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Alumni Spotlight

Did you know there are 26,000 AHSS alumni? Find out what your former classmates are up to. Contact us if you'd like to nominate yourself or a fellow Pioneer to be profiled in our alumni spotlight.

By Greg Glasgow

kniselyGrant Knisely fell in love with Nepal in 2001, when he traveled there as part of a service-learning project at the University of Denver. It was during that trip that Knisely made his first documentary film, “Project Nepal: A Time to Learn,” which was about the DU students on the journey and their experiences volunteering with nongovernmental organizations in Kathmandu.

Encouraged by the student film awards he won for “Project: Nepal,” Knisely (BA ’02, communication) made two more short documentaries in the years following graduation. But it wasn’t until he heard horrific tales of sexual slavery in Asia that he turned to filmmaking full time. He formed his own production company, Code Red Films , and returned to Nepal in 2013 to begin work on his first feature-length documentary, “ Untouchable: Children of God ,” which tells the story of two Nepalese girls sold into sex slavery in India.

“It’s just beyond comprehension, how young these girls are and what happens to them in the brothels in India,” Knisely said. “It really moved me personally — I think it’s a life-or-death issue that was worth the risk to try to tell the story of these girls and shine a light on this issue.”

Knisely credits University of Denver film professors Sheila Schroeder and Tony Gault with spurring his interest in film — documentaries in particular.

“I feel like the medium of film can be such a powerful tool to reflect the reality happening in the world,” he says. “There is so much time and money and resources spent on features out of Hollywood, and so many of them, in my opinion, are quite poor. We shouldn’t be doing that until we’re at least using the medium to reflect a little more of the reality going on out there. There’s enough tragedy and comedy and drama in the real world.”

Archived alumni stories (pdf format)

Jessica Lawson — November 2014 
Spanish Alumna Turns Children's Author
Herbert "Bud" Jones — October 2014
Music Alum Goes Green Down Under
Kiley Kraskouskas — September 2014

Alum Pursues Documentary Filmmaking Career
Hellen Kassa — August 2014

Economics Alumna Works in Startup Tech and Film Production
Matt Gohl — July 2014

Alum's Career Spans Sports Operations to Financial Analysis
Fatima Zahrae — June 2014

New Alum Crosses International and Intercultural Barriers
James Hurbut — May 2014
Gems, Jazz and the Atomic Bomb: Alum Tackles Microminerals and Music
Kelsey Guyette — April 2014

Alumna Runs with the Torch in Sochi
Linda Murphy Marshall — March 2014

Alumna Masters Languages and Successful Career
Stephen A. Katz — February 2014

Alum is Innovator in Sustainability Practices and Commerce
Dan Schaller — January 2014

Mentored by Governor Lamm, Public Policy Alum Leads the Way in Education
Heather McHugh - December 2013

From Creative Writing to Caregiving

Our archives go back to May 2010. If you'd like to see a story that's not listed here, please contact us.