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To better serve the Colorado State University community, CSU Ventures developed the Graduate Student Ambassador Program. Celebrating its 6th year, the ambassador program is aimed at enhancing the connection between CSU faculty and students and CSUV. Since the start of the ambassador program in 2012, there have been 30 student ambassadors from 17 departments across all eight colleges, which include the colleges of Agriculture, Business, Engineering, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Veterinary and Biomedical Science, and the Warner College of Natural Resources.  CSUV expanded the program to also include post-doctoral fellows during the third cohort.

By engaging graduate students and post-docs to serve as ambassadors on campus, the program increases CSUV’s visibility and presence among the CSU community. Each academic year, CSUV hires student ambassadors to assist and aid in the development of innovative strategies which enhance the presence of CSUV on campus.

As part of the program, ambassadors help CSUV remain proactive in anticipating and identifying innovative research, creative works and potential inventions, and support CSU startups in gaining traction within specific industries. Ambassadors also participate in the planning and implementation of the Graduate Student Showcase, as well as the CSU Demo Day and Innovation Symposium.

2017-2018 Ambassadors

Aimee Colbath
Aimee ColbathAmbassador

Aimee has a VMD from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a large animal surgery residency and MS at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Clinical Sciences. Her research focuses on mesenchymal stem cell and induced pluripotent stem cell use in horses, as well as the treatment of equine sarcoidosis.

Kelly Kirkley
Kelly KirkleyAmbassador

Kelly is a post-doctoral researcher for Dr. Colin Clay in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding the molecular events that dictate female reproduction at both the cellular and tissue level using sheep and mice as translational models. Outside of her research, Kelly also works as a contract veterinarian helping to provide low-cost preventative veterinary medicine for dogs and cats throughout Colorado.

Michael Friedman
Michael FriedmanAmbassador

Michael is a graduate student at Colorado State University in the department of biology. His work focuses on enhancing crop production to support bioenergy technology and food security needs through plant molecular biology, biotechnology, and gene discovery. In his spare time he enjoys traveling and scuba diving.

Nathan Byers
Nathan ByersAmbassador

Nathan is a graduate student at Colorado State University in the department of biomedical sciences. His work focuses on studying the underlying cellular mechanisms of epilepsy and pain and searching for potential targets to alleviate symptoms associated with both pathologies. In his free time, he enjoys all activities that involve the mountains.

Ryan Riskowski
Ryan RiskowskiAmbassador

I am originally from Omaha Nebraska where I received my Bachelor’s in Physics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I went on to receive a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University in the Department of Chemistry, working with Dr. Chris Ackerson to develop nanotechnologies for remote, nano-scale measurement and manipulation inside of living cells. I am also an active member of the CSU Postdoctoral Association, and am dedicated to supporting the cultivation of scientific communication and collaboration between researchers at CSU.

David Markman
David MarkmanAmbassador

David is a PhD candidate in Biology researching complex networks within the context of infectious disease. Deciphering transmission and persistence dynamics enables the development of prevention strategies that yield significant public health and economic benefits. David maintains other research and entrepreneurial interests in global health, pharmaceutical/vaccine development, bio-defense, philosophy and politics.

Chern-Hooi Lim
Chern-Hooi LimAmbassador

Chern is a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University in the department of chemistry. His work focuses on the development and application of organic-based photoredox catalysts in the area of light-driven synthesis of functional polymers and small molecules of pharmaceutical interest. He founded a startup "New Iridium" to commercialize the organic photoredox catalysts.

Sumanth Belawadi
Sumanth BelawadiAmbassador

Sumanth is a second year professional MBA student at the College of Business at CSU. He holds a bachelor's in chemical engineering and a master's in petroleum engineering from University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Sumanth’s research project focused on analyzing geothermal hot spring temperature and pressure and recommending hotter zones to drill for geothermal water, which would then be utilized to power a resort. After graduating from UAF, Sumanth worked for Baker Hughes for 6 years as a field service engineer helping oil companies drill a well and provide geospatial and geological data.

Kelly Hassell
Kelly HassellAmbassador

Kelly is a third year Ph.D candidate in the Cell & Molecule Biology program at CSU. My research focuses on metal speciation in medicinal chemistry, particularly using metallocages for drug delivery. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking with my dogs (Angus and Gouda), fishing, camping or just being outdoors in Colorado.


Former ambassadors have gone on to many different careers, several are highlighted below:

  • Megan Aanstoos – Licensing Analyst, Ohio State University
  • Scott Fulbright, Co-founder and CEO of Living Ink Technologies (wwwlivinginktechn ologies.com)
  • Jess Joslin, Senior Scientist, Symbios Technologies (http://www.symbiosplasma.com/)
  • Jason Prapas, CTO and Director of India Operations, Factor(E) Ventures
  • Lyndsey Linke, CEO and Founder, SiVEC Biotechnologies (sivecbiotechnologies.com)
  • Eric Tauchman, Territory Business Manager, Biogen
  • Duncan Ryan, Co-Founder, TP Microscopy
  • Michael Barich, Postdoctoral Fellow, Corgenix Medical Corporations