Celebrating Gratitude

The Presidential Ambassadors are committed to service at Colorado State University and volunteering to help advance the mission of CSU and provide education about the importance of philanthropy. 

The focus of Gratitude Week is about celebrating the positive impacts of giving back to CSU through one’s time, talent, treasure, and testimony. Private giving plays a part in developing new scholarships for students, new faculty positions, and building and renovating CSU facilities. It is a time to appreciate the donors and friends of the University that help make students’ education possible!

Every day during Gratitude Week, students and CSU friends are focusing on a different area of impact to say thanks and talk about the importance of philanthropy. Enjoy the interviews below!

Learn more about Presidential Ambassador Eric Paricio, one of the leading minds behind Gratitude week, here.

Monday: Research

Denise R. Rutherford, Ph.D., ‘89 (College of Natural Sciences)
Senior Vice President, 3M’s Corporate Affairs

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Denise Rutherford is Senior Vice President of 3M’s Corporate Affairs organization. Throughout her 30-year career at 3M, Denise has held various leadership roles in the company’s research and development, Lean Six Sigma and business group organizations. Over her tenure, Denise has been committed to building sustainably competitive businesses enabled by 3M’s core values and technologies.

Denise helped establish the Denise Rutherford and Maurice Kuypers Undergraduate Scholarship in Chemistry. The purpose of this fund is to provide scholarships for first-generation college students pursuing their undergraduate education and to benefit students enrolled in CSU’s Department of Chemistry.

Sydney Villers
Student, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

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Sydney is a senior from the Colorado Springs area double majoring in Chemical and Biological Engineering and History. She is involved in the Tau Beta Pi engineering Honor Society and works for the Office of Admissions. She is passionate about education and is a huge chemistry nerd. In her free time, she likes to read, hike, climb, and grow succulents.

Tuesday: Student Access and Success

Barb Musslewhite, ‘78, ‘01
College of Health and Human Sciences

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Barb Musslewhite was born in Loveland, Colorado, and completed two degrees at Colorado State University. For 25 years, she was a member of the campus "village" of support and academic services that sustain students on their educational path. She worked at as an advocate for first-generation student award scholars, based on her passion for encouraging the access and success of underrepresented students. 

Musslewhite focused on each student’s strengths and potential, always connecting them to campus resources, and built a community among the scholars and with faculty and staff across campus. In her retirement she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jim, and working on family story projects. She and Jim live in Fort Collins and enjoy time at their second home in Grand Lake, Colorado.

Musslewhite established the Barb Musslewhite First Generation Scholarship Endowment. This fund provides scholarships to benefit first-generation undergraduate students at Colorado State University. Learn more

Ryan Kropp
Student, College of Health and Human Sciences
Peer Advisor, ALVS, First Gen

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As a first generation and veteran student, Ryan was immediately introduced to the Adult Learners & Veterans Services office where he found his community and support, and eventually became a peer advisor. Ryan then joined ASCSU (Associated Students of Colorado State University) as a Senator and was later elected to be the Recruitment and Retention Officer in Senate leadership. He is also the current President of Student Veteran Organization at Colorado State University which is currently the #1 Student Veteran Organization out of over 1,500 other schools in the nation.

Wednesday: Diversity and Inclusion

Kathy Sisneros, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

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Kathy Sisneros oversees the Student Diversity Programs and Services. She oversees institutional support efforts for undocumented students; transgender, non-binary students; co-chair for the universities Commission for Diversity and Inclusion; one of the leadership advisor’s for the Presidents Multicultural Student Advisory Committee, and serves as the point person for other diversity, inclusion and equity efforts on behalf of the Division of Student Affairs that relate to students experiences on campus.

She has a long-standing commitment to working with and advocating for historically minoritized student groups at the college level. Her career in student affairs has been dedicated specifically to diversity and social justice, and seeking ways to create equity for our minoritized students within the university setting.

She identifies as a Mexican American/Chicana, cis-gender lesbian who grew up working class. Kathy is also a first-generation college student who attended an open-access small in-state school, Eastern New Mexico University, thanks to being a Pell Grant recipient. She earned her master’s degree in Counseling at Northern Arizona University and her doctorate in Educational Policy, Research, and Administration at UMass Amherst.

Thursday: Agriculture and Extension

Cary Wickstrom, ‘85
Company Owner at Wickstrom Inc., Wickstrom Feed Yard LLC

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Cary Wickstrom is a fourth generation farmer, rancher and cattle feeder. His folks both graduated from CSU and both of his daughters also attended. With a smile, he references that it took till the third CSU generation graduate to get an honors grad. His time at CSU built a base of wonderful lifelong friends, several of which have season football tickets that they share together. Cary, along with his family have built a successful operation these past decades.

His involvement during his time at CSU and involvement since, are a big part of this success. The wheat breeding program at CSU has greatly benefited his operation along with the rest of farmers in Colorado. Go Rams!!

Briana Tangredi, ‘20
College of Agricultural Science, Masters Student, Ram Handler

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In Briana's first year at CSU, she joined the professional Sigma Alpha Sorority and the Ram Handler Team, which helped her grow and expand her knowledge in ways she never explored before. Her sophomore year, she became a member of the Animal Nutrition Group and worked in the Dean’s Office. This allowed her to gain new experiences outside of the classroom and connect with fellow peers and faculty. Since then, she has grown to be a leader amongst her peers and has helped conduct transfer orientation sessions for the Animal Science Department. She loves being able to mentor new students and help provide a welcoming and community-like atmosphere to this school.

These programs have given Briana the opportunity to give back to the institution that has given her countless opportunities and above that, a home away from home which she will be forever grateful. This year, she started a new experience as a graduate student. She is humbled to be able to serve as a Presidential Ambassador for a second year and represent CSU in such a positive way, extending the same mentorship she received when she came to CSU.

Jonathan Cable
Student, College of Agricultural Sciences

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Growing up in rural Northeast Colorado, Jonathan knew that his choice in higher education would have to align with his passions for community, innovation, and sustainability. With his dad being an Aggie Alumnus, he had early exposure to what it meant to be a Ram, but his first interactions with CSU occurred through CSU Extension and Colorado 4-H.

During his time at CSU, he has witnessed a culture of inclusive excellence and the outstanding support of our diverse community. Coming from a small town and being homeschooled, he was unsure how he would find his place in a campus of 35,000 students. Since arriving at CSU, he has enjoyed abundant opportunities for engagement and service. This growth began during his involvement in Key Communities as a first-year student. Key Civic motivated him to break out of his shell, fostering an excitement for applying his purpose.

Jonathan has served as an Ag Ambassador, Ag Council representative, member of the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and a C.A.N.S. Around the Oval committee member. When he is not in the landscape architecture studio or at a College of Ag event, he also enjoys serving with Mountain View College Ministry. As the community establishes new and innovative ways to engage during this next year, he is thrilled to represent CSU as a Presidential Ambassador. Taking this next step in his journey as a Ram and student leader, he can’t wait to share his story with the numerous university partners who have made his journey successful.

Friday: Community

Myanne Hamm, ‘18 (College of Liberal Arts)
Scholar Success Specialist

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Myanne Hamm is from Fort Collins. She received her undergraduate degree in Communications with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She also received a master’s degree in Adult Learning and Training Education. She is currently a Scholar Success Specialist working in the Community For Excellence Department at Colorado State University.  

Jessica Dyrdahl, ‘07
Assistant Director for Student Government, PA alum

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Jess serves as the assistant director for student government where she works directly with 100+ students who are working to create positive change at CSU. Jess is a proud alum of the first group of Presidential Ambassadors and loves how the program has grown and evolved over the years. She loves connecting with students, staff and alumni to share the amazing things the CSU community is doing!

Christian Dykson
Student, College of Liberal Arts, Speaker of the Senate, ASCSU

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Christian Dykson’s purpose is to be a servant-leader, with a clear voice of reason and the ability to draw out the best in every person. He is committed to creating an ecosystem of love, dignity, and respect, where every person is empowered, engaged, and uplifted. He envisions a world united in its diversity of thought and expression - not in full agreement on every detail, but fully committed to a shared noble cause. Christian is a 2nd-year undergraduate student studying Political Science, Natural Resource Economics, and Spanish at Colorado State University. 

As a leader in CSU’s student government, he shares a vision of outreach, acting as a vessel that carries the stories, experiences, and passions of the people around him. His career goal is to be President of the United States. He has a heart for humanity and a strong desire to be the catalyst that unleashes the potential of his generation.


For more information about the Presidential Ambassadors student philanthropy efforts, to request a PA to attend an event or to request an educational program about the importance of private giving, please email us.