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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

September 16, 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.

We are lucky at MSU Denver to be a community of innovative forward-thinkers,” said George Middlemist, Ph.D., associate vice president of Administration/chief financial officer. “We are even more lucky that employees like these are invested in bettering our community. This week’s winners have stepped up their efforts to support their peers and our students during these challenging times.”

Joe GiordanoFaculty winner – Joe Giordano, Ph.D., senior lecturer of Accounting

Nominated by Shawn Tebben, interim director of Accounting master’s degree program, who wrote:

“My mom became very ill as the fall semester was about to start. Struggling with how to provide what she needed with what our students need and deserve, I worked with our department chair to identify contingency plans for one of my classes. With just a few days before the first day of class, it became clear we needed to implement the contingency plan. That is where Joe kindly and enthusiastically jumped into action. In under 24 hours, he had completely taken control of the class (4700 Internal Auditing), encouraging me to just tend to my mom and leave the class to him. While many might see this as a typical last-minute change, it wasn’t. I knew Joe was in the middle of readying and moving to a new home, working on his dissertation and prepping for his other undergrad courses. This change added a prep to his already-busy schedule. Nonetheless, in the usual ‘I've got this’ way I’ve come to know from Joe, he graciously took on the class like it was not the disruptive curveball it is. I’ve only been at MSU Denver for about a year, but I am starting to see this is the Roadrunner way. THANK YOU, JOE!”

Joe, thank you for going above and beyond to support your co-workers and students. Your compassion and positive attitude are already making long-lasting impressions within the Roadrunner community.

Braelin Pantel, Ph.D.Staff winner – Braelin Pantel, Ph.D., associate vice president of Student Engagement and Wellness/dean of students

Nominated by Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, who wrote:

“Braelin has been one of our most diligent leaders preparing for a return to campus this fall. She not only led the planning for 100 Roadrunners to move into Lynx Crossing in a partnership with CU Denver, but she also worked furiously to ensure that we had protocols in place to meet public-health mandates. She is a broad thinker, always thinking three steps beyond an immediate decision, and focuses on care and concern for those impacted. Braelin works hard to support her staff and, in turn, our students. She is a champion of equity, focused on MSU Denver’s mission, and never fails to use inclusive leadership to bring folks together to craft solutions. I learn so much from Braelin and am proud to call her a colleague.”

Braelin, your work ethic is inspirational. Thank you for working tirelessly to keep our community safe and thriving. We are truly grateful to have your leadership as we learn and grow from life’s challenges.

Student-employee winner – David Kern, learning assistant, Mathematics and Statistics

Nominated by Nursen Konuk, Ph.D., assistant professor of Mathematics and Statistics, who wrote:

“I have been fortunate to work with David in the last two semesters as an LA. David has done exemplary work in supporting our students and his fellow Learning Assistants both academically and mentally. He cares about his peers and devotes a considerable amount of time and effort to building relationships with students and helping them develop a sense of belonging. Students feel comfortable reaching out to him, sharing their questions and concerns. He not only provides resources and answers for students, but he helps students connect with the right people and resources to address their questions and concerns. He also has been an invaluable team member for me as an instructor. He provided insightful input about our students’ learning, well-being, and how I might support them. He also supported my teaching in several ways and helped me grow as an instructor.”

Rowdy giving thumbs upAlso nominated by Gabrielle Katz, Ph.D., professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who wrote:

“David serves as a peer Learning Assistant in my Introductory Physical Geography class. His role is to support student learning by promoting active engagement with the course material, critical thinking and problem-solving. David does such a wonderful job working with students! His professionalism, attention to detail, commitment to teaching and learning, and genuine curiosity about the Earth system all make him an invaluable assistant. My own work is definitely made easier and more enjoyable by our collaboration, and the student experience is certainly enhanced. David is studying to become a middle-school teacher, and I know he will do an excellent job in that role!”

David, you are rocking your role as a Roadrunner. Not only are you an impressive scholar; you are a community stronghold. Thank you for embodying the University’s CADRE values as you support students and educators along your academic journey. (Since we couldn't find a picture of you, here is 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: CADRE, Excellence, Roadrunner Shoutout

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