Elysia Versen, PhD, LPC Deputy Executive Director / COO

Dr. Elysia Versen joined the Colorado Lab during its first year to build the capacity of Colorado leaders to use research to improve the lives of Coloradans. Elysia’s experience as a clinician and an educator shapes her approach to designing research and translation of findings into innovative policies and practices. Elysia holds a master’s degree in school counseling and a doctoral degree in counseling and counselor education with a minor in statistics. Her early career included mental health counseling in hospitals and schools and as a high school teacher and administrator. Prior to joining the Colorado Lab, she was a full professor at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) in the Applied Psychology and Counselor Education department, and taught courses in the Applied Statistics and Research Methods Department. While at UNCO, she held a special appointment in the Office of the Provost to support faculty members in growing their funded research agenda in service of innovative research in education.

Elysia is interested in public policy areas that have the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives for the better. Her focus tends to be on youth, young adults, and families within the context of education, child welfare, workforce and economic mobility, and health. She welcomes the opportunity to collaborate on projects outside these issue areas. The Colorado Lab’s Essential Element of systems thinking—so that we approach evidence building by making connections across players in different systems to find alignment in opportunity—speaks most strongly to her.

Elysia finds joy in kayaking on rivers and taking a few moments each day to find a beautiful place where she can see a long way.