Vice President for Engagement
Office of Engagement 136 Student Services Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1050
Fax: (970) 491-7863
Dr. Lou Swanson is Vice President for Engagement, Director of Extension and Professor of Sociology. He oversees CSU Extension, Continuing Education/OnlinePlus, Office of Community and Economic Development, the Colorado Water Institute, and the Office of Engagement international initiatives. He received his bachelor's degree in political science at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, his master's of technology in international development from North Carolina State University and his doctorate in rural sociology from Pennsylvania State University. He was a professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Sociology before joining CSU in 1997. He has served as professor and chair of the CSU Sociology Department and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He has spent the majority of his career focused on public policy associated with agriculture and rural community studies. A past president of the Rural Sociological Society, he maintains his academic interest in policy issues associated with agriculture and rural development and community change. He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters and has authored or co-authored six books on rural communities in the United States. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, as a Resident Fellow at Resources for the Future, and in 2009 was recognized as an Outstanding Alumni in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University.
Associate Vice President for Engagement
(970) 491-2319 (Martha Bender, Executive Assistant)
Kathay Rennels, Associate Vice President for Engagement, works to advance collaborative networks across the state and create economic development opportunities. She has significant experience fostering public and private partnerships in regional and rural workforce development, with particular attention to Larimer and Weld Counties. Rennels previously served three terms as a Larimer County Commissioner and is now leading the Food and Agriculture Key Industry Network for the State of Colorado. Rennels helped initiate “The Value Chain of Colorado Agriculture” project, released in March 2013, co-authored the November 2014 follow-up study, “The Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agricultural Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range”, and planned and implemented the recent “Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation” summit held at CSU. She also currently serves on the Northern Colorado Economic Development Council, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, El Pomar Foundation, The Matthews House, Larimer County United Way, and Colorado Youth Conservation Association.
Assistant Vice President for Engagement
Deputy Director of CSU Extension
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.
Director of Operations
Office of Engagement
Bridget Julian is the Director of Operations for the Vice President Office of Engagement. She is responsible for internal reporting, budgets, and manages special projects as directed by the Vice President for Engagement. She received her M.S. in Journalism and Technical Communication from Colorado State University.
Office of Community and Economic Development/CSU Extension
Geniphyr Ponce-Pore, M.S., is the Assistant Director of Community and Economic Development and is the Workforce Specialist for CSU Extension. With 15 years of experience working in community, economic and workforce development in Colorado, she joined CSU in 2010. Having lived and worked in both rural and urban Colorado, Ponce-Pore has pulled together teams to develop and implement projects that address community, economic, and workforce development issues ranging from strategic planning for regional tourism, emerging workforce needs and developing next generation talent, small business development, and training to support new and seasoned entrepreneurs.
Office of Community and Economic Development
Paula Mills, Project Manager, has over eight years of managing multi-stakeholder projects in diverse settings. She has extensive experience bringing products and programs to market in the consumer packaged goods industry, often serving as a champion and facilitator of cross-functional project teams. She has also developed and operated two entrepreneurial ventures serving mid-sized communities. Mills most recently led the 2013 Colorado Gives Day campaign in Larimer County, where she engaged a variety of community partners in support of local nonprofits. She joined CSU in August 2014.
Executive Assistant to Lou Swanson
Yvonne Bridgeman serves as the Executive Assistant to Louis Swanson, vice president for Engagement and director of Extension, and manages the administrative functions of the Office of Engagement which is comprised of six areas (CSU Extension, CSU Online, Community & Economic Development, Colorado Water Institute, Northeast Regional Engagement Center, and several international initiatives). Yvonne has been with CSU since 2001, and prior to joining CSU Extension she served as assistant to the vice provost for faculty affairs. She has a BA in Sociology from CSU.
Executive Assistant to Kathay Rennels
Martha Bender is the Executive Assistant to Kathay Rennels, Associate Vice President for Engagement, and provides office administration for the Office of Engagement. Prior to joining the Office of Engagement, she worked in the CSU College of Engineering as the Dean’s Office Assistant. Before joining CSU, she taught elementary general music, private flute and piano lessons, and instrumental and fine arts enrichment classes. She has a Master’s degree in Music from CSU.
Office of Engagement
Jim Beers is the Communications Coordinator for the Office of Engagement. He creates and manages multiple communications – print, web and social media – for both internal and external audiences on behalf of all departments. Prior to joining the Office of Engagement, Jim worked in the Department of Public Relations at CSU where he served as the lead for all community relations activities, and before joining CSU, had a lengthy career in broadcast journalism including radio stations KUNC, KTCL and KAZY, plus additional outlets in Michigan. Jim has a B.S. in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University.