Meet Our Members | Year 26




Eli Schmit

Age: 21
Hometown: Eatonville, WA
Education: Eatonville High School

Why did you join: I enjoy all and any work done in the program and would like to help people.
What you hope to accomplish: Lose another 20 pounds and go on a disaster response.
Future Plans: Still in the works.

Hobbies: Lifting, making friends
Favorite Quote: “People think it ain’t be how it be, but it do!” - T-Pain

Wren Wells

Age: 26
Hometown: Victor, ID
Education: B.A. in English from Carleton College

Why did you join: I want a challenge and to continue learning and growing in conservation and relief work. I also want to work alongside dedicated and fun people just as committed and excited as I am!
What you hope to accomplish: Though I won’t be spending a lot of time in St. Louis, I’d really like to find ways to get involved in the community. Volunteering outside of my AmeriCorps requirements, exploring / supporting local art, music, farmers markets, etc., and finding diverse groups and micro communities to connect with.
Future Plans: Not concrete and ever-changing. I’d love to continue with conservation work for a while, and get into working with outdoor youth organizations/programs.

Hobbies: Hiking, biking, reading, rock collecting, the comics section in newspapers, climbing mountains
Favorite Quote: “Fact: bears eat beets. Bears, beets, ‘Battlestar Galactica.” - Jim Halpert as Dwight Schrute


Second Years

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Age: 25
Hometown: Bloomington, IL
Education: Illinois State University - Studied Anthropology and Philosophy

Why did you join: I worked with AmeriCorps St. Louis in Brevard County, FL during January of 2018 as part of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team mission assignment for Hurricane Irma, and was incredibly impressed by the work accomplished (as well as the quality) by the members.
What you hope to accomplish: I would really like to achieve, or come close to achieving, the lifetime Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, as well as become more proficient in disaster response and conservation work.
Future Plans: To either serve a second year with ACSTL-ERT, or join Washington Conservation Corps- Disaster Response Crew.

Hobbies: Crocheting, tie-dying, petting dogs, reading, macrame.
Favorite Quote: “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

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Age: 28
Hometown: Mundelein, IL
Education: Ivy Tech Community College - Studied Construction Management

Why did you join: This AmeriCorps program provides the experience and training/certifications to make what I want to do possible. My oldest sister served with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in California and Maine. I have always loved working and being outdoors and have served with the SCA in New Mexico and California. I also have one season working with the National Park Service in the Smoky Mountains National Park doing trail maintenance.
What do you hope to accomplish: I’m very excited to experience wildland firefighting and disaster relief.
Future plans: To return to the NPS (or maybe the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Fish & Wildlife Service) to work.

Hobbies: Movies, hiking, LEGOs, photography, and cartography
Favorite Quote: “Never half @$$ two things, whole @$$ one thing”

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Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education: Columbia University - M.A. in Climate & Society; New York University - B.A. in Global Liberal Studies



Age: 23
Hometown: St. Charles, MO
Education: Lindenwood University - Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Outdoor and Adventure Education

Why did you join: I want to make a difference. I would hope that if I was ever faced with an uphill climb that my community would help and support each other. I want to make sure our world wonders stay wild for as long as possible.
What you hope to accomplish: I want to accomplish as many conservation projects as possible. I want to keep the environment clean and help create places that people can enjoy for a long time.
Future plans: To protect nature— how and where have not yet been determined

Hobbies: Hiking, working out with my dad, running, reading, trying different teas, taking care of kittens, spending time with friends and family, watching NASCAR
Favorite quote: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


First Years

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Lauren Aiello

Age: 24
Hometown: Springfield, IL
Education: Illinois College ’16 - B.S. in Biology; University of Illinois-Springfield ’18 - M.A. in Environmental Science

Why did you join: To be a positive impact on a person’s life, to be a better steward to our planet, to improve my sustainability, and to feel my service would help and protect our planet. After serving with AmeriCorps NCCC, I saw the impact I could make on a community and knew I could not walk away after one service term.
What you hope to accomplish: I want to work on conservation projects so I can understand our environment more, to learn ways to improve current environmental practices, and to help in disaster response and assist survivors.
Future plans: I want to create a more environmentally conscious community. I’m keeping my options open.

Hobbies: Reading, crosswords, listening to podcasts, hiking, playing basketball
Favorite quote: Make it happen

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Amber andrews

Age: 23
Hometown: Woodbury, CT
Education: Western Connecticut State University ’18 - Justice and Law Administration

Why did you join: I’m excited to service with ERT because I would like the experience to be in different disaster situations and be able to learn about the different mitigation processes.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to improve my chainsaw skills.

Hobbies: When I’m not working, you can find me curled up with a good book, watching a movie, taking a Zumba class, or white water rafting/tubing.
Favorite quote: “Integrity: Is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” - C. S. Lewis


Emil Banaszak

Age: 22
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Education: University of Alabama

Why did you join: I want to work in conservation and to learn about wildland firefighting and disaster relief. Plus, I really like St. Louis. I served a year of service with AmeriCorps previously and am very excited about doing it again.
What you hope to accomplish: Making new trails and working with the Forest Service.
Future plans: Working for the National Parks.

Hobbies: Corn dogs and cars
Favorite quote: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” - Michael Jackson


Michael berrigan, Jr.

Age: 23
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Education: University of Virginia ’17 - B.A. in Computer Science

Why did you join: I worked closely with ERT Members while responding to Hurricane Michael. I saw the impact they had on the community and learned what ERT was about. I saw an opportunity to continue serving those in need while doing work I enjoy.
What you hope to accomplish: I want to experience personal growth while serving others, meet new people, and make friendships that will late forever.
Future plans: I plan to attend medical school and become a physician.

Hobbies: Sports, guitar, reading, learning
Favorite quote: “The meaning of life if to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” - Pablo Picasso


naomi bratsch-prince

Age: 20
Hometown: Ames, IA
Education: Ames High School ’17

Why did you join: AmeriCorps NCCC significantly impacted the way I saw the world and helped me navigate what I wanted to do with my life and how I could incorporate service in whatever I do. I had the chance to work with Members of ERT Year 25 while in a different AmeriCorps program and had such a positive experience. Overall, I just love AmeriCorps’ mission and wanted to continue working with a team, travel, and challenge myself and my perspective.
What you hope to accomplish: I would love to get more experience with the management side of disaster response and recovery. I’m totally stoked for whatever fire experience we get! I really want to push myself physically and learn more about conservation practices.
Future plans: I’m interested in pursuing a career as a paramedic/firefighter. Hoping this year gives me more clarity.

Hobbies: Running, watching YouTube, Shrek, The Bachelor/ Bachelorette , eating candy, dancing and showing my respects to Ariana Grande every day.


Kristen briseno

Age: 22
Hometown: Nuevo, CA
Education: University of California-Riverside - B.S. in Geology

Why did you join: I want to help those in need. I hope to learn valuable skills that can help me better assess situations and to use the skills I gain back in my home state of California. Watching people assisting in conservation and/or humanitarian effort inspire me to go out and do the same.
What you hope to accomplish: A map that showcases all the different projects ERT has done and disaster preparedness outreach.
Future plans: To work in disaster prevention.

Hobbies: Volunteering, backpacking, movie watching, traveling, rock hounding, and playing sports
Favorite quote: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” - Ralph Waldo Emerson


dean bryant

Age: 22
Hometown: Alexandrian, VA
Education: James Madison University - B.A. in Anthropology

Why did you join: I want to do meaningful work that challenges me, meet new people, expand my horizons, and gain experience in the type of work ERT is involved in. My previous AmeriCorps term with American Conservation Experience (ACE) inspired me to continue doing service work. Prior to that it was my love for the natural world.
What you hope to accomplish: To gain wildland firefighting experience, be deployed on disaster, and/or do some conservation projects.
Future plans: In flux, but I hope to try out wildland firefighting. I want to something(s) helpful with my life.

Hobbies: Sports, hiking, skateboarding, music, learning
Favorite quote: “All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be".” - Pink Floyd


blake buck

Age: 22
Hometown: Valley Park, MO
Education: St. Louis Community College

Why did you join: I didn’t have a direction in my life so I figured I would use this time to give back and hopefully find something I want to do in the future. I was tired of doing things that didn’t really matter.
Future plans: Hopefully, working for the U.S. Forest Service or the conservation department.

Hobbies: Fencing, reading, going to the movies, hunting, camping, and all kinds of other stuff


Holly bushey

Age: 24
Hometown: Fair Haven, VT
Education: Fair Haven/Poultney High School

Why did you join: I spent several months doing disaster relief with All Hands and Hearts. Some of the most incredible humans I met there served with ERT. I found a passion for helping others, and this is my way of making it sustainable. I also want people who look up to me (people like my nieces, nephews, etc.) to see that they could do things like this one day, too.
What you hope to accomplish: Everything from becoming red card certified, to continuing to develop these deeply meaningful connections that are so prevalent in the service world.
Future plans: To live in the present ‘til I get there.

Hobbies: Painting, volunteering, bad jokes, and singing off-key.
Favorite quote: “For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sign of stars makes me dream.” - Vincent Van Gogh


Estella Dieci

Age: 23
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Education: Georgia Institute of Technology ’18 - B.S. in Computational Media

Why did you join: I always imagined dedicating time to service after graduating, and a love of the outdoors, concern for others, desire to challenge myself and learn new skills, and excitement to surround myself with like-minded people all drew me to ERT.
What you hope to accomplish: I look forward to learning new skills, building strong relationships, exploring unfamiliar places, and supporting people in a time of need.

Hobbies: Art, movies, walking, hiking, food, reading, knitting/embroidery/sewing, running, thrifting, music, sunny weather!
Favorite quote: “Yes, I thought to myself, what a wonderful world.” - Louis Armstrong


cain estrin

Age: 18
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Education: Valencia College ’19

Why did you join: To spend a year traveling, learning, working with like-minded people, and most importantly helping others. The climate crisis inspired me to join AmeriCorps because, as disasters become more frequent and catastrophic, there is a greatly increased need for the work ERT is doing.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to fight wildfires, build trails, and do a lot of cooking for my teammates. I also hope I see a lot of bears, but maybe from a safe distance.
Future plans: I don’t know but I hope it involved good food!

Hobbies: Cooking, baking, fermenting, cars/mechanics, camping, ceramics, and much more
Favorite quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” - Oscar Wilde


caleb goodie

Age: 21
Hometown: Middletown, MD
Education: Colgate University ’19 - B.A. in Geography, minor in Political Science and Economics

Why did you join: I want to serve with people who have the same level of passion and commitment to service as I do. Growing up in church, service is one of the big things that we’re called to do in the world, so it was always an important things for me.
What you hope to accomplish: Hopefully to work a wildfire and in a disaster deployment.
Future plans: I’m hoping to join the FBI or another federal law enforcement agency. I’m also considering law school, and hopefully another term with AmeriCorps.

Hobbies: Watching Liverpool FC and playing soccer, sports, reading
Favorite quote: “For some people, you’re the only Bible they ever read.”


Elliot gosrich

Age: 20
Hometown: Plattsburgh, NY
Education: Plattsburgh High School ’17

Why did you join: I would like to serve disaster-affected communities and learn more about disaster relief in general. My commitment to community service was inspired by my mom.
What you hope to accomplish: To help respond to disasters, build/maintain trails, and fight fires.
Future plans: Work with All Hands and Hearts

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, playing and listening to music


ana hale

Age: 20
Hometown: Waterford, CT
Education: Haddam-Killingworth High School ’17

Why did you join: I want to push myself outside my comfort zone and continue to gain experience in the conservation field. My prior service with AmeriCorps NCCC inspired me to continue my service career. I love working hard and meeting others committed to make a difference.
What you hope to accomplish: I would love to gain experience in wildland fire and disaster response.
Future plans: Continue working in conservation and make a career out of natural resource protection.

Hobbies: Hiking, kayaking, petting dogs, camping
Favorite quote: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is not path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson


amadeo huq

Age: 18
Hometown: Portland, OR
Education: Benson High School

Why did you join: To give me real life experience with crisis response and working hands on with people in serious situations. My brother did a 3 month term with ACE (American Conservation Experience), and opportunities with as many learning opportunities as this don’t come often.
What you hope to accomplish: To find a skill that I excel in, and to find something that I should work on during my term of service, whether it be mental or physical.
Future plans: To attend Portland Community College and get an Associates degree in Criminal Justice.

Hobbies: Cars, country music, working out (sometimes)
Favorite quote: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.”


Ben larose

Age: 20
Hometown: St. Charles, MO
Education: Missouri S&T ’19 - Mechanical Engineering

Why did you join: It’s in my nature
What you hope to accomplish: Anything
Future plans: None currently

Hobbies: Video games, robotics, fashion, art, tabletop RPGs
Favorite quote: “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”


ben laturno

Age: 23
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Education: Saint Louis University - B.S. in Meteorology, Minor: Emergency Management

Why did you join: The service this team does is of interest to me. My friend Leah told me about AmeriCorps.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to do both wildland fire and disaster response at least once.
Future plans: Working in the emergency management field doing some sort of meterology.

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, video games, live music
Favorite quote: “Love everyone. Forgive everyone. Especially yourself.” - Dan Avidan


Avery McCall

Age: 23
Hometown: Bath, PA
Education: Marywood University - B.S. in Social Work

Why did you join: I want to gain new skills and make memories and friends that will last for a lifetime. My cousin was in the Peace Corps and I looked up to her for traveling and volunteering her time to people in need. I wanted to give back and volunteer my time, as well.
What you hope to accomplish:
Future plans: I’m taking it one step at a time and figuring out what I truly love to do.

Hobbies: Tennis! Played tennis for 4 years in high school and 4 years in college. I just love it! Also, being outdoors in the hot sun.
Favorite quote: “Everything happens for a reason.”


Kaela Mitten

Age: 26
Hometown: Erie, PA
Education: Temple University - B.A. in Psychology

Why did you join: To further my knowledge and skills about disaster and conservation work and to serve with a great team of people. My year in AmeriCorps NCCC, volunteers I’ve met in All Hands and Hearts, the heart of all the people I’ve served with, and people we’ve served keeps me inspired.
What you hope to accomplish: I’m excited to receive my S-212 certification, grow within disaster relief and learn more about wildland firefighting.
Future plans: I plan to continue a career within disaster relief.

Hobbies: Traveling, adventuring, biking, kayaking, puppies
Favorite quote: “Time is money; money is power; power is pizza; pizza is knowledge, let’s go.” - April Ludgate


holly morris

Age: 25
Hometown: Bowling Green, KY
Education: University of Alabama ’16 - B.S. in Biology and Spanish

Why did you join: While getting out and hiking, you see how much work has to be done to conserve our wild places.
What you hope to accomplish: I’d love to build some trails.
Future plans: Go to grad school.

Hobbies: Hiking, reading, cooking, crocheting
Favorite quote: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one.” - William Shakespeare


Shion Nagasaka

Age: 27
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Education: Emory University ’14 - B.S. in Chemistry

Why did you join: Trail maintenance, fire, disaster relief all sound pretty cool to me
What you hope to accomplish: A little bit of everything
Future plans: Returning to school, or not

Hobbies: Playing cards, playing soccer, Clemson football
Favorite quote: “Hikers hike.” Pancho on the AT


Elise oswald

Age: 25
Hometown: Escanaba, MI
Education: Northern Michigan University ’17 - B.S. in Environmental Science, concentration in Water Resources

Why did you join: ERT uniquely provides opportunities to help people in severe situations in a direct and tangible way. I also want to challenge myself with these high stress situations, meet great people, and learn new things!
What you hope to accomplish: It would be rewarding to improve trails and accessibility at a wilderness area that is close to the city. I am also interested in learning about emergency response management and, specifically, how to coordinate volunteers and first responders.
Future plans: Eventually, I want to work for the National Park Service, possibly in a position of public safety. My predominant interest is in search and rescue and wilderness medicine.

Hobbies: I love rocks! I like biking on rocks, climbing up rocks, and snorkeling over rocks. Hiking on rocks is pretty great, too.
Favorite quote: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” - Neil Donald Walsch


julia pace

Age: 23
Hometown: Ambler, PA
Education: Arizona State University - B.S. in Parks and Recreation Management

Why did you join: I want to give back to our community but also to the environment by providing the necessary labor that it requires. Helping those who are less fortunate and the environment is a great opportunity and I’m excited to be a part of the solution. Where I get the most inspiration is my fellow Corps Members and those who created programs so that young folks can help in their communities.
What you hope to accomplish: Serving in the local area of St. Louis. I’m interested in wildland fire prevention, making new burn piles, and being part of a crew that does reconstruction. Also, any chainsaw projects!
Future plans: I want Crew Lead with a Conservation Corps, then I want to join the Peace Corps, and then hopefully be a search and rescue park ranger.

Hobbies: I like being outside, recently I’ve been getting into cycling, and I’m pretty much down for most activities. I like baking, playing golf, going to baseball games, bowling, and going to art museums, local breweries, and restaurants.
Favorite quote: “When one door closes, another one opens.” - Alexander Graham Bell


audrey regan

Age: 22
Hometown: Boise, ID
Education: University of Puget Sound ’19 - Religious Studies and German Studies

Why did you join: As natural disasters become more common, it is vital that young people have the practical skills to deal with them. I know the experience will challenge me and I am excited to learn and grow through it. I have had great experiences with Conservation Corps and am excited to expand upon those skills.
What you hope to accomplish: I want to set a personal goal for myself in every assignment I’m given over the year. I journal extensively and will be keeping a record of everything I’m a part of.
Future plans: I want to do something that let’s me meet new people, continue learning, continue challenging myself, and travel. I do not want to stagnate.

Hobbies: Theater, drawing/painting, writing, and reading about religion, gender, philosophy, history, etc.
Favorite quote: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18


Francis rosa

Age: 23
Hometown: Seabrook, NH
Education: Wheaton College ’18 - B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature, American Studies

Why did you join: It’s a real opportunity to help others and make a positive impact on communities, while learning a ton of new skills, gaining some awesome new experiences, and meeting some wonderful people along the way. My family has spent over a decade running a nonprofit organization to help those suffering from drug addition throughout New Hampshire, so volunteering and community service has been a big part of my life. I was also able to work with AmeriCorps on disaster relief in Texas after Harvey and this was a transformative experience for me.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to gain as much experience and skills as I can while I serve. Definitely excited to do some conservation projects and hope to document some of my experiences in writing.
Future plans: To become a successful fiction writer and to be part of some projects that make a positive difference along the way. And to follow my dreams, wherever they take me.

Hobbies: Reading, writing, mixed martial arts, rugby, Boston sports, American history
Favorite quote: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” - FDR; “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” - Albert Einstein


Jack Rosenwinkel

Age: 25
Hometown: Villa Park, IL
Education: Luther College ’16 - B.A. in Environmental Science

Why did you join: I’m excited to be part of a mission-oriented team that focuses on providing real and tangible benefits to communities and the environment. I look forward to learning and growing alongside other passionate service members. My education growing up and in college has had a big impact on my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be as interested in community service.
What you hope to accomplish: I’m really looking forward to working on conservation projects. Whether it’s part of the work I do with ERT or just something I do on the side, I’d like to get better at plant identification. Birds, too!
Future plans: I hope to be a landscape architect and focus on integrating natural areas with human-built environments. Other than, I hope to continue traveling, learning, and making new friends!

Hobbies: I geek out over nature, so camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, foraging are all favorite activities! I play ultimate frisbee and basketball. Casually strum the guitar. Love eating good food!
Favorite quote: “The only zen you can find at the tops of mountains is the zen you bring up there.” - Robert Pirsig


Kirsten Ryan

Age: 21
Hometown: Collinsville, IL
Education: Ranken Technical College ’19 - Associates of Technology (IT)

Why did you join: I want to do something good for the environment and the people that live in it, and to learn new skills that I would have never learned from my previous job experiences. After graduating college and working in a corporate environment, I felt very lost and out of place. I felt inspired to go a different route. I discovered AmeriCorps online and knew it lined up with my interests more than my current job did.
What you hope to accomplish: I always had an interest in environmental conservation so I am excited to participate in those projects. I also never knew I would have the opportunity to learn wildland firefighting so I look forward to being a part of that.
Future plans: I hope that, after serving with AmeriCorps, I will have a more specialized idea of where my interests are. I want to take advantage of and explore whatever opportunities arise after my service. I always also look forward to future trips and experiences in places I’ve never visited.

Hobbies: I have a special interest in zero-waste lifestyles. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing and hiking. In my free time, I enjoy driving my car, going to concerts, and spending time with my friends and family.
Favorite quote: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”


sam shames

Age: 22
Hometown: Great Falls, VA
Education: Colgate University ’19 - B.A. in Neuroscience

Why did you join: To better understand the challenges faced by different communities, to continue learning about conservation and emergency management, and to make new friends!
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to learn more about how people respond to emergencies on the individual and community levels.
Future plans: Get my Masters in public health or clinical psychology and see where that takes me.

Hobbies: Cooking, hiking, podcasts, anything True Crime, animals
Favorite quote: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde


alana smith

Age: 23
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Education: Centre College ’18 - B.A. in International Studies

Why did you join: I want to be active as a citizen in helping the environment instead of “liking” the environment. The damage I witnessed of one flood in Appalachia made me curious about how floods work and how we could prevent them. I was tired of doing jobs that didn’t make a different.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to employ GIS to study the environments we work in and to show our process (using ESRI or ARCGIS)
Future plans: To obtain a degree in sustainable development, such as Urban Planning, Environmental Science, or something related.

Hobbies: Soccer, sketching nature, yoga, eating new foods
Favorite quote: “Everyone is fighting a battle you don’t know about; be kind.”


matthew straus

Age: 23
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Education: College of William and Mary - Bachelors in History and Economics

Why did you join: I want to give back and help people that need it and take advantage of my privileged position to help people. Multiple friends are serving in other AmeriCorps programs and they pointed me in this direction. My mom has always been an inspiration to me so I want to help the world and make her proud.
What you hope to accomplish: As long as we’re helping people I don’t have any other goals, mostly because I’m not sure what projects are routine to the program and which aren’t.
Future plans: No idea! That’s why I’m using this time in my life to figure out what I want and what the future might hold.

Hobbies: Ultimate frisbee, running, comic books, history, musicals, sports, comedy
Favorite quote: “Orange is the happiest color.” - Frank Sinatra


ceara sweeney

Age: 23
Hometown: Webster, MA
Education: Boston College ’18 - Elementary Education and Applied Psychology

Why did you join: To continue gaining more skills and knowledge pertaining to conservation and disaster work. I am also interested in learning about fire management. I have always had a passion to serve, but it was my aunt and uncle who inspired me to serve through AmeriCorps, since they met through AmeriCorps NCCC.
What you hope to accomplish: I would love to be deployed to a disaster and to accomplish managing a fire, or at least learning how to.
Future plans: Still a little up in the air. I am still leaning towards pursuing opportunities within the field of education and psychology. However, serving in NCCC has opened my eyes to other opportunities I am capable of pursuing, so I’ll just have to see where life takes me!

Hobbies: Fencing, swimming, reading, singing, driving, listening to music, hiking, and being active in general.
Favorite quote: “The magic is in the mess.” - Brene Brown


connor tenor

Age: 19
Hometown: Green Bay, WI
Education: Kimberly High School

Why did you join: I want to gain more experience in disaster response, conservation and wildland firefighting, travel, and meet others who are passionate about this kind of work. After graduating high school, I spent 2 months volunteering with All Hands and Hearts in Puerto Rico and immediately fell in love with disaster response work and knew it was something I wanted to continue doing.
What you hope to accomplish: I would like to do a prescribed burn, respond to different types of disasters, and build trails.
Future plans: I plan to go to college and study public administration, emergency management, and environmental policy, and hope to eventually work for a disaster response organization.

Hobbies: Traveling, kayaking, reading, cooking
Favorite quote: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” - John A. Shedd


allissa vigil

Age: 23
Hometown: Jenison, MI
Education: Baker College

Why did you join: Actively seeking opportunities to grow and develop skills that will be beneficial to communities and organizations I would like to support and contribute.
What you hope to accomplish: Logistics, disaster/emergency response, conservation, sawyer certification, psychological first aid, wildland fire suppression certification, ICS, volunteer coordination and management, VRC, donation coordination, damage assessment
Future plans: To obtain WEMT certification, gain experience to become WFA/WFR a instructor, and provide training opportunities to other volunteers, employees, and individuals serving in emergency response and recovery.

Hobbies: Community service, meditation, education, conservation, facilitating meaningful conversations, rock climbing, white water rafting, scuba diving, reading, art, camping, hiking, improv/spoken word
Favorite quote: “You have begun to find your answers. Although it will seem difficult, the rewards will be great. exercise your human mind as thoroughly as possible, knowing it is only an exercise. Build beautiful artifacts, solve problems, explore the secrets of the physical universe. Savor the input from all senses. Feel the joy and sorrow, the laughter, the empathy, compassion, and tote the emotional memory in your travel bag. I remember where I came from and how I became a human, why I hung around.”


Brian Wagenaar

Age: 24
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Education: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay ’17 - B.S. in Environmental Policy

Why did you join: To continue serving with AmeriCorps doing critical ecological work that may not get done without AmeriCorps. I love serving with like-minded AmeriCorps members and suffering and succeeding together as a crew. I also like the idea that I could make a positive difference in a terrible situation like a natural disaster. I have cared about and wanted to protect the environment for a long time, but my dedication to National Service was born out of my first AmeriCorps term with AmeriCorps Cape Cod, where we had the honor of serving closely with many in the Cape Cod community on a wide array of environmental capacities.
What you hope to accomplish: I am excited to get a chainsaw in my hands after being a full-time swamper in a past term. I look forward to a pile burn and prescribed burns as well as getting into disaster responses.
Future plans: To either do another AmeriCorps term in a leadership role or go to graduate school to study environmental management and policy.

Hobbies: I love animals and really enjoy spending time outside, hiking, kayaking, or biking. I also like trying new foods, traveling, road trips, and watching movies.
Favorite quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - H. Jackson Brown Jr.


Alder watson

Age: 25
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Education: Truman State ’16 - B.S. in Biology

Why did you join: Conservation is very important to me. I want to help both my community of people and my environmental community. Now more than ever, I want to actively be part of a team that works hard for a better future.
What you hope to accomplish: I just want to learn and experience as much as I can.
Future plans: I’d like to go to grad school to study the intersection of environment and community. I want to help bridge the gap people feel between themselves and nature.

Hobbies: Going to the dog park, hiking, camping, going to National Parks
Favorite quote: “Hobbes: Whatcha doin’?”
Calvin: Looking for frogs.
Hobbes: How come?
Calvin: I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul.” - Calvin & Hobbes