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University of Colorado Denver Alumni Relations

CU Denver Alumni | University of Colorado Denver

Welcome to CU Denver Alumni

#CUDenverGrad | Alumni Advice

CU Denver Alumni have a tradition to welcome the newest members of our community and offer advice and well-wishes using #CUDenverGrad on social media or by emailing​​

 Advice and Encouragement for All Alumni

Melissa Miles (BA '14), Political Science and Communication

Know that fear is your biggest obstacle. Don't let it bully you into a small life.

Patrick Sandoval (MA '90), Education Guidance and Counseling

Never stop learning. Use those social skills. They come in handy, especially if you learn to give back.

Saad Al Dosary (BS '06), Electrical Engineering | Reply to Tweet

Advice from Saad Al Dosary, BS'06: - Be patient - Don't be late to work! - Respect authority (as long as it's in line with policy) - Always learn from co-workers - Attend training courses at least once a year 

Thomas Wayne Butler, II (BS '08), Music, concentration in Music Industry Studies and Technology

Take the time you need before grad school.

Amy Arnold (MA '14), Information & Learning TechnologiesAcademic Services Senior Professional for CU Online 

Take risks. Don't be afraid to go after the big job, big opportunity, or big adventure. You have something to offer the world that no one else has... and that's YOU. And when life offers you the opportunity to travel, take it. Don't ask questions, just go! Best wishes for a bright and daring future. ​

Coby Spilker (BS '17), Financial Management and Accounting

Don't forget to take time to enjoy life and stay youthful! There is lots of time to be serious and work hard, so don't get caught up and forget to do the things you're passionate about! And a big congratulations to all of you!!!

Tibebe Woldeyesus (PhD '12), Civil Engineering

Dear graduating students; Graduation is an achievement of your steady determination to reach your goal. it’s also the end of one chapter and opening to another new chapter in your life. Remember this, your accumulated knowled​ge from your education will lead you to your personal dream job and continued professional success if you keep on widening your knowledge in every opportunity. Note this knowledge builds up from every direction: career development, community engagement, on job training, further education and much more but make sure to open your mind in all directions. Knowledge is life long. Congratulations to all of you.

Alli Wozniak (MBA '16), Sports & Entertainment

Take the opportunity to meet everyone you can, take risks toward something different than what you planned, and DON'T be afraid to negotiate for what is important to you!

Kelly Latterman (MA '17), Political Science | Reply to Tweet

Hopefully we've taught you how to think, not what to think.

Tasha Carlson (MPA '13) | ITSM Program Manager, Office of Information Technology at CU Denver | Anschutz 

There is always tomorrow- sometimes it feels like your career, goals and aspirations seem out of reach. Take a breath, reset and try again, you will get there.

Logan Clarry (BA '15), Political Science and History, minor in International Studies

Soak it all in. You'll always be one of us. I'm sure each and every one of you will make CU Denver proud. Class of 2015

Timothy Binns (BA '16), Sociology

Don’t be afraid to reach for what you want. Remember that you will miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t pursue. Congratulations on your achievement! “Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find” - Walt Whitman"

Fowad Choudhry (MBA '95), Health Administration | Chief Executive Officer at North Texas Specialty Physicians 

My 4 keys to being successful: 
1. Do your job. 
2. Help someone else do their job. 
3. Learn something new. 
4. Have fun.

Jo | Reply to Tweet

Congrats to all #CUDenverGrad ! 'You are now certified to the world at large as alumni of the university. She is your kindly mother and you her cherished sons and daughters.

Tasha Oliver (MBA '05), Health Administration

Importance of Networking to enhance job opportunities! How best to market my skills for future prospects. Be patient.

Sally Hocker (BA '93), Anthropology and Psychology​

Be courageous, always hope, and, above all else, show kindness and humanity in everything you do. Best of luck to you!

Desiree Mortenson (MPA '06)

After completing my MPA, I didn't know that there were Post-Graduate Internships available to apply for. Pursuing an internship is a great way to gain experience and enter into a desired field.

Kirk Barbera (BA '11), Theatre, Film, & TV and Philosophy

Find someone doing what you want to do in life and work for them for free.

Rick Sharpnack (MBA '91) | President of Sharp Capital Consulting, LLC

My advice is to be happy in your work. Don’t get overly concerned about money; the money will come. If you’re not happy, excited, and passionate about your work, you will burn out quickly. Always take time to reflect back about your successes. Sometimes they happen in small and subtle steps and are easy to forget about or overlook.

Pedro Ramos (BA '17), Psychology

Put yourself out there. Take risks. Make yourself uncomfortable. We don’t grow when we play it safe all the time.

Anthony A Phipps (PhD '02), Design and Planning

The world "out there"
    Beyond the hallowed halls of Academia
Is full of truths...not one, but many.
I've often found that
     The problem is that "the problem" is a solution

          (for some other problem).
So keep your mind and your ears open...
      At least twice as long as your mouth.
Best wishes for a great career!

Sidney Aulds (MArch '16)

Never stop learning.

Shannon Fender (BA '12), Political Science and Law Studies, concentration in Politics and Public Policy

Don’t be too attached a “5 year plan.” Explore every opportunity that comes along and trust your instincts!

Submit your advice and words of encouragement to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. ​​


 Architecture & Planning

Eric Sung (MArch '01)

  1. Architecture school does not prepare you for the real world. 
  2. Architecture registration exam does not prepare you for the real world.
  3. Take your ARE as quickly as you can, but don't let it be the end all as a designer. 
  4. Passing the ARE does not make you a better designer or make you any better than someone else. 
  5. Architecture is not just skyscrapers, museums, hotels and stuff we work on in studios. Most of you will work in the residential single family detached world. However, your work in this field will impact people's lives more than you think. 
  6. Keep your egos in check. You know a lot less than you think. 
  7. Be diverse and see places beyond what we are taught in school. Europe is not the end all for great architecture, not even close. 
  8. Learn to work and deal with people. 
  9. Be humble 
  10. Be kind

Kim Kennedy (MArch '03) | LEED, AP Project Execution at Los Angeles Unified School District

Take all architecture exams within two years of graduating, otherwise you will forget what you have learned by the time you go to take them!

Submit your advice on the architecture and planning industry to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry.

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 Arts & Media

Submit your advice for the art, media, and music industry to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. ​​​


Chris Specht (MBA '10)

Get an MBA if you're 100% absolutely going to use an MBA; for example working in banking and finance, or if it's required to advance your career. If someone else pays for it......great! Go for it! 

In my experience I have found that it may be better to either start your own business, or discover what you absolutely love, and find creative ways to get there. In my case, I've found that I love Digital Marketing, and it's a discipline that changes so much, there is hardly any academics that keep up. I've found that it's real-world experience and certifications that get you into position for success. 

That said, I tell anyone considering getting an MBA to be very careful - to understand that getting an MBA is not going to get you a huge promotion, or pay raise.

Submit your advice on the business or health administration industries to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. 

 Education & Human Development

Julia Cummings (MBA '12) | Marketing Director for CU Denver SEHD

Congrats CU Denver alumni! Welcome to the alumni family.
Stay connected with School of Education & Human Development faculty and alumni by attending alumni events and following the school on social media:

*Instagram coming soon. 

SEHD sponsors a monthly event for policy saavy educators in partnership with the School of Public Affairs. Be on the look out for emails in the coming year with information about this series so you don't miss the chance to network with more that 75 fellow alumni.

Not getting our emails? Please update your information​.

Judith Cale (MA '04) Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in ESL/Bilingual Education

I just want to let you know that it is not easy being a teacher, but it is worthwhile. I was a high school world languages and English language acquisition teacher for over 30 years. I am now retired but I still substitute several times per month. 

Things that you are generally not taught is how time consuming being a teacher is. Besides planning the curriculum, your lesson plans and actually teaching, you spend a lot of time grading papers, calling parents on the phone, tutoring your students, and attending meetings. It is not a 9:00 – 5:00 job. It ends up being a 7:00 – 5:30 job unless you end up coaching and then you often don’t get home until 7:30 on practice nights and 9:30 on game nights. Weekends you spend trying to catch up on what you didn’t have time for during the week. The first couple of years are the worst because you are trying to get used to the new school, new rules, new curriculum and textbooks, new administrators, etc. 

However, as I stated before, teaching is very satisfying. You are preparing students to become successful, contributing members of society, and that’s a very important job! They need direction and you often feel like you are not only their counselor and psychiatrist, but also their parent. Some don’t have parents they can rely on or talk to. But they trust you….their teacher…, so you are able to give them some helpful advice about what to do with their future. Once you retire, your pension will be great here in Colorado. 

PERA takes pretty good care of you. But, I retired from an urban district which pays much better than rural districts. I began teaching in a rural district and toward the end of my career, I was hired in an urban district which improved my salary significantly. Rural districts definitely need good teachers. There are not enough qualified teachers available in rural Colorado. They need you! Generally, classes are a bit smaller, but you usually have more duties, such as bus duty, hall duty, cafeteria duty, etc. You often have more classes to prepare for too. So, being a teacher in a rural district is hard. If you want a challenge, rural schools are a good place to start! 

Best wishes as you begin your new career!

Submit your advice on the field of education to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry.​

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 Engineering & Applied Science

Dan Akselrod (BS '05), Electrical Engineering, minor in Mathematics

Advice to new engineering grads: Take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. This regardless of what field of engineering or what career path a grad may want.

James Gorman (BS '84, MBA '91), Civil Engineering

I was in the Land Development segment of the Real Estate Industry, with an Engineering Degree. I always thought the MBA program fit perfectly into my needs, as I moved into senior management.
Submit your advice on the engineering industries to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. ​​

 Liberal Arts & Sciences

Kayla Gehringer (BA '13), History | Staff Editor, Denver Law Review, Vol. 95 and J.D. Candidate 2019

I suppose the thing I wished I'd known when graduating was that a CLAS degree is not the end of an education, but a beginning. I floundered when I graduated, falling hard into the throes of depression caused by a lack of self-discovery and trust in my instincts. I knew I'd have to seek another degree, given that History is used mostly to fulfill teacher shortages. There is importance in teaching children, as I learned from the volunteer job I took that first year after my graduation with History Colorado. The camaraderie I experienced among my fellow volunteers, particularly the seniors among us wayward young adults, pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned that while teaching was an easy meal ticket, I'd be no good as an educator if I didn't want to do it. 

I found myself in therapy after several dour thoughts as I struggled to find what I wanted from life, for myself. That was around the time I became political, getting involved with the Colorado Democratic Party during Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign. I applied for law school, determined to, cheesy as it sounds, help those with far less than me. Every person I saw on a street corner became not just a stranger, but someone I was well within an arm's length of becoming. Law school has not been an easy path, and that too has been a surprise. I'm still learning, even after my first summer internship, even after making the all-important flagship law review. 

 I can stand on my own two feet not because of a fancy piece of paper that bears my name, but because of who I am. My willingness to learn not just in a classroom, but from my peers both in and outside of a classroom's confines. It is not just what you know, but how people remember you that matters. Keep that in mind as you march into your next life as a graduate of CU Denver. This is not an end for you, but a beginning. Embrace that change, and leap into the abyss that is the rest of your life.

Submit your advice on the science and technology industries to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. ​


 Public Affairs

Submit your advice on the public service industry and non profit sector to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. 

 General Life Tips

Joshua Underwood (BS '14), Computer Science

Never take a job that requires a uniform. Also, “strictly casual” IS a uniform.

Submit your fun, silly, and useful survival tips for life after college to the Class of 2018 by emailing​. Be sure to include your degree information, graduation year, and current industry. ​​


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