Career Impact Awards

The Career Impact Awards was established in 2018 in order to recognize and celebrate the many career partners and career advocates across our campus and community. This event was created because we recognize that having career infused into all aspects of the student experience correlates to overall student success during and after college.  It takes great collaboration on and off campus to help shape post graduate success stories for all students who come from diverse backgrounds, identities, and dreams. Through this event, we wanted to raise awareness around the importance of the ‘career work’ that we all do with students and alumni and recognize the efforts and contributions of those who advocate career for all.

Nominate Here!

For the 2021 Career Impact Awards, we have modified our award categories to still be able to celebrate those invested in career work while recognizing that it is unlikely we will get to come together in person for a large celebration.

Nominations for both awards will be open from 7:00 am on January 4th to February 5th, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Award criteria can be reviewed and submissions can be made, here.

Nominations for 2021 will focus on the following two categories:

  • Career Impact Award – three to five winners will be highlighted this year.
  • Student Employee of the Year – We will recognize a winner and runner-up this year. The winner will receive a $1500 scholarship and the runner-up will receive a $500 scholarship.

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!!

2020 Award Winners

Student Group of the Year

Los Caminos

“The goal of the Caminos Program is to address specific Latina/o/x and Indigenous academic needs and provide access to understanding higher education opportunities while affirming cultural and racial assets. Currently, the program serves 90-100 bilingual Latina/o/x and Indigenous high school students at Fort Collins High School supported by 20 CSU Caminos fellows. The CSU Caminos fellows promote and advocate career pathway connections as … they role model how they entered their education at CSU and they mirror for the high school students how to apply, attend, and make a path toward their future careers.”

Distinguished Staff Member of the Year

Patrice Palmer, College of Business

“Patrice Palmer has a keen focus on ensuring all students have an equal opportunity to truly find success. As faculty advisor for the Business Diversity Leadership Alliance, they worked to bring companies to campus with a focus on diversity. Patrice has been instrumental in developing the first-ever College of Business Inclusion Summit, which will bring companies to campus who are seeking tools, data, strategies, and the confidence to implement new approaches in the interest of a more inclusive workplace.”

Distinguished Faculty of the Year

Dr. Susan Opp, Department of Political Science

“[Dr. Opp] successfully cultivated and sustained a local government internship program for the Department of Political Science that has launched many of our student’s careers in public service. I saw Dr. Opp’s devotion to career development first-hand when I team taught a study abroad class with her last year. The course, comparative public policy and law in the U.S. and U.K., integrated the classroom with public sector careers both in Fort Collins and overseas. Dr. Opp brought in community partners dealing with diverse and under-served populations such as those experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. Our students completed policy analyses for their term projects, an exercise that provided excellent practical career preparation.”

Employer of the Year


“[First Bank is] a company who genuinely lives their mission through their commitment to their employees, their customers, and their communities. Their diversity and inclusion efforts are having a significant positive impact on their recruitment and retention of employees with diverse identities. Collectively, their employees can speak over 30 languages which helps to establish them as a bank of choice among diverse

communities throughout Colorado. We know our students and alumni are in good hands because FirstBank puts people at the center of their organization.”

Recruiter of the Year

Amber Spiewak, Charles Schwab

“The best part about working with Amber is the value she places on recruiting diverse talent in a meaningful way. She has personally reached out to the SDPS offices, ALVS, and the Academic Advancement Center to share about opportunities and offer her assistance to helping students in their search. She also actively promotes Schwab diversity initiatives such as affinity groups knowing how important it is to not just recruit diverse talent but help them find a company culture that will be supportive enough to retain them. Amber goes above and beyond her role of recruiter to make sure CSU students feel empowered in their search and feel like a person not just a number in the Schwab process.”

Alum of the Year

Christina Hadera (B.A. Communications Studies ’16) – City and County of Denver

“Christina is currently a Recruiter with the City and County of Denver and has never forgotten her alma mater: she regularly attends career events and has spoken to incoming students at RamWelcome, helping students decide how to best bring their talents, values, and identities to a career. We most love to welcome her back for Diversity Connect, the diversity-focused career event that she helped create when she was a student at CSU.”

Student Employee of the Year

Angela Nemecek, Campus Activities

“[Angela’s] excellent work ethic and intangible skills have enabled her to be the youngest manager we have ever had on staff. She continues to seek new opportunities, serve as role model for others, critically analyzes inefficiencies, explores different ways of doing things, and continues to seek her own personal and professional growth and development. Whether it is addressing alumni and parents as they call responding to a situation or handling internal conflict with staff members (not surprising with a staff of 25!), Angie does an excellent job of mediating, listening, providing resources and options, supporting, and problem solving.”

Supervisor of the Year

Jacqui Goldring, College of Engineering

“Jacqui has implemented a multi-faceted training/professional development program for ambassadors and has skillfully facilitated conversations around issues of inclusion and equity in engineering. Jacqui has provided a plethora of recommendations and even more moral support as ambassadors apply for internships and jobs and has an even larger impact on their careers by focusing on their development as young professionals. Students learn professionalism, public speaking, customer service, cultural competency, and communication skills from Jacqui, which make them sought-after engineers.”

Outstanding Career Advocate Award

Arthur L. Valdez, Jr. (College of Business ’92) – Target

“Arthur Valdez Jr. has given his time, expertise, and resources to CSU in a number of ways since he graduated. He’s established scholarships to support First Generation students of color, he sits on the College of Business Global Leadership Council … and he mentors students on their own career pathways. This past year he mobilized his HQ team to create a large engagement strategy on campus to educate and attract talent to all the career opportunities that exist within Target. Arthur’s team spent two full days on campus attending classes, judging case studies, giving keynotes, and hosting a special networking event with students. The common thread running through all these activities was one that spoke to diversity, equity, and inclusion – values that Arthur has espoused time and again and one that he’s worked to weave throughout all of Target’s culture.”

2020 Career Impact Award Nominees

Alum of the Year

Christina Hadera

Lucy Falconer

Nipun Mahajan

Dr. Garret Miyake

Adrian Jones


Distinguished Faculty of the Year

Abigail Veliquette

Steve Weiss

DN Rao Veeramachaneni

Franch Dayan

John MacDonald

Elliot Cooper

Melanie Nichols

Terry Richardson

Jose Valdez

Elisee Ross

Kristen Reily

Ron Tjalkens

Ernest Chavez

Phillip Quirk

Jackie Peila-Shuster

Craig Partridge

Steven Dow

Karyl Sabbath

Emily Keats

Kaye Holman

Jason Quinn

Kristina Brown

Brian Jones


Employer of the Year


Arrow Electronics

Charles Schwab

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Arbor Valley

Distinguished Staff Member of the Year

Haley Richards

Marie Tyrrell

Jeremy Siemers

Rachel Kiemele

Joleen Wearne

Shelby Sack

Sarah Wernsing

Cassidy McLaren

Geri Baker

Sam Houghteling

Aaron Benally

Ashlyn Friend

Recruiter of the Year

Miriam Wagoner

Stephanie Savitz

Sylvia Robinson

Rebecca Lupp

Koren Vining

Nicole Culley

Peter Bleich

Student Group of the Year

Student Veteran’s Organization

Rams for Bernie

Beta Alpha Psi – Gamma Tau Chapter

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, Inc.

ACM (Applied Computing Machinary)

Biomedical Engineering Society Student Chapter

Alpha Chapter, Society of American Foresters

Biomedical Engineering Socitey (BMES)

Society of Women Engineers

Supervisor of the Year

Rachel Kiemele

Brianna Riggio

Valerie Freymuth

Seth Kaneen

Nuvia Molina

For a list of previous Career Impact Award winners please visit: