Dr. Sabrina Sideris, Ph.D.
Sabrina Carolina Sideris has been the Program Director of INVST since August 2007. Sabrina’s professional purpose is to support learners as they decide upon a course of reflective action for positive change, dedicating themselves to social justice work. She is passionate about helping people become more skillful change makers. Sabrina was in INVST as a student from 1998-2000 and she has been involved in INVST's leadership in some way, shape or form ever since. She has a Masters Degree in Peace Education from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and has just received her Doctoral Degree in Higher Education at the University of Denver where she focuses her studies on the diversity and inclusion programs and practices of higher ed institutions. She is also on the board for the Boulder Housing Coalition, which develops affordable housing cooperatives. In her free time, Sabrina likes to play ping pong with her wife Sarah and spend time outside enjoying the beauty of Colorado with Quimby, a small but fiercely energetic terrier.
Annie Miller joins the INVST Community Studies staff as an alumna of the class of 2006, 14 RPMs (Revolutions per Moment). She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in experiential education, non-profit and governmental work. Her background includes leading gap year and summer educational programs in Latin America, working and teaching on various organic farms, establishing a community garden program as part of Tri-County Health Department, and teaching high school Spanish. She is passionate about the natural world and likes to spend her time learning about and foraging for edible and medicinal foods, cultivating herbs and veggies in her garden and spending time with friends and family.
Awon Atuire, M.A.
Awon Atuire teaches Community Leadership Studies and Africana Studies in INVST and the Department of Ethnic Studies respectively. Outside of his teaching duties, Awon is an essayist, spoken word artist, and a storyteller in West African oral traditions. He is the founder and director of Read More Books, a collaboration of volunteers in the USA and Ghana that establishes sustainable children’s libraries in Ghana. A keen gardener, Awon lives in Denver with his wife and two daughters. Awon received his B.A. in English Literature, M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and graduate certificate in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. where he is the first Ph.D. candidate in the Comparative Ethnic Studies program.
Allie Van Buskirk, M.A.
Allie is a long-time INVST supporter and couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of such a dynamite instructor team. She brings a unique skill set to this role: a wealth of non-profit management, fundraising, and group facilitation experience combined with years of personal mindfulness practice and a Masters Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. She is passionate about supporting community leaders and activists in developing a sense of self and well being that will truly enable a lifetime commitment to compassionate action. When she isn’t teaching, Allie can be found exploring Colorado’s beautiful trails with her dog Sunny, making herbal medicines, experimenting with cooking, leading women’s groups, teaching yoga or traveling the world.
Sam Bullington, Ph.D.
Sam Bullington is passionate about the transformative power of inspired teaching. An overarching goal of his pedagogy is to help students make conscious what they’ve been trained to keep unconscious, and watching students come to insights about themselves and their place in the world constitutes the most satisfying aspect of teaching for him. Sam is a social scientist with training in Anthropology, Geography, and Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from University of Minnesota. He did his academic research in South Africa where he worked with LGBT and AIDS activists. As a transsexual, he has a unique and broad understanding of gender, as well as social categories more generally.
Since the election, Sam has been leading workshops on unlearning racism, toxic masculinity, and decolonizing teaching, as well as engaged spirituality/spiritual activism. Sam founded and directs Phoenix, Colorado’s Transgender Community Choir and has had a lifelong interest in the role of music in social justice movements. When not teaching or leading Phoenix, Sam has a shamanic counseling practice, leads vision quests, and is currently writing a book—part memoir, part gender studies, part spiritual teaching—called Transgender Wisdom: What I’ve Learned about Gender and Life from Living in the Grey Areas.
Summer Program Facilitators 2019 (SPF's)
Climate Justice Summer Trip Facilitators
Allie Van Buskirk, M.A. & L. LeNard, Class of 2017
L. LeNard graduated from the INVST cohort, Sonder Root Sky in 2017. Her favorite things to do are to learn, dance, sing, hike, read, write, sit in silence, and smile. She obsessed with water; it is her favorite beverage. If she were not trapped in her fleshy spaceship, she would be an ever-flowing river, hopefully moving towards something far greater than herself. When people ask her what her favorite color is, she says water droplet because it makes everything more immaculate (& it may be cheating to remind everyone that in a million water droplets resides a she is excited to share this trip with students and to hopefully help them to think about all the things they will be experiencing in unique ways. She will listen, be present, and give them the trust, respect, and responsibility that she knows they all deserve because they have made it into this program. One of her largest held beliefs is that you get out of any life equation in which her utmost as she is excited to be present in this summer of learning and growth.
Climate Justice Summer Operations Coordinator
Jess Chavez, Class of 2019
Jess Chavez is entering her fourth year majoring in women and gender studies. With just having graduated from INVST and completing her leadership studies minor, she is so excited to have the opportunity to bond and support the new incoming class of future leaders. She encourages all people to be themselves and allow their vulnerability to open new doors and sides of themselves. She knows that the students and herself are going to have a great summer experience together and she can’t wait to meet and begin this journey with everyone!
Economic Justice Trip Facilitators
Topaz Hooper, Class of 2015
Topaz is an INVST alum from the 2015 class, Echolumiina. She is a Denver-native who made her way to St. Petersburg, FL. In Florida, Topaz served for three years as the Multicultural Affairs Coordinator at Eckerd College where she worked with students of all identities to discuss and address some of the world's most pervasive justice issues. She then went on to host two spring break trips to Nicaragua on Permaculture and Women's Empowerment. These days, Topaz travels full-time as an author and entrepreneur. On her free time, she enjoys writing poetry, drinking Matcha green tea, traveling and engaging in meaningful conversations around justice.
Franklin Navarrette, Class of 2016
Born and raised in the mountains of Boulder, CO, Frank has always been passionate about social and environmental justice. As a transgender, first-gen, low-income student, and an immigrant's son, he has a deep stake in all issues, recognizing the intersectionality of oppression, and the value in building a resilient community to fight for social change. He is committed to all forms of justice including racial justice, queer liberation, immigration, income equity, and more. He spent much of his time working on the Climate Justice campaign to pressure the administration of the University of Colorado into divesting its financial holdings from the fossil fuel industry. He engaged in network building and training with hundreds of other campuses nationally and internationally on this issue. His work on the campaign has been recognized by multiple social and environmental justice organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and CU Environmental Center. He also worked on the CU Student Government to ensure funding for student groups and cost centers that supported marginalized groups on campus. He is committed to inclusivity and is a forever student; always seeking to learn more, be accountable, and practice allyship. He graduated from INVST as a part of the Gr(e/a)y River Kindling Cohort in the spring of 2016, and from CU with a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology that fall. He currently works part-time in the CU ENGAGE office as an administrative assistant, and as a server at the South Side Walnut Café. He is so excited to be facilitating his first summer INVST trip and cannot wait to grow and learn beside so many amazing students.