President’s Message

With Commencement nearing, this is a good time to recognize the great accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. As you will read below, many students have conducted and presented research, attended conferences and workshops, and participated in student organizations, all thanks to the mentorship of professors and staff.

This dedication to our students and scholarship is what helps students succeed and makes Adams State University such a special place. I thank you all for the work you do and look forward to even more achievement in the next academic year.

– President McClure

Dr. Beverlee J. McClure (center) accepts a certificate from Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia and Betty Heid, chair of the board for the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.

Dr. Beverlee J. McClure (center) accepts a certificate from Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia and Betty Heid, chair of the board for the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure was among several female heads of Colorado colleges and universities who were recognized at a Women in Higher Education Event held March 29 at the Denver Public Library in coordination with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

Photo credit: Jay Weise

Alumnus Placido Gomez to give Commencement Address

Saturday, May 14
Plachy Hall Gym
10 a.m. – Undergraduate Commencement
1:30 p.m. – Graduate Commencement

The Commencement Address for this year’s undergraduate ceremony will be given by Placido Gomez, Adams State class of 1975 and 1976. Currently a visiting professor of law at the University of La Verne College of Law, he previously served as vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Placido Gomez

Placido Gomez

Gomez received his LL.M. from Yale Law School, his J.D. from the University of New Mexico Law School, and a bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s in guidance and counseling from Adams State.

Gomez was also a tenured member of the faculty at the Phoenix School of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston. He also teaches for the American Indian Law Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law in Albuquerque, and serves as an appellate judge on the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals and a Pro Tem Judge of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

He received several honors in association with his active role in the education of minority students. While at Yale, he was instrumental in establishing the James Thomas Lecture Series, an annual program that brings young minority law professors to the Yale Law School campus. In April 2001, he was honored at the University of New Mexico School of Law with the Fighting for Justice Award for his commitment to the legal education of minority students and his work with indigent and under-represented groups in the criminal justice system.

Reminder: Year-end Purchases

The Purchasing Office reminds the campus that purchases must post to employee Pcards by June 25, and the goods must arrive on campus by June 30.

Those who must register for a conference to be held after June 30 must pay for it from Fiscal Year ’17 appropriations. If a registration needs to be prepaid (prior to June 30) contact the Purchasing Office for assistance at ext. 7526.

2016 Employee Recognition Ceremony

Exemplary Faculty Award

Dr. Christy Miller, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Tony Weathers, professor of mathematics, were presented this year’s Exemplary Faculty Awards at the Employee Recognition Ceremony. To qualify for selection, “Exemplary” faculty must earn an exemplary evaluation in teaching effectiveness and at least one other exemplary evaluation in either scholarly/creative activity or service. Recommendations were reviewed by the Peer Recognition Committee (PRC), which includes one tenured faculty member from each academic department.

The PRC’s recommendations for the two are as follows:

“Our recommendation for Dr. Miller is based on her persistent record of outstanding student evaluation, efficacious role as Faculty Senate President, and readiness to volunteer for department service.”

“Our recommendation for Dr. Weathers is based on his dedication to constantly refining the craft of teaching with a focus on constant improvement, his work on the Euclid project, and his significant and productive contribution in departmental, university, and community activities.”

Years of Service, etc.

At the ceremony, dozens of employees received certificates for milestone years of service. Also announced at the event were faculty tenure awards, promotions in rank, and emeritus status. Read more.

Faculty Development Opportunities

1st Annual Equity SymPAWsuim
May 18-20
McDaniel Hall

ASU presents its first “SymPAWsium” to explore “Courageous Conversations for Organizational Transformation,” sponsored by the Office of Title V initiatives. The event will feature both local and nationally recognized speakers

Event schedule

This is a free event, but advanced registration is encouraged. Please register here.

“Meeting the Post-Secondary Needs of
Diverse Learners through a Culturally Responsive Lens.”
Friday, May 27

8 a.m. -1 p.m.
McD 243

Javier Gonzales and Luis Alvarez present the final component of this series. Faculty will receive a stipend for participation in this workshop; both breakfast and lunch are provided. There are still a few spaces left. Click here to RSVP.

ASU PD Update

Torch Run supports Special Olympics

The 2016 Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) raised more than $2,500 to benefit Special Olympics, according to Adams State University Chief of Police Paul Grohowski, who organized the event for the second year, held April 30. Read more.

Grohowski recognized

Adams State University Police Chief Paul Grohowski was presented executive certification from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police at the April meeting of the Adams State University Board of Trustees.

ASU PD Chief Paul Grohowki accepts his executive certificate from Alamosa Chief of Police Duane Oakes.

ASU PD Chief Paul Grohowki accepts his executive certificate from Alamosa Chief of Police Duane Oakes.

The certificate was presented by Alamosa Police Chief Duane Oakes, who is the second vice president with the state association that is committed to excellence in delivering quality service to its membership, law enforcement community, and citizens of Colorado. Oakes said there are about 38 active members that hold this certification and that Grohowski quickly and easily meshed with long-time law enforcement leaders in the community. Board of Trustees Chair Arnold Salazar said he appreciated the level of professionalism Chief Growhowski brought to the campus.



Students & Faculty: Academic Pursuits

Student Scholar Days

The ninth annual Adams State University Student Scholar Days, held on campus April 7-8, featured oral presentations and posters by undergraduate students on topics within their academic major. Read more.


Adams State’s chapter of the Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society hosted the 2016 Western-1 Regional Undergraduate Research Conference on campus, April 15-16. First place award winners receive a $750 travel stipend to attend and compete at the National Tri-Beta conference, to be held at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota,  June 1-5. The following ASU students presented their research:

  • Christian Nenninger (Faculty Mentors: Adam Kleinschmit and Chris Adams) – Won the Brooks Award (1st place) for best cellular/molecular oral presentation: “Reduction of Acetaldehyde Levels in Lager Beers using CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing/.”
  • Alex Mullins and John Whitinger (Faculty Mentor: Matt Steffenson) – Won the Johnson Award (1st place) for best overall poster presentation for “Morphological Factors and Their Effect on Antipredator Behavior in Two Species of Wolf Spiders.”
  • Ryan Miller (Faculty Mentor: Adam Kleinschmit) – Won 2nd place in overall poster presentation for “Bioinformatic Analysis of Microbial Abundance and Diversity in Acid Mine Drainage from the Solomon Mine in Creede, Colorado.”
  • Garret Visser and Russell Geminden (Faculty Mentor: Matt Steffenson) – poster presentation: “Potential Factors Influencing Susceptibility to Colony Collapse Disorder in Two Strains of Honeybees.”
  • Matthew Harris (Faculty Mentor: Kristy Duran) – poster presentation: “Effects of Dwarf Mistletoe Infection on Soil Nutrients Associated with Pinyon Pine.”
Tri-Beta Award Winners

Tri-Beta Award Winners

School of Business

All 14 Adams State University participants in the recent 2016 Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) State Leadership Conference qualified to compete at this summer’s National Leadership conference, according to club sponsor, Natalie Rogers. In addition, Adams State’s Chance Padilla was elected PBL State President. Read more.

ASU's PBL group.

ASU’s PBL group.


Eight students went to the National American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego, March 13-16, and attended a banquet where they were given a Commendable Award for the club’s participation in the 2014/2015 school year. Samantha Sargent presented a poster: “[A]3: Adams Atoms Activities,” and Edgar Pinedo Escobedo presented his recent BLM internship research, “Ammonia analysis in San Luis Valley Blanca Wetlands using UV-Vis Spectroscopy.”

Earth Sciences

  • Sunayna Wahi

    Sunayna Wahi

    Sunayna Wahi, a senior geology major with a minor in geography, recently received the 2016 Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists’ Neal J. Harr Memorial Outstanding Student Award, as well as the Association of Women Geoscientists (AWG) Outstanding Student Award for 2016. The latter award was based on faculty recommendations.

  • Physical geography majors Seth Clock and Cory Ott presented their own research with Dr. Jared Beeton at the annual Association of American Geographers conference in San Francisco. Their presentation was “An Undergraduate Researcher’s Guide to Building a Geomorphic GIS Database.”

English, Theatre, and Communication

  • The Department of English, Theatre, and Communication presented its annual writing awards at a ceremony and reading, April 22. Junior Hannah Nakashima ’17, creative writing major, was recognized as the recipient of the Erin Gilmore Memorial Scholarship. Read more.
  • ASU’s Lost and Found Improv Troupe, directed by Asst. Professor of Theatre Jenna Neilsen, traveled to Chicago over Spring Break for workshops at the world-renowned Second City Training Center. The week-long intensive focused on the troupe and long form improvisation. The group also attended ten improv and sketch shows at five different theatres and took in cultural events such as the Field Museum, the Chicago Institute of Art, the “bean” in Millenium Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Chicago History Museum. The troupe will showcase their own newly devised long form, the creation of which started in Chicago, at their last on-campus performance, Saturday, May 7.
The Lost & Found at Second City in Chicago.

The Lost & Found at Second City in Chicago.



History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science & Spanish

  • El Parnaso, the Adams State Spanish Club, presented its annual Pan American Days for area high school students April 21. Alamosa High School student Octavio Villaseñor and Sargent High School student Ana Serna received $600 scholarships to Adams State University for their presentations. Overall results include Sargent High School, first place; Alamosa High School, second place; and Monte Vista High School, third place. According to advisor Dr. Eva Rayas Solís, the Spanish Club, formed in 1928, has organized the event for over 85 years. She said seven high schools participated this year, including Alamosa High School, Centauri High School, Centennial High School, Del Norte High School, Monte Vista High School, Sargent High School and Sierra Grande High School. Read more.
  • Dr. Liza Nealy, asst. professor of political science, will be the featured guest speaker and panel presenter at “Scandal In Real Time: A National Conference on Black Women, Politics, and Oral History,” to be held at the University of Irvine California in May. All her conference expenses will be paid, and she will receive an honorarium. Nealy will present her peer-reviewed book, African American Women Voters: Racialized Religiosity, Political Consciousness and Progressive Political Action In U.S. Presidential Elections From 1964 Through 2008 (University Press of America]. In her lecture, she will discuss key themes in her work and concepts she has developed that will become part of an oral history book project produced by the University of Mississippi Press that draws greater attention to Black women’s scholarship in political science. In addition, the Cenage Learning Publishing Company selected Nealy to contribute three contracted essays to their Fall 2016 Western Civilization Textbook Series for undergraduate world civilization courses. The essays are: “Hebrews and Israelites,” “The Life of Saint Paul,” and “Islam.”

Human Performance & Physical Education

Two HPPE graduate students successfully defended their thesis projects this spring.

  • Katelyn Smith

    Katelyn Smith

    Katelyn Smith’s work is titled, “Exploring Athletic Identity in a Team of NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Players.” The study explored the underlying factors of athletic identity development in a team of Division II women’s basketball players and presented a perspective of their experiences of a positive psychology intervention focused on developing positive self-identity.

  • Dustin Oranchuk’s thesis is “Comparison of the Hang High-Pull and Trap-Bar Jump Squat in the Development of Vertical Jump and Isometric Force-Time Characteristics.” The study compared vertical jump performance and isometric force and rate of force development (RFD) following a ten-week intervention employing either the HHP or TBJS in collegiate swimmers.

    Dustin Oranchuk

    Dustin Oranchuk

  • Ten members of the HPPE department attended the Rocky Mountain American College of Sports Medicine (RMACSM) annual conference in Denver, April 8-9.The group was led by Dr. Tracey Robinson, who, as a Board member of the RMACSM, helped organize the conference. In addition, Dr. Robinson also served as a poster judge for student research and as a grant reviewer.
    • Two graduate students, Dustin Oranchuk and Zach Switaj, presented three posters of research they have been involved in during the past year or so.
    • HPPE Visiting Instructors Lukus Klawitter and Maria Martinez guided the five undergraduate students in the Student Bowl, an exercise science version of the game show Jeopardy. Team members also included Kurt Urbin, Yosef Teklehaimanot, Mitchell Garcia, Michelle Crowther, and Osheray Streeter.
  • In addition, six undergraduate exercise science majors participated in Student Scholar Days, April 7-8. They worked with their mentor, Dr. Tracey Robinson, throughout the spring semester.
    • Jackson Espeset and David Sheppard’s case study, “Investigating Nutritional Status and Energy Balance of a Vegan Athlete,” was named Best Overall Oral Presentation.
    • Carissa Sidor and Shelby McBain presented a case study: “Energy Balance and Nutritional Status of an Adams State Female Soccer Player.”
    • Ryan Orr & Danielle Mantelli presented their research, “Fitness Age of Adams State Football Players”


  • Graduating senior percussion and music education major, Juan Francisco Cristobal of Alamosa/Santa Eulalia, Huetenango, Guatemala, was awarded a full fellowship to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to earn a master of arts and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology.
  • The ASU Flute Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Tracy Doyle, performed an outreach concert at The Bridge retirement community, April 14. Shelby Glammeyer, Kayleen Peretto-Ortega, Deanna Smith, Miranda Johnson, Emily Johnson, Chelsea Todd, and Madison Pockrus performed a wide variety of repertoire, highlighting academic achievements from their chamber music class, while sharing a public concert with an appreciative audience.flutes-bridge
  • Sophomore percussion performance and music education major Kevin Johnson, of Colorado Springs, competed with the Winter Guard International (WGI) Independent Marching Percussion Group, “Altitude,” at the WGI World Championships on April 7-9 at the University of Dayton.

Dr. Tracy Doyle, professor of music, was selected as a winner of the National Flute Association Convention Performers Competition and will perform in the Newly Published Music concert in San Diego in August. Read more.

James Doyle, assist professor of music, successfully defended his dissertation, “Original Chamber Percussion Works for Silent or Silenced Film in Live Performance,” and will graduate with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on May 14. Also, he recorded drums and percussion on three newly released Howlin’ Dog Record Label releases:


Twelve ASU nursing seniors spent two weeks in April on the island of Roatan, Honduras, for their course “Community/public health clinical rotation.” They were accompanied by Paul Wertz, visiting asst. professor of nursing, and Karen Adamson, asst. professor of nursing; as well as by two nurses from the community who volunteered to help. With help and coordination from Clinica Esperanza, the group distributed over 6,000 pairs of TOMS shoes that were contributed, hosted health fairs, and presented diabetes education classes. The students also supplied a large amount of medical supplies that were donated local health care providers.

“The trip was an eye-opening and amazing experience for the students,” said senior Stephanie Atkins. “We cannot thank our generous community enough for all their help in getting us there.” AS&F contributed about half of the $25,000 cost of the mission. View a video summarizing the experience.


Twenty-three psychology students recently attended the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference in Denver, accompanied by Drs. Kelso, Alvarez, Demski, Kirk, and Elison. Nine students presented five oral and poster presentations, one of which won a PSI CHI award:

  • Elizabeth Marino and Tara Grebert: “The Association of Student Status and Loneliness on Self-Efficacy.” Poster (Advisor: Robert Demski)
  • Lenore Reinhart and Robert Demski: “Condensed Self-Compassion Training Pilot Program Effective.” Paper –Psi Chi Award Winner
  • Keren Bakke, Melissa Acosta, and Robert Demski: Poster – “Gender but NOT Narrative Perspective is Associated with Beliefs and Attitudes toward Rape Survivors.”
  • Nick Spencer, Raul Madril, Ian Wingstrom and Kim Kelso presented the paper, “The Space Between Us: Does Stereotype Threat Extend to Sexual Orientation?”
  • Danielle Walters: Paper – “Social Interaction Phobia Scale: Psychometric Analysis and Comparison to the Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scale.” (Advisor: Jeff Elison)
  • Dr. Jeff Elison, assistant professor of psychology, presented: “Humiliation: Recent Advances and Future Directions.” He also authored an invited entry on that topic for the Encyclopedia of Adolescence, which is in press.
  • Dr. Leslie Alvarez, professor of psychology, presented several sessions: “Depression Quest: Using Gaming to Promote Understanding in Abnormal Psychology,” “But I Was Just a Mentee! Becoming an Undergraduate Research Mentor: A Workshop for Early Career Faculty,” and “Self Care for Students: Strategies for Managing School-Life Balance.” Alvarez also completed part two of her participation in the American Psychological Association’s Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, in Washington, D.C. She was selected for the program’s eighth cohort as an up-and-coming female leader in psychology. The institute included leadership training and advocacy work on Capitol Hill, urging congresspeople to support legislation regarding women’s treatment in prison. In addition, she recently finished her third year as President Elect, President, and Past President of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association.

Dr. Robert Kirk, assist. professor of psychology, co-authored “Aging and ageism: The roles of identity processing styles and self-consciousness,” which was published by Nova Science Publishers in C Fields’ (Ed.) Stereotypes and stereotyping: Misperceptions, perspectives, and role of social media.

Dr. R. Nathan Pipitone, assoc. professor of psychology, had his paper, “Variation in Men’s Masculinity Affects Preferences for Women’s Voices at Different Points in the Menstrual Cycle,” accepted for publication in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.


Five sociology majors presented their research at the 10th Annual Western Slope Undergraduate Sociology Symposium, held at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Sociology students from Western, Mesa, Fort Lewis and Adams participate in this symposium, which rotates among the schools, and will be held next spring (2017) at ASU. The group was accompanied by Dr. Ben Waddell, assoc. professor of sociology, and Dr. Grace E. Young, professor and chair of sociology

ASU student projects were as follows:

  • Rebecca L. Bay, Kirsten Salazar, and Joseph Duran presented “Knowing the Difference.” They conducted a taste test with ASU students of generic bottled water, smart bottled water, and tap water to determine whether preference is a social construct or due to an actual taste difference.
  • Cody Narvaez and Qiana Barfield presented “Technology & Social Media: How it Affects Students: An Investigation of Students’ Self-Report Data.” They designed a survey and administered it to ASU students to determine if greater use of technology leads to lower GPAs and lower emotional well-being.

Student Activities Update

National Society of Leadership and Success inducts students

At a banquet April 27, Adams State’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) celebratedtge induction of 37 student members. With a total of 197 members, 79 are fully inducted.

Four ASU students were recognized with NSLS’ highest leadership certificate, the National Engaged Leader Award, which is presented to those who go above and beyond the steps towards induction and perform community service. Adams State’s award recipients were Petra Lamla, Lauren Karlskin, Ariel Rangel-Pereira, and Seth Clock.

Keynote speakers for the evening were Alamosa Mayor Josef Lucero and Dr. Liz Hensley, asst. professor of marketing and an Alamosa City Councilor.

For information on the program and how students can get involved, contact NSLS Advisor, Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, Jeni Carter.

Multicultural Student Governance Committee formed

The Multicultural Student Governance Committee (MCSG) was initiated in the Fall ’15 semester. Nominated for the committee by faculty and staff, students on the committee include Marissa Morgan, Sheniqua Griffith, Simone Jackson, Megan Benfield, Joecelyne Cabrera and Matthew Tulley. The group is advised by Jeni Carter, assistant director of Student Life and Leadership. This year, the group developed a constitution, mission, and purpose statement for both the committee and the Center for Inclusivity, which is being developed in the SUB area previously used for ASAP. The group’s goal for the Center for Inclusivity is to provide cultural clubs and organizations a safe space to meet.

MCSG Mission
To promote a safe, diverse, and inclusive campus in order to cease marginalization, embrace culture and learning, and embrace what is unique to the individual, while providing resources for the marginalized through support and collaboration.

MCSG Purpose
To allow individuals to freely express themselves without fear of marginalization.

The group participated in a leadership retreat April 2, and four students attended the University of Denver’s Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence with Dr. Nick Saenz and CIELO’s (Community for Inclusion, Equity, Leadership and Opportunity) President’s Liaison for Inclusion and Equity Dr. Carol Guerrero-Murphy. Students attended workshops that ranged from confronting one’s own biases to recent issues around the Black Lives Movement and Islamophobia.

MCSG has also supported other campus groups by helping to help fund C.A.S.A.’s Caesar Chavez week, as well as travel expenses for nursing students who went to Honduras for their “Community/public health clinical rotation.” MCSG also contributed materials for Title V’s upcoming SymPAWsium

Climbing Team has best finish to date at nationals

The Adams State University Climbing Team had fantastic results at USA Climbing’s Collegiate National Championship, held in San Diego, April 22-23. The eight-member team finished 15th out of 42 schools. There were a total of 165 female and 222 male competitors. Highlights included a 3rd place podium finish in sport climbing by sophomore Noel Prandoni, 20th place in speed by freshman Anna LaSusa, 39th place in bouldering by senior Amber Reyes, 53rd in sport by senior Connor Hile, 34th place in speed by freshman Travis Fraker, 36th in sport by sophomore Wyatt Moran, 46th in bouldering by senior Eric Learn, and 92nd in sport by graduate student Nicholas Hedges. The program looks to improve even more next year as the team develops better training systems and a deeper talent pool. The team is currently recruiting climbers; for information, please contact Marshal Hartley.

ASU's Climbing Team

ASU’s Climbing Team

Results: USA Climbing’s Collegiate National Championship

Female Bouldering

  • 39th – Amber Reyes
  • 45th – Noel Prandoni
  • 61st – Connor Hile
  • 69th – Anna LaSusa

Male Bouldering

  • 46th – Eric Learn
  • 75th – Travis Fraker
  • 85th – Wyatt Moran
  • 110th – Nicholas Hedges

Female Sport

  • 3rd – Noel Prandoni
  • 53rd – Connor Hile
  • 55th – Anna LaSusa
  • 57th – Amber Reyes

Male Sport

  • 36th – Wyatt Moran
  • 92nd – Nicholas Hedges
  • 105th – Eric Learn
  • 107th – Travis Fraker

Female Speed

  • 20th – Anna LaSusa
  • 36th – Noel Prandoni
  • 53rd – Connor Hile
  • 70th – Amber Reyes

Male Speed

  • 34th – Travis Fraker
  • 57th – Eric Learn
  • 99th – Nicholas Hedges
  • 183rd – Wyatt Moran


New employees

The following have recently joined ASU:

  • Joseph Mendoza-Green – Asst. Director of Career & Counseling
  • Lillian Sanchez – Accounting Tech I
  • Thethan (Victor) Soe – Director of Institutional Research