The 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
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 tutoring programs, as well as directing staff, and recruiting volunteers. Under his leadership, funding for Denver Urban Scholars has grown from $80,000 to over $950,000. Patrick obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Gonzaga University, and received a Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. He completed his Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2006 and in 2012 earned his PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver and Regis University.
Barbara Decker, MSW
Capstones Program Lead
Barbara has spent much of her professional career working with students with disabilities at both the university and high school levels. She directed a comprehensive support program for students with learning disabilities and ADHD at a Denver high school. Previously she worked at the University of Denver’s Learning Effectiveness Program and taught at the Women’s College at DU. Barbara is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver. Barbara earned both her BA in Sociology and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver.
Kelly Scott, MSW
Community Outreach Manager
Kelly was born and raised in Denver and is passionate about youth advocacy and building local community. She received her MSW from the University of Denver in 2011. She has worked in youth advocacy in many different capacities, including as an Educational Mental Health Worker at Mount Saint Vincent Home for Children; as an MSW Intern at SafeHouse Denver; and as an MSW Intern at American Humane Association.
During her free time, Kelly loves to do anything outdoors with her husband and Golden Retriever, Clementine, but can most often be found hiking, skiing, backpacking, doing yoga and running.
Christina Stimson, MNM
Accountant/Human Resources Manager
With more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit industry, Christina has worked teaching children in both NGO and nonprofit settings. She also has supported Fair Trade by working with artisans in the third world and marketing their hand-crafted products in the US. With a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management, Christina has a true passion for the industry.
Christina has more than five years of Accounting and HR experience. She has worked for many local nonprofits including radio, foundations, colleges and international nonprofits. She is also an experienced for-profit Accountant. Happy to be at home in the nonprofit industry, Christina appreciates and supports the mission of Denver Urban Scholars. When she is not working, you can find Christina traveling with her husband, hiking with her dogs or enjoying a fantastic afternoon with her daughter.
Miranda Graul, BS
As the Development Director for Denver Urban Scholars, Miranda helps create and build 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 nearly 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.
Nadine Bridges, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
Nadine has worked for Denver Urban Scholars for four years. In 2009, she interned as a co-facilitator for the Stepping Stones Middle School Program. Upon graduation, in 2010, she was hired as a full time case manager for their Milestones High School Program. In 2011, she was promoted to the position of Youth Development Coordinator. Nadine earned her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Denver along with a Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as in 2010. She has dedicated herself to working with and advocating for under-served youth for the past 17 years. She has volunteered in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps in the youth development sector; started her own mentor program during her undergraduate years at the College of Charleston; and researched, designed, and taught Spanish at a charter school in South Carolina. In her free time, Nadine loves to spend time with her loving partner, line dance, cheer for her beloved Red Sox and New England Patriots as well as cook.
Sally Vizas, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
A former intern, Sally recently returned to Denver Urban Scholars as a full time Case Manager with the Milestones program. During her internship at DUS Sally worked with the middle school students in the Stepping Stones program. She has spent the last two years working at Colorado Youth at Risk, a mentoring organization in Denver, where she worked with students at Manual, East and George Washington High Schools. Sally received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2012. Prior to returning to school she spent 5 years working in Development and Fundraising for Denver area nonprofits. Sally is a transplant from California but has finally grown accustomed to calling Colorado home after 13 years living in the Denver Metro area. In her spare time she enjoys cooking (but mostly eating), watching football, and travelling.
Tessa Tuetken, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
Tessa graduated from the University of Iowa with a BSW and the University of St. Thomas with an MSW. She started working with children with developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder after moving to Hawaii in 2007 and continued that work when moving to Minneapolis, MN to pursue a graduate degree. After finishing her grad work she took the opportunity to teach English in Santiago, Chile for a year. Currently, she is completing a yoga teacher training and plans on teaching yoga classes in her free time.
Susan Duncombe, MSW, LCSW
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 the former 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 has returned to the organization this 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.
Alexandra Wald, MSW
Stepping Stones Program Manager
Alex graduated from the University of Denver where she received her Master degree in Social Work. Her greatest passion in life is empowering youth through establishing the necessary support structures for them to make positive choices and achieve success in life. Her previous professional experience includes developing and facilitating after-school based mentoring programs for youth at Kepner MS, Lincoln HS, and DCIS in Denver. She has worked in early childhood development as well as internationally in Colombia and Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) developing and implementing educational programming for youth of all ages. She is currently working towards receiving her clinical licensure, and enjoying learning about all aspects of adolescent development. When she is not at work, you can find her cooking up something tasty and taking full advantage of the outdoors with her fiancé and dog Wilson.
Shenelle Roebuck, MSW
Stepping Stones Case Manager
Shenelle graduated from the University of Denver in 2010 with a Master’s degree in Social Work. Over that past five years, Shenelle has worked in outpatient, day treatment and residential treatment settings. She has experience working with adolescents with substance use, mental health disorders, educational and delinquency issues and their families. She is currently working on her clinical social work license and addiction counselor certification.
Martha Hunter, BA
Martha recently moved to the area and is thrilled to be on staff at the Denver Urban Scholars. Until this past September, Martha was living in Chattanooga, TN, where she received her undergraduate degree in English. She has held previous administrative experience through the athletics program at her alma mater. Since working with the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy as a grant research intern, Martha has had a passion for empowering youth through education. She has held various teaching and tutoring roles over the past several years, including her most recent work this summer as a teaching assistant for a creative writing class through Johns Hopkins summer programs. Although she unintentionally spends much of her free time getting lost in Denver, Martha also enjoys riding her bike, cooking, and writing.
Kerry was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She completed her BA in Sociology and a minor in Spanish from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She is currently an intern with Denver Urban Scholars while completing her MSW and Social Work with Lainos/as Certificate from the University of Denver. She is a Milestones group facilitator and manages a small caseload. Kerry has more than 6 years of experience working with children and youth in a variety of capacities including substance abuse, residential treatment, advocacy, mentoring, and program development. She is very dedicated to working with youth, and is excited to incorporate her newly discovered passion for education.
Stepping Stones Intern
Andrea Martin is a Foundation year Student at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. Before getting into her current direction in life, she had been in various sales and fundraising positions. Her love for working with people and her drive for social justice led her in the direction of social work. Andrea is thrilled to be working with the Denver Urban scholars and staff. A bit about her background: Andrea grew up in Vermont. Six and a half years ago, she moved to Colorado to find a better lifestyle. She has many active and outdoorsy hobbies such as running, hiking, biking, skiing, and most recently, competing in triathlons. Andrea is involved at her school as an ally two student groups; Queer Equality Alliance and Shades of Brown. Outside of school, she volunteers and is a member on the young professional boards of both Brent’s Place and Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association. She lives in Denver with her husband Kyle and their very smart cat Newton.
Stepping Stones Intern
Laurel graduated from the University of Denver in 2011 with a BA in Psychology and Spanish. She is currently completing a Masters in Social Work at the University of Denver and plans to graduate in 2014 with a focus on high-risk youth as well as the Social Work with Latinos(as) certificate. In the past, she has interned with Judi’s House and the Denver Department of Human Services in the Recruitment, Training, and Adoption unit. She also has experience working with the Fostering Healthy Futures study at the Kempe Center and in residential treatment at Excelsior Youth Center. She loves working with kids and youth and hopes to find a career in this field when she graduates.