AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENT

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!

SPRING 2022 OUTSTANDING GRADUATES

Film & Television

Davina Vetter-Drake
Davina Vetter Drake

Film & Television major Davina Vetter-Drake always turned in work early and of the highest quality, according to her professors. During her studies in CAM, Davina was on a team of film & television majors that received one of the Dean’s Future of Creativity Award for a project called “Big Mama Ohana”. Davina says she is particularly proud of her junior thesis film “Cross the Forest Styx”. In CAM, Davina was able to learn about many different aspects of filmmaking and appreciates how the program helps students “as individuals to find and work to improve on our personal specialties and focuses.” Despite missing an opportunity to study abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davina is positioned to carry her passion for all things film into a promising career due to her great work ethic and admirable skills. Davina’s professors believe she will represent CAM well in the world at large as she pursues her filmmaking aspirations.

Music & Entertainment Industry Studies

Katie Yeager
Katie Yeager

During her time studying Singing/Songwriting with a minor in Multidisciplinary Research methods, Katie Yeager’s passion for music led her to hold a variety of leadership positions and fill important roles on many projects. In addition to being a CAM Merit Scholar, Katie served as a Mentorship Ambassador for CAM’s Mentor Collective (a project which pairs mentors with students interested in careers in the arts); she was President of CU Denver’s chapter of #Fight4HER; and she was involved in the University Honors and Leadership Program. Katie is particularly proud of her role organizing the Singer/Songwriter 2021 Spring Break Tour, which featured herself and fellow singer/songwriter students, Finn O’Sullivan and Genevieve Glimp. Katie has also taught high school LYNX camp attendees in the songwriting camp for the past three summers. She also spent a summer interning at the Levitt Pavilion. In addition to graduating this semester, Katie has also released her first EP, Adeline. “I am so grateful for the support, encouragement, and guidance I've received, especially from teachers like Owen Kortz,” Katie says of her experience in CAM.

Katelynn Eckles, MS Recording Arts
Katelynn Eckles

Katelynn Eckles started studying for a Master of Science in Recording Arts with the intention of teaching in higher education. During her graduate studies, Katelynn worked full time as the Ticketing Manager & Executive Assistant at Levitt Pavilion Denver. Her dream of teaching college classes came true this semester by teaching Audio Production classes in CAM. Besides being a hard worker and truly passionate about recording arts, Katelynn attributes the career opportunities to the strong connections she made with the faculty in CAM. “I had professors who genuinely cared about my career goals and connected me with the right people to get me where I am today,” Katelynn says. The projects Katelynn is particularly proud of are a full business plan for a concert series which led to her job at the Levitt Pavilion, and a collection of sample lectures in a pedagogy course which led to her position as an adjunct professor at CU Denver.

National Center of Media Forensics, MS

Steve Wells
Robert Gillihan

A background in audio helped Steve Wells take to the Master of Science in Media Forensics degree program, but it was his enthusiasm for learning about multimedia forensics that caused him to excel at his coursework. During his studies in NCMF, Steve worked on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) SemaFor research project and quickly became an instrumental part of that team. SemaFor’s mission is to develop technology designed to help analysts detect falsified media assets faster. NCMF director Catalin Grigoras describes Steve as curious and persistent, even the face of his thesis work, which took many twists and an eventual shift in topic. Steve’s completed thesis represents a “great addition” not only to the NCMF research catalogue, but also to the broader field of media forensics. For his part, Steve is most excited about being able to use his degree to develop a career that he can look forward to every day.

Visual Arts

Madison Bradfield
Madison Bradfield

Graduating with a BFA in 3D Animation and a minor in Leadership Studies, Madison wore many hats during her time at CU Denver. In addition to her exemplary work as a Digital Animation Center student, she was a part of the University Honors and Leadership Program (UHL) while also serving as a Resident Assistant. Through her commitment to UHL, Madison volunteered at the Denver Botanical Gardens and various other campaigns. Her senior UHL thesis saw her investigating food insecurity issues in Denver and interviewing immigrant and refugee communities. A Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis Madison received as a child motivates her to strive for better representation of this marginalized population in the media. Not only does Instructor Jeremy Brown believe Madison will succeed in a career in the animated film industry, “I am encouraged that she will use her abilities and disposition to lift up others and make the world a better place,” he says.

Aldo Ruiz
Alex Ramirez

Aldo Ruiz’s studies in CAM began when he was still in high school and got the opportunity to attend LYNX Camp. A year later, Aldo was awarded a 4-year scholarship after participating in the University’s Pre-Collegiate Summer Bridge Program. While studying for his digital design BFA, Aldo was an incredibly active member of the CAM community. Aldo served on the Dean’s Council with a personal aim "to help the college serve students of marginalized backgrounds better as well as reflect that diversity within CAM staff and faculty." He also served on CAM’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Task Force; was a student graphic designer at the Center for Identity and Inclusion (CII), where he created a brand and marketing material for the Latinx Undergraduate Leadership Advancement (LULA) program; interned with CU Marketing & Communications under the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI); finally, Aldo is a graphic designer for LynxConnect, a student-centric hub for services such as study abroad. Described by his professors as a “gifted designer” and a "deeply caring individual", Aldo’s performance in his classes matched his enthusiasm and commitment to the equity and inclusion efforts he made on campus. As he reflects on his time in CAM, Aldo's most proud of his digital design thesis titled, "When we apologize and forgive: Integrating design into the practice of healing from interpersonal relationships". Aldo's thesis explores "the important reality that all of us, at some point, will be people in both sides: apologizing for the harm we have caused and forgiving those who have harmed us."

FACULTY AWARD WINNERS

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 Research and Creative Work, Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty


Yang Wang, PhD
Yang Wang

Assistant Professor Yang Wang, PhD, Art History, teaches courses on Asian art as well as modern and contemporary art. Wang was awarded a Getty/American Council of Learned Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art for the academic year 2020-2021. The prestigious honor is given to scholars whose projects Getty believes will make a “substantial and original contribution to the understanding of art and its history.” Prof. Wang’s forthcoming work, Yellow Earth: Regional Chinese Ink Painting in the Age of Postwar Modernism, will be the first scholarly work of its scope to establish Chinese art in the expanded terrain of postwar modernism. Despite a rigorous research endeavor, however, Prof. Wang continues to be an active faculty member and supportive colleague in CAM. 

Excellence in Teaching, Instructional/Research/Clinical Faculty

Jeremy Brown
Jeremy Brown
Instructor Jeremy Brown teaches the art of 3D animation and design to students in the Digital Animation Center in CAM. The eagerness Brown, a digital compositor whose professional experience includes crafting visual effects (known as digital VFX) for everything from commercial advertisements to feature films, has to help his students succeed is infectious. In class, Brown strives to connect art, craft, theory, and practice in his lessons. His consideration for future success is apparent in the way Brown helps students develop the "soft" skills of working well on a team, a highly valuable skill for animators who oftentimes work on large teams.

Excellence in Teaching, Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty

Jeffrey Schrader, PhD

Jeffrey Schrader
Associate Professor Jeffrey Schrader specializes in the history of art from early modern Europe and the Spanish-speaking world. He teaches courses on a range of subjects, including the Renaissance in the Italian Peninsula and Northern Europe, the Baroque and Rococo periods, and Pre-Columbian art. The commitment Prof. Schrader displays to teaching is evident in the students who are privileged to have him for their instructor. Prof. Schrader's passion for art and his high expectations for his students facilitate an elevated level of excellence among his students.