Previous Career Impact Award Winners

2020 Career Impact Award Winners

Alum of the Year

“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.”

Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year

“[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.”

Distinguished Staff Member of the Year

“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.”

Employer of the Year

“[FirstBank 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

“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.”

Student Employee of the Year

“[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.”

Student Group of the Year

“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.”

Supervisor of the Year

“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

“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.”

2019 Career Impact Award Winners

Michele Bratschun

Alum of the Year

Michele Bratschun, an Educational Ranger with the National Park Service, keeps the park involved in a variety of career related endeavors and is quick to volunteer for CSU career events like FedConnect, Resume Rush, and RamWelcome.


Employer of the Year

The Colorado Association of School Personnel Administrators (CASPA) is an association of school district Human Resource administrators and university faculty that work collaboratively to advance public education in Colorado. They partner with the Center for Educator Preparation at CSU to promote, advocate, and provide networking career opportunities for students and graduates.

Ashira Jones

Recruiter of the Year

Ashira Jones is the Northern Region Lead & University Advisory Board Coordinator for Halliburton. Through Ashira’s influence, the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering launched ENpower, a “bridge-to-college program” in 2016 with funding from the Halliburton Foundation. This in-residence program for historically underserved freshmen helps minority, female, and first-generation students make a successful transition to CSU and build a peer network.

Dr. John Hayes

Distinguished Administrator

John Hayes, Dean for Warner College of Natural Resources, was recognized for supporting all students in their career development by allocating funds for students to explore career beyond the classroom and showing up to events that have a career emphasis.

Paul Layden

Distinguished Faculty

Paul Layden is an Instructor within the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources program. Professor Layden crafted an internship program within the major and has developed working relationships with over 400 companies, non-governmental organizations, and natural resource agencies to help students network.

Beka Crocket

Distinguished Staff Member

Beka Crocket is the Director of Student Success in the College of Agricultural Sciences. She provides a “continuum of career” to students from admission to graduation by providing them career counseling and creating programs that help them jump into a meaningful career.

Allison Penfield

Supervisor of the Year

Allison Penfield, Assistant Director in the Student Disability Center, guides the professional development of each student staff member in her office to help them obtain the skills and experience necessary for their continued success during their education at CSU and beyond.

Gillian Fahey

Student of the Year

Gillian Fahey, a junior electrical engineering student was recognized for her extra-curricular involvement that empowers women in STEM fields and her work in the Career Center connecting students to employers.

DREAMers United Student Organization

Student Group of the Year

The DREAMers United student organization was recognized for engaging in career development regularly at their organizational meetings, having members serve on career related panels, and working with Student Legal Services to learn more about how to start their own businesses.

Julian Kendrick

Student Employee of the Year

Julia Kendrick is a student employee within the University Center for the Arts-School of Music, Theater & Dance and was praised for her ability to lead and train a new team of incoming staff in her role.

Terry Comerford

Outstanding Career Advocate

Terry Comerford is the Engineering Success Center Director at the Walter Scott Junior College of Engineering. Terry was recognized for her work creating a standalone Engineering Career Fair, serving as an advisor to the Society of Women Engineers, and for helping to create the “ENpower Bridge Program” within her college.

2018 Career Impact Award Winners

Marley Smith

Student of the Year

Senior forestry major Marley Smith for setting an example among her peers by showcasing leadership in career exploratory experiences and introducing her peers to career options within their field.

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) representatives

Student Group of the Year

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) for actively encouraging professional development around career growth.

Brett Beal

Distinguished Staff Member

Senior Academic Advisor Brett Beal in the School of Biomedical Engineering for weaving career into all of her conversations with fellow staff, faculty and students.

Ty Petersburg

Alumnus of the Year

Area Wildlife Manager Ty Petersburg of Colorado Parks & Wildlife, a 2001 graduate, has been helping current students find careers.

Waypoint Real Estate representatives

Growing Colorado Business of the Year

Waypoint Real Estate, a commercial real estate company, has invested time and energy into CSU programs such as the Everitt Real Estate Center and Ramstrength Foundation and has hired several CSU graduates.

Lokana Reed

Recruiter of the Year

Lokana Reed, Target’s lead executive recruiter, for connecting students to meaningful careers in leadership.

Janay Deloach-Soukup,

Alumnus Entrepreneur of the Year

Janay Deloach-Soukup, a two-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump, for founding Podium Performance, a speed and agility camp aimed to provide premiere coaching and training to Northern Colorado youth.

Keysight Technologies representative

The Employer of the Year

Keysight Technologies, a company that provides innovative software solutions. Keysight has made systemic changes in its recruiting and hiring process to better serve underrepresented groups and identities.

Bridgette Johnson

Distinguished Administrator

Bridgette Johnson, director of the Black/African American Cultural Center at CSU, for stimulating the career ecosystem throughout her office and among her peers.

Dr. Kevin Lear

Distinguished Faculty

Dr. Kevin Lear, director of the School of Biomedical Engineering’s undergraduate program, who was recognized for successfully integrating career into his classroom, working individually with students and connecting students to career preparedness and readiness opportunities.

Jody Drager

Career Impact Award

Jody Drager, school district liaison and career development coordinator in the School of Education, for her ability to integrate the idea of education as a career in multiple forms, especially in the area of opportunities in the education industry for historically marginalized populations.