Growing Up Boulder Founders
Debra Flanders Cushing
Debra Flanders Cushing is currently a senior lecturer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, where she lectures on Landscape Architecture and also serves and the higher degree research coordinator for the School of Design. Previously, Dr. Cushing was an instructor at The University of Colorado where she was also a member of the Steering Committee for the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement. During her time at The University of Colorado she received the Marinus Smith Staff/ Faculty Recognition Award from The University of Colorado Boulder Parents Association and also acquired over eighteen thousand dollars in class development and delivery grants. The research she is doing now primarily focuses on the participation of youth in community design and planning, park design, intergenerational community engagement, and design pedagogy. She has published some of her research on these topics in various journals, such as in Pedagogy and community engagement in environmental design courses and Developing cultural responsiveness in environmental design students through digital storytelling and photovoice.
David Driskell is now Portland's Sustainable Development Strategist. He previously was the Executive Director of Planning, Housing and Sustainability for the City of Boulder. Also, he is the former UNESCO Chair for “Growing Up in Cities.” Driskell is the author of Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth (UNESCO/Earthscan, 2002) and numerous articles; he has taught courses on community-based planning and action research; and David has directed child and youth action research initiatives in Bangalore, New York, and Nairobi.
Currently serving as the superintendent of Greeley-Evans School District 6, Deirdre Pilch represented Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) during the founding of Growing Up Boulder. In her role as BVSD deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent, Dr. Pilch served as a collaborator and champion of GUB's work in the schools. Dr. Pilch's career in education is marked by her leadership at the classroom, school, and district level.
The Honorable Dorothy Rupert, local leader and former Colorado State Senator, helped found Growing Up Boulder in 2009. Dorothy served 35 years as a public high school teacher and counselor, 14 more years in the Colorado House and Senate, and decades in the peace and women’s rights/human rights movements. She has consistently supported education, relentlessly and courageously tackled difficult legislative issues, and traveled the globe for peace. Dorothy embodies commitment, passion, vitality, caring, sincerity, never-give-up determination, and joy.She was among the 1000 women nominated by the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2005.
Louise Chawla is Professor Emerita in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder, former Co-Editor of the journal Children, Youth and Environments, and former International Coordinator of the Growing Up in Cities program of UNESCO. She currently serves as a Research Fellow with the Community Engagement, Design and Research Center in the Program in Environmental Design and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children and Nature Network. She publishes widely on the subjects of child and youth participation in design and planning and the development of active care for the natural world.
Mara Mintzer has been involved with Growing Up Boulder since its inception in 2009, when she agreed to lead the project with no funding but with lots of enthusiasm. First as Co-Coordinator and now as Program Director (and with some funding), she feels privileged to work on such a fantastic project with so many talented colleagues. Throughout Mara's career, she has run programs for children and families, with a special emphasis on serving underrepresented communities. Mara has worked in the non-profit, for profit, government, and now higher-education sector. She is semi-fluent in French and Spanish, and loves to travel.
Willem van Vliet
Willem van Vliet—, currently Professor Emeritus in the Program in Environmental Design in the University of Colorado Boulder, is an urban sociologist with decades of experience in the fields of housing and children’s environments. He taught housing policy and environment and behavior research, established a doctoral program in Design and Planning and the Children, Youth and Environments Center, revived the Children, Youth and Environments journal and served as its lead editor for 13 years, and helped create the Growing Up in Denver and Growing Up Boulder programs to integrate child and youth voices into urban planning and design.