Azure Avery

Azure Avery, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Physics at Metropolitan State University of Denver and joint appointee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Her areas of expertise encompass experimental condensed-matter physics. Avery is studying how heat and electricity move through thin carbon films, with a specific emphasis on materials with thermoelectric properties. Her work focuses on advancing sustainable technologies through the development and enhancement of thermoelectric technology.

Avery’s joint NREL and MSU Denver research focuses on thermal and electrical transport properties of carbon nanotube films. She is the co-author of, “Tailoring semiconducting carbon nanotube networks with enhanced thermoelectric properties,” published in Nature Energy as well as “Size- and Temperature-Dependent Suppression of Phonon Thermal Conductivity in Carbon Nanotube Thermoelectric Films,” published in Advanced Electronic Materials. She also holds a patent as a co-inventor for methods of preparing single-walled carbon nanotube networks (Patent 11796488).

She holds affiliations with several professional organizations such as the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Physical Society.

Azure earned her Doctorate in Physics from the University of Denver. Her Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Metropolitan State University of Denver, as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Clinical Psychology from Mississippi State University.

Megan Lazorski

Megan Lazorski, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver and joint appointee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Her areas of expertise include the study of special metal complexes, understanding how these materials convert light energy into other forms of energy. This work involves the use of lasers and other scientific instruments to learn how these materials respond to light under different conditions. Her major research area centers on the examination of photoactivity of materials when hit by light to understand their behavior for potential commercial applications in products like solar panels.

Lazorski’s teaching practice focuses on inorganic chemistry and the advancement of diversity in STEM, with a particular emphasis on supporting students and scientists from underrepresented/minoritized (URM) backgrounds. This work led Lazorski to form a group of colleagues who’ve created two post-baccalaureate Bridge Experience programs for students from URM groups in STEM. Lazorski is also a co-author of “Changing the Charge: Electrostatic Effects in Pd-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling” and “1FLO: Electron Counting and Electrostatic Effects in Palladium Carborane Complexes.” Both works are featured on the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource.

Lazorski’s professional experience includes serving as the faculty associate for curriculum in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and she has taken on the role of chair of the curriculum committee in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Additionally, she maintains affiliations with several notable professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society, Inter-American Photochemical Society, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Lazorski received her doctorate of Chemistry from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Studio Art from the College of Wooster.

Jose Lopez

José López teaches in the Aviation & Aerospace Department. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from St Louis University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. He spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force on active and reserve duty working in various areas including the Minuteman ICBM, on the engineering and operations of several classified spacecraft, the Defense Logistics Agency, and a final tour with the Air Force Space Command. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College in residence.

As a civilian, he worked for Raytheon and Lockheed- Martin. Upon retirement from the aerospace industry, he started teaching at MSU Denver. He was instrumental in designing Introduction to Space, a hands-on course which introduces students to the challenges of working in space, where students design, construct, launch and recover a simulated satellite via a weather balloon.

In 2010, López organized in Colorado the first competition of Rocky Mountain BEST (Boosting Engineering Science & Technology). BEST is a national organization that provides a free robotics competition to middle and high schools. He is now the Executive Director. BEST in Colorado grew from 10 teams in its first year to 69 teams in 2016 in 4 hubs or chapters. In 2017, a fifth hub was added in Colorado Springs and a Regional competition was approved by the parent organization BEST Robotics Inc. (BRI) headquartered at Auburn University.

Uwe Kackstaetter

Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D., is a professor of geology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His expertise spans two continents from environmental testing of drinking water wells, groundwater flow modeling, site contaminant evaluations, as well as geologic and hydrologic field investigations.
As an educator, he taught in college and secondary classrooms, where he conducted numerous national and international geological field courses. Kackstaetter received the prestigious 2014 Faculty Senate teacher of the year award from MSU Denver. His current interests are in developing various practical approaches as advanced tools for the geosciences, such as automated percolation water testers, new wavelength dependent night prospecting tools, improved processes of rock and mineral thin sectioning, and clay mineral analytical processing and computations.
Kackstaetter, received his master’s in Geology from BYU, Provo and his Ph.D. in applied geology and mineralogy from the University of Würzburg, Germany.

See also

Sara Jackson Shumate

Sara Jackson Shumate, Ph.D., is a human geographer and the director of the Center for Individualized Learning at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Shumate has been teaching geography since 2004 in various other universities including University of British Columbia, York University, Central New Mexico Community College, Community College of Aurora and University of Colorado Boulder. She also volunteered with numerous organizations over the years as a writer, research analyst, teacher and trainer.

Her research interests include sustainability studies, economic geography, political geography and political ecology. Shumate has conducted research on how mining infrastructure development in Mongolia transforms livelihoods and landscapes. She also works with MSU Denver students to analyze sustainability practices in the Denver Metro Area, including surveying the Auraria Campus for the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program to better understand travel behaviors and calculate campus greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

Shumate received her doctorate in geography from York University in 2015, a master’s in geography from University of British Columbia in 2006 and a bachelor’s degree in international studies from University of Washington in 2003.

Barb EchoHawk

Associate Professor Barbara EchoHawk, Ph.D., is an associate professor geology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is an expert on high-resolution stratigraphy, engineering geology, energy and mineral resources, and the geology of Colorado and Wyoming. EchoHawk’s professional experience includes petroleum exploration and research, minerals exploration, engineering geology, and field investigations. She specializes in stratigraphy and sedimentology and is the “soft rock” (sedimentary geology and resources). EchoHawk received the 2016 MSU Denver Faculty Senate teaching in excellence award.

Mohammed Akacem

Mohammed Akacem, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. For more than 20 years, he has been studying the fundamentals of global economics with a special emphasis on energy.

Akacem worked as an economist for the African Development Bank, the Algerian Ministry of Energy, an Algerian oil company and the Saudi Fund for Development. He also worked on research projects on world oil market issues at the International Center for Energy and Economic Development in Boulder, CO. Akacem has direct experience with Middle East policies and economic development, OPEC, oil issues, global banking and the international economy.

He has been teaching at MSU Denver since 1991. Akacem has received the Golden Key Award for research in 1998, as well as the Distinguished Service Award for the 2006-07 academic year for his work during the past 15 years. He has also published locally in The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and The Denver Business Journal. His articles have appeared nationally in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, and overseas in French in Jeune Afrique (France). In addition, Akacem has published in refereed journals in the areas of banking, finance, and energy. He speaks at conferences on these topics both in the United States and overseas.

Akacem received his doctorate in economics in 1981, a masters in economics in 1979 and a bachelor’s with honors in economics in 1976 from the University of Colorado, Boulder.