International Symposium

Colorado State University’s annual International Symposium was held on February 23-24, 2021. All sessions were virtual and free and open to the public, but registration was required.

The International Symposium is organized by the Office of International Programs and this year featured panel discussions on topical international issues which impact the United States and the world in increasingly palpable ways. Sessions at the International Symposium included climate change, pandemics and emerging infectious disease, foreign relations, diversity and international education, innovation, and global engagement in higher education.

For more information about the International Symposium, please contact Diana Galliano at

All Session Recordings

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

9-10:15 a.m. — “Global Engagement in Higher Education”

The introduction to the CSU mission statement says that the University is committed to excellence in international education in its instructional, research, and outreach programs. To kick off the International Symposium, this panel session will feature a dialogue among the senior leaders of CSU’s educational, research, and engagement efforts. Panelists will offer insight on CSU’s legacy of global engagement, a recognition of the current state of international work in the wake of the coronavirus global pandemic, and share perspectives on the future of internationalization at CSU. President Joyce McConnell will also offer reflections on the University’s Strategic Transformation Initiative, and discuss ways in which internationalization might be integrated into the campus’ forthcoming strategic plan.


Kathleen Fairfax, Vice Provost for International Affairs, Colorado State University

Kathleen Fairfax is the vice provost for International Affairs at Colorado State University. She leads CSU’s efforts to collaborate with colleges and units across campus to implement the University’s internationalization initiatives. Fairfax has worked in the field of international education for 32 years, at both public and private universities and in the public sector. During her career, Fairfax has focused on improving access to international education opportunities at colleges and universities, developing streamlined and efficient operational models for service delivery, and aligning strategic priorities with concrete action items to deliver results. Fairfax holds a master’s degree in political science/international relations from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.


Joyce McConnell, President, Colorado State University

As the first woman president in CSU’s long history, Joyce McConnell is proud to lead one of our nation’s best land-grant universities and equally proud to embody the progress that CSU has made in embracing and celebrating the diversity of its campus community. Prior to stepping into the presidency at CSU, McConnell spent more than 20 years at another flagship, R1 land-grant institution, West Virginia University. She joined the faculty of the WVU College of Law in 1995 and held progressive leadership positions thereafter.

McConnell was named provost of West Virginia University by President Gordon Gee in 2014. In this role, she galvanized innovation and entrepreneurship at WVU with her creation of the university-wide WVU Idea Hub. Committed to the power of interdisciplinary education and research, she fostered the expansion of WVU’s Energy Institute, ADVANCE Center and Center for Excellence in STEM Education. To elevate connections among disciplines critical to analytical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding the human condition, she established a Humanities Center. And as an expression of her long-held commitment to diversity and inclusion and its relationship to faculty and student success, she created the university’s LGBTQ+ Center and focused the campus on the success of all students.

In addition to being passionately committed to the mission and success of land grant institutions, McConnell is an advocate for equity in education and the workplace, as well as an advocate for the preservation and protection of our environment. She is a past president of three sections of the Associations of American Law Schools: the sections on the Dean, on natural resources and energy law, and on women in legal education. She has served on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Committee on Infractions, and is a member of the Board of Governors for Antero Resources. From 2016-2019, McConnell also chaired the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia, embodying her long-standing commitment to the TNC mission of creating a world where people and nature can thrive.

In 2014, McConnell was named the 2014 Public Servant of the Year by the West Virginia Association for Justice, and was awarded the Special Places Award by West Virginia Land Trust in 2010. She earned an undergraduate degree from Evergreen State College, a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center.

Mary Pedersen, Provost and Executive Vice President, Colorado State University

As provost and executive vice president, Dr. Pedersen is the chief academic officer of CSU and works in concert with the president, deans, vice presidents, and the campus community to strengthen the university’s reputation as an internationally recognized land-grant institution of higher education. Her role is to collaborate with campus leaders to provide academic vision and leadership to articulate, communicate, and facilitate the development of fundamental values basic to the University’s mission, administer academic programs and policies with utmost respect for and attention to our constituents’ needs, and promote inclusive excellence to advance education, research, scholarship, and outreach for all who work and learn at CSU.

Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen joined CSU in August 2020 from California Polytechnic State University where she served in successive leadership roles with the Provost’s Office since 2011. Those roles included interim provost, senior vice provost, vice provost, and associate provost for Academic Affairs and Academic Programs and Planning. During her more than 30 years at Cal Poly, she also served as an associate professor and professor in nutrition, department head of Food Science & Nutrition, and associate dean in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences. Pedersen began her academic career as a postdoctoral fellow in atherosclerosis at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. She earned her B.A. in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in public health nutrition with a minor in lipid biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research, Colorado State University

Alan Rudolph serves as the vice president for Research at Colorado State University. He is a former member of the Senior Executive Service, having served as the director for the Chemical and Biological Technologies Directorate, Research and Development Enterprise, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, in Fort Belvoir, VA. He has had an active career in translating interdisciplinary life sciences into useful applications for biotechnology development. His experience spans basic research to advanced development in academia, government laboratories, and most recently in the nonprofit and private sectors. He has published more than 100 technical articles in areas including molecular biophysics, lipid self-assembly, drug delivery, blood substitutes, medical imaging, tissue engineering, neuroscience, and diagnostics.

Prior to joining CSU, he served as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow, and as chief executive officer of Adlyfe, Inc., a diagnostic platform company, and board chairman of Cellphire, Inc. Most recently, he started a new international nonprofit foundation, the International Neuroscience Network Foundation, and as director secured corporate and private philanthropic donors to fulfill the mission of the organization focused on brain STEM efforts and clinical trial management in underserved populations.

He has a doctorate degree in zoology from the University of California at Davis and an MBA from George Washington University.

Blake Naughton, Vice President for Engagement and Extension, Colorado State University

Blake Naughton serves as vice president for Engagement and Extension at Colorado State University, leading CSU’s engagement and outreach missions and overseeing CSU Extension, CSU Online, the Colorado Water Center, and the Office of Community and Economic Development. He holds a bachelor’s in technology policy from Stanford University, a master’s in education administration, planning and social policy from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in education administration and policy analysis, also from Stanford.

11-12 p.m. — “Going Viral: Infectious Disease in the 21st Century”

As we have learned in the last 12 months, one of the greatest threats to human health is the uncontrolled spread of a highly infectious disease. With people traveling more frequently and greater distances, living in more populated areas, and ever-increasing development encroaching upon wildlife, the potential for emerging infectious disease to spread rapidly and cause pandemics is of great concern. Being able to readily identify and respond to emerging infectious disease is of utmost importance for protecting human health. Colorado State University is fortunate to have many top infectious disease researchers on campus. Our panel members will discuss their work identifying emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases globally, and trying to mitigate the impact to human health and society.


Gregory Ebel, Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University

Gregory Ebel is the director of the CSU Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases and a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Research in his laboratory focuses on mosquito- and tick-borne viruses, and recently on SARS-CoV-2. His work seeks to understand how viruses adapt to novel conditions as they move from longstanding transmission cycles into explosive epidemic transmission. He is also interested in virus surveillance, providing West Nile Virus surveillance for Fort Collins, Loveland, and Berthoud, and surveillance for emerging diseases in rural Guatemala.


Christie Mayo, Associate Professor, Diagnostics, Vector Biology, Virology, Colorado State University

Christie Mayo is the head of the virology and sample receiving sections at Colorado State University’s Diagnostic Medicine Center, where she is actively involved in diagnostic test development. She received her D.V.M. from the University of Georgia in 2006, completed a microbiology residency at CSU in 2008, and wrapped up her Ph.D. and post-doctoral work at UC Davis in 2012. The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System is the backbone of Colorado’s warning system and helps to protect the health of Colorado’s livestock and poultry industries as well as patients treated at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. As the diagnostic virologist, Christie Mayo is uniquely positioned to support the interface of application and development in both conventional and novel (next generation) diagnostic technologies.

Currently, the main thrust of her research has led to characterizing the ecology and genetic diversity of an economically important arbovirus that affects livestock — bluetongue virus. Additionally, her research has focused on developing novel diagnostics for the veterinary diagnostic community and utilizing next generation sequencing to monitor and characterize infectious agents. The goals are to allow tracking of microbial or viral adaptation over short periods of time, both in the laboratory and environment, pushing the boundaries of veterinary diagnostic technologies.

Rebekah Kading, Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University

Rebekah Kading obtained her B.S. in entomology and wildlife conservation from the University of Delaware, an M.S. in entomology from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology and immunology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her work at Johns Hopkins focused on the transmission dynamics of plasmodium falciparum by anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes in southern Zambia, including examination of seasonal entomologic inoculation rates, mosquito blood feeding behavior, and population genetics. She later contributed to studies evaluating the efficacy of systemic insecticides in cattle for the control of anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes in Kenya for Genesis Laboratories. Between 2007 and 2014, at the CDC Division of Vector-borne Diseases Arbovirus Diseases Branch, she led studies on mosquito blood feeding behavior as it related to West Nile virus (WNV) ecology in Colorado and Guatemala, the effects of mosquito co-infection with West Nile virus and insect-only flaviviruses on the transmission of WNV, and the genetic basis for replication and transmission of Rift Valley fever virus in mosquitoes. She also initiated studies on virus discovery and arbovirus surveillance of bats in Uganda, which resulted in the isolation of three novel viruses. She currently serves the scientific community as a deputy editor for PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the secretary-treasurer for the American Committee for Medical Entomology (ACME), and a program committee member for the ASM Biodefense Meeting.

Tony Schountz, Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University

Tony Schountz is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University. He has a B.S. in biology from Newman University, an M.S. in virology from Emporia State University, and a Ph.D. in immunology from Kansas State University. His principal interests are in the immunology of reservoir hosts of zoonotic viruses. Much of his work has centered on viruses of bats which have unusual immune responses that may contribute to the selection of viruses that are highly pathogenic to humans.

12:30-1:30 p.m. — “The Confluence of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and International Education”

CSU is committed to advancing principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is also committed to advancing global perspectives and opportunities to those on our campus and in the broader community. At times, these two goals share a common purpose of promoting the vitality of voices, cultures, lived experiences, and ideas from populations that have been marginalized or not well understood. At other times, these two goals can be distinct, each emphasizing different priorities. Where is the confluence in our efforts to advance both DEI and internationalization? How should these related priorities connect further for the benefit of our campus community and lead to a more just world? This panel features speakers who have worked in both spaces, and they will offer thought-provoking insights and recommendations.


Craig Chesson, Associate Dean of Students, Colorado State University

Craig Chesson serves as the associate dean of students at Colorado State University. He earned his B.S. in hotel and resort management from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in student affairs in higher education, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Colorado State University.

Craig has 28 years of higher education experience, primarily in administration. He works directly with campus crisis management and response initiatives, behavior intervention teams, the Incident Bias Consultation Team, and is instrumental in bringing best practices to the university relating to student emergency situations.

Craig believes that in order to be a global citizen, international travel is important. While teaching in the Graduate School’s Student Affairs in Higher Education as an assistant professor, he led two trips to Merida, Mexico, with students to learn about higher education in Mexico, and sailed with Semester at Sea on the fall 2016 voyage. Craig currently assists the Office of International Programs in training faculty in cross-cultural competencies, unpacking social identities, creating courageous conversations with students in an international context, and serving underrepresented students in education abroad. He also serves on the International Travel Oversight Committee, reviewing petitions from faculty, staff, and students regarding safety and security while participating in international educational experiences.

In order to create balance in his life, Craig enjoys playing percussion, listening to music, cooking, fishing, and watching sports. He also believes humor builds your soul and is the remedy for a lot of things.


Malaika Serrano, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Malaika is passionate about increasing access to education abroad and has been engaging in this work for nearly 20 years. Previously, she served as executive director for Academic and Field Programs with Semester at Sea, associate director for Global Communities at the University of Maryland, outreach and alumni officer for the Critical Language Program, associate director for Education Abroad at NAFSA, and study abroad coordinator at the University of Tennessee. She received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in college student personnel from the University of Maryland. Malaika studied abroad in Australia and Brazil, taught English in Venezuela, and led service-learning programs in the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Eric Aoki, Professor, Communication Studies, Colorado State University

Eric Aoki is an award-winning teacher-scholar of co-cultural, interpersonal, and intercultural communication in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University (CSU). He was awarded the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award in the fall of 2011-2012, the Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013-14, the 2009 CSU Multi-Ethnic Faculty Distinguished Service Award, and most recently the CSU Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award in the spring of 2020. Aboard the spring 2017 Semester at Sea voyage, Eric assisted with the global studies course and taught interpersonal and intercultural communication classes. He is published both individually and alongside co-authors in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Howard Journal of Communications, Journal of GLBT Family Studies, Women’s Studies in Communication, and the Western Journal of Communication. Eric enjoys conversations with others about intercultural experiences, global travel, stories about life and learning, and cultural recipes for cooking; he also enjoys playing tennis, oil painting, reading, cheering on the LA Dodgers, and spending quality time with family and friends, including being an uncle to his two nieces.

2-3 p.m. — Keynote Speaker: Mexican Ambassador Jorge Guajardo, Moderator: Julián Aguilar

Keynote speaker Jorge GuajardoAmbassador Jorge Guajardo has had an active career in government and significant experience in the private sector. He is currently a senior director at McLarty Associates in Washington, D.C., where he provides strategic counsel and expertise on Latin American and China. From 2007 to 2013, he was Mexico’s ambassador to China, during which time he visited every province and established close relationships with China’s business community. Ambassador Guajardo served as consul general for Mexico in Austin, Texas, from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that, he was communications director and press secretary for the governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. He has also worked for the public relations firms Hill + Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller in Washington, D.C., and has been involved in presidential campaign and electoral politics in Mexico. He continues to live in Washington, D.C., traveling often to Mexico and China.

Ambassador Guajardo holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Julián Aguilar is a reporter at The Texas Tribune, reporting on politics and border affairs from the Texas-Mexico border. His focuses include immigration reform and enforcement, politics, international trade, border security, and the drug trade, and his political coverage has included local, legislative, and congressional races in Texas as well as local and national elections in Mexico. Before joining the Tribune in 2010, Aguilar was a freelance writer for the Fort Worth Weekly, a government and crime reporter for the Laredo Morning Times, and a political writer for the Rio Grande Guardian. He began his reporting career at the Round Rock Reader, a community newspaper in Texas, in 2006.

Aguilar grew up in El Paso, Texas. His father worked as an educator, his mother as a customs agent, and various other family members also worked as border officials, which gave him a personal and inclusive perspective into border and immigration politics. After earning his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas, Aguliar obtained a master’s degree in journalism from the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

9-10 a.m. — “CSU Innovating the World”

Colorado State University is home to brilliant minds and a world-class faculty who contribute to the growth and development of our students. Our land-grant University is founded on the principles of community engagement and service. For the last 150 years, that mandate has permeated all areas of the University as CSU faculty, students, and alumni work to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges and help ensure a better tomorrow.

Colorado State has a long history of significant innovations in agriculture, clean energy, veterinary and translational medicine, biomedical science, natural resources, atmospheric science, water, and is now working towards putting an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. A CSU faculty member, student, and alumna will discuss their work in solving several global challenges.


Carl Hammerdorfer, Chairman, StorySpot; Principal, New Element Consulting

Carl Hammerdorfer has 30 years’ experience in development, entrepreneurship, and program management, almost 20 of that working overseas. He has administered programs for a dozen organizations, including USAID, USDA, Peace Corps, Colorado State University, and World Learning, among others. He gets his kicks building organizations, multicultural teams, and systems that drive better results. Carl has also been involved in several for-profit and social ventures across a wide range of disciplines, including advertising, procurement, education, and branding. He is currently building a company called StorySpot. For 7 years, Carl was the first director of CSU’s highly ranked Impact MBA, which was originally called the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program.

He currently lives in Prishtina, Kosovo, with his wife, Kathy Lynch, who founded and runs the social enterprise, Isla. They’ve spent COVID days traveling and hiking around the Balkans.


Bryan Willson, Executive Director, Energy Institute, Colorado State University

Bryan Willson is executive director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University, and he holds the Bryan Willson Presidential Chair of Energy Innovation. He also serves as a professor of mechanical engineering. Willson served as a program director at ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) from 2012-2016, and continues to serve as a consultant and advisor to the agency.

As an entrepreneur, Bryan Willson is co-founder of Envirofit International, a global company that has developed solutions for clean mobility (direct injection retrofits for 2-stroke cycle engines) and is now manufacturing and distributing clean cookstoves in the developing world; Solix BioSystems, a developer of large-scale production systems for algae-based fuels and specialty chemicals; Factor(e) Ventures, a venture development firm supporting early-stage ventures working on access to energy in the developing world; and Mesh/Xpower.

His research laboratory, the Engines & Energy Conversion Laboratory, has made important contributions in many areas, including internal combustion engines, oil and gas production technology, advanced electrical grids, advanced biofuels, technology for the developing world, and advanced building technologies. Bryan Willson has worked in over 40 countries.

Daniela Bueso, Community Relations Coordinator, Trees, Water & People

Born in Colombia, Daniela grew up with a passion for the outdoors and her culture. In 2000, she moved to Miami were she began her professional career by getting a B.S. in environmental studies at Florida International University. Through volunteering and internships with the university and other nonprofits, she developed an interest for marine ecosystems, restoration projects, and community engagement. After graduating, she took an incredible journey to Paraguay where she lived for 27 months as a conservation specialist with the Peace Corps. It was through this experience that her passion for community-based conservation and working with local communities grew. This led her to graduate school where she received an M.S. in conservation leadership through learning at Colorado State University. While living in Belize for her master’s capstone project, she traveled around the country talking to various stakeholders and conducting community consultations to explore new ways to manage the invasive lionfish. This experience further increased her interest in working with diverse groups of people and learning how to collaborate effectively. She joined Trees, Water & People as an intern in 2018, and is now a community relations coordinator and tours specialist. She is excited about the opportunity to bring her people skills to the table and work with various groups of local and international stakeholders

Brittany Sly, Manager, Nutrition and Wellness Programs, Housing and Dining Services, Colorado State University

Brittney is a registered dietitian nutritionist and doctoral candidate studying food science and human nutrition with an emphasis in international community nutrition at Colorado State University. She completed her Bachelor of Science in human nutrition and dietetics at CSU, and then completed her dietetic internship with the University of Northern Colorado in 2008. In 2014, she earned her Master of Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health, focusing on global health and health disparities. Her doctoral research is focused on increasing the diet diversity and food security of rural Rwandan households by using participatory action research methods.

10:30-11:30 a.m. — “What China Did Right in Handling the Pandemic”

As we all remember, China was the first country hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve months have passed and the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. However, China’s economy and control of the spread of COVID-19 is in a much different place compared to western countries such as the United States and the U.K. In many ways, China has been well situated to tackle the pandemic and bring it under control. But the American sentiment is largely that China has done a poor job in their handling of the pandemic. What did they do differently? What tools and resources did they have at their disposal? Are they a model for the rest of the world or should we not trust the information that comes from China? This panel will feature a dynamic discussion between two thought-leaders on the U.S.-China relationship from both a public health and political perspective.


Sam Zhao, Professor and Director, Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

Suisheng Zhao is professor and director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. A founding editor of the Journal of Contemporary China, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a research associate at the Fairbanks Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, and an honorary jianzhi professor at Beijing University, Renmin University, China University of International Relations, Fudan University and Shanghai Foreign Studies University. A Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, he was associate professor of political science and international studies at Washington College in Maryland, associate professor of government and east Asian politics at Colby College in Maine, and visiting assistant professor at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, San Diego, M.A. in sociology from the University of Missouri, and B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from Peking University. He is the author and editor of more than ten books.


May Chu, Clinical Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health

May Chu received her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with specialties in tropical medicine and medical microbiology. Her public health career was with the CDC where she served in multiple roles, including as the director of the CDC’s system-wide laboratory enterprise. After leaving the CDC, she returned to Colorado and now holds a clinical professor appointment at the Colorado School of Public Health. Concurrently, she works as senior technical consultant for USAID and WHO. Among her multiple roles for CDC, May Chu was assigned to the WHO Global Outbreak and Response team, deploying for multiple outbreak responses to SARS, viral hemorrhagic fevers, pandemic influenza, and natural disasters. She also led the biosafety and laboratory network activities for the WHO International Health Regulations team. She was assigned as the assistant director for public health to the White House during 2014-2015, where she was an integral part of the president’s Ebola Task Force and coordinated the national reform on the Select Agent Rule. Currently, she is working with UNICEF/USAID on the delivery of Zika virus point of care diagnostics and with WHO on improving protection for healthcare workers fighting high threat pathogens (Ebola, influenza and respiratory diseases). On February 12, 2020, May Chu joined the WHO experts group for infection control and prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic.

12-1 p.m. — “A Burning World”

Climate change is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid or deny. It has become part of daily life for too many people on every continent. During the past couple of years, the world has seen unprecedented wildfires — from Australia to the Amazon, Arctic, and Central Asia. Last year, Colorado and California also experienced their worst fire seasons on record, causing devastation on a scale never seen before. Changes in climate have not only made forests more susceptible to fire directly, but warmer and drier conditions have increased the vulnerability of many forests to pests and invasive plants which are altering our ecology and leaving forests ever more vulnerable to uncontrollable fires.

Wildfires on the scale we’ve been experiencing pose great risk to human health and cause unprecedented environmental and economic devastation. Air pollutants can spread thousands of miles to contaminate the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. This panel will discuss increased wildfire activity, the root causes of climate change, and the cost to human health and society.


Emily Fischer, Associate Professor, Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Emily Fischer is an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU). She is also an affiliate faculty member of the CSU School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES). She led the 2018 Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption and Nitrogen, or “WE-CAN”. Her research team has recently completed a number of other studies related to wildfire smoke, including outlining where smoke from major wildfires in the western U.S. typically travels, and what environmental conditions support fire seasons with large wildfires for different western ecoregions. She leads a number of initiatives designed to provide high quality mentorship to the next generation of scientists. She has been awarded a Macelwane Medal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in recognition of significant early career contributions to the earth sciences as well as the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Atmospheric Chemistry Committee Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award.


Governor Bill Ritter

Governor Bill Ritter was elected Colorado’s 41st governor in 2006 and was the District Attorney of Denver from 1993-2005. During his four-year term as Governor, Ritter established Colorado as a national and international leader in clean energy by building a new energy economy. After leaving the Governor’s Office, Ritter founded the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, which works with state and federal policy makers to create clean energy policy throughout the country. Governor Ritter has authored a book that was published in 2016 titled Powering Forward – What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution.

Governor Ritter was formerly the chair of the Board of Directors of the Energy Foundation and currently serves on the Regis University Board of Trustees. He is a member of Blackhorn Venture Capital and serves as an advisor to Green Alpha and Millennium Bridge, among others. Ritter earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University (1978) and his law degree from the University of Colorado (1981). With his wife Jeannie, he operated a food distribution and nutrition center in Zambia. He then served as Denver’s district attorney from 1993 to 2005.

Scott Denning, Professor, Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Scott Denning received his B.A. in geological sciences from the University of Maine in 1984, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in 1993 and 1994. He studied radiometric geochronology, surface water geochemistry, and mountain hydrology before becoming interested in global climate and biogeochemical dynamics. After a two-year postdoctoral appointment modeling global sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2, he spent two years as an assistant professor in the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He joined the Atmospheric Science faculty at Colorado State University in 1998, and has served as director of Education for CMMAP since 2006. He does a lot of outreach about climate change and takes special delight in engaging hostile audiences.

Sheryl Magzamen, Associate Professor, Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University

Sheryl Magzamen’s primary research focus is understanding the relative contribution of social factors and environmental exposures on childhood chronic disease. She has worked extensively in the elementary school setting on developing surveillance methods and educational programs for childhood asthma, understanding the role of lead exposure in educational outcomes, and analyzing the role of social culture and indoor environmental quality on the health and performance of students and teachers. She has active collaborations with exposure scientists to develop refined exposure assessment models in community and agricultural settings in studies of childhood and occupational respiratory disease. Her current methodological work focuses on application of novel approaches to understand environmental pollutant mixtures in community-based studies. She is the epidemiology concentration lead at the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU.

1:30-2:30 p.m. — Keynote Speaker: Ambassador Ryan Crocker

“The Future of Diplomacy”

There are a range of foreign policy challenges facing the incoming Biden Administration — looming questions around China, Iran, global institutions such as the World Health Organization, and managing alliances. At the core, diplomacy facilitates communication and knowledge sharing between nations. It is the means for negotiation, dialog, and peace-building. Where is U.S. diplomacy heading in the 21st century under the Biden Administration? Join us for an engaging talk by Ambassador Ryan Crocker, one of the most distinguished U.S. diplomats in the Foreign Service.

Ryan Crocker is currently a diplomat in residence at Princeton University. He recently served as a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University from 2018-2019. From 2010-2011 and 2013-2016, he served as dean of the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M. He was the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia (2012-2014), and he served as the first Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University (2012-2013).

Ambassador Crocker retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009, after a career of over 37 years but was recalled to active duty by President Obama to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. He served as U.S. ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993). He also served as the international affairs advisor at the National War College, where he joined the faculty in 2003. From May to August 2003, he was in Baghdad as the first director of governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority and was deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he has also had assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983.

Born in Spokane, Washington, he grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in Morocco, Canada and Turkey, as well as the U.S. He received a B.A. in English in 1971 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001 from Whitman College (Washington). He also holds an honorary doctorate in National Security Affairs from the National Defense University (2010), honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Gonzaga University (2009) and Seton Hall University (2012), as well as an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the American University of Afghanistan (2013). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Association of American Ambassadors. In August 2013, he was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees all U.S. government-supported civilian international media. He is also on the Board of Directors of Mercy Corps International.

Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2009. His other awards include the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Award (2014), Presidential Distinguished and Meritorious Service Awards, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award (2008 and 2012), the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service (1997 and 2008) and for Distinguished Public Service (2012), the Award for Valor and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award for creative dissent. He received the National Clandestine Service’s Donovan Award in 2009 and the Director of Central Intelligence’s Director’s Award in 2012. In 2011, he was awarded the Marshall Medal by the Association of the United States Army. In January 2002, he was sent to Afghanistan to reopen the American Embassy in Kabul. He subsequently received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for “exceptional courage and leadership” in Afghanistan. In September 2004, President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of career ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service.