National Western Center Panel

This plenary session is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 9 8:30-9:30 AM in the Grandballroom

The National Western Center development is re-imagining the historic National Western Stock Show Complex into a year-round, vibrant destination. It will work at the intersection of education and entertainment. It will convene global thought leaders to tackle challenges related to food, water, health and the environment, while connecting with the local community in intentional and responsive ways. Join us to learn how Colorado State University is working with the surrounding community, particularly its youth, to enhance the impact of this 250-acre project. Learn how CSU is working with community to explore aspects of the anchor institution model as the University moves into the next chapter of its presence in Denver.

Melissa Boyd, Principal, Bruce Randolph School

Melissa Boyd is the Principal at Bruce Randolph School.  She joined the staff in 2008 and served the community as a Reading Intervention Teacher, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, Principal Resident, and Director of Middle School before assuming the role of Principal at the start of the 2018-19 school year.  Melissa began her career teaching 5th grade in Connecticut after earning her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Saint Joseph University.  She soon found her calling teaching small reading groups, and pursued her Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist at Teacher’s College at Columbia University.  Bruce Randolph School provided Melissa with the opportunity to develop a reading intervention program, coach her fellow colleagues, and lead in a variety of capacities.  In her role as principal, Melissa focuses on ensuring that students and staff are supported with a positive and productive culture that emphasizes high expectations, and allows them to deeply engage in the rigor of each content/grade level so that each learner is prepared for subsequent learning and their future after high school.

Rusty Collins, Denver County Extension Director

Rusty Collins has served Colorado State University as the Denver County Extension Director for 11 years. Along with his role as Director, he is also the Liaison to the National Western Center for CSU Engagement and Extension. Rusty’s roles with the National Western Center have included architect selection; assisting in the design of education and demonstration space in the Food and Ag Building scheduled to open in 2022; working with partners in the surrounding NWC communities; establishing an Extension/Engagement leadership team; implementing new programs for neighborhood residents; and working to establish a new and sustainable 4-H Club in the GES neighborhoods.

Rusty earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Colorado State University in Family and Consumer Science. He has been the Executive Director of a nonprofit and a private family foundation, has worked as a real estate broker and nonprofit consultant, and has been with CSU for 11 years. His expertise includes meeting facilitation, nonprofit coaching, managing community “wicked problems” through public deliberation, and he has been published in the Journal of Extension for his innovate staffing model titled, “Hot Shots and Project-Based Extension.”

On a final note, Rusty has recently accepted the position of Deputy Director for Library Services and Cultural Affairs for the City and County of Broomfield, a position that closely aligns with skill sets that he has acquired while working for CSU. He will continue to be involved with STEM and Lifelong education, workforce development, and community engagement, but now in a different capacity in his home community of Broomfield.

Jocelyn Hittle, Senior Director, Sustainability & Denver Programs, CSU System

Jocelyn is the Senior Director of Sustainability and Denver Programs at Colorado State University. She is primarily focused on CSU’s emerging campus at the National Western Center. Jocelyn sits on the Denver Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Council, and works to ensure CSU’s projects are showcases for state-of-the-art sustainability practices. Jocelyn is sits on the Advisory Committee for the Coors Western Art Show and is a technical advisor for the AASHE STARS program, the campus sustainability rating system.

Prior to joining CSU, Jocelyn was the Associate Director of PlaceMatters, a national non-profit think tank based in Denver and focused on informed, inclusive decision making in planning and sustainability. She has also worked for the Orton Family Foundation and Sightline Institute. She has a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Ashley Stokes, Assistant Vice President for Engagement & Deputy Director of Extension, Colorado State University

Dr. Ashley M. Stokes is Assistant Vice President for Engagement and Deputy Director of CSU Extension. Her responsibilities include food and agriculture systems initiatives, fostering applied scholarship opportunities, and developing strategies for university-based extension that broaden and deepen engagement across CSU’s eight colleges. Dr. Stokes received her bachelor's degree from theUniversity of Alabama and her D.V.M./Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, where she was on the faculty at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining CSU in 2015, she spent six years at the University of Hawai’i, where she was the sole veterinary extension specialist serving Hawai’i as well as neighboring countries throughout the Pacific. From 2014 to 2015, she served as the interim Associate Dean/Director of Extension at the University of Hawai’i. In July of 2015, she joined CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as the Assistant Dean for Veterinary Admissions and Student Services. She has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, has been an invited speaker internationally on livestock transportation, and serves on national committees regarding animal health and welfare.