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Previous PI of the Month


Paulette McIntosh


Paulette McIntosh is the Director and Principal Investigator for the TRiO High School Upward Bound (HSUB) Program. The $1,866,975 grant from the U.S. Department of Education began in September 2012 and runs through August 2017. HSUB’s primary goal is to assist 85 low-income and first generation high school students in Denver to gain the skills and motivation necessary to complete secondary education and to enter and complete post-secondary education. For 38 years, Upward Bound has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to provide supplemental after-school academic, tutorial, and pre-college support services to Program participants. Ms. McIntosh is a graduate of MSU (’81), as well as a 1972 alum of the Upward Bound Program. 




Andrew Bonham, Ph.D.


In partnership with MSU Denver colleagues Dr. Rosemarie DePoy Walker and Derrick Haynes, Dr. Andrew J. Bonham is Co-PI on a recently funded grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sponsor “Denver Metro Chem Scholars” (DMCS). The DMCS program was awarded $620,309 over five years to provide scholarships, seminars, peer support, and research opportunities for MSU Denver Chemistry students. Dr. Bonham is a biochemist who joined the faculty of Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2011 to serve as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research and teaching interests focus on transcription factor biology, bio-engineering and bio-sensors, and the transformative power of technology in the classroom. Dr. Bonham's student-driven research at MSU Denver and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) focused on novel bio-sensors for disease and cancer diagnostics and has been featured in Photonics, a magazine published by the American Chemical Society, as well as Science Newsline. Dr. Bonham received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with an emphasis in Biophysics and Bioengineering from UCSB and was also a Tri-County Blood Bank postdoctoral fellow at UCSB. In 2013, Dr. Bonham received the Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award from MSU Denver.

Adriann C. Wycoff, Ph.D.

?Dr. Adriann Wycoff began fundraising to support family literacy programming for the Denver community in 1994 when she was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Denver Housing Authority. Since then, she has turned her one-person project into a nationally recognized program that employs 14 staff members and manages funds from multiple federal, state, local, and private grants and contracts totaling over $420,000. The Family Literacy Program has grown from a small single-grant program to a major initiative that last year offered home and center-based services to 290 adults and 356 children that included early childhood education, instruction in English as a Second Language, and Spanish-language GED preparation for adults and out-of-school youth. Dr. Wycoff is also Co-Principal Investigator on the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education. CAMP provides comprehensive academic support, as well as scholarships to first year students who are from migratory and seasonal farm-working families. CAMP was established at MSU Denver in 1999 and serves approximately 35 first generation, low-income students each year. Dr. Wycoff is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and is an Associate Professor of Women's Studies. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Spanish and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from Northwestern University.



Hsiu-Ping Liu, Ph.D.

In partnership with a colleague from the Smithsonian Institute, Dr. Hsiu-Ping Liu is currently a Co-PI on grant awards that explore the “Taxonomic Clarification of Upper Klamath Basin Pebblesnails (genus Fluminicola)" and “Taxonomic Clarification of Oregon and Washington Duskysnails”, both funded by the USDA-Forest Service. Her research interests are in systematics, evolution, and conservation genetics of freshwater mollusks. Dr. Liu joined the faculty of Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2007, serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. In 2008, she served as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012, and currently serves as the Director for the Center for Advanced STEM Education at MSU Denver.  She has published 28 papers in various peer-reviewed scientific journals, received more than $300,000 in funding from external grants, and has mentored over 40 students. Dr. Liu has been an instructor for Summer Science Scholars and the Summer Science Institute Programs since 2010, has served as a Faculty Mentor for Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation (CO-AMP), and has been the Research Coordinator for Strides Toward Encouraging Professions in Science (STEPS). Dr. Liu earned her doctoral degree from the Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also holds a Master of Science degree from the Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University.



     Esther M. Rodriguez, JD

Esther M. Rodriguez is Director of the Center for Urban Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver where she leads the University's partnership with Denver Public Schools to increase student achievement through highly effective teachers. She has served as the Principal Investigator and Director for a $9.5 million federal Teacher Quality Enhancement grant that ended in 2010 and currently serves as the PI and Director for a 5-year 21st Century Community Learning Center grant that was awarded last spring. Prior to joining MSU Denver in 2007, she headed an education consulting practice, was Vice-President for Development at the Education Commission of the States where she was responsible for managing all fundraising operations, and served as Associate Executive Director for the State Higher Education Executive Officers where she headed national policy initiatives on P-16 collaboration, high school reform, teacher quality, workforce development, and diversity in higher education. She is a licensed attorney earning her J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and a is former urban high school teacher.



Margaret “Peggy” M. O'Neill-Jones, Ph.D.

Dr. O’Neill-Jones is a professor of technical communication and media production and served as the department chair for nearly ten years at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her career began as a newspaper photographer and moved to broadcast, corporate, and educational media. As media transitioned to digital, online, and virtual environments, she led the way with innovative interactive media productions including 21st Century Learning Matters, a video that describes the strategies and tools needed to create powerful learning environments. Currently, she is the Regional Director for the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Western Region program.  TPS provides professional development related to finding, accessing, and integrating the vast reservoir of primary sources from the Library of Congress to deepen content understanding through inquiry learning and 21st century learning skills. Through Dr. O’Neill-Jones’ leadership, the TPS-Colorado program grew from statewide outreach to a regional program that serves 14 western states. The program received a $255,000 increase from the Library of Congress to the annual TPS award. After a 26-year career at MSU Denver, Dr. O'Neill-Jones retired in 2016.  She was recently awarded professor emeritus of journalism and technical communication and MSU Denver's first-ever Extraordinary Service Award.



  Leroy S. Chavez, MBA

Mr. Leroy S. Chavez is Principal Investigator and Project Director of the Federal TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  VUB is designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education. The program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring, and academic instruction in core subject areas. The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in, and complete, postsecondary education programs.    

As a United States Army Veteran, Metro State alum (’96), and graduate of VUB, Mr. Chavez has over fifteen years of experience in higher education, including eleven years working directly with military veterans who are pursuing goals in postsecondary education. His recent grant proposal to the U.S. Deptartment of Education on behalf of VUB was selected to receive funding in the amount of $280,943 for the first budget period (9/1/12-8/31/13). It is anticipated that the total award will be $1,404,715 over a five year period. Congratulations, Mr. Chavez!

Rosemarie Depoy Walker, Ph.D.

Dr. Rosemarie Depoy WalkerDr. Walker, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at MSU Denver, is the Principal Investigator and Director of the STEPS (Strides Toward Encouraging Professions in Science) program, a major National Institute of Health (NIH) Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant that has been operational since 1998 with awards totaling over $2.4 million. STEPS seeks to encourage and support underrepresented minority students from two-year colleges to persist in their education, transfer to four-year colleges in majors related to biomedical sciences, and to eventually enter careers in biomedical research. The STEPS program has played a role in MSU Denver’s success in improving the transfer rate of minority students, as well as improving the number of minority students majoring in Biology and Chemistry.

The American Chemical Society Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA) selected Dr. Walker as The Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting (RMRM) 2012 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for advancing diversity in the chemical Sciences. For more information, please visit, Congratulations, Dr. Walker!


PI's for the Champ Grant

Metropolitan State University of Denver is part of a robust consortium which includes Front Range Community College as the lead, 7 community colleges, a technical college and 27 manufacturers throughout the state that were awarded a 3-year, $25 million grant to implement the Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program (CHAMP) in 2013. MSU Denver is the only 4-year institution in the consortium and received $1,958,663 of the grant funded by the U.S. Deptartment of Labor, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. In Colorado, an estimated 15,800 jobs go unfilled each year due to lack of qualified candidates. CHAMP is an ambitious project that will increase the attainment of manufacturing degrees and certificates that align with the industry’s recognized competencies, skills, and certifications to create a pipeline of highly-qualified advanced manufacturing workers. 


Dr. Devi K. Kalla, along with his colleague Dr. Mingli He, are the PIs for the CHAMP program at MSU Denver. Since Fall 2011, Dr. Kalla has served as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET). He has extensive expertise in composite manufacturing, machining, and modeling. As a dedicated teacher of higher education, one of Dr. Kalla's goals is to change the paradigm in how green manufacturing is taught. Dr. Kalla recently presented his ideas on incorporating life-cycle assessment teaching to enable engineering and industrial design students to better understand sustainability in a white paper presented at the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education conference.

Dr. Mingli He, Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering & Engineering Technology (EAET), has served in various faculty positions since joining MSU Denver. As a registered professional engineer, he works on developing research opportunities for EAET students and faculty in collaboration with local college and industrial partners. Most of EAET senior capstone courses are supported with the projects provided by industry and some of the research has been presented by EAET students/faculty in the annual MSU Denver undergraduate student research conferences and National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

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