The College of Arts & Media celebrates students, faculty, staff, and community leaders who are making a difference on campus, in the community, and in the creative fields!


Music & Entertainment Industry Studies

Carter Keller
Carter Keller

In addition to excelling in his studies in Recording Arts, Carter Keller has served his fellow students and aided the MEIS faculty in the Recording Core. The Recording Core is a vital part of students being able to learn the skills they need to succeed in recording arts, and Carter has been an integral part of that service for two years now. Over the summer, Carter managed the Recording Core, overseeing bookings, rehearsals, recordings, maintenance, cleaning, and inventory of the center. Carter offers thoughtful ideas, is willing to take on any task to get the job done, and help his fellow students in the studios. Carter is both creative, dependable, and personable. MEIS is proud to have such an outstanding graduate.


National Center of Media Forensics, MS

Robert Gillihan
Robert Gillihan

Robert Gillihan started the Media Forensics graduate program in 2019. Already working in the field of forensics as a Forensic Visualization Analyst, Robert has a unique perspective that has helped him and his fellow classmates through their time with the NCMF. Robert wrote his thesis on Accuracy Comparisons of iPhone 12 Pro LiDAR Outputs, which he hopes will direct underfunded investigation departments using the iPhone to collect useful information while understanding its limitations compared to more specialized and expensive equipment. After having a great experience at CU Denver, Robert feels a sense of confidence moving forward in his professional pursuits.

Visual Arts

Alex Ramirez
Alex Ramirez

Alex is an illustrator, graphic designer, and comic artist. Specializing in digital art, Alex has an affinity for bold lines, clean graphics, and colorful cartoon characters inspired by 90's and 2000's-era animation. She currently creates an independent webcomic alongside her freelance design work about an alien living on Earth trying to make friends. Alex's professors were impressed by the way she researched ideas thoroughly and looked for alternative solutions to complex problems. Alex came to studio with a cheerful attitude and took a professional stance to her work. One thing that stands out the most about Alex is her character design work. Even in Anatomy class, where the focus is on drawing realistically from life, Alex's character style had a way of shining through. The diligence with which Alex approached her studies, along with her cheerful, positive attitude will serve Alex well in any studio illustration position she pursues.


Film & Television

Zane Barber
Zane Barber Headshot copy

Zane Barber, actor, director, and producer, graduates with an impressive body of work. As filmmaking is learned by doing, his dedication to the process has allowed him to rise to the top of his class. He is a leader who collaborates with and challenges his peers. Barber’s passionate pursuit of filmmaking has led him to success within and outside of his coursework and he graduates having prepared for success.

Caitlin Bassolino

Caitlin Bassolino is a talented artist with a keen eye for design. Her work as a Production Designer on the thesis project, "Bryar County," stands out amongst her peers. Her design includes a level of detail that aesthetically contributes to storytelling. Bassolino’s strong voice as a female filmmaker is reflected her understanding of character development and nuance. She is mature student who represents Film & Television as a thoughtful, skilled filmmaker.

Music & Entertainment Industry Studies

Edwina Maben
Edwina Maben
Edwina Maben impacts the Denver community through art, music, and activism. Recognized by the CU Denver Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as a "Woman Making History," she is CAM Recording Arts Student who has shared her talents at the Troubadour (Los Angeles), Colorado and Company (9NEWS), Denver Start Up Week, and Denver Art Society––and recently participated in The Kennedy Center’s “Arts Across America” Series in November 2020. Here in Denver she is a presence at Youth on Record in their FEMpowered program, a music community that seeks to empower and prepare younger creative fems for the primarily male dominated music industry. During her time at CAM she has emerged as a talented leader in the local music community.

National Center of Media Forensics, MS

Angela Malley
Since starting the MSRA-MF program in 2018, Angela Malley has produced scientifically sound and thoughtful work. Her contributions to the field have been numerous, including extensive certifications, building incredibly strong relationships with working professionals, and hitting the ground running at a full-time position with a well-known digital forensics firm in the Denver area. Angela’s thesis,A Comparison Analysis of Saved Snapchat Video Files on Androids vs iPhones, is poised to be impactful research of an important platform used worldwide: work that could most certainly lead to published papers and ongoing research.

Visual Arts

Florence Blackwell
Blackwell_Florence_Photo_arthistory (2)
Florence Blackwell completed a dual emphasis degree in Art History and Photography. Her transformative work, which focuses on issues of race and gender, stems from her unique perspective as a Black trans woman and first-generation student. As a student she studied photography abroad in Italy, interned at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, served as research assistant for scholarly and creative faculty-led projects, and participated in numerus opportunities to advance her training as a scholar and artist. Portions of Blackwell’s thesis work, “Whitewashed: The Unwritten History of Black Africans in Renaissance Europe,” was published in the peer-reviewed Journal 18: A Journal of Eighteenth Century Art and Culture.

View the project here.

Huitzilli Oronia

As a talented digital designer, Huitzilli Oronia uses her voice to address issues of social justice and activism. As a student and professional, Oronia has built a portfolio that includes branding for the Next Stage Gallery, creating promotional materials for the Denver Silent Film Festival, and working on project for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her thesis project, I am History, History is Me encourages k-12 history educators to be aware and inclusive of local and underrepresented culture. Oronia graduates as a leader who can encapsulate complex issues through design.


View her PSA, using motion graphics, on the topic of white fragility.




Each year CU Denver honors one of the university’s greatest assets—the remarkable faculty—with the faculty awards. These accolades recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, leadership and service, and research and creative activities.

Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Work, Campus Winner

Michelle Bauer Carpenter
Michelle Carpenter

Professor Michelle Bauer Carpenter, Visual Arts Chair, is a relentless creative. As a filmmaker, she receives international acclaim for her varied documentary work which tackles complex stories about the human experience. Her most recent film, Enough White Teacups, draws upon the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and explores how art, design, and story can be leveraged towards inventing a better future. As a professor of Digital Design, Carpenter, fosters creativity, visual storytelling, imagination, collaboration, and empathy among her students and their work, equipping the next generation to make the world a better place.  

Enough White Teacups may viewed on Vimeo and YouTube.

Excellence in Leadership and Service

Storm Gloor
Associate Professor and Councilman Storm Gloor teaches courses in music marketing, the future of the music business, and the evolution of music economies. In partnership with Sound Diplomacy, global authorities on music and cultural economies, Gloor devolved the first known “Music Cities” course in higher education offered in the world. His breakthrough curriculum has been the cornerstone for the innovative study of the cultural, creative, and nightlife economies. He is currently president of the international Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA), an associate member of the Recording Academy (the Grammys) and a city councilman for the city of Glendale, CO, where he previously served as a planning commissioner.

Excellence in Teaching, Tenure/Tenure-Track

Melissa Furness
Associate Professor Melissa Furness regularly exhibits her work both nationally and internationally, with group exhibitions in Beijing, Mexico City, Budapest, Swansea, Florence, Lecce, Zurich, Korea, Cape Town, Palestine and Sarajevo amongst others, along with inclusion in various international art fairs. She participated in the 2015 Biennial of the Americas, through which she resided in Mexico City as an art ambassador and has additionally shown work in the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Karala, India through A.I.R. Gallery of New York. Furness is current member of the Artnauts Collective and Pink Progression, all of which use the visual arts as a tool for addressing gender and other social/political issues.

Excellence in Teaching, Instructional/Research/Clinical Faculty

Stephen C. Schaf

Instructor Stephen Schaff is innovative creative with a passion for interactive design (IxD) and design mentorship. With a successful career in the private sector, Schaff shares all aspects of the creative process including design research, conceptualization, creative development and user experience strategies with students.  He thrives when mentoring the creative process and takes deep pleasure when cultivating in others their most innovative thinking.

President’s Teaching Scholars Program

Maria Buszek
Maria Buszek CU Denver
If you had told Associate Professor Maria Buszek, PhD, during her early days as an undergraduate student that she’d one day find herself at the front of a classroom, she wouldn’t have believed it. Years later, that’s exactly where CU Denver’s most recent appointee to the President’s Teaching Scholars Program ended up. Learn more about Dr. Buszek's exceptional research and this prestigious award in CU Denver News.


Staff Excellence Award

Sean Koto

Sean Koto is the visual arts section administrator in the College of Arts & Media’s Visual Arts Department. He’s known by his peers as a professional employee who is deeply dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and to the safety and success of students. During the remote learning period at CU Denver, Koto worked with the Visual Arts Department and Digital Animation Center lab manager to create a robust system to allow students to use equipment and advanced technology from home and off-campus. After CU Denver employees started on-campus work in greater numbers this summer, Koto immediately returned to provide a stable in-person presence in the Visual Arts Department. As a member of the CAM Safe Return Planning Team, he played a critical role in the safe return of his department.


Bryar County

Caitlin Bassolino, Anthony Battaglia, and Mason Weston
Faculty Mentor: Jessica McGaugh

This film sheds a light on what it means to be different in a place you were born to be a part of. Created by a diverse group of film students this film is dedicated to unpacking the complex issues of identity and culture in our art. This is not a love story, nor a coming out story. It's a queer story from an unheard perspective that deconstructs the struggle between culture and identity.

Watch the trailer here.

The Remedy of Dr. Salubrious

Bonnie Utter and Davina Vetter-Drake
Faculty Mentor: Andrew Bateman
Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 12.47.18 PM

The story follows a wayward young woman named Mari at the end of her rope. Fortunately, fate puts her in the office of Dr.Salubrious: an eccentric and unorthodox psychiatrist. He takes Mari on a journey into her subconscious, to find the sources of her emotional struggles and past traumas, and ultimately heal from her past. This film will be visually immersive, relatable, and engaging. We hope to portray an honest  representation of the human experience, in an otherworldly setting. This film showcases some of the quirky and beautiful places around our state with the goal of contributing to our community and revitalizing the struggling art industry by drawing more filmmakers and artists to our school and to Colorado at large.

Watch the trailer here.

Lynx Creative Collective

Erin Chang and Jacob Garland
Faculty Mentor: Travis Vermilye


Lynx Creative Collection's mission is to bring together the creative forces that span across the college with the goal of producing a high-quality print and digital publication, while fostering an engaged community established on inclusivity and diversity. The publication serves  the college as a way to showcase all students’ work under one entity while aligning with the greater CU Denver’s initiatives. Within the publication, you’ll find 50+ interviews showcasing works such as digital art, illustration, animation, 3D rendering, film, music, advocacy and among others.

View the work of the Lynx Creative Collective here.


Space Whales (Leviiatha)

Eric Rogers and Crystal Lee
Faculty Mentor: Michelle Bauer Carpenter


Space Whales utilizes Unreal Engine 4, realtime render engine that utilizes cutting edge technology, to tell an immersive and interactive story. The story is that of a young woman researching a cure for a deadly illness that plagues the entire universe. It takes place on a planet where “aquatic” creatures “swim” through “seas” of fog below. Technology allowed the team to work on their art in iterations, which was a pivotal process in the team’s success.

Learn more about Space Whales here.

Checkbox: Other

Madison Santamaria and Cassandra Lefevre
Faculty Mentor: Jessica McGaugh


“What are you?” is a question that most people aren’t usually asked in a normal day-to-day conversation. Most people can be put off or confused by such a question, which is understandable in all cases, but being biracial, it is most times the first question asked right after “What is your name?” Being biracial is the definition of a “gray area”, because you are considered a minority, but you also have “white privilege” which results in the lack of affirmation from either side. You are everyone yet no one all at the same time.

“Checkbox: Other” sheds light on biracial cousins, Paisley and Maddy. While they are alike in almost every way -- being biracial, age, gender, and both are artists -- they learn about how each other's lives have been drastically different solely because of their ethnicities and appearance.

Watch the trailer here.

Research and Creative Activities Symposium
Award Winners

The 24th annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RACAS) showcases the scholarly activities of CU Denver undergraduate and graduate students. Congratulations to all those who shared their scholarship and fostered a sense of community collaboration, outreach, and creativity.

Arts & Media

  • 3rd Place - Eric Rogers & Crystal Lee - Leviiatha


People's Choice Award


College of Arts & Media

CU Denver

Arts Building

1150 10th Street

Suite 177

Denver, CO 80204


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