MSU Denver

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MSU Denver Upcoming Events

October 25

Spring Priority Registration Begins

November 5

Withdrawal Deadline for Fall 2021 Full-Semester Courses

November 22

Fall Break (Campus Open, No Classes)

November 25

Fall Holiday (Campus Closed)

History Department News and Events

Dr. Todd Laugen Wins Award

May 11, 2022

Dr. Laugen received the inaugural Gold Star Award for curriculum work from our Associate Vice President of Curriculum.  This award recognizes a faculty member who “went above and beyond” in curriculum work.  As most of us know, Dr. Laugen is tireless in his service to our students and department.  In his former role as Chair of the Curriculum Committee, he helped steward many curriculum proposals to successful implementation, and he led the Herculean effort to get all our general studies courses approved for redesignation last fall.  He has also served for several years on the university general studies task force.

Dr. Jennifer Koshatka-Seman is a Book Award Finalist

May 11, 2022

Dr. Koshatka-Seman is a finalist in the category of “Biography” for a Colorado Humanities Book Award for her work:  Borderlands Curanderos: The Worlds of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo.  Here is a link to the award page:

Dr. Koshatka-Seman will be giving a “Finalists” book talk this Friday, May 13 at the Book Bar, 4280 Tenyson St. Denver, CO 80212.

Curanderismo: Mexican Healing Practices in American Society Flyer

Dr. Koshatka-Seman to Speak on Upcoming Panel Discussion

March 9, 2022

The panel, “Curanderismo: Mexican Healing Practices in American Society”, will explore the role and history of Mexican healing, and the relationship to community, healthcare, biomedicine, and COVID-19.

Please join us Friday, March 11, from 12:00-1:30pm. Click here to learn more.

Close up of two hands waiving Ukraine flags.

History Faculty to Participate in Ukraine Conflict Panel

March 3, 2022

History faculty, Drs. Cristina Bejan and Andrea Maestrejuan, will share their expert knowledge of the conflict in Ukraine, in the upcoming pop-up panel discussion with President Davidson.  Dr. Kimberly Klimek, also a faculty member in the History Department, will moderate.

This event will be held Monday, March 7th, from 2-3pm.

For more information, click here.

If you would like to see the event, click here.


History Alumn Wins Fellowship

February 8, 2022

MSU Denver History Alum Carlos Nevares just won a competitive Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation Fellowship! Carlos is currently teaching American History and Geography and works as Esports Head Coach at Grandview High School in the Cherry Creek School District.

Carlos will join a select group of Fellows who will travel to Poland this summer and immerse themselves in the study and teaching of Holocaust history.  Then he will share his expertise next year with students at Grandview.  “This was really a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Carlos noted, “and I couldn’t pass it up.”

Carlos began his MSU Denver coursework after serving for seven years with the U.S. Marine Corps.  He was an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator and Combat Marksmanship trainer.  Reflecting back on his military service, Carlos said: “In the Marine Corps I was entrusted with the personal and professional development of young men and women. That mentorship aspect of being a Marine was extremely rewarding to me, so I thought the natural job field I should pursue was being a high school history teacher.”

The MSU Denver History Department congratulates Carlos on this exciting opportunity.  We were delighted that you chose to study History and Education with us.



Informational Meeting for
Summer Study Abroad in Larnaca, Cyprus
(July 3rd-July 30, 2022)

Thursday, February 10th, 2022

2-3 pm Central Classroom 210 Conference Room

About the Project:

The excavations at Pyla-Vigla are part of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project. The site dates to the early Hellenistic period 325-250 BC and was military in nature.  Previous excavation seasons have found weapons, pottery, coins, tools etc.. The picture above is a 2,300 hundred year old perfectly intact bowl!

The site is located near Larnaca, Cyprus and that is where students will be staying.   Larnaca is located right on the coast of the Mediterranean.  The beaches are less than a half mile walk from the apartments where students will be housed.  There are many great restaurants and historical sites within easy walking distance from the apartments.  The trip will also include 3 day long field trips to historical sites and museums.

Students will get archaeological training and experience as part of ANT 2710, while HIS 390 will give students and understanding of the history of Cyprus through lectures, readings and field trips.  If you are interested, please contact either Dr. Justin Stephens at [email protected] or Dr. Brandon Olson at [email protected].



Cristina Bejan to Discuss Her Book

December 9, 2021

Part of our Global History at MSU Denver Series.

Dr. Cristina Bejan, MSU Denver History Affiliate Faculty member, will be conversing with MSU Denver alum Cardinal Tomczyk about Dr. Bejan’s book, Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association.  

Join us live on Teams, December 9, 2021 from 2:00-3:00pm, by clicking here.

Flyer for

Virginia Sánchez to Discuss Her Book with R. Todd Laugen

October 21, 2021

Part of our Multicultural History at MSU Denver Series

Virginia Sánchez won the 2011 Miles History Award for her book Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley, and her co-authored article, Displaced in Place: Nuevoamericanos on the Northern Side of the New Mexico-Colorado Border, won the 2018 Gilberto Espinosa Prize for the best article published in the New Mexico Historical Review.

Independent scholar Virginia Sánchez will be joined in the conversation by Todd Laugen, Ph.D., Professor of History at MSU Denver.

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicana/o Studies Department.

Join us Live on Teams, October 21, 2021 from 3:30-4:30pm, by clicking here.

Cristina Bejan’s New Book Featured at International Event

August 31, 2021 

The event for Dr. Bejan’s 1st Romanian book launch for her award-winning book of poetry Green Horses on the Walls, was hosted by the Mayor of Sibiu, Astrid Fodor, and her “Sister Cities” program. This was due in part, to Dr. Bejan, recently becoming Cultural Attaché for her hometown of Durham, NC which has a “Sister Cities” partnership with Sibiu, Romania. (Sibiu, the 2007 “European Capital of Culture”, is in the heart of Transylvania and the city that Romania’s current president Klaus Iohannis is from.)


The event was in English but Romanian was also featured as some of Dr. Bejan’s poetry is bilingual. The book launch also featured two luminaries of Romanian literature, both originally from Sibiu themselves: ANDREI CODRESCU (USA) and RADU VANCU (RO).

This was a live Zoom event, held Tuesday, September 7, 12:20 – 1:50 pm US Eastern Time (7:20 – 8:50 pm evening in Romania).



History Majors and Minors at Work During the Pandemic

July 26, 2021

Todd Laugen, MSU Denver

The COVID pandemic has generated tremendous challenges for us all.  Our health and safety, and those of our family and friends, have rarely felt more urgent.  And yet this global uncertainty has also meant new opportunities for History Majors and Minors and the skills they develop here at MSU Denver.

Almost no one predicted this work environment 18 months ago.  Yet History Majors and Minors bring valuable skills that prepare them for uncertainty and for future jobs that don’t yet exist.  They work consistently at MSU Denver to think critically and communicate clearly about an often messy and complicated past.

Studying a series of past problems, MSU Denver History students have valuable opportunities from supportive faculty to develop understanding and skills that lead to present-day solutions.  They discover new things about themselves as learners, while simultaneously cultivating  new literacy skills. They are encouraged to excel in changing environments. History majors nurture curiosity about diversity and unpredictability.  They go well beyond a narrow set of technical skills, asking and answering questions like:  how have humans at different times and places managed complex challenges including wars, pandemics, natural disasters, or genocides?

Citizenship and cultural fluency in a country like ours today have rarely been so important.  History majors learn to ask tough questions about themselves and human resilience in the face of oppression or injustice.  This means learning to build common ground with people who might have opposing views, a quality sorely lacking in many of our current national leaders.

A History degree, rooted deeply in the liberal arts, helps students think bigger than simply the next grade on a test or the next difficulty at work.  Ultimately, we work together as a community to answer the most important question: “How can I make a difference in a frequently confusing and uncertain world?”

So a question for MSU Denver History Majors and Minors out in the working world:  how have you been using your degree?  Please share a story or example from your life in these uncertain days.  We want to hear from you!  Please email Todd Laugen ([email protected]) to share your story.



David Varel Wins Book Award

July 2, 2021

This past weekend, David Varel won a Colorado Book Award in the biography category for his recent book, The Scholar and the Struggle: Lawrence Reddick’s Crusade for Black History and Black Power.

More information about the award or about the book.



Cristina Bejan Wins Book Award

June 29, 2021

Dr. Cristina Bejan, has been named an Indie Book Award finalist for her poetry collection, Green Horses on the Walls.

In the article, Dr. Bejan states, “I think I am pretty fortunate to teach at Metro…MSU Denver is by far my favorite school that I have ever taught at…Metro students bring so much to the table and are informed about the world.  They don’t take a college degree for granted.  I have learned so much these past two years by being in dialogue with these extraordinary young minds.”

Click here to read the full Westword article.

For the Early Bird article, click here.


More praise for Dr. Bejan:

“Dr Bejan,

I enjoyed reading about your journey in this Westword piece. Busboys & Poets is a great DC institution!  

I so appreciate your perspective on the importance of studying history.  — What matters to me is critical thinking, making connections, identifying themes, and what we can learn about the past that can help us better understand the world around us, and help us build a better future for all of humankind. — 

This is so very true. And writing about atrocities is challenging and important work. People literally have no idea what is possible.”  

-Dr. Janine Davidson (President Metropolitan State University of Denver)



Jacqueline McLeod Earns Her Second Fulbright-Hays Scholarship

June 9, 2021

The grant will take her to Mexico where Professor McLeod will have the honor of focusing on the African diaspora experience, particularly in Veracruz and Oaxaca.

Read more in the Early Bird article.



Matthew Maher Interviewed on 9 News Mile High Mornings  

June 6, 2021

This interview was a part of the commemoration the 77th anniversary of D-Day.

To see the piece, click here.



Laresh Jayasanker Receives Award for His Posthumously Published Book

April 27, 2021

Dr. Jayasanker’s book, Sameness in Diversity, won the Lawrence W. Levine Award, which is given annually by the Organization of American Historians to the author of the best book in American cultural history.

Kristin Hass, the Faculty Coordinator Humanities Collaboratory and Associate Professor Department of American Culture, from the University of Michigan had the following to say:

“Sameness in Diversity is truly an outstanding contribution to the field of cultural history. We were all grateful to have had the chance to read it.” 



Pondering Putin Event Organized by Andrea Maestrejuan and D-Phi

April 22, 2021

The event featured a lecture by Professor Arch Getty, Professor of History at UCLA and one of the world’s foremost experts on Russia and the Soviet Union.

This was a live Teams event.



Praise for Derek Everett’s Recent Book

April 21, 2021

This week the Colorado Sun produced a list of 50 books people should read to better understand the American West.  If you check the link below you will see luminaries of American Western history including F.J. Turner, Wallace Stegner, Patti Limmerick, Vine Deloria Jr., and our very own Derrek Everett, for his recent book, Colorado Day by Day.  Here is what the editors had to say about Dr. Everett’s new book:

“This may not even be Everett’s best work, but it’s a huge fan favorite for people who like to get everyday bits of real history to carry along during their Colorado wanderings. Everett strives to ensure Westerners of all colors and creeds are included in the snapshots.”

To read the Colorado Sun article, click here.



Jennifer Koshatka Seman to Discuss Her New Book

May 07, 2021

Part of our Multicultural History at MSU Denver Series

Dr. Jennifer Koshatka Seman was joined by Dr. Nicki Gonzales (Associate Professor of History and Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Regis University) to discuss Dr. Koshatha Seman’s new book, Borderlands Curanderos: the Worlds of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo.

This was a live Teams event, co-sponsored with the Chicana/o Studies Department, and the MSU Denver Dreamers Network.



David Varel to Discuss His New Book

April 16, 2021

Part of our Multicultural History at MSU Denver Series

Dave Varel will be joined by Africana Studies professor Dr. Devon Wright to discuss Dr. Varel’s new book, The Scholar and the Struggle.

Dr. Dave Varel was joined by Dr. Devon Wright, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at MSU Denver, to discuss Dr. Varel’s new book, The Scholar and the Struggle: Lawrence Reddick’s Crusade for Black History and Black Power.

This was a live Teams event, co-sponsored with the Africana Studies Department and D-Phi.



Shout out of the Week Faculty winner – Kimberly Klimek, Ph.D., Professor of History

April 15, 2021

By Josie Lavender 

Professor Dr. Kimberly Klimek earned last week’s “Shout out of the Week” for Faculty.  Professor Klimek was nominated by one of her students, Lauren Gillies, who had this to say:

“Professor Klimek is an amazing professor and is one of the reasons I decided to be a history major. She provides weekly motivation for her students and encourages us to do our best all the time. She is very kind and understanding of the stressful situation Covid-19 has caused us to be in, and she still sets high standards for us. She is willing to meet with us individually over Teams to advise us and make sure we are all on the path to graduation. Her sense of humor and dedication to her students are appreciated.”

For a link to the shout out, click here.  



In memoriam:

MSU Denver honors the life of Thomas McInerney, Ph.D., professor emeritus of History. 

April 15, 2021 

By Lynne Winter ’17 

Thomas McInerney, Ph.D., professor emeritus of History, died last Aug. 26 at age 80.

After earning a B.A. at Duquesne University and an M.A. at Columbia University (where he met his wife), McInerney moved to Denver in 1969 to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Denver. In 1982, Dr. Mac – as his students called him – joined the Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of History, where he worked until retiring in 2019, stopping only when his health made it difficult for him to continue teaching.

The Brooklyn Dodgers baseball aficionado and passionate presidential-history scholar was known for teaching through stories – not only in the classroom but with his children and grandchildren, strangers and hospital nurses, telling them, “I am an educator, not just for my job but in everything that I do.” McInerney believed the best way to understand history was to relate to it and was always willing to share his knowledge with anyone who wanted to listen.

“Dr. McInerney used his rich experiences to enliven his lectures, and many students describe him as one of the best storytellers they ever met,” said Matt Makley, Ph.D., professor of History. “It was not unusual to walk by a classroom where Tom was teaching and see students gathered close, enthralled with the lectures of a brilliant historian.

“His quick wit, love for a good pint of Irish stout and jovial nature will be greatly missed.”

McInerney taught or studied at universities on three continents, traveled to over 65 countries and all 50 states and found himself near the center of U.S. politics during a pivotal time in history. In the 1960s, he served as the advance man for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, traveling with him throughout New York City and state. McInerney marched with Kennedy on St. Patrick’s Day 1968 after the senator announced his presidential candidacy and attended his funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral less than three months later.

A recipient of several honors throughout his lifetime, McInerney was most proud to have been named a Fulbright scholar. During his 1990-91 fellowship in Hungary, he held the distinction of being the first U.S. professor to teach at what was then known as Karl Marx University (now the Corvinus University of Budapest), in addition to teaching English at a middle school.

“Dr. McInerney’s Fulbright fellowship in Hungary benefited our students and brought credit to MSU Denver,” said Steve Leonard, Ph.D., professor of History. “He was a kind and gentle person of considerable intelligence.”

McInerney held tremendous affection for his Roadrunner family, the words on his University bio page saying it best: “Believer in faith, family and the American Way. Respect varieties of political thought and the rights of expression. Love all children and some animals. Students are high on my list. STUDENT FRIENDLY and AVAILABLE.”

His family says McInerney would want his colleagues to know how much he loved them, what an important role they played in his life and how grateful he was for their conversation, knowledge and friendship over the decades. And while he would never have said an academic’s life was easy, he would have assured anyone listening that it was worth it.

Link to the Early Bird article.



Dr. Shelby Balik’s Article Published in RED Magazine

February 02, 2021

The full article written by Cory Phare entitled, What can History Teach us about Jan 6? can be found here.

In the interview Dr. Balik explains parallels from history to help the reader understand the recent attack on the U.S. Capital.



Dr. Andrea Maestrejuan Awarded Prestigious Grant

January 28, 2021

The grant was given by the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, which supports university professors who develop courses and curriculum to study the Holocaust.  In 2020 they awarded 4 teaching grants—with only one going to a professor at an institution in the United States.



American Historical Association (AHA) Issues Statement Condemning the Assault on Washington D.C.

January 08, 2021

The full article and statement approved by the AHA Council entitled, Ransacking Democracy (January 2021) can be found on the American Historical Society official website or here.



Stephen Leonard’s Interview Published on 9 News

March 04, 2020

The article was featured in the History Colorado section on the 9 News official website

The full article, written by Allison Sylte and entitled, The 1918 Spanish flu killed 8,000 people in Colorado, but Gunnison only had 2 Cases can be found on the 9 News’ official website.



Stephen Leonard’s Interview Published on 9 News

April 10, 2020

The article was featured in the History Colorado section on the 9 News official website

The full article, written by Jeremy Jojola and entitled, What can Colorado learn from the 1918 Pandemic can be found on the 9 News’ official website.



Shelby Balik’s Article Published in Washington Post

November 12, 2020

The piece was featured in the Made by History section

The full article entitled, Donald Trump’s disregard for our transition rituals threatens our democracy, can be found on the Washington Post’s website.



In memoriam

MSU Denver Mourns the Passing of Paul Sidelko, Ph.D., Professor of History

October 26, 2020

By Matt Makley, Ph.D.

Paul Sidelko, Ph.D. – a beloved son, uncle, brother, friend, professor and colleague – passed away last week at the age of 53. Sidelko was a professor of history at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he taught courses on medieval Europe, Islamic cultures and the modern Middle East.

A dedicated academic with a passion for history, Sidelko spent more than 20 years in higher education. Prior to joining MSU Denver, he taught at the University of Toronto, the University of New Mexico, the University of Colorado Denver, the University of Louisville and Grand Valley State University. He accepted a position as an assistant professor with MSU Denver in 2006 and was promoted to full professor in August 2019.

Sidelko had a brilliant intellect, which he joyfully shared with students. He was never afraid to express himself, especially when it came to supporting MSU Denver students. Former student Cardinal Tomczyk described Professor Sidelko as “an inspiring intellectual with a great love of his chosen subject.”

“He was open and opinionated yet not only willing to listen to his students but genuinely interested in what opinions they had to offer,” Tomczyk said. “This made class time a pleasure.”

Sidelko dedicated himself to developing study-abroad opportunities, and his own work took him to the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Sidelko also served as the treasurer of the Fulbright Association of Colorado and was a member of the Mediterranean Seminar, the Medieval Academy of America and the Middle East Studies Association.

He was also fundamental in helping to shape the Individualized Degree Program at MSU Denver. He helped countless students carve unique paths to IDP degrees. One of his IDP students, Naweed Hoshmand, said, “He was always supportive and never really stopped advocating for us to use our voices and say what we felt must be said.”

As a researcher, Sidelko focused on medieval and modern periods of history in the Middle East and North Africa, including Turkey and the Mediterranean. Topics that drew his focus included the Arab Spring, the complex diversity of Islamic societies, Muslims in North America, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran and Iraq – as well as the Middle East during WWI, WWII and the Cold War. He authored several publications and often presented his research on campus and around the world.

Sidelko earned a bachelor’s degree in Medieval Studies with emphasis on history from Swarthmore College in 1989, followed by a master’s degree in Medieval Studies, Latin, French, German and Arabic at the University of Toronto. His studies culminated with a doctorate in Medieval European and Islamic History, also from the University of Toronto, in 1998.

He is survived by his parents, William and Delores; his brother John and sister-in-law Rebecca; nephew Clayton; and dogs Thayni and Walis. The Sidelko family and Paul’s many friends ask anyone who would like to remember Paul to give a donation in his name to support refugee students and immigrant services at MSU Denver.

Giving to the MSU Denver Foundation online is secure and easy, and since the foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization registered and in good standing with the IRS, your gift is tax-deductible in the manner and to the extent provided by law. Please consult your tax advisor. Thank you for supporting our students and programs. Please note: MSU Denver Corporate Cards may not be used.



Matthew Makley’s Book Wins Award

December 3, 2019

Dr. Makley’s book, The Small Shall Be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Indians, was selected as the 2019 “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice.  Their letter of notification specified, “These outstanding works have been selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as an important—often the first—treatment of their subject. Constituting about eleven percent of the titles reviewed by Choice during the past year, and two percent of the more than 21,000 titles submitted to Choice during the same period, Outstanding Academic Titles are truly the ‘best of the best.”

History Department

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