The University of Denver’s (DU) Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Ricks Center for Gifted Children has received accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The accreditation comes from the largest nonprofit association in the United States representing early childhood education and reflects the highest professional standards for quality young children programs.

“Ricks Center for Gifted Children is committed to the accreditation process, which provides a framework for continuous improvement according to the highest standards of school performance.  NAEYC accreditation ensures top performance in our education of young children, including family support, teacher training, student safety, and community engagement.  Accredited by both NAEYC and AdvancEd, Ricks supports all of its students in realizing their full potential,” Anne Sweet, Ricks Center Director said.

Achieving NAEYC Accreditation is a four-step process that involves self-study, self-assessment, candidacy, and meeting and maintaining accreditation over a five-year period. Directors, teachers, and families all participate in the process. Programs are required to meet standards grouped into 10 areas: relationships with children, curriculum, teaching approaches, child assessment, nutrition and health, staff qualifications, relationship with children’s families, relationship with the community, physical environment, and program leadership and management.

“The Morgridge College of Education represents distinction in early childhood; from the Marsico Institute to the Fisher Early Learning Center to our Early Childhood Special Education programs, MCE serves as a leader,” said Dr. Karen Riley, Dean of Morgidge College of Education. “As such we want to ensure that we are meeting the highest standards for the children and families that we serve and that we are engaged in continual improvement.  NAEYC is the gold standard in this area and provides a framework to ensure exceptional quality and a means for thoughtful reflective practice.  This accreditation assures the families that we serve that we meet or exceed the highest of national standards and provides our graduate students with a model of excellence in the field.”

The Ricks Center for Gifted Children is operated by the Morgridge College of Education and is an extension of the College’s renowned work in the area of gifted education. In addition to providing a rigorous educational experience for gifted children from preschool to 8th grade, the model school also serves as an on-campus training and research facility for graduate students across the college including but not limited to school psychology, early childhood, curriculum and instruction and educational leadership.

The Office of the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education at the Morgridge College of Education is pleased to announce Dr. Marcia Gentry as recipient of the 2018 Palmarium Award, an annual award given to an individual who most exemplifies the vision of the Office of the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. The office seeks a future in which giftedness will be understood, embraced, and systemically nurtured. Recipients of the Palmarium Award demonstrate the vision through understanding of giftedness in the areas of:

  • Practice by impacting graduate education, pre-service, and P-12 community
  • Outreach through advocacy at a variety of levels (local, national, international)
  • Publications informing teachers, children, parents, policy makers, and academia
  • Research influencing theory, practice, and policy

“Through the generosity of the Considine Family Foundation, the Palmarium Award provides professional acknowledgment and tangible support to eminent leaders in the field of Gifted Education,” said Norma Hafenstein, the Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. “We are pleased to recognize Marcia [Gentry] for her visionary work in understanding the needs of this population and advocating for gifted children traditionally unrecognized.”

Gentry is a Professor of Educational Studies and directs the Gifted Education Resource Institute at Purdue University. Her research interests include student attitudes toward school and the connection of these attitudes toward learning and motivation; the use of cluster-grouping and differentiation to meet the needs of students with gifts and talents while helping all students achieve at high levels; the use of non-traditional settings for talent development; the development and recognition of talent among underserved populations including students with diverse cultural backgrounds including Native American youth, and children who live in poverty. She actively participates in NAGC and AERA, frequently contributes to the gifted education literature, and regularly serves as a speaker and consultant. She was the 2014 recipient of the prestigious National Association for Gifted Children’s Distinguished Scholar Award and has received multiple grants worth several million dollars in support of her work with programming practices and underrepresented populations in gifted education.

Gentry will receive her award and present the lunchtime address at the 8th Annual Gifted Education Symposium and Conference, “Talented Voices: Diversity and Equity in Gifted Education” at the University of Denver on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. Please visit the conference link for registration and other conference details. For more information about this award, visit the conference webpage.

The University of Denver’s (DU) Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Teacher Education Program (TEP) has received accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Such accreditation is quality assurance that the program meets standards set by organizations representing the academic community, professionals, and other stakeholders. To maintain accreditation the institution or program must undergo a similar review on a regular basis every 7 to 10 years.

“At the Morgridge College of Education we strive for excellence in everything that we do, which is why we chose to pursue CAEP accreditation. National accreditation denotes a commitment to best practices and continual quality improvement that we at Morgridge feel is important for our teacher candidates as well as the students and families that they will serve as well. The programs that have CAEP accreditation are national leaders in the field and we are very excited to be a part of this prestigious group,” Dr. Karen Riley, Dean of the Morgridge College of Education said.

In the wake of dubious providers of educational offerings – or “degree mills” – educator accreditation is a seal of approval that assures programs prepare new teachers to know their subjects, their students, and have the clinical training that allows them to enter the classroom ready to teach effectively. The Morgridge College of Education is the most accredited college at the University of Denver. The CAEP accreditation is reflective of MCE’s commitment to achieving the highest educational standards available.

“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

Preparing for CAEP accreditation is a three-year process that involves rigorous internal and external assessment and reporting, which culminates with an on-campus site review. MCE’s CAEP accreditation process was led by Jessica Lerner, EdS, Assistant Professor of Practice and Director of Teacher Education, and Maria Salazar, PhD, Associate Professor Teacher and Learning Sciences and Teacher Education Program.

CAEP accreditation has a direct impact on the entire educational ecosystem:

  • P-12 Learners – outcomes based evidence ensures all learners are at the center of determining effectiveness of educators
  • Teacher Educators – because the process is infused with research and development, the knowledge base of effective practice will grow
  • State Education Agencies – provides a strong partner for quality assurance, helps connect the national consensus on preparation to state-level policy and provide support for a state’s own authorization/accountability system
  • Education Professionals – rigorous standards elevate the profession

TEP offers an intensive, integrated, one-year professional preparation experience. Apprentice teachers receive field placement for the entire academic year, with a gradual release of teaching responsibility over the year.

As part of its commitment to placing qualified teachers in underserved schools, the Morgridge College of Education has partnered with the Denver Public School (DPS) district to create Urban Teacher Fellowships (UTF). These competitive fellowships provide additional financial support for those students dedicated to working in one of the high-needs urban schools within DPS.

On November 6, 2017 Judy Marquez Kiyama, Associate Professor of Higher Education, was featured on EdLab’s vlog, The Voice, as a supplement to her co-authored article, “Fighting for respeto: Latinas’ stories of violence and resistance shaping educational opportunities” published in Teachers College Record. Kiyama and her co-researchers looked at experiences of Latina youth in New York state when embedded within a larger social context influenced by gender, ethnic/racial identity, socioeconomic status, language, and sociospatial, and political characteristics that can negatively impact their daily lived experiences. Their research was guided by two questions: How are Latina students’ schooling experiences influenced by acts of violence? How do Latina students respond to these acts of violence?

As part of KUSA Channel 9 Denver’s Recovery Week special on addictions, news anchor TaRhonda Thomas interviewed Counseling Psychology (CP) Addictions Specialization director, Mike Faragher. Faragher is a Level II National Gambling Counselor, as a Board Approved Clinical Consultant by the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board, and as Level III Senior Addiction Counselor by Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. Dr. Andi Pusavat, Counseling Service Clinic Director and Clinical Assistant Professor addressed addiction causes in a live interview during the broadcast. Faragher and Pusavat were joined by Amy Hudson, CP PhD student, Wesley Pruitt, ’15 CP MA grad, and Tammy Pope, MS, NCGC1 from Choice Counseling & Recovery. All five manned the live phone lines answering questions on a wide range of addiction issues and connecting callers with local resources and support groups, including MCE’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic.

You can find more photos from the interview in our Flickr album.

On Tuesday, November 7, Morgridge College of Education alumna Dr. Carrie Olson (PhD, ’16) was elected to represent district 3 on the school board for Denver Public Schools. Olson beat out incumbent Mike Johnson 52% to 48%. Olson graduated from Morgridge in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Morgridge College of Education Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Department and Denver Public Schools have been invited to participate in the first Leadership and Education Development (iLEAD) initiative at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Erin Anderson, ELPS Assistant Professor; Sandy Lochhead-Price, the Director of School Leader Performance and Development at Denver Public Schools and ELPS EdD student; Amy Keltner, Deputy Chief of Schools at Denver Public Schools; Anne Whalen, Deputy Chief of Academic Strategy at Denver Public Schools and Susan Korach, Associate Professor and ELPS Department Chair attended the initial meeting in late October at the Carnegie Foundation in Stanford, CA.

The Carnegie Foundation launched the iLEAD initiative to enhance and extend the efforts of schools of education to incorporate Improvement Science methods and Networked Improvement Communities into their education doctorate programs. According to its website, iLEAD is designed to further the capacities of institutions of higher education (IHEs) and their local education agency (LEA) partners to enact systematic improvement efforts within their organizations and in partnership with one another.

Applications were submitted in early September and out of the eleven participants, nine are member institutions of the Carnegie project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) and seven are member institutions of University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA):

  • Fordham University and Mamaroneck Union Free School District
  • University of Virginia and Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)
  • High Tech High GSE and High Tech High
  • Indiana University and Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC)
  • George Washington University and Fairfax Country Public Schools
  • Portland State University and Newberg Public Schools
  • University of Denver and Denver Public Schools
  • University of Pittsburgh and University Preparatory School at Margaret Milliones
  • University of South Carolina and Florence School District One
  • University of Mississippi and Oxford School District

“We are honored to be a part of this learning community of IHE’s and districts,” said Korach. “We look forward to further our understanding and commitment to improvement science and networked improvement communities. This work will help us expand our capacity to support systems-level leadership development, prepare leaders to manage complex change, and sustain partnerships and networks with students, graduates and districts.”

Over the next year iLEAD participants will engage in four face-to-face meetings and online collaboration to:

  • Build leadership, technical, and social capacities for using improvement science in masters and EdD programs;
  • Integrate and enhance coursework related to improvement science and NICs in education;
  • Collaborate with other leading IHEs and the Carnegie Foundation on problems of
  • practice and embed that work into educational leadership preparation;
  • Strengthen relations with local LEAs by focusing on relevant and pressing needs; and
  • Contribute to and draw from a “Teaching Commons” resource-bank of exemplar courses and instructional resources for IHE faculty, programs, and participants.

Morgridge College of Education Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning Sciences and Teacher Education Program, Dr. Maria Salazar, sat down with Wallethub.com for its assessment of the Best and Worst states for teachers and expert panel on issues teachers are facing today and how to tackle those challenges.

There has been a substantial increase in the discussion of rural education in America. This conversation is particularly critical in states, like Colorado, where 80% of the state’s school districts are classified as rural. Add to that the diverse gifted student population, including those eligible for free and reduced lunches in these in these remote areas, and it’s easy to see why a major federal grant was awarded to identify and serve this underrepresented group.

R4R Researchers

University of Denver MCE researchers and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) are moving into the third year of a $1.4 million Jacob K. Javits federally funded research project. Dr. Norma Hafenstein, Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair for Gifted Education, is a co-principal investigator along with Jacquelin Medina, Gifted Director of the Colorado Department of Education. Dr. Kristina Hesbol, assistant professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS), serves as Leadership Director. Year three research support of $80,000 is examining influences in identification of underserved gifted populations.

The project is called Right 4 Rural (R4R) and has been examining the diversity of rural contexts that encompass the vast disparities of economy between thriving ranches and desolate range, or rich productive farms and barren lands. Rural areas in the state of Colorado, in particular, have a significant percentage of students who are English language learners, Hispanic, Native American, and/or live in a climate of poverty situations.

The data collection process has included in-person and online surveys, face-to-face workshops and online webinar sessions with key participants from rural school districts across the state. Although the data collection and analysis is still ongoing, persistent problems of practice are emerging. They include the 1) Ability to identify GT students accurately and consistently, 2) Ability to increase school-wide awareness and knowledge of GT programs/process, and 3) Ability to provide consistent supports, follow-up services, and communication.

Researchers anticipate that results of the R4R project will yield increased rigor in the classroom, increase student achievement as it relates to higher level thinking, and increased identification of gifted potential in these underrepresented populations.

MCE doctoral students participating in this research project include Justine Lopez, Curriculum and Instruction, Rachel Taylor, Research Methods and Statistics, and Fayaz Amiri, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

The Right4Rural project reflects the University of Denver’s and Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) long history of commitment to gifted education through service to gifted children, training of teachers to serve children’s needs, and support of doctoral research around giftedness.

The Right4Rural research team will be presenting at the Wallace Symposium of the Belin and Blank Center at Johns Hopkins in April 2018.

The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education (MCE) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) today announced the creation of a pilot teacher education program aimed at placing highly trained educators in some of the most highly impacted schools in the Denver metro area.

The DPS Urban Teacher Fellowship (UTF) program will position selected teacher candidates in highly impacted schools and provide them with the support necessary to both learn and thrive. UTF students will receive their graduate training as part of the University of Denver (DU) Teacher Education Program, and will complete their one-year teacher residency in selected schools within DPS.

“At a time when fewer and fewer college students are choosing to pursue a career in education and more and more K-12 students need great teachers, we are excited to launch a new program that we hope will serve as the model for future programs,” Dr. Karen Riley, MCE Dean says.

As a pilot program, DU and DPS will partner to evaluate the success of the model, collaborative partnership, and the transferability to other areas and program providers across the district. The UTF program is consistent with national trends in teacher residency programs in which the coursework is provided by the higher education partner and the field placements are designed and supported by the district. The program will be co-developed by the two partners in keeping with best practices creating new opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations.

“Nationally, over the last 10 years, teacher residency programs have evolved and grown,” said Laney Shaler, DPS Director of Teacher Pathways & Development. “We are excited to take what we have learned through our previous partnership with DU and apply the framework to this new program that will both extend the partnership and serve as the foundation for expanded pre-service training experiences in DPS.”

The UTF program will replace the existing Denver Teacher Residency (DTR) program which was co-developed between DU and DPS nearly a decade ago to meet the critical challenge of filling vacancies in highly impacted schools and hiring candidates who reflect the students the district serves. Since then, 350 teachers have been trained through DTR in a model of joint operation between DPS and DU. Eight cohorts of residents have confirmed the value of residency as a productive way to prepare teachers.

“I see this new partnership as taking our existing partnership to the next level. It allows us to strengthen our collective efforts to train a diverse teacher corps and serve teacher candidates with relevant on-the-job training opportunities,” Dr. Karen Riley says.

The pilot UTF program represents the next phase in the longstanding DU/DPS partnership committed to finding innovative ways to ensure highly trained educators are available to all students in the DPS district. The first UTF student cohort will begin in fall 2018.

Three Morgridge College Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) alumnae were recently recognized for their efforts when their schools were honored by the Colorado Succeeds Prize.  Valdez Elementary School Principal Jessica Buckley and Assistant Principal Gwen Frank, both graduates of the DPS Ritchie ELPS program, received the Colorado Succeeds prize for Transformational Impact in an Elementary Award. Additionally, ELPS graduate and The Stem Launch School Assistant Principal Carrie Romero-Brugger saw her school recognized for outstanding achievement.

On September 30, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies gradate Fernando Branch (Education Administration, Secondary School Leadership, ’12) was honored by the City and County of Denver at the My Brother’s Keeper 25 luncheon at the Park Hill Golf Course. Originally an initiative of the office of the president in 2014, My Brother’s Keeper honors those working tirelessly  to make the American Dream available to all boys and young men of color by eliminating gaps in their opportunities and outcomes.

Libby Malone, Child, Family & School Psychology (CFSP) alumna (EdS ’15) is featured in the Career Spotlight of this month’s National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Early Career Professionals Digest. Malone works for the Denver Public Schools at West Early College in Denver, CO. She is versed in teaching mindfulness to students in classroom settings, using culturally responsive interventions and assessments, and strives to explain assessment results in parent-friendly language.

In the interview below, which originally appeared on the NASP Communities website, Malone talks about her first-year challenges and gives advice to professionals entering the field.

Where do you work?
I work as a school psychologist for Denver Public Schools at West Early College, a 6th-12th grade innovation school. My school is in a large old high school building and we share the campus with two other schools, another 6th-12th grade program and a 17-21 year old program for students who are behind on credits.

What are your areas of expertise at this point in your career?
At this point in my career I feel confident explaining assessment results in parent friendly language, teaching mindfulness to students in a classroom setting, and using culturally responsive interventions and assessments for families and students.

What challenges have you faced in your early career, and how have you handled them?
A challenge that I faced during my first year of practice, and am still working on, is managing anxiety. During my graduate program my professors touched on self-care and mentioned the need for leaving work at work, but it wasn’t something that we discussed in depth. During my internship, I felt confident in my abilities as an independent practitioner. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time with my supervisor and relied on her more as I think it may have eased some of the anxiety I experienced during my first year.

The anxiety started right before the school year when I experienced my first panic attack. I became cold, but sweaty and my heart raced while a feeling a complete dread washed over me. For the next two months I struggled to sleep at night as I would catastrophize every negative outcome that could happen to my students. I worked in an urban, Title I school with students who had experienced trauma and the effects of poverty. My school also had a center for students with Serious Emotional Disabilities so I had students who were challenging behaviorally with some severe case histories along with all of my other students, many of whom had high levels of social emotional needs, as well. I would be fine during the day, I did my job effectively and managed student needs with confidence; however, I would go home and question everything I had done, what I could have missed, if I was an imposter, etc. The panic attack that I had experienced in the summer became an almost nightly ritual and I was exhausted physically and emotionally before we made it to Thanksgiving Break.

As the year went on I began to reach out to my colleagues and friends more, exercise regularly, and tried therapy. While the anxiety would still flare up, whether from a hard day or from the fear that since I wasn’t currently anxious I must have missed something, I had fewer of the sleepless nights and all-consuming feelings of dread.

What advice do you have for other early career school psychologists?
My advice for other early career school psychologists is to lean in to your support networks. You are not alone with the weight of your work. Personally, I have school counselors and a school social worker that I work closely with. Debriefing, sharing tasks, and sometimes just venting with them has made me a better practitioner along with decreasing my anxiety about being solely responsible for anything that happens to our students. During that first year I wish I had felt more comfortable opening up to my friends from graduate school about how I was feeling, but I was ashamed of my inability to control my own emotions when my entire job focused on helping students learn to control theirs. In my second year, I have opened up to my friends and we use each other as sound boards around interventions, assessments, and more. I now realize that many of them had the same worries and experiences I did and I had nothing to feel ashamed about.

Something else that has helped me this year is reminding myself that although my job is important and I am a necessary part of my student’s school day, if I have advocated for their needs, reported safety concerns, and addressed any immediate issues presented to me, I have to be okay with the job I have done for the day. It is unfair to my fiancé, who is also a school psychologist, and myself to go home and catastrophize about every student I interacted with that day. I am responsible for supporting them during the school day and making sure they are safe, but I cannot feel responsible for everything that happens in their lives outside of my sphere of influence with them. I still have a hard time convincing myself of this fact, but it has increased my ability to sleep at night and function during the weekends exponentially.

I am great at promoting coping skills and self-care to my colleagues and families. Learning to use those skills myself has been challenging, but I know I am getting better and becoming a more effective school psychologist through this practice.

How has your NASP membership benefited you?
My NASP membership has benefited me by allowing me access to more resources for my students and my practice. I appreciate the early career emails, the member exchange digest, and the reduced prices offered on conventions, conferences, and many other resources available for purchase. I know that NASP recognizes me as an early career school psychologist and understands the financial strains that we may face and offering a reduced price membership has made it possible for me to keep my membership current.

Curriculum and Instruction students, Elizabeth Carey and Desiree Seide, were selected for the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s (CDHE) inaugural Aspiring Educator Honor Roll and were acknowledged at the state capitol on Monday, May 8.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation week, the ceremony recognized two outstanding students from Colorado’s 22 educator preparation programs. CDHE Executive Director Dr. Kim Hunter Reed gave remarks in the West Lobby of the capitol.

“This ceremony recognizes the tremendous impact our future educators will have on their students and the state of Colorado broadly,” said Dr. Reed. “Educators are training the next generation of artists, engineers, scientists and health professionals that will power our economy and enliven our communities. They truly make all other professions possible. We want all teachers and administrators—and especially our young educators—to know Coloradans support and appreciate their invaluable work.”

Elizabeth Carey

Elizabeth Carey, Curriculum and Instruction graduate student, was born and raised in Chicago, IL and received her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Denver in 2016. Carey has excelled academically in the Teacher Education Program, where she worked to build professional and caring relationships with both her mentor teacher and her students at Cory Elementary. As an apprentice teacher in Denver Public Schools, Carey has demonstrated commitment to honoring her students’ diversity and unique needs. She maintains a high degree of professionalism and strives to craft differentiated lessons for her students that meet and exceed the Colorado Academic Standards.

Desiree Seidel

Desiree Seidel, Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education Program graduate student, is a passionate and gifted educator who knows how to create a classroom that is engaging, challenging, and responsive to the individual learning needs of her students. She combines her beliefs on teaching, pedagogical techniques, rapport with students, content knowledge expertise, and professionalism into a highly effective classroom teaching style. Her teaching is guided by the belief that all students can learn and it is her responsibility to find the right balance between teacher learning-objectives and student learning-abilities. Seidel graduated Cum Laude from the University of Denver with a bachelor of arts degree in English with a concentration in education and minors in Spanish and psychology.

The Counseling Psychology (CP) Department has distinguished themselves by having eight CP students receive acceptance into the highly competitive National Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors (NMFP-AC). The fellowships are awarded by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and seek to increase the number of culturally-competent master’s level addiction counselors available to serve underserved and minority populations.

Morgridge student recipients will receive tuition stipends of up to $15,000, receive support to attend the NAADAC Annual Conference and participate in training and mentorship projects designed to enhance their inclusion competency in working with diverse cohorts and transitional age youth.

Cochran Riley

Riley Cochran

Riley Cochran is a 27-year-old student from Denver, Colorado. He enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, attending local sporting events and connecting with others through social and professional events. A graduate of the University of Colorado Denver’s undergraduate program, Cochran majored in psychology and minored in sociology. He is currently anticipating a June 2017 graduation from the University of Denver’s Counseling Psychology program with a master’s in Clinical Mental Health. After an adolescence full of challenges and character growth, Cochran developed a passion for wanting to help others facing the complex intersections of life. He has a specific interest in helping transitional-aged youth involved with the judicial system and struggling with addiction. Cochran currently holds a position as an addiction counselor at Arapahoe House, an organization providing multiple levels of American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) care to a diverse population of clientele within the state of Colorado.

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Christelle Cook

Christelle Cook is a life-long Coloradan who plans to stay in the state as she pursues her mental health career in the coming months. Cook completed her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology through the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently finishing her final year of a master’s program at the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Throughout this program Cook has worked in practicum and internship sites that focused on substance use treatment with adults and crisis stabilization with adolescents. She is grateful for this recognition and looks forward to investing herself in the Colorado mental health profession.

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Demi Folds

Demi Folds is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in the Clinical Mental Health Program with an Addictions Specialization. She earned her BS in psychology from the University of Georgia. Before starting graduate school, Folds tutored student-athletes, worked at a methadone clinic and traveled abroad. She is currently a student intern at a private practice center, providing psychotherapy and brief substance abuse interventions. In her first year of her master’s program, Folds worked with underserved youth at a Denver high school. She is passionate about working with those struggling with and affected by substance use disorders and enjoys conducting research on addictions and underserved populations. Folds plans to eventually obtain her PhD in Counseling Psychology and continue counseling and serving disenfranchised populations.

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Megan Kenney

Megan Kenney is from Maple Grove, Minnesota, and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2015 with a double major in Psychology and Child Adult and Family Services. Following graduation, Kenney continued her studies at the University of Denver where she is in her second year of the Counseling Psychology program in the Clinical Mental Health track working towards an addictions specialization. Aside from school, Kenney enjoys the Colorado mountains, snowboarding, hiking, running, and yoga, along with spending time with friends and family. Following graduation in June 2017, Kenney plans to pursue her passion of working with adolescents and underserved populations.

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Elizabeth Kidd

Elizabeth Kidd is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver and will be graduating with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in June 2017, with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a specialization in addictions. She is an intern at Progressive Therapy Systems,  a sex offender treatment provider. During treatment, Kidd focuses on the dysfunctional response cycle, anger management, and emotional regulation, along with cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy. Prior to her internship, Kidd was a practicum student at Dakota Ridge High School where she worked with adolescents who had substance abuse issues, social anxiety, and difficulties in school. Kidd also works at DU’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic providing couples counseling and working with clients who identify as LGBTQ. Kidd plans to continue seeking minority populations throughout her counseling career.

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Kathleen (Katie) Larkin

Katie Larkin is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and is completing her master’s at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addiction Specialization. Larkin’s goal is to obtain a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) Level III licensure in Colorado. As a child of foster parents, Larkin has personal experience with the foster care system and saw first-hand the impact that addiction can have on both youth and families. It was this experience that pushed her towards a career in the counseling field. Larkin developed her clinical experience working in community mental health with the Salvation Army as a counselor for homeless men with addictions. She is currently working in an acute psychiatric unit in a hospital setting in Denver. Larkin is honored to receive this fellowship and to apply the experience to her  professional career.

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Stephanie Nisle

Stephanie Nisle is pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology with a specialization in addictions at the University of Denver. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 2012 where she participated in a semester abroad French language immersion program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Previously, she has worked as a research assistant analyzing residential substance abuse treatment facilities. Nisle has also worked in the addictions field providing group and individual counseling to adults and adolescents with co-morbid disorders. Additionally, she has spent the past eight years working and volunteering with at-risk and special needs students. The combination of her teaching and work experiences, have led to the formation of her research interests related to personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to adolescent development and substance abuse. In the future Nisle aims to develop programs and interventions to create greater empowerment within these communities.

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Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson was born and raised in Colorado and graduated with a BA in psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addictions Specialization program. Thompson worked for four years for the State of Colorado caring for mentally or physically disabled, severely mentally ill, and disabled sex offender clients. She completed her practicum at Creative Treatment Options as an outpatient addiction counselor and currently works at Arapahoe House, working with clients who suffer from addictions in withdrawal management.  Thompson also serves as an intern at Jefferson Center of Mental Health, working as an outpatient clinician for adults and children. Thompson’s experience growing up in an addictive environment makes her passionate about the value of treatment and prevention.

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