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Meet our Counselors and Staff




Shane Jensen, B.A., LADC

Chemical Dependency Counselor

In exploring a meaningful and purpose driven life, I began my career working at the Wilderness Treatment Center in Montana.  I was helping young men and their families navigate the challenging first few months of their recoveries.  After serving as an addictions counselor, Family counseling lead, and Continuing care coordinator, my passion to help extended into recovery after treatment. When I learned of the StepUP program I was excited to hear of the integration between a recovery focused community and a University that celebrates the achievements of these gifted students.  In college a common challenge is identity.  “Who am I?” and “what do I want to do?” is a reality that is hard to stray away from.  A focus of mine is to have intentional conversations that examine the blind spots our students face.  Through this I am able to help students find their gifts and put their abilities into action while maintaining their recovery.

In my free time I enjoy spending time being active outdoors with my wife, daughter, and son.  My hobbies include backpacking, fishing, hunting, carpentry, and mentoring people in each of these pursuits.



Thenedra Roots, B.A., LADC

Chemical Dependency Counselor

Thenedra Roots has been a Chemical Dependency Counselor in the StepUP Program for over 3 years and enjoys working with young adults in recovery as they develop into professionals in their careers. Thenedra has a passion for working with people and believes in a person-centered approach when counseling her students.

Thenedra previously worked at Hazelden Betty Ford, where she gained a lot of her experience working with people in early recovery with acute needs. Thenedra has experience working with adolescents, young adults, and older adults in both an inpatient and outpatient setting. Additionally, Thenedra has experience working with individuals who present with co-occurring mental health issues.

Thenedra holds a B.S. degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling from Metropolitian State University and is currently pursuing her M.A. degree in Leadership from Augsburg University.

For fun, Thenedra enjoys gardening, being a foodie, and spending time with her family and friends.


Jon Stentz, M.A., LADC

Chemical Dependency Counselor

Jon Stentz received his Master’s degree from Hazelden Betty Ford’s School of Addiction Studies in 2015. He has training in several different modalities working with those who struggle with addiction and mental health issues including Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Over the past four years he has held a position as a Licensed Addiction Counselor with Hazelden Betty Ford in St. Paul MN. During that time he has worked primarily with young adults who are transitioning from residential treatment to self-management of their recovery outside of treatment.

In that time he became very familiar with the StepUp program and its mission to support young adults through challenges that higher education can present for those in early recovery. During that time he has referred many students to the StepUP program and is thrilled to see the success they have achieved with the help of StepUP and the thriving recovery community within the Twin City area.  Jon shares a passion with fellow StepUP staff for working side by side with students to help them achieve success not only in academics, but also in recovery and ultimately in life.

Jon is blessed with a brilliant, loving wife as well as two amazingly talented children who are also beginning their adventure at their respective universities.


Melissa Hunter, M.A.

Administrative Assistant

Melissa Hunter is the Administrative Assistant for the StepUP Program. In this position, Melissa provides administrative assistance for StepUP counselors and the Director. She serves as the primary contact for incoming students and assists on daily ongoing projects such as New Student Orientation, maintaining the student data base, organizing guest speaker arrangements, as well as providing data for program outcomes.

Melissa joined the StepUP program in August of 2017.  Prior to her position in StepUP she served as Program Coordinator at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis.  Within this position, she assisted multiple program directors in a variety of Master level teacher licensure programs including; K-12 Teaching, English as a Second Language, Special Education, as well as the Culturally Responsive Teaching program. From 2012-2014, she instructed a Resume Writing workshop to help assist recent graduates in their career field.

Melissa holds a B.A. degree in Communication from the University of St. Catherine and an  M.A. degree in Human Development with a focus on Student Affairs and Holistic Health.

Melissa enjoy spending time with her husband, 5 year old son and 18 month old baby girl. In her free time she enjoys working out, hand painting farmhouse signs and cooking.