Welcome to the Anthropology Department's Mentorship Program! The mentorship program builds bridges between graduate students and their desired careers by pairing incoming students with professionals working in an area of their interest. This page will give you a description of our mentors, most of whom are graduates of our program, and who are now using their MA in Anthropology in the workforce or as doctoral students.
Please feel free to contact either Sarah or Emily with any questions regarding the mentor program.
Dalia Abdulrahman graduated from the Medical Anthropology Program in 2016. She has worked with Denver's refugees and immigrants on diverse health issues for agencies such as Ecumenical Refugee & Immigration Services, the Colorado Department of Health & the Environment, and Aurora Mental Health Center since 2012. Having been an asylum seeker in Europe, Dalia is a keen advocate for the cause of refugees and immigrants. While working as a case manager at one of Denver's resettlement agencies she gained insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the resettlement process and the mental and physical toll it takes on refugees. Her Master's thesis, pending publication, explains how the dynamics and shortcomings of the federal resettlement program inadvertently cause lead poisoning among refugee children.
Dalia continues to work with the refugee population in Denver. Currently, she works for the Denver Department of Human Services where she is a social worker for the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program. Her long-term career plans are to obtain a PhD degree in migration studies and a position at the federal level to influence resettlement and immigration policy from within.
Paige Backlund Jarqun, DrPH, MPH earned a master's degree in public health, with a focus on community health education, from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2010. She finished her Doctor of Public Health degree in community and behavioral health in 2016, also from the Colorado School of Public Health. Paige has worked in community-based public health for more than 15 years with various organizations including the Peace Corps, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' (PPRM) Education Department, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), among others.
Paige is the Senior Program Manager for the State Innovation Model Extension Service at the Colorado Health Institute. Paige supports regional health connectors and their host organizations throughout Colorado, as well as program development, training and eval uation activities. Paige has served in mentoring programs through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Leadership and Organizing for Change training program, and with the Colorado Public Health Association; she has also had the opportunity to support multiple students through internships and their final projects. She is constantly humbled by the amazing students she gets to work with and feels like she learns more than what she gives! On the weekends you can find Paige hanging out with her partner and their two children, playing the guitar, and digging in their community garden plot.
Shelby Chapman graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Master's Degree in Anthropology in 2011. She received a Graduate Certificate in Public Health from the University of Colorado in 2013. Shelby worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 2010-2014 as a Health Educator in the Refugee Health Program of Colorado. Her primary duties were to educate newly arrived refugees about preventive health while considering the unique needs of the refugee(s) being served. Shelby also developed presentations and provided training to medical and social services providers along the Front Range about the history and cultural background of the refugee populations in Colorado. Shelby also helped start a Refugee Health Resource Center that assisted refugees in navigating the complex US healthcare system.
Shelby currently works for Children's Hospital Colorado as the Health Literacy Program Manager. The program encompasses all patient/family education and its overall mission is to improve health equity. The three core priorities are providing skills to facilitate spoken communication between staff and patients/families, improving written communication, and improving the navigability of the health system. Shelby is also leading a system-wide effort to screen for and address the social determinants of health (SDoH) as part of the organization's Population Health Strategy. Shelby helped the organization institute universal screening for the SDoH in its primary care clinics and is currently working to expand screening to additional areas of the hospital. Shelby also serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee.
Kevin Darcy earned his MA in Anthropology at CU Denver in December 2014 with a primary focus on applied medical anthropology. Briefly, Kevin was part of the CU Denver Food Systems Research Group, carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania, Guatemala, and two separate projects in Denver as part of two different courses. Through courses taken at CU Denver, Kevin worked with a local immigrant community, and guided college freshmen through a Qualitative Methods course. Kevin is currently a third year PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at CU Boulder, and is employed as a Lead Researcher with the Accessibility and Usability Lab. In his capacity as Lead Researcher for the Accessibility and Usability Lab, his current interdisciplinary project is focused on the lived realities and experiences of low vision and blind students at the CU Boulder campus.
Kevin's research interests include Critical Medical Anthropology, the Anthropology of Policy and Law, Governmentality, Immigration, Embodiment, and Critical Race Theory. Kevin's dissertation research is motivated by the relationship between immigration and health, with a particular focus on how policy, law, and discourse shape immigrant subjectivities and health outcomes.
Jaime received an MA in anthropology from CU Denver, with her primary interests in migrant health and the Latino day laborer population in Denver. Jaime received her undergraduate degree at Metro State, studying anthropology, African history, and nonprofit administration. Jaime has worked for a nonprofit in Denver that partnered with school districts to administer the School Health Services program, maximizing reimbursement from Medicaid for special education students. Jaime currently works as a research assistant for Health Management Associates, a for-profit healthcare research and consulting firm. In that role, she conducts research and evaluations for a variety of projects ranging from LGBTQIA mental health service delivery to community health needs assessments. Jaime participated in a study abroad program funded by the US State Department that took place in northern Ethiopia as a senior at Metro State.
Andrés holds a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in physiology and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health. He is currently pursuing his MPH at the Colorado School of Public Health. Andrés Guerrero began his public health career in the year 2000 working as a research assistant at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His work at the university focused on outreach, educating people who inject drugs on harm reduction methods, and assisting them with entry into drug treatment. He then moved to Peer Assistance Services, a private non-profit agency, to manage a federal SAMHSA grant that aimed to reduce the risk of HIV, viral hepatitis and substance abuse among minorities who were recently released from the Colorado Department of Corrections. He began at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment in the summer of 2009 in the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division. He is currently the Prescription Drug Overdose Unit manager. His professional areas of interest are drug user health, qualitative research, and digital storytelling. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering, hiking, fishing and backpacking.
Emily has a broad education and training background, including a M.A. in medical anthropology and a double B.A. in history and Hispanic studies. For the past several years Emily has been under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Lutfey Spencer, whose work has contributed greatly to our appreciation of the fundamental relationship of socioeconomic status (SES) and health. In addition to her dissertation research, she has collaborated with Dr. Lutfey Spencer on research examining hospice underutilization among end-stage hospice patients. Their hospice research has resulted in a first-authored publication, presentations at numerous academic conferences and meetings, and an additional co-authored publication. Her professional and educational experiences have provided training in a wide range of methodological research approaches that includes: in-depth interviewing, conducting focus groups, quantitative modeling, digital storytelling, and extensive fieldwork.
Emily is a PhD candidate in the Health & Behavioral Sciences program at UCD. Emily's primary research focus is on SES health disparities and the influence of health insurance policies on the relationship between SES and health care. Her dissertation project uses innovative mixed-methods and case study of access to BRCA genetic testing among Coloradans diagnosed with breast cancer from 2009-2016 to empirically investigate the relationship among SES, type of health insurance plan and access to new medical technology. Outside of her academic pursuits, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors with her family (she has two boys, ages 5 and 2), traveling, and is an amateur filmmaker.
Nick holds a BA in Education and a minor in History and Sociology from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, and a master's degree in Anthropology with a focus on Sustainable Development and Political Economy from the University of Colorado, Denver. Nick has worked at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains Refugee and Asylee Programs as the Employment Team Lead, and was a middle school teacher at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, where he taught middle school history to a largely immigrant and refugee populations.
Nick has worked in the U.S. refugee resettlement field since 2013. Nick Lesley is the Employment and Training Coordinator at CDHS' Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP). Nick has been at CRSP since April, 2016. Mr. Lesley works with refugee-serving agencies and other government entities to help ensure refugees receive a wide range of education and skills training in order for refugees to obtain living wage employment and begin to rebuild their lives in the United States.
Cori graduated from CU Denver in 2015, earning her MA in medical anthropology. While in the program, her main interests included policy, law and government. Cori landed a 2 year policy internship with a Colorado state representative, which gave her the opportunity to gain real, meaningful experience in the world of politics. She put her skills as a qualitative researcher to use, assigned to research a variety of issues on senate and house bills concerning violation of civil rights, impacts on services and funding to healthcare, and many other state actions on health reform. Her goal after graduating was to work in government while also incorporating medical anthropology and was lucky enough to secure a job that gave her that very opportunity.
Cori currently works for the City of Boulder, Department of Human Services, and her passion lies in working to contribute positive changes in policies that protect the poorest, most vulnerable people in our community. Cori works closely with the City Council to address a variety of issues that include health equity, civil rights, homelessness, housing, living wage, substance education and awareness, youth and seniors, and much more. There is great potential and value for anthropology in the informing of public health policy.
Courtney graduated in 2012 with a PhD in Health & Behavioral Sciences from CU Denver and has a Masters in socio-cultural anthropology from University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006. Courtney conducted her dissertation research on the impacts of medical tourism on the socialized health care system in Costa Rica. The study was ethnographic in nature and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Courtney received a fellowship in the Health and Global Change Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an institute that focuses on creating sustainable solutions to global problems. In addition, she has conducted numerous research projects in the field of health and health care, including several studies with the University of Colorado Medical School and Colorado Health Outcomes (COHO). Courtney has also taught classes in public health at the University of Colorado Denver, including Global Health and Capstone in Public Health.
Courtney currently works in research and evaluation at the Colorado Trust, a health and social justice foundation with the mission of achieving health equity here in Colorado. Here, her primary project is in community empowerment and resident-driven change in communities throughout the state. Courtney loves living in Colorado and getting to know different communities throughout the state. She also enjoys travel and outdoor activities here in Colorado with her family and two young children!
Tara received her MA in Medical Anthropology in 2010. During her time at CU Denver, she also worked as a Research Assistant for the Health and Behavioral Sciences department. Tara has held a wide wage of occupations since graduating with her degree, including as a Surveillance Associate at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and as a Rate/Financial Analyst at the Colorado Division of Insurance. Tara currently works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) Office. This program aims to lower the cost of healthcare, better the quality of healthcare, and improve the health of the Colorado population overall.
Tara also works as a Program Coordinator for the State Two Generation Program through the office of Governor John Hickenlooper. This program approaches health with a dual generational focus, with the family as a single unit of focus.
Susanna received her M.A. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Colorado Denver and wrote her thesis on the provision of doulas to support women placing children for adoption. She continued her graduate work in the Reproductive Health Lab at Oregon State University and returned to Denver in 2014 to work with an all options adoption agency. Susanna Snyder is an Applied Medical Anthropologist with eight years of experience in maternal child health research, education, and advocacy.
Susanna has worked as a research coordinator with the Midwives Alliance of North America, a consultant with the Oregon Health Authority and a doula for women seeking a mother-friendly birth experience. She currently serves as the Maternal Child Health Policy Specialist for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), the department responsible for administering Health First Colorado, Colorado's Medicaid Program. In her role, she manages special programs for vulnerable populations of pregnant women and drives initiatives to improve the physical and mental health of mothers and their children. From case management to federal reporting, facilitating focus groups to implementing evidence-based practices, Susanna is committed to understanding and alleviating the unique pressures that women face when attending to their reproductive health.