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Congrats to our Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week winners

These exceptional faculty, staff and student employees are shining examples of dedication, innovation and excellence.

By Josie Lavender

April 15, 2021

Nominations continue to roll in for Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week awards, highlighting the excellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. This week, we celebrate three members of our University community who inspire students and their colleagues.

“The MSU Denver campus is filled with talented leaders, and it’s always a pleasure to highlight the hard work that goes on behind the scenes,” said Cathy Lucas, vice president of Strategy and External Affairs. “This week’s winners have gone above and beyond to enrich the Roadrunner experience.”

Kimberly Klimek, Ph.D.Faculty winner – Kimberly Klimek, Ph.D., professor, History

Nominated by Lauren Gillies, student, who wrote:

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

Kimberly, thank you for encouraging students to reimagine their possible. The MSU Denver community is stronger than ever thanks to the dedication of educators like you.

Staff winner – Gabriel Grinsteiner, administrative assistant, Academic Advising Technology Services, and volunteer project coordinator for D-phi

Nominated by Stephanie Allen, director of Advising Systems, who wrote:

“Gabriel was hired a week before we started working remotely in 2020, and he hit the ground running from Day One. Gabriel is an alumnus of MSU Denver and was a work-study student for both Exploratory Advising and D-phi. He has always been invested in learning more about our institution, getting involved and how to improve the student experience. Gabriel is unique in that he looks at all aspects of the student experience and also has the technical knowledge and skills to make his ideas a reality. It didn’t take long after his onboarding to let him work independently and even ask him to take the lead on some technology projects for our academic-advising community. He has improved the processes for students to find their advisor and schedule an appointment, and he improved the onboarding process for new academic advisors to get access to technology resources they need. He’s also an overall great team player for the Advising Systems team and advising community and maintains a positive attitude. He is a model of our CADRE values.”

Gabriel Grinsteiner and Cornel West, Ph.D.Also nominated by Adam Graves, Ph.D., professor, Philosophy, who wrote:

I am a faculty member and founding director of the public humanities center at MSU Denver, known as D-phi. Just before our center officially launched in 2015, I hired Gabriel (pictured left with Cornel West, Ph.D., during a D-phi event) as a student employee to serve as a part-time assistant who would be responsible for event-specific logistics. However, it was immediately evident that he could handle a lot more responsibility, and he quickly ascended to the role of program coordinator. In that position – and while completing his degree – he helped to build D-phi into what it is today. He has constantly adapted and learned new skills in order to carry out our program and University’s mission. He has helped with all aspects of our multifaceted program, including event development, website design, community engagement, podcast production, research, employee recruitment and training, and mentoring a growing body of work-study employees.

“After graduating, Gabriel became a full-time employee in Academic Advising. However, he has continued to play an indispensable role for D-phi as a part-time volunteer, frequently working late nights and weekends.

“What makes Gabriel really stand out is his unwavering commitment to MSU Denver’s mission of community-building and inclusivity. From the beginning, Gabriel was responsible for building a sense of community among a diverse body of students, encouraging and inspiring them to pursue their passions and to become active participants in D-phi’s events and programs. Over the years, his infectious curiosity and enthusiasm have inspired countless students to accomplish their goals and expand their intellectual horizons.

“I have supervised roughly fifty employees over the course of my career, and I can say without any hesitation that Gabriel has been by far the most reliable, thoughtful, inclusive, self-motivated employee I have ever had. It has been a genuine honor and delight working with him over the years. I know that his many contributions to MSU Denver have been felt throughout the campus community.”

Gabriel, your positive attitude and your passion for learning and helping are inspiring. Thank you for investing your talents with MSU Denver and for continuing to help students succeed. 

Rowdy giving thumbs upStudent-employee winner – Laura Murphy, teaching assistant

Nominated by Alycia Palmer, Ph.D., analytical-lab instructor, Chemistry, who wrote:

“Laura really stepped up during the pandemic to fulfill the extra duties required of a teaching assistant to make sure the lab is safe for students to work in-person. She shows up early and is always prepared to help. Students love working with her to collect data, and she does an excellent job of being inclusive and helping all students to understand the instruments they are using. I’m so grateful to have her in my classroom, and my students are having an exceptional experience in lab during the pandemic as a result of her help!”

Laura, thank you for supporting your fellow Roadrunners. Your technical skills and knowledge are a huge benefit in the classroom, and it’s clear you are an invaluable member of the team. (Since we couldn't find a photo of you, here's one of Rowdy celebrating your achievement!)

To nominate outstanding employees for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week award, please complete the form on the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week webpage. Tell us how your nominee is making an impact through great teaching, service to students or innovation. Winners will be selected each week and profiled in the Early Bird on Thursdays. Winners will also get a shoutout on social media.

Topics: Award, CADRE, Excellence, Roadrunner Shoutout

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