Center Co-Founders / Co-Directors

Debora Colbert

Debora Colbert

Debora Colbert is the co-Founder and co-Director for Colorado State University’s (CSU) Center for Mindfulness. She also serves as the Professional Development Program Administrator at CSU’s Talent Development and has worked in higher education over 25 years.  She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for many years, a yogi for the past fifteen years, and promotes diversity and inclusivity in sharing the powerful effects of mindfulness practices in higher education. Debora has taught “The Mindful Leadership Advance” for Talent Development and “Calm within Guided Meditation” workshops for faculty and staff at the Professional Development Institute (PDI). She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Performance and Change from CSU.

Margit Hentschel

Margit Hentschel

Margit Hentschel is the co-Founder and co-Director for Colorado State University’s Center for Mindfulness.  Margit teaches mindfulness practices in campus classrooms and community workshops. She has taught mindfulness practices for over 18 years and is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She has several publications as a book contributor on global community sustainability and climate change adaptation strategies. She has a Ph.D. from Colorado State University’s School of Education with a focus on Peace and Reconciliation Leadership.

Center Committee Members

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Linda Anson, M.Ed

Linda Anson M.Ed, is a C4M leadership team community member and member of the Community Hospice Labyrinth committee.  After 30 years in Poudre School District as a licensed high school teacher, grant developer and certified counselor, her focus is now combining her passions of teaching and Mindfulness. She began her mindfulness practice in 1994 after reading “Where Ever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat Zin.  Her professional trainings include MBSR, Mindful Schools, and several trainings through The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkely.  Linda has introduced Mindfulness to many CSU students, staff members, and community groups, through presentations and workshops.


Christina Berg

Christina Berg is the CSU Health Network Director of Health Education and Prevention Services (HEPS). HEPS supports the health and well-being of the CSU campus community by helping students get healthy, stay healthy and drive change toward a healthier campus community. The team identifies campus health priorities and delivers evidence-based, inclusive programs, services, and initiatives that empower students to achieve academic and personal success during their college years and beyond. Christina has a Master’s in Public Health and is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR), Heart Math and other mindfulness and community care models. Christina has taught mindfulness and meditation at the college level and at various professional trainings and conferences.

Viviane Ephraimson-Abt

Viviane Ephraimson-Abt, M.S., M.Ed., LPCC

Viviane Ephraimson-Abt, M.S., M.Ed., LPC, is the Manager of Resiliency and Well-Being Initiatives with the CSU Health Network.  Viviane has taught mindfulness practices for groups, organizations, and individuals since 1998. She shares mindfulness for its many benefits in one’s academic, professional, and personal life. Viviane enjoys facilitating a variety of mindfulness-based trainings at CSU including for stress reduction and enhancements in workplace climate, leadership, and interpersonal effectiveness. She also incorporates mindfulness into her intercultural and diversity teaching. She is a teacher with the Community for Mindful Living l, a Center for Council Dialogue trainer and a Personal Leadership: Making a World of Difference facilitator. She is a graduate of the Hakomi Institute for mindfulness-based psychotherapy and holds an M.S. in Intercultural Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.Ed. in Counseling and Career Development from CSU.

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Susan Howe, PhD

Susan is a Research Scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, holds an Affiliate position in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, and serves as grants writer for the new Center for Mindfulness (C4M) at Colorado State University. She has engaged in contemplative practice for over 20 years with formal training in the Shambhala tradition, and holds a BS in Management Science from Ithaca College, MS in Ecology, and PhD in Earth Sciences from Colorado State University.  Her research has historically focused on basin-scale ecohydrology and fluvial geomorphology, and she is currently exploring the integration of contemplative pedagogy and traditional scientific methods of inquiry in environmental science for its efficacy in inspiring individual and social change toward sustainable human societies and the biosphere.

Nathalie Kees

Nathalie Kees

Nathalie Kees is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Counseling and Career Development in the School of Education at CSU. Her areas of teaching and research included women’s issues in counseling, spirituality and counseling, group work, peace education, counseling skills training and supervision. She taught Contemplative Practices in Counseling and Education. Dr. Kees also served as Co-Chair for CSU’s President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity and as CSU’s Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute. She founded the Women’s Interest Network for the American Counseling Association, served as guest editor for the Journal for Specialists in Group and the Journal of Counseling and Development, and co-authored Manager as Facilitator and 147 Tips for Teaching Peace. She has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh and Parker Palmer.

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Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR

Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR, is an Associate professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy, and co-director of the Integrative Rehabilitation Lab. Dr. Schmid is an Occupational Therapist and Co-director of the CSU Integrative Rehabilitation Lab,, and is on the scientific committee for the international Symposium on Yoga Research.  She  studies the efficacy and effectiveness of yoga and meditation as a complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapy to improve rehabilitation care, health and wellness, and QoL for people with disabilities. She is also interested in integrating yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices into rehabilitation education curriculums to better prepare occupational therapists (and other rehabilitation professionals) to incorporate such therapies into clinical practice.

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Sue Schneider

Sue Schneider, Ph.D., is an Extension Professor and Sate Health Specialist with Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement and Extension where she provides leadership for CSU Extension’s health initiatives across Colorado. As a medical anthropologist, Sue has been teaching, conducting research, and evaluating health programs in academic and community settings for over 20 years. Her personal mindfulness practice and study has led her to develop a series of programs for CSU Extension that support individuals in cultivating greater presence, stress-resilience and compassion, including a CSU Online program called Living Mindfully. She recently completed a companion book for Living Mindfully titled, Meeting the Moment with Kindness: How Mindfulness Can Help Us Find Calm, Stability and an Open Heart, which will be published in Oct. 2023. Sue has a Ph.D. from Michigan State University’s Department of Anthropology and is a Duke-trained certified integrative health coach and a certified mindfulness instructor.


Caridad Souza

Caridad Souza

Dr. Caridad Souza is the Director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at CSU and on the faculty of the Department of Ethnic Studies. Her teaching and research interests include contemporary race & ethnic relations and theories, women and children in poverty, multiracial and decolonial feminisms, and critical ethnography. Much of her work in mindfulness comes from a over 20 years of personal meditation practice. Caridad has begun to explore embodied practices like Theatre of the Oppressed and Social Meditation as a way to help students and colleagues experience the benefits of self-regulation as an aspect of social justice work. More recently, her intellectual and political interests involve healing justice and inequality. She leads a local Living Radical Dharma group for people of color interested in using love and contemplative practices to engage in personal and social liberation. Caridad is fascinated with the concept of Social Healing and hopes to engage with it towards a more just and equitable society.

Katya Stewart-Sweeney, Academic Advisor, College of Business, Colorado State University, August 13, 2015

Katya Stewart-Sweeney

Katya Stewart-Sweeney has been a CSU staff member since 2002 and serves as Graduate and International Student Advisor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Katya has led mindfulness workshops through C4M for the last five years, and presented a poster “The Tree of Reflection” with Center founding Co-Director, Deb Colbert, at the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education’s national conference in November 2019. She loves labyrinth walks, finding ways to use contemplative practices to access our innate wisdom, and to use these practices to seek a more socially and racially just society. She has been meditating since 1988. Katya has been practicing the martial art T’ai Chi Ch’uan (short Yang style, devised by Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing) for 35 years, as a student at Rocky Mountain Tai Chi in Boulder. She earned her B.A. in Buddhist and Western Psychology; and her M.A. in Counseling, both from Naropa University. She has been connected with Quaker (Society of Friends) schools and organizations in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Katya is excited for all that our new Center for Mindfulness stands for, and to be a part of this pioneering endeavor.

Mel Lafferty C4M

Mel Lafferty

Mel is with the Collaborate for Student Achievement at CSU. Mel is also a doctoral student in Higher Education & Student Affairs Leadership at UNC, with a master’s in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University. With a background in counseling, Mel is passionate about college student mental health. Her research interests include mindfulness, self-care, and first-generation student success with a narrative inquiry and arts-based research approach. Her dissertation will focus on mindfulness and sense of community in higher education. Mel gave two presentations at the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education’s national conference in November 2019: “Ancient Practices for Today’s College Student: A Buddhist Mindfulness Class” and “Self-Care as a Temporary Fix for Institutional Problems.” Her personal practice of mindfulness includes meditation, yoga, and mindfulness in nature.

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Lauren Ziegler

Lauren Ziegler is an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist, meditation guide and sleep coach. For over 12 years, she has been a guide for those looking to establish a stress management or meditation practice. She holds a degree in psychology, more than 1,000 hours of formal education and clinical practice in yoga therapy, and comprehensive meditation training. Lauren teaches online for CSU and community, as well as for department events and Extension programs. She developed a program at an integrative medical center providing yoga therapy for individuals and groups while billing insurance. She is a founding teacher and coach on the Aura Health Meditation app, and is dedicated to making skills like mindfulness and self-compassion accessible to everyone.