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 submit the announcement by completing the Service Request Form 

Fantastic faculty: Santos off for Fulbright 

Stephanie Santos, Ph.D., assistant professor of Gender, Women’s and Sexualities Studies, is preparing for a flight to Thailand in the new year as a proud Fulbright U.S. Scholar recipient. There, she will continue her research into the effects of digital labor on Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia while working with the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Chulalongkorn University. Santos plans to use her research to develop programs and pedagogies that better serve students of color, such as with an Asian and Asian Diasporic Studies course and an exchange program with MSU Denver. Congratulations, Stephanie, on your Fulbright selection, and best wishes for your continued research.  

Standup staff members:

Altemueller honored for diversity and inclusion leadership 

Before its assimilation into the School of Education’s Office of Education Solutions, the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program awarded its fourth and last Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award to Lisa Altemueller, Ed.D., associate dean in the School of Education. The award honors Roadrunners who work to enhance diversity and inclusion on the Auraria Campus and within the higher-education system. Altemueller not only served as an educator, mentor and thought leader at MSU Denver for over a decade, she supported the creation of the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program, now known as the Inclusive Higher Education Solutions organization. In its evolution, the IHES aims to help diverse learners thrive throughout their higher-education journey and beyond into successful careers. A standing ovation for this driven and compassionate community advocate.  

Simpkins named Aspen Institute Fellow

MSU Denver is proud to announce that Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, has been selected as an inaugural Aspen Index Impact Fellow with the Aspen Institute. Impact Fellows work with the Aspen Institute to create a movement of greater access to and quality of youth leadership programs. The initiative is built on the Aspen Institute Leadership Development Index, a digital tool that measures key leadership capacities to accelerate personal and professional growth. Impact Fellows will aid in the development, optimization, and beta testing of the index along with co-creating the supporting learning architecture to ensure its success. A round of applause for this inspirational thought leader. 

Koppel named DSF College Partner of the Year

The Denver Scholarship Foundation announced Lauren Koppel, associate director of Scholarship Support and Retention, as its College Partner of the Year. Nominees for this annual honor were divided into four categories — college, district, corporate and community — before a final vote was cast on a single award recipient. MSU Denver is proud of Lauren and the exceptional work she ha’s invested in students, which made her stand out among the incredible nominees. 

Nash recognized by DBJ as top innovator under 25

MSU Denver’s Eboni Nash, recruitment manager for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, was selected as a recipient of the Denver Business Journal’s Inno Under 25 awards. The annual award recognizes the top founders, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders in Denver under age 25. This year, Nash stood out amid many promising professionals thanks to her work for fellow Roadrunners and Denver at large. Since joining the Classroom to Career Hub, Nash has worked to establish industry partners, expand student resources and grow the University’s DEI efforts. A huge thank-you and congratulations are in order for this Roadrunner.     

Amazing alumna: Heydel releases acclaimed research

Zahava Heydel’s career began right after she graduated from the Department of Psychological Sciences in spring. Her independent research study titled “The musician’s personality: Do personality traits vary according to ensemble membership?” garnered international attention after its publication in Psychology of Music. Heydel has since interviewed with numerous publications such as Science, Italian journal Sapere and the London Times, which published a piece featuring Heydel’s research called “Nice (but naughty): Why jazz musicians really are free spirits.” A rowdy round of applause for the continued success of this ambitious scholar.