debate. This year, he will be splitting his time between committee rooms at the Capitol and the cornfields of Iowa covering the 2020 presidential election.
Leon Duran ‘15, Criminal Justice and Criminology | CEO | HoneyCutz
Born and raised in Denver, Leon Duran attended JFK High School and, upon graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He has served for nearly 12 years total between his four years of active duty and as a current member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. Duran began his college education at MSU Denver while in the reserves and graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in criminal justice and criminology, with a minor in entrepreneurship.
Since graduating, Duran has founded two companies: U.S. Veterans Landscape & Design and supplement company HoneyCutz. Additionally, he volunteers by representing the military as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Honor Guard where he honors our nation at events such as Denver Bronco games, parades and funerals at Fort Logan.
As a newly appointed MSU Denver Alumni Board member, Duran will be using his business and entrepreneurial expertise to support MSU Denver students and alumni.
Kate West ‘15, Program Coordination for Integrative Health | Director of Community Development | Eaton Senior Communities
Kate West earned an undergraduate degree in “Program Coordination for Integrative Health” through the Individualized Degree Program at MSU Denver. While working on her degree, she interned at Eaton Senior Communities as a Wellness Program intern, earning her an “Intern of the Year” award from MSU Denver, in recognition of her work.
Following graduation, West joined Eaton Senior Communities as the resident services coordinator and served as president of the Colorado Chapter of the American Association of Service Coordinators. In 2017, she was the co-recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity for her team’s work on wellness coaching in low-income housing, supervised multiple wellness-coaching interns and was twice nominated by MSU Denver for “Internship Supervisor of the Year.” In 2018, she graduated from LeadingAge Nationals’s Larry Minnix Leadership Academy and was promoted to her new role as director of community development. West is currently is a member of the inaugural class of “Emerging Leaders” through LeadingAge Colorado.
Albert Gutierrez ‘09, Criminal Justice and Criminology | CEO | MedPharm Holdings
Albert Gutierrez, MS, is the CEO of MedPharm Holdings, an intellectual property and holdings company that creates unique dosage forms in the cannabis industry. MedPharm holds Colorado’s first cannabis research license, which will be used to understand how cannabis and cannabis dosage forms can help with a wide array of ailments. During his tenure as CEO, Gutierrez has grown the company into a target acquisition for Medicine Man Technologies (MDCL) in the public market. MedPharm works with the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA), the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center (RMMSC), the Denver Public Safety Department, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and others to research the benefits of cannabis and adopt safe practices in the industry.
An operationally focused executive who leverages his strategic vision to increase production, Gutierrez has a background in program and portfolio management, and is an Agile Certified Practitioner through the Project Management Institute, Certified Scrum Master, Agile Coach and Certified Scrum Product Owner. He has also been a part of, and helped build, many successful companies, including ClickFox, The Regis Company, Qualvu, CBDDOSE.com, HealthGrades.com, Medicine Man and MedPharm Holdings.
Gutierrez is responsible for successfully managing several multi-million-dollar projects from Visa, MasterCard, Google, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Accenture, AT&T, Verizon, John Deere, Bose and more. He holds a B.S. from MSU Denver and a graduate degree from Colorado State University Business School.
Brian Bailey ‘16, Hospitality, Tourism and Events | Commercial Real Estate Broker | Marcus & Millichap
A graduate of the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Program at MSU Denver, Brian Bailey has found success in his career as a commercial real estate broker. During his final year at MSU Denver, Bailey was simultaneously taking classes to obtain his real estate license and in October 2015, began his career in real estate with Marcus & Millichap where he specializes in selling “triple-net” investment properties nationwide. In 2017, he was recognized in the Denver Business Journal as DMCAR’s 2017 Young Broker of Denver. Over the course of his career, Bailey has been involved in over $105 million in real estate sales spanning more than 60 transactions.
Magens Orman ‘15, Aerospace Systems Design | Mechanical Engineer | 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 for the Colorado Space Grant Advisory board to the University of Colorado, Boulder, and treasurer of the MSU Denver Alumni Board.
Jesse Freitas ‘10, Marketing | Marketing Director | StickerGiantz
Jesse Freitas is a digital marketer who is passionate about storytelling and fascinated with the stories in music, movies, games and any form of media not yet created. Freitas has taken interest in what motivates people and applied it to a business application in the world. He is a 2010 graduate of MSU Denver with a B.S. in marketing.
During his time at MSU Denver, Freitas was the president of the Student Marketing Association, which started in 2010, and was awarded "Outstanding Student in Student Services" for the 2010/11 academic year. He also wrote a winning essay about diversity that won him a trip to attend the ADCOLOR Awards 2010 in Miami, Florida, where he also served as a student speaker for MSU Denver during a Millennial Town Hall.
As the Marketing Director for StickerGiant, Freitas has fueled the growth of the promotional sticker and product label business by finding innovative ways to gain brand awareness. He created National Sticker Day and kick-started a Guinness World Record for the Largest Sticker Ball set by StickerGiant in 2016. He has built a world-class digital marketing team and helped grow the company from $6 million in annual revenue to a current trajectory of $23 million. Freitas has used his platform to support charitable events in the Longmont community and personally raised $900 for the Left Hand Foundation’s Bike MS in 2019.
Zachary Berger ‘16, History | Breakfast Supervisor | Marriott Springhill Suites
Zachary Berger is the breakfast supervisor for the on-campus Marriott Springhill Suites Denver Downtown and was selected – out of 37,000 employees, nationwide – as the 2017 Marriott Select Brands Springhill Team Member of the Year. He oversees a team of four, ensuring that when guests arrive for breakfast, they have an amazing experience.
During his time as a student at MSU Denver, Berger was recognized at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Breakfast in 2015 as a leader who continues Dr. King’s legacy through his dedication to social justice and community activism. He continues to serve MSU Denver by mentoring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping them prepare for college classes through the Inclusive Higher Educational Certificate Program, a college preparation program that partners with the School of Education. In his spare time, Berger also helps at the Rise School of Denver as an after-care assistant teacher and builds ADA accessible playgrounds in Jefferson County.
Nate Nicklas ‘13, Math; ‘16, Brewing Operations | Director of Brewing Operations | Tivoli Brewing Company
After graduating from MSU Denver in 2013 with a B.S. in math and a minor in physics, Nate Nicklas pursued a Master’s Degree in math education from the University of Southern California. After two semesters, he met his now wife who asked him deep questions about his educational ideology (most, he admits, he was unable to answer). Prompted to look within for his career path, she asked him to answer the question, what are you passionate about?
Nicklas’ answer was math and brewing, beginning his brewing career. From there, he re-enrolled at MSU Denver, opting for the brewing operations certificate program. During that time, he was offered an internship with the Tivoli Brewing Company which led to a full-time position and, ultimately, his current position as the director of brewing operations. Nicklas also teaches Beer Styles and Service, Beers of the World, and Brewery Mechanics as part of the Brewing Operations Program at MSU Denver.
Gary Striewski ‘10, Journalism | Host | ESPN
Gary Striewski launched his broadcast career making public-address announcements at Thornton Middle School. Today, the 2010 journalism graduate finds himself living out his childhood dream in the public spotlight as co-host of ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” During his time at MSU Denver, he worked with Met Media and interned at Fox affiliate KDVR with sports anchor Chris Tanaka. Following graduation, Striewski cut his TV teeth at a CBS affiliate in Cheyenne, Wyoming; earned an Emmy for his work as a Red Sox sideline reporter at New England Sports Network; and woke up at 2:30 a.m. to co-host "Morning Dose" on Dallas-Ft. Worth CW affiliate KDAF. In 2018, he was co-hosting a morning show in the Dallas-Fort Worth market when ESPN came calling, looking for help with their newly launched Snapchat channel. Striewski credits being open to opinions and coaching, honing a unique voice, never saying no to an opportunity and earning his degree at MSU Denver as factors in his success.
Alumni Volunteer of the Year
E. Lucille Hinesley ‘15, Human Performance and Sport | Exercise Physiologist | Centura Health
E. Lucille Hinesley graduated with a B.S. in human performance and sport, with a concentration in exercise science, in 2015. During her last semester, she completed a clinical internship, leading to her career as an exercise physiologist in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation with Centura Heath. In 2018, she began volunteering with the Alumni Association by selling 50/50 Raffle tickets at Colorado Rockies home games. Hinesley saw it as an opportunity to make a greater impact than she could with a monetary donation, plus she got to spend the summer at baseball games! During the 2018 baseball season, she worked 12 baseball games (72 hours of volunteer time) and raised $1,800 for the Exercise Science Program at MSU Denver.
Distinguished Alumna of the Year
Mary Landerholm ‘12, Social Work; ‘14 MSW | Action Plan Manager | Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
Mary Landerholm supports state-wide research, training and education, along with leadership development, at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking in Denver, Colorado. She engages the State of Colorado's anti‐trafficking efforts using the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking to create a data-driven response to the issue of exploitation. Previously, Landerholm worked as the Interim Executive Director of Prax(us), an agency serving youth and young adults who have experienced exploitation through an anti‐oppression and public health lens.
Landerholm is currently an affiliate faculty member at MSU Denver where she teaches the human trafficking course and social work policy. She was also selected for the Colorado Human Trafficking Council to inform training standards and curriculum development for law enforcement and service providers. Additionally, Landerholm consults as a survivor leader for the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center, and in Washington, D.C. She received her BSW and MSW from the Department of Social Work at MSU Denver.
Past Alumni Award Recipients - 2018
10 Under 10 Alumni Awards
Michael Bahl '08, History | Head Coach Men’s Basketball Team | MSU Denver
Blake Bienemann '08, Finance | Vice President of Institutional Wealth Management | Colorado Bank and Trust
Evan Claus '12, Hospitality, Tourism and Events | Off-Premise Sales Director | Anheuser-Busch
Kate Imy '08, History | Assistant Professor | University of North Texas
Paula Leek '14, Land Use Geology | Owner and Operator | Paula Leek Petrographics
Steph Rayman '09, Psychology | General Manager/Director of Marketing and Strategy | Tivoli Brewing Company
Ricardo Rocha '17, Biology | CEO | Abarrotes Bondadosa
Angela Rodriguez '08, Speech Communications | Student Success Specialist TRIO | Community College of Denver
Meranda Vieyra '10, Chicana/o Studies | Owner | Denver Legal Marketing LLC
Troy Walker '08, Political Science | Stand-up Comedian