Mary Ann Watson

Watson taught Psychology of Sexuality at Metropolitan State University of Denver since 1974. She is a professor emeritus of Psychological Sciences. 

Watson has published many papers throughout her academic career, including “SAMD: Diversity Division – My Journey,” “Female Circumcision from Africa to the Americas: Slavery to the Present” and “Bereavement in the Elderly.”

Watson has contributed to several documentaries, including, “Wearing Hijab: Uncovering the Myths of Islam in the United States” and “Africans in America: The Unfolding of Ethnic Identity.” Watson has won several Telly Awards which honor excellence in film and video productions. Watson also had a cameo role in “Combover: The Movie,” which screened at the Denver International Film Series in 2005.

Watson also maintains a private clinical and consulting psychology practice in Denver.

Anna Ropp

Anna Ropp teaches Introduction to Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology of Group Prejudice and Multicultural Psychology.

Ropp has taught at Metropolitan State University Denver since 2010.

Her current research interests include students’ perception of the campus and classroom environment for LGBTQ individuals as well as individuals’ responses to discrimination. Ropp also is currently researching weight prejudice.

Marina Pereira

Professor Marina Pereira has taught graduate courses in the Graduate Social Work program as MSU Denver. She has taught at Metropolitan State University of Denver since 1999.

Professor Pereira is well versed in topics of mental health and families. She has special interest in issues of acculturation, diversity and first-generation Latino students. She was an advisor for the Student Association of Social Workers (SASW), a student organization that helps students develop and increase their sense of civic responsibility and community engagement by service learning activities.

Before teaching at MSU Denver, Pereira worked in the areas of medical social work and mental health, where she specialized in treating and advocating for children and families with a history of domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse.

Andrew Mrkvicka

Andrew Mrkvicka, M.S.W., is an affiliate faculty in the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Mrkvicka has 17 years of experience working as a clinical supervisor for Adams County where he oversees the clinical components of the county, manages a team of clinicians and does program development. He has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2011 and is a trainer for the Colorado Child Welfare Training System at University of Colorado Denver since 2016. Mrkvicka is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

He received a master of social work from University of Denver in 2004 and a bachelor’s in family studies from University of Northern Colorado in 1994. Mrkvicka is a licensed clinical social worker.

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller, M.A., is an affiliate professor in the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is an award-winning activist and educator, with extensive experience in victim advocacy for survivors of interpersonal violence and human trafficking.

In addition to teaching undergraduate students at MSU Denver, Miller also serves as the Victim Services Coordinator at the Phoenix Center at Auraria (PCA), supervises the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) statewide hotline and serves as an active board member for the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT). She has provided prevention education through the Blue Bench, trauma therapy at the Aurora Strong Resilience Center, psychoeducation and process groups with women in rural Southern India living with HIV, and provided direct services to students in crisis at the Institute for Women’s Studies and Services. Miller is committed to infusing intersectional feminism and praxis into advocacy work at the PCA, building campus coalitions to support survivors, and dismantling systems and cultural norms that perpetuate violence.

Miller earned her master’s in International Disaster Psychology from University of Denver and a bachelor’s in Psychology, Women’s Studies and History from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

LiYing Li

Dr. LiYing Li is a professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and M.S. in Demography. Her primary teaching interests are criminal behaviors. Currently, she teaches serial killers, sex offenders, introduction to criminal justice systems and corrections. She has also taught in the past classes such as statistics, research methods, crime mapping and criminological theories. From the ground up, Dr. Li has played an essential role in creating the B.S. in Cybersecurity program and developing the Cybersecurity curriculum.

Annie Butler

Lynann “Annie” Butler is a professor in the Human Services Department and interim chair of the Rita and Navin Dimond Department of Hotel Management at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Certified Addictions Counselor Level III and received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Colorado State University and a master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Colorado at Denver.

She founded Professional Counseling Services, Inc. in Denver in 2002, providing a six-week intervention program for students facing suspension from high schools in five different school districts. She has worked in the field since 1991, and has shared her “wisdom, mistakes and humor with students” at MSU Denver since 2002. In 2012, she was the Human Services nominee for the US Professor of the Year Award, and has also received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Faculty Senate at MSU Denver.

On her recent sabbatical, she traveled to Laos to research Hmong refugees and the Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul, MN, the largest comprehensive museum about the “secret war” in Southeast Asia, which began in 1963. She has recently completed and submitted Walking With Tigers, a book about a Hmong refugee whom she first met while recruiting guest speakers for her classroom.

AnnJanette Alejano-Steele

AnnJanette Alejano-Steele, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of health professions and the interim associate vice president for the Office of Graduate Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her health psychology expertise is focused on local and global multicultural issues, including reproductive health access for low-income populations, and comprehensive health services for victims of human trafficking.

Alejano-Steele has been teaching at MSU Denver since 1996, where she is tenured in the Departments of Psychology and Women’s Studies. Alejano-Steele served as interim chair of the Department of Social Work and was director of Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy from 2006 to 2009. She created and coordinated the Human Trafficking Academic Response Team, which consists of ten academic departments designed to provide wrap around academic services for survivors of human trafficking as a form of long-term survivorship.

Alejano-Steele serves on the steering committee of the victim services-focused Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking and on a key investigative taskforce led by the State of Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. She also serves on a national working group focusing on trauma-informed care for the Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

She is co-founder of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) and co-author of “The Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking,” a groundbreaking three-year LCHT study that examined how the state is responding to trafficking. She is currently coordinating a national project on promising practices in human trafficking.

Alejano-Steele received her doctorate in psychology from Michigan State University, NIH-supported postdoctoral work in psychology and medicine from the University of California, San Francisco.

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