Women's History Month

Stories of Accomplishment for a Month Devoted to Women’s History

March 8, 2021

Every March we have an additional opportunity to feel inspired by the work of the amazing women who are part of our community and our history. In honor of Women’s History Month, we looked at some of the stories we have shared in the past year about the accomplishments of women students, faculty, and alumni. It’s no surprise that among them we found some of the most memorable and powerful articles we have written.  

Below are a few of our favorites. Happy Women’s History Month—to celebrate, make time to read her story. 


Where Are All the Women Philosophers?

Sarah Tyson, PhD, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at CU Denver, is one of the hosts for the New Books in Philosophy podcast. “What prevents women from being on faculty in philosophy departments is not a lack of interest in or ability to do philosophy,” Tyson explains. Highlighting women philosophers on the New Books in Philosophy podcast “shows students that women can philosophize … That’s a powerful lesson that’s hard to teach merely by insisting it’s true,” she said. Learn more.


Dr. Lora de la Cruz, SEHD alum

Alum Lora de La Cruz Describes Education Leadership in Unprecedented Times

After a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in her district, Lora de la Cruz EdD ’16, superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District near Portland, Oregon, was one of the first superintendents in the country to close her school buildings and shift to online learning. As such, the CU Denver alum and her team were front-runners in creating responses and messaging as the gravity of the pandemic was beginning to set in. Learn how she led the shift.


Berni Slowey and sister

A Stolen Child, the Fall of Saigon, and Family Secrets—Can a Documentary Reveal the Truth?

Bernadette “Berni” Slowey ’94 remembers the day that forever changed her life—even though she was only 4 years old. She was outside playing kick the can with her cousins and 2-year-old sister, Rose. It was an afternoon like any other, hot and humid and sticky. She heard the sounds of chatting apartment-dwellers, humming cars, and whirring buses, then suddenly the courtyard felt strangely quiet. Berni turned around to find her sister had disappeared. Find out what happened.


For Alum Barbara Cooper, Alabama’s Secretary of Early Childhood Education, Now Is the Time To “Lead Courageously”

Barbara Cooper MA ’95, PhD ’09 strongly believes that being an educator is a calling, not just a job. The dramatic events of 2020 have only confirmed her conviction. “You have to be called to do this work well because you really are impacting children who come from all walks of life,” said Cooper. “And unless you have a passion and a servant attitude and a servant leadership style, it’s going to be challenging to do this work, now more so than ever.” Learn about her leadership.


Jessica Guerra 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate

Public Health Student and EMT Jessica Guerra Is Good With Chaos

For the past six years, Jessica Guerra has worked at Porter Adventist Hospital as a full-time emergency medical technician (EMT). A few years into her career as an EMT, she decided to add being a full-time CU Denver student to her busy schedule, too. And, in her final year as an undergraduate, her study of epidemiology blurred inseparably into her hospital duties when the COVID-19 pandemic became a daily norm for everyone. Learn about her work.


Holidaily: verb, meaning making the most of every single day

Alum Karen Hertz’s Holidaily Brewing Co. Expands Colorado’s Beer Scene with Award-Winning, Gluten-Free Options

Live each and every day as if it were a holiday. That’s the timely ethos Karen Hertz MBA ‘05 has sought to instill through her brewery, Holidaily Brewing Company, since she first opened its doors to customers in Golden, Colorado nearly five years ago. Hear more from this successful entrepreneur.


Two CU Professors Earn 2020 Genomic Innovator Award

For the second year, the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has selected the top tier of early career researchers with its Genomic Innovator Awards. In 2020, the award went to 12 researchers around the U.S., with two from the University of Colorado Denver: Audrey Hendricks, PhD, and Katrina Claw, PhD, who each received over $1.5 million over the next five years to pursue their research. Read about their research.


Faculty Fellow Faye Caronan

Faye Caronan Appointed to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Faye Caronan, PhD, head of Ethnic Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), will serve as an advisor to Chancellor Michelle Marks and leadership team on issues concerning underrepresented and diverse students, faculty, and staff. As a woman of color who earned her academic degrees at predominantly white institutions, she understands the challenges that students of color at CU Denver face. Learn more about Caronan.


Meet Activist-in-Residence Katie Leonard 

The College of Arts & Media (CAM) at CU Denver has invited artist and community organizer Katie Leonard to serve as Activist-in-Residence for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. Leonard, who recently graduated from Harvard with a BA in African American studies, is a Denver native who identifies as a Black woman, an artist, and a writer. She works at the intersection of art and justice, which is exactly why CAM Dean Laurence Kaptain reached out to her. Read about her efforts at the forefront of public consciousness.


Ruth Glenn, Alum and CEO and President of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Speaks at Democratic National Convention 

The 2020 Democratic National Convention featured the powerful voice of one of CU Denver’s very own. Ruth Glenn, CEO and President of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, received her MPA from the School of Public Affairs’ Program on Domestic Violence in 2003. In a video segment during the convention on Aug. 19, 2020, Glenn and other advocates for the prevention of sexual assault called for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Watch the recording.


Professor Heather Johnson Wins $1.6 Million National Science Foundation Grant

University of Colorado Denver associate professor Heather Johnson, PhD, received a $1,599,774 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant-winning project, Promoting Mathematical Reasoning and Transforming Instruction in College Algebra, is a collaboration with Metropolitan State University of Denver, Santa Fe Community College, and Texas State University. “We want math classes to be places where students can engage in reasoning, not just find answers,” Johnson said. “We collaborate with faculty across institutions to create spaces where that can happen.” Read more.


Lauren Martinez on construction site

Taking Part in Denver’s Building Boom—With New Best Practices 

Jessica Killian always enjoyed math. Lauren Martinez liked hands-on learning so much she picked up welding and woodworking skills as an undergrad. Jayapradha Madhavan studied architecture in India but later discovered she was more interested in building buildings than designing them. These women ultimately chose to enter the male-dominated field of construction by earning graduate degrees in CU Denver’s Construction Engineering and Management Program (CEM)—which boasts 40% women faculty and 40% women graduates. Learn more about the program.


Professor Esther Sullivan in a gentrified neighborhood

Professor Esther Sullivan Works to Solve Problem of Affordable Housing in Denver

Through her research as an urban sociologist, Esther Sullivan examines the inequality of access to housing in at-risk areas, often unseen areas such as mobile home parks. Though mobile homes serve as the country’s single largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing, zoning regulations leave mobile home parks largely unprotected from urbanization. It’s a problem that is particularly acute in rapidly developing metropolitan areas like Denver. Find out more about her work.