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Greg Lee, Director​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Greg earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder and his Master’s degree in Counseling Education from the University of Colorado Denver.  He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education with Walden University.  Greg enjoys working with first-generation students in the area of college preparation and accessing higher education. He made the decision to work with first-generation students to help alleviate some of the barriers they may encounter in prepa​ring and accessing higher education. He is passionate about empowering students, helping them enhance their opportunity to be admitted to college and become successful. Greg’s career endeavor is to continue working with students in a higher educational setting and make an impact in their lives.

Leslie Farrell, Middle School Coordinator

Leslie was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Colorado at age 13 and went to Alameda High School. After high school, she attended the University of Colorado Denver where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. As a first-generation student, the biggest aid for her was being part of the Pre-Collegiate Program. She always aspired to go to college and knew she was going to make it there no matter what. With Pre-Collegiate she was able to learn about all the different resources available that would help fund her education. Now she is honored to work for Pre-Collegiate as the Middle School Coordinator and appreciates helping first-generation students like herself. Her goals for the next couple years are to continue impacting first-generation students and hopes that her past experiences and background can help and encourage students for years to come.​

Junior Reina, High School Coordinator​

Junior is a proud product of Denver Public Schools and graduate of Montbello High School. He attended the University of Colorado Denver where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English Writing and two minors in Spanish and Ethnic Studies and later earned a Master degree in Secondary Education. Junior is well aware of the barriers that come along with being the first in the family to go to college which is why he enjoys working with other first-generation students. He can relate to their struggles, frustrations, and also their successes. For Junior it is important for to scaffold the process, which at times can be a daunting experience. He is currently pursuing an CU Denver and his goal is to graduate while developing academic relationships with students. He would also like to teach here at CU Denver in the future.

Auriel Valdez, Business Services Coordinator​

Auriel is a Colorado native who earned her Bachelor's degree in Public Health from the University of Colorado Denver. She completed the Pre-Collegiate Health Careers Program as a high school student, which cultivated her interest in Public Health and health equity. She also worked for the Center for Pre-Collegiate and Academic Outreach Programs on the downtown campus for the majority of her college career, which has allowed her the opportunity to give back and mentor participants in college readiness. Her involvement with the Center has made her appreciative of the support and guidance that it offers to first-generation college bound students like herself. The sense of educational empowerment and community support that the Center provides has motivated her to return to work for the Center as the Business Services Coordinator. Auriel's goals are to continue her education and to continue having an impact on younger generations who aspire to pursue a higher education

Dat Bui, Scholars Coordinator​

My best teacher is my dog, Yogi. I adopted him in the midst of my late adolescent development. Yogi has helped nourish my compassion, assertiveness, mindfulness, and much more. My family is from a village in the countryside of Hue, Vietnam. We lived there until 1996, then we moved to Denver, Colorado when I was eight years old. I grew up near South Federal Boulevard in Denver public housing communities. I had so much fun  growing up in Denver, while acclimating to my new environment. School was not my priority. I was more focused on fitting in and having friends.


After I graduated from South High School, I started college at CU Denver. Within two semesters, I was placed on academic suspension and stopped going to college. I still didn’t care about school. I was working at a restaurant and I spent the money I made on partying and hanging out with friends. I participated in these habits for the next few years. Finally, I decided to go back to college. I was able to successfully renewed my commitment to learning and growing with hard work and determination. I received support and mentorship from my newly adopted dog, my new boss, and my new professors.


My Bachelor’s Degree is in Environmental Sciences. I studied this because I care and respect our environment. We won’t be alive without the clean air, water, and land; yet many of us mistreat our environment for money. I even had the chance to study environmental science in Costa Rica for a summer semester in my Junior year. After I graduated, I had a few short jobs in environmental sciences, but they didn’t work out. I later realized that my purpose and path in life is to help people develop through education. I am now finishing my Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development at CU Denver. I enjoy mentoring and supporting the development of students in our Pre-Collegiate Programs. I respect your potential and committed to transforming your challenges to help you live a purposeful, happy life.

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