STEP Therapy

Mariah Runkle, MS, OTR/L
CEO-Regional Director

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Meet our Speech Language Pathologists & Assistants...

Brianna Calvin, MS, CCC-SLP

Clinic Director (DTC) & Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist


Bri relocated to Denver, CO from Memphis, TN. She earned her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Tennessee State University in 2015 and is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). Bri has had the pleasure of working with children of all ages with a variety of disorders since her journey as an SLP began. She especially loves providing early intervention and is passionate about parent education and collaboration. In her free time, Bri enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Grace Hildensperger, MS, CCC-SLP

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist


Grace is new to the Denver area, having moved here from Chicago, Illinois where she completed her masters degree in Speech, Language, & Learning (SLP) at Northwestern University. Grace is originally from Michigan and earned her B.A. in linguistics at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While Grace loves helping children improve their speech and language skills, she also enjoys working with adults to improve their speech, language, voice, and swallowing skills. Grace is interested in many topics within the field of speech-language pathology, and has taken a special interest in treating stuttering/fluency and voice disorders among both the pediatric and adult populations. When Grace is not having a blast with her kiddo patients, she is hiking in the mountains, practicing yoga, or spending time with her niece. Grace is passionate about helping young children and adults alike find their voice and communicate with loved ones more effectively.

Emily Petrone, MS, CCC-SLP

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist


Emily is originally from New York with a B.F.A. in Acting. She later pursued Speech-Language Pathology at Lehman College in NYC, and went on to earn her Master's degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Wyoming in 2016. She is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and enjoys working with children of all ages. She currently works full-time as a school-based SLP working with children with varying speech and language disorders. She has experience working with children ages 2-18 with a variety of disorders including speech sound disorders, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, downs syndrome, autism, and expressive/receptive language disorders. She especially loves working with toddlers with phonological and/or language delays. In addition to working in the schools, she has worked with children with more severe needs in the home health and private practice settings for the past two years. She loves collaborating with other specialists and working closely with families. 

Meet our Occupational Therapists & Assistants...

Julie Honan, MS, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Julie graduated from Boston University in 1996 with a Master’s of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy. Julie has 22 years of Occupational Therapy experience. She has been working in the pediatric field since 2017, and has fallen in love with working with children. Previously she worked in the field of adult and older adults. She was also a faculty member at Touro University - Nevada in the Occupational Therapy program from 2006-2012. She lives in Aurora with her husband and son. She enjoys hiking, volunteering at her son’s school, and spending time with her family.

Ashlyn Kennedy, MOT, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Ashlyn relocated from Memphis, TN to Denver, CO. She earned her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2020. Ashlyn has received experience working in OT with all ages throughout her fieldwork. She found her interest in working with pediatrics during her school-based rotation. She loves working with kids and getting to collaborate with the families. In her spare time, Ashlyn and her husband love golfing, hiking, and swimming! 

Maria Marquez, MS, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Maria graduated from Colorado State University with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. She previously obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and enjoys collaborating with families and children to help improve their quality of life. Maria is constantly reading about sensory integration principles and evidence-based interventions to best meet the needs of the families she works with. In her free time, Maria loves to spend time with family, friends, and her dog, Timon.

Carly McCance, MOT, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Carly relocated to Denver, CO from Cherry Hill, NJ. She earned her Master's degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 2019 and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Carly decided at the age of 10 years old to become a pediatric occupational therapist and is extremely dedicated and passionate about the profession. She loves working with children and collaborating with families to improve their overall quality of life. When Carly's not in the clinic, she enjoys being a professional axe thrower, exploring Colorado, and spending time with her loved ones. 

Chelsey Callif, COTA/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Chelsey was born in raised in Aurora, CO and received her Associates degree in Occupational Therapy from Pima Medical Institute Denver. Chelsey has a background in Early Childhood Education where being a former preschool teacher, she realized her passion for helping children with special needs. Her goal is to help encourage and support every child’s development to improve their overall quality of life. When she is not in the clinic, Chelsey is enjoying quality time with her family and loves hanging out on the couch watching movies with her husband and her two dogs.

Jackie Nitta, COTA/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Jackie was born and raised in upstate NY and received her Associates degree in Occupational Therapy at Casper College in Wyoming.  She had motivation from an early age to go into the OT field. Jackie has a brother with special needs and as she observed him receive PT, OT, and Speech services, she naturally began assisting in his in-home therapy. Her passion is helping kids and their families work to overcome obstacles (while having some fun and silliness) and live the most meaningful, joyful, and successful lives. When she's not in the clinic, Jackie is busy raising her two kids, cooking and baking, shopping, and maybe indulging in too many movies on the couch with her husband.

Meet our Physical Therapists & Assistants...

Erin Lielkoks, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapy Practitioner

Erin was born and raised in Grand Junction, CO where she received her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from Colorado Mesa University in 2016. She has many years of experience volunteering with children with disabilities at summer camps in CO, where she developed her passion for pediatric PT. After moving to Missoula, Montana to pursue her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Montana, she moved back to her home state of Colorado to begin her career as a pediatric physical therapist at STEP Therapy Pediatrics in 2019. Erin is currently treating at both the Aurora and DTC locations, and is excited to be part of the STEP Therapy community. When she’s not working, Erin enjoys exploring all of the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer including hiking and trail running.  

Paula McBride, PT, MSPT

Pediatric Physical Therapy Practitioner


Paula earned her Master’s of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas and has spent the past 27 years of her career specializing in geriatrics. Her areas of expertise include neurological, orthopedic, cardiac rehab and general medical disorders and advocating for the elderly population.  In 2018, Paula decided to pursue her passion of working with children and shifted her career focus to provide pediatric physical therapy and volunteer at STEP Therapy Pediatrics throughout the year.

Meet our Front Office Staff...

Dorine Roberts, AAS, CST

Operations and Billing Specialist


Dorine was born and raised in Europe. She moved to Colorado in 1988 where she raised her four sons and now enjoys watching her two grandsons grow up. She earned her Associates of Applied Sciences degree in Surgical Technology and worked in the O.R. with the surgeons of the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Avalanche. Dorine left the operating room and helped keep 1,300 middle school children remain healthy and safe during her time working in the health clinic for the Cherry Creek School District. Dorine has a 25 year history of working with children on the autism spectrum and enjoys being a resource to STEP Therapy Pediatrics' patients and families.

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