SDS About Us
About This Page
It is our mission to help students with disabilities receive the support and accommodation they deserve.Our team contributes a wealth of knowledge and experience in their dedication to ensuring all DU students have equitable access to everything the University has to offer, regardless of disabilities. Get to know them below!
If you think that you, your child, or someone in your care network may benefit from our services, please don't hesitate to reach out as soon as possible. Get in touch during normal business hours via phone 303-871-3241 or by email email@example.com at any time. We'd love to hear from you and help you thrive!
If you would like more information about the programs and support available through Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence at DU, visit the Dean of Students Connections and Support webpage.
Beth Moffatt, Business Coordinator (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 22 - Room 27
Beth graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications: Broadcast News. She moved to Colorado more than 22 years ago and started worked for Janus Funds, settling domestic and foreign trades. After her son, Jack, was born, she stayed home for a time until she became a preschool teacher at Christ Lutheran Church Preschool in Highlands Ranch, where she worked for 15 years. Most recently, she spent two years as an Admissions Counselor for Southern New Hampshire University’s online degree programs. What she enjoyed most was working with students from all different walks of life and helping them in achieving their goals and dreams of earning an undergraduate degree. Beth loves to read, practice yoga, and spend time with her family and friends.
Dr. Catherine Wharton, Director (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 22 Room 25
Dr. Catherine Wharton blends her expertise with mental health and learning disabilities as it relates to higher education access and ADA accommodations. Dr. Wharton graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University with a M.A. in Counseling and spent 10 years in the Chicago area as director of the assessment department - evaluating patients for psychiatric hospitalization. In this role, Dr. Wharton assessed patients for psychiatric hospitalization and ultimately supervised the 24/7 operation of psychiatric hospital assessment.
Dr. Wharton joined Lynn University in 2006 where she supervised the tutoring center and taught courses in psychology. Dr. Wharton became a Certified Developmental Education Specialist through the Kellogg Institute at Appalachian State University in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Wharton was promoted to the Director of the Diagnostic Center for Educational Assessment where she oversaw reviewing and interpreting student psychological evaluations for the purpose of creating an academic support plan and recommending ADA accommodations. Dr. Wharton also developed programs and services for students with disabilities and students on academic probation.
In 2015, Dr. Wharton was chosen for the first 100% paid scholarship in the Educational Leadership doctoral program. Upon graduation in 2018 with a dissertation entitled, Reading Comprehension in Two Accommodated Reading Tasks with College Students with Reading Disabilities, Dr. Wharton was promoted to ADA Specialist where she developed a stand-alone department, was responsible for all student related access, training and mentoring staff, developed a communication system for prospective students/families, advocated for and developed a dedicated webpage, advocated for and provided training to stakeholders in the adoption of a new digital management platform (Accommodate), developed university ADA policies, as well as created and implemented professional development campus wide. Since first presenting the nationally recognized curriculum, How to Create a Faculty Responsibilities ADA Training course at the (Association on Higher Education and Disability) AHEAD conference in July 2021, AHEAD has requested Dr. Wharton to provide three additional webinars on this topic.
Dr. Wharton also provides professional development for other external sources such as college counselors, education consultants, and private K-12 schools. She is particularly interested in integrating compensatory strategies, motivational theory and practice within pedagogy to foster a classroom environment of confidence and competence leading to student mastery.
Alicia Roman, Assistant Director (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 13 Room 15
Alicia has over 10 years of experience working in education and disability advocacy. Alicia currently holds a master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Clark University. Her studies have focused on support services for students with disabilities and exploring the narratives of college students who live with a disability. Her goal has been to improve student motivation and retention. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree in Education and Human Development at the University of North Dakota.
Alicia has worked in a variety of educational settings. After completing her MBA, Alicia moved to Taipei, Taiwan, and taught English and Art in the K-12 environment. Once she returned home, she transitioned into the field of higher education. She worked with students who were registered with disability services at the community college level. She has also had several years’ experience as an academic advisor. Alicia is very passionate about teaching and leadership. She currently holds a position as an adjunct professor for the Colorado Community College System. Her curriculum follows the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
Alicia is thrilled to be working in the Disability Services Program (DSP) at the University of Denver (DU). She follows a strength-based approach with students and is excited to help students see the value in themselves. In Alicia’s free time, she loves to travel, hike, compete in triathlons, and create artwork. Alicia is looking forward to being a part of your educational journey!
Caroline Newcomb, Assistive Technology Specialist (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 22 Room 27
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Psychology and Anthropology. She went on to study at Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Masters of Education. She spent six years working for Denver Public Schools, where she became passionate about working with students and mentoring them to advocate for their emotional and educational needs. Through this work, Caroline gained first-hand experience in supporting students with a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral needs. She has been particularly passionate about supporting students who fall on the neurodivergent spectrum, as well as supporting students with mental health disabilities. She firmly believes that all students should be given the opportunities they need to gain equitable access to education.
In her free time, Caroline enjoys hiking and exploring with her partner and her dog. She loves traveling and practicing her Spanish skills to be able to better communicate with her partner’s family. Outside of work, you can almost always find her with a book in her hands. Caroline truly looks forward to meeting you and supporting you during your time at DU!
Mark Nussbaum, DSP Academic Testing Coordinator (He|Him|His)
Driscoll Commons, Garden Level Suite 22, Room 24
Originally from Bloomington, Indiana, Mark graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in Applied Mathematics. He went on to study at Johnson University, where he earned a Masters in Ethics and Leadership. He has worked in the non-profit and education sectors in Knoxville, Tennessee for the past few years. He began his professional career as a content developer for a non-profit, where he created a curriculum to teach teenagers how to be good stewards of their finances and vocation. In this role, he developed a desire to return to education that prompted him to transition into teaching at the high school level. As a teacher, he developed a passion for seeing students grow as both scholars and citizens. In his free time, Mark enjoys baking, hiking, exploring new restaurants, and reading novels. Mark looks forward to meeting you and supporting you during your time at DU!
Emily Hirsch, Accommodations Specialist (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 13 Room 16
Emily has worked in the education and non-profit sector in the Denver Metro Area for the past several years, helping students with disabilities make the transition from high school to college and learn how to self-advocate on a college campus. She started her professional and educational career earning her bachelor’s degree in Family Studies & Human Development at the University of Arizona. Shortly after moving to Denver, Emily started working at the Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation, where she spent four years providing in-depth case management to students, focusing on social–emotional support and career/college readiness. She became very passionate about helping all students gain access to an equitable education, and began a three-year stint with Denver Public Schools as an Employment Specialist with the School to Work Alliance Program. She gained firsthand experience helping students with disabilities reach their career and educational goals through work based learning opportunities. Emily likes to spend free time outside mountain biking, skiing, and hiking with her dog. She looks forward to meeting with you and supporting your educational journey here at DU.
Eileen Fair, Accommodations Specialist (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 22 Room 23
Eileen began learning about accessibility in everyday life from two important people: a Deaf friend she met in grade school and her grandpa who became blind when she was six years old. Learning small phrases in American Sign Language (ASL) from her friend instilled a passion for the language, and spending time with her grandpa gave her a desire to work with people who are visually impaired. From these experiences Eileen decided to pursue a bachelor's degree in ASL and Psychology from Northeastern University in Boston. After completing her bachelor's program, Eileen worked at Beverly School for the Deaf as a Bilingual Paraprofessional supporting students with a range of abilities and sound access. Eileen went on to earn a master's degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and complete the Graduate Certificate of Animal Assisted Social Work at the DU Graduate School of Social Work, gaining a passion to better understand how animals can positively impact mental health. After graduating, Eileen began work as a Student Success Counselor at Colorado State University Global while also providing assistance in their Disability Services Office.
Eileen's experiences have provided her with an enthusiasm and passion to help make the world a more accessible place. She is also a PRN therapist at an inpatient behavioral health organization, which allows her to bring empathy, understanding, care, options, and solution-focused thinking to those she connects with. In Eileen's free time she loves to hike, brush up on her German language skills, and explore new places in Colorado and abroad. Eileen very much looks forward to meeting you!
Jamie Jackson: Accommodation Specialist (She|Her|Hers)
Jamie is originally from Colorado, and received her BA in Social Studies Education from Colorado State University. After graduation, she taught high school geography in Aurora, Colorado. Her classroom’s predominant demographic was non-English speaking immigrants and refugees from various countries around the world. This experience helped ignite her passion for making education accessible for all. Jamie then moved to Spain, where she taught English and Art. This gave her the opportunity to connect with a younger demographic, placing a strong emphasis on childhood development. When she returned home, she spent seven years working for an educational-therapeutic program geared toward helping young adults make a successful transition to college. This role gave her direct insight into the roadblocks students with disabilities face, and provided her with the opportunity to work one-on-one with students to develop and enhance their executive functioning.
Jamie is currently working towards her master’s degree in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. She has over ten years of experience working in the academic sector and believes in the life changing power of education. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and spending as much time as possible with her dog, Griffey. She looks forward to meeting you and supporting you during your academic journey here at DU!
Joni Alber: Accommodation Specialist (She|Her|Hers)
Driscoll Center South, Garden Level, Suite 30 Room 49
Originally from Pueblo, Colorado, Joni graduated from Colorado State University of Pueblo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Management. She then went on to pursue a second Bachelors in Recreational Therapy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her professional development began with 5 years of working with many different populations in the recreational field where she developed skills to adapt a variety of programs to meet the social, cognitive, spiritual, emotional and physical needs of her participants. Being able to adapt these programs has also given her first hand experience working with a variety of people with disabilities. She then proceeded to start her career journey in the education field by continuing to use those adaptation skills by assessing students and helping them navigate their career path. In this role, Joni worked for an online course provider that partnered with 50 different universities world wide, and was able to assist students to enroll into a program that best met their educational goals, and assisted with any accommodations that followed. In Joni’s free time she enjoys playing golf, watching football and hockey, reading and spending time with her friends and family. She looks forward to meeting you and supporting your educational experiences!
What We Do
We are excited to help you thrive! SDS provides or facilitates a range of accommodations, including, but not limited to:
- Test accommodations (extra time, minimal or reduced distraction)
- Alternate format texts and materials
- Course substitutions
- Classroom changes
- Audio recording of lectures
- Meal plan modification
- University-managed housing accommodations
- Early registration (also known as priority registration)
- Peer Notetakers
- Sign language/oral interpreters
- Speech-to-text (STS) or text-to-speech (TTS) technology
- Referrals to other services and programs
Additionally, we work in concert with the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) to ensure we are able to provide second language accommodations and more.