Maximize your returns! File your taxes securely and for free at GetAheadColorado.org.

 
1

About us

#FFFFFF
#FFFFFF

Stay up to date

Subscribe to email notifications about environmental justice events and other important updates.

Contact us

If you have ideas, feedback, or questions about environmental justice, please email us at cdphe_ej@state.co.us.

#FFFFFF

Join our team

Check back here soon for opportunities to join our team in advancing environmental justice for all Coloradans.

#FFFFFF

Meet the team

#FFFFFF

Lubna Ahmed Headshot (Circle Crop)
Lubna Ahmed (she/hers)

Environmental Justice Boards Manager

Lubna Ahmed is passionate about working at the community level to build capacity and advance the sustainable well-being of under-resourced and disproportionately impacted populations. Lubna was born and raised in Ohio and holds a BA in Psychology from Miami University and a Master’s in Public Health from George Washington University.

After working at a variety of environmental conservation nonprofits in DC, Lubna served as an Environmental Educator with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and returned to the states to work as the Director of Environmental Health at WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, NY. She most recently joined CDPHE’s Environmental Justice Unit after working as the Director of Water Program at Groundwork Denver.

Lubna loves all things food including cooking, baking, and of course eating. She enjoys hiking, dancing, drawing, gardening, watching and reading sci-fi, and playing the ukulele.

Contact Lubna

#FFFFFF

Diana Flores Headshot (Circle Crop)
Diana Flores (she/hers)

Project Manager

Diana is a first-generation Guatemalan American. She grew up in Colorado and loves all there is to do and see here. Diana enjoys hiking, traveling, and being in nature.

She holds a bachelor's degree in Public Health from the University of Colorado Denver. During her time at UCD, she participated in community service trips to the Navajo Nation and Guatemala. Diana earned her Master's degree in Public Health Administration from Fort Hays State University. She is passionate about health equity, social justice, and community empowerment. 

Previously she worked in clinical research on a variety of clinical, public health, and mHealth studies.

Contact Diana

Tonya Johnson Headshot (Circle Crop)
Tonya Johnson (she/hers)

Interpretations Specialist

Tonya is a Nationally Certified Medical Interpreter with more than 20 years of experience. She has experience interpreting a diverse range of events from board meetings to city government, community meetings, and medical appointments.

Tonya received her undergraduate degree from The University of Colorado. She lived in Mexico City where she attended university and worked as an interpreter and consultant for several Mexican companies and non-profit agencies.

After leaving Mexico, she was a field consultant and interpreter for the University of Miami Field Epidemiology Survey Team and the Panamanian Ministry of Health working on health programs, rural medical treatment, scientific studies, and clinical trials in the San Blas Islands.

Most recently, Tonya has interpreted a wide variety of community events for the Boulder Valley School District, the City of Boulder, the City of Louisville, and the City of Lafayette.

Tonya loves to travel and enjoys cycling and hiking along the Front Range.

Contact Tonya

#FFFFFF

Rosario Russi Headshot (Circle Crop)
Rosario Russi (she/hers)

Translation & Interpretation Specialist

Rosario studied law, linguistics, literature, and French translation and interpretation in her native country of Uruguay. She emigrated to the US as a young adult, where she has worked as a Spanish translator and interpreter for the past 30+ years

Throughout her career, Rosario has specialized in Education/Special Education, Health, and Marketing, and freelanced for many years, providing services in all stages of the translation process for publishing houses like Pearson/Scott Foresman, McDougal Littell, and Houghton Mifflin, a wide variety of agencies, and several Colorado organizations. Rosario served as an in-house translator and interpreter for Jeffco Public Schools, Denver Public Schools and, most recently, for Children’s Hospital Colorado. She has translated a variety of materials, including some weather-related apps and a series of award-winning educational materials about the climate for UCAR.

Rosario thoroughly enjoys being a language conduit and is very passionate about advocating for language equity and empowering second language learner communities. She loves traveling and learning how other people live, as much across the globe as across town. Hiking, yoga, indoor cycling are some of her favorite practices, as well as reading or watching good survival stories. Rosario is also a Certified Massage Therapist and Aerobics Instructor.

Contact Rosario

Morgan Cameron Headshot (Circle Crop)
Morgan Cameron (she/hers)

Program Assistant

Morgan Cameron joined the Environmental Justice Unit in March 2022, with a passion for utilizing her organizational skills to help CDPHE further support disproportionately impacted communities. She previously worked as a Program Manager for the West Colfax Community Association in Lakewood, working to foster and sustain an engaged community and the economic vitality of the West Colfax corridor. Prior to the nonprofit world, she worked for the National Park Service supporting the Geographic Information Systems Council (GISC) and National Geospatial Program in their resource development efforts.

Morgan earned her Masters of Applied Geography and Geospatial Science from the University of Colorado, Denver, following a Bachelors of Earth Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA. Morgan grew up in southern California, but has enjoyed living in Denver for 5 years. She loves K-pop, gardening, the fiber arts, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with her friends.

Contact Morgan

#FFFFFF

Gabriella Boehm Headshot (Circle Crop)
Gabriella Boehm (she/hers)

Grants Specialist

Gabriella (Gabi) Boehm is a Cleveland, Ohio native who holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Master's in Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences, from Kent State University. While in school she had the opportunity to participate in multiple immersion trips to Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador, where she learned about local public health efforts and challenges. Gabi's passion stems from her desire to reduce health inequities and improve quality of life. 

In her previous roles, Gabi worked as an Account Manager for Be Well Solutions, a COVID-19 contact tracer for Franklin County Public Health, and as an Adjunct Professor for Kent State's College of Public Health where she assisted MPH students with their Applied Practice Experience projects. Gabi loves food (cooking + eating), walks/hikes with her dog, live music, and stand-up paddle boarding. 

Contact Gabriella

Rebecca Vigil Headshot (Circle Crop)
Rebecca Vigil (she/hers)

Community Engagement Specialist

Rebecca has been at the forefront of Environmental Justice issues in Colorado's Disproportionately Impacted Communities for over ten years with extensive policy, advocacy, communication, and creative leadership background. Rebecca holds a BS in Communications with honors, and her degree specializes in integrated communications. 

Rebecca is a 4th generation Coloradan whose family's historical heritage has been traced back 18 generations to the region. She will support the Environmental Justice Program by employing best practices to effectively engage with disproportionately impacted communities across Colorado. 

In her new role, she will serve as a liaison to DI Communities, building trust and increasing meaningful engagement by improving the two-way flow of information, increasing responsiveness to community questions and concerns, and advancing environmental justice. 

In addition to her extensive environmental background, she is also a professional artist. She has completed three internationally renowned residencies focused on fostering visionary thinking in the arts and sciences to promote innovation and creative solutions through a spectrum of interactions between the arts and sciences and positive change in the environment and the world. Her work has been featured and published at local, national, and international levels.

Contact Rebecca

#FFFFFF

Rani Kumar Headshot (Circle Crop)
Rani Kumar (she/hers)

Research & GIS Analyst

Rani has spent her career combining her passion for environmental justice with the illustrative power of spatial data analytics. Prior to joining CDPHE, she worked as a GIS analyst with the Environmental Integrity Project working on air and water quality research related to oil and gas development.

She holds a Master of Environmental Management as well as certificates in geospatial analysis and community-based environmental management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Before her graduate studies, she worked as an elementary school science and Spanish teacher, including serving as an Environmental Educator at Peace Corps Nicaragua.

She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Spanish from the University of San Diego. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Rani loves biking, hiking, and traveling, having spent four years living in Central and South America.

Contact Rani

Sambridhi Pandey Headshot (Circle Crop)
Sambridhi Pandey (she/hers)

Communications Specialist

Sambridhi moved from Nepal to pursue her Master of Science in Marketing at the University of Colorado Denver in 2018 where she specialized in branding. Sambridhi spent more than 4 years working in marketing and communication roles for several organizations.

In her last role, she worked as a Digital Content Coordinator for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. During her time at NREL, her projects involved working for the Department of Energy, specifically for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. Additionally, she also contributed to Energy Justice-related communication projects at the lab.

Sambridhi loves hiking, traveling, adventures in the wilderness, and learning new languages.

Contact Sambridhi

#FFFFFF

headshot
Elizabeth Scherer (She/hers)

Supplemental Environmental Projects Coordinator

Elizabeth Scherer has now joined the Environmental Justice Program as the Supplemental Environmental Projects Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She has served in this role for 1.5 years and worked at the department for over 10 years. In her previous roles, she served as the Air and Water Manager at the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment as well as Denver's Planning Section Chief for the COVID-19 response.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Geography and Anthropology. She completed the Regional Institute of Health and Environmental Leadership's Advanced Leadership Training Program in 2016. She currently volunteers as a leadership coach for the program and is training to become an Associate Certified Coach.

Elizabeth is passionate about physical and emotional wellness. She is also an avid road biker, yogi, bibliophile, meditator, actress, traveler, and martial artist (Taijutsu).

Contact Elizabeth

headshot
Maria Chavez (She/hers)

Mobile Home Water Quality Communications Specialist

Maria is a Colorado native raised in the Cole neighborhood where she experienced first-hand environmental justice issues such as pollution, lack of access to safe drinking water, and exposure to harmful chemicals. Maria earned a Master of Science degree in Legal Administration from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

During her time in college, Maria volunteered at many nonprofits, including a law firm that represents workers in litigation.

Maria has spent over seven years working in the communications field in various roles. In her last role, she worked as a Communications Specialist for the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. In her role as the Mobile Home Water Quality Communications Specialist at CDPHE, she will lead communications efforts to help the Environmental Justice Program address water quality issues in mobile home parks, as directed in a 2023 law.

During her free time, Maria enjoys exploring Colorado with her husband, twin boys, and her dog, Zoey.

Contact Maria

#FFFFFF

yessenia headshot

Yessenia Cano (She/hers)

Mobile Home Community Engagement Specialist

In her role, Yessenia will work directly with people who live in mobile home parks to assess water quality in their communities. She will plan, organize, and conduct interviews with residents to understand their experiences and help improve relationships. Her work will inform the Environmental Justice Program in helping to improve water quality for all Coloradans.

Yessenia earned her Master’s in Arts in International Intercultural Communications with a focus on Global Health from the University of Denver. After graduation, Yessenia worked at Denver's Early Childhood Council as a Bilingual Quality Navigator. In this role, she collaborated with childcare providers in disproportionately impacted communities. Her role was to help increase awareness of available resources and enhance childcare quality in Denver County.

Following her time at the council, Yessenia joined Assuring Better Child Health and Development as a Program Administrator. She connected with hospitals, clinics, and private practices across Colorado to standardize the use of early development screening tools. Additionally, she conducted outreach throughout the state to educate families about the importance of early development screenings for their children.

Outside of work, Yessenia loves to travel. She studied in Austria for a year during high school, followed by a year-long internship in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Yessenia spent months in Thailand and lived in Western Australia in 2022. Yessenia is from Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley and is a first-generation Coloradan. She also enjoys learning new languages, reading, exploring nature with her husband and dogs, and cooking with friends and family.

Contact Yessenia

maria headshot

Maria “Chus” Wesley (She/hers)

Mobile Home Spanish Translation Specialist

In her role, Chus will assist with translating and transcreating outreach materials for mobile home park residents in Colorado.

Chus was born and raised in Spain and lived in Chile for several years. She earned a bachelor's degree in translation from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. After graduation, Chus moved to Connecticut and worked as a full-time translator with Corporate Translations Inc. (currently RWS Life Sciences). She spent 17 years in that role specializing in medical and pharmaceutical translation.

In 2016 she became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician to gain hands-on experience in the medical field. She worked at Boulder Community Hospital, caring for critically ill patients in the intensive care unit.

Chus also worked as a community interpreter for Imagine!, an organization that provides services to children with developmental needs and their families. More recently, she served in an administrative position with the immunization program at Boulder County Public Health, working directly with underserved communities.

Chus is passionate about languages and helping people communicate. She also likes running, reading, playing with her dogs, roller skating with her family, and playing pool.

Contact Chus

#FFFFFF

alejandra headshot

Alejandra Mariñelarena-Olvera (She/hers)

Environmental Justice Community Engagement Specialist Temporary Aide

Alejandra will provide temporary assistance to coordinate and organize community meetings and help with community engagement.

Alejandra grew up in Montbello, a neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. As the oldest daughter of her immigrant parents, she learned about her roots, resiliency, and taking care of each other through her community. Alejandra is passionate about liberation, collaboration, intersectionality, community empowerment, and the breaking down of oppressive systems.

In her previous roles, she has served as a fellow for the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization’s Capitol Fellowship Program with the Colorado Energy Office and Protégete’s Boards and Commissions Fellowship. During her undergraduate studies, Alejandra served as an Inclusive Community Assistant. In this role, she planned community events tailored to support the needs of historically marginalized students in the residence halls. She is also deepening her service to the community by volunteering with different organizations that serve the community through engagement, policy, empowerment, and care.

Outside work, Alejandra loves fashion, crocheting, poetry, reading, thrifting, and going out with friends. She also loves to learn new things from people. She seeks to learn from creators who focus on anti-racism, decolonization, and restorative justice.

Contact Alejandra