Congrats to our Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week winners
These exceptional faculty, staff and student employees are shining examples of dedication, innovation and excellence.
October 21, 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.
“This week’s winners are leading examples of the Roadrunner spirit,” said Athletics Director Todd Thurman. “I am proud to work at a university where I’m surrounded by a team of professionals that consistently rise above life’s challenges with positivity and innovation.”
Faculty winner – Jeff Hammond, associate professor, video-production and broadcast-journalism faculty advisor, Journalism and Media Production
Nominated by Johanna Lavender, Media Production and Leadership student, who wrote:
“Professor Hammond is one of those educators who doesn’t just work through a curriculum; he mentors and inspires students to challenge themselves with each project. I’ve now had the pleasure of taking both an introductory and a 300-level course with him. In each class, there were many students whose familiarity with the subject varied vastly, but Professor Hammond magically worked at a pace that accommodated everyone. Whether he’s lecturing about basic media concepts or advanced technical practices, Professor Hammond is engaging and approachable. He provides thorough and direct feedback while going out of his way to ensure that students feel supported (even when that means answering questions over the weekend). As I’m one of many students overwhelmed with life right now, Hammond’s classes were exactly what I needed to reignite my academic motivation. I doubt he even realizes what an impact he’s had on me because the high caliber of education he provides is something that seems to come to him effortlessly in every class.”
Jeff, the past year has been challenging, to say the least, but it’s clear that your dedication to student success has not wavered. Thank you for helping shape Roadrunner professionals on their academic journeys.
Staff winner – Jasmine Villalobos-Valles, coordinator of Scholarship, Leadership and Community Partner Programs
Nominated by Matthew Kring, associate director of Student Success and College Completion, who wrote:
“I cannot imagine what it is like to be a new professional in higher education, then several months into your role successfully transition to remote work and then make a successful transition back to campus. Over the last several months, that is exactly what Jasmine Villalobos-Valles has accomplished in her role supporting scholarship students and community partners. I am amazed at the student support and engagement she provided over this past year in campus and virtual spaces. Here are a few of her highlights:
- Coordinated with three community partners to meet with students and their nonprofit/community-partner advisors to support students with financial-aid verification and in-state-residency correction and answer general questions about college. Partners shared that this was tremendously helpful to their students and the advisors.
- Worked with the Dean of Students Office to conduct presentations on Lynx Crossing for incoming scholars moving from Roaring Fork and to help community-partner staff understand how Lynx Crossing billing works. This addressed student and partner concerns about housing and increased scholar attendance at MSU Denver.
- Was one of our first staff members in Scholarship Support and Retention to execute virtual programming and is the first one to execute a return to in-person programming as well.
“Jasmine is a great colleague and supports others. One of her student employees who graduated in May and recently was hired into a temporary student-advising role, speaking to her mentorship and leadership, said, ‘I think Jasmine is highly deserving of these kudos.’”
Jasmine, you are truly a Roadrunner rock star. Your ability to quickly adapt under pressure is impressive, and we are so grateful you’ve invested your skills within the Roadrunner community.
Student-employee winner – Nalinda Kajunju, assistant, Information Technology Services
Nominated by Steve Princehouse, application services, Information Technology Services, who wrote:
“Nalinda divides her time between our unit and the Database and Application Administration Support unit in ITS. The work she performs for us requires patience, attention to detail and critical thinking. She is a true asset, stepping up to fulfill the extra duties required when other employees graduated or moved on. She is very approachable and has helped train newer full-time employees. She is always helpful and displays her intense sense of responsibility by staying late or working weekend hours to facilitate our unit’s needs. She demonstrated this most recently by working during breaks and in the evening while attending a conference.
“Nalinda shines because she enthusiastically embraces any challenge, idea or task she is presented with and actively seeks out new ways to contribute. She completes all her tasks with an exceptional level of quality. She is quick to comprehend things and quick to see how to use them. Since she began working with us, we have witnessed her growth as a student and an employee.
“We sincerely appreciate Nalinda for her valuable contributions to our office. We are a better and more productive place because of her contributions.”
Nalinda, it’s not easy to juggle school while working, but you are clearly thriving. Your above-and-beyond efforts are noticed and deeply appreciated.
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.
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