Holly Dichter (MNM), Executive Director, Denver
Holly began working for The Challenge Foundation full time in August of 2007 after five summers as an intern and teacher in our summer program. She has a degree in Elementary Education from Regis University and has also completed her master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. She also taught 2nd and 3rd grade in the Aurora Public School system for three years. Outside of serving as the Director of the Denver program, Holly directs her attention to helping our scholars as they apply to college and then navigate higher education institutions. She also keeps in close contact with all of our alumni, providing resources and support for their continued growth. Holly is fluent in Spanish, which enables her to communicate effectively with many Challenge families and applicants and she enjoys using her background in both education and non-profit organizations in her work at The Challenge Foundation.
Danica Hemmann (MSW), Director of Service Learning, Challenge Advisor
Danica began working at The Challenge Foundation in June 2009 after receiving her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. Her enthusiasm for working with children and families was grown through her experiences working with refugee women and students in Ghana and other diverse community service. She also spent time working as an academic peer mentor and advisor, which strengthened her belief in the importance of education. Danica is dedicated to advocating for a community in which excellent education is accessible by all. In addition to advising several Challenge Scholars, Danica oversees the Service Learning program at The Challenge Foundation, wherein she inspires students to cultivate a lifelong passion for community service.
Chelsea Gorsky (M.Ed.), Director of Student Services, Challenge Advisor
Chelsea began working for The Challenge Foundation in November 2010 after teaching special education within Denver Public Schools for five years. She graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. While using this background to support the students and families at inner city elementary schools, Chelsea also earned a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to managing The Challenge Foundation programs at both St. Anne’s Episcopal School and Colorado Academy, Chelsea oversees the application and screening process for all applicants. She feels fortunate to be able to support The Challenge Foundation families from the initial stages of our program all the way though graduation from High School and into college. Chelsea believes that success is not about the situation in which you live but the opportunities you take advantage of throughout your life.
Kelsey Traynor, Director of Mentoring Program, Challenge Advisor
Kelsey began working full time for The Challenge Foundation in October of 2011 after teaching for the Summer Program for three years. A St. Mary’s Academy alumna and Denver native, Kelsey was a field hockey student-athlete at St. Louis University where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Education and minors in Mathematics and Theology. In addition to teaching with Challenge during the summer, Kelsey has a variety of experience working with youth including coaching field hockey for club programs in St. Louis and Denver, coaching varsity field hockey at St. Mary’s Academy, and teaching fourth grade and seventh grade at St. Mary’s Academy. Kelsey believes that each student deserves the right to a quality education regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, or gender. Kelsey focuses on advising our scholars attending St. Mary’s Academy and Regis Jesuit High School Boys’ Division.
Barbara Radigan, Director of Education and Recruitment, Challenge Advisor
Barbara joined The Challenge Foundation in December of 2013 after working as a case manager for the Mental Health Center of Denver. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in Community Health. Barbara developed her passion for working with students at Brown where she was a mentor for middle school girls and a manager for a student leadership program. She is also currently working toward her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Denver. Barbara enjoys working with students and their families at St. Mary’s and Kent Denver and is dedicated to helping students be successful in whatever they choose to pursue.