Staff

Denver Urban Scholars has a team of experienced, highly dedicated staff working with our students and their families, mentors, teachers, and benefactors to ensure that students reach their full potential as both a student and a member of the community.

  • Patrick Byrne, MSW, MNM, PhD

    President/CEO

    Patrick is an advocate for at-risk youth, with a focus on improving secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities for disadvantaged students to optimize their career potential. He founded the Byrne Foundation (now Denver Urban Scholars) in 1995, developing the mentoring, volunteer, and academic support programs as well as directing staff and recruiting volunteers. Under his leadership, annual funding for Denver Urban Scholars has grown from $80,000 to over $1.2M. Patrick obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Gonzaga University, and received a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. He completed his Masters in Social Work at the University of Denver in 2006 and in 2012 earned his PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver and Regis University. Patrick is married with three wonderful daughters and enjoys tennis and reading, and is an avid Denver Broncos fan.

  • Jerrica DePari

    Office Manager

    Jerrica is a Denver native. She attended Springer High School in Springer, NM, where she met her husband of 6 years in her freshman year. She received her Associates of Arts degree from Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, CO, and is currently pursuing her BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting and Finance from the University of Colorado Denver. In 2013, she stepped into her first administrative position, working for a mental health treatment facility for youth between the ages of 5 to 18. This is where she fell in love with at-risk youth. She is passionate about enriching the lives of others through her administrative skills. During her free time, Jerrica enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, shopping, party planning, attending hockey games, and spending quality time with her husband, family, and 14 nieces and nephews.

  • Christina Stimson, MNM

    V.P., Finance

    Christina Stimson is the VP of Finance and manages the Human Resource and IT functions for the organization.  Christina has over 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a Masters in Nonprofit Management.  Prior to her position at Denver Urban Scholars, Christina was a nonprofit accounting consultant with NFP Partners and worked with a variety of nonprofit entities large and small.  She also held the position of Program Director for People of Hope Crafts, a Fair Trade program that works with artisans in El Salvador.  In her spare time Christina enjoys snowboarding, hiking, traveling and spending time with her family.

  • Miranda Graul

    V.P., Development & Marketing

    As the V.P. of Development & Marketing for Denver Urban Scholars, Miranda creates and builds diverse funding streams to support youth empowerment in the Denver area. Miranda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Colorado and has dedicated her professional career to supporting the work of mission driven organizations. With more than 15 years in the non-profit sector, Miranda has a variety of experience, having worked for The “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County, March of Dimes, and Butterfly Pavilion. She has a variety of fundraising skills including event fundraising, grant writing, working with major donors, corporate partnerships, and individual giving. When not at work Miranda loves spending time outdoors rafting, camping, skiing, and rock climbing. Miranda also has a passion for good food, loves spending time with family and friends, and feels that these two combine well. You can often find Miranda cooking up fun new recipes for family, or visiting restaurants with friends.

  • Susan Duncombe, MSW, LCSW

    V.P., Programs

    Susan has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with a range of experience working with youth and families. Susan moved to Denver in 1999 to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA in northeast Denver, where she started a school readiness program for Spanish-speaking toddlers and their parents. She left Denver in 2002 to travel throughout Mexico and Central America, then moved to New Mexico to work in a women’s shelter before returning to Denver in 2005. She earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from DePauw University. After working in day treatment and residential treatment as a family therapist, she worked as Youth Development Coordinator with DUS (then Byrne Urban Scholars) from 2008 – 2011, supporting a caseload of students/mentors and managing the mentor recruitment program. She then transitioned to Office Manager from 2011-2012. After serving as Resident Services Director with an affordable housing organization, she returned to the organization in January 2014 as Program Director and is excited to again be part of a dedicated community – youth, families, mentors, staff, board members, and community partners – all working towards impacting the graduation rate and therefore overall life success of youth in Denver. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, walking around Sloan’s Lake, and just spending quality time with her husband, friends and family, and puppy.

  • Kathryn Miller, MSW, LCSW

    Program Director

    Kathryn Miller has been with Denver Urban Scholars since 2014 and currently serves as Program Director. Within her role, Kathryn supervises staff in the Stepping Stones, Milestones, and Capstones programs, and additionally oversees school partnerships, enrollment, and the internship program. Kathryn earned her BA in Sociology from the College of the Holy Cross and an MSW from the University of Southern California. In 2013, Kathryn became licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado. Throughout her diverse clinical and organizing experience, Kathryn has gained expertise in working with youth and families in the areas of domestic violence, homelessness, immigration, and school-based social work. Additionally, Kathryn has organized in both union and political settings, and has taught at the university level. Kathryn is passionate about social justice and empowering youth & families in the Denver community. When not on the job, Kathryn enjoys spending time with her family & their dog Peanut, running, sewing, and crafting.

  • Jonathan Kamm, MNM

    Director of Program Operations

    Jonathan is originally from the Great Lakes state of Michigan, and has worked in and supported youth development for the majority of his professional and volunteer life. In his youth, extensive volunteer work with organizations such as the Battle Creek Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan showed him the power youth possess in their desire to have a positive impact in the world. Graduating with a BA in Biology from Kalamazoo College in 2007, Jonathan soon decided to forgo his original plan to work in a medical career in order to serve youth in a more direct capacity. He moved to Colorado in 2009, and almost immediately fell in love with the beautiful scenery, weather, and people. Jonathan has since worked for such youth-supporting organizations as the Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Denver and Colorado Youth for a Change. In 2016, he graduated from the Masters of Nonprofit Management (MNM) program at Regis University and later that year joined the Denver Urban Scholars team as the Director of Program Operations. Jonathan is an avid disc golfer and loves to share his passion of board gaming with anyone who is willing to sit down, chuck some dice, and have a good time!

  • Kelly Scott

    Marketing and Events Manager

    Kelly brings over seven years’ experience in Denver’s nonprofit sector. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science and from the University of Denver in 2011 with a M.S.W. Her experience includes residential treatment at Mount Saint Vincent Home for Children, clinical case management and group facilitation at SafeHouse Denver, and program development and evaluation for the American Humane Society. She has worked in several different capacities for Denver Urban Scholars, including as Community Outreach Manager, Development Coordinator, and Marketing and Events Manager. She is passionate about education, social justice and the Denver community. In her free-time she enjoys hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family.

  • Barbara Decker, MSW

    Program Manager, Capstones

    Barbara has been with Denver Urban Scholars since 2008 and now works with the Capstone Program, which provides case management and mentoring for underserved students after they complete high school.  She has spent her career working with students at the university and high school levels who have been marginalized in the education system. She worked at the University of Denver’s Learning Effectiveness Program and taught at the Women’s College at DU. Later, she directed a comprehensive support program for students with learning disabilities and ADHD at a Denver high school. Barbara earned both her BA in Sociology and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver in the Graduate School of Social Work. With two teenagers, her hobbies revolve around learning to love her children’s hobbies (yay, rugby and amateur theater productions!). An ideal day for her would involve a long walk with her husband and fabulous greyhound, a dinner at home with her family, and curling up on the couch with a good book.

  • Esmeralda Rodriguez, BSW

    Program Manager, Capstones

    Esmeralda (Esme) is a full time bilingual Capstone Program Manager and is dedicated to working with youth and families to achieve post-secondary goals. Esme was born and raised in northeast Denver and graduated from Montbello High School. She started her career working with youth and families at Colorado State University. After graduating with a BSW, she began working for a non-profit organization where much of her work focused on serving youth and families who were involved in the juvenile justice system in Colorado. Esmeralda has worked in a variety of settings, including student affairs and higher education, teaching English as a Second Language abroad, advocacy, and program development. Esme currently runs our Peer Mentoring program at the Auraria campus and has presented at the annual Colorado Mentoring Summit. In her free time, Esmeralda is exploring new opportunities to grow both personally and professionally, enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, going to the beach, traveling, and watching the Rockies and Broncos play.

  • Kerry Entwisle, MSW, LSW

    Program Manager, Milestones

    As a Milestones Program Manager, Kerry works closely with students, mentors, families, and schools to provide support for students as they navigate high school and formulate post-secondary plans. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Kerry attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she received her BA in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. During the 2013-2014 school year, Kerry interned with Denver Urban Scholars while completing her MSW and Social Work with Latinos/as Certificate at the University of Denver. She then transitioned into her current full-time position. Since 2007, Kerry has worked professionally with children and youth in a variety of capacities, including substance abuse, residential treatment, advocacy, mentoring, case management, and program development. She is passionate about working with and advocating for youth as well as education, and loves that she gets to combine these two things in her work at Denver Urban Scholars. When Kerry is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, gardening, skiing, camping, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog.

  • Luz Navarrete, MSW

    Program Manager, Milestones

    Luz has worked with children and youth in various capacities including as a case manager at a residential treatment center, camp counselor for youth with disabilities, respite care provider, and school social worker for Denver Public Schools. Luz is passionate about mentoring and has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2011. She has also worked in the international education sector, leading experiential and cross-cultural exchange programs for high school students in Spain and Argentina. Luz received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She grew up in Denver and is Mexican-American. In her free time she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and is a travel enthusiast. Luz advocates for social justice and believes in students’ social, emotional, and academic success.

  • Rebecca Rothkopf, MSW

    Program Manager, Milestones

    Rebecca is a Program Manager  for scholars attending Venture Prep and Denver School of Science and Technology. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Colorado State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver. Rebecca has experience working with youth in a variety of settings, including serving as an academic tutor at an alternative high school in Seattle and supervising undergraduate work study students at Adams State University. When she’s not working, Rebecca likes to hike (or more accurately, stumble) up 14ers, take lots of photographs, draw, and explore new places.

  • Eduardo Viezca

    Program Manager, Milestones

    Eduardo was born in Ciuadad Juarez, Mexico and grew up in southwest Denver where he attended Denver Public Schools. His interest in mentorship and working with youth began to ferment during his time as an undergraduate student at CU Boulder. His experience is multi-faceted and ranges from working in university academic and residence life departments to working in enrollment management at both the K-12 and college levels. In 2012, he helped design and create a college readiness program at Metro State University for incoming high school freshmen at DPS (which has evolved into their 21st Century College Readiness Center). Eduardo is a full-time bilingual Milestones Case Manager with Denver Urban Scholars. During his free time, he enjoys conversing about critical race theory with friends, going to concerts, and getting lost in Colorado’s vast yet eclectic terrain.

  • Nikte Contreras

    Program Manager, Stepping Stones

    Nikte is a Stepping Stones Program Manager. She has worked with college and high school students from diverse backgrounds throughout her programming career. Nikte was born and raised in North Denver, and received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in Ethnic Studies in 2013 from the University of Colorado Denver. Nikte dove right into her Masters of Social Science program with an emphasis in Social Justice at her alma mater. In her free time she enjoys traveling, museums, and baseball games.

  • Maddy Mitchell, MSW

    Program Manager, Stepping Stones

    Maddy started with Denver Urban Scholars as a mentor and was excited by the opportunity to get more involved as a full-time staff member in 2015, after graduating with her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver. She has many years of experience working with youth in a variety of settings, including teaching, being a camp counselor, nannying, running an after-school program, and facilitating anti-bullying workshops for middle and high school students. Maddy holds a Social Work with Latinos Certificate from the University of Denver and is passionate about utilizing her Spanish skills to work with Latino families. Originally from Massachusetts, Maddy is a die-hard Boston sports fan, and is used to defending her teams here in Denver (Go Pats!!). In her spare time, she likes to be outdoors as much as possible, read good books, find the best food in Denver, and hang out with her very handsome husky mix, Bo.

  • Katherine Lord

    Program Intern, Milestones

    Katherine is an intern with the Milestones Program and a MSW graduate student at Metro State University of Denver. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Katherine graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado in 2008. Most recently, she served as the Director of Marketing and Events for The Kitchen, a Boulder-based restaurant group, where she oversaw the marketing and events teams, contributed to the company’s strategic planning and expansion efforts, and participated in various executive trainings centered on leadership and communication. Through her graduate studies, Katherine hopes to gain knowledge surrounding governmental and organizational systems in order to help companies better support their employees and communities. In her free time, Katherine enjoys being outdoors, working hard at the gym, and playing or listening to live music.