Our Northwest Youth Corps team

Administration

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Jeff Parker

Executive Director

JeffP@nwyouthcorps.org
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Jeff Parker is our Executive Director. Jeff brings significant experience in strategic development, coordination, and execution of complex public and private projects to his position. He first worked for NYC in 1994 as Project Manager at a residential AmeriCorps camp on the Olympic peninsula. Jeff has also worked as NYC’s Youth Corps Program Director, and Deputy Director. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Art Degree in Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science, with an emphasis on Public Policy, from Evergreen State College. A north Eugene resident, Jeff is the proud father of two boys, and an avid outdoor enthusiast.
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Keith Brown

Senior Director,
Administration

KeithB@nwyouthcorps.org
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Keith previously served as the Youth Corps Program Director, Operations Director, and head of the Marketing and Community Relations Department. Keith began his career with NYC in 1992 as a crewleader and spent his first few winters supervising NYC’s YouthBuild home construction program. When Keith is not working, he enjoys spending time exploring the northwest forests and coastal areas with Ann, his wife and best friend.
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Jay A. Satz

Senior Director,
Partnerships and Innovation

JaySatz@nwyouthcorps.org
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Jay (he/him/his) is responsible for developing new conservation service program models, managing relationships with NYC’s key partners and supporting programs in the field. Jay is an award winning conservationist with a 30+ year career of connecting youth to conservation, creating and running effective backcountry conservation service programs, and developing and promulgating effective risk management practices for NYC, SCA, National Park Service, YMCA and other organizations and programs. In addition to his work with NYC, Jay serves on the boards for Aerie Backcountry Medicine and the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s Camping and Outdoor Leadership Branch, was a standing member of the Wilderness Risk Managers steering committee 1995-2019, and is an Associate with Experiential Consulting, LLC.
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Natalie Whitson

Development Officer

NatalieW@nwyouthcorps.org
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Since 1998, Natalie has worked to fund new programs through grant-writing and alumni and community solicitation. Her other responsibilities include donor and volunteer development, facility rentals, representing NYC on the Laurel Hill Valley Executive Committee, and chairing NYC’s Safety Committee. Prior to NYC, Natalie lived in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she operated a small cleaning business. She has also worked at a foundation supporting public schools, and as a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) where she developed youth activities. Natalie earned her Master of Fine Art Degree in Painting from the University of Oregon. She and her husband have a daughter who is a proud graduate of NYC’s high school, now called the Twin Rivers Charter School. When not working, Natalie studies and competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Elena

Elena Galik

Finance Director

ElenaG@nwyouthcorps.org
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Elena Galik was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, and relocated to Lane County Oregon in 2005. She earned her MBA in Finance in 2014, and has completed other courses in QuickBooks, personal finance, business, accounting, and tax preparation. After working in finance for a variety of other companies, Elena found her home as Finance Director at Northwest Youth Corps in 2019. In her spare time, Elena love to spend time with her family. She also enjoys baking, gardening, and her sphynx cats.
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Tracy Denson

Bookkeeper

TracyD@nwyouthcorps.org
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Tracy has been NYC’s bookkeeper since 2010. Considering herself a Jane of all trades, before NYC, Tracy worked in a variety of jobs including silk screener, adult foster home assistant, and tile worker. A lifelong Oregonian, Tracy was born in Florence and moved to Eugene when she was five, where she’s lived ever since. She enjoys camping, waterskiing, bowling, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Erica

Erica Minson

Accounts Payable

EricaM@nwyouthcorps.org
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Erica is our Accounts Payable person. She was born in Denver, Colorado and has also lived in Arizona and Montana. She relocated to Eugene Oregon to be near family. She brings to NYC more than 20 years of financial background, with 5 years AP experience. Erica’s hobbies are making jewelry, gardening, and reading. She is passionate about animals, feral cats, and fostering kittens and cats in need. One item on Erica’s bucket list is to visit Scotland and Ireland.
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Jessie Johnson

Human Resources Officer

JessicaJ@nwyouthcorps.org
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Jessie joins NYC as the HR Officer. Born in Florida and was transplanted to the tiny town of Cove Oregon. She feels that this upbringing gave her the best of both worlds. Surrounded by forests and fields she developed a true appreciation for nature and its’ lasting impact on youth. In 2012 Jessie attained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon. Over the course of her career she has provided management, leadership, and human resources in both the non-profit and private sector. Additionally, she is a SHRM-CP certified HR Professional who is passionate about organizational development and employee engagement. Outside of work you can find Jessie enjoying time with her daughter or getting out and exploring the community.
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Peter Chesser

Communications Officer

PeterC@nwyouthcorps.org
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Peter grew up in New York and attended the University at Albany and the College of Saint Rose, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. After college, he worked for conservation corps in Alaska and Montana before joining Northwest Youth Corps in 2011. When not in the office Peter spends his time raising his kids and exploring Pacific Northwest public lands.
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Michaela Fishback

Communications Intern

Michaelaf@nwyouthcorps.org
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Michaela (she/her/hers) has been passionate about protecting the environment for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Iowa and moved to Oregon in 2014, where she attended the University of Oregon for her Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Science with minors in Art and Biology in 2020. She filled any spare time she had during her college years by leading wilderness excursions with the Outdoor Program, running the campus's largest student-led environmental activism group, and assisting with research in competition between native and non-native plants. The highlight of her college experience was during her senior year, when she and 15 other students road their bicycles from San Francisco to San Diego in 10 days. Since graduating, Michaela has been part of field research projects and environmental education programs throughout Oregon. Her favorite field experience so far was when she spent three months studying endangered fish habitat in the Colorado River Basin in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. She has also enjoyed getting to support middle school and high school classrooms as a substitute teacher. Michaela is primarily motivated by her goal of developing creative science communication systems to enhance connection between the general public and our shared environment. She is also motivated by her love of painting, knitting, and her cat, Mushu, as well as any opportunity to spend time near a lake, river, or the ocean.

Member Services

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Andrew Tagge

Interim Program
Manager

AndrewTC@nwyouthcorps.org
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Andrew (he/him/his) grew up in the cornfields of Central Illinois before escaping to Minnesota and all its many lakes in 2010. In Minnesota, he started his work with the Corps world, serving three terms with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, happily wielding a chainsaw almost every day. After completing his terms of service, Andrew returned to the University of Minnesota to gain his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Anxious to see just how big a lake he can find, Andrew found himself drawn to Oregon and its coast, and his next foray into the Corps world began with NYC. When not with NYC, you can find Andrew hiking along the coast, soaking in hot springs, biking, reading, or woodworking.
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Tiyana Casey

Tribal Stewards
Inclusion Coordinator

TiyanaC@nwyouthcorps.org
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Tiyana Casey: (Wasq'u, Yakama, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Cayuse, & Nimiipuu) bridges western sciences with the sciences of her indigenous culture to advance the understanding and management of her ancestral territories for both tribal and non-tribal people. She has been responsible for the cultural transmission and education of indigenous youth from most federally recognized tribes in the Nation, with the intention of offering healing pathways to professional spaces. As a life-long advocate for tribal youth, and with the support of the National Indian Education Association, she testified in front of the US Congress on behalf of health, safety, and educational rights for youth in federally-operated boarding schools. Her undergraduate education in Environmental Geology, General Science, and Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University complemented her student body leadership positions with the United Indigenous Students in Higher Education, American Indian Science and Engineering Society regional chapter, and as the PNW Regional Student Chapter President of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. She has been funded by the National Science Foundation in Glacial Sedimentology, Air Quality, and Tribal Climate Justice research (facilitating culturally-relevant STEM curriculum with indigenous science educators). The synthesis of her education and leadership roles with the invaluable education she has received from tribal elders, hunters, gatherers, and community members informs Tiyana's current roles both professionally and in her community.
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Zeke Zeff

Young Adult
Recruitment Coordinator

info@nwyouthcorps.org
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Zeke was born and raised in west Philadelphia before discovering trail crew and the benefits of work in the mountains. He graduated from Hampshire College in 2019 with a BA in photography and environmental science, and worked on recreation and research projects in Puerto Rico, Arizona, and Montana before joining NYC in 2021. Outside the office, he enjoys climbing mountains, cooking impossibly spicy food, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Operations

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Alfredo Garcia

Operations Coordinator

AlfredoG@nwyouthcorps.org
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Alfredo has worked in the construction field for many years, and brings to NYC a wide range of skills and certifications. As the Facilities Coordinator, he is an integral part of the Operations Department. Outside of work, Alfredo enjoys spending time with his boys, and attending church.
Carlos

Carlos Guzman

Operations Coordinator

CarlosG@nwyouthcorps.org
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Carlos moved to Eugene in 2020 from Southern California where he was born and raised. He brings a wide range of skills and certifications essential to the Ops department from his earlier days working in both programs and operations for camps and conference centers. Maintaining a 160-acre urban-wildland interface helped Carlos understand the value of stewardship and conservation. On his time off Carlos, enjoys skating, playing guitar, watching sports, and spending time with his dog, Molly. He set the record for longest time log rolling while he was Head Lifeguard at Camp Loch Leven and hopes to discover new adventures and “records” to break in the Pacific Northwest!

Programs

Kelsee

Kelsee Taylor

Conservation Corps
Director

KelseeT@nwyouthcorps.org
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Kelsee joined the NYC team as the Conservation Corps Director in 2020. Previously she lived in Flagstaff, AZ and was born and raised in Prescott, AZ. Her love for the outdoors began early while exploring the vast and varied landscapes of Arizona. In 2012 she graduated from Prescott College with a B.A. in Environmental Science. Her college experience was transformative and not only reinforced her love for the outdoors but also prepared her for the rough but rewarding road ahead of environmental field work. She joined American Conservation Experience after college as an Americorps member and found her passion for ecological restoration, public lands, and national service. Since her time as a member, she has worked as a Crew Leader, Project Manager and Associate Director before starting her newest journey with Northwest Youth Corps. When she is not working Kelsee can be found exploring the treasures of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.
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Jeff Olson

Risk Management and
Field Training Officer

JOlson@nwyouthcorps.org
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Jeff spent his teenage salad days working with NYC in the mid- 90’s, participating in a variety of programs. He returned to the NYC family in 2007 as a crew leader, previous to his current position he served as a program manager in WA and Field Director for the organization. Jeff grew up in Tacoma, WA and studied Studio Art at Evergreen State College. He has held a Wilderness EMT Certification since 2008 and teaches Wilderness Medicine courses with Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Outside of work, Jeff can be found building furniture, in the uplands with pointing dogs and on the river swinging flies for unsuspecting fish.
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Kai (Kaivalya) Chotard

Community Wildfire
Protection Corps Manager

KaiC@nwyouthcorps.org
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Kai (he/him/his) was born in Eugene, Oregon in a multicultural family, with a mother who is part Native American (United Houma Nation) and a father originally from France. Kai grew up in an eco-conscious environment while adventuring in the nature of the Pacific Northwest. Kai has travelled and worked with people from many backgrounds, all over the world. He has visited and/or lived in over 45 countries. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish. Kai received his French Baccalaureate in Biology. He then created his own University program and earned a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences (the study of “ologies”) and a Master’s in the concept of Family Management (from the family nucleus to the world human family). Kai has been working with Youth Empowerment and Education since 1998. He is an advocate for justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Kai has also trained and taught as a Wildland Firefighter, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Emergency First Response Instructor, Operations & Logistics Manager, Safety Director, Emergency Commander, Conflict Resolution Manager and in Consent Culture, in multiple locations in the world. Kai was previously a Young Adult Lead and the Fire Prevention & Restoration Coordinator for Northwest Youth Corps, working with a multitude of local, county and state agencies. Now as the Community Wildfire Protection Corps Manager, Kai is passionate about creating Community resiliency in these times of need. He is very active in all kinds of outdoor adventures, from snowboarding to scuba diving to backpacking to playing in waterfalls and more!
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Edison Velez

WA Program Manager

EdisonV@nwyouthcorps.org
(253) 245-3724
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Edison (he/him/his) comes from Disney World, Florida and was quick to escape west after completing his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Florida. Edison spent most of his youth and young adult summers working and recreating in the outdoors, often travelling far from Florida to find more than just swamps and pine forests. After a handful of summers in New Mexico and a quick jaunt to California, Edison landed in the Northwest for a summer and became enchanted with staying. Since his start with Northwest Youth Corps, Edison has led crews, coordinated programs in the field, and now is responsible for overseeing Northwest Youth Corps Camping program in the state of Washington. When he is not enjoying the outdoors professionally, he can be found cycling to coffee shops and trying to organize a sea of photos from the last couple years of work and travel.
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Maggie Weaver

Field Training
Coordinator

MaggieW@nwyouthcorps.org
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Maggie (she/hers) is a coffee-always-in-her-veins wildlife enthusiast, nature junkie, creative writer, and horoscope reader with a love for all things poetry. Born in Northern Virginia, she spent all of her childhood there and attended the University of VA to study Biology and Poetry. She always loved the outdoors growing up, but took her love to the next level when she moved to Arizona after college to join a Conservation Corps. There, she acquired a variety of different skills in trail building, fuels reduction, ecological restoration, habitat creation, and outdoor leadership, and decided that she couldn’t imagine life any other way than working and living outdoors with an inspiring cohort of adventurers. Maggie joined the Northwest Youth Corps team after trying her hand at farming; she worked everywhere from a goat dairy to a flower farm to an island garden before realizing she missed the trails, saws, tents, and all other good things from the field life too much. As both a conservationist and a creative writer, Maggie believes that communication plays a large role in fostering deep connections between people and nature. She is very passionate about inclusive leadership and supportive interpersonal dynamics when it comes to conservation engagement. In her free time, she enjoys staying active, the Spotify rabbit hole, thrifting, and embroidery. She is unusually skilled at rollerblading, biking with coffee, typing extremely fast, and writing haikus.
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Hannia Candelario

Oregon Program
Manager

HanniaC@nwyouthcorps.org Read Bio
Hannia grew up with one foot on the mountains of Costa Rica and the other one on the beaches of Miami. She initiated her AmeriCorps journey in 2012 leading summer crews in back and front country settings. Since then, she’s been part of other AmeriCorps programs as well as programs in Latin America that facilitate environmental justice and social engagement spaces for communities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Ecotourism from Unity College in Maine and recently received her master’s degree in Environment, Development and Peace with specialization in Sustainable Natural Resource Management from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. She focused her research on how environmental education and youth engagement in outdoor recreation can be used as a framework for social justice and civic engagement in areas of high social vulnerability in Latin America. With her grad school journey, she also began running trails and mountains. So far, she has completed two ultra-trail marathons and several mountain half marathons. She received two pounds of cheese once as a first-place prize on a 25K. Hannia is part of the Program Coordinator team in Oregon and comes to NYC with a high interest and passion in youth development, outdoor recreation, experiential education and community outreach.
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Lisa O'Flaherty

Idaho Program
Manager

LisaO@idahocc.org
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Lisa (she/her/hers)joined the Northwest Youth Corps as the Idaho State Program Manager in 2021. She spent her formative years as a world traveler, living in Texas, Minnesota, Indonesia, and England. After earning a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2010, she ran off to the mountains of Northern California to serve on a Backcountry Trail Crew with the California Conservation Corps. She fell in love with working to protect and promote access to our natural spaces and hasn’t looked back since. She spent the next few years leading conservation crews in Texas and Washington, responding to natural disasters across the country, working trails for the Forest Service in California, and most recently working as a municipal Arborist in Boise, the City of Trees. When not at work, Lisa is most often hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, or relaxing with her husband and dog.
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Hailey Brookins

Idaho Program
Coordinator

HaileyB@idahocc.org
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Hailey (she/her/hers) was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. Her love for the outdoors started when she was young and has inspired her to pursue a career in conservation. She spent several seasons working with the United States Forest Service, and then worked as a crew leader for Idaho Conservation Corps. After graduating from Westminster College in Environmental Studies and Data Science, she is excited to share her knowledge and passion for conservation as a Program Coordinator. In her free time, Hailey enjoys fly fishing, skiing, backpacking, and perfecting the chocolate chip cookie.
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Ally Richert

Program Coordinator

AllyR@nwyouthcorps.org
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Ally (she/her/hers) (also goes by Al), grew up on Oregon’s south coast working on her family’s cranberry farm. This close connection with the land flourished into a love of the outdoors and an appreciation of hard work. Since graduating from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, she has worked with several nonprofits managing youth programs in the fields of education and diversity. Later she travelled the western US, camping and hiking along the way. She really leaned into her love for hiking (or as she likes to call it, “climbing up hills for fun”), and this passion has led to her most recent feat of climbing the Middle Teton! When she’s not climbing up hills, she enjoys playing softball, painting, and hanging out with her cat, Andy.
image coming soon

Tenzing Syelneon

Program Coordinator

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Tenzing (he/him/his) was born in a small hilltown in Darjeeling, India. He moved to the Bronx NY in 2013. His journey has indulged him with unique people, places and moments. Although far from home “I am a mountain child, born of the mountain with a heart of fire and light”. With this fire, he brings a passion and energy to NYC and the conservation world. He believes in developing young leaders for the future, and passing on the torch and helping them shoulder the weight of this movement. Tenzing earned his bachelor’s degree in Ecology from Fordham University. After earning his master’s degree in biology from SUNY Maritime College, Tenzing worked as a crewleader for two years at Conservation Legacy before joining NYC.

Internships

Jay

Jay Runte

Conservation Internship
Director

JayR@nwyouthcorps.org
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Jay Runte is the Conservation Internship Director at Northwest Youth Corps placing 140 paraprofessional interns per year with federal land management agencies throughout the Pacific-West Region. Jay’s program is a cooperative effort designed to address community, environmental, and resource management projects while providing hands on training and experience to those interested in pursuing employment with land management agencies. Jay has served with Northwest Youth Corps for over 17 years, focusing on youth development, community engagement, volunteerism, diversity initiatives, and natural resources management. Originally from New York, Jay attended Excelsior College earning a B.S. in Liberal Arts and M.N. in Recreation and Leisure Studies. Jay enjoys fly fishing, rafting, and skiing with his wife Stefanie and son Alex.
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Olivia Kelley

Internship Program Coordinator

LivK@idahocc.org
(541) 357-8210
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Liv (Xe, Xem, Xir) grew up in rural Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical, Cellular and Molecular Biology from Central Michigan University. After graduating in 2018, xe moved to Houston, Texas and served an 11-month term of service with Texas Conservation Corps of American Youthworks. Falling in love with the Corps world, Liv joined staff at American Youthworks and served as a Program Assistant and Field Coordinator, while receiving a Graduate Certificate in Fish Health and Aquaculture from the University of Florida. Liv has always loved the Pacific Northwest and happily transitioned to the Northwest Youth Corps team in 2021. When not working, xe can usually be found hiking in Idaho State Parks with xir wife and two dogs.
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Cassidy Connolly

AmeriCorps
Manager

CassieC@idahocc.org
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Cassidy was born and raised in the Boise area. She has always been an avid animal lover and enjoyed the outdoors. She attended Boise State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. Her journey with nonprofits started while serving as a coordinating team member for the Boise River Enhancement Network. With her passion for environmental conservation and nonprofit work, she joined the Idaho Conservation Corps. In her free time, she loves to be outside on the water kayaking and fishing, but most importantly, spending time with her beloved cats.

Twin Rivers Charter School

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