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Educational Opportunity Programs


Rosa Parks Diversity Award

Educational Opportunity Programs

​Sparking the modern civil rights movement in the United States by refusing to give up her bus seat, Rosa Parks' arrest for breaking Montgomery segregation laws started a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. This eventually led to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation illegal on public buses. In the spirit of Rosa Parks the University of Colorado Denver Rosa Parks Diversity Committee selects CU Denver students, staff, faculty, departments, and community members as recipients of the Rosa Parks Diversity Award.

                      2014 CU Denver Rosa Parks Awardees


Carla Mestas is the founder of Mestas Consulting, a firm that focuses on diversity and inclusiveness.  She has worked in the area of equity, social justice and inclusiveness for nearly 20 years. She is a consultant, public speaker, trainer, writer and community organizer.  Carla has worked extensively in diverse communities on the national, state and local levels. She promotes transformational leadership amongst diverse leaders, communities and organizations in the public and private sectors.  Carla Mestas serves part-time as the Director of Diversity & Inclusiveness at Stanley British Primary School.  She is also the Founder and Director of the C.I.R.C.L.E. (Connecting Inclusive Responsive Communities Leading Education) & STAMP (Students Taking Action & Making Progress) conferences, annual diversity and inclusiveness conferences for educators, parents and students committed to building more inclusive school communities.  Most recently, Carla worked with the tri-institutional student diversity clubs and departments at CU Denver, Metro State University and Community College of Denver at Auraria Campus this past year to bring Dr. Cornel West to the community. 

Rosemarie Allen is the Executive Director for the Colorado Parent & Child foundation. She’s served as a leader in early childhood education for over 30 years. At the Colorado Department of Human Services, she worked as a Director in the Office of  children, Youth & Families. Rosemarie is also an instructor of at MSU Denver. As a “Global Leader” she represents the United States at World Conferences. 

She earned her B. A. from California State University, M.Ed from Lesley University and is completing Doctoral coursework in Equity in Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. Rosemarie is a respected keynote speaker, presenting on Cultural Competence, Micro-Aggressions, Racial Disproportionality, etc.


Dr. Cheryl E. Matias is an assistant professor in the Urban Community Teacher Education Program and Urban Ecologies doctoral program at the University of Colorado, Denver.  She will be moving to Educational Foundations this fall 2014.  Her research is on race and ethnic studies in education with a theoretical focus on critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, critical pedagogy and feminism of color.  Specifically, she uses a feminist of color approach to deconstruct the emotionality of whiteness in urban teaching.  Her other research interest is on  motherscholarship and supporting woman of color and mother scholars in the academy.  A former teacher in both South Central, Los Angeles Unified School District and Bed-Stuy, New York City Department of Education, she earned her bachelors in cultural communication from University of California San Diego, teaching credential at San Diego State University, and her masters in Social and Multicultural Foundations at California State University, Long Beach.  She earned her doctorate at UCLA with an emphasis in race and ethnic studies in education.  Some of her publications can be found in Race, Ethnicity, and Education, Teacher Education Quarterly, Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, and Multicultural Perspectives.  She is a motherscholar of twins, an avid Lakers fan, and bachata ballroom dancer.

Dr. James Walsh has taught at CU Denver for the past 16 years, 15 in the History Department and one year in Political Science. He is the founder of the Romero Theater Troupe, an all-volunteer community "organic" theater group that uses the stage to educate the public about important stories about the long struggle for social justice and human dignity.  The troupe is now nearly ten years old with over seventy members.  Over the years, over 100 CU Denver students, and many faculty, have participated in the troupe's performances.  The mission of the Romero Troupe  is to educate the public about important history is resistance and struggle, build solidarity across issues and communities, and to empower its members to develop their voices and to become actively involved in their communities.  Walsh specializes in Labor and Immigration issues, as well as student-centered radical education.


Ed Garton currently serves as CU Denver’s Director for the Office of Housing and Residential Education. He received his Masters in Education with a focus in Higher Education from the University of Vermont in 2003. Ed’s professional experience includes being a House Advisor in the Office of Residence Life at Vassar College, a Prevention Programs Manager at the Colorado AIDS Project, the Director of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Services at Auraria Campus, and most recently the Associate Director of Student Life for Student Organizations and Leadership at CU Denver.  He loves working with students and is passionate about life-long learning.

Susan Tafoya calls herself a “CU girl.”  Susan attended college at CU Boulder and transferred to UCCS and graduated from UCCS with a BA in Communication.  Susan has been working at The University of Colorado since 1993.  Susan’s CU career began at UCCS as an Academic
Advisor and then moved to Student Support Services as Coordinator of the Educational Opportunity Program.  Susan then transferred to CU Denver in 2000 in the Admissions Office as Assistant Director.
Community activities include; CESDA, Colorado Educational Services and Development Association, La Raza Youth Leadership Program, Colorado License to Dream Foundation.  “This is a great honor to be given and I will continue the efforts of Rosa Parks and what she stood for!”


Archie Dalton is a senior at the University of Colorado Denver getting a bachelor of Fine Arts with emphasis on Computer  Animation. Archie grew up in Hawaii and Alaska and while in high school in Ketchikan, AK started working with at-risk Native youth who had similar hardships growing up. Archie worked as a summer youth counselor for the Ketchikan Indian Community, which opened the door for other opportunities to work with at-risk youth when moving to Denver; Archie worked as a Children’s Program Coordinator at Growing Home through AmeriCorp, a Paraprofessional at the Jefferson County Open School and a Peer Mentor at the Denver Transfer Initiative and Educational Opportunity Programs.

Fadumo Adan is a senior at the University of Colorado Denver. She advocates for immigration reform and refugee protection locally and nationally. This past December, she was elected by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to represent the state of Colorado in their 2nd Refugee Congress conference in Washington, D.C. As an immigrant and first generation college student, she is involved in affinity groups, cross-cultural inititives and panels that address the intersection of race, socioeconomic status and immigration. She plans to pursue graduate degrees in Social Work and Human Rights afterwards. She will continue promoting visibility and advocacy around immigrant and refugee issues in political, social and community realms.


2013 Program

University Of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

Educational Opportunity Programs

Academic Building 12007

Campus Box 132

1201 Larimer Street

P.O. Box 173364

Denver, Colorado 80204

o 303.315.1880 | f 303.315.1885 |

>American Indian Student Services
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>Asian American Student Services
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>Black Student Services
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>​Latin@ Student Services
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