Class notes allow alumni to learn the latest news about their fellow Lynx. We invite you to share your favorite accomplishments, whether a promotion, publication, new job, new house, or a new baby. Tell us (or show us—photo or video submissions are encouraged) what you've done since graduation.
Submitted and approved class notes will be featured here on CU Denver Alumni's website and social media.
Notification of the passing of a CU Denver graduate is appreciated and will be included in the "In Memoriam" section.
Frida Silva ’20 is the Digital Marketing Associate at Neta Collab.
"In the Spring, I felt stressed that I wasn't going to be able to secure a full-time position in my field after graduation. Neta Collab hired me in the Spring as an intern. After I graduated, they asked me if I wanted to come on as their first, full-time employee as a Digital Marketing Associate! Today, I work with a fearless team that works with incredible organizations and movements that are on the front-line of social change. I am proud to be part of Neta and honored to be doing the work we are doing!"
Todd Smith ’20 is pursuing a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Production at the North Carolina School of the Arts, a highly selective school of only 152 graduate students. Todd plans to take his entrepreneurial spirit and his love for creating character-based story into a career in episodic television.
Since finishing the MURP program, Alex Sterling MURP '10 has been working as a consultant for Ricondo & Associates, which is an aviation consulting firm that works with airports to solve unique and challenging problems and help plan for the future.
Caroline Stump '20 recently announced she has accepted a position at Warner Music Group as a Licensing Administrator and is headed to Nashville to begin her career.
Loc Trang '18, MBA '20 was selected to join The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as an administrative fellow beginning summer 2021. He will be participating in a pipeline program dedicated to mentoring and developing the next generation of healthcare leaders.
"I've chosen an organization whose mission spoke to me after losing my mother to an aggressive cancer disease in 2016. I am grateful for the mentoring and expertise of the staff and professors at CU Denver who have bestowed upon me exceptional knowledge."
Diana Lee ’20 heads to an international center of academic excellence, Sunway University in Malaysia, having earned a scholarship towards a Master’s in Creative Media. It’s huge investment in her commitment to reaching her goals–she had been accepted to prestigious graduate programs in the U.S., but connections to Sunway through a CAM partnership for cultural and scholarly exchange and a graduate program that aligns with her professional ambitions have led her to take on the challenge of international study.
Lee says she is committed to “immersive study of the global creative industry and how music, policy, and economy can impact any community.” Her passions lead her to look to how she can one day lend professional support to others coming up in music business.
After completing the urban and regional planning program, Julia Wcislo MURP '20 transitioned from an internship to a full-time position at the Colorado Department of Transportation in their Programming Unit as the Transit Programming Support Specialist. In this role she helps the unit to oversee the grants management system the the programming of funds going out to transit agencies across the state. .
In 2020 Jelie '19 was invited to give a TED Talk, titled “An Artist Guide to Running a Business.” At 8 years old she was rapping, at 16 performing, and 19 she started her own music production company. She’s building her own performance career, and a producer and sound engineer. She has the rare skill of designing and building drum synthesizers from scratch. “The College of Arts & Media was the invisible fuel to the fire that drove me to deliver my TED talk,” says Jelie.Published 11/19/2020
Leah Porter '19 was appointed to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Advisory Committee as subject matter advisor as a parent representative. She has recently decided to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education to pursue an Ed.M. degree in Education Leadership, Opportunity, and Entrepreneurship with a Higher Education concentration this fall."When I started going back to school as a non-traditional and first-generation student, all I wanted was to get my Associate Degree. I didn't know this journey would including me scaling the wall of the ivory tower. It has been an amazing and humbling experience.
Livy Onalee Snyder ’19 was a top student in her class, earning the distinction of the Visual Arts Outstanding Graduate. While she was an impressive Student Curator at the CU Denver Emmanuel Art Gallery, having worked on exhibitions of national acclaim, Snyder truly set herself apart when earning a coveted internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. With aspirations to work as an independent curator and scholar, she continues as curatorial assistant for Supernova, a Denver digital art festival, while in her first year of graduate study of University of Chicago.
It wasn't too long ago that CU Denver Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Department alumna Chloe Tang '18 was drawing the crowd at CAM JAM in 2018 and right after graduation she performed to a sold out crowd opening for Dua Lipa at the Denver Fillmore.Now Chloe is working with 3V Method and signed a deal with Caroline, founded by Richard Branson and a part of Capitol Records.
Heidi Williams '17, MPA ’18 former mayor of Thornton, is now the Director of Opioid Response in the Colorado Office of the Attorney General.
Terrilynn Moore '17 has deep roots in Denver and has been an active leader in our community for years. She was recently featured on KGNU Community Radio to chat about current events and social justice, her ten years as a Denver Police Officer and her current art initiatives including a piece she has up in the City of Aurora's 19th Amendment Exhibit.
Since finishing the MURP program, Bryan Sullivan MURP '17 has begun a career as Military Community Planner at HDR, Inc., an international architecture/engineering firm. The firm's work focuses on planning projects for federal clients, primarily those involved with national defense, ranging from technical infrastructure reports to creative master plans.
Brittany Wake '13, MA '17 was awarded the Don C. Locke Multiculturalism and Social Justice scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year at the North Carolina State University College of Education. The Don C. Locke Multiculturalism and Social Justice scholarship is awarded to a student in Counseling and Counselor Education who is bringing awareness to multicultural and social justice issues and helping others recognize the impact of oppression on mental well-being and the importance of integrating social justice advocacy in counseling practice.
A Note from CU Denver Professor Farah A. Ibrahim: Brittany Wake earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health with a specialization in multicultural counseling and she is now a doctoral student at North Carolina State University. She was awarded the Don Locke Social Justice Award by her doctoral program! She was also an outstanding Master’s student of the Counseling program. I am so proud of her, she was my mentee during the program and assisted with the group counseling courses helping with social justice discussions for counseling students.
Headshot: 19:05 timestamp of YouTube stream
Alaa Q. Al-Ban PhD ’16 has been named Dean of the Hekma School of Design and Architecture at Dar Al-Hekma University in Saudi Arabia. Located in Jeddah, Dar Al-Hekma University is a private institution of higher education for women. Dr. Al-Ban formerly served as an assistant professor at the school, and chair of its Interior Design Department. In addition to her academic experience, Dr. Al-Ban is an interior designer who has worked across Saudi Arabia on residential, commercial, and historic preservation projects.Dr. Al-Ban has lived and worked in both the East and West and now brings all of the international standards back to her country. Her work is part of the realization of the Saudi 2030 Vision, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and develop its public service sectors, among other goals.
Johanna Jamison MPA ’16 began a new position as the program director at Colorado Smart Cities Alliance.
Scott Jones ’15 published a book last month titled, The Free Agent Mindset: How contrarians are Shaping the Future of Work. The Free Agent Mindset is about finding your place in this new work environment and positioning yourself as an independent worker. It will make you look at your career differently by laying out the future of work and allowing you to see options that you may not have seen before.
Laurie Manderino MS '93, PhD ’15 recently started a new position as the Development Coordination Officer with the UN in Sierra Leone. Her work is focused on building partnerships and generating funds to support the 3-year Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework with the Government of Sierra Leone, targeting four areas: Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security; Transformational Governance; Access to Basic Services; and Protection and Empowerment of the Most Vulnerable. She will work with more than 15 UN agencies active in Sierra Leone, including UNICEF, WHO, and UN Women.
Sarah Moss MPA '15 became the Colorado Director of Special Projects, Trips, and Surrogates with the Biden Campaign:
"Sarah Moss, who will handle special projects and trips for the Biden campaign, has more than 20 years experience in campaigns, including a stint as an Obama administration appointee in the U.S. Department of Justice. She has handled advance work for numerous Democratic presidential candidates, including John Kerry in 2004, Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Moss, a Denver native, was executive director of Mayor Michael Hancock's inaugural committees in 2011 and 2015."
Mikey Smith '14 enjoyed working with Pool Party Creative on a trailer for Nip/Tuck on FX on Hulu. Mickey composed the music, contributed sound design, and created the gratic look for this TV spot. Nip/Tuck is an amazing show and it was an honor to work on this campaign with inspiring folks.
Eric Wilson PhD '14 published his debut children’s book, A Gracie Greene Adventure: The Magical Plant. Starring seven-year-old Gracie, the work explores the magic of nature and its gifts. This book is the first in an eco-conscious series that centers around Gracie, her brother Matteo, Ma and Pa, and their loveable dog Scooter.
Eric, an educator and sustainability consultant, collaborated with Justin M., Arthur C., and John B. under their Make Something Better LLC venture. Sydney Kysar, a former student from Eric’s days as Director of Sustainability at a Los Angeles charter school, created the illustrations.
Book Cover: twitter.com/_make_better
Instawork, the leading digital marketplace connecting local businesses with skilled hourly professionals across the U.S., announced the addition of Cathy Hardin as Chief Revenue Officer. Prior to joining Instawork, Cathy spent the last several years in revenue and strategy leadership roles for Angi and Main Street Hub, where she was Executive Vice President of Sales and Revenue, and played a major role in scaling revenue teams and go-to-market strategies, as well as executing the merger between HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List.
Adam Creapo MA '13 has moved from the classroom to administration. After teaching in Adams 12 and DPS classrooms he is now an Assistant Principal and CareerConnect Pathway Director at Northfield High School. He lives in Denver with his wife Amanda and his 7-year-old son, Colt.
Adam is currently the Assistant Principal and CareerConnect Pathways Director at Denver Public Schools. He received his bachelors in journalism from CU Boulder in 2006 and completed a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction at CU Denver's School of Education and Human Development.
Chamberlain Hrdlicka welcomes Atlanta-based associates Jessica Ledingham '13 to the firm’s Tax Controversy and Litigation Practice, where she will advise and represent clients before federal, state and local taxing authorities in all federal and state courts in which tax disputes are litigated. Ledingham is one of the latest additions to Chamberlain’s Atlanta office, which has been experiencing rapid growth in 2020.Ledingham previously worked at Miller & Chevalier Chartered representing taxpayers in controversies before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She was also previously an associate at PwC, where she developed, implemented and defended significant U.S. federal tax reduction strategies.
As an alumnus of the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, Todd Stoltenberg MBA '13 has always wanted to create a unique product, manufacture it overseas, and sell it online. As such, he is launching a first-of-its-kind children's book called You Can Play Sports. It's a touch & feel book featuring eight popular sports, each with a modern illustration and diverse cast of characters, a fun rhyme that teaches key terminology, and a ball on each page that's made from material that actually looks and feels like the real thing.
My Father's House, a film created by Rob Shearer '12, was accepted to the 2020 Denver Film Festival and won best documentary at the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase.
"I am proud to announce that My Father's House is an official selection of this year's Denver Film Festival! The Denver Film Festival is one of my favorite festivals, and it is an honor to be a part of it this year."
Brandon Slade M Ed'11 was named to the Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneurs. Brandon credits his time at CU for being a huge reason in making the list. He is the founder and CEO of Untapped Learning (formerly Stride Learning), an education startup that helps middle school, high school, and college students who have executive function challenges like ADHD and dyslexia.
Ryan Talmage '11 started a new job in fall 2020 as the Risk Manager for the Cherry Creek School District. Previously Ryan served as Interim Director of Enterprise Risk Management and Risk & Insurance Analyst at the University of Denver (DU). He also completed a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree in December 2020 from the Sturm College of Law at DU. Additionally, he has received a Master's in International Studies and Master's of Legal Studies at DU in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Menorah Medical Center — part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider — announced that Cindy K. Bergmeier MBA '10, has been appointed chief operating officer. Bergmeier assumed her new role at one of Johnson County’s leading full-service, acute-care hospitals on August 1, 2020.
In 2021 the Colorado City and County Management Association named Reitter as City Manager of the Year and Jeff Shroll MPA '93 County Manager of the Year.
Brandy Reitter MPA ’08 was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) as the local government representative for a term expiring June 1, 2024.
"The Statewide Internet Portal Authority develops the officially recognized statewide internet portal that provides one-stop access to electronic information, products, and services in order to give members of the public an alternative way to transact business with the state."
In addition to Brandy's appointment, the Governor also named Alumna Kristin Marie Corash '84 to the Rehabilitation Advisory Council.
Tara Beiter-Fluhr, MS, MBA '08 supervises a small team handling indirect and property taxes at OmniTrax, Inc., a short-line railroad management company. She was elected to a four-year term as Mayor of Sheridan, Colorado in November 2017.
Melanie Shellenbarger PhD '08 retired from the University of Colorado as a faculty member in the Department of Architecture in 2014. Most recently, she and husband Mark published a captivating book spotlighting Colorado's Wild Animal Sanctuary as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Less than an hour north of Denver roam more than 500 large carnivores - including over 200 bears, 70 African lions, and 70 tigers. Now living at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, these wild animals and the stories of their rescue, often from heartbreaking conditions, are the focal point of the newly released and groundbreaking book Forever Wild, Forever Home: The Story of The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado.
Brittany Morris Saunders MA '07, was named the Communications, Media and Public Relations winner for Denver Business Journal's 2020 Outstanding Women in Business Awards. Brittany is President of Local Affairs at Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs and specializes in the representation of businesses, developers, corporations and non-profits before local governments, including cities, counties and special districts.
Iman Jodeh '04, MPA ’06 has been elected to the Colorado House of Representatives to represent District 41. The Colorado native and daughter of Palestinian immigrants made history in an Aurora-area district becoming Colorado's first Muslim lawmaker.
Erik Lucero '05 is a scientist at Google and a CU Denver electrical engineering and applied physics alumnus. He was on The Artian podcast and talked about photography and quantum computing. If you're interested in how art can be beneficial to scientists, take a listen.
"It's really important that we understand the gravity of what quantum computing is for the world and appreciating that artists are the ones that do a great job in providing a narrative and helping everyone in the world understand what it is they're looking at."
- Erik Lucero on The Artian
Jessica Garner MURP, MUD '02 will begin service as Estes Park’s new Community Development Director. Town Administrator Travis Machalek commented, “Jessica brings strong experience in local planning to Estes Park and our Community Development Department, with a track record of strong dialogue and partnership with the communities she has served.” Garner will be responsible for overseeing the Community Development Department, working alongside current Director Randy Hunt until his retirement date of October 1, 2021. The Community Development Department provides planning, zoning, code compliance, and building services for the community.
Katharine Nelson '00, MBA '02 became the first ever model in a wheelchair for Denver Fashion Week (Spring and Fall 2019). The story aired on CBS Channel 7 and went national, being nominated for an Emmy award. She was also interviewed on the All I Know podcast which has an international audience.
Katharine is currently an Investment Accountant at Colorado PERA and completed her undergraduate degree in accounting and political science.
Vitaliy Katsenelson '97, MS '99 is an investment advisor and an author of two books on investing published by Wiley & Sons: Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets (2007) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets: How to Make Money in Markets that Go Nowhere (2010). He is also a frequent contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, Business Insider, Barron's, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and Institutional Investor. Mr. Katsenelson is one of the most famous proponents of value investing. Rich Karlgaard, a famous financial journalist titled him as the contemporary Benjamin Graham. He was born in 1973 in Murmansk (Soviet Union), came to the US at the age of 18, and became a successful investor and book author.
From Karen: "This June marks eight years as the leader of Cobalt, a reproductive rights non-profit organization. Cobalt actively works across the state of Colorado, advocating, educating and communicating the importance of protecting reproductive rights. We successfully defeated an anti-choice ballot initiative last November. I am also chairing the Women's Initiative of the Colorado Democrats and invite interested CU Denver alumni to get involved. We host monthly programming on key policy issues and featuring women candidates and elected officials. As a former Colorado legislator I think it is important to remain engaged in politics and policy. I moved to Colorado in 1992 to attend CU Denver and am so glad I did!"
Lori Takala Granberg MA '96 of Hudson, Colorado was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators for a term expiring July 1, 2024.
Dr. Michael Kountze MBA '93, was awarded the Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word in December 2020. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of EcoGlobal, a plastics recycling company. He also serves as Chief Financial Officer of Elequa, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering students to tackle clean water issues. .
Catherine Wallace Hope '92, author of the novel Once Again, is pleased to have been selected as a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. In June 2021 it was announced that Once Again was the Colorado Book Awards winner in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.
Graham Corporation (NYSE: GHM), a global business that designs, manufactures and sells critical equipment for the defense, energy and chemical/petrochemical industries, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Daniel J. Thoren as its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2021. Mr. Thoren will also join the Board of Directors upon assuming the new role.
Dr. James Davis '84, a Professor of Musicology and Chair of the Music History Area in the State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music, has been appointed a State University of New York Distinguished Professor.
An internationally renowned musicologist with an expertise in the music of the American Civil War, Dr. Davis is known for his meticulous on-site archival research and his large body of groundbreaking published work, especially his two books with the University of Nebraska Press, a leading academic press for publications devoted to military history.
He has also made his research findings accessible to non-academic audiences through extensive media appearances and guest presentations at conferences and campuses around the world.
Dr. Davis is also recognized as a leader in the scholarship of music history pedagogy, both nationally and internationally, as he has deeply integrated his research with teaching. His strong influence in the American Musicological Society has resulted in the inclusion of the scholarship of teaching and learning into its mission, and he was instrumental in the formation of the AMS’s Pedagogy Study Group. It is widely acknowledged that Dr. Davis has continually elevated the standards of instruction in the discipline of musicology.
In presenting Dr. Davis with his honorary medallion, Fredonia President Stephen H. Kolison Jr. noted, “Dr. Davis is the latest example of the tremendous faculty leading our students to academic success at Fredonia. It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Davis in person today to present his medallion to him.”
Dr. Davis earned a B.S. in Music in 1984 from the University of Colorado at Denver, a M.M. in Music Composition from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Music History and Theory in 1993 from Boston University. He has been a member of the Fredonia School of Music faculty since 1991. Dr. Davis’ scholarship has included dozens of scholarly articles and presentations.
The SUNY Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. The distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement. It is the highest faculty rank in SUNY, and the Fredonia School of Music now has three current faculty with the distinction – percussionist Dr. Kay Stonefelt, guitarist James Piorkowski and Dr. Davis. Department of Visual Arts and New Media faculty member Alberto Rey is also a SUNY Distinguished Professor.
Patrick Browne, who served as Director of Veteran & Military Student Services at CU Denver, passed away in early March after a long battle with a medical condition (unrelated to COVID-19). A U.S. Army veteran, Browne was committed to serving veteran and military college students, as well as their spouses and families.
Andrea McEwen (65), beloved wife of Peter McEwen, died peacefully at home in Greenwood Village on April 25, 2021 surrounded by her family. Andrea was born March 11, 1956 in St. Louis, Missouri, but lived most of her life in the Denver area. She earned a BA in commercial Spanish from University of Colorado Boulder and an MA in Spanish from CU Denver. A lifelong supporter of her alma mater, Andrea served as Vice Chancellor of the Office of Advancement at CU Denver.
Anita Marie Solick Oswald, age 72, died of Cancer on July 15, 2021. Anita was born in Chicago, Illinois and soon fled the windy city for better vibes and weather in Santa Monica, California. Chicago and the West Side where she grew up, always had a special place in her heart and she maintained her connection to the city through her support of the Off the Street Club. She proudly graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and attended the University of Colorado Denver, obtaining a MS in operations and management. She moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1982. Her true passion was writing. She is the author of West Side Girl, which is a joyful collection of short stories from a nostalgic time in Chicago. The proceeds of the sales of the book go directly to support Off The Street Club, which she attended in her youth.
Donald (Donie) Ungerman passed away on July 23, 2021. Donie loved the outdoors and spent a lot of time exploring, hiking, camping, dirt biking, snowboarding, and taking photographs. He often had his incredible photos framed and gave them as gifts. His incredible eye for the beauty in life will live on in those photos for decades to come. Donie always had his camera with him in hopes of capturing that one perfect moment, and he succeeded in capturing many. His eye for the beauty in this world, is a gift that will be missed. He had a playful, energetic personality; a good-hearted nature, and a bright smile that lit up every room he entered.