Yazmin Castillo currently works on the development team at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, where she has had the privilege of contributing to impactful projects aimed at inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Her journey with Girls Inc. began nearly 8 years ago as a work-study student through CU Denver, and since then, Yazmin has worn many hats within the organization.
Before joining Girls Inc., Yazmin managed a weekly volunteer base of nearly 300 individuals at Metro Caring. Currently, she serves on the Associate board for the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce supporting the advancement of women in business, and the SPA GOLD board where she plays a role in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. This committee’s focus is on advancing educational interests, promoting social diversity, and providing professional development support to students, alumni, and other communities served.
Yazmin’s commitment to personal and professional growth led her to complete the Impact program with the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation, a leadership program for emerging leaders in Colorado. This experience has further equipped her with the skills needed to make a lasting impact in her community, and she will be returning as a coach to support others going through the program.
Beyond her professional life, Yazmin is an avid reader, fitness enthusiast, and fur mom to a needy Boxer. If she’s not reading a book, at the gym, or cuddling with her dog, you’ll find her traveling to a new destination!
The Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) program at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs is ranked among the top 20 programs in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs rankings for 2024.
As a Director at Community Solutions, Melanie works directly with communities and partners to build and improve systems to end homelessness using data, quality improvement and problem-solving tools from multiple sectors. She is a leader on the Built for Zero team, where she oversees a portfolio of large-scale change partnerships and social impact investments in the United States and abroad. Prior to joining Community Solutions in 2014, Melanie spent six years with the City and County of Denver where she served as the Partnerships Manager for Denver’s Road Home, focusing on policy development, regional collaboration and strategic partnerships.
Over the past decade, Deena Duwaik’s unwavering commitment has been directed towards serving diverse communities, spanning regions across the globe – Jordan, Morocco, Thailand, and Kenya. Coming from a family of Palestinian refugees, Deena has a special place in her heart for immigrant and refugee communities that feeds her passion for this work. In her current role with the Human Rights and Community Partnerships Agency at the City and County of Denver, Deena is dedicated to supporting government entities in cultivating the most inclusive and accessible processes for their programs. This involves navigating the intricate web of policies to ensure that services effectively reach and serve diverse community members.
Beginning as a Traffic Engineering intern in Englewood in 1989 and leaving as the Assistant City Manager 5 years later, Chuck Reid also served as Fraser’s town manager from 1995-2004 and Federal Heights’ City Manager from 2004-2007. Hopping then to the private sector, he spent 13 years at CliftonLarsonAllen providing outsourced management to mainly Title 32 entities, and then spent two years working full-time for the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority. Following the pandemic, Chuck took a couple years off from work, and this year opened The Choice Is Yours, LLP, which provides contract services to local governments and nonprofit organizations.
Colleen Maleski is a public affairs and management consultant for GBSM, supporting nonprofit and government clients to improve organizational processes, effectively communicate with key audiences, and meaningfully include community members they serve in their decision-making processes. Previously, at StriveTogether, she supported more than 70 communities to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to improve student outcomes through continuous improvement, events, trainings, grants, and community co-design. Colleen started her career in corporate social responsibility, executive communications, and public affairs at Raytheon.
Queen'Esther Pompee is an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver where she majors in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs. We sat down with Queen to find out more about her research on the housing crisis in Colorado and her recent honors.
Kharis Eppstein is an audit manager with the City and County of Denver Auditor’s Office and will celebrate her seven-year work anniversary in January 2024. She works primarily on performance audits and has audited topics such as Homeless Encampment Response, Affordable Housing, Parks Management, Mental Health Services in Jail, and the Denver Botanic Gardens. She has also been a field active volunteer with Alpine Rescue Team — a backcountry search and rescue team based out of Evergreen — since 2019 and has been the President since January 2022.
Thanks to her credentials from CU Denver as a Master of Public Administration and Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), Alaina McWhorter catapulted her public service career from an entry- to mid-level financial analyst to a government affairs specialist advising executive leadership at the State Legislature, the City and County of Denver, and numerous nonprofit partners on best practices to achieve policy goals and program outcomes.
Joel Gunn is a Deputy Coroner and Coroner Investigator for the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office in Golden, Colorado and has held this position for for the past three-and-a-half years. Prior to working for Jefferson County, he was a Deputy Coroner for the Douglas County Coroner’s Office in Castle Rock.
Naureen Singh is a Youth Support and Development Specialist at the Asian Pacific Development Center and the Policy Director of Colorado Sikhs. Naureen has also earned her commission and currently works on addressing claims of unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment in the United States Air Force. She graduated with her Master of Criminal Justice degree from the University of Colorado Denver. Singh has extensive professional experience with grassroots organizing, interfaith coalition building, and community building. Recently, she has been selected to lead the Colorado Sikh History Project.
PhD in Public Affairs alumna Tracy Altman is the founder and Executive Director at Museum of AI, which produces immersive experiences and informal learning programs about artificial intelligence. Their mission is to explain AI so people are aware of its potential and pitfalls, and can apply it in their work and daily lives. Besides algorithms, they emphasize creative uses, decision making, public policy, and ethical considerations. They aim to improve technology learning through experience design.
Monica Cutler, Associate Director of Advancement Communications at CU Denver, supports the work of the entire CU Denver Advancement team primarily in digital marketing, which includes mass emails, event registrations, social media outreach, and website management. She discusses what's meaningful about her career, how her education at the School of Public Affairs has impacted her work, and more.
Dallas Elgin is a research scientist at RTI International where he leads research and evaluation studies focused on increasing the effectiveness, equity, and efficiency of programs and policies designed to address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and social determinants of health (SDOH) among children and families.
The National Academy of Public Administration today announced that 60 leaders in the field of public administration, including School of Public Affairs Associate Dean and Professor Christine Martell, have been selected for the 2023 Class of Academy Fellows.
The School of Public Affairs recently had the honor of sitting down with a unique trio of alumni – Elsa Holguín (MPA '11), her husband Ed Lucero (MPA '98), and her daughter Denise Gomez (MPA '16) – a multi-generational example of the impact of SPA’s programs in the greater community.
Kristin Wegner Guilfoyle works at the intersection of technology, environment, and society. She currently leads networks at the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA), at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Greg LeBlanc joined the Town of Snowmass Village in March of 2022 after serving for five years with the City of Grand Junction, Colorado. Prior positions include serving Boulder County, Colorado and the City and County of Denver. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology (Ecology) from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado Denver.
Tony Frank is the Director of Business Development for PCs for People. He is based in the Denver office where he develops partnerships with businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, affordable housing organizations, schools, and other community groups to ensure PCs for People is maximizing the impact of providing affordable computers and low-cost internet across Colorado. He holds a Master of Public Administration with a Local Government Policy concentration from the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.