Posts in: Kudos

Employee Recognition Program ‘Rocks’ On

There’s a growing rock pile at Colorado College, and it’s not on any quad, field, or building site.

Part of the ‘rock pile’ outside HR on the third floor of Spencer.

The pile of rocks is mounting outside the Human Resources office, and HR anticipates it will continue to grow. The rocks are part of a new program called “You Rock!”, an initiative launched in late fall as a way for employees to show appreciation for one another.

HR staff members quietly kicked off the program by distributing a total of 11 small rocks with the words “You Rock” to CC employees HR wanted to recognize. The rocks didn’t necessarily go to people visible to everyone on campus. Often it is the quiet people working in their offices who get the work done and made a positive difference and contribution to the college. 

'You Rock' recipient Cheri Gamble.

The “You Rock” program is aimed at boosting employee morale and demonstrates just one way to show appreciation for others.  It’s a way of telling people, “I’ve noticed the good job you’re doing, and what you’ve done for CC.”

“You Rock!” is designed to be a peer-to-peer recognition program, one that takes place at the grassroots level and proceeds at its own pace.

Recipients of the rock are given instructions: They become the “Keeper of the Rock” for two weeks and are encouraged to display the rock on their desk, bookshelf, or other work visible places where colleagues will notice. After two weeks, they are to pass the “You Rock!” rock on to someone else, and to either write a note or tell the recipient why he or she is being recognized.

When HR is notified that the rock has been passed on, the new recipient’s name is added to the “You Rock” wall of fame featuring a photo display of rock recipients outside the human resource office on the third floor of the Spencer Building.

To date, “You Rock” recipients are:
Merriam Spurgeon
Diane Cobbett
Margi Vermillion
Dan Johnson
Christin Deville
Jessica Raab
Will Wise
Roger Smith
Donna Sison
Marita Beckert
Nancy Heinecke
David White
Karen Ferguson
Stacy Davidson
Matt Bonser
Mark Saviano
Gretchen Wardell
Beth Kancilia
Delaine Winkelblech
Mandy Sulfrian
Jonathan Driscoll
Donna Engle
Gina Arms
Pam Leutz
Cathey Barbee
Cheri Gamble
Sarai Ornelas

CC Senior Honored at White House for Work on Tribal Lands

Tiffany Calabaza ’12 is one of 11 Native American youth leaders who was honored at the White House Tribal Nations Conference on Thursday, Dec. 1, as a “Champion of Change.” Calabaza was recognized for her efforts to bring renewable energy to her hometown of Kewa (formerly Santo Domingo Pueblo), N.M.

Calabaza, an environmental chemistry major, worked with Chemistry Professor Sally Meyer and Kewa tribal members to convert a community windmill into a solar water pumping station. The station will pump ground water more efficiently, allowing livestock and other small wildlife to have a source of drinking water.

The project continues to involve both Colorado College students as well as Kewa tribal members. Calabaza’s goal is to educate her community on renewable energy technologies that will allow cattle to spread evenly throughout the rangelands and avoid overgrazing, thus preventing further damage to the land.

The “Champions of Change” program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

Mike Taber Wins SPORE Science Award With Teammates

Mike Taber, Colorado College associate professor of science education and chair of the education department, is a member of the team that won the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education, presented by the journal Science. The team won for the development of the Earth Exploration Toolbook an educational website that allows students to use real data to see a connection between science and the world. Each chapter of the toolbook focuses on a different earth science topic, with Taber publishing chapters on “Climate History from Deep Sea Sediments,” “Protecting Wetlands from Exurban Development,” and “Tsunami Run-up Prediction for Seaside Oregon using MyWorld GIS.”

Additionally, Taber coauthored an essay in the September 30 issue of Science journal titled “Making Earth Science Data Accessible and Usable in Education” that discusses the objectives of EET. The online resource came about when science educators realized that, in general, a large gap existed between the scientific and educational communities, and that little productive communication occurred between the two.

The Earth Exploration Toolbook seeks to ensure the development of the next generation of scientists by helping students develop the skills that enable them to explore scientific questions, assess the results of scientific research, and draw and communicate conclusions to others.  One way to help students develop these skills is to involve them in exploring scientific questions using the same data and data analysis tools that scientists use. Like a key to the kingdom, the toolbook provides students with all they need to enter the world of real scientific data. (See more at

The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) award reflects seven years of National Science Foundation effort.  The journal Science developed the award to promote the best online materials in science education. The acronym SPORE suggests a reproductive element adapted to develop, often in less-than-ideal conditions, into something new. In a similar way, the winning project can be seen as the seed of progress in science education, despite considerable challenges to educational innovation.  Science is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society.

CC Students, Faculty to Present Research at Geology Conference

Six members of Colorado College’s geology department will present their research at the2011 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, to be held Oct. 9-12 in Minneapolis. Those presenting are Ashley Contreras ’12, Eleanor Emery ‘12, and Benjamin Mackall ‘11, as well as Associate Geology Professor Henry Fricke, Geology Professor Christine Siddoway, and Geology Technical Director Stephen Weaver. 

Contreras, who worked with Siddoway, will present a paper titled “New Insights on the Timing and Extent of Cretaceous Exhumation in the West Antarctic Rift System, from U-PB and (U-TH)/HE Zircon Analysis. Emery, who also collaborated with Siddoway, will present a paper titled “Use of Stereoscopic Satellite Imagery for 3D Mapping of Bedrock Structure in West Antarctica: Example from the Ford Ranges and Neogene Volcanoes of Marie Byrd Land.” Mackall, who collaborated with Geology Professor Eric Leonard, will present a paper titled “Estimates of Last Glacial Maximum Climate of the Snowy Range, Southern Wyoming, using Numerically Modeled Paleoglacier Reconstructions.”

Fricke’s research is titled “Stable and Clumped Isotope Study of Authigenic Carbonates from the Kootznahoo Formation, Alaska, and Implications for Study of Paleogene Climate and Hydrology.” Siddoway will present research titled “Potential Sources of Crustal Anisotropy in the Wyoming Province: Insights from Basement Structures of the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming.” Weaver, who shoots the cover photos for Colorado College’s annual State of the Rockies Report and subsequent poster, will present “Beyond the Snapshot: Making the Excellent Geo-Photograph in the Field.”

CC Faculty and Staff Up for Arts Awards

Five members of the Colorado College faculty and staff — four of whom are also CC alumni — have been nominated for 2011 Pikes Peak Arts Council awards. They are:
Dance: Patrizia Herminjard ’96, dance instructor, for “The 12 Steps of Physical Intimacy”
Poetry, Literary Excellence: David Mason ’78, professor of English (and Colorado Poet Laureate)
Theater, Outstanding Performance by an Actress: Amy Brooks ’82, Tutt Library special collections coordinator
Artist of the Year: Scott Johnson, assistant professor of art
Excellence in Curatorship: Jessica Hunter Larsen ’90, I.D.E.A. Space curator
The date of the awards ceremony has not been announced yet. See story in The Gazette for a complete listing of nominees.


‘Western Skies’ Episode Wins First Place in National Competition

KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member station, took first place in the Public Radio News Directors, Inc., competition with an episode produced on the news show “Western Skies.” The episode, titled “Agriculture,” won in the Best News/Public Affairs Program category in the “small newsroom” division. The show, produced by news director Andrea Chalfin and Noel Black, originally aired on Sept. 5, 2010.

KRCC’s “Western Skies” also received a second-place award from the Colorado Associated Press in the Documentary category for the same episode. The Associated Press competition was among large market stations and not limited to public stations. The “Agriculture” episode, which sought to connect listeners with the people who produce food, interviewed people ranging from those who advocate community-supported agriculture to traditional ranchers. The full episode can be heard at:

CC Students’ Proposal Earns a Davis Project for Peace Award

A proposal submitted by four Colorado College students has been selected as a Davis Project for Peace for 2011.

Akie Mochizuki ’11, Nikhil Ranadive ’12, Melissa Serafin ’11 and Erin Yamamoto ’11 will spend three months working with the disenfranchised women of Ugenya, an area of impoverished subsistence farmers and sparsely distributed, ill-equipped medical facilities in Kenya.

The goal of their project, “The Zuia Initiative,” is to elevate the health of the Ugenyan people by reducing their susceptibility to HIV infection, and to improve the social and economic status of the women by expanding their employment opportunities.

The CC students will work with the women of Ugenya who, for a variety of social and cultural reasons, are particularly susceptible to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The project seeks to provide the Ugenyan women a means of greater financial and social standing by teaching them tailoring skills, a valuable and marketable asset in their region. The Colorado College students have rented a training space and have arranged for 10 regular and two industrial tailoring machines, as well as an instructor.

In addition to the vocational training, the CC students, working with Matibabu Foundation Clinic, will present an HIV/AIDS public health curriculum for the women. The students plan to set up youth center that provides reproduction education to the boys and girls of the community.

The Davis Projects for Peace was launched in 2007 by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis on her 100th birthday. During the summer of 2011, college students from nearly 100 campuses will collectively receive more than $1 million in funding for projects in all regions of the world. The program is designed to encourage and support students to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world.

About the participants:

  • Akie Mochizuki is a senior biochemistry major and has taken a service-learning course on HIV/AIDS from Neena Grover, volunteered with the Southern Colorado AIDS Project, and worked with young children as a teaching assistant.
  • Erin Yamamoto is a senior neuroscience major and has organized and implemented outreach programs targeted at Colorado Springs youth.
  • Nikhil Ranadive is a junior and a UWC-USA Graduate and a Davis UWC Scholar. He has experience in education, working with children, and community organizing.
  • Melissa Serafin, a senior, has experience in sociological fieldwork, education, working with children, and civic engagement.

Athletic Media Relations Director Dave Moross to Receive 25-Year Award

Dave Moross, CC’s athletic media relations director, recently was named a recipient of the 25-Year Award, presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The organization presented national awards for outstanding achievements. When announcing Moross as an award winner, the organization published the following profile:

At hockey-rich Colorado College, Dave Moross has been responsible for tremendous publicity for the hockey program and players during his long tenure as the Tigers’ primary athletic communications contact. Moross will receive his 25-Year Award from CoSIDA during the annual CoSIDA Convention in Marco Island next month – with all 25 of those years spent at Colorado College.

Moross has served as director of athletic media relations at Colorado College since 1986. The athletic program is among those schools which offer different levels of competition, as teams compete at both the Division I level and Division III level. The men’s ice hockey program plays a powerhouse Division I schedule as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while the women’s soccer team has been an affilate member of Conference USA since 2006.  

Moross is the primary contact for hockey and women’s soccer, while Dave Reed, associate director of athletic media relations, is the contact for all Division III sports.

Moross and Reed, who have run their two-man shop together for more than 11 years, have served on various CoSIDA committees during that period and before.  

Moving to Colorado in 1974, Moross is an avid hiker in the mountainous state. He occasionally leads small expeditions and, quite impressively, has successfully summited 19 different “14ers” since the age of 45. The centerpieces of the Colorado Rockies are the 54 peaks over 14,000 feet, or “Fourteeners,” as they are affectionately referred to by climbers. 

Moross is editor of CC’s major athletics publications, including the annual hockey media guide which consistently finished among the top 10 in CoSIDA’s nationwide contest throughout the last decade. The 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02 versions earned “Best Cover in the Nation” recognition. 

A charter member of the CC Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee, Moross has publicized the accomplishments of 21 Tigers who have earned a total of 27 All-America honors in men’s ice hockey. He also helped coordinate promotional campaigns that culminated in Peter Sejna (2003) and Marty Sertich (2005) winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (ice hockey’s national player of the year honor). 

Serving as media coordinator for the 2004 and 2008 NCAA Hockey West Regionals held at the Colorado Springs World Arena, Moross has worked as a statistician for NHL and college hockey telecasts by ESPN, Fox and CBS College Sports. He also assists annually in press-box operations at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s premier event – the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn.

Prior to his athletic media relations career, Moross previously worked as a writer and assistant sports editor at the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper, where his duties included covering the school’s varsity teams for eight seasons. 

Moross graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 1973, earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising communications. A native of the Detroit area, he has served as a contributing writer and done freelance work for several national magazines during his professional career. 

He and his wife, Amy, have five grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Collin Knauss Awarded Water, Wildlife Conservation Internship

Collin Knauss ’13 of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has been awarded the 2011 Charlie Blumenstein Water and Wildlife Conservation Internship. Knauss, a biology major, will serve as an intern at The Nature Conservancy Silver Creek Preserve in Picabo, Idaho.  He is responsible for assisting stewardship staff with protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and natural resources on The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in Idaho.

The internship is named after Charlie Blumenstein ’96, who was passionate about the environment and conservation of water resources.  He credited his informal, out-of-classroom, extra-curricular, field experiences with his decision to become a hydrogeologist and to devote his professional life to the improvement of water resources.

Four CC Students Present at Biochemistry Conference; Allison O’Connell Wins Award

Four Colorado College students recently presented posters at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s highly competitive undergraduate poster competition, with one student receiving an award for her work. The poster competition was part of the organization’s national conference, held in Washington, D.C., last month.

Presenting posters at the conference were Allison O’Connell ’11, Shane Strom ’11, Arian Frost ’12, and Justin Garoutte ’12. All four students are biochemistry majors and work with Associate Professor Neena Grover of the chemistry and biochemistry department.

Allison O'Connell

O’Connell, a biochemistry major from Sea Cliff, N.Y., won an award for her poster titled “Thermodynamic Examination of the Internal Stem-Loop in U6 RNA.”  She investigated the stability of the small RNA that is responsible for spliceosome assembly and catalysis. Understanding this can help explain the role of RNA and help in developing better RNA-based drugs in the near future.