This award has been presented since 1982 to recognize outstanding career achievement, as well as significant contributions to the community and/or the University, within fifteen years of graduation from CU. Following her February 1, 2003, death aboard the space shuttle Columbia, it was renamed to honor Kalpana Chawla (MAero’86, PhD’88) and her impressive career as a scientist and astronaut.
Meshach Rhoades (Law’04) is a fifth generation Coloradoan and lifelong Buff.
You could call Meshach Rhoades “Superwoman,” but that would be selling her short.
At age 36, the CU-Boulder law school alumna has mastered arcane realms of law, been wooed by one major business enterprise after another, answered calls to service from two Denver mayors and a Colorado governor and established herself as a mentor nonpareil.
Her admirers are legion.
Judges, clients and colleagues — senior, junior and former — call her a “born leader,” “a tireless dreamer,” “a gem within the Colorado community.”
“She is one of the most remarkable women I have ever known,” says one.
A native Coloradan who graduated first in her Regis University class, Meshach works in Denver for the international law firm Greenberg Traurig. She specializes in regulatory, commercial and telecommunications litigation. Earlier she worked for Qwest, Holland & Hart LLP and for a U.S. District Court judge.
Always she’s made time for others — for her peers and alma maters, for up-and-comers, the underprivileged and almost anyone seeking help.
A former Colorado Hispanic Bar Association president and co-chair of the 2013 Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention, among other volunteer roles, Meshach serves on the Denver Latino Commission and on the Colorado Law Alumni Board. She leads mock interviews for CU law students, addresses high school and middle school audiences and, through the Latinas First Foundation, which she co-founded, supports Colorado’s Latina college students through scholarships, mentoring and training. Last year alone, the Latinas First Foundation granted eight scholarships to college-bound students, including one headed to the University of Colorado.
Named to the Denver Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list, Meshach recently won a German Marshall Fund fellowship.
She’s also a spouse, a mother — and the MVP of her law firm’s basketball team.
Beyond her ability, capacity and competence, people marvel over her attitude: “Her first question,” says a former colleague, “is ‘How can I help you?’”
Says another, “Her notion of achievement is that all around her share in the success.”
Evan Thomas (Jour, Aero, MAero’06, PhD’09) is recognized internationally for his extensive work and research in the fields of aerospace engineering and sustainable development.
At a 2011 meeting of international development organizations hosted by the Economist in London, Evan Thomas was the last and youngest person to present. Others talked about their successes. Evan addressed the failures.
“Heartwarming stories may be necessary,” he said, “but you can’t believe your own feel-good stories — you have to collect objective data, you have to learn from your mistakes and you need to make evidence-based decisions.”
Evan, 32, is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when he has metrics to prove his point.
An assistant professor at Portland State University with entrepreneurial instincts and an urge to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people, Evan directs the university’s Sustainable Water, Energy and Environmental Technologies (SWEET) Laboratory. It develops and implements technology to support life in remote environments.
Evan began what is becoming his life’s work as a CU student. A founding Engineers Without Borders-USA volunteer, he led teams — as an undergraduate — to countries in need of cleaner drinking water and air.
In 2007 Evan co-founded Manna Energy Limited and created the first business model to earn United Nations carbon credits for drinking water treatment. In 2013, the company was acquired by DelAgua Health, where Evan is chief operating officer and focuses on providing cookstoves and water filters to about three million people in Rwanda.
To help measure the impact of these kinds of programs, his team at Portland State fits water filters, clean-burning cookstoves and latrines with wireless transmitters that used cell phone networks to send data to funders and managers.
Evan has also worked at the NASA-Johnson Space Center as an aerospace engineer, on technologies for moon and Mars spacecraft, including microgravity fluid management technologies and water recovery systems. He joined the faculty of Portland State in 2010.
Evan keeps his alma mater close, serving as a mentor to CU’s Engineering Without Borders programs and as a guest lecturer.
Avery Bang (MCivEngr’09) aspires to make a global difference through engineering.
Growing up in west Denver, Marco Campos watched his grandfather work to a dripping sweat as a self-employed welder.
That time spent working with his grandfather taught him about the importance of a strong work ethic, perseverance and pride in workmanship, shaping the arc of his education and career.
As a first-generation college graduate, Marco overcame financial and social barriers to excel at CU-Boulder and become a leader among his peers. Those who watched him grow as a student say he regularly projected a sense of confident optimism and persistence, pride in his Latino heritage and played leadership roles in professional clubs.
Before Marco turned 30 he founded Campos EPC, a successful engineering firm serving the oil and gas pipeline industry. It all started humbly enough in his basement, but within seven years it became a niche market leader with more than 80 employees and offices in Colorado, California, Texas and Washington.
In addition to his professional success, Marco’s profound commitment to the university and its students has been a source of inspiration for many. Within 15 years of graduating, he created a lasting legacy in his family name through an endowed scholarship, The Campos Family Scholarship Fund, as well as the Campos EPC scholarships. The scholarships are designed to help as many students as possible based on need and disadvantage. He also mentors students and serves on the CEAE and BOLD advisory boards, building connections between the business community and university.
The Alumni Association is thrilled to recognize Marco Campos with the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award for his professional feats and his tremendous impact on students as a role model, mentor and philanthropist.
Social media innovator Dave Morin grew up under Montana’s big sky — a sky just large enough to serve as a palette that could hold Dave’s big dreams.
It was obvious, even as an undergraduate, that Dave was headed places. He founded a small design-focused Internet company called DM Design Studios in his dorm room.
After graduating he joined some big-hitting companies, including Apple, where he worked in product marketing. He then joined the management team of a little social media venture you may have heard of — Facebook. He co-invented key products that made Facebook, well, Facebook.
But Dave had bigger dreams and much more to do in the world of social networking. In 2010, he founded a company called Path, an award-winning, five-star rated social networking tool serving millions of people every month. It’s now highly sought after by some giant Internet players. In fact, he turned down a $100 million buyout offer from Google.
The New York Times has hailed him as an innovator. Newsweek put him on its list of exceptional young entrepreneurs. Fast Company magazine added him to its 100 most creative people list. And Bloomberg Business News named him Best Young Technology Entrepreneur.
Along his prosperous path, Dave has remained a thoughtful and active community leader who serves on such nonprofit boards as the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And he has certainly not forgotten CU-Boulder. He served on the Alumni Association’s Social Media Task Force, often speaks to students and promotes the school as a central player in making Colorado an entrepreneurial and high-tech gateway state. He gave the Commencement address to CU-Boulder’s economics department graduates in spring 2011.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award to Dave Morin for his world-renowned achievements and continued support for CU-Boulder and its students.
You could say Todd Mosher’s (MAero’95, PhD’00) work is out of this world. Literally. He’s one of the men and women behind the Dream Chaser, the space vehicle that carries astronauts to and from a low orbit. In fact, you may have heard about this in the news last summer when the Dream Chaser passed its first test flight.
It’s part of the government’s new strategy to reboot manned space flight with slimmer margins, more competition and private-sector efficiency. And Todd is right in the middle of this significant work as the director of design and development for the Dream Chaser, assisting in leading a team of more than 150 people to ensure its success.
He is doing one heck of a job. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) chose him as its director of the year (and it has 2,200 employees). But it’s not just his work on the Dream Chaser that makes Todd stand out. He used to be the director of spacecraft business development where he helped win the Orbcomm Second Generation program to build 18 satellites. And he managed the program that’s building other space vehicles that the U.S. Department of Defense could use in war time. And before SNC, Todd worked at Lockheed Martin on NASA’s plans to return to the moon.
While Todd graduated in 2000 with his doctorate, he has kept close ties with the university by mentoring more than 20 summer interns in his various jobs and hiring many CU alumni. He’s also served on a Ph.D. committee in the aerospace engineering department and working as a reviewer for several student presentations. What’s more, the Dream Chaser program has helped cement the connection between SNC and CU-Boulder with more than $500,000 in research grants, senior projects and graduate projects.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award to Todd Mosher for his extraordinary achievements in the sciences and for his continued and thoughtful support of CU-Boulder.
It’s not often engineers get grouped in with rock stars, but then again, it’s not often you meet an engineer like Jason Burdick (PhDChemEngr’02). If he appeared on stage in front of other engineers, you’d likely hear loud cheers mixed in with heavy applause.
Even the general public has reached out to him. When Runner’s Worldmagazine ran an article about his research in developing biomaterials to repair damaged cartilage, readers searched him out on the internet and began e-mailing him to find out more.
In less than 10 years of earning his doctorate, Jason has indeed achieved rock-star status. Today he’s an Ivy League associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The school was so impressed with Jason it gave him tenure a year early, something that rarely happens at the school.
Jason’s research focuses on using biomaterials to treat cartilage, meniscus and cardiac tissue. His newest findings may become the preferred next generation therapeutic for patients with cartilage damage.
It is prestigious work that’s garnering attention. Earlier this year, he took home the Edward C. Nagy New Investigator Award, one of the highest honors given by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Jason is one of eight new investigators chosen from a list of more than 100 who’ve demonstrated innovative work in their fields.
In 2009 the National Science Foundation honored him with its career award and he was selected as one of 100 of the nation’s brightest young engineers to participate in National Academy of Engineering’s annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. The participants were nominated by other engineers and organizations from all over the country.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award to Jason Burdick for his pioneering and innovative spirit in biomedical engineering.
It’s common to hear about CU students going places after they graduate. But when Richard “Trey” Lyons III (PolSci’00) graduated, he decided to take the phrase “going places” to the extreme.
Today Trey is a Department of State foreign service officer who is studying Russian to prepare for his upcoming diplomatic assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. That’s where he’ll monitor Georgia’s foreign policy with Russia and Iran and serve in the U.S. delegation to the “Geneva Process” negotiations between the United States, Russia, Georgia and representatives of the occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
But his work leading to that assignment has been just as impressive. After his swearing-in by Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002, Trey’s first assignment as a foreign service officer was at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he monitored human rights and religious freedom. He then moved to the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2005 where he focused on opposition politics, minority issues and human trafficking. Trey departed Bratislava for Washington, D.C., and an assignment in the State Department’s Operations Center in 2007.
In 2008 he became a senior watch officer in the Operations Center where he led a team that served as the “eyes and ears” for the Secretary of State, monitoring breaking events around the globe. In 2009 he moved on to cover political-military issues in the State Department’s Office of Pakistan Affairs and then became special assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Trey has twice received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for extraordinary performance.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award to Richard “Trey” Lyons III for his distinguished and honorable service to his country.
In the few short years since graduation, Nick Sowden (Mgmt’07) has been determined to prove it is possible to change the world through business.
He lives in Kenya where he is business development director for ToughStuff, an international organization that provides inexpensive solar products to low-income families in developing countries. Through his work, Nick demonstrates a passion to make a lasting difference in the lives of people in communities worldwide.
In 2008 Nick joined ToughStuff, which sells durable, inexpensive solar panels that are flexible, waterproof and about the size of a piece of paper. Villagers can use the panels to charge mobile phones, light small rooms and power radios. Local people sell the product, which creates local incomes and helps the company reach rural regions.
Nick has been an integral part of Toughstuff’s growth and success, building relationships that have led to customers such as the Grameen Foundation and Clinton Foundation. His marketing efforts helped the company gain publicity in nationally recognized publications such as The New York Times. He also created, launched and grew Buy One: Fund One campaign where people can buy a solar panel and LED lamp for $30. Half of the purchase supports a solar sales entrepreneur in a developing country while the remaining benefits the organization.
During his time at CU, Nick reached out to the local community by volunteering at the homeless shelter as well as by coaching basketball for middle and high school students. In his final year, he inspired his players and left a legacy by piloting an experimental learning course with the team that involved community service and a leadership program.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Award to Nick Sowden for his unwavering dedication to using his entrepreneurial skills and experience to improve the lives of others.
After graduating from CU in 1967 with a degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in computer science in 1997, Jim Tighe went to work for Boeing as a stability and control engineer. But he had his sights set a little higher than Earth’s atmosphere.
In August 2000 Jim went to work for Scaled Composites, LLC. Only three years after completing his undergraduate degree, Jim became the chief aerodynamicist of SpaceShipOne – the first privately funded spacecraft with a pilot on board. Both an airplane and a rocket ship, the spacecraft is able to function in both supersonic and subsonic flight regimes, thanks to Jim’s aerodynamic direction.
The project won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004, an award designed to spur innovation beneficial to humanity using the motivation of competition in the private sector. SpaceShipOne has a permanent home in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
“What was once only the domain of a select few will, over the next decade, become open to many,” says Lee Peterson, chair of CU’s aerospace engineering department. “SpaceShipOne and those spacecraft to follow, will have a singular effect, not just on our profession, but on our society as a whole.”
Jim was named Design News Timken Engineer of the Year. He donated $20,000 of his award to CU’s aerospace engineering department to fund senior projects.
The University is proud to honor Jim Tighe with the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award in recognition of his groundbreaking work in the realm of private space travel.
2006: Stephen P. Cape (PhDChemBioEngr’02)
2006: Joshua Stuart (CompSci, MCDBio’96)
2004: Kristi Anseth (PhDChemEngr’94)
2004: Trent Hein (CompSci’91, PhD ex’96)
2004: Kenzo Kawanabe (PolSci’94)
2002: Randolph “Trey” Parker III (A&S ex’93)
2002: Matthew Stone (Art, Math’93)
2000: Simona Errico (Aero’94, MS’99)
1999: Charles Bedford (Law’92)
1996: Elisabeth Arenales (Law’93)
1995: John P. Raeder Jr. (Econ’85)
1994: Prince Holley III (Geog’83)
1992: Gail Howerton (Rec’83, MEdu’86)
1989: Joseph P. Missal (DMA’87)
1986: Jeff Lipton (MBA’75, MFin’79)
1986: Sharon D. Prater (Mus’77)
1986: Deborah L. Redding (Mus’78)
1985: Lorenzo A. Trujillo (A&S’72, MDance’74)
1984: James Nicklos (Acct’71)
1984: Stella Jenkins Lillicrop (Bus’70)
1983: Jon F. Kottke (Law’76)
1983: Karen Tatum Williams (Geog’72)
1982: Kenneth E. Powell (PolSci’75)