PI of the Month
Hsiu-Ping Liu, Ph.D.
In partnership with a colleague from the Smithsonian Institute, Dr. Hsiu-Ping Liu is currently a CO-PI on grant awards to explore the “Taxonomic Clarification of Upper Klamath Basin Pebblesnails (genus Fluminicola) and “Taxonomic Clarification of Oregon and Washington Duskysnails,” both funded by the USDA-Forest Service. Her research interests are in systematics, evolution and conservation genetics of freshwater mollusks. Dr. Liu joined the faculty of Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2007, serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. In 2008 she served as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associated Professor in 2012. She has published 28 papers in various peer-reviewed scientific journals, received more than $300,000 external grants, and mentored 40+ students. She is an instructor for the Summer Science Scholars and the Summer Science Institute Programs, 2010-present, as well as Faculty Mentor for Colorado Alliance for Minority participation (CO-AMP) and research coordinator for Strides Toward Encouraging Professions in Science (STEPS). Dr. Liu earned her doctoral degree from the Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder. She also holds a Master of Science degree from the Institute of Fisheries Science, National Taiwan University.
Esther M. Rodriguez, JD
Esther M. Rodriguez is director of the Center for Urban Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver where she leads the college's partnership with Denver Public Schools to increase student achievement through highly effective teachers. She has served as the Principal Investigator and director for a federal $9.5 million Teacher Quality Enhancement grant that ended in 2010 and currently serves as PI and director for a 5-year 21st Century Community Learning Center grant that was awarded last spring. Prior to joining MSU Denver in 2007, she headed an education consulting practice, was vice-president for development at the Education Commission of the States where she was responsible for managing all fundraising operations, and served as associate executive director for the State Higher Education Executive Officers where she headed national policy initiatives on P-16 collaboration, high school reform, teacher quality, workforce development and diversity in higher education. She is a licensed attorney earning her J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a former urban high school teacher.
Dr. Margaret “Peggy” M. O'Neill-Jones
Dr. O’Neill-Jones is a professor of technical communication and media production and served as department chair for nearly ten years at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her career began as a newspaper photographer and moved to broadcast, corporate, and educational media. As media transitioned to digital, online, and virtual environments, she led the way with innovative interactive media productions including 21st Century Learning Matters, a video that describes the strategies and tools needed to create powerful learning environments. Currently, she is the regional director for the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Western Region program. TPS provides professional development related to finding, accessing, and integrating the vast reservoir of primary sources from the Library of Congress to deepen content understanding through inquiry learning and 21st century learning skills. Through Dr. O’Neill-Jones’ leadership the TPS-Colorado program grew from statewide outreach to a regional program that serves 14 western states. The program recently received a $255,000 increase from the Library of Congress to the annual TPS award. Congratulations, Dr. O’Neill-Jones!
Leroy S. Chavez, MBA
Mr. Leroy S. Chavez is Principal Investigator and Project Director of the Federal TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) at Metropolitan State University of Denver. VUB designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education. The program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring and academic instruction in the core subject areas. The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs.
A United States Army Veteran, a Metro State alum (’96) as well as a graduate of VUB, Mr. Chavez has over fifteen years of experience in higher education, including eleven years working directly with military veterans who are pursuing goals in postsecondary education. His recent grant proposal to the US Dept of Education on behalf of VUB was selected to receive funding in the amount of $280,943 for the first budget period 9/1/12-8/31/13. It’s anticipated the total award will be $1,404,715 over five years. Congratulations, Mr. Chavez!
Dr. Rosemarie Depoy Walker
Dr. Walker, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at MSU Denver, is Principal Investigator and Director of the STEPS (Strides Toward Encouraging Professions in Science) program, a major National Institute of Health (NIH) Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant that has been operational since 1998 with awards totaling over $2.4 million. STEPS seeks to encourage and support underrepresented minority students from two-year colleges to persist in their education, transfer to four-year colleges in majors related to biomedical sciences, and to eventually enter careers in biomedical research. STEPS is a factor in MSU Denver’s success in improving the transfer rate of minority students as well as the number of minority students majoring in Biology and Chemistry.
The American Chemical Society Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA) recently selected Dr. Walker as The Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting (RMRM) 2012 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for advancing diversity in the chemical Sciences. The award will be presented at the 23rd RMRM to be held at the Westin, Westminster, CO, October 17- October 20, 2012. For more information, please visit, http://rmrm2012.sites.acs.org/ . Congratulations, Dr. Walker!