2018 Homecoming 10 Under 10
Michael Bahl | 2008 | History | Head Coach MSU Denver Men’s Basketball Team
Basketball runs in the blood of the aptly named Bahl family. Long before Michael Bahl was named head coach of a Division II powerhouse, and well before he led the country in 3-point percentage playing for the same team, he was just a kid watching basketball all over metro Denver.
Bahl played for the Roadrunners from 2003 to 2007, making the NCAA Tournament all four years and twice serving as captain. Bahl spent seven seasons as a Division II assistant coach before being promoted to head coach at MSU Denver, and yet he says he may not even be the most accomplished basketball mind in his own house. His wife, Amy, who played college hoops for Fort Lewis and professionally in Sweden, coached Evergreen High School to its first state title in March.
A lifelong Coloradan, Bahl has spent a third of his life on the MSU Denver bench, 11-plus years total. As the first alumnus to coach the Roadrunners, Bahl is enjoying what he calls “the best seat in Division II basketball.” And he welcomes the high expectations from a fan base that knows him.
Blake Bienemann | 2008 | Finance | Vice President of Institutional Wealth Management at Colorado Bank and Trust
As Vice President of Institutional Wealth Management, Blake and his team at Colorado Bank and Trust work with clients on their corporate sponsored retirement plans, as well as custodial and investment management services with institutional accounts.
The Institutional Wealth group brings together a multi-disciplinary team with niche expertise in serving institutions, government entities, non-profits, corporations and Native American Tribes. This holistic approach allows them to better understand the many facets of a given organization, including its unique challenges, priorities and objectives.
Blake has ten years of experience in the banking and securities industry working with firms in the Denver area. He is the Chair of the Metropolitan State University Alumni Board and supports many local organizations including Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado and Colorado Open Lands. He lives in Denver with his wife Jessica and their daughter Reagan where they enjoy spending time in the outdoors.
Evan Claus | 2012 | Hospitality, Tourism and Events | Off-Premise Sales Director Anheuser-Busch
Evan has achieved steady success during his nearly seven-year career at Anheuser-Busch, exceeding performance expectations. As a result, he has received multiple promotions, rising through the ranks from delivery driver to his current position as off-premise sales director.
As an MSU Denver alum, Evan remains active with the baseball program and consistently attends their alumni events. He is a member of the athletic department’s M Club Letterwinners Association, frequently attends career development events to support current students and student-athletes, and regularly hires MSU Denver students as interns. In the community, he supports the local Crawl for Cancer and the Susan G. Komen race.
Kate Imy | 2008 | History | Assistant Professor University of North Texas
Kate Imy is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Texas. After graduating from MSU Denver, she earned an MA at Northern Colorado and a Ph.D. from Rutgers. She was a Fulbright Fellow to India, a Mellon Fellow to the United Kingdom, and a 2-time recipient of the US Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarships for Hindi and Urdu.
Kate has published articles in leading historical journals issued by Oxford and Cambridge. One of these won a national article prize from the American Historical Association. While living in the Denver metro area she was a volunteer at the Molly Brown House Museum and a member of the Metro Scholars program. She currently coordinates a mentoring network in Borders and Migrations
Paula Leek | 2014 | Land Use Geology | Owner and Operator of Paula Leek Petrographics
Paula received her degree in Land Use Geology from MSU Denver in 2014. Immediately after graduation, she started a commercial geology lab in Denver, Colorado. She has the privilege of working with rock material from all around the world and the Solar System. Her lab contracts with collectors, universities, museums, and mining companies to process their rock material for the purpose of microscopic optical analysis. Lunar and Martian meteorites and ore deposits are just some of the exciting material she works with daily.
Since graduation, Paula has continued to volunteer her time teaching and giving guest lectures to MSU Denver geology students. In the fall of 2017, she was able to provide the first internship to a student from the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department. The experience was very rewarding and she will continue to develop the internship program for future MSU Denver students.
Steph Rayman | 2009 | Psychology | General Manager/Director of Marketing and Strategy Tivoli Brewing Company
Born and raised in Colorado, Steph Rayman worked her way through school in the service industry, never knowing that the work she was doing would lead her back to MSU Denver and allow her to make an impact on fellow Roadrunners. In 2015, Steph was working as the manager of a downtown restaurant and bar when she was approached about accepting the position of general manager of the soon-to-be-reopened Tivoli Brewing Company. Steph is passionate about how the Tivoli bolsters the local culture and Colorado’s love for beer. In conjunction with MSU Denver, she conducts marketing lectures for students who are part of the Brewing Program and is instrumental in the University/Tivoli partnership.
Supportive of on-campus efforts to connect alumni, students, faculty and staff, Steph has played an integral part in the success of the MSU Denver Mug Club – transforming lives by turning beer money into scholarships. “For the first time in my college career, I don’t have to worry about how I will pay for my books because of the Mug Club Scholarship,” says one scholarship recipient, “I am so thankful.”
Steph worked with the MSU Denver Alumni Relations team to launch the program in February 2017, and her enthusiasm for the Mug Club is contagious. More than $12,000 in scholarship funds have been raised and four scholarships have been awarded, easing the financial burden of hard-working students who are working their way through school at MSU Denver.
Ricardo Rocha | 2017 | Biology | CEO Abarrotes Bondadosa
Ricardo Rocha’s road from undocumented to CEO has been paved with injustice and deliverance. Rocha learned the power of community when an administrator from his high school connected him with a program to help low-income students purchase their graduation gear. That program ended up leading him to the College Assistance Migrant Program at MSU Denver, a one-year scholarship and support program that provided his only path financially and academically to a college future.
On-campus, he worked for the College Assistance Migrant Program as a mentor to other first-generation students. He also worked for Summer Scholars Program, a bridge program for students in need of remediation before being accepted into MSU Denver. He helped start student organizations like RISE, which serves DACA, ASSET, refugee, and the undocumented population on the Auraria Campus, now a resource provided through Center for Equity and Student Achievement (CESA). He also worked with Brother 2 Brother, another CESA program, that empowers men of color through mentorship, academic support and programming to thrive at MSU Denver.
Off-campus, he worked for the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization, or CLLARO, where he organized communities in urban and rural Colorado in the areas of health & healthcare, immigration, energy & environment, education, economic development, and the aging population, in hopes to address discrepancies found in the Latino community. His advocacy found an even larger audience when he was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to Colorado’s Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Council, which took him to Washington to lobby, draft programs and conduct research on juvenile justice reform.
While finishing his degree, received a job offer to start and run a new social enterprise out of Denver Food Rescue, Abarrotes Bondadosa. Abarrotes Bondadosa is one of 10 food-related ventures partnering with the Denver Office of Economic Development and nonprofit Uncharted as part of the Food Access Project - an entrepreneurial collective seeking solutions to Denver’s food insecurity issues. The startup launched Nov. 15, 2017, with two employees on motorized tricycles delivering groceries to four low-income Denver zip codes, and with plans to hire an additional dozen employees and expand to Montebello neighborhood and the city of Sheridan in 2018.
Angela Rodriguez | 2008 | Speech Communications | Student Success Specialist TRIO Community College of Denver
As a teen parent, Angela faced many obstacles; however, that did not stop her from pursuing her academic and professional goals. A first-generation college student, she received a BA in speech communications at MSU Denver in 2008. Following graduation, she attended the University of Denver and received her MA in higher education in 2010. Her passion for working in higher education led to positions as a Graduate Academic Advisor at the Daniels College of Business, Adjunct Instructor for Academic Achievement classes at Community College of Denver, and her current position as a Student Success Specialist in the TRIO Student Support Services program at the Community College of Denver, where she has been for the past four years.
Angela served as an Ambassador for the Professional Women’s Group through Dress for Success Denver in 2016-17. In June 2017, Angela was selected as a delegate by Dress for Success to attend the Success Summit where she was able to develop a Community Action Project. Her project – the Apple & Seed Project – connects single mothers in need with resources that enable them to purchase an attainable mortgage. In October 2017, Angela was appointed to the Young Professional Board with the Latin American Educational Foundation.
In 2009, Angela served MSU Denver by volunteering as an intern in the Academic Advising Center where she assisted incoming students with registration and connected them to resources. In her current role at CCD, she helps students apply and transfer to a 4-year university. Many of those students attend MSU Denver. Angela has developed strong connections with MSU Denver’s programs and staff members, including the Reisher Scholarship program, the Transfer Center, TRIO Student Support Services, and many others. Angela currently mentors two students who have graduated from CCD and are current MSU Denver students.
Meranda M Vieyra | 2010 | Chicana/o Studies | Owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC
Meranda M. Vieyra is the owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. She is one of the most visible legal professionals in Colorado law with 20 years of service in the Denver legal community. Her marketing firm has earned a strong reputation as the go-to for impactful, cost-effective legal marketing strategies for small law firms locally and in five other states. She has helped her clients secure coverage by well-known publications and has obtained local, national, and international awards on their behalf. Meranda enjoys working with solo practitioners and small law firms, helping them attract recognition, promotion, and visibility to their practices. She also advises medium-sized and national law firms on business development and marketing strategy. Meranda is a lecturer and author on issues related to marketing including how lawyers and businesses can use LinkedIn effectively.
In addition to being a businesswoman, Meranda is also an award-winning marketing professional. She has been named an “Outstanding Legal Professional” by Law Week Colorado in 2014 and 2016. She has generously devoted her time as a leader to Colorado’s community of people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for the last decade. Meranda was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS at age 25 and at times lost her eyesight and ability to walk. Since regaining her health completely, she has devoted hundreds of hours to people with MS in Colorado as a mentor, guiding them through the life-changing process of diagnosis and treatment. Meranda has also volunteered with local non-profits related to MS, including serving as a general board member with the Rocky Mountain MS Center. She has raised money at a “High Roller” level for the National MS Society’s MS 150 bike ride. After years of cheering on her family and friends riding this biking event, Meranda was proud to complete the 150-mile bike ride from Denver to Fort Collins and back in 2014 and 2015.
Troy Walker | 2008 | Political Science | Stand-up Comedian
Troy Walker has a great job: He makes people laugh. He started doing stand-up when he was a junior at MSU Denver, in the heart of the city’s comedy scene, and he hasn’t stopped.
Troy has performed on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and appeared in a PetSmart commercial with actress Jane Lynch. He even had his own show on Comedy Central’s Snapchat discover channel. What’s more, MSU Denver helped Walker build the foundation for one heck of a backup plan if comedy doesn’t pan out: law.
Walker admits he hadn’t thought about law school until professors started suggesting it: “I came into college as a South High slacker and emerged as a beautiful butterfly with a full-ride scholarship to a great law school at the University of Denver. So, there’s no way I’d be where I am today without MSU Denver.”
Regardless of who likes his act, Walker has clearly run a successful – and fun – road of his own.
“Right now, I’m a full-time comedian,” he says. “No day job. It’s pretty sweet … most days I eat cake for breakfast.”
Always a Roadrunner, Always Rowdy!
Join your fellow Roadrunners on February 23rd and 24th for MSU Denver's 2018 Homecoming Weekend! The weekend will include Men's and Women's Basketball games, Mug Club Happy Hour (if you're not a member, join TODAY), the annual Alumni Awards Brunch, Tivoli Brewery Tours and so much more.
Complete Schedule of Events:
Friday, February 23rd
Wine and Food Pairing | 6-8pm | Spring Hill Suites at MSU Denver | Register
Join us for a social and food and wine pairing with the hospitality staff from our Hospitality, Tourism and Events program. All registered guests will receive a custom MSU Denver wine glass.
M Club Alumni Student-Athlete Social | 5-9pm | The Nest in the PE Events Center | Register
All former Roadrunner student-athletes and their guests are invited to the home men's and women's basketball games for a social in The Nest. Registered guests will receive free admission to the games and free food and drink at the social.
Saturday, February 24th
Alumni Awards Brunch | 11am-1pm | Spring Hill Suites at MSU Denver | Register
Help us recognize our 2018 alumni award winners. Awards include: 2018 Alumni Philanthropist of the Year; 10 Under 10 Alumni Awards; and the 2018 Distinguished Alumni/a Awards.
Mug Club Happy Hour | 3-5pm | Tivoli Brewery | Register
All Mug Club members are invited to our special Homecoming Happy Hour. Wear your favorite Red and Blue; prizes will be given to those with the most Roadrunner Spirit! Not a Mug Club member yet? Join HERE.
Men's and Women's Basketball Games | 5pm & 7pm | PE Events Center | Purchase Tickets
Cheer on the Roadrunners as they take on Colorado School of Mines. The women play at 5pm and the men play at 7pm. All alumni award winners will be recognized at half-time of the men's game.
2018 Philanthropist of the Year
Joan Foster | 1978 | Biology | Dean of Letters, Arts & Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Dr. Joan Foster is the Dean of Letters, Arts & Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver, a Denver native and a proud graduate of East High School. After high school, she continued her education, studying abroad in Brazil and graduating from MSU Denver with a biology major and mathematics minor.
An internship with marine-science gurus changed Joan Foster’s life. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from MSU Denver in 1978, Foster’s internship led to a job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Research Laboratories in Boulder.
“By working with a bunch of Ph.D.’s at NOAA, I realized I wanted to go to graduate school and become a professor,” she said.
Following undergrad, she went on to earn her M.S. and Ph.D. in biology at the University of Denver. Dr. Foster’s academic areas of specialization are microbial physiology and microbial ecology.
In line with her love for science, her signature coffee cup is a beaker. “I’ve had a beaker cup for 15-20 years,” she explained. “I was the faculty advisor to the Biology Club way back in the 1990s and we sold them to make money.”
“Underneath it all, I have maintained the curiosity of a scientist,” she continues. “I want to learn how things work. My beaker mug is my reminder of that core drive.”
Dr. Foster has won a number of awards, including the Metropolitan State University of Denver Plain and Fancy Person of the Year Award (1996), the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Distinguished Alumnus Award (1996) and the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Distinguished Service Award in (2005).
Distinguished Alumna of the Year
Cavell Alexander | 1990 | Accounting | Vice President, Chief Audit Executive, Chief Compliance Officer at UC Health
Cavell Alexander graduated from MSU Denver with a BS Accounting, Magna Cum Laude, in 1990. In 2010 she earned her MBA from the University of Utah – David Eccles School of Business. Cavell is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Cavell has more than 25 years of internal audit and compliance experience and has held executive management positions leading, developing and transforming internal audit, Sarbanes-Oxley and regulatory compliance functions.
Cavell is described by her coworkers as dynamic, a tremendous leader, caring and intelligent – an executive who has perfected the art of collaborating with key stakeholders and a positive role model. Cavell is dedicated to giving back to her profession and currently serves as a Board member of the Institute of Internal Auditors Colorado Chapter and the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors.
Cavell continues to serve the MSU Denver community and recently endowed a scholarship that will benefit students in the Department of Accounting, making it possible for them to achieve the American dream by earning a degree at MSU Denver.
Distinguished Alum of the Year
Michael Hovanes | 1973 | Philosophy
A successful medical device entrepreneur, Michael Hovanes graduated from MSU Denver in 1973 and went on to receive his MBA from the American Graduate School in Paris. He served as vice president of marketing and business development for Quinton Instruments and held executive positions with Life Products and Transtrachael Systems. While working at InstruMed, he led the development and manufacturing of the SmartPump surgical tourniquet system which displaced a dominate competitor in the market.
Michael serves on the board of WINGS – a non-profit angel network that facilitates seed and early stage investments for medical technology companies in the Pacific Northwest. WINGS provides a forum to make connections between entrepreneurs of early stage medical technology companies and investors committed to funding these early opportunities.
It’s one thing to learn about business concepts from a text book, it’s another to discuss them directly with a successful entrepreneur. Michael has continued to work with students at MSU Denver as part of the Executive on Campus Series, returning to campus to lecture on profitability, corporate acquisitions, intellectual property and global supply chains. “With his entrepreneurial background and depth of knowledge, Michael Hovenes brings a diverse global set of experiences that really resonates with our students,” said Debbie Gilliard, Ph.D., professor of MSU Denver’s Department of Management.