Bernardo Alatorre

Michael Wray

Michael Wray, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has decades of collegiate teaching experience within culinary, brewing and beverage management and hospitality management industries.

As a chef and sommelier, Wray is active in the food and beverage industry by consulting with companies in restaurant design, menu and recipe development. He has also provided instrumental input into the vision that led to the creation of MSU Denver’s Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center and complementary laboratory classrooms. Wray has developed key partnerships with community and civic leaders for major events and charities such as Food for Thought Denver and the Denver Food and Wine Festival. He recently developed the framework for the brewery partnership with the Tivoli Brewing Company, leading to $7 million facility enhancements to the Tivoli Student Union and establishing integrated learning laboratories for students studying brewing.

As the former food and beverage director with Ramada Renaissance and Holiday Inn Hotels, Wray is regularly interviewed regarding his knowledge and creative abilities in food, wine and beer. His research interests include hospitality competency, learning environments and learning communities. Most recently, he co-authored the article “Effects of cooperative learning on Chinese students performing a formal table setting for American style service” in the Journal of Foodservice Business Research.

Wray received his doctorate in education leadership from University of Colorado, Denver, a master’s in business management from Salisbury University and a bachelor’s in nutrition and foods from Virginia Tech. He also holds multiple credentials in food and beverage, including Sommelier Diploma, Certified Wine Specialist, Master Certified Food Service Executive and Certified Culinary Instructor.

Helene Ver Eecke

Helene Ver Eecke, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She specializes in extreme microbiology; and is a founding member and intercollege-liaison of the Beer Industry program.

Ver Eecke served as senior microbiologist for an industrial fermentation company where her skills of screening, cultivating, and optimizing microbes were expanded to large scale processes. She has been a professor of biology at numerous institutions and is currently a tenure-track professor at MSU Denver. Her research lab on campus is used to study various projects including brewing, bioremediation and extremophiles.

Ver Eecke has been involved in the conceptualization and actualization of the Beer Industry program, including co-developing the fermentation science course curriculum. As an avid home-brewer, she’s excited to further foster collaborations with the brewing community and expand brewing operations programs at MSU Denver.

Her work in extreme microbiology has been featured in NASA Magazine, Science Daily and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal to name a few. In 2012, Ver Eecke was one of the scientists to help define new limits of microbial life in undersea volcanoes, the findings of which were published in the PNAS journal titled “Hydrogen-limited growth of hyperthermophilic methanogens at deep-sea hydrothermal vents”. Her more recent work includes an article published in Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems journal in 2016 titled “Linkages between mineralogy, fluid chemistry, and microbial communities within hydrothermal chimneys from the Endeavor Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge.”

Ver Eecke received her doctorate in microbiology from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2010 and a bachelor’s in biology from McDaniel College in 2005.

Cory Tipton

Cory Tipton, J.D., is an affiliate faculty in the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She teaches courses on alcohol beverage law and hospitality law.

Tipton has been the vice president of The Tipton Law Firm since 2007. She has nearly 15 years of experience practicing law and extensive expertise with clients in various administrative fields including all areas of liquor licensing and alcohol beverage regulation, as well as casino gaming licensing in the state of Colorado. Tipton specializes in assisting new breweries, wineries, distilleries, beverage distributors, and retail liquor stores. She has also assisted related trade organizations in the legislative and governance aspects of the alcohol beverage industry.

Prior to law, Tipton pursued a career in aviation as a commercial pilot for the airlines and still holds a pilot license. She continues to work in aviation on the administrative side of aviation law. She is also the current chair of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Colorado Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Tipton received her juris doctor from University of Denver and a bachelor’s summa cum laude in aerospace science from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Katie Strain

Katie Strain, M.S., is a laboratory services manager of Alcoholic Beverage Quality Assurance/ Quality Control and a lecturer in the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her areas of expertise are fermentation, microbiology, chemistry, data analysis and experimental design.

Prior to joining MSU Denver, Strain worked as a laboratory operations coordinator and graduate student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She was also a research associate at Colorado State University and laboratory technician at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Strain received her master’s in environmental toxicology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 2014 and a bachelor’s in biochemistry from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005. She is a triple TTB certified chemist allowing her to conduct analysis of beer, wine and spirits for purposes of export.

Brenden Kendall

Brendan Kendall, Ph.D., is an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Communication Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise are in organizational communication, focusing on workplace and professional communication.

Kendall began teaching at MSU Denver in 2015 where he is also serving as co-chairperson and team lead for the President’s Transition Sustainability Team and the President’s Advisory council of Academic Effectiveness and Student Success. In addition to MSU Denver, he consults for Assemble Consulting, LLC and Museo de las Americas of Denver. Kendall also provides leadership and presentation coaching as a freelance consultant.

His research is currently focused on exploring ethics in organization communication, communicating ‘employability’ and strategic image management in the craft brewing industry. Kendall has co-authored the book “Just a Job? Communication, Ethics, and Professional Life” and has been published in academic journals including Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture and The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society. He has also participated on panels for organizations including the National Communication Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

Kendall received his doctorate and master’s in communication from University of Utah in 2011 and 2005, respectively, and a bachelor’s in communication studies from University of Montana in 2003.

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Jacobs has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2007 and currently teaches classes in Brewing Science, Physical Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy. He has been active in the planning of the new beer labs on campus and helped develop the curriculum for the brewing science course and the brewing program as a whole. Jacobs also teaches as part of MSU Denver’s Summer Science Institute, which inspires middle school students to consider STEM fields and University opportunities. His industry experience is in food chemistry and Rhone Poulenc food ingredients. Prior to joining MSU Denver, Jacobs worked at West Virginia University as a National Science Foundation fellow. He is part of the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA) and has home brewed for 11 years and made wine for five years.

Jacobs has co-authored several publications including “New Aspects of Slime Chemistry” for 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting in 2015 and “Biofuels for Campus Sustainability” for 247th American Chemical Society National Meeting in 2014. His research interests include spectroscopy (SERS), biodiesel production, analysis of ancient glass, environmental analysis, brewing science and biomineralization.

Jacobs received his doctorate in applied chemistry with a minor in natural resource economics and a master’s in chemistry from Colorado School of Mines and a bachelor’s in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Waynesburg University.

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