Emergency Response Team

Year 25


Second Year Members

  Brittany Feathers

Wyatt Berrier

Age: 25

Hometown: Tamworth, NH

Education: Bachelor's in Spanish and Anthropology, minor in Classics from the University of New Hampshire

Why did you join: I want to broaden my horizons while meeting new people, learning how to fight fire, developing my knowledge of chainsaw use, and opening myself up to new possibilities! I'm excited to explore new parts of the country while doing meaningful and helpful work that benefits those in need.

What you hope to accomplish: Whatever needs to be done! I'll contribute what I can. 

Future Plans: I have learned not to make too many plans because nothing is for certain.

Hobbies: Photography, traveling (international and domestic), chainsaw work, and all-you-can-eat sushi

Favorite Quote: “My fingers hurt.” “Oh, well, now your back's gonna hurt 'cause you just pulled landscaping duty.” - Happy Gilmore movie 

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Andy Clubb

Age: 28

Hometown: Ballwin, MO

Education: B.S. in Philosophy, minors in Sustainability and Community Planning from Missouri State University

Why did you join: My previous service in Minnesota was a favorite experience of mine.

What you hope to accomplish: Working on a prescribed burn wold be fun. Also would like to build some trails.

Future Plans: Civic service, organic farming, and to watch a sunrise/sunset on the open ocean.

Hobbies: Hiking, biking, reading, stimulating conversation, traveling, and adventuring.

Favorite Quote: “Time is the true coin of life, only you can decide how to spend it.” 

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Frankie DiVito

Age: 23

Hometown: Amherst, NY

Education: B.S. in Environmental Biology from Niagara University

Why did you join: To continue service after completing NCCC. Disaster relief opened my eyes and helped me want to do more for people.

What you hope to accomplish: Getting sent on a disaster relief or recovery project.

Future Plans: To do something with environmental conservation or disaster relief.

Hobbies: Exploring nature by going on hikes or random walks.

Favorite Quote: “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” – Steven Moffat, Doctor Who

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Matt Farrington

Age: 23

Hometown: Waynesboro, VA

Education: B.S. in Geographic Science from James Madison University

Why did you join: I want to help serve our country while gaining valuable experience while meeting like-minded people who want to help others.

What you hope to accomplish: Fight some fires and help those in need. I love hiking so I’d like to be able to give back to other hikers by maintaining some trails as well.

Future Plans: Work towards creating a more sustainable future for the world as an environmental advocate.

Hobbies: I love hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, fishing…pretty much anything outdoors.

Favorite Quote: “I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car.”- Michael Scott

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Eli Hacker

Age: 20

Hometown: Portland, OR

Education: Grant High School

Why did you join: I want to serve with the Emergency Response Team because I want to gain more skills in the conservation field and challenge myself to leave my comfort zone more often. I also want the opportunity to assist communities with disaster relief efforts.

What you hope to accomplish: During my term of service I would like to document my experience with Journal entries and photographs to help share the AmeriCorps experience.

Future Plans: In the future I aspire to work on National Parks Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management trail crews. I also aspire to join the military one day.

Hobbies: Mountain climbing, hiking, backpacking, reading, writing, Frisbee, playing with dogs, watching Star Trek.

Favorite Quote: “Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised…I beat the Borg with it.” – Captain Kathryn Janeway

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Alex Humphrey

Age: 23

Hometown: New Carlisle, IN

Education: B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from Indiana University- South Bend

Why did you join: The reason I chose ERT is because when I was getting interviewed, I asked the interviewers what was the best thing they could take away from this program. They said the people. The people you work with become like family and to me that’s important. Being able to help others with a team that acts like family is the perfect combo to a happy, fulfilling life.

What you hope to accomplish: I want to take my time in this program to help as many people as I can with the different projects we may encounter. Whether that be through the Forest Service, the disaster relief or the wildland firefighting services.

Future Plans: After AmeriCorps, I’m not too sure on what/where I want to work. I want to take my degree and use it to help others. I want to continue to help out in whatever community I end up and work for (hopefully) a nonprofit company. As to where and who, that’s still up in the air. Also travel as much as possible.

Hobbies: Hiking, kayaking, photography, painting, going to concerts, continue learning to skateboard, swimming, traveling, trying new/interesting foods, and meeting as many new people as possible!

Favorite Quote: “Coffee is the lifeblood that drives the dreams of champions.” – Mike Ditka

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Heather McSherry

Age: 23

Hometown: Farmingdale, NY

Education: B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and minor in Studio Art from Tufts University

Why did you join: To give back to other, explore other communities, learn from diverse individuals, and challenge myself.

What you hope to accomplish: Start a cheese club and get everyone to love cheese. Learn how to carve a tree stump into a bear.

Future Plans: Perhaps work for state/national parks, go back to school to study Environmental Engineering, or work with nonprofits.

Hobbies: Cheese club, geocaching, trying to live a minimalistic lifestyle, traveling, watching movies.

Favorite Quote: “You deserve to be completely found in your surroundings not lost within them.” – Rupi Kaur

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Brigid Mulroe

Age: 24

Hometown: Montclair, NJ

Education: B.S. in Physics from Fordham University

Why did you join: I want to challenge myself, learn new skills, see new places, meet great people, and serve communities in need.

What you hope to accomplish: I would like to become stronger, learn about the ecology and natural history of Missouri and Montana, and participate in a prescribed burn or wildfire response.

Future Plans: Try out a few seasons of wildland fire and go back to school for environmental science.

Hobbies: Anything outside – hiking, camping, biking, swimming. Exploring new places. Reading good books.

Favorite Quote: “We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.” – Wendell Berry

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Jason O’Malley

Age: 26

Hometown: Linden, MI

Education: B.S. in Anthropology and B.S. in Biology from Michigan Technological University  

Why did you join: With the effects of global climate change becoming increasingly disastrous at an alarming rate, I decided that I wanted to serve on a team that helps mitigate issues plaguing our world.

What you hope to accomplish: I look forward to serving in the presently outlined structure of the program, but will look for opportunities as they arise.

Future Plans: I hope to continue my education, but I am unsure of what program will be the best fit for me. Whatever I do, I hope to have a positive impact on my community.

Hobbies: Playing music (guitar, piano, harmonica), playing ultimate frisbee, playing soccer, running, reading, teaching.

Favorite Quote: "All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason." - Immanuel Kant

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David Pierson

Age: 22

Hometown: El Centro, CA

Education: San Diego Miramar College

Why did you join: I see this as a positive challenge for my own growth. I also feel that I can contribute a lot to the program and the people we serve.

What you hope to accomplish: Participate in search and rescues, maintain and/or build trails, assist victims in disasters needing either physical or emotional support.

Future Plans: I plan to go back home with the skills and lessons I’ve learned and apply them in a public service profession such as fire or EMS.

Hobbies: Surfing, hiking, playing video games, reading

Favorite Quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

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Eli Schmit

Age: 20

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

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Kim Shonborn

Age: 29

Hometown: Chino Hills, CA

Education: B.A. in Physics and Religion from Wellesley College; M.A. in Asian Studies from University of Hawaii at Manoa

Why did you join: I’ve spent time on both wildland fire and disaster response and enjoyed making tangible contributions to the communities I served.

What you hope to accomplish: I’m hoping to get more fire experience, but beyond that I’m also trying to learn coding.

Future Plans: To join a wildland fire hand crew, maybe make a small video game while I’m at it.

Hobbies: Rugby, video games, reading

Favorite Quote: “This looks like a good team on paper, let’s see how it looks on grass.” – Nigel Melville

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Wren Wells

Age: 24

Hometown: Victor, ID

Education: B.A. in English from Carleton College

Why did you join: I want to serve with the Emergency Response Team because I want a challenge, and I want 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 during my term of service, I’d really like to find ways to get involved in the St. Louis 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

First year members

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Maggie Bernetich

Age: 22

Hometown: Portland, OR

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies from College of St. Benedict

Why did you join: I’m excited to learn a new skill set that allows me to do physical work while giving back to different communities.

What you hope to accomplish: Prescribed burns and any/all disaster relief

Future Plans: Pursue a career in disaster relief or recovery services (or become a backup dancer for Rihanna).

Hobbies: Dancing, laughing, eating, or learning— but not necessarily in that order.

Favorite Quote: “Fear is just excitement without the breath”

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Logan Bleyl

Age: 24

Hometown: Palm Coast, FL

Education: B.S. in Political Science from Florida State University

Why did you join: To meet the needs of communities and the environment through multiple platforms of service.

What you hope to accomplish: To learn valuable skills and knowledge for my career post AmeriCorps.

Future Plans: To continue working in disaster relief and eventually the international development sector.

Hobbies: Brazilian jiu-jitsu, exercise in general, music, and petting animals

Favorite Quote: “We are all one.”- Genki Sudo

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Terragan Brouk

Age: 22

Hometown: Troy, MO

Education: B.A. in History and Global Studies from Fontbonne University

Why did you join: I love serving others and the great outdoors. To me, ERT is a great combination of the two— the areas where we’d be serving made it very exciting to me.

What you hope to accomplish:

Future Plans: I plan on working for the State Department. My dream would be to help in diplomacy, ideally as an ambassador.

Hobbies: Going to the movies, music- singing and playing instruments (I’m not good, but love fun!)

Favorite Quote: “I will lead you into the wilderness and speak to your heart”- Hosea 2:14

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Meredith Brown

Age: 24

Hometown: Bloomington, IL

Education: Studied Anthropology and Philosophy at Illinois State University

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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William Calver-Jones

Age: 24

Hometown: Cheltenham, England

Education: Cleeve School

Why did you join: I want to learn skills to be able to help people. I want a career that takes me out in Nature. I want to do something worthwhile and give back to the community.

What you hope to accomplish: I would like to be comfortable at being a first responder. I want to be calm and capable in a disaster situation. I want to be physically fit and a capable Member of the team.

Future Plans: To join a seasonal wildland firefighting crew and to travel.

Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, cooking, running, reading and writing. I am interested in mechanics and identifying plant species.

Favorite Quote: “Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be.” - Aldous Hudey

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Steven Driest

Age: 19

Hometown: Fraser, MI

Education: Fraser High School

Why did you join: To better understand the problems facing our country, to act upon and solve those problems, and continue serving this country.

What you hope to accomplish: I’d like to bring more public awareness to AmeriCorps and be an advocate for this unique program, and create a undeniable workforce.

Future Plans: To pursue a life with the utmost passion, to find what I love and never let it go, and to only say hello, never goodbye.

Hobbies: I enjoy the art of photography and writing. I love mountain biking and skiing. Films will always be my first love. I enjoy politically motivated conversations and rap music. I also enjoy other music. I love music.

Favorite Quote: “I wonder what my favorite quote is?”- Steven Driest

“Poopity, scoop”- Kanye West

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Sean Duffy

Age: 24

Hometown: Heyworth, IL

Education: B.S. in Environmental Health from Illinois State University

Why did you join: To travel around the US with like minded people learning new and exciting skills, especially with disaster management and response.

What you hope to accomplish: Anything related to wildland firefighting, disaster response and recovery, and chainsaws.

Future Plans: To return to ISU, get my masters degree, and begin in a career in non-profit work.

Hobbies: Camping, hiking, backpacking, kayaking

Favorite Quote: “60% of the time, it works every time.”- Brian Fantana

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David Ejchorszk

Age: 24

Hometown: West Jordan, VT

Education: College of Western Idaho

Why did you join: I want to serve while I am still in the prime of my youth, there is no better form of self-actualization than doing work that is defined by its necessity and its altruism. In that endeavor, I hope to find a niche in emergency response.

What you hope to accomplish: I would like to add to my experience in disaster relief, wherever the communities of this nation need me. I am also exceptionally thrilled for a mere in-depth adventure in environmental stewardship and conservation.

Future Plans: My hopes for the future involve going back to school to finish a degree in English, doing more service trips abroad, and eventually settling down to focus on my literary pursuits.

Hobbies: Being an avid fantasy and science fiction literature enthusiast. I enjoy writing novel length prose and reading epic works. Additionally, I take leisurely pleasure in hiking, backpacking, climbing, traveling, and studying the dharma.

Favorite Quote: “If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.”- Les Brown

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Matt Flenniken

Age: 22

Hometown: Jupiter, FL

Education: B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Florida 

Why did you join: To help communities in need and develop skills that will be valuable to me in future pursuits.

What you hope to accomplish: I am most eager to work on conservation projects, and special projects assisting scientific research.

Future Plans: Attend graduate school to study ecology, pursue a career in research and outreach.

Hobbies: Music, hiking/camping, rec sports

Favorite Quote: “Wisdom requires a flexible mind.”- Dan Carlin

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Margaret Gerker

Age: 25

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Education: B.A. in Urban Environmental Studies from Birmingham-Southern College  

Why did you join: I look forward to serving my community with a group of like minded people. I also hope to gain valuable experience that will lead to a career in conservation work.

What you hope to accomplish: I hope to work one on one with people in disaster relief.

Future Plans: I hope to work in conservation, namely the US Forest Service.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, meditating, speaking French, cycling, hiking, and going on cross country road trips.

Favorite Quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Gandhi

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Gabriel Haas

Age: 24

Hometown: Lawrence, KS

Education: B.S. in Biology from the University of Kansas, MPH in Epidemiology and Disaster Preparedness from St. Louis University

Why did you join: I want to do at least 10 things I’ve never done before and meaningfully impact at least one person’s life in the process. I think it is extremely important to give back to your community and experience what it is like to struggle.

What you hope to accomplish: I’d like to learn more about the response and recovery side of disaster work, while gaining the confidence and skills to tackle major public health and environmental issues in the future.

Future Plans: I would love to eventually pursue a doctoral degree, teach, and conduct research in the area of public health preparedness.

Hobbies: French horn, reading, writing, exploring new places, learning new things, playing board games and trivia.

Favorite Quote: “We do not need magic to transform our world, we carry all the power we need inside of ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”- J.K. Rowling

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Monique Huynh

Age: 22

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Education: B.A. in Biochemistry from Hanover College

Why did you join: To make a difference in communities in need where I can have direct, hands-on service opportunities, and to challenge myself!

What you hope to accomplish: I hope to push myself out of my comfort zone, and to test myself physically and mentally.

Future Plans: To be happy and love whatever I end up doing.

Hobbies: Food, movies, and playing volleyball :)

Favorite Quote: “Just do it.”

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Erik Kommer

Age: 27

Hometown: Pacific, MO

Education: Studied Fine Art at East Central College and Agriculture at Ozark Technical Community College

Why did you join: To experience a different form of community service, be outdoors, and to be employed by an organization that doesn’t do harm to society.

What you hope to accomplish: I seek the challenge of working harder than ever; living differently, meeting new people, doing good for those who will never know me, and, be part of a team of people with hopeful futures and great causes.

Future Plans: … to be ready for what isn’t planned for, by training and accepting for what is, and what could be.

Hobbies: Chemistry, philosophy, roller skating, art making, construction, cooking

Favorite Quote: “Be kind whenever possible.”- Dalai Lama

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”- Seneca

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Luke Loranger

Age: 22

Hometown: Olympia, WA

Education: B.A. in Economics with an emphasis in Sustainability from the University of Portland

Why did you join: I want to commit to something bigger than myself and give back by acting as a steward for the environment and those who are less fortunate.

What you hope to accomplish: Work with underserved communities to increase access to environmental/natural resources.

Future Plans: Complete a masters degree in Public Policy

Hobbies: Running, reading, mountain biking, photography, watching college football

Favorite Quote: “You will face defeats, but never be defeated.”- Toni Morrison

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Nicole Oppenheim

Age: 22

Hometown: Newton, MA

Education: B.A. in Environmental Biology with a minor in Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis

Why did you join: I want to take the skills I have learned in college and transfer them to practical issues so that I can positively impact my community. I want to actively work to change issues that matter to me, like conservation and disaster response.

What you hope to accomplish: I just hope to learn as much as I can from the classes, projects, and people I meet along the way.

Future Plans: I am currently deciding between going to medical school and further pursuing conservation work.

Hobbies: I have been rock climbing for over 10 years now and that sport is a huge part of my life. I also love anything active and outdoors— hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and adventuring.

Favorite Quote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soil, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.”- Emily Dickinson

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Andrea Michelle Recinos Flores

Age: 24

Hometown: Chaska, MN

Education: Studied Emergency and Disaster Management at Western Carolina University and Emergency Management Technology at Fayetteville Technical Community College

Why did you join: This country has given my family so much, now it’s my turn to give back.

What you hope to accomplish: Creating a language/cultural “one stop” during disaster response where people of color can get help if needed in their native language, and creating a mediation/quiet space for people to destress during a disaster response.

Future Plans: I’m really passionate about emergency management and traveling. I plan to work for FEMA and continue my quest for life-changing wings all over the country.

Hobbies: Rugby, the wilderness, Star Wars, Buffalo Wild Wings, history

Favorite Quote: “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”

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Claire Schneider

Age: 26

Hometown: Alhambra, IL

Education: B.A. in International Studies (International Development and Sustainability) from Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville

Why did you join: As a recent graduate I’m eager to further explore some of my interests , be challenged and stretch my limits, work outside, grow as a person, gain variable skills, and build meaningful relationships. I am hungry for adventure and serving. ERT feels very right for me right now and seems like it will fulfill these desires.

What you hope to accomplish: I would love to to be deployed on disaster so that I can explore a field I’ve been curious about for some time. I’m excited to learn a lot more about conservation, wildland firefighting, and chainsawing.

Future Plans: I have a few ideas for after AmeriCorps- we’ll see what feels right when the time comes, I can’t help but live intuitively. In general, I wish to live a simple, fulfilling, and sustainable lifestyle, fix up my family’s cabin, and fight with the freedom I have to make sure that those who are denied their freedom (animals) will one day have the life and freedom they so deserve.

Hobbies: Traveling, learning about other cultures, camping, hiking, paddling, cooking yummy vegan food, reading, writing, music, basically anything outdoors!

Favorite Quote: “I alone cannot change society for the better. But I can radically transform my own consciousness, overturning the conditioning that limits my potential. We can all do this one by one. Over time we can change ourselves to the degree that society changes from the inside out. Giving birth to a new way of being. Manifesting our birthright of living in a peaceful and abundant world. Have no fear. Trust yourself. Life your full potential.”- Unknown

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Francesca Stockton

Age: 26

Hometown: Qulin, MO

Education: B.S. in Biology from Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville

Why did you join: I want to meet new people and individuals with the same interests and passion for serving and conservation as I have. I also want to gain new skills and to accept challenges out of my comfort zone.

What you hope to accomplish: I’m really eager to participate in any habitat restoration projects.

Future Plans: I plan on continuing my pursuit in conservation, while growing and learning new skills along the way. I would like to be a wildlife biologist or a private land biologist one day.

Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, kayaking, float trips, biking, and really just anything outside. Fact: most things are better outside, like throwing rocks and eating ice cream.

Favorite Quote: “I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.”- Kurt Vonnegut

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Mikala Waldrup

Age: 22

Hometown: St. Charles, MO

Education: Studied Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Outdoor and Adventure Education at Lindenwood University

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

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Elaina Zachos

Age: 23

Hometown: Madison, CT

Education: B.A. in English with a minor in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh

Why did you join: I want to gain experience working with disaster affected communities and environments. I’m excited to build on my skills in this field and get to know other ERT members.

What you hope to accomplish: I want to get to know the rest of the team, complete trainings and maintain mental and physical health, and make connections with people in or near the communities we’ll be serving.

Future Plans: Launching a career in emergency management and continue to occasionally do freelance journalism.

Hobbies:  Traveling, exploring, getting to know people, making'/appreciating art and music, trying to learn new languages, camping, hiking, being outdoors, reading, writing, baking and cooking.

Favorite Quote: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for all the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”- Miriam Adeney

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Kelly Zeller

Age: 22

Hometown: Gurnee, IL

Education: Studied Nursing at Milliken University

Why did you join: I would like to serve with ERT because I want the chance to be helpful towards others. I want to learn and grow as an individual while helping others and the environment.

What you hope to accomplish: While on a disaster deployment, I’d like to have the opportunity to go to schools in the area and talk to them about what we do— what kinds of actions and procedures we implemented during the response. Maybe give them ideas on how they can help the community, and inspire students to pursue a life of community service.

Future Plans: Eventually, I do want to go back to school and finish my degree. I hope my experience with AmeriCorps will inspire me to pursue a more permanent career.

Hobbies: Learning about other cultures, listening to k-pop, and watching anime. I love to eat culturally diverse foods, and I love animals. I hope to find an animal shelter in St. Louis to volunteer at.

Favorite Quote: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

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