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New StepUP Counselors: Meet Thenedra and Shane


Tell us a little bit about yourself.Thenedra as a kid with a bunny cake, then as an adult with the same type of cake.

My name is Thenedra Roots. I studied human services in college for two years in Austin, MN, then took three years off to travel the country. When I returned, I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in alcohol and drug counseling.

What are some of your passions?

I love traveling, I want to travel the world. I want to go to Africa and see the elephants. I love high end restaurants, I love hole in the wall restaurants, I love all different kinds food. My winter activity is crocheting, I’m getting excited to get some yarn and crochet this winter. Also, I love people. You could say I’m a social butterfly. Part of the reason I want to be in this field is because of the people; everyone has such an interesting life and an interesting story.

What kind of music do you like?

I truly do like all music. I could be in my car listening to The Current one minute, then classical music, then I could be jamming out to Kanye West; it just depends on my mood. Usually when I’m driving home from work I like rap music, and on the way to work I’ll listen to classical music.

Why did you choose this field?

I was born into an alcoholic and addict family. I have several family members in active use and it has greatly affected me throughout my life. So that is how I developed an interest in this field and in recovery.

What’s your favorite part of working at StepUP so far?

My favorite part has been meeting all of the students and working with students who are very motivated in their recovery. It’s been fun getting to know people. It’s really cool that when my door is open, people will just come in and talk with me. I still get amazed every time I hear someone say they’ve been sober for consecutive years. Seeing people live their lives of recovery; that’s what I love about this environment.

What are you looking forward to about working here?

I’m excited for the Gala and to see what that’s about. I’m also looking forward to  learning how every semester is different, and how my job changes as the semesters change. I’m excited to start going out and telling others about StepUP, and spreading the word about the program.

Anything Else?

I’ve appreciated everyone that’s come into my office and introduced themselves. I’ve appreciated everyone that has taken the time to get to know me, and allowed me to get to know them. It’s made this transition really easy.


Shane J. with his daughter on a snowy trail in the woods.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Shane Jensen. I’m from Vermillion, South Dakota. I went to school in Mankato, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Then I fulfilled my internship and began working as a counselor out at  Wilderness Treatment Center in Montana.

What are some of your passions?

Anything outdoors, I absolutely love the outdoors; that’s what I’m all about. A huge part of my spirituality is being outdoors and being in nature; hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, canoeing, etc. Living in Montana, there’s obviously a lot of outdoor pursuits out there, which I miss dearly, given all the mountains, lakes, and wilderness. I enjoy anything outdoors, anything hands on, and anything that keeps me active.

What kind of music do you like?

I would say one of my favorite bands is the John Butler Trio, but I like basically any kind of music. I can usually find the positive in most kinds of music.

Why did you leave Montana?

I loved Montana, I still love it, but family takes priority now. My wife is from the Twin Cities area and having our kids closer to family is important. We have a Daughter (Edith) who is 20 months and a Son (Everett) who is 6 weeks old.

Why did you choose this field?

I was going to school for Psychology. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it at first. I did an internship, and started working with young people in very early recovery. It was awesome to watch the change happen. It was very rewarding to see what recovery has to offer young people.

What’s your favorite part of working at StepUP so far?

My favorite part has been seeing young people that are living a life of recovery, experiencing the promises, and contributing to society. It’s been really rewarding meeting young people that have years of sobriety as opposed to kids that really only have a couple months. It’s really cool to see young people in recovery giving back.

What are you looking forward to about working here?

Helping young people in recovery see more of the solution, what leads to a fulfilling life, and what leads to them feeling good about their life.  There also seems to be freedom in my position to run with whatever I am passionate about and that is really exciting.

Anything else?

I’m open to talking to and working with anyone. There’ve been a couple people that have trickled in this week who asked if I’d be open to working with them, and the answer is yes, I’m open to working with anyone. I enjoy learning through the experiences of others and hope to do some teaching through those interactions as well.