Meet the 2017 Denver Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Kevin Amirehsani, Legislative Performance Auditor, Office of the State Auditor
Kevin Amirehsani is a Legislative Performance Auditor at the Colorado Office of the State Auditor. He is also the Managing Editor at the Raddington Group, which publishes the Raddington Report, an online political risk publication covering security, economics, global affairs, and technology. He has a varied career spanning three continents, including transforming a bootstrapped social enterprise in Nigeria into the country’s largest solar phone charger brand, helping connect US exporters with Southern African business partners during a spell at the US Commercial Service in South Africa, and researching World Bank development assistance and debt relief while at the Institute for Democratic Governance in Ghana. He is a proud Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having taught physics at a high school as well as entrepreneurship at a prison for two years in Cameroon. Closer to home, Kevin helped develop and led the marketing efforts for Balancing Act, an online budget simulator for local governments looking to boost civic engagement, while working as Program Manager at Denver public policy firm Engaged Public. While there, he also worked on policy analysis and online engagement with the Building a Better Colorado team, which successfully educated and mobilized Coloradans on a number of pressing governance issues, from which three successful 2016 ballot measures emerged (Amendment 71, Proposition 107, and Proposition 108). Before that, he served as a field organizer in Pueblo, CO for the Mark Udall and Abel Tapia campaigns in 2014. He has also interned for Representative Jovan Melton (D-Aurora). Kevin is an active volunteer with WorldDenver, including currently serving as the President of WorldDenver’s Young Professionals Board. In his spare time, he helps organize a series of meetups aimed at bringing Muslims and non-Muslims together (including a recent event on Auraria campus featuring an “Ask-a-Muslim” booth), and assists community leaders with voter outreach efforts targeting the Metro Area’s growing refugee population. Kevin’s analysis of African political and economic affairs has been featured on international news channel France24, German radio station Deutsche Welle, and various publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Ozy, Public Agenda, RealClearPolitics, and African Banker. In addition, Kevin is a periodic columnist for The Guardian, a leading Tanzanian newspaper, and is also a contributor to the Community Engagement Learning Exchange, a civic engagement blog hosted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Government.
Hannah Bernath, Prevention Services Manager, Children's Hospital Colorado - CHIP
Hannah is a Colorado native, though lived in Southern California for a number of years where she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California San Diego in English and Spanish Literature. After graduating she spent a year traveling across South America and Australia. It was through traveling that she came to realize that good health and access to health care were the foundations for happy and successful lives, especially for children. Hannah moved back to Denver in 2009 to attend the University of Colorado where she earned a Master's Degree in Public Health with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health. Hannah is currently the HIV Prevention Services Manager at Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program (CHIP) – which is the HIV clinic at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. Prior to joining the CHIP team 4 years ago, Hannah worked with another Denver-based non-profit and for a local health department doing HIV and Hepatitis C prevention work which included testing, outreach, education, research and advocacy. Hannah also spent a summer working in rural Uganda with local residents to find solutions to pressing health issues such as HIV, Malaria, sanitation, and access to clean water. Hannah is currently the Chair of CORA (Colorado Responding to AIDS) and the CHIP fundraising committee. She is passionate about all things sexual health and enjoys collaborating with other organizations to increase access to services, especially those that serve women and youth. Outside of work, she loves home improvement projects, reading, thrift store shopping, and spending time with her partner Daniel and dog Finch.
Theo Chapman, Proposal Engineer, Custom Instrumentation Services Corporation (CiSCO)
Theo Chapman is a Proposal Engineer at Custom Instrumentation Services Corporation (CiSCO) who specializes in equipment scope and pricing, customer satisfaction, maintenance, and spares requests for continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) for power plants, refineries, and other applications. As a Denver native, Theo graduated with honors from Bishop Machebeuf High School in 2003. He later went on to earn both his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver in 2008, graduating from the University Honors Program as well as earning a minor in Leadership Studies from the Pioneer Leadership Program. In 2009, Theo was awarded the Distinguished Graduate Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service from the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Connect Program for rising professionals, and he now volunteers as an active alum for the same program under the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. He was also a graduate of BP America's Helios University "Being a Leader" Program. Some of Theo's professional goals are to reconnect as an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as well as earn his Professional Engineering (PE) and Project Management Professional (PMP) licenses. In 2009 and 2010, Theo had the privilege of organizing the parade and voter registration effort at the annual Denver Juneteenth celebration, an event that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. He currently serves as the President of the University of Denver’s Black Alumni Association (BAA) to engage alumni in maintaining professional connections with each other as well as offer support to current DU students of color. Theo also sits on the Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) Board that strives to build the self-efficacy of youth who desire to make change in our communities, pursue social science degrees, and establish social justice careers. Theo is currently volunteering as a Boettcher Foundation Alumni Ambassador by giving presentations to high school students on how to earn scholarships. One of the best pieces of advice he has received comes from his Dad, Don Chapman, who lives by the motto, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, or the big stuff will give you a headache!” In his free time, Theo enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, mentoring, playing video games, basketball, tennis, and flag football.
Ryan Drysdale, Program Coordinator, Inspire Colorado
Born in the West but raised in the Midwest, Ryan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa before setting off to explore the world. His travels, work, and education have taken him to six continents where he has called Australia, Chile, Thailand and six U.S. states home. Ryan worked for three years with grassroots non-profits promoting education and ethical tourism in Southeast Asia. From there he returned to the U.S. to serve as a Team Leader for AmeriCorps NCCC in the Pacific Region. He recently finished his master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University which included six months in Chile researching the economic and social impacts of the Pinochet dictatorship. Last year he moved to Denver where he has worked on a start-up project and has joined Inspire Colorado as the state program coordinator. While working abroad with grassroots organizations implementing community development programs, Ryan became fascinated by each country's civic processes to create more democratic societies or in some cases repress democratic expression. Stories from local friends along the way inspired Ryan to return to the U.S. after years of international focus to promote civic engagement here at home. Ryan’s work with the nonpartisan, nonprofit Inspire Colorado includes increasing the civic participation of high school students with the goal of amplifying their voices mainly through voter registration and get out the vote efforts. Ryan enjoys rediscovering the natural beauty of the West, being in the same hemisphere as family and friends, live music, vegetarian food, and any outdoor activity.
Emily Elsenbast Parés, Director of Candidate Ready Development, Leadership for Educational Equity
Emily has consulted, managed and supported dozens of campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. While working at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), an education non-profit focused on the leadership development and civic engagement of its membership, she’s coached hundreds of individuals to build readiness to run and serve effectively as elected leaders and first time candidates on all aspects of campaigning: field, messaging, fundraising, voter communications, political, and volunteer management. Since the fall of 2014, Emily has served as the Director of Candidate Ready Development at LEE. In that position, she has hired and managed a team of 5 individuals responsible for inspiring and building the readiness of future candidates, led a goal setting process of identifying targeted races in 50+ regions across the country, developed a candidate readiness framework that articulated key competencies for members looking to pursue elected leadership, and worked to inspire and build the skills of potential candidates through content design and facilitation at national and regional campaign trainings. Prior to her roles with LEE, Emily served as a high school math teacher and instructional coach in south Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. There she worked with colleagues to significantly narrow the achievement gap between her low-income Latino students and their more affluent peers elsewhere in the state. In recognition of her teaching, she was recognized as a regional semi-finalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. Emily is a current member of the Junior League of Denver and active volunteer and supporter of the Chinook Fund. While she and her husband now call Denver home, Emily is a proud product of the Midwest and a graduate of the University of Illinois.
Bri Erger, Director of Programs, US-Brazil Connect
Bri Erger grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from Loras College with degrees in English Literature and Psychology. Bri currently serves at the Director of Programs for US-Brazil Connect, a Denver-based nonprofit, where she works to provide transformative international and cross-cultural experiences for young people in the US and Brazil. Before joining US-Brazil Connect as a staff members, she developed a love for service and working within the education system as an AmeriCorps volunteer in North Carolina, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, and by working with 20KWatts – a nonprofit supporting development projects in Latin America. These international experiences have helped to shape her professional goals. In 2014, Bri completed her M.A. in International Development at the University of Denver. In addition to traveling for work and pleasure, she enjoys photography, practicing yoga, running, dancing, and going to concerts.
Andrew Fish, Legislative Aide, Colorado State Senator Daniel Kagan
Andrew managed Daniel Kagan's 2016 campaign for the Colorado Senate, winning a suburban Denver swing seat with 53% of the vote. He currently serves as Legislative Aide for Senator Kagan. Originally from New York City, Andrew graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in mechanical engineering and began working at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in 2011. In 2012, he joined the Obama campaign as a volunteer and led a neighborhood team in registering hundreds of voters throughout Norfolk. Working mostly in lower-income communities, Andrew was confronted by Virginia's harsh felon disenfranchisement laws, an experience which forced him to reconsider his career. He was inspired by President Obama's victory in Virginia, and nationwide, and soon left the shipyard for a Fellowship with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG). In Boston, Andrew organized a coalition of environmental groups to qualify a recycling measure for the 2014 statewide ballot. Later, he worked on a successful public health campaign to pressure McDonalds to stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics, and spent one fortuitous summer directing a canvass office in Boulder. Andrew moved to Denver in 2015 and is committed to making Colorado's criminal justice system more humane and rehabilitative, providing better outcomes for offenders, increasing public safety, and saving Colorado money by decreasing recidivism. His other passions include space - the final frontier, and hiking, during which he can be easily enticed into discussing our multi-planetary future.
Kyle Forsyth, Founding 6th Grade Science Teacher, Compass Academy - Denver
Kyle is a founding teacher at Compass Academy. Compass Academy believes that all students, regardless of previous learning challenges, can succeed and become lifelong learners and leaders. Its educational program infuses a strong values-based culture and additional people power with evidence-based practices to maximize student success and the delivery of individualized interventions. Before joining Compass, Academy Kyle taught 5th grade Math and Science and finished the Associate Teacher Program at Brooke Charter Schools, one of the highest performing schools in Massachusetts. During that year, he learned how effective teacher collaboration can truly transform the classroom. Kyle grew up just outside Philadelphia and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. After college, Kyle served two years with City Year Boston; first as a City Year-AmeriCorps Member and then as a Team Leader. Through this volunteer work, he fell in love with urban education and became inspired to dedicate his time and energy to his students. In the future, he hopes to take his passion for education reform outside of the classroom and work to innovate education through policy reform. Kyle believes that to truly move the needle in education, collaboration and innovation are needed at the policy level to ensure a bright future for our students no matter where they come from or where they go to school.
Alison Friedman, Manager of Community Initiatives and Investments,
The Women's Foundation of Colorado
Born in Colorado, Alison loves the outdoors and western ideals. After spending about ten years crisscrossing the country from the west coast to the east coast and then back to Colorado she lives and works in Denver. In her current role, she manages the community initiatives and investments at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. This gives her the privilege of making grants to nonprofits, diving deep into research, and advocating at the state Capitol on behalf of Colorado’s women and girls. Before that she lived in Washington, D.C. and spent time as an intern in the education policy program at the think tank New America and in the office of the Honorable Michael Bennet. And even before that she lived and worked in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley serving as a development officer at Aspen Community Foundation. Her first “real job” was as a community organizer for a nonprofit organization during the 2008 election cycle in Eugene, Oregon. Alison earned a Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University and a Bachelors of Arts in political science with minors in business administration and nonprofit administration from the University of Oregon. She loves pop culture, politics, and philanthropy and lives in the Baker neighborhood with her partner who she is trying to convince to adopt a dog.
Allison Goodwin, CEO, Ladies Of 5280 inc
Allison Goodwin is a College graduate from Johnson C Smith university. She currently founded a 501c3 non-profit organization called Ladies Of 5280 Inc. A strong advocate for equal rights amongst the Black Community and the Homeless Community. Miss Goodwin desires to become a lawyer to defend innocent victims receive a fair trial when dealing with the law. She also wants to get into politics in hopes to change the system where everyone can be equal dispite the color of their skin. Hopfully by the end of 2017 Allison Goodwin will have a degree in law and potentially work for a well known law firm. She also hopes to travel the world to better understand social justice and equality. She believes change starts with in the local community first before any government officials will make a change.
Tristan Gorman, Partner Attorney, Gorman & Zuckerman, LLC
Tristan Gorman is a fourth generation Colorado native, hailing from a family with a long history of public service and progressive political involvement. While growing up in Colorado Springs in the 80s and 90s, she learned to fight the good fight as one of the only progressives in a very conservative environment, as well as the only LGBTQ individual to come out in her school. Tristan graduated from Colorado College with a BA in English and earned her JD from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Tristan began her legal career as a Deputy State Public Defender in the Denver Trial Office. In this role, Tristan represented the indigent who could not afford legal counsel in over a thousand cases, ranging from traffic and DUI matters to sex assault and homicide. Tristan is now a partner at Gorman & Zuckerman, LLC, where she continues her practice in criminal defense as a privately retained attorney, court-appointed counsel through the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel, and as a member of the LGBT Center’s Direct Referral Network and Access to Justice Program. Tristan continues to advocate for the indigent and minorities as a practicing trial lawyer and through community involvement, including her membership in Denver’s LGBTQ Commission, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar’s Policy Committee, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, and the Colorado LGBT Bar Association.
Ash Harden, Western Regional Outreach Director, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Ash Harden is the Western Regional Outreach Director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition where she manages advocacy efforts in six states to preserve and protect funding for U.S. foreign assistance programs. She’s passionate about gender equity, global health, women and girls education, and food security. Previously, Ash worked for the Colorado Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign, where she was the Regional Field Director for southeast Colorado. She’s also served as the Program and Marketing Manager for the Business Council for Peace, where she supported and provided training to entrepreneurs in post-conflict countries, such as Rwanda and Afghanistan. While living in New York City, Ash was a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before CFR, Ash worked in Udaipur, India training locally elected village representatives on leadership skills. She holds an MSc in Gender, Globalization, and Development from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Emory University in both International Relations and Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies, where she graduated summa cum laude. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Pi Sigma Alpha, as well as a proud mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Colorado. In addition to traveling for work and pleasure, Ash enjoys reading, snowboarding, live music, hiking, and fitness.
Laura Harney, Manger of Enrollment, Rocky Mountain Prep
A native of Rochester, MN, Laura Harney combines her love of policy and education as the Manager of Enrollment at Rocky Mountain Prep. Previously, in policy, Laura worked as a program director for Senator Mike Johnston (2016) and as a fellow in Indianapolis (2015) for the Urban Leaders Fellowship. Prior to this policy work, Laura worked in the classroom at a project-based, staff-led school in Minnesota and as a 9th grade biology teacher and founding educator at Girls Athletic Leadership School in Denver. Laura has a deep passion for global citizenship and has fostered that by going on a five-month, solo backpacking journey through SE Asia to learn about the intersection of culture, education, and sustainability as well as by being a 2013 Fulbright Fellow in Ecuador. Laura attended Luther College in Decorah, IA graduating magna cum laude with majors in biology and Spanish and a minor in Secondary Education (2013). She was named “Outstanding Student Leader of the Year, 2013.” In her free time, Laura loves climbing mountains, drinking tea and coffee, and reading in her hammock.
Ian Harwick, Owner, Harwick Consulting
Ian Harwick was born in Ohio, but raised in Colorado; he moved here when he was six months old and has not looked back. He studied Business Management at Johnson & Wales University. Ian is an entrepreneur working to build companies that are socially responsible, innovative, adaptable, and community focused. These companies in their various phases include a consulting firm, a marijuana startup, and a bike crash prevention app. In addition to the previously mentioned companies, he is also the president of his neighborhood association, Athmar Park; as the president he has helped connect neighbors in new and meaningful ways, worked to maintain the funkiness of the place, and he is currently working to create a plan designed to make the streets safer, the places more walkable, and all neighbors better connected with each other and the city at large. In his free time, Ian loves spending time with his wife.Together they are raising a daughter that will be empowered, awesome, and ready for the challenges that lay ahead. He also is co-creator of the Denver Urbanist Meetups and Denver YIMBY, two groups dedicated to connecting like minded individuals and also leading the charge on affordable living, connected communities, and finding ways to say “Yes”. He ran for city council in 2015 and though he lost, he has maintained his drive for improving Denver, the Democratic Party, and the nation as a whole.
Gianina Horton, Youth Project Coordinator, Office of the Independent Monitor
Gianina Horton is a proud native of Denver, Colorado. After completing her BA in Political Science at Colorado College, Gianina returned to Denver intending to utilize her education and community ties to help her community. Through the Public Interests Fellowship Program, she worked at the Denver Scholarship Foundation as a College Advisor for many Denver Public School high school seniors. She provided support and post-secondary education opportunities and assisted high school seniors with their applications to institutions of higher education as well as assisted with the financial aid process. After her fellowship ended, Gianina transitioned into her role as Youth Project Coordinator for the Office of the Indpendent Monitor (OIM), the independent civilian oversight agency for the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments. Over the last two years with the Youth Outreach Project, Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops, Gianina assisted with the development, testing, evaluation, and delivery of the OIM curriculum which seeks to improve the relationship between youth and law enforcement in Denver through the education of officers on adolescent development and the training of youth on their rights and responsibilities when in contact with police. Gianina was instrumental in creating the training for community facilitators who deliver the curriculum for five-hour youth-officer forums. Gianina is responsible for much of the outreach to community partners and organizations to recruit community members, youth, and partner organizations for the project. She also provides project management assistance to OIM’s Community Relations Ombudsman and assists with the administration necessary to support the Citizen Oversight Board and the OIM’s Police-Community Mediation Program. Gianina sees the use procedural justice as an opportunity to diminish disproportionate minority contact in Denver’s juvenile justice system.
PJ Johnson, Budget Analyst, Colorado Energy Office
As a life-long GIrl Scout and a Gold Award recipient, PJ has dedicated her career to two of her favorite tenets of the Girl Scout Law: using resources wisely and making the world a better place. As the budget analyst for the Colorado Energy Office, she is able to contribute to the stewardship of not only citizens’ tax dollars, but also Colorado’s precious energy resources. She is also gearing up to make the world a better place by completing a Master of Public Policy (MPP) and transitioning into policy analysis. PJ’s interest in public policy is rooted in her experience growing up in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, where economic resources are scarce and economic inequality is plainly visible. After studying economics and international relations at Agnes Scott College, PJ decided to take aim at the gap between theory and practice in policy by moving to Denver to pursue her MPP at the University of Denver. Denver offers a uniquely dynamic political scene, with strong federal, state, and local government influences, and has proven to be the ideal setting for learning about the many facets of policy making.Through such organizations as the Denver Women's Commission and Transit Alliance, as well as her roles as a budget analyst for both CDOT and the Colorado Energy Office, PJ has learned a lot about her new home in the two short years she has lived here. She is excited to take what she has learned to the next level and find the right avenue for action as a NLC Fellow!
Tera Jones, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Denver Public Schools
Tera Jones is a Denver, Colorado native and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. Tera is deeply committed to the pursuit of justice for all people through educational equity. Because of this passion, Tera currently works as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, specializing in teacher recruitment, for Denver Public Schools. In this role, she works to ensure students have the best and most committed teachers. Prior to joining Denver Public Schools, Tera was the STEM Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education, where she led the development of STEM program implementation resources with stakeholders throughout Colorado. Additionally, Tera taught 10th grade chemistry at DSST Public Schools as a Teach for America Colorado Corps Member. She continues to be engaged with TFA as a Corps Member support team member. Tera is a founding member of Leadership for Educational Equity’s Colorado Regional Organizing team that will be working to organize teachers, students, and families around education policy issues. In her free time, Tera also loves Denver Broncos Football, playing with her puppy Zeke, baking, and eating great food.
Abe Kaul, Administrator, Center for Legal Inclusiveness
Abe was born in Chicago, lived in Miami for a while, before moving to Seattle when he was 11. He spent 18 years in the PNW before moving to Denver in June of 2014. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Linfield College (OR) and a J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law. Abe has been involved in politics since he was seven, his dad sat him down to watch a political debate for the 1992 Presidential Elections and he has been hooked on politics ever since. Some of his fondest memories involved him sitting around with his friends talking politics. He worked his first political campaign in 2002, after his junior year in high school. Since then he has worked on ten campaigns in various roles including as an Obama Fellow in 2008, and as a Campaign Manager on a Denver City Council race. Most recently he served as the Communications Director for the Kroll for Colorado campaign helping the candidate win a seat as the Regent for the 1st Congressional District. In addition, Abe has served on the board of the Denver Young Democrats for the past two years; his first year as Secretary and his second year as Treasurer. After moving to Denver in 2014 Abe realized how awesome of a city Denver was and hopes to be here for the long term; he especially enjoys the sunshine which is a nice change of pace from Seattle. He enjoys walking the 16th Street Mall, going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and checking out games at Coors Field; as well as hiking Colorado’s beautiful trails, reading, and debating politics with his friends.
Hannah W. Krieger, Director of Strategic Relationships, Alliance of Women Coaches
Hannah is an advocate for using sport as a vehicle for social change. She recently accepted a position as the Director of Strategic Relationships with the Alliance of Women Coaches, the premier organization dedicated to leading the field of women coaches, at all levels, by providing support, resources, and unparalleled events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members. Previously, Hannah was the Executive Director of Sportswomen of Colorado, a non-profit dedicated to promoting, honoring and empowering Colorado girls and women in sport. Hannah earned her B.A. from Smith College, a Master’s in Sport Leadership from VCU, and was a Fulbright scholar in Germany. Prior to joining Sportswomen of Colorado, Hannah was the U4-U10 Program and Community Outreach Director for the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club. In that position, she managed close to 3,000 kids and 350 volunteer and staff coaches in the U4-U10 program, and she oversaw and wrote grants for the Rapids’ Soccer for Success program, which serves youth after school in under-resourced communities in Colorado. Hannah holds a U.S. Soccer Federation "B" license, a National Youth License and the NSCAA Urban Soccer Diploma. Hannah began her career in Washington, DC with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, where she worked with major donors and ran special events for the organization. She is a former professional West Coast Swing dancer, and in her spare times, loves to garden and hike. Hannah currently resides in Arvada with her husband, son and dog.
Farrah Martin, Education Consultant/Charter School Developer
Working in the field of education for over 15 years in both traditional public and public charter schools, Farrah Nicole Martin is a 2001 corps member of Teach For America. Farrah has taught middle school math, science, and social studies in New Orleans, Louisiana and Mississippi. After just a few years of classroom experience, Farrah's talents were noticed by a developing charter school network in New Orleans, opening the door to her time as a teacher leader, professional development coordinator, and curriculum designer. In 2007, touched by the story of her student who suffered physical illness as a result of school bullying, Farrah founded Beautiful Victory, Inc., a non-profit, faith-based organization bearing the meaning of her name. Through this organization, Farrah has mentored hundreds of young people, empowering them with conflict resolution, problem-solving, and self-esteem building strategies. Farrah organized the Imagine Me Youth Empowerment Camp and the Be You To The Full Self Esteem Series, being hosted by youth groups, churches, and civic organizations across the country. In 2010, Farrah received national recognition from NBC Network, being nominated and selected as one of the top 50 educators in the country. This honor led to her becoming part of the inaugural cohort of the America Achieves Fellowship for Principals and Teachers. It also led to her being invited to be an Urban Leaders/Education Policy Fellow for Senator Mike Johnston (Denver, CO). In 2014, Farrah decided to pursue her dream to open a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) school, with its focus on project-based, hands-on learning that utilized the arts as the creative arm to teach advanced skills and concepts in science, technology, and engineering. Farrah has worked for over five years to design a school in which urban youth are exposed to skills and concepts in STEAM fields, being inspired by in-school experiences to consider these as career paths. With a wealth of experience in policy reform, instructional practice, staff development, curriculum design, systems development, and educator evaluation, Farrah has traveled the country providing education consulting and professional development to charter schools and traditional schools. Farrah holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology/Pre-Medicine from Xavier University of Louisiana, a Masters of Public Health in Community Health Sciences (Maternal and Child Health concentration) from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a Masters of Educational Supervision and Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
Elizabeth Reetz, District Advocacy Director, A+ Colorado
Liz Reetz is a Latina and the first in her family to graduate from college which fuels her passion for educational equity. As District Advocacy Director for A+ Colorado, Liz focuses her work on improving Aurora Public Schools. Before joining A+, Liz worked in Aurora as Program Specialist for RISE Colorado. Liz taught 6th grade Social Studies at the Girls Athletic Leadership School for 3 years as a Teach For America corps member. As a teacher, she helped lead culturally responsive teaching professional development for her school and for TFA.
Rachel Rose, Research and Evaluation Specialist, iDE
Rachel Rose is currently the Research and Evaluation Specialist for iDE, an international development non-profit. In this role, Rachel manages global evaluation efforts in eleven countries which includes directing experimental design, conducting field data collection, and analyzing complex survey data. Before joining iDE, Rachel was a research consultant where she published studies on climate resilience, urban service delivery, water and sanitation, and humanitarian response issues. Rachel started her career in international development by serving in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She has considerable experience promoting USAID policy initiatives among non-governmental and faith-based organizations. Her public engagement and campaigning work began as she served on the faith outreach team for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rachel earned a B.A. at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and earned a Masters of Arts in International Economics and Development from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. One of Rachel’s favorite graduate activities was serving as an Econometrics Teaching Assistant, exemplified by her receipt of the Teaching Assistant of the Year award. In her free time, Rachel volunteers with the Girl Scouts and is passionate about supporting gender equity causes. When not traveling internationally she can be found outside exploring her new Colorado home.
Michael Winterscheidt, Associate Engineering Manager, ReadyTalk
Michael "Pete" Winterscheidt is an Associate Engineering Manager at ReadyTalk where he works with cutting edge communications technology. A technologist at heart, he is very enthusiastic about the positive impacts that technology can bring to people's lives and works to bring that vision to life. He specializes in iOS, Android and web applications to better connect and simplify communication. Prior to joining ReadyTalk, Pete earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Colorado State University. During his time at CSU, Pete held a variety of internships for companies both domestic and international. Pete is a strong supporter of extra-curricular education, crediting his internships for providing the professional connections to get him where he is today. As such, Pete regularly participates in employer panels at both Colorado State and the University of Colorado helping other students make strong professional connections. Pete was born and raised in Denver, Colorado where he now lives and is active in the startup and technology scene. He serves on the Ignite Denver committee where he has given three talks covering a wide variety of topics he is passionate about: cartoons, technology, travel and better meetings. Pete has earned his Eagle Scout, and as such is an outdoor enthusiast. In his spare time Pete enjoys hiking, snowboarding and traveling as much as possible."