Growing Up Boulder is a partnership between the City of Boulder, Boulder Valley School District, and University of Colorado's Program in Environmental Design. In addition GUB partners with many youth-serving organizations in Boulder. Click here to learn more about our many project partners and supporters. Growing Up Boulder is also indebted to the Program in Environmental Design's Visual Resource Center, especially Lynn M. Lickteig and Stephen Cardinale for their many fabulous photos.
GUB Current Staff
Mara Mintzer, Coordinator
Since 2009, Mara Mintzer has served as co-coordinator for Growing Up Boulder, a child- and youth-friendly city initiative. Prior to working with GUB, Mara was the Director of Belle Haven Community School in Menlo Park, California, where she oversaw child and family support services for hundreds of families on a school campus. She has designed and implemented a wide variety of programs for low-income children, families and neighborhoods in both New York and California. Mara received her Bachelor’s of Psychology with honors from Brown University and her Master’s of Arts in Organizational Psychology with honors from Columbia University.
Cathy Hill, Growing Up Boulder Program Associate
Cathy provides leadership, inspiration, and positive change within educational, environmental, and social settings around the globe. In 2015, she retired from teaching after 32 years of service at Whittier International School, where she most recently taught 3rd grade, her favorite. Within Whittier’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Cathy utilized integration of curriculum and community authentically as an especially powerful tool. Cathy is a board member of PassageWorks Institute, a local non-profit that provides teachers principles and practices which create meaningful and engaged classrooms. Her passions include historical fiction novels, hiking, snowboarding, and summers on Lake Michigan. Cathy is thrilled to be joining Growing Up Boulder.
Sarah Bartosh, Intern, Summer 2016
Sarah Bartosh recently graduated from CU Boulder’s Environmental Design Program with an emphasis in Urban Planning. The past two summers, Sarah has worked directly with youth at one of the top summer camp in the country, Cheley Colorado Camps, in Estes Park. While working there, she developed a passion for youth empowerment and development. During the spring of 2015, she had the opportunity to closely study urban design and livability in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the future, Sarah hopes to continue working with youth through the design of parks and urban play spaces. While interning at Growing Up Boulder, she is excited to learn more about the process of community engagement and interpretation of results and hopes to integrate it into all of her future designs.
JoAnna Mendoza, Intern, Spring-Summer 2016
JoAnna Mendoza is a recent graduate of the CU Boulder in the Environmental Design Program with an emphasis in Urban Planning. Born and raised in Venezuela, she is interested in creating culturally inclusive spaces that promote diversity and equality. Most importantly, JoAnna is passionate about giving typically unheard communities a voice through building trust and meaningful relationships. During her spring semester of 2015, she was part of a team that focused on community planning in Glen Haven, Colorado, where she was first exposed to working with participatory planning strategies. In the future, JoAnna hopes to work alongside disadvantaged communities towards design solutions that directly address their needs. While interning at Growing Up Boulder, she hopes to gain perspective about the processes needed to incorporate participatory planning in her future endeavors.
Lori Carlucci, Volunteer, 2015-2016
For more than 20 years, Lori Carlucci has worked in facilities planning and management with an emphasis on the social aspects of the built environment. Currently Lori is a Facilities Planning and Management Consultant and a volunteer with Growing Up Boulder, a child and youth focused design research group. Lori am exploring socially responsible design. Lori received a Bachelors degree in Facilities Planning and Design from Cornell University and in recent graduate work has explored how the built environment can shape human behavior. Her consulting services have been in both the private and public sectors. She is interested in opportunities in both community planning design and research projects as well as professional facilities planning services.
Danica Powell, Volunteer, 2015-2016
Danica Powell has been implementing mid-to large-scale real estate development and planning projects in the Denver/Boulder region since 2001. Danica is a founding partner of Trestle Strategy Group, a real estate consulting firm specializing in providing custom, strategic, and collaborative management for complex development projects. Working as a consultant to private developers, nonprofits, and governmental agencies, Danica develops innovative and effective community engagement programs to support broader organizational and business goals. Danica is on the Board of Directors for the I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, is a member of the Women’s Council of the Leeds School of Business, and is an active member of ULI. She recently served on the City of Boulder Planning Board. Her degree is in Sustainable Urban Systems from The University of California at Berkeley.
Darcy Varney Kitching, Volunteer, 2015; Program Assistant, 2016
Darcy Varney Kitching is a photographer, urban planner and educator who specializes in documenting what people value about places and how places can function better for people. She helped develop the Children, Youth and Environments journal and research center at the University of Colorado in 2003 and subsequently worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Nairobi, Kenya, before returning to Colorado and starting her own small business consulting with local organizations. Darcy enjoys helping communities articulate their values, using photography as a community development tool, and exploring places on foot with people young and old. She holds masters degrees in education and urban/regional planning.
GUB Recent Staff
Tori Derr, Co-Coordinator, January 2012-June 2016
Tori Derr is a Senior Instructor in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is interested in intersections of people and place, and how engagement of children and youth can contribute to more resilient, vibrant, and sustainable places, especially among under-represented communities. Her research includes how children use biophilic spaces, participatory planning of urban and natural spaces, and people's values and relationships to the natural world. Tori has worked with children and youth in planning and education for more than 20 years. She has worked with diverse populations in The Gambia, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Florida, and Colorado. Tori received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2001. She worked with Growing Up Boulder from January 2012 to June 2016. She will continue to support publications about Growing Up Boulder's work in 2016-2017.
Alyssa Rivas, Intern, Spring 2016
Alyssa Rivas is a senior at CU Boulder in the Environmental Design Program with an emphasis in Urban Planning. Her main areas of interest include transportation and urban development and design. Alyssa is interested in the relationship between people and their environments, their sense of place, and how this impacts the city and its function. She believes that providing children with a connection to the environment, regardless of income, ethnicity or ability, as well as fun, safe places, promotes a positive outlook and can help promote a city’s growth. While interning at Growing Up Boulder, she is looking forward to learning more about the process of participatory planning, improving safety, walkability and play for youth within the community, and aiding in a process that will help to create accessibility to more parks and open spaces that they can call their own.
Angela Kreutz, Visiting Scholar, 2014-2016
Angela Kreutz is a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) postdoctoral fellow with the Program in Environmental Design at University of Colorado Boulder. She received her architectural training from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and completed her PhD studies with the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre at The University of Queensland, Australia. Angela has worked as a researcher for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, as a consultant for the Department of Communities, Queensland Government, and has directed a collection of short films on the childhood and lives of Aboriginal Elders. She has researched, collaborated, and consulted with various Australian Indigenous communities and their children. Her research interests include children’s ethnography, community participatory planning, ecological psychology, and architectural anthropology. Her most recent book is Children and the Environment in an Australian Indigenous Community (Routledge, 2015). Her transdisciplinary research on children and the environment was inspired by her own cross-cultural childhood experiences.
Morgan Huber, Intern, Fall 2015
Morgan Huber is a senior in the Environmental Design Program at CU Boulder. Morgan is passionate about designing healthy communities that provide active transportation options feasible for all ages as well as creating opportunities for community members to access healthy foods. Morgan has been working with youth in various capacities for almost a decade. In her planning career she hopes to incorporate youth perspectives and advocate for youth involvement in urban planning. Through her internship at Growing Up Boulder, Morgan hopes to gain the skills and techniques to be able to incorporate youth into the planning process.
Steve Sommer, Graduate Assistant Fall 2015
Steve Sommer is a PhD student in the program of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder School of Education. Some of his current research interests include community based and participatory action research, mixed media STEM education, meta-cognitive learning strategies, critical student engagement, teacher education, and informal learning spaces. In this capacity, Steve works with GUB to implement curriculum and consider strategies to evaluate and share out successes. For more than a decade Steve has worked as an outdoor educator and course director for wilderness based programming. He has a bachelors degree in Philosophy and Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College.
Emily Tarantini, Program Assistant, summer 2015; Research Assistant, spring 2015; Intern, fall 2014
Emily Tarantini graduated in 2015 from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied Environmental Design with an emphasis in City Planning. Interning with Growing Up Boulder helped Emily better understand the Planning world. As an intern, she learned about the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes before information is compiled and shared with the public or city board members. She has learned the process that goes into having successful interactions and genuine information. Emily continues to work for GUB as a program assistant on special projects.
"Thanks to this organization I know the value children have on our communities
and the inspiring ideas they have been given a chance to share."
"Thanks to this organization I know the value children have on our communities
and the inspiring ideas they have been given a chance to share."
Corey Lunden, Intern, summer 2015
Corey Lunden is an Urban Studies major with a focus on History at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Corey has studied Urban Planning and Society in Chicago and the City of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her work has focused on housing policy and the social dynamics of urban space. She is interested in the potential of participatory planning to create sustainable communities and to effectively redistribute power and resources. In 2015 she worked for Center for Neighborhood Technology, conducting projects and outreach to expand and modernize public transportation in Chicago. At Growing Up Boulder she is assisting with comprehensive planning, open space planning, and conceptualizing a project to further define 15-minute neighborhoods within the City of Boulder. She will be graduating from Earlham in May of 2016 and hopes to pursue a degree in Urban Design. Her interests include bikeability of urban areas, restorative justice, prison abolition, and public health.
Erica Fine, Program Assistant, spring 2015
Erica Fine is a Program Assistant at University of Colorado Boulder’s Growing Up Boulder. She comes to this work with more than 5 years of experience as an instructor and administrator in the fields of environmental, experiential, outdoor, and adventure education. She most enjoys leading backpacking trips and working with 5th and 6th grades, though she has worked with students as young as 4 and as old as 20, from North Carolina to California. Erica received her Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University, where she was involved in the leadership of the Tufts Mountain Club and the Tufts Wilderness Orientation program. Her primary interest is in facilitating the adoption of conservation values and behaviors through research, programming, and advocacy for unstructured play in natural play spaces.
Simge Yilmaz, Visiting Scholar, 2014-2015
Simge Yilmaz is a PhD student and a full time Research Assistant in the department of Early Childhood Education at Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Her main interests and research are related to preschool children’s landscape preferences, young children’s love of nature, and nature education for young children. She is currently a one year visiting scholar at the Environmental Design Program to contribute to her PhD research. She is working with to engage children and youth in the design process for Boulder's Civic Area through the help of participatory research methods.
Alessandro Rigolon, Participatory Design Assistant, fall 2014
Alessandro Rigolon is a PhD student in Design and Planning at the University of Colorado. His research interests include the design of children’s environments as a means to foster their health and well-being, as well as processes of designing with children. His research at CU focuses on children’s access to urban nature as an environmental justice issue. Alessandro received his Bachelor and Master's degrees in architecture from the University of Bologna, Italy. He is a licensed architect and building engineer in Italy. Working for four years in architectural firms in Italy, he designed educational, residential and sport buildings. He has also worked for the University of Bologna as a part-time lecturer, studio instructor and research assistant. His publications address children’s access to urban parks as well as participatory design processes with children.
Ildiko Kovacs, Visiting Scholar, summer 2014
Ildikó G. Kovács is a Master of Environmental Studies – Planning student at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her general interests are in the areas of human rights, social and environmental sustainability, justice and equity, and international community development. Ildi’s work focuses on planning, education, and research with marginalized populations, such as children, youth, and low-income, immigrant, and/or ethnic minority groups. Her specific research interests are community based participatory planning and action research, examining factors related to children’s changing social, cultural, and physical urban environments, and focusing on the public multi-purpose green spaces in urban children’s health, well-being, and resilience. Ildi worked with Growing Up Boulder on the Great Neighborhoods project, the Valmont City Park concept plan update, and the North Boulder Sub-Community Plan update. Her internship position was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Nathan Brien, Intern, spring 2014
Hi, I'm Nathan Brien. I'm a first year ENVD student primarily interested in the relationship between social conditions and the built environment. As an intern with Growing Up Boulder I am afforded ample opportunity to discover and learn from local particularities of these rich interactions. Thanks to the creative input and guidance of our coordinators and the participation of Boulder community members, I am learning the basics of participatory and qualitative research in an applied setting -- tools which will inform and enable my subsequent inquiries in environmental design.
Anna Reynoso, Intern, spring 2014
Hi, my name is Anna Reynoso. I am a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder studying Environmental Design with an emphasis in Landscape Architecture. Boulder has been the perfect place for me these past years. This is why being an intern for Growing Up Boulder has been such an amazing opportunity. I am able to take my passion of design, art, and working with children, and combine them to create a youth friendly environment. With my past experience of babysitting and being an Arts and Crafts Director at a day camp, I have developed skills on how to work with children and help them exceed. I am currently working with the Speech, Learning, and Hearing Center in designing an interactive playground.
Nathalie Doyle, Intern, fall 2013
My name is Nathalie Doyle, and I am a junior studying Environmental Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder. In addition to my Environmental Design degree, I am pursuing a teacher license in elementary level education through CU’s Teacher Licensure Program. In my future, I see myself designing child-friendly spaces within city planning, landscapes, and architectural spaces. Interning with Growing Up Boulder has solidified my decision to combine my two passions: design and working with children. Within Growing Up Boulder, I worked closely with Whittier Elementary School’s 3rd grade classrooms. There, we designed an area within Boulder that focused on dense, affordable, housing, through the eyes of 3rd graders. Their input was invaluable and has impacted my design projects ever since. I will continue to include the opinions of the youth and all further knowledge I gather about youth people’s needs and wants, in my future designs.
Flaminia Martufi, Visiting Scholar, fall 2013
Flaminia Martufi is an Italian Student of the combined bachelor and master in Architecture and Building Engineering from University of Trento. Her main interests are urban planning and environmental design.She worked with Growing Up Boulder on two different projects: the Great Neighborhoods Project with Whittier Elementary and Boulder High School and the the Transportation Master Plan Update, with Youth Services Initiative, Casey Middle School and Boulder High School. She is applying her experiences from Growing Up Boulder to her master's thesis which will design a network of child-friendly spaces in downtown Boulder and along the Boulder Creek.
Gianni Franceschi, Intern, spring 2013
My name is Gianni Franceschi and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I study Environmental Design with an emphasis on Architecture. I worked on the Boulder Civic Area project a bit, and I'm currently working as an intern on a Photovoice Project with kids associated with the Youth Service Initiative in the North Boulder Rec Center. I was raised in Miami, FL, which definitely influenced me to create cultural and ethnically inclusive surroundings wherever they seem to be needed. With two little brothers and numerous volunteer hours with kids, I've found that I work very well with youth. Not only do I influence them on certain levels, but they also influence me in imaginative, creative, and thoughtful ways. My dream is to design sustainable housing sites in South America for low income families. Until then, I am enjoying Colorado and my experience with Growing Up Boulder!
Imani Haupt, Intern, spring 2013
Hello my name is Imani Haupt. I am a junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder studying Environmental Design with an emphasis in Architecture. Having lots of experience with youth, I wanted to expand my knowledge about youth participation and engagement. I have done so by interning with Growing Up Boulder and working on documenting the youth experience through youth interviews. As a designer, it is my intention to get each individual's view on what is being done in their community environment regardless of age or interest, so that what is designed is a reflection of all members of the community which it serves.
Katherine Buckley, Intern, 2012-13 academic year
Hello! I am Katherine Buckley and I am currently a senior at CU Boulder studying psychology and architecture, and interning with Growing Up Boulder. I'll be working on the Boulder Civic Area project and also revisioning Burke Park in South Boulder. I'm originally from San Diego, CA and contrary to most of my fellow Californian classmates at CU, I did not come here for winter sports – in fact, I had never seen snow until I came here! The reason I chose CU was because it's gorgeous and I wanted to try something new and to actually experience different seasons, which was a big shock coming from southern California! However, it turns out that I love it here and know it'll be hard to leave next Spring, but I am excited to pursue urban planning and design in some great city like New York or Chicago!
Kate Armbruster, Intern, fall 2012
Hello everyone! My name is Kate Armbruster. I am senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I will be graduating in the spring with a degree in environmental design with an emphasis in architecture. In the future I want to focus on residential architecture and interior design. Right now I am an intern with Growing Up Boulder and working on the Boulder Civic Area and Burke Park projects. I have a lot of experience working with children and adults. These projects have given me the opportunity to combine working with many different age groups and design; I have loved every moment! In my spare time I enjoy triathlons, painting, any outdoor activity and new adventures. Life is what you make of it; Let’s explore!
Ilaria Fiorini, Visiting Scholar, fall 2012
Ilaria Fiorini is a student of the combined bachelor and master in Architecture and Building Engineering at the University of Bologna (Italy). Her studies relate architecture, urban planning and design. She also has experience as educator for youth and children. She is currently a visiting researcher at CYE to complete her curriculum degree. She is involved in Growing Up Boulder with projects for the Civic Area and the Burke Park and her research focuses also on the design of shading structures for the Columbine Elementary School in Boulder.
Pier Luigi Forte, Visiting Scholar, fall 2012
Pier Luigi Forte is a student of the combined bachelor and master in Architecture and Building Engineering of the University of Bologna (Italy). His interests and research move around architecture and environmental design as part of the wider field of urban development of cities. He is now conducting research as visiting scholar to engage youth in planning the Boulder Civic Area and Burke Park. He is researching also on the design of shading structures for the Columbine Elementary School in Boulder. He is the designer and developer of this website.
"Interning for Growing Up Boulder was a great opportunity and the best decision I made in school. While working with youth on planning and design, I learned how important it is to work with different age groups to represent all sorts of perspectives. It was a unique experience that opened my eyes to the various aspects of city design. The Burke Park Project was amazing! I really believe we positively impacted the students’ lives by giving them the chance to contribute to their community. We gave them the right tools and information and empowered them to use their imaginations to design their ideal park. It was a small scale studio class and the kids were so excited and proud of their work. For me, the most rewarding moment was at the city held community meeting where a few students proudly presented their hard work to local residents who enthusiastically listened. I loved being part of the GUB team and am very thankful for that opportunity. The experiences taught me a lot about what I value and allowed me to start narrowing down what kind of career I might want. It also helped me obtain a comprehensive planning intern position with the City of Boulder. Thank you!!" - Katherine Buckley
Growing Up Boulder is a partnership between the Program in Environmental Design, Boulder Valley School District, and City of Boulder
To contact the webmaster and web desinger you can click here: email