Dr. Danielle Varda, PhD

Danielle M. Varda is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver with a secondary appointment in the Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy. She also has a courtesy Associate Professor appointment in the School of Information Sciences at the University of CO Boulder. She is Director of the Center on Network Science (www.center-networkscience.net), Director of the Nonprofit Concentration in the MPA program, and Advisor to the Dual MPA-MPH Degree. Dr. Varda directs the Network Leadership Training Academy (www.networkleader.org) held annually in Denver at the School of Public Affairs. She also sits on the AmeriCorps NCCC Federal Advisory Board, and is an alumn of the AmeriCorps NCCC (Class 5 and 6). Dr. Varda joins SPA from the RAND Corporation, where she worked as an Associate Policy Scientist from 2005-2008. She specializes in collaborative governance and network leadership, focusing specifically in Public Health Systems and Services Research. Her research focus is on evaluating the network structure of interorganizational collaborations between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and the subsequent network effects of these recorded interactions. Her research portfolio includes projects in the areas of maternal/child health, public health and health networks, nonprofit community networks, economic inclusion/wealth building, and systems evaluation.

Sara Sprong, MPA
Research and Evaluation Manager

Sara Sprong, MPA is the PARTNER Research & Evaluation Project Manager, providing support to users through community outreach and education, training and technical assistance, data management and analysis, scholarly work, and grant writing. Sara also manages all projects that are part of the Center on Collaborative Governance at the University of Colorado Denver. For the past four years, she has organized and coordinated the Network Leadership Training Academy. She specializes in collaborative governance and network leadership and is an experienced evaluator, facilitator, and has extensive experience developing and administering surveys, including developing questionnaires and analysis of diverse network data.

She graduated in May 2011 from the University of Colorado Denver with her Master’s in Public Administration and also has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and History. Sara has been a PARTNER user since she completed her MPA capstone project, where she used PARTNER to analyze a community coalition organized around a grant to create a youth engagement zone for school children in Northeast Denver. Her capstone report titled: “Utilizing Network Analysis to Transform a Community Collaborative” can be found on the PARTNER website.

She joined the PARTNER team in 2011 as a Professional Research Assistant and has worked on research projects with Dr. Varda around disaster preparedness, resilience, and recovery networks (with ASPR and mulitple projects with RAND), early childhood networks working around health integration and home visitation (with CDPHE and CO Trust, MIECHV), economic inclusion (with Annie E. Casey Foundation), and has assisted over 500 PARTNER users from around the country and world with their various projects.​​ Current PARTNER projects she is working on include Kids Count (Annie E. Casey Foundation), Million Hearts Initiative (RAND), Baltimore Integration Project (Annie E. Casey Foundation), and individual PARTNER contracts/projects with users.

When not analyzing data or helping users, Sara is outside enjoying nature with her husband and two puppies. Her favorite hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, camping, listening to live music, and traveling.

Rebecca Hofkes, MA
Professional Research Assistant

Rebecca is a Professional Research Assistant for the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs. She graduated in April 2015 from Concordia University – Portland with her Master’s in International Development and Service. She focused her degree on populations in crisis, and conducted research with a thesis on the impact that culture and mental health care have on refugee acculturation in local communities. Rebecca served two years in AmeriCorps, working at a variety of nonprofit organizations and government agencies across the country. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology that she received from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in 2010, with a concentration on family and women’s studies.

Kayleigh Newman, BA
Professional Research Assistant

Kayleigh is a Professional Research Assistant for the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs. She graduated with honors from Illinois State University with a BA in Anthropology and History, and is experienced in qualitative and quantitative research methods. An AmeriCorps VISTA alumni, Kayleigh has spent the last several years in the non-profit field working with populations including refugees, youth in the foster care system, and people experiencing homelessness. It was through these experiences that she developed a passion for addressing social justice issues through community collaboration, leading to involvement in a number of community and state-wide networks focused on homelessness and Veteran issues in Colorado. Kayleigh was first introduced to PARTNER in 2014 when she used the tool to conduct a Social Network Analysis of a homeless Veteran services network she was connected to in the Denver Metro area.

Carrie Chapman
PHD Candidate

Carrie Chapman is a PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs. Prior to entering the program at SPA, Carrie graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her research interests include public management and child welfare, with an emphasis on collaborative governance and social network analysis. In 2014, Carrie was accepted as a Summer Associate with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, and she also spent 3 years as a Research Assistant for Dr. Danielle M. Varda. She is currently employed with Colorado’s Division of Probation Services and as an MPA lecturer at SPA, teaching a Seminar in Nonprofit Management.

Malinda Mochizuki, BA (MPA Student)
Events & Training Coordinator

Malinda is a student in the Master in Public Administration (MPA) Program with a Nonprofit Management Concentration at the University of Colorado Denver. As the Network Leadership Coordinator, she assists with the annual Networking Leadership Training Academy and PARTNER Tool. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Dickinson College, and worked after graduating at her alma mater in the Office of Global Education. In 2010, Malinda moved to Colorado to serve with AmeriCorps VISTA as the Diversity Outreach Coordinator and later as the Program Director at the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. Her experiences and academic interests are focused on strategic planning, capacity building, program management and assessment, and collaborative networks. She currently is involved with the MPA Student Association, Denver Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Denver AmeriCorps Alums, and CU Denver Food Systems Research Group. In her free time, Malinda enjoys reading, photography, making crafts, craft beer, and outdoor activities.

Mike Cooper, BA
PARTNER Programmer

Mike Cooper is the programmer of the PARTNER survey and tool. He attended the Unviersity of Colorado Denver and graduated in December 2010 with a bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering. During his 2009 school year, Mike started working on PARTNER with a team of two other students for credit. After the project was complete and Mike had graduated, he continued improving and supporting the PARTNER survey and tool. Mike has over ten years of professional experience in the IT field and has experience administering many different operating systems and coding/scripting in an array of different languages. He is currently working full time as a Software Engineer.

Stephanie Bultema

Stephanie served as a public health professional from 2010-2017 and has worked and volunteered for numerous nonprofit organizations in the health, education, and environmental sectors. Through her position as Epidemiologist II in Spokane Regional Health District’s Data Center, she worked with dozens of organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors on a wide range of assessment, planning, and evaluation projects. She specializes in the design and conduct of network studies. From 2015-2017, Stephanie served as president of the School Health Care Association of Spokane County and as board member for Communities in Schools of Spokane County. Stephanie earned a B.A. in English Writing and an M.A. in Administrative Leadership from Whitworth University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver.

Garrett Vogenbeck, MBA
Web Developer

Garrett Vogenbeck is the web developer and designer for the PARTNER Tool website. He holds a degree in computer science and an MBA from Oregon State University. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, enjoying microbrews, local sports, and hiking.