Nominations continue to roll in for Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week awards, highlighting the excellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. This week, we celebrate three members of our University community who inspire students and their colleagues. 

Larry Sampler.

When you belong to a community like MSU Denver, you are constantly surrounded by excellence, said Larry Sampler, chief operating officer. Its important that we remember to acknowledge individuals like this weeks winners, who consistently go above and beyond to make the Roadrunner experience so valuable. 



Faculty winner — James Laughlin, laboratory manager, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Nominated by Sophia Tran, Ph.D., General Chemistry laboratory supervisor and outreach coordinator, Chemistry and Biochemistry, who wrote: 

“James has always been our star front-line worker in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry but has especially shined during the pandemic. He worked tirelessly withJames Laughlin. the lab instructors in the department to make sure everyone was safe as we pivoted back to in-person labs in fall 2020. To say that James was essential in setting up safe protocols for running labs in the middle of the pandemic would be an understatement. He helped instructors with setting up the technology necessary to stream and record laboratory demonstrations. James even made hand sanitizer for the department and University during the height of the pandemic!! 

“During the recent Science Building closure, James was there to ensure that all of our chemicals and instrumentation were safe and as unscathed as possible. James continues to be an absolute rock star in our department. I am confident that we would not be able to function without his assistance! YOU’RE THE BEST, JAM!!!” 

James, your adaptability and forward-thinking attitude have been invaluable during challenging times. Thank you for being such an inspirational leader for the Roadrunner community. 

Staff winner — Melissa Cermak, associate director of the Access Center

Nominated by Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, on behalf of the Student Affairs leadership team, who wrote: 

“You have been recognized by the Student Affairs Leadership Team (Braelin Pantel, Kathryn McFarland, Adrienne Martinez, Emily Willan, Thuy Phan and me) for yourMelissa Cermak. outstanding contributions to our work at MSU Denver! Thank you for being an awesome member of our team, leading by example, and going above and beyond! 

“Melissa, it is a great pleasure to call you our colleague! The work that you engage in and lead on an everyday basis in the Access Center translates to the differences that you make in our Roadrunners’ lives. We are most grateful for your collaborative nature (such an ally to Student Affairs!), professionalism and always showing up and engaging — you’re a great thought partner for sure! We are thankful for you recently attending our leadership meeting to ensure that we thoroughly understand our student body (particularly those who utilize the Access Center). The data that you provided was eye-opening and challenges us to think outside the box when it comes to serving all our Roadrunners. You’ve made significant progress in your work, and we’re here to lend a hand as you continue to move mountains.” 

Melissa, you are an inspiration. Thank you for working tirelessly to support students and co-workers while embracing our CADRE values every step of the way.

Student-employee winner — Angela (Angel) Martinez, social-media manager, Communication Studies

Nominated by Jacqueline Kirby, program assistant /office manager, Communication Studies, who wrote: 

“Angel has become an exceptional member of the Communication Studies Department since she first started over two years ago. When Angel was first hired into her role inAngela Martinez. the department, she was a first point of contact for faculty, students and guests of the program. She exemplifies what it means to provide outstanding customer service. She is kind, thoughtful, and always willing to go above and beyond for anyone in need.

“When we all had to begin working remotely, Angel was able to pivot her role in the department to becoming the social-media manager with a smile and enthusiasm, despite not having much social-media experience. She has helped to keep our department, and the events and matters of the University in the forefront of our social-media sites, providing relevant and timely information. I am so proud to nominate this soon-to-graduate, 4.0 GPA-holding student for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week. Our department values her contribution to the excellence of this University and the Department of Communication Studies.” 

Angela, you have displayed true MSU Denver spirit while achieving excellence. We are so proud to call you a Roadrunner and look forward to seeing how you continue to soar after graduation. 

To nominate outstanding employees for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week award, please complete the form on the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week webpage. Tell us how your nominee is making an impact through great teaching, service to students or innovation. Winners will be selected each week and profiled in the Early Bird on Thursdays. Winners will also get a shoutout on social media.