Skip to main content Skip to main content

SILA Branding20

Congratulations to our 2020 Awardees. These awards celebrate people who contributed to the MSU Denver campus community through Student Organizations, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Intercollegiate Athletics, Student Employment, and Overall Leadership. 


Student Organization Awards

New Student Organization of the Year

New Student OrgEnvironmental Science Club

The New Student Organization of the Year award must be a new organization that brings something unique to campus life, demonstrates healthy risk-taking opportunities, and makes a positive impact on the campus community.

The club’s mission is to promote environmental awareness on campus and provide a place for students to participate in social events, service events, and network with other students and professionals in the field.

The big event for ESO this past year was the environmental science career fair/ STEM career fair. They co-sponsored this event with the Classroom to Career Hub (C2 Hub) and had over 50 employers participate in the fair. Many students (including several club members) landed permanent employment positions or internships from the fair! The officers in the club, Lorena Robes, President; Ashley Purcell, Vice President; Kooper Cline, Treasurer; Violet Eagle, Secretary were instrumental in organizing the fair. Lorena, in particular spent hundreds of hours working on logistics in the months leading up to the fair.

The club also sponsored several other small events including an environmental documentary “movie” viewing event that was open to the entire campus. They intended to have three additional events this past semester: a career panel (with environmental professionals in the field), a social hike, and an environmental community service event. Unfortunately, due to COVID, they were unable to hold these other events.

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link.


Educational Event of the Year

Educational EventClinical & Counseling Psychology Club (2020 Insight: An Odyssey of the Mind Conference)

The Clinical & Counseling Psychology Club has been around MSU Denver for a long time, but this was the first year the club hosted their own conference. President, Tyler DeVries, developed the idea with his fellow officers and club members several months prior to the event and made it a goal of theirs to pull off a successful conference. The Clinical & Counseling Club developed and implemented a professional conference (held on Saturday, February 1 at St Cajetan's) that was attended by 75 people. Six professionals from the community presented on various topics related to the practice of psychotherapy. Attendees included MSU Denver undergraduate and graduate students, Regis University graduate students, faculty, and professionals. The event was interactive, educational, well organized, and well attended. The club pulled off this very ambitious project, even though it was their first time staging such an event. Quite an impressive feat!

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link



Social Event of the Year

STDSigma Tau Delta (Planet in Peril: Call to Action)

Sigma Tau Delta is an international English honor society dedicated to the study of the English language and literature. This student organization has been a registered student organization at MSU Denver for more than two decades and has a dedicated and strong membership base.

Sigma Tau Delta hosted Planet in Perl which had over 300 attendees from campus and the Colorado community. They partnered with over 15 environmental and political sponsors. The event was also streamed live and to date has over 1,000 views. In addition the club was able to host a nonpartisan debate with Colorado U.S. Senatorial Candidates.

This event was beautifully executed and several of the participants including candidates have reached out to the club to thank them for hosting one of the best debates they have attended/participated in during their run. The planning of this event started in December 2019 though the winter break and on the day of the event Sigma Tau Delta members and officers demonstrated dedication, perseverance and professionalism.

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link.



Community Event of the Year

SO_JourneyJourney Through Our Heritage (Return of the Corn Mothers: A Celebration of Wise Women of the Southwest.)

Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) is another student organization with a long-standing history here at MSU Denver. JTOH is an innovative and unique multi-cultural educational program that is an offshoot of the JTOH Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) Department of Chicano/Chicana Studies and Department of African/African American Studies program. The JTOH student organization partners MSU Denver students with community organizations and non-profits to help engage them in service learning projects that enhances their understanding of issues related to areas of African/African American, Native American, Chicana/o, Mexicana/o, Mexican-American historical and contemporary issues.

The Return of the Corn Mothers project is a multi-generational and multi-cultural exhibit of stories and portraits of 47 women from the Southwest. The show's focus is a photo exhibition of women who have earned accolades for community activism and creative endeavors. Each featured woman also recounts in story recounting memories of the women who influenced the Corn Mothers in her life journey. The JTOH Student Org. wanted to help facilitate the project to continue the legacy of recording and documenting the significant contributions of women in Colorado whose stories might otherwise be forgotten.

The JTOH Student Org. team was instrumental in planning the induction of eight new women into the project, collecting their stories and facilitating the formation of partnerships to create the new project. In addition they planned events and ran workshops to highlight the project at nine community and campus events from Sept. 2019 through March of 2020.

The MSU Denver Literary For All Corn Mothers event on Nov. 6th included five sessions, seven speakers and served over 100 MSU Denver students. The student org. also programmed three weekends at the Denver Corky Gonzales Library, two events at CSU Pueblo, presented at UNC Gender and Equity Conference, and two Pueblo City Library events.

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link


Multicultural Event of the Year

PATPhi Alpha Theta (Black History Live: Frederick Douglass)

The History Department's Phi Psi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the second oldest honorary society in the United States) was founded in 1975. In 1990-1991 Phi Psi was selected as one of the top chapters in the United States. Members plan and participate in scholarly and social events. Membership is open to MSU Denver History majors and minors who have completed at least 12 hours in History and who have a 3.10 GPA or higher in History and an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher.

This past February, Colorado Humanities collaborated with Phi Alpha Theta on a theatrical event to portray a famous African-American person from history. Colorado Humanities sent Charles Pace who portrayed the famous Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Pace's acting focused on Douglass's assistance in getting rights for the freely emancipated slaves after the civil war. There was a Q&A session with those in attendance after the performance, in which Pace answered the questions as how Douglass would have answered them. The event was a significant success that had high attendance, engaged participation, and sparked in-depth conversations among the participants. This event was part of a series of events hosted as a part of Black History Month and the student organization executed the event and conversations to follow wonderfully.

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link.


Student Organization Advisor of the Year

AdvisorKaren Wenzel (Society of Recreation Students)

This year’s Advisor of the Year goes to an advisor that has served in this role for more than a decade. The role and impact of a student organization advisor is critical to the development and success of a student organization. This award is presented to an advisor who has shown exemplary support to students and gone above and beyond the minimal responsibilities of the student organization advisor position. Through commitment to students, this mentor has set an example and works as an advocate for students among faculty and administration. This year’s recipient has truly gone above and beyond for the organization she advises. She engages her students in professional development opportunities by taking them to conferences and workshops.

In the words of one of her nominators, Katie Wolf-Rodda:

“Karen Wenzel is an outstanding student organization advisor because of her dedication to the Recreation Professions students. She is currently teaching a huge course load and completing her dissertation for her PHD all while supporting the Society of Recreation Students (SRS). She always makes herself available for SRS members and has provided amazing guidance with organizing the student trip to the Annual CPRA Conference and the SRS Annual Recreation Job & Internship Fair. I can't think of anyone more deserving than her, she is an incredible mentor for all of us in SRS.”

Find out more about this student organization by clicking this link


Outstanding Student Organization Member

This award is given to an individual who demonstrates special commitment and leadership to an organization. This year the committee chose two winners for this award:

moodyRyan Moody (Advanced Manufacturing Club)

From Courtney Matsumoto, one of Ryan’s nominators:

Ryan is the President of the MSU Denver Advanced Manufacturing Club. Since its inception, Ryan has voluntarily dedicated much of his time to ensure the success of the organization. Ryan was instrumental in developing the club's bylaws and constitution and working with Student Activities-CMEI to get the club sanctioned. He has also helped recruit, market, and build club membership every year since its beginning in 2018. Recently, the AMC was presented with a $10,000.00 gift by Lockheed Martin Space which will be used by club members to engage in multidisciplinary projects having an advanced manufacturing focus. This year the club is developing a printed in-place drone device, which will require embedded electronics, control circuitry, programming and 3D printing knowledge. Ryan is also completing the computer programming, electrical elements of the project and will be presenting in front of the AMSI Advisory Board during Spring Break 2020 to update board members on project progress. On top of all this, Ryan works two jobs while maintaining a strong GPA. As you can see, Ryan has demonstrated great professionalism, leadership and teamwork for the club.

moraAlyssa Mora (Future Leaders of Design)

From Shawn Meek, one of Alyssa’s nominators:

"Alyssa is a talented student in the Department of Art's Communication Design program at MSU Denver. She is also the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Future Leaders of Design (FLoD) student club president, serving in her third semester in this role. Per her abilities to serve this student organization effectively, recognition is reflective of her abilities in multi-tasking, attentiveness to detail, dependability and punctuation, among her many more professional attributes, she is very deserving of this award.

Her ability to work well in group situations and frameworks, demonstrated many times in high pressure situations, has aided the Future Leaders of Design to construct a very solid level of professionalism and growth under her leadership. As an example, her involvement with La Alma / Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association (LALPNA), allowed her to serve as project lead with a small team of two other students, working collaboratively to design a new identity mark for LALPNA as a fundraising effort for upcoming conference travel. Partnership with this local nonprofit allowed Alyssa to manage the project and participate in the launch where she collected information on the nature of the project and desired outcomes. As project lead, she put together a timeline for the work to be completed, met benchmarks along the way, and made sure to keep both the client and Professor Abendroth informed with email communication throughout the process. Through a series of iterative refinements, Alyssa maintained professionalism and a commitment to the requirements of the project. In the final in-person presentation, she led the team in a review of work accomplished and detailed conclusive refinements. Final artwork was prepared for the selected design (which boosted more than one version/variation) and was sent to the client who reported a high level of appreciation and satisfaction with the outcome. All in all, this unique opportunity allowed the students to fundraise for upcoming conference travel per their creative talents.

We have no doubt that she will continue to display a high level of professionalism in her next career goals, as the above opportunity proved to display Alyssa's ability to manage a fairly stressful and persistent project timeline at the helm of a team on top of her coursework and other commitments. Her tenacity and sustained focus on what needed to be done, why, and how made the most impact and sustaining impression of her dedication. Her insightful resourcefulness and strength of communication skills stands out as important take-aways in this work. In the spirit of our student club, Alyssa appropriately embodies the club mission and vision."


Roadrunner Spirit Award

priceLiam Price (Linguistics Club)

This award is given to student groups for programs and leadership that may not fit into a traditional category or criteria. Examples include student organizations that have collaborated in unique and different way and student organizations that have taken a programmatic risk or challenged tradition. This year, the committee chose a student organization officer to represent this award.

Liam Price is the President of the Linguistics Club. He graduated in spring 2020 majoring in Linguistics with a 4.0 GPA. Liam started as the club president in Spring 2019 and reignited the activities of the Club in a tremendous way. He gathered a team of students and together they initiated numerous activities bringing in guest speakers, organizing meetings and events, and even working on creating a constructed language.

In the academic year of 2019/2020, the Linguistics Club has successfully fostered a small community of linguists and language-lovers across our campus, and has provided a space for scholars to meet and discuss their ideas about language and other related topics. Among the presenters they had both MSU Denver professors and speakers from CU Boulder. They have invited a constructed languages expert from Calgary and he agreed to give a talk, but due to the situation in the world right now they had to postpone the event.

Liam has demonstrated special commitment and leadership to the organization. Liam Price sets an example for others to follow and help inspire others in the Club to get more involved. He is one of the best presidents the Linguistics Club has had in the past 14 years.


Student Organization of the Year

linguistics_SOYLinguistics Club

The Linguistics Club is one the most active and vibrant student organizations at MSU Denver with over 100 members and a lot of great initiatives. In the academic year of 2019/2020, the Club has had guest speakers from MSU Denver and from CU Boulder who presented on interesting topic of language and its role in society. The presentations covered the Renaissance period (Dr. Pantos on Shakespeare and his portrayal of queer characters) and the contemporary rhetoric (CU Boulder professor on the language of politics and framing). The events brought in many students from all schools and departments and featured stimulating discussions. The club was highly engaged with the campus community and participated in leadership opportunities spanning across various departments and programs on campus. The club was creative with their marketing and promotion, and were active and welcoming in recruiting new members.

Find out more about this club by clicking this link.


Fraternity & Sorority Life Awards

Our Fraternity and Sorority organizations distinguish themselves from other student organizations with the recognition of our eight common values: Academic Excellence, Brotherhood & Sisterhood, Ethics, Inclusivity, Leadership, Lifetime Loyalty and Service. Each organization completes an annual accreditation report and presentation to show their commitment to our common values. Based on their overall score within their annual accreditation report, awards will go to the organization that most exemplified each value this last year.  

Academic Excellence

Academic AwardEta Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. 

The Eta Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. holds the highest GPA of 3.23 within our FSL community as well is well higher than the all undergraduate & all undergraduate women GPA of a non-affiliated MSU Denver student. Academic Excellence is one of Eta Chapters’ pillars in which all active sisters are required to complete a minimum of ten weekly study hours outside of their normal study hours. The Eta Chapter has utilized tools such as implementing monthly academic meetings, grade trackers, reporting, study buddies, alumni mentoring, academic incentives, and more!












BrotherhoodThe Xi Delta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc.


The Xi Delta chapter prides itself on Brotherhood and which is why they have been awarded the FSL Award for Brotherhood this year! Each month the Xi Delta Chapter makes sure to plan two coordinated brotherhood events outside of school in which they invite their alumni to as well to strengthen their bond with one and each other! The Xi Delta Chapter also makes spaces such as their weekly meetings intentional by making sure to check-in with each other at the start of their meetings.












SisterhoodBeta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc.

The Beta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc. centers Sisterhood by engaging current active and alumnae sisters to continue to grow the bond they have all created with one and another. By establishing, “Chi Nights” the Beta Chapter takes initiatives in creating space outside of MSU Denver to have fun and remind themselves to have fun by hosting a fun activity for “Chi Nights.”












Campus Involvement

Campus InvolvementBeta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc.

Members of the Beta Chapter make it a priority to get involved outside of fraternity and sorority life and you will see their members involved in numerous leadership programs such as the Denver Scholarship Foundation Scholars & Leadership Board, Pre-Collegiate Program Scholars, the Mayor Ambassadors, Reisher Scholars, the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and more!














EthicsAlpha Gamma Chapter of Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Inc. 


The Alpha Gamma Chapter promotes ethics by hosting educational training and workshops that are led by active and alumni members and cover subjects such as hazing prevention, toxic masculinity, and more!














InclusivityBeta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc.

The Beta Chapter at MSU Denver is made up of diverse, thriving members who have come together for one common sisterhood. With each of their lived experiences, they have established, “UndocuGreek” which creates space and platform for the FSL Undocumented/DACAmented Students to speak their truth to the rest of their FSL community including the larger Auraria Campus student body.













LeadershipBeta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc.

Leadership is also being awarded to The Beta Chapter of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc. As we see the Beta Chapter involved in organizations/programs outside of fraternity and sorority life, they have built and grown on their leadership skills in which they make sure not to keep for themselves. The Beta Chapter has created their Women’s Leadership Conference in which they invite Denver Metro K-12 and Higher Education women to come together for a day at MSU Denver and build on their leadership skills as well as professional development!











Lifetime Loyalty

LoyaltyXi Delta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc.

When one is able to engage with the Xi Delta chapter there is always at minimum one of their alumni brothers with them. The active chapter states, “Without our alumni, our organization would not exist, it is for this reason that we celebrate them in our annual chapter founding anniversary celebration/dinner hosted in October.”















ServiceEta Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc.

The Eta Chapter promotes service by participating in the 5K Girls of the Run of the Rockies, Food Bank for the Rockies as well donates to the Denver Dumb Friends League and National Philanthropy of Tijeras/Literacy Grams! Eta Chapter also hosts the annual Latina Youth Leadership Conference (LYLC) in which they host Middle School Students in the Denver Metro Area and expose them to higher education at an early age!













Student Athlete Awards

The CADRE award is presented to a Roadrunner student-athlete who has embodied the core values of MSU Denver – Community, Access, Diversity, Respect, Entrepreneurship (CADRE) – over the past year.  The values can be shown in any number of ways including community service, student engagement, and campus participation. 

Athlete_MaleC.A.D.R.E. Award

Sam Berg

Sam Berg is a Senior studying Events Management with a Sport Media Minor.  He is a multi-year All-RMAC Academic honor roll and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll Recipient as a member of  Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field.  Interim Director of Athletics, John Kietzmann notes, “He is a leader among peers and a great example to fellow Roadrunners”. 











C.A.D.R.E Award

Athlete_PorterTabitha Porter

Tabitha Porter is a Senior studying Biology and minoring in Anthropology.  Tabitha was named RMAC Player of the year and earned Academic All-RMAC and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in multiple years.  Interim Director of Athletics, John Kietzmann writes, “She is a leader among her peers and taken great pride in representing MSU Denver.”  













Student Employee Awards

Outstanding Customer Service Team

Employee_TeamCSClassroom to Career Hub Events & Marketing Team

The Classroom to Career Hub Events and Marketing Student Employee Team supports in event planning and logistics, development of marketing materials, and website updates for the new Classroom to Career Unit of Student Affairs.

Their nominator, Lauren Koppel, writes, “This team has created a system for multiple student employees and professional staff to request their services via a Qualtrics request. This then allows them to optimize who is working on what projects, maintains a history of the communication and request, and manage a timeline of which events need prioritization based on event deadline and request date. What this has encouraged my team to do is to move our event planning to prior to the semester beginning versus during. This allows us to better advertise our events, coordinate with more co-presenters, ensure early marketing, book spaces in a timely manner, manage staffing expectations, and overall decrease our stress in planning events.

This team also manages all our website and marketing requests. One thing I hugely appreciate about this team is that if they do not understand my request (which is often times due to my lack of description or assumption that one understands “my vision”) they will request time for us to speak in person. This group has been saving and archiving old flyers so that I can request updates to flyers for annual events—which is a huge timesaver for me as well and helps create a consistent brand. This group strives to turn around requests quickly without compromising the integrity of their work. They genuinely seek feedback and understand revisions as a necessary part of the creative process.

This group provides phenomenal customer services to the C2Hub staff and through them to MSU Denver students. This group really has developed a process and a commitment to process improvement which has improved my own team’s work and service to students.


Outstanding Team Project

Employee_RRTeamJourney Through Our Heritage

Journey Through Our Heritage is one of the nation’s most innovative and unique multicultural educational programs. Partnering college peer mentors with local elementary, middle and high school students, this “wrap around” program promotes leadership skill devolvement for all ages by creating an bond between students and community early on.

Their nominator, Dr. Renee Fajardo writes, “In response to the call for service learning the JTOH team made a choice to have the fall and spring completive teams from the schools focus on service learning projects. After hosting a campus event in the fall (Welcome Back) for over 100 local youth( including over a dozen non profits and campus service organizations), teams began the process of creating their own service learning projects. These projects were highlighted at an event in Dec. on campus where over 120 students showcased their service learning projects.

Schools were visited weekly by JTOH mentors to work on projects. Collectively they logged in over 250 hours of service projects and engaged in projects from voter registration, visiting senior citizens homes, cooking meals at Ronald Mc Donald House, food drives, raising funds for refugee students school supplies, cleaning senior citizens yards and hosting community meals. They JTOH team then set up their own service projects- two days at Denver Rescue Mission, fall clean up Alamosa Community Gardens, monthly free concerts at Aurora Fox Theater for local youth, Center Civic Park Giving Day ( funded by a grant they wrote to Zimmer Biomet) , Conservation Colorado, G I Forum , History Colorado Year of La Chicana, and the Chicano Humanities Art Council Healing event.


Roadrunner Spirit Student Employee Team

Employee_TeamJourney Through Our Heritage

The Journey Through our Heritage Team consist of student office staff (who provide technical and structural support) and student mentors. Each year the JTOH university team identify a theme of research for partner schools and then implement a weekly after school program for each school. One hundred school students from 10 schools ( 70% LatinX first generation college and 75 % Title I eligible ) all then engage in a yearlong project focused on research, service learning, civic engagement and leadership development.

This sense of belonging and collective planning gives all the students involved the the ability to realize their own potential. Learning communities and service learning projects such as these been identified as high-impact practices (HIPs) because they engage students in active learning and elevate their sense of worth, academic performance ,retention and graduation rates. JTOH MSU Denver teams members have a graduation rate of 85% and those who participate in the youth teams are estimated to have a 80 % graduation rate from high school. Hinkley High 2019 ( Aurora) youth had a 100 % rate for enrollment in post secondary education institutions.

Many current MSU Denver JTOH mentors joined as they were once on high school teams and MSU Denver JTOH alumni are now hosting JTOH teams at their own schools, hiring other JTOH alumni, running non profits that provide opportunities for the current JTOH team or otherwise networking with the current teams. The team was recently award the CoCeal 2020 Impact Award for their work with Latinx students. This team has great spirit and strives for excellence.


Outstanding Customer Service

CustomerServiceRachael Durham

Rachael Durham is a Graduate Student in Social Work and works on behalf of the department to support Marketing & Recruiting, Advising, and Admissions across the student life cycle.

Her nominator, Bailee Bannon Murray writes, “Rachel has been a major asset to the OSWSS-FA team. In response to the current COVID-19 health crisis, Rachael has been able to navigate the switch to moving our student services online with ease, and has continued her great work supporting student via phone, email, Zoom, and Teams advising, based on the student’s preference. She is a calm and motivating voice that students need during these unprecedented times and we are so very lucky to have Rachael on our team.

The nomination also contained several student quotes from her work advising and supporting undergraduates and admission candidates,

“Rachael was very helpful in answering all of my questions that I had regarding the MSW program and the BSSW program. I feel much better knowing in what my plan is for my current degree and my future degree thanks to this adviser.”

“Rachael was extremely helpful, and gave a lot of her insight into the program! She expressed positivity, and reassurance to my schedule which made me feel really on track. Also talked about the future, and gave me resources to look ahead just to get an idea of applying for the masters program, and field placement for my senior year!”

“Rachael was very helpful and listened, as well as, solved all of my questions and concerns. I really enjoyed talking with her and feel like I am on the right path in my academic planning now.”


Outstanding Educational Project

Employee_EducationalNalinda Kajunju Information Technology Service Desk

Nalinda is a Senior studying Computer Information Systems who supports the Information Technology Service Desk programs.

Her nominators, Anna-Liisa Breit & Lee Taylor write, “Nalinda started with us this summer and advanced in her knowledge and responsibility very quickly with us. She began a process of alternating her shifts across 2 teams and thrived at it, which was above and beyond to our current framework of student roles.

She showed us the possibility to use advanced employees in hybrid ways and trailblazed that path for others. Her dynamism culminated in her taking Lead on a new role we created - Walk-In Support team. Providing consistent coverage for walk-up support at our WC 243 location has always been hard for us as we try to balance that demand with also needing to run out on tickets. This walk-up support role requires that you understand multiple teams processes and to know how to best leverage those teams or your own skills to support the customer. You have to be able to resolve issues independently as a technician while also coordinating many moving pieces. We decided to create a team with our more advanced student employees that could perform these front desk duties and made Nalinda the Lead of this new team. Nalinda took on this role with gusto and has locked it down for us.

It is so reassuring to know she is ready to coordinate teams and services from that position as well as mentor the other student employees around her. I can call her with a pressing need or with a wild idea and she is open to helping with either. We are blessed that we have her to evolve our team for us."


Outstanding Multicultural Project

Chrysanctus (Chrys) Way

Chrysanctus (Chrys) Way is a Senior studying Mechanical Engineering Technology and serves as the Brother2Brother Community Leader creating a space for men of color in campus that supports their academic success. Chrys became a peer mentor because he wants to contribute to close the gap in education achievement for marginalized students at MSU. He's interested in being part of a team that promotes the understanding of the unique cultural experiences and learning preferences of MSU students of marginalized/underrepresented racial backgrounds

His nominator, Juan Gallegos writes, “Now in his third year of employment with the Brother 2 Brother program, Chrys has demonstrated a level of commitment and leadership to the program and MSU Denver students as a whole. When the full-time Coordinator of the B2B program was appointed to the Assistant Director role of the CMEI in December 2018, Chrys' responsibility and vision for the program began to materialize. As we hired new staff, Chrys took on the role of mentor, trainer, and friend. This extended beyond our B2B team.

In the fall 2019, I took parental leave for six weeks and yet again Chrys stepped up to support our entire student staff team in my absence. He led programming, administered a B2B book scholarship, and became a shoulder our team could rely on throughout that time.

We are so proud of Chrys' growth and leadership and recognize he does all this while balancing a second job off campus and classes."


Outstanding Community Project

Employee_CommunityElva Parga

Elva Parga is a Senior studying Mechanical Engineering Technology and works as a student mentor with Journey Through Our Heritage program. For the past two years, she has been aligning her work at JTOH with Conservation Colorado fighting Climate change.

Her joint nomination from Dr. Renee Fajardo director of the JTOH program and Patricia Ferrero from Conservation Colorado writing, “As a climate advocate, Elva has testified to Congressmen, State legislators and Commissioners to express the importance of strong regulations and sensible rulemaking that prioritize public health. Elva is a Promotora (Promotor), the action takers in the program. Elva is observant, a quality that I highly admire in a leader. Her ability to translate her story and the story of others into a compelling statement that addresses the importance of clean air, healthy drinking water or advocating for public lands, Elva has done it all.

Elva’s passion for protecting the planet is casually expressed with her calm and collected attitude. She is responsible with her duties and accountable to others. Over the past two years, Elva has advocated for the CORE Act, a bill that will protect over 400,000 acers in Colorado. She has testified to the CO. Department of Public Health and Environment to advocate for an electric infrastructure for our transportation systems including bringing electric vehicles to Colorado. Elva has made clear connections to these priorities as a way to curve our emissions.

Elva has taken the opportunity to learn how to be an advocate. Her ability to connect with others has grown since she began with Protégete. Her kind and gentle approach provides others the ability to see her as a leader. Elva has been challenged to speak in public and meet with decision makers. She met the challenge and is an example for others that everyone can make a difference.


Employee of the Year

Employee of the YearMateo (Matthew) Candelaria

Mateo (Matthew) Candelaria is a senior studying English and has been working as a peer consultant in the MSU Denver Writing Center since Fall 2017.

His nominator, Dr. Elizabeth Kleinfeld writes, “He has shown a commitment toward performing every aspect of the job at an exceptional level since the very beginning. He absolutely never misses a chance to learn about and from others or how to be a better global citizen. His excitement for learning is incredibly contagious.

He is always innovative and creative in his approaches to tutoring clients and constantly seeks out ways to learn from his colleagues in the Writing Center as well as the writing center community beyond campus. He has regularly and enthusiastically attended and participated in local and regional writing center conferences and events, and last year, presented at both a national and international writing center conference. Many clients have shared with me how much calmer and more confident they felt about their writing after a session with Mateo. He is also remarkably generous and supportive of colleagues. As Writing Center Director, I have deeply appreciated Mateo’s engagement with writing center scholarship. He and I often read the same articles and then discuss them and their potential implications for the MSU Denver

Writing Center. His level of scholarship is impressive, and his mind moves in critical and creative ways that are beyond what I typically expect of an undergraduate. Through our conversations, Mateo has impacted the development of our consultant education program as well as several other initiatives, such as our preliminary research into launching a community writing center.

I am lucky to regularly have amazing and energetic employees in the Writing Center. Even by the very high standard of enthusiasm and commitment I’ve come to expect, Mateo is exceptional. He has truly made the Writing Center more inclusive and innovative. He has changed our programs and practices."

Overall Leadership Awards

Amber Mozet Roadrunner Leadership Award for School Spirit 

MozetEric Perez

Eric Perez enrolled at MSU Denver in 2014 as a first-generation college student and is studying Criminal Justice and Criminology with a deep commitment to change in our communities, youth, and justice.

His nominator, Dr. Renee Fajardo writes, “ He grew up on the South Side of Denver with a family history fraught with many of the same issues that plague our young Hispanic males; gang violence, jail, criminal issues, and poverty. He imagined a more successful life for his family and enrolled in school here to break the chain. While at MSU Denver he’s found a community through the Journey Through Our Heritage Program, a year-long program matching MSU Denver students to several middle and high schools to enhance the public school system's curriculum in the areas of African American, Native American Chicano/a, Mexicana/o, Mexican American and Latina/o Studies.

In the spring of 2017 Eric struggled to maintain his status at MSU and had to drop out for a semester. Even so, he continued to mentor one of the most difficult JTOH schools to mentor, Ace Community Challenge. He stayed with his kids there until the school closed in May of 2018.“ I am dedicated to my students, like me they have suffered and need something stable in their lives.” Said Eric of his passion for his schools.

He is especially effective working with inner city youth and is able to reach the most difficult of our teens. Vista in Montebello is a challenge as the kids there are not normally engaged in after school projects. He partnered them with Conservation Colorado and created a class for the JTOH program. He is always attending extra events with his students including various community events like Latino Advocacy Day, service learning projects, and school cultural nights. He helps out with other departments and professors when they need extra help. He has done every job at JTOH from budget projections, event planning, anthology design, organizing office infrastructure, building networking and partnerships and setting-up field trips with Outdoor Pursuits and community organizations.

This dedication and commitment speaks volumes of Eric and his drive to help those who have grown up with challenges. He has always gone above and beyond the call of duty and strives very hard to be a good role model. The whole JTOH program owes Eric a great deal as in the last five years he has changed the program into a program that is relevant to today’s youth.


Vicki Golich Roadrunner Leadership Award for Student Success

Overall_GolichAlaura Ward

Alaura Ward is a fourth-year Political Science student and a first-generation college student. She is an Alumni of the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organizations (CLLARO) Capitol Fellows Program, which allowed her to work at the Colorado State Capitol during the 2019 legislative session. Her passion is advocacy and getting people involved in the legislative process with involvement in the National Political Science Association Honor Society, IGNITE National and the Model United Nations program. She currently serves as Vice President for the Student Government Assembly (SGA) at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Her nominator, Guillermo Ramirez, writes,  "Alaura’s engagement with her learning and passion-driven life is what has genuinely impressed me and prompts my highest recommendation. Alaura is a risk-taker. I have the opportunity of being her SGA Advisor where my part of my role is really to admire the leadership and passion, she exudes as Student Body Vice President.

It’s become an opportunity to be able to see Alaura’s work ethic outside of the classroom. I see it when she comes to my office and asks if she can talk to me about how to best engage the students or how to bring the student’s experiences to the forefront and those with marginalized identities. In such proximity to Alaura, I have been able to learn how dynamic she is. Alaura is multifaceted. She has been an essential part of the SGA team at MSU Denver this past academic year. A constant force on the team, continuously communicating with her teammates to decide their next move in embedding learning, equity, and inclusion and involvement within the roadrunner student experience. And if ever she isn’t on the clock working on SGA tasks then Alaura is on the sidelines of other committees and projects ensuring student success is always at the forefront. Alaura most recently has joined MSU Denver’s Vice President for Diversey and Inclusion Michael Benítez Jr., Ph.D. in his Diversity and Inclusion Council. It’s inspiring to have a student who is so deeply involved in something that has changed her life and is willing to share that experience with others. Alaura is a student who doesn’t back down to anybody. Her unwavering beliefs and passion provide her with a platform for a voice that so desperately needs to be heard in our world today.


Stephen M. Hay Leadership Award

Overall_WeartBraedan Weart

Braedan Weart is a native to Denver, CO and finished his Junior year studying Political Science with a minor in Financial Services. He is a member of the Honors program and serves as President of the Student Government Assembly. Braedan has been working with Student Government for 3 years now including work with student fee allocation since late 2017 working to allocate 2.8 million dollars to 14 programs at MSU Denver.

His nominator, Guillermo Ramirez, writes, “Braedan is fearless. His courage to speak his mind and heart is unparalleled. Always first to take the risk, always first to open the space and invite others to participate. His voice has become a tool that he uses to take risks. The risks reward him but also reward his peers around him by transforming spaces to be places where students can take risks by being a model for it. Having Braedan as Student Body President has created a space with so much life within MSU Denver SGA. SGA Friday meetings in which he leads are the best meetings that participate and engage because he so readily opens up space and ensures that he doesn’t dominate it but invites others into the conversation to honor that student’s voice and increase student activism by having his peers use their voice and rise up. There is a vulnerability in having your voice heard, Braedan has mastered this, but I think there is a deeper vulnerability in knowing when to move back and allowing other voices to be heard. And that is what Braedan does so well he moves forward when necessary and moves back when it’s needed. It’s a skill that many people struggle with but informs his innate ability to be a leader many times by directly leading but it’s balanced with his ability to follow. Braedan is driven to create meaningful change in the lives of other students and does so well within his leadership role of Student Body President in uplifting his peers’ voices to promote and increase student activism on campus.


Sophomore Leadership Award

Overall_SophomoreJacqueline Paz-Peralta

Jacqueline Paz-Peralta is a sophomore working towards a health care career. She is one of several students involved in coordinating and shaping service experiences through the Alternative Break program.

Her nominator, Lauren Koppel, writes, “Jackie has attended two Alternative Break trips and is leading her third. She volunteered in Spring 2019 at the Grand Canyon picking up microtrash which has devastating consequences on the California Condor—a critically endangered bird. Jackie also volunteered during her summer at the Cheyenne River Youth Project on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Jackie volunteered at Rockies 50/50 over the summer, selling 50/50 raffle tickets to fundraise for our Alternative Break TripsShe also did this to extend the opportunity to attend an Alternative Break trip to other students in the future. Now she is organizing a trip to La Puente in Alamosa, Colorado. La Puente addresses chronic rural poverty in the San Luis Valley through a variety of programs including: housing and basic needs supports, and a children’s program.

I appreciate that Jackie advocates for her needs, proactively communicates, and absolutely role-models follow-through. If Jackie commits to a project she will complete it in advance of her own self-set deadlines. In addition to all of this- Jackie participates in the Denver Scholarship

Foundation Leadership program—attending leadership conferences, speaking on behalf of scholars at DSF events, and learning about leadership through various site visits. Jackie also is a phenomenal student. She has a 3.67 gpa. I often see her studying with her fellow health-care interested peers. In her student office she creates a culture of commitment to academic excellence. Jackie leads through example, and I can see the influence on her peers.”


Junior Leadership Award

Overall_EastonSean Easton

Sean Easton is a Junior studying computer information systems. He is a first generation college student involved in the Journey Through Our Heritage Program and the American Indian Business Leaders student organization.

His nominator, Dr. Renee Fajardo writes, “Sean considers others views and do so with an open mind. His adds texture to our team and representative of how we can work with each other despite our differing opinions. He has a drive and passion to help others who are marginalized, from creating curriculum to help build financial stability to hosting the first-ever American Indian Business Leadership Conference.

Not surprisingly, he gives 100 percent effort in working with them on community projects. As a business major his interests are in helping plan economic stability for individuals, so he has set up a plan to help teach high school kids and college kids about building credit, relaying it to empowering communities of color. He also worked to establish the American Indian Business Leaders student organization with a one-day conference on campus. This work has enabled three MSU Denver students to apply for and receive full paid summer internships with AIBL.  In his own words

My strongest quality is my problem solving. If I don’t know how to do something, I learn, I acquire the skills to finish the job. I am always on time, usually 10-15 minutes early. If I make a mistake, I admit it, try to see where I went wrong, and change my methodology for the future. This behavior is not inherent. Everyone has the capability to do this to some capacity. It does not matter how you define yourself or how others define you. Only who know who you are.”

He is a Road Runner! He is a great role model and a great humanitarian.


Senior Leadership Award

Overall_MillerSuzanne Miller

Suzanne Miller is a spring 2020 graduate in Travel and Tourism Management involved in a number of student organizations at MSU Denver: Meeting Professionals International Student Chapter, Rocky Mountain professional Convention management Association, and the Voluntourism & Travel Club of MSU Denver. She has been a regular volunteer at Banner Health North Denver Medical Center and a recipient of the Colorado Tourism Office scholarship.

Her nominator, Dr. Halle Sorenson writes, “Suzanne has become a vital member of our team by demonstrating poise and professionalism in all endeavors. Suzanne has worked tirelessly to improve process ful-time work at the Jacquard Hotel and Rooftop as well as balancing her studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. There is little else an employer could want from such an employee except for continuation of their education and career. Not only is she a responsible model academic, but Suzanne’s future within the hospitality industry is bright. I anticipate Suzanne will become a shining example of achievement and advancement for women in hospitality, in short, a woman of influence.”

Edit this page
Contact Us

Office Location:
Tivoli Student Union (TV)

Office Number:

Phone Number:
303 615-0606

Fax Number: