In addition to Faculty Citings, the Early Bird shines a spotlight each month on the accomplishments of Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty and staff members and University partners.  

 If we missed an award, accolade or opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment big or small, please email us at [email protected]. 


Fantastic faculty 

Jennifer Watson, Ph.D., lecturer in Restaurant Management in the School of Hospitality, recently secured a $5,000 grant from the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics Foundation to help reimagine what’s possible within the food-service industry. The funds support Watson’s research project “Implementing Plant-based Foods in Foodservice Operations,” which aims to better understand the barriers food-service institutions face when considering a plant-based menu. With vegetarian and plant-based meals growing in popularity, Watson’s research and grant funding are huge steps toward better preparing college students to meet rising industry demands. Congratulations, Jennifer, and best of luck as you continue to trailblaze.   

The Marketing Educators’ Association has honored Clay Daughtrey, Ed.D., professor of Marketing, with its Lifetime Contribution Award for his 20 years of service to the organization. Daughtrey has been a member of the MEA board of directors since 2003 and served as the MEA’s secretary-treasurer from 2009 to 2014 and 2018 to 2019. He also served the organization on the officers track from 2014-17 and was president of the organization in 2016. He served as associate dean of MSU Denver’s College of Business for seven years, spent eight years as chair of the Department of Marketing and worked for 1½ years as chair of the Department of Hospitality. He has held numerous posts in the sportsandentertainment industry with the Charlotte Coliseum, Disney on Ice, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, and the Olympics. A standing ovation for this impressive educator and industry leader. 

After hours of hard work and passionate advocacy, affiliate faculty member Alex Castro celebrated a legislative victory on Tuesday  with the signing of House Bill 22-1283. The bill offers enhanced residential services for youth in need of mental-health support such as in-home respite care, residential psychiatric treatment and more. Castro, who has been an avid proponent of the bill and continued mentalhealth advancements, gathered on the Capitol steps with fellow Roadrunners to witness its signing. Alex, thank you for showing students that their voice matters and continuing to be a community advocate. 


Superstar student 

For the second year in a row, MSU Denver third baseman Bill Ralston has earned All-American honors. Ralston batted .330 and hit 23 homers in 2022, finishing third in home runs in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and seventh in Division II. A proud Roadrunner cheer for Bill.