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National awards, history-making accomplishments, passion projects and truly outstanding students round out this month’s edition.

By Lindsey Coulter

May 28, 2019

Two students in MSU Denver shirts throwing balloons in the airIn addition to Faculty Citings, the Early Bird shines a spotlight each month on the accomplishments of Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty and staff. This month, we’re celebrating outstanding contributions made by our world-class faculty, the commitment of our talented staff and the innovation, hard work and success of current students and alumni.

Tooting the teamwork horn …

MSU Denver’s Enrollment Services Call Center was named to LiveHelpNow’s list of April 2019 Challenge Winners for its outstanding customer service. Organizations are included in the list based on their high customer-service metric score, and MSU Denver beat thousands of other hopefuls to be included among organizations such as the American Dental Association, Dell Software and DHL.

Congratulations to the MSU Denver Center for Professional Selling! The Center’s success earned MSU Denver a spot on the Sales Education Foundation’s Top University Sales Program for 2019 list.

Fantastic faculty achievements …

Three cheers for Tijani Cole, Ph.D., affiliate professor, Political Science. Cole and his wife, Susana, made history in April as the first African-nation team to win an international curling competition. As Cole’s family is from the south-central Nigerian city of Onitsha, the Coles proudly represent the Nigerian Curling Federation. On April 25, they beat the French team 8-3 at the World Curling Championship. Even more impressive, they’ve been curling for only three years.

Felicidades a Tony Garcia, affiliate faculty member in the Department of Chicana/o Studies and executive artistic director of Su Teatro. Garcia was recently presented with the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Arts Award, granted to Coloradans who have left an indelible mark on the state’s arts-and-culture landscape through their creative energy and transformative vision. The organization noted in its award presentation, “With a formidable sense of humor and extensive knowledge of Chicano/Latinx history, Denver native Anthony J. Garcia inspires and serves his community through his work as an award-winning playwright, musician, composer, educator, social activist, mentor and nonprofit leader.”

Caleb Cohoe, Ph.D., associate professor, Philosophy, has been invited to join the advisory board for a new Philosophy as a Way of Life project sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and the Mellon Foundation. The project involves sharing way-of-life curricula and teaching strategies through a searchable hub, building a network of interested faculty and conducting a three-year series of summer workshops to help faculty find new ways to help students use philosophy to explore the good life. The board will also promote diverse classrooms, student-led dialogue and immersive assignments. Cohoe will help lead the first workshop at Notre Dame in June and will present on using games in the philosophy classroom.

On May 8, the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking, headed by AnnJanette Alejano-Steele, Ph.D., associate dean, College of Professional Studies, launched Colorado Project 2.0, empowering communities and professionals involved in addressing this human-rights abuse. Building on the foundational work of the Colorado Project 1.0, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking visited 20 unique communities in 2018 to assess changes in the statewide movement, document successful strategies, identify promising practices and design a new set of actionable recommendations to advance anti-trafficking efforts in Colorado and beyond. The full report and action plan were released in 2019.

Aaron Brown, Ph.D., associate professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology, traveled to Mexico this year to give a seminar on Humanitarian Engineering at the University of Monterrey. The seminar inspired the institution to develop a course called Humanitarian Innovation, develop a student club, dedicate lab space for humanitarian technology and create a certificate program. University officials also hope to visit MSU Denver to learn more about our service-learning initiatives.

Staff who stand out …

Congratulations are also in order for Nona Shipman, who was recently promoted to associate director of the One World One Water Center. Shipman’s outstanding work creating partnerships on and beyond the Auraria Campus to improve water-resource stewardship have been vital to the Center’s success.

Star students …

Three cheers for three beers! The MSU Denver Beer Industry Program took home three awards in April’s National Homebrew Competition. Congratulations to students Kyle Koch, Bryan Denman, Brian Nutsch, Kevin Chu and Carey Lieberman, who shared a third-place honor for their German Wheat Beer. Students Larry Altshuler, David Choate, Sam Goertz and Nick Anderberg took home another third for their Saison, and Lecturer Ethan Tsai, Ph.D., and students Marco Olivo, Connor Cottrill, Gary Thompson and Dave Borowski placed first for their Imperial Stout.

In case you missed it, 12 outstanding students were selected to present at the Spring 2019 Honors Thesis Symposium this month. Please join us in applauding:

  • Hali Marquez – Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Jessy Pérez – Social Work
  • Meredith Nation – Anthropology, IDP
  • Shelby Lafrinere – IDP
  • McKenna Beam – Elementary Education
  • Hannah Haddadi – Integrative Health Care, Human Services
  • Brook Castillo – Anthropology, History
  • Melody Orellana – Technical Communications, English
  • Ted Richthofen – History, German
  • Eric Kearney – Computer Science, Math
  • Dalton Rupp – Political Science, Philosophy
  • Kaitlynn Skinner – Chemistry, Math

MSU Denver hosted Western Colorado University for a sales role-play competition May 1, and Roadrunners took two of the top honors. Join us in congratulating first-place winner Danielle Viera of MSU Denver, second-place winner Kathryn Desch of WCU and third-place winner Rebecca Gubrud of MSU Denver.

The Writing Center recently awarded scholarships to students Jose Morales and Milinda Sandoval.

Political Science major Angelica Priscilliano will represent MSU Denver and the state of Colorado at the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship 2019 College Student Congress. Priscilliano will join 50 of her peers to participate in the two-week event, which allows students to learn about the principles of statesmanship in the tradition of Henry Clay. Students will speak with academics, lawmakers, journalists and civic leaders to discuss the practical importance of compromise and partisan cooperation to resolve conflict and develop policy solutions for today’s most pressing issues. Priscilliano was selected for her focus on improving knowledge of rights and higher-education opportunities in the undocumented community in Colorado.

And one awesome alum …

MSU Denver alum Marc Castellano was featured by 9News for using his music degree in a very interesting way. Castellano is the in-game organist for the Colorado Avalanche, playing 41 home games a year during the regular season. This year, Castellano was particularly busy as the Avs advanced to the playoffs. Learn why this Roadrunner loves his job and which song he’ll probably never play.

If you know Roadrunners doing fantastic work to advance University goals and student success, or those doing great work in the broader community, remember to share it with the Early Bird! We want to ensure that all great achievements are celebrated.

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