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Get to know the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
The CLAS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee mission is to discuss, communicate and create collaboration in ongoing and upcoming initiatives and events that support the goal of enhancing the environment for diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in CLAS and across the University. It aims to foster and support an inclusive and respectful environment for all members of the CLAS community. The committee will make recommendations to the Dean’s office on diversity-related issues and raise awareness of existing formal and informal barriers to diversity and inclusivity.
Dr. Ben Dyhr joined the faculty at MSU Denver in 2009 and has been a member of the CLAS DEI committee since 2022.
Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
He commits to professional development activities and roles that allow for greater engagement in the sciences for students neglected with regards to preparation for college level mathematics. At MSU Denver, Dr. Dyhr’s work has focused on making high-enrollment General Studies designated courses in mathematics and statistics more affordable and accessible to our student body.
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Composition, Music
David E. Farrell’s work towards more equitable and inclusive teaching has led to de-centering Western European music’s place in the collegiate classroom. His courses have included units on calypso and Carnival music in Trinidad and on analytical techniques in contemporary popular music, and his mentorship of student composers has focused on their personal musical identities and experiences. As Vice-President of The Playground Ensemble, a Denver-based chamber music group, he led an initiative to reimagine our collaborative projects to represent a broader range of Denver’s artistic community; recent grants from this initiative have been awarded to NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, composer/performer Silen Wellington, and visual artist/sculptor Alex Branch.
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Megan Filbin, Ph.D. has long been an advocate for equity and inclusion in STEM. In 2016 she is a co-founded MSU Denver’s Women in STEM annual conference, which highlights challenges groups historically excluded form STEM face, and provides tools to overcome these challenges. Since 2019 she has been a member of the Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee for the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In this role she has led several international outreach events and has co-authored a perspective about issues women face that prevent their persistence in STEM careers. Megan is passionate about mentoring and providing equitable research opportunities for undergraduates who wish to pursue careers in STEM, as this is the first step to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM. She leads a diverse undergraduate research group and her students present their work nationally. As an affiliate faculty member in the RNA Bioscience Initiative at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Program, she also co-organizes events that support undergraduate access to graduate programs and summer research opportunities.
Courtney joined MSU Denver in 2015 and has been a member of the CLAS DEI committee since 2022.
CLAS Data Analyst, Marketing & Communications Senior Manager
Courtney’s professional endeavors have focused on providing access to higher education and support for underrepresented students. She is the founder and leader of MSU Denver’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Faculty and Staff Alliance and a member of the Latino/a Faculty and Staff Association. Since 2016, she has served on several University DEI committees including Microaggressions Awareness, DREAMer Network, Hispanic Serving Implementation Team, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion: DEI Council, HSI Synergy and Committee for Sustainable Racial Justice. She holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Sociology from Colorado State University and a M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.
Director of First Year Writing, English
Jessica’s DEI work is deeply tied to scholarship in African-American literature and linguistic justice in writing classes. As a white scholar of African-American literature and culture, ethical scholarship requires her to make an active commitment to anti-racist action and pedagogy. Jessica’s academic commitments to equity and justice are an outgrowth of a personal commitment to antiracist action that developed through her love of punk and hip-hop and standing against skinheads in the punk scene.
Associate Professor in the Anthropology Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Sanaa Riaz is an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. An international student turned migrant in the United States, Riaz is acutely aware of the social, academic and economic struggles that hinder minorities’ upliftment and self-representation. As a cultural anthropologist, a relativistic and critical examination of the diversity of human experience is key to Riaz’s pedagogical missions and research undertakings. Riaz looks forward to building MSU Denver as a safe and inclusive community where diversity is a tool for growth and learning.
Associate Professor and Chair/Director of Gender, Women and Sexualities Studies
Anahi Russo Garrido is an Associate Professor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality studies, and currently serves as Department Chair and Director of the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy (GITA), at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She completed her PhD in Gender and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University. Her research and teaching has focused on transnational sexualities, gender and sexuality in Latin America, queer and feminist theory and social justice organizing. She is the author of the monograph “Tortilleras Negotiating Intimacy: Love, Friendship and Sex in Queer Mexico City” (Rutgers University Press, 2020), and is currently pursuing research on contemplative practices and racial justice organizing.
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