Monday, March 7, 2011

Help us Grow YOUR network!

Our alumni & friends network is growing fast! We have 217 Twitter followers, 1,444 LinkedIn Group members and 1,840 Facebook fans. That's pretty incredible considering last year this time we had just a few hundred alumni engaged in the Metro State network. Help us grow YOUR network even bigger in the next month. As part of our 45/45/45 Campaign, we are trying to get 4,500 Facebook fans in 45 days to celebrate the 45th Anniversary. Encourage your friends to like our Alumni & Friends Facebook fan page.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alumnus Ed Coet Publishes First Book: "SLK-Serial Killer"

In the 35 years since graduating from Metro State, Ed Coet has worked as a career counterintelligence and human intelligence officer, taught kids in an alternative school and a confinement facility, written poetry, married, had children, and, most recently, published his first book. “SLK-Serial Killer” delves into the dark past of Colorado’s most prolific serial killer. The book took more than two years to research and write, was an expensive endeavor that required a lot of travel to meet with SLK, and was time consuming and stressful.

“It had an emotional price attached to it, the extent of which I did not anticipate,” he explained. Now that it’s done, he feels relief. Unfortunately, not long after publishing the book, the stress returned when he discovered that his daughter has a very rare form of cancer (Proliferal T-Cell Lymphoma). The proceeds of “SLK-Serial Killer” will be donated to help her pay off her medical bills.

Metro State recently traded some emails with this poet and author.

Metro State: Who was your favorite professor?
Ed Coets: My favorite professor back then was Professor Reed (now deceased) in the Law Enforcement and Criminology Department. He was a very tough yet kind professor. More than anything else, he was brilliant. You couldn’t possibly make it through one of his classes without becoming a whole lot smarter. It was a privilege to have been one of his students, and I signed up for his classes whenever I had the opportunity to do so. This in no way diminishes the other professors who were also outstanding. It just that Professor Reed was, well, special.

MS: What inspired you to write this book?
EC: My writing experience previously was as a poet and short story fiction writer, and I also wrote a number of non-fiction articles.

MS: Why did you choose this topic?
EC: It was never my intent to write a true crime novel. The SLK story practically fell in my lap, and I just couldn’t ignore it. I was privy to SLK’s life history and, in some measure, to the inner workings of his unique criminal mind. This special and privileged access, coupled with my own experiences, collectively gave me the skills that I needed to undertake this project. In other words, I was well positioned to reveal, in its grand scope, this spectacular true crime story.

MS: What does this book mean to you?
EC: I view it as a “mission accomplished” endeavor. It was simply a story that had to be told. If I didn’t write it someone else, without doubt, would have. The SLK case and story is just that unique and compelling. SLK is the most prolific serial killer in Colorado history according to numerous news reports. His case is so unique in the realm of true crime that professionals and students of criminology, criminal justice, psychology, sociology and other behavioral sciences will probably study this case for many years to come.

MS: How do you feel about publishing the book?
EC: The first thing that comes to my mind is “relief.” For reasons I already noted, it was a relief to finally finish this work and get it published. It was also very satisfying to know that I could complete a project of this magnitude. My only hope now is that “SLK-Serial Killer” will be widely read and that my readers will enjoy my work. After all, I believe, writers should not write for themselves. They should instead write for the benefit and pleasure of others. Writing is an art form and if others don’t appreciate it, then it’s not good. That’s why I never judge my own work. Only the reader can decide how well I write “for them.” In the end it’s all about them – the reader. So far I have had a very good response to this book and I am deeply grateful for that.

MS: When did you find out about your daughter’s illness?
EC: When I started this writing project I had no idea that my daughter would be diagnosed with cancer and how much her medical bills would be crippling to her and her family financially. For that reason this book has taken on new meaning. I hope that it will earn enough royalties to pay down a major portion of her medical bills.

MS: Is there anything I’m not asking you that you want to share with me about this book?
EC: Metro State has a large student population in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and related behavioral sciences. Metro State also has a huge alumni base in these disciplines. It is my hope that they will especially become aware of this book and read it. For everyone else it’s just an interesting and entertaining true crime thriller but for them, and other professionals in these disciplines, “SLK-Serial Killer,” I think, offers a lot to learn from.

To read more about the book or to purchase it, please click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Name Change Initiative Town Hall Meeting, Monday, Feb. 21, 7-8p.m.

In an effort to directly communicate with our diverse alumni community concerning the recent announcement of the Strategic Name Initiative, we invite you to join Dr. Jordan and other leaders from Metro State to talk about the proposed name change and share your views, questions and concerns. This meeting is focused on ‘our’ prospective alumni and how it will affect our existing degrees. We will also address Metro State’s continued commitment to our mission of providing high-quality, affordable and accessible education opportunities.

The discussion also will elaborate on how this name change would help us enhance our mission to ensure continued growth among students of color, increased retention and graduation rates, tuition strategies that ensure access and post-graduate opportunities for our students.

Call Us. Tweet Us. Watch Us. Email Us. Join Us!

Share your views, questions and concerns LIVE during the Town Hall meeting:
Call: Town Hall Call In Number: 1-800-392-9307
Web: Watch the meeting LIVE on-line at
Tweet: Tweet a question or comment at
Facebook: Post a question or comment on Facebook.
Email: Email us at

In addition to attending this Town Hall Meeting, we encourage you visit the name change website and to provide your thoughts by completing the name initiative survey: Please encourage your peers, neighbors and former classmates to complete the survey as well.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Future Alumnus: (soon to be) Alumni Award Winner Phillip Eggers

Phillip Eggers, Human Services major & minor in Non-profit Management Fall 2011 or Spring 2012

A nationally and locally recognized volunteer for his contributions in helping veterans from all branches of the military from generations since pre-World War II, he saw the needs and addressed them. He started the student organization Student Veterans at Metro State (SVMS) in February 2010 and it continues to gain momentum as an organization where he currently serves as President. Student Veterans at Metro State has engaged many veterans and their first large scale program, PTSD TBI Briefing Taking Off the Pack, was an instant success as other colleges and universities are now requesting information on mirroring this event such as the University of Michigan. Student Veterans at Metro State is now recognized through the national student 501 C(3) organization, Student Veterans of America (SVA). Philip is a U.S. Marine veteran who has faced combat and has received a disability rating from the Veterans Administration as a result of his war time experiences, and from that he is now disabled.

Phillip also currently serves as Treasurer of the student group Human Services Education Organization, a community of like minds whose goal is helping the community through volunteerism and fundraising. Most recently he started participating in the student group, Association for Non-profit Students.

He also has high academic proficiency at Metro State have been excellent as he is on the Provost Honor Roll, and he is also hoping to be on the Presidents Honor Roll after this semester. He has been enrolled at Metro State full-time for 9 consecutive semesters, including summers. He also received a Who’s Who award and has been recognized through Student Support Services as an outstanding student.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Future Alumnus: (soon to be) Alumni Award Winner Adrian Puryear

Adrian Puryear, English with a minor in Secondary Education Spring 2011

Adrian is a Metro State senior who is paragon of student leadership, academic excellence, and community involvement. She is a person of great integrity who cares immensely for her fellow humans. Her Nominator Stephanie Martin said, “I believe that as an alumna, she will bring honor to the name of Metro State College for decades to come.”

Currently, Adrian is a Writing/Reading Tutor with Student Support Services (SSS), a Federal TRiO program. She is professional and is incredibly caring with her students and is an excellent teacher to all of them. She has found her right path to become a teacher because she is a natural, and very gifted. As a tutor, she has helped many students who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks to not only achieve success at Metro State, but also to feel as though they belong. She asks excellent, critical-thinking level questions of her students, encouraging them to do their own intellectual work and empowering them with the academic skills necessary for success. She not only works on writing and reading skills with her students, but also fosters in them good study habits, time-management skills, and organizational skills. Adrian does an excellent job of establishing rapport, trust, and mutual respect with each of her students. I have come to rely on her to train newly-hired tutors, to present workshops to groups of students, and to act as a sounding board when students are struggling in non-academic areas of their lives.

After graduation from MSCD with a Bachelor’s degree in English with Secondary Education Licensure, Adrian plans to put her outstanding teaching skills to use in the community as a high school English teacher. We admire Adrian’s choice to enter into this noble profession, where she will work long hours for little pay or glory, but make an enormous contribution to the lives of the youth in the Denver-metro area. Adrian will be an excellent teacher and touch the lives of each of her students, but that she will further Metro State’s reputation for providing skilled, well-prepared teachers for our community.

Giving Back: Alumni Award Winner Lisa Moder

Lisa Moder ('90, electrical engineering technology) has been named the 2010 Test Engineer of the Year by Test and Measurement World (T&MW) magazine. As part of her award, Moder designated Metro State to receive a $10,000 grant, courtesy of National Instruments, the award sponsor.

A senior manufacturing test engineer at Echostar Technologies, Moder’s area of specialty is set-top boxes, the devices that connect a television to an external source of signal. Moder has developed innovative test strategies that trim field failures, boost test throughput, and add to company profits. She has worked on 13 set-top designs in eight years with the company, enabling such innovations as programming one’s television from a phone. Together, the designs are responsible for some 20 million set-top boxes fielded in the United States.

Moder says she selected the College as a beneficiary of her award because she “believes in giving back to those that have helped me in my career.” Moder cites two Metro State professors in particular, Ha Temmermmer and Mel Capeharthart, both now retired, as having “fostered and mentored me throughout my career at Metro State.” Moder was already giving back to the College even before she received the T&MW award, having served on the EET Industry Advisory Board for the past five years. On the board, she works to help the EET Department recruit and retain students.

In receiving this award, Alumna Moder says, “I am excited to receive this award because I have always valued my education and I have always wanted to give back to those that have helped me get to where I am today. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the influence Metro State and the faculty and staff there. I think the Alumni Association is an important part of college life as it gives past students the opportunity to stay in touch with each other and the life that is happening on campus.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Morning, With Memories

Kick off Homecoming Week’s Carnivale with a morning devoted to 45 years of Metro State memories and history shared by those who’ve lived it, featuring over 30 panelists, including the first graduates, former campus leaders and military veterans, historians, current faculty and staff, as well as former staff and faculty, plus one Dean, three Board of Trustee members, and one Interim President.

The History Subcommittee invites current and former students, faculty, and staff to an unforgettable Morning, with Memories, Monday, February 14, at the Tivoli.

See old friends, hear tales you never knew, and share stories of your own as we commemorate 45 years as Roadrunners.

This FREE Homecoming event begins with “Our First Decade” keynote panel and light breakfast from 7:30-9:15 AM, followed by three breakout panel sessions: “Our Veterans,” The Leadership,” and “Our Alumni Employed at Metro State,” from 9:30-10:45 AM.
All sessions will be videotaped for the Metro State history archives.
Reservations are highly recommended.
RSVP by clicking here.

A Morning, with Memories

7:30-9:15 AM Tivoli 320 A, B, C
7:30 AM Registration and Light Breakfast
7:55 AM Welcome, Dr. Vicki Golich, Provost, introduced by Charlie Branch, Special Assistant to the Provost and Co-Chair, History Subcommittee
Breakfast Keynote Panel “Our First Decade”
Mark Boyko ’71, former student government chief justice; Dr. Sandra Doe, Professor, English; King Harris ’97, former student government member; Doug Holcombe ’69, former student government president; Suzanne Holcombe ’69, first baccalaureate degree; Sandi Jones, former administrative assistant to Keats McKinney; former Human Resources director; Ed Low, former faculty; Sheldon Steinhauser, Associate Professor, Sociology; Dr. Tony Ledesma ‘72, Moderator, Associate Professor, Human Services

9:30-10:45 AM Breakout Session Panels
Tivoli 320 B “The Leadership”

Dr. Frieda Holley, Emeritus Faculty; Dr. Antonio Esquibel, Emeritus Faculty, former Trustee; Margaret Rivera ’80, retired Foundation and Alumni Association Boards member; former assistant to President, Consortium of State Colleges; Dr. Eugene Saxe, Professor, English, former TrusteeDr. Stephen Leonard, Co-Moderator, History Department Chair and Metro State archivist; Dr. Richard Netzel, Co-Moderator, Emeritus Faculty; former Metro State Interim President

Tivoli 320 C “Our Veterans”

Howard Flomberg ’74, retired Affiliate Faculty (Air Force, Viet Nam); Leroy Chavez ’96, Director, Veterans Upward Bound (Army, Operation Desert Storm; Operation Desert Shield); Tesa Johnson Ferrell Jones, Student (Army, Bosnia Brigade); Martha Eaton ’94, Assistant Director, Health Center; Command Master Chief for Operational Health Support Unit San Diego (OHSU SD), Headquarters (Navy, Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation Enduring Freedom); Alton Clark ’96, Associative Director, Veterans Upward Bound (Army, Berlin Brigade); David Perez '08, Firefighter (Marines, Operation Iraqi Freedom); Dr. Joe Megeath, Moderator, Emeritus Faculty

Tivoli 440 “Our Alumni Employed at Metro State”
Cindy Busch ’07, Manager, Center for Innovation; Dr. Joan Foster ’78, Dean, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Meghan Hartvigson ’10, Alumni Engagement Coordinator; Richard Jividen ’00, Director, Creative Services; Michelle Leboo ’95, Associate Director, Scholarship Center; Kate Lutrey ’88, Interim Director, Student Media; Paulette McIntosh ’80, Director, High School Upward Bound; Dr. Hal Nees ’76, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice; Member, Board of Trustees; Kenneth Phillips ‘83, Chair, Industrial Design; Cherrelyn Napue ‘99, Moderator, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations-Development
Make your reservations by clicking here.

Please support the Anniversary Scholarship Award Fund. For more information, call 303-556-2242

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

6th Annual PJ Day and Race for Homeless

The sixth annual PJ Day, whose goal is to raise $1 million for Denver's Road Home, the city's 10-year plan to end homelessness, was launched last Friday when Gov. John Hickenlooper presided at a ceremonial passing of the PJs in Skyline Park. Every year, Hickenlooper has shown up at PJ Day activities in a pair of red pajamas that his mother had made for him; at the kickoff, he gave a copy of the sleepwear to Mayor Bill Vidal.

On Wednesday, February 9th, at 1pm Metro State's Center for Urban Connections presents the Race to End Homelessness, a team bed race event, on the Auraria campus. Enter your team and win great prizes such as hotel stays at the Residence Inn Denver, Omni Interlocken Resort, Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel; tickets to local events; and gift certificates to local restaurants. All you need is five people and some creativity on your team theme.

Teams consist of 4 pusher/runners and 1 rider, who navigate a rolling bed down the driveway by the Auraria athletic fields. At the end of the course, the rider must dismount the bed, put on pajamas (over clothes), button them fully, and get back on the bed, which is then pushed back to the original start line. Participants are highly encouraged to dress creatively. We had a gaggle of nuns and a pile of bedbugs compete last year! The Bed Race is an awareness and fundraising event for Denver's Road Home and the mayor's Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. Team registration costs $50.

The following day will find supporters gathering at the Residence Inn Denver City Center for the PJ Day Party, a dress-in-pajamas fete with comfort food and musical entertainment. Things wrap up Feb. 11 with the INAUGURAL PJ Crawl, a party that progresses from pub to pub in the downtown area.

For more information contact The Center for Urban Connections at 303-352-7129, or go To Register your team.

The Denver Posts article on PJ day festivities:
Davidson: The passing of the PJs - The Denver Post
By Joanne Davidson

Two Receptions during Homecoming Celebrate Alumni Employees

More than 80% of our Alums stay in the Metro Area. And, out of the 1,757 people working at Metro, 18% are alums. This group highlights the value of a Metro State education through their professionalism and expertise. More clearly they bring a passion that has built over time and represents the history and culture that is Metro State. The Alumni Association wants to recognize the value these alums bring and the impact they have on the students, our future alums. As part of the 45th Anniversary Homecoming celebration we have invited these alums to a reception where they will be recognized with a personalized gift so they will know how important they are to the vision and mission of Metro State. View the invitation for details, and click here to RSVP for either of the receptions!

Metro State Pride: Alumni Award Recipient Shirley Phillips one of 10 family members with Metro State degree

In the early 1970's, Shirley Phillips (’76, early childhood education) and four of her relatives made a pact to all get a college education. That commitment started a family tradition of Metro State graduations that continues today.

According to Phillips, the reasons the family chose Metro were many. Metro State allowed members the flexibility to work or help out in the family business (at one time Shirley and her husband owned 22 gas stations), while obtaining their degrees. As well, the family appreciated the school's reputation and the high-quality faculty.

“This is one of the top schools in the region,” she explained.

So far 10 members of the extended Phillips clan have earned diplomas from Metro State. Matriarch Shirley Phillips led the way, followed by four of her children—Tracie, Vernoica, Stephanie and Michael—; her cousin Terrell McGary; sisters Maria and Debbie Phillips (Shirley's nieces); Debbie’s daughter Durinda Robinson; and Shirley’s husband’s cousin Aris Strong. In the fall of 2008, Micah McCellan, another young relative, started his education at the college.

In Celebration of Black & Women's History Months: The 20th Annual Bridge Speaker: Pam Grier

The 20th Annual Bridge Speaker: Pam Grier, March 3, from 11-12:15p.m. at the Tivoli Turnhalle

The Bridge Speaker is an annual event, with 2011 marking the 20th year on our campus. “Bridge” refers to the symbolic bridging of Black History Month in February with Women’s History Month in March. This tradition is an opportunity to share the life experience and leadership of an African-American woman with our entire campus community. The 2011 featured Bridge speaker is actress, author and former Metro student, Pam Grier. As the first Black woman to be featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine in 1975, Grier broke many barriers with her roles in a string of moderately successful women in prison and blaxploitation films such as 1974's Foxy Brown. Her career was revitalized in 1997 after her appearance in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown. She is one of a few African-American actresses to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She has also been nominated for a SAG as well as a Satellite Award for her performance in the iconic film Jackie Brown. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her work in an Animated Program Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. More recently she appeared in the cable television series The L Word as Kit Porter and occasionally guest-stars in such television series as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (where she is a recurring character). In 2010, Grier began appearing in a recurring role on the hit science fiction series Smallville as the villain Amanda Waller, also known as White Queen, head agent of Checkmate, a covert operations agency. Also in 2010, she penned her memoir with Andrea Cagan, "Foxy: My Life in Three Acts".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Letter from Metro State's Alumni Relations Executive Director, February 2011

Hello Alumni & Friends,

I hope your new year is off to a great start, and that all is well with you and yours.

We have just reached February, and that turn of the calendar brings us ever closer to Homecoming 2011. You’ll find information and links to this year’s events in the enewsletter we just mailed. Plan now to Carnavale!

Your Alumni Association, staff and board of directors, are working hard to help create a dynamic, engaging and meaningful program for each of our 70,000 graduates. Keep an eye on our website, this newsletter and your mailbox for new opportunities, programs and services.

As always, your ideas, comments and suggestions are encouraged and welcome. Drop me an email at

It is always a great day to be a Roadrunner!

Mark Jastorff

Distinguished Alumnus: Alumni Award Recipient Michael Miera reconnects Latino youth to the community

While working for Metro State in 1991, alumnus Michael Miera (’80, bilingual Chicano studies) recognized the community needed a method of reconnecting Latino/a youth. So, he and other activists founded LaRaza Youth Leadership Program, which holds conferences and now hosts more than 1,500 Latino/a youth participants each year. The focus of the program is to teach youth about their history, their communities and how they can make an impact in the world.

Not long after, he helped launch the Excel Program, which sends current Metro State student ambassadors into high schools with a high percentage of students of color. Ambassadors work with the prospective high school students to assist them with the application process and eventually with the transition from high school to college.

After leaving Metro State, Miera continued working for change as a Community Development Representative of the City and County of Denver for Housing and Neighborhood Development. He works with the Brownfields Redevelopment division. Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or perceived presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

He lives with his wife, Veronica, who has worked for Metro State since 1976, and he is an accomplished Latin dancer. You might also occasionally see him in an El Centro Su Teatro performance, as he is an ardent supporter of that community theater. In addition to receiving this year’s Distinguished Alumnus award, Miera received the Spirit of Tlatelolco Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 for his work with the Chicano Movement.

Work Ethic: Alumni Award Recipient Zander Keig works tirelessly for LGBT community

Though Zander Keig (’99, Interpersonal Communication) has three degrees and works full time in the Office Operations Supervisor Recruiting at the U.S. Department of Commerce, he still finds time to be an outspoken community advocate, youth mentor and diversity educator for the LGBT community.

Keig is passionate about LGBT issues because he identifies as a trans man and a man “with a transsexual history [who] grew up to be a man.” Zeig is now dedicated to facilitating change through transformative connections.

“There’s no one way to transition,” he says, and so his goal is to provide informal transition coaching services for trans guys around the world – online, face to face and in support groups. A self-described “networking fool,” Keig connects other FTMs (female-to-males) to important resources.

Keig also co-founded the Lou Sullivan Society, which strives to keep the life and spirit of Louis Graydon Sullivan alive in the hearts and minds of transgender, transsexual and gender/queer men by providing information, support, community building, education and advocacy for female to male persons and their loved ones.

It’s hard to believe Keig started out with the U.S. Coast Guard or that he was once an undercover narcotics agent before chucking his day job to go back to school at 30. That move led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in speech, a master’s in conflict analysis and resolution, a M.T.S. in world religion, tackling a year-long internship with National Conference for Community and Justice and earning certificates in massage therapy and holistic nutrition counseling.

Since 1987, Keig has also been involved with dozens of organizations and events including Lesbian Avengers, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Creating Change and LGBT student associations. He moderates the podcast TransAction, writes the blog Tao of Transition and is an ordained Humanist Celebrant.

Keig feels lucky to have similar support from his family. “I’m married to an amazing woman. I’m also very fortunate to have a very supportive family, especially my father, who has been extremely affirming and supportive of my transition, advocacy work and community organizing.”

To view a short video of Keig, click here. Keig also wrote the book, “Letters for my Brothers.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making a Difference: Alumni Award recipient Judge Chris Melonakis helps families

Each year, the Office of Alumni Relations recognizes outstanding Metro State graduates and students who have made a difference in their communities, exhibited Metro State pride, have a strong work ethic or are distinguished in their communities. This year’s awardees will be honored at the Alumni Recognition/Athletics Hall of Fame Luncheon on Feb. 19, as part of the Homecoming festivities.

Metro State is not the only one to recognize District Judge Chris Melonakis of the Seventeenth Judicial District for his contributions to the community. In 2007, court reporter Julie Richer, nominated Melonakis for the annual Outstanding Judicial Officer in the Colorado Judicial Branch award.

“Judge Melonakis excels in public service,” Richer said, noting that he helped form the Integrated Family Drug Court to combat drug addiction among mothers of young children. The program provides counseling, job training, day care and transportation to help mothers overcome addiction and reunite with their children. The nomination led the Colorado Judicial Branch to recognize Melonakis for exemplary work contributing to the high quality of service provided throughout the state’s 22 judicial districts.

According to Richer, Melonakis also spearheaded an initiative in the Seventeenth Judicial District to prevent and treat fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Each year 40,000 children are born with the effects of alcohol consumption by their mothers at a cost of $4 billion, Richer explained. The program, led by Melonakis, seeks to prevent juvenile delinquency and promote rehabilitative services and public safety.

Melonakis also started a Family Court Pilot Program to study the results when multiple cases involving one family are handled by the same court. According to Richer: “An evaluation of 27 Family Court cases and 28 cases that were not part of the pilot program indicates that the program better responds to families’ needs and reduces by half the length of time children spend in placement outside their homes.”

Congratulations Judge Melonakis!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Terrance Carroll to join Metro State Board of Trustees

Terrance Carroll to join Metro State Board of Trustees
Check in with our Facebook fan page later this week to view Terrance Carroll's engaging and hilarious speech at the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, hosted by Metro State.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alumnus David Tran reflects on life after Metro State

Essay by alumnus David Tran ('09, criminal justice and criminology)
From the Office of Career Services newsletter

I graduated in May of 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in criminal justice and criminology. During my last semester, I started my career search with appointments at Career Services regarding things like writing my resume. It was during this time that the economy was really turning for the worse, so I was worried about finding work after graduation even though I had job experience and a 3.7 GPA. Graduation came and went, as did the summer and fall semester.

By Christmas of 2009, I had sent out over 40 resumes and filled out more than 60 applications with various agencies and companies simply looking for an entry-level job. Following up with each agency and company was the hardest part. Employers told me that they were getting so many applications and resumes that they didn't know where to start and that I would get a call if I was chosen for an interview.

Finally, as the end of January came around I started getting call-backs from jobs I had applied to three months before. I interviewed with five agencies and companies over the course of 10 days. Out of the five agencies and companies that interviewed me, three offered me a position. I decided to accept the offer that was related to my field of study. The company that I currently work for had over 400 applicants, 20 resumes were chosen, a panel interviewed 10 applicants, three were interviewed for "fit," and I was offered the job ... conditionally. The entire time line from resume submission to securing the job was 65 days. The prep work and applying to the jobs took approximately 11 months.

I'll admit now that my planning was insufficient for finding a career by graduation because the steps I took in my last semester were steps I should have taken earlier. If there was any advice I could offer my fellow grads and soon-to-be grads it's this:

1. Start now and work on it every day
2. Prepare to be rejected
3. Don't give up!
4. Be yourself
5. Be patient

Creating Google Juice: How it can help you

By Lizzy Scully

When you do a Google search for your name, what comes up? The thesis presentation you did when you graduated from college? An article you wrote a decade ago? What happens if an employer is trying to find out more about you? With the growing popularity of social media sites, this is not uncommon. In fact, it is becoming increasingly normal. Do you want that employer to see something you did that is completely outdated? Probably not. Thus, you really need to consider creating some good “Google Juice” for yourself.

According to Kip Wotkyns, assistant professor of journalism at Metro State, “People check you out if they are at all serious about hiring you. You want to control your brand online. The way to do that is to have lots of Google Juice. All of a sudden, when they look you up, you’re this famous person.”

How can you do this? Easy. Create an online identity, such as a blog, and write regular articles about your area of expertise. You can point your potential employer to this blog, but, more importantly, the more you post and the more you wisely use “tags” to let Google know what you are posting about, the more likely your name will appear in search engine results.

In addition to blogging, join various social media sites, groups, and fan pages. LinkedIn is the number one site for job seekers, but Facebook is another good option. Use your social media sites to network as much as possible. Be sure to be active—comment on other peoples’ posts, answer LinkedIn’s Q&As with thoughtful and thought-provoking comments, and put links from your blog posts to all your social media sites to let people know what you wrote about. Just be careful to not overdo selling yourself. The idea with social media is to offer people something valuable without making them feel like you are trying to advertise your wares. Give without expecting anything in return.

Next, make sure you post regularly to all your social media platforms. The more credible and authentic articles, suggestions, and links to other sites that you post, the more helpful you will be perceived by your “friends” and other group members. As well, the more your name and your articles will rise to the surface in Google searches.

As well, make sure you use some simple analytics software, such as Google Analytics or Statcounter to gauge how many people come to your site, what they like to read, and where they come from. Keep track of this over the long term, and you will really be able to see how people react to what you write. The more favorably people perceive your content, the more likely they will link to that content. Thus, the more likely your content (and you) will rise in a Google Search when a potential employer is searching for you.

“All of these things,” says Wotkyns, “create Google Juice. When you do a search on your name, what should happen is the front page of the Google search results should be full of all the stuff that you did.”

The Hidden Job Market: What is it, and how can it help you?

The Hidden Job Market
© 2010 by Robert J.F. Sampron, B.A., B.Sc.

Two questions normally arise when discussing the hidden job market. What is the hidden job market? And how do we uncover it?

Very simply, the hidden job market includes all unadvertised job openings. Employers advertise only about 20% of job openings. We may find these jobs advertised in the usual places: newspapers, company, government, or organization career web sites, and job search web sites, like

So, why don’t employers advertise all of their job openings? It is probably because ads are very costly to place. For example, the Denver Post charges $349 for a 30-day, online ad. That listing goes on the web at both and Yahoo! HotJobs. Yes, that is expensive; however, the cost is small compared to placing a print ad. A two-square-inch “Help Wanted” ad in the Sunday Denver Post costs $1,000. That is for just ONE Sunday. The good news is, for the cost of that print ad, the Post throws in free online listings. That’s expensive!

What does that mean for us? That means 80% of all job openings are out there, hidden from view, ready for the clever job seeker to discover. And, who are those clever job seekers? We are.

So, where do we find the other 80% of job openings? We find them through word-of-mouth and research, through people sharing what they know with other people. Let’s say you saw a good movie last week. You tell your friends about it. Then, they either see it alone or invite others to join them. They, in turn, tell other friends. These days, you may also tell the whole world about your movie experience through social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. Positive word-of-mouth for a movie can raise ticket sales; negative word-of mouth-can sink sales. Word-of-mouth is a powerful communication tool.
We can learn about job openings using word-of-mouth through the following resources: friends, family, acquaintances, fraternities and sororities, honors associations, college professors, former business associates and fellow employees, former employers (so, don’t burn bridges when leaving an employer), live and web-based social networks, professional/trade associations, volunteer work, and/or annual conventions and monthly meetings.

We each know many people. Those people know other people. The people they know also know other people, and so on, and so on. With social media, we now know people in the “real” and online worlds. Through word-of-mouth, we can use these real and online networks to learn about job opportunities. It is like a giant game of “telephone,” with one exception: we are transmitting important job information through these social networks. We begin to uncover the hidden job market simply by asking people if they know about openings. It is that simple.

See next Friday's job blog entry for more information by Robert Sampton on how to break into the Hidden Job Market.

The Hidden Job Market, Part II

The Hidden Job Market
© 2010 by Robert J.F. Sampron, B.A., B.Sc.

Part two…

Last week we began to explore how to uncover the hidden job market through networking. Simple put...

To maximize the effects of word-of-mouth, you need to make contact with as many people as you can. This means expanding your social circles, joining professional associations, attending conventions and events, joining, and closing your social media sites.

To expand your social circles, you must become a joiner. By joining organizations, including trade, fraternal, and volunteer organizations, you make new friends, perform needed public outreach, and gain new insights into job opportunities. This means you must shed our introverted ways, as a snake sheds skin, and learn how to make small talk. (Check out the book, The Fine Art of Small Talk, by Debra Fine.)

By becoming members of professional associations in the area, you join formal groups of fellow professionals. They may have jobs, right now, in your profession. They may know about hidden job openings in their companies.

Search for these professional associations on search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. Ask favorite professors about them. Then, get out there and join. Attend the monthly meetings. You will not only make new friends and acquaintances, you will also keep up on new issues surrounding your profession.

Look in local newspapers, like the Sentinel and Community Courier, for group event announcements. There are great volunteer and professional groups everywhere, including Rotary International, Odd fellows, and Toastmasters International. Go to a meeting. See if the group matches your personality. Join and participate. That should quickly increase your social circle.

It is also a good idea to attend events and conventions. Conventions occur weekly throughout the Denver metro area. They make use of our main convention center and area hotel ballrooms. So do other events. See if you can get in, walk around, and talk to the exhibitors and business people. These people want their business problems solved. You may be the solution to their problems.

Another way to attend an event or convention is to work for a staffing agency. Many staffing agencies throughout the area supply workers to conventions and events. While there, in addition to working and making a few dollars in the process, you can talk to attendees and pass around a job-search business card, which is like a miniature resume.

Joining is also a must. A relatively new social media web site, LinkedIn may help you build your social networks. In addition to posting a profile, containing a resume, you can link to all the people and organizations in the Word-of-Mouth list. By using the Events application, found under “More” in the LinkedIn menu, you can also learn about upcoming events of interest in the area. However, treat LinkedIn like a very formal business introduction. Though you can connect your LinkedIn profile to other social media, this is not Twitter, Facebook, or a blog. This is a marketing tool. Use it as such.

Another suggestion is close all social media sites. Then, start over using avatar names. Yes, you heard me. Close them and start over. Why? I know it is fun to chat with friends and post all sorts of stuff on Facebook. But, guess what? Potential employers are now checking our social media activity. They do so to get a sense of our “real” personalities. They want to see if we match the personality of their organization.

This is probably not fair because there is no way a social media presence can show the full complexity of our lives. Fair or not, though, this is a new trend in hiring. That is why I suggest you delete your accounts and start over.

Use an avatar name instead. Do not use your real name anywhere on the site. Then, when a prospective employer searches for your name, that employer will not find you… except, that is, for your LinkedIn accounts. That is exactly what we want them to see!

But don’t forget, if you join these groups, be prepared to learn to become genuinely interested in people. When you are interested in others, they become interested in you. And you could become influential in other peoples' lives. Your employed acquaintances naturally will help you look for job opportunities hidden deep within their organizations. Why? Because, they like you. It is that simple.

Click here to read part I of this series. See next week’s job blog for the third article in this series.

Metro State Staff Profile: Judy White

This article was originally published April 2, 2010

With 50 Years of Experience in Career Counseling, Judy White knows how to help alumni find jobs

When Judy White received an email from a colleague about a part-time position opening up at Metro State’s Office of Career Services in, she jumped at the chance for the job. Not long into the interview, Career Services knew they wanted White on board.

“I could do absolutely everything they needed to have done with no training,” she says. White has 50 years of experience and schooling as a professional career counselor with expertise in career assessments, counseling, job search skill building and management. She’s managed career centers, demonstrated success in helping students from getting to point A (choosing a major) to point B (getting a job post graduation), and, she says, “I am recognized for my team work, sense of humor, and high energy.” Though she was only supposed to stay one semester, she has been here nearly four years and will likely stay on until she decides to stop working.

“This is the best work environment I have had in my 50 year career,” White says. “Metro in my experience really is student focused more than any other higher ed institution I’ve worked at. They mean it, and they do it.” However, White and the other folks at Career Services don’t just serve current students; they also work closely with alumni.

Alums, she says, have unique needs. “They have decided their major, they have a degree, and they have tried to be out in the marketplace,” she explains. “Some are young, some are much older, some are making mid-life career change.” Because of their ages and life experience, they are often more comfortable working with White, who is of the “mature generation” (over 65). “Older students often say, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t trust the younger ones. They haven’t been around long enough.’”

White, in turn, appreciates working with alumni. “They’re older, they have lived a little longer, and they have a more realistic view of the world of work,” she says. “When I talk about info gathering and how you can apply it, they get it. The younger grad has to go out and live and work for a while to get that body of life information. That makes working an alumni more productive more quickly.”

Plus, she says, alumni know how to network. “They have contacts and are willing to use them.” Still, she has discovered other areas where she can really help alumni. She initiated two successful job search support groups the 2009/2010 school year, and she is spearheading another one for fall 2010. These groups offer alumni a review and four skill building sessions. Often, she adds, “they have no idea how to build the skills they need to implement a successful job search.”

Additionally, she has designed and implemented advanced resume writing classes that are specific to alumni. And, she works individually with alums. “I’m suggesting to more and more alumni that they take the two career assessments. Often, they are trying to make post-graduation career decisions without the information they need to do that. You need a body of information in two areas to make a good career choice,” she adds. “You need to know what your transferrable skills are—what are your strengths and limitations. And you need to know what kind of jobs people with similar personalities have found great satisfaction doing.”

She utilizes the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory to evaluate these things.

“There are lots of opportunities to gather that information about yourself,” White explains. “I suggest all graduates take these assessments so that they can build this important body of information.”

Another important thing to consider, adds White, is what the marketplace has to offer. Alumni should know the five top growth industries in the Colorado Economy and what the characteristics of the economy are. “This kind of information is critical to implementing a job search,” she explains. “Colorado is 99% small business. That means companies with 100 or fewer employees. Of that, the largest percentage is entrepreneurial companies.” This, she adds, means companies often need seasonal work and they are flexible.

With this knowledge, as well as knowledge about personality types and transferrable skills, says White, alumni can be better equipped for their job search. However, she adds, no matter how much assistance she and the Office of Career Services offers, “The bottom line is nobody can do it for you.” So, come on into the Office Mondays or Wednesday and get a head start. Click here for more info

Check out next week's Metro State College of Denver Job Blog for Judy White's suggestions on how to approach potential employers.

Social Media: Planning for Success

This article was originally published on August 4th, 2010

By Lizzy Scully
Social Engagement Manager
Office of Alumni Relations

If you run a business or other organization, you can no longer afford to ignore social media when creating your marketing plans. Thousands of your potential customers (your future “fans”!) flock to social media sites. In fact, more than five million people actively use Facebook now, with 50% signing on daily(1). Plus, more than six million people utilize Twitter. Social media sites have proven to be one of the most significant ways you can engage your customers or constituents. When the Office of Alumni Relations first embarked on its social media journey, we spent extensive time researching what other colleges and universities were doing and we formulated an extensive plan accordingly. Here are seven tips & tricks we learned along the way:

Planning: Do significant planning prior to launching any social media plan or starting your social media sites. As with any marketing/public relations plan, define your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Who are your fans (i.e. who do you want to engage)? Do some research on which sites might best fit your needs. I have discovered that Metro State alumni use LinkedIn to communicate about career-related topics and to network with each other, while they check out Facebook to link to event coverage or fun articles about other alumni or faculty/staff members. They also regularly read our Job Blog, which has job listings and helpful career advancement tips.

Voice: Establish the “voice” of your social media sites. Typically, social media sites offer a more personal, in-depth perspective of your business/organization, while your website has static, tidy information. (For more on types of voices you can use, click here). The Office of Alumni Relations maintains professionalism in that we treat people who visit our sites respectfully and as we would if they came into the office. However, we have balanced that with informality. For example, our responses to people who pose questions, suggestions, or musings are informal and friendly. As well, we post fun, interactive articles and videos on our blog that aren’t necessarily perfectly well made.

Coordinator(s): After you figure out your “voice”, choose one or more coordinators who will regularly post on the social media sites you utilize. This person should not hide behind an alias, but should be open about his/her relationship with your business. I am the main person posting on the Office of Alumni Relations social media sites and interacting with visitors. I strive to establish trustful relationships with our visitors, and have developed numerous in-person relationships with people. Even if I never meet someone in person, my goal is for that person to feel welcomed to all of our social media sites. On the other hand, you don’t have to mix business with pleasure. It is not necessary for you to invite all the fans on your Facebook Fanpage to be “friends” on your personal page.

Listening: Cultivate relationships with your constituents. In order to be effective with social media, you have to regularly engage your fans, which means posting daily or weekly, answering questions posed by fans, and addressing issues they bring up. I check all the social media sites five days per week. If a negative comment surfaces, for example, I can address it immediately. (Read more on tips for addressing negative comments here).

Flexibility: The beauty of social media is its flexibility. If something isn’t working, you can change it instantly. Build all your social media sites and then see which ones are most popular, and then modify your activities accordingly. We discovered that our MySpace page and the LinkedIn page we created were both mostly worthless. However, I found and began to participate on an unofficial LinkedIn page that was far more active. I befriended the alumnus who created it, and now we manage it together. We have regular interactions, and new people joining every day!

Analyze the data: Dozens of analytics tools exist that can help you track traffic to and from your websites. The Office of Alumni Relations currently uses Google Analytics and StatCounter on our website and blogs, and to shorten and track our URLs. None of these programs are perfect, so utilize many and analyze all the results. By doing so, you will figure out what links are being clicked on most and what people avoid, thereby refining how you distribute your content.

Integration: Finally, to be full successful, your social media strategy must be integrated with and supportive of your overall marketing plan. One of our most successful endeavors this year was our Official College Ring Launch and Facebook Ring Contest. The contest drew in plenty of contestants because it was a fun and engaging way of finding out why people loved Metro State. We asked people to tell or show us why they loved Metro State. This resulted in people posting poems, stories, and great photos about their experiences at Metro State on our Facebook fan page, which in turn drew more people to our fan page. However, it was only part of a greater strategic plan that included advertisements in the College newspaper, flyers, mailings, emails sent out to students, and plenty of social media notifications.

These are just a few of the things you should consider when launching a social media plan. For more information of if you want to ask me any questions based on this article, come to the LAS Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, August 10th. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

Alumnus Chris McKoy reflects on proactive post-grad job searching

For traditional college students like myself, the thought of entering the “real world” can be quite overwhelming.

Experts claim that the current generation of college students will have seven careers in their lifetime. Not seven jobs. Seven entirely separate careers. The idea of acquiring a new skill set to attract employers is intimidating to most. I began to grapple with these challenges last summer.

It was at that point I realized the story on my resume said nothing about marketing. If I was going to get hired, I needed to assess where I fit into the marketing world and demonstrate it with action. I took off, creating a spreadsheet of people I knew and asking them who they knew in marketing. I attended networking groups, job search groups, and researched careers in my field. I was on the hunt for experience and advice, a search that culminated in an internship at the Denver Pavilions and 70+ professional contacts in my field that I continue to tap for advice.

When it comes to a career search, Metro State’s tagline couldn’t be more true: “Success begins with you.” I’ve never been that proactive. My tendency has been to stay in my comfort zone and not try anything new, but in the last year I managed to obtain a marketing assistant position in a highly reputable business association and get more involved on campus. I started the Student Marketing Association for Metro State, with a great deal of help from Professor Kristin Watson and several incredibly committed students. This expanded my leadership roles in and out of the classroom. It is amazing to me that I’m coming out of college with a year of valuable experience and demonstrated leadership just by focusing in on my career development.

A famous hockey player ascribed his success in the rink to one main factor. He said, “I don’t go where the hockey puck is. I go where it is going to be.” Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that is exactly how to get positioned in a career. The resources on this campus can help a student set a trajectory for where they see the job market and their industry going and prepare for a desirable, exciting career.

- Written by Chris McKoy
Metro State Alumnus ‘10

Know any students or alumni that want to write about their career experiences? Please have them contact Sarah Senter at 303-556-3664.

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