You are here

Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows 2018-2019

LISA BALLAND     Graduate Program: Family and Child Health – Global Health, M.P.H.

Lisa Balland is pursuing an M.P.H. in the Global Family and Child Health program at the University of Arizona. She holds a B.A. in World History and Eastern Religions from Colorado State University. Lisa served in Peace Corps Uganda from 2008-2010 as a community health and economic development volunteer. Her time in Uganda was spent facilitating a girls life-skills program, conducting rural HIV de-stigmatization workshops, and providing reproductive health resources and counseling to community members. In her most recent work as a reproductive health educator with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Lisa expanded access to culturally informed reproductive health services within Salt Lake City’s refugee and immigrant communities. She is an incoming Peace Corps Fellow and is interested in culturally responsive sexual health curricula that have a core focus on social and reproductive justice.


CHRISTINA BAUM     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Christina Baum served in central Malawi as a Community Health Advisor from 2015-2017. While her primary project was promoting the prevention of HIV and malaria transmission, and she also worked to improve nutrition and introduce cook stoves in her community. Christina formed a service-based Malaria Club at her local secondary school and collaborated with various youth & mother groups throughout her service. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Dickinson College. Christina is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health in the concentration of Health Behavior Health Promotion at the University of Arizona and is interested in reproductive health and family planning.


RAMZY BEJJANI     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Ramzy Bejjani served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia from 2016 - 2018. In his primary role as an Education volunteer, Ramzy taught English to 360 ninth graders and created a Girls English Education and Empowerment club with a local teacher. While not teaching, he partnered with his local hospital to create a model home garden that showcased efficient water use, high nutrient foods, and provided seeds for the local community.

Ramzy received his B.A. from New York University, studying Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development. He spent half of his undergrad abroad, and studied in Paris, London, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, and Beirut. He also has a TEFL certification through Seattle Pacific University.

Between his time as an undergrad and a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ramzy saw a lot of cities. And he’d like to make them better for everyone. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, Ramzy is pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture. He is interested in green infrastructure to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, new pedestrianism, creating accessible and abundant public parks, and the interplay between public space and democracy.


NICK BISLEY     Graduate Program: CALS, Ag & Biosystems Engineering, Ph.D.

 Nick Bisley was born in Gresham, WI, and graduated from high school with a whopping 26 students in his class. However, this small community is in close proximity to two Native American Tribes, the Menominee and Stockbridge-Munsee, and Nick was exposed to different cultures at a young age. This began a pursuit of exploring other cultures and understanding how others view and shape their world.

After obtaining a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he was fortunate to receive a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and travel to Sweden for a Master’s program in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology. This program consisted of 60 students from over 20 countries and really provided an opportunity to collaborate with people, from a wide socio-cultural background. Here he began to focus more on community development and how cultures use their available natural resources. A year after returning from Sweden, Nick was accepted in the US Peace Corps and served two years as an Aquaculture Extension Agent in Zambia. While there, he lived in a rural village and assisted with the development of aquaculture programs in his community, at a local orphanage, and a Zambian prison.

Upon returning from Zambia, Nick took a job as an Agronomy Research Technician, and was later promoted to Storage Manager, for a large commercial potato grower in central Wisconsin. Working in a large commercial agricultural company provided insight into the challenges and opportunities that large-scale agriculture possesses. He can also tell you more about a bag of potato chips then you would ever care to know. After working there for 5 years he took an opportunity to work as a Production Manager in an aquaponics facility in western Wisconsin. It was interesting to work in a closed loop facility that reused the water in the system and was able to produce throughout the cold winters in Wisconsin.

However, Nick has refocused his interest in working with food security in underserved communities. He would like to focus on the development of local agricultural systems that communities can take pride in and ownership of, building on his past experiences with Native American Tribes, rural Zambian Communities, and food security and production.


JON BROWN     Graduate Program: Education -- Teaching & Teacher Ed. (Math Ed.), M.A.

Jon Brown is from the small town of Yale, OK. He stayed nearby to get his B.S. in Secondary Education and Mathematics from Oklahoma State University. After completing his Clinical Internship in Costa Rica, he came back to Oklahoma with a real zeal for helping students understand and appreciate math. He taught in Oklahoma for five years, but then decided that his place was somewhere else. That is when he decided to join the Peace Corps. He served in Mozambique from 2015-2017 as an English teacher at a professional school in Inhambane province. Now that he has completed service, Jon wants to continue his studies in math education under the Teaching and Teacher Education program at the UA. Along with having a real passion for mathematics, he also enjoys hiking, visual art, music, theatre, and cooking.


ELIZABETH CAPACI     Graduate Program: Family and Child Health – Global Health, M.P.H.

Elizabeth Capaci is pursuing an M.P.H. in Family and Child Health with a concentration in Global Health at the University of Arizona. She graduated from The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. Elizabeth served as a Rural Community Health Advisor in Benin from 2013-2015. During her service she worked on various projects in connection with her local health center and social work center. She is excited to further her passion for public health and social justice.


TARA CARMODY      Graduate Program: Education – Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

Originally from Rock Island, Illinois, Tara Carmody graduated from Lawrence University in 2009 with a dual B.A. in Government and Russian Studies. After teaching in Russia, Tara served in Peace Corps South Africa (2011-2013) as a School and Community Resource Specialist. Her primary projects included teaching middle school math and English and heading a girls' empowerment club and camp. Since returning Tara has continued youth development work in Tucson and is now pursuing a M.A. in Counseling at the University of Arizona.


KATY CREMER      Graduate Program: Epidemiology, M.P.H.

Katy Cremer is pursuing a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology. She completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Sociology at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Katy served in Peace Corps Namibia from 2015 to 2017 as a community health volunteer. During her service she created various projects involving her local health center, the school, as well as the community. Additionally, she directed a regional camp YEAH (Youth Exploring and Achieving in Health) where adolescent men and women learn about regional health issues such as HIV and teenage pregnancy. Her research interests include infectious and chronic diseases and hopes to pursue a career following her completion of her M.P.H.



SOPHIA EWINGHILL     Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.

Sophia Ewinghill is originally from Northern, CA where she attended California State University, Sacramento receiving a BA in Communication Studies Public Relations and minored in Music Performance. After college, she worked in advertising and public relations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Later on she focused her interests in the nonprofit industry while employed at InAlliance, Inc. in Sacramento. There she worked with adults with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries within case management and organizational development, which ultimately led her to join the Peace Corps.


As a Community HIV/AIDS Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland from 2010 - 2012, Sophia organized and developed various projects with stakeholders and community members as they focused on public health education and social welfare programs within her rural village. She also had the opportunity to promote alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs and various volunteerism projects across the country. When Sophia returned from Swaziland she relocated to Phoenix to work for the International Rescue Committee involving refugee resettlement. In June 2014, she became the Peace Corps regional recruiter for Arizona overseeing all recruitment in the state.


To further her career in public service management she became a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and a Public Administration M.P.A. student at the University of Arizona. Her interests include working with local and federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations focusing on diversity and inclusion, various social welfare programming, Native reservations and tribal colleges, education institutions, and immigration and refugee service. Sophia hopes to work with under-served communities at home or abroad, and use education and development as a tool to fight social inequity within historically marginalized and low socioeconomic communities.


ISABELLA FASSI     Graduate Program: SBS, Public Administration, M.P.A.

Isabella graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City in 2013 with a dual B.A. in Spanish and sociology. Subsequently, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chikwawa, Malawi from 2013-2015, teaching English literature and language to secondary school students and coordinating education-related secondary projects. Following her time in Malawi, Isabella moved to Guatemala where she taught at Panajachel Colegio Internacional for two years. She is pursuing a dual M.A. degree in Latin American studies and public administration.


LISA FLORAN     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Lisa Floran served as a preventive health volunteer with Peace Corps Senegal from 2011-2013. There, she primarily collaborated with Plan International to develop, implement, and measure a Life Skills intervention for adolescents in rural and urban areas. After Peace Corps, Lisa worked on development, communications, and public health efforts with Heartland Health Outreach, a healthcare provider for vulnerable populations, and Get IN Chicago, a private fund dedicated to youth violence reduction at the Chicago Community Trust. Lisa grew up in Indiana and received her Bachelor of Arts in the Program of Liberal Studies (formerly the Great Books Program) from the University of Notre Dame. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, she is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior Health Promotion. Her research interests include health psychology, health communication, and innovative strategies to strengthen mental health and support behavior change among adolescents.


EMILY FREED     Graduate Program: CALS, SNRE, Wildlife & Fisheries, M.S.

Emily Freed is from Michigan and studied Anthropology and German at Western Michigan University. Emily served as a health volunteer in Madagascar from 2016-2017. During her Peace Corps service Emily worked with the local hospital and community health workers to increase the health of children under 5 and pregnant or nursing mothers. Emily also implemented a Grassroots soccer Skillz Girls program to educated 13-18 year olds about confidence, healthy relationships and sexual health. Currently Emily is pursuing her master of science in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation.


CHRIS FREIMUND     Graduate Program: CALS, SNRE, Natural Resource Studies, M.S.

Chris Freimund served in Guatemala from 2015-2017 as a Healthy Schools, Peace Corps Volunteer. His work focused primarily on health promotion, food security, and the connection between environmental and community well-being. Chris graduated from the University of Montana with an undergraduate degree in Spanish, minoring in International Development Studies. At the University of Arizona he will be completing a Masters in Natural Resource Studies, with research interests including community based natural resource management and climate change adaptation.


SUMAYA FRICK     Graduate Program: Education Policy and Leadership, Ph.D.

Sumaya Frick served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti and Paraguay from 1987 – 1989 as the first small business volunteer. As the Director of Marketing, she restructured an artisan program in Haiti, opening up international sales before the Internet and a new internal market for Haitian consumption. She transferred the organization to a fully Haitian staff that is still running it today. In Paraguay, as the director of administration, she restructured a sheltered workshop for disabled adults making it solvent, placed clients in real jobs outside of the workshop, supported new businesses of clients at the workshop, and facilitated a change in Paraguayan labor law assuring equal pay for the disabled. She transferred her work to a fully Paraguayan staff that took it to the model organization it is today. All her education was at the University of Arizona – undergraduate work in fine art photography (B.F.A.), master’s work in public administration, policy and collaborative governance (M.P.A.), and she is currently a doctoral student. Her research includes national and international education policy to design social equity value models in education.


ANNALISE GARDELLA     Graduate Program: Latin American Studies, M.A.

Annalise Gardella is originally from Reno, NV where she attended the University of Nevada, Reno receiving a BA in International Affairs and Spanish. She served as a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador from 2015 – 2016. During her time in Peace Corps, she organized a women/children health-focused group, taught English and Art classes to youth, facilitated events focused on addressing issues of violence in the area, and aided local leaders in developing a youth literacy program.

After returning stateside, Annalise worked as an outreach coordinator for a national campaign and then as a marketing and communications lead for a government relations and consulting firm based out of Reno. Annalise is currently a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and a Latin American Studies M.A. student at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include power, violence, and gender dynamics in Central America.


ANDREA GOODRICH     Graduate Program: Education, TEACH AZ, M.Ed.


JULIAN GRIFFEE     Graduate Program: CAPLA, Planning – Environmental, M.S.

Originally from North Carolina, Julian Griffee earned his B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in geography with a concentration in land use planning. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Julian worked for almost a year as a Planner I with the Planning Department for the City of Mount Airy, North Carolina. He served as the Planning Department's liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Committee and the City’s Appearance Commission.


Julian joined U.S. Peace Corps to serve as an urban and regional planning volunteer in the Southeastern European nation of Albania, from March 2016 through May 2018. While in Albania, he orchestrated community-based projects through his primary assignment at the municipality of Shijak’s city hall - creating a now city-wide recycling effort, as well as using a U.S. AID grant to create his site’s first public park. His efforts also created opportunities for youth to participate in summer camps, interest groups and a Model UN committee both years he was there.


Wanting to continue his studies of urban planning and development, Julian joined the University of Arizona’s Planning Program as a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship. His Coverdell assistantship is with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation.

SARAH GRUZA     Graduate Program: Environmental and Occupational health, M.P.H.

Sarah Gruza served in Ukraine as a Youth Development Specialist Volunteer from 2015-2017. Her primary projects focused on engaging youth in civic education and leadership, along with HIV/AIDS prevention and tooling youth with skills needed for the workforce. Before joining the Peace Corps, she completed her Bachelor's degree in Allied Health Sciences at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. While in school, she volunteered with a local HIV/AIDS health prevention clinic in Grand Rapids, and a university coalition geared towards environmental stewardship and sustainability. Shortly after graduating, Sarah interned with the Division of Environmental Health on a project geared towards building resilience against climate effects at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in Lansing, MI. She is now pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health (M.P.H.) with an emphasis on Environmental Health.


ROBERT HARTWELL     Graduate Program: SBS, Development Practice, M.D.P

Robert Hartwell is from Bedford, MA and earned dual Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Justice Studies from the University of New Hampshire in 2016.

From September 2016 to December 2017, he served as an Agriculture Extension Agent in Cameroon. His primary focus was on improving the the technical and business practices of smallholder farmers. He developed a demonstration farm that served as an outdoor classroom to introduce new farming techniques and improved crop varieties. To meet the demand for the improved crop varieties, Robert organized a seed distribution campaign that incorporated nutritional trainings to combat issues with malnutrition.

In addition to farming, Robert taught English at the local primary school. He also worked with A2Empowerment to allow 15 young women to further their education at a secondary school in a neighboring village. This led to the creation of a girls group that met weekly to discuss topics such as career planning, HIV/AIDS, family planning, and other subjects.

Upon his return to the U.S., Robert began an internship with Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. in the Office of Third Goal. Specifically, his projects revolved around the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program.

Robert is currently pursuing a Master's in Development Practice. He is interested in working with communities in Central and West Africa on child and women's empowerment initiatives.


DIONNA HATCH     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Dionna Hatch is originally from Michigan, but left in 2002 and has since lived in Guatemala, Ohio, Pennsylvania, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Nigeria before settling with her family of 6 in Tucson, Arizona in 2014. She served as an Agroforestry and Income Generation Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 2002 to 2004. In Guatemala, she worked with 2 women's groups on projects like aloe shampoo, flower nurseries, cooking and baking classes, and wood burning stoves.

Dionna is pursuing her Masters in Landscape Architecture as the logical combination of a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Management (Michigan State University; 2000) and a Masters in Public Health (Wright State University; 2008). Her academic interests include utilizing green spaces to fight climate change, improve human health, and provide a soothing aesthetic in a busy world.


CHARISSE IGLESIAS     Graduate Program: Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, Ph.D.

Charisse Iglesias is a second-year Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow working with Goodwill Southern Arizona on curriculum development and mentorship programs. She is also a second-year student in the Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English Ph.D. program.

Charisse served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia as a TEFL middle school teacher from 2014 – 2016. She enjoys cycling and searching for new work-party buddies.


LAUREN JAEGER     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Lauren Jaeger is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with the Health Behavior Health Promotion program at the University of Arizona. From 2015-2017, Lauren served with the Peace Corps as an English Education volunteer in Moldova. Her secondary projects included serving as the director of Moldova Anti-Trafficking in Persons, where she developed and facilitated educational programs on human trafficking and gender based violence prevention. She also collaborated with community members to improve technology resources for the local school and create a women’s fitness center through the Let Girls Learn grant initiative. Since returning to the U.S., she volunteered with a Wyoming based domestic violence shelter and in the University of Wyoming’s Trauma and Sexual Assault Prevention Lab. Lauren is an incoming Peace Corps Fellow and is eager to continue pursuing her research interests in violence prevention, program planning and evaluation, and health disparities in underserved populations.


REBECCA JOHNSTONE     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Rebecca Johnstone was raised in small-town Chewelah, WA. She served as a Peace Corps Environment Volunteer in The Gambia from 2013 – 2015 where she focused on more sustainable food systems education, and improving the infrastructure at the school in a small rural village. Rebecca continued working on different food systems while volunteering around the world. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife Habitat Ecology and Management from Montana State University, Bozeman. She is currently pursuing a Master in Landscape Architecture, and is interested in helping young people learn more about their environments and designing places to facilitate that.


KEEGAN KRAUSE     Graduate Programs: Global Health, M.P.H., and Latin American Studies, M.A.

Keegan Krause served in the Dominican Republic as an education volunteer, partnering with the Dominican public school system and the DREAM Project, a local NGO focusing on education and youth development. During his service, Keegan’s primary project was to facilitate teacher training, primary level Spanish literacy intervention, and promote child centered education in the home. As secondary projects, Keegan facilitated HIV/AIDS education and environmental resource management and coral restoration initiatives on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Keegan has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Nebraska, and is a certified K-12 English teacher. Upon completing his Peace Corps service, Keegan and his wife moved to Galveston, Texas, where he continued working in education as a teacher with the Galveston Independent School District, and eventually taking a position as a Bilingual Community Health Educator with the Southeast Texas Poison Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Keegan is pursuing an M.P.H. in Global Family and Child Health, and an M.A. in Latin American Studies as a Peace Corps Fellow. He is interested in indigenous populations and health culture, traditional medicine and access to healthcare, community health worker initiatives, drug use and violence, infectious disease, ethnographic research, and family health culture.


BREANNE LOTT     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, Ph.D.

Breanne Lott served as a Community Health Volunteer in Ethiopia from 2012 – 2014.  Alongside the town’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Breanne worked on HIV/AIDS education and prevention with projects such as a Grassroot Soccer youth prevention program and World AIDS Day events. She also participated in water, sanitation and hygiene research, took part in youth summer camps and found an impactful opportunity to address gender inequities in her community and throughout the nation as part of Peace Corps Ethiopia’s Gender and Development Committee. Breanne is entering her first year of the doctoral Health Behavior Health Promotion program after graduating from UA with an M.P.H. in 2017. She also holds a B.A. in Global Health. Breanne looks forward to building skills around research and practice of global health with a continued focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, infectious diseases, and maternal and child health.


SEAN MACCABE     Graduate Program: CAPLA Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Originally from Merrimack, New Hampshire, Sean Maccabe has spent much of his adult life in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Fort Collins, Colorado. While in Colorado, he pursued his undergraduate degree at Colorado State University and received a B.S. in Rangeland Ecology. During and after school, Sean worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Range Technician, then served with the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa as an Environment and Agriculture Extension Volunteer. While in The Gambia, he worked with women's groups teaching agricultural improvement techniques such as; composting, mulching, beekeeping, perma-garden construction, and marketing agricultural products. Besides helping to train villagers in agriculture, Sean helped the village to secure grant funds to construct a new well system with a solar powered pump and several taps distributed throughout the village. At the University of Arizona, Sean will be pursuing a Master's in Landscape Architecture where he hopes to integrate his knowledge in the Natural Resources and agricultural to design sustainable systems in underserved communities to help address issues in food security.


MICHAEL MANSFIELD     Graduate Program: English Applied Linguistics, M.A.

Michael Mansfield was born and raised in beautiful Southern New Jersey.  He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Indonesia from 2014-2017.  His first two years were spent teaching English in an Islamic middle school. For his third year, he taught in a high school and helped pilot a program with the goal of expanding Peace Corps Indonesia beyond the island of Java.  In addition to teaching, Michael has coordinated health and leadership camps, worked closely with local universities, and helped develop a region for future PCVs.

Michael Mansfield graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 with a degree in English Literature.  Hoping to hone his skills as a teacher and broaden his worldview, he took a volunteer teaching position with the UNDP and the Government of Chile in Punta Arenas, Chile.  It was during that experience that he found his calling as a teacher of English as a second language.  This calling led him to join the Peace Corps, and ultimately brought him to the University of Arizona, where he will be pursuing his M.A. in ESL.


BRENDA MBAABU     Graduate Program:  Epidemiology, M.P.H.

My name is Brenda Mbaabu and I am currently enrolled as a student in the MPH in Epidemiology track at the University of Arizona. I recently returned from serving as Health Sector Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Gambia and previously worked with the Alliance for Rural Community Health as a dental program coordinator and health coach. I enjoy doing more hands on, in the field internships which include analyzing community health outcomes that in turn inform policies, health education materials, and promotion strategies. I am interested in working with homeless, refugee, and African/African American populations with great concentration on maternal and child health issues. I am curious about infectious diseases such as vector-borne diseases and HIV/AIDS as well as non-infectious diseases such as malnutrition, diabetes, asthma, seizure disorders, pneumonia etc. I would like to help uncover the incidences, prevalence, and prevention methods towards reductions of exposures. My primary aim is not the location but the dexterity of work. I am open to studying healthcare systems and best practice interventions so as to improve patient education, access of resources, and interdisciplinary collaborations in implementing well informed patient centered care.


CASEY MCKAUGHAN     Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

Casey McKaughan served in Zambia as a Community Health Improvement Project Volunteer from 2014 to 2016. Her primary projects focused on STI (including HIV/AIDS) education and prevention, malaria prevention, youth empowerment, nutrition, and general health education. Before joining the Peace Corps, she completed her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. While in school, she interned for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and helped coordinate conferences for local youth to showcase the different STEM fields they could pursue in the future. She also volunteered at Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) where she helped decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hep C in high risk communities. She is now pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health (M.P.H.) with an emphasis on Global Health.


CAITLIN MEYER KRAUSE     Graduate Program: Family and Child Health, M.P.H.

Caitlin Meyer Krause served in the Dominican Republic from 2013-2015 working primarily in Spanish Literacy. Caitlin worked mainly with a local public school and The DREAM Project, a local NGO with a focus in education. She focused her time on teacher training, running an educational summer camp, primary literacy interventions, and creating a library within the local public school. Caitlin received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska. After her Peace Corps service, Caitlin worked at the University of Texas-Medical Branch where she was involved in the data collection and analyzing and report writing for a grant-funded project with the HPV vaccine.  Currently, Caitlin is pursuing a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. She has a particular interest in perinatal health, birth settings and methods, midwifery, breastfeeding, and infant bonding in the first year of life. 


JAKE MEYERS     Graduate Program:  SBS, Development Practice, M.D.P.

Jake Meyers served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin from 2015-2017 in the environmental sector. His main focus was food security and worked with a group of beekeepers in a protected forest. During his service, Jake led a Women’s day march with 500 high school girls during a Let Girls Learn campaign, introduced a test and treat program for malaria with 300 pre-school students, and developed a household rabbit raising project and community food security center.

Before joining the Peace Corps, he graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and is from Pennsylvania. After his Peace Corps service, he was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Research grant and worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Ministry of Environment in Cambodia studying the socio-economic implications of fire management in a floating village and flooded forest on the Tonle Sap Lake. He is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Development Practice.


JENNIFER MOSCATO     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Jennifer’s home base Las Cruces, New Mexico, has transformed in many ways from its roots as a small agricultural town in the Rio Grande Valley. The 25 years she has spent living there on and off have shaped her views on sustainable living practices and what defines a beautiful landscape. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia, for college and graduated from Emory University in 2009 where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. Her interest in ecology, experience tutoring young students, and her desire to learn the Spanish language landed her a Peace Corps service assignment as a Natural Resource Conservation volunteer in Ecuador from 2011-2013. She lived in a rural, fishing village where her work in elementary and middle schools consisted of leading group discussions and activities involving environmental education. In addition, she was proud to have formed a women’s artisan group that sold products made from recycled material which supplemented many of their households’ incomes. Obtaining an M.L.A. will give her the opportunity to work on projects she is passionate about such as site restoration of environmentally-damaged mining lands, designs that encourage public access and expression, and landscapes that promote habitats of native flora and fauna.


OLIVIA MOTHERSHEAD     Graduate Program: Education – Language, Reading & Culture, M.A.

Olivia Mothershead is originally from Kent, Washington. She received her B.A. in English Literature and German as well as her Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification from Western Washington University in 2013. After graduation, Olivia was an English Teaching Assistant in Austria through the Fulbright Commission.

Olivia served as an English Education Peace Corps Volunteer in the Country of Georgia from 2016 to 2018. As a volunteer, Olivia was active in many initiatives, including an environmental stewardship summer camp for youth and a set of workshops for communities to discuss and challenge gender roles and stereotypes in Georgian society. She is now pursuing her M.A. in Language, Reading & Culture from the University of Arizona.


MARIO NUÑO-WHELAN     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Mario served as a Youth Volunteer in Arequipa and Lima, Peru from 2010-2013.  Working primarily as a supplemental teacher in a small – half Quechua, half Spanish-speaking – mountain town, he partnered with educators and local leaders on literacy, summer school, computer training and soccer coaching projects through the elementary and high school. After service, he returned home to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he spent two years working as a community organizer for The Wilderness Society, then one year in the field, working for a small design/build landscape company.  He is excited to bridge his passion for conservation, construction, and community development with his training in Landscape Architecture.


BRENNEN O’DONNELL     Graduate Program: SBS, Public Administration, M.P.A.


STEPHEN OLIVER     Graduate Programs: Latin American Studies, M.A., and Public Administration, M.P.A.

Stephen Oliver is pursuing his M.A. degree in Latin American Studies. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in History with a focus on Latin America in 2009 and later that year became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala until 2011. In Guatemala he worked with over 20 women’s groups and children in six different schools to improve nutrition through sustainable agricultural practices. Upon returning from the Peace Corps, Stephen worked at Mercy Corps, an international development NGO, as the Program Officer for the Latin America region where he covered a portfolio of consisting of over 20 programs totaling more than $30 million in the sectors of agriculture, value chain development, at-risk youth, urban and rural economic development, land conflict resolution and land titling.  In 2014 he returned to Guatemala with a Peace Corps Response position working with a farmers’ association to improve production practices in order to align them with internationally recognized standards for hygiene and environmental sustainability. He will focus his studies on the effects of international agricultural policy on small holder farmers in Latin America.


ALEXANDREA ARMSTRONG PILGRIM    Graduate Program: Education – Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, M.A., Graduated December 2018


LENA PORELL     Graduate Program: CAPLA, Planning, Heritage, Conservation, M.S.


KATEY REDMOND     Graduate Program: Family and Child Health – Global Health, M.P.H., Graduated December 2018

Katey Redmond served in the Republic of South Africa as an HIV/AIDS Outreach Specialist from 2015-2016. As a PCV, Katey worked on HIV and tuberculosis prevention by supporting two communities in the KwaZulu-Natal Province with needs assessments, databases for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tasks, and supervision for home-based carers, while attempting to speak isiZulu. After Peace Corps, she recruited New Mexican schools to participate in service learning and fundraising projects for a national non-profit. Katey is pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Family and Child Health concentrating in Global Health at the University of Arizona. Her myriad of interests includes the psycho-social aspects of infectious disease, vector borne diseases, water and sanitation health (WASH), violence prevention, and increasing accessibility in the Global Health Field. She proudly hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fort Lewis College.


MARIANA RIVERA- TORRES     Graduate Program: CALS, SNRE, Water, Society, & Policy, M.S.

Mariana Rivera-Torres completed her Peace Corps service in Guatemala from 2015-2017, as a Healthy Schools Coordinator. Most of her work focused on strengthening and implementing health promotion policies and practices within the Guatemalan public education system. Mariana completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she studied post-conflict social and economic development in Africa and Latin America. Her research interests include sustainable development, community-based natural resource management, conflict resolution, and water security.


STEPHANIE SCHEIBE     Graduate Program: SPS, English, TESL, M.A.


SEAN SCHRAG-TOSO     Graduate Program: Hydrology, M.S.

Sean Schrag-Toso served as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Volunteer in Panama's largest indigenous area, the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé from mid-2015 until late-2017. During this time he collaborated with community members to secure a reliable source of potable water for the community, and successfully distribute that water to households through a gravity fed aqueduct. Additionally, Sean co-facilitated workshops on health-related issues and facilitated youth camps and clubs focused on leadership, healthy life habits, teamwork, and goal setting. This experience led him to pursue a masters in Hydrology and Water Resources, hoping to contribute to a better understanding of water availability in the future and how water needs, both environmental and human, will be met. Sean is from Tucson, AZ and feels at home in the landscape that water has architected in the American Southwest.


JESSICA SELINE     Graduate Program:  Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Jessica Seline served in Guatemala from 2014-2016 as a Maternal Child Health Volunteer. She is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spanish and Anthropology with a minor in Global Health, studying for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating college, Jessica served in Peace Corps. Much of her service was focused on community empowerment, and Jessica helped organize a latrine project that focused on teaching project management skills to community health workers. Jessica also worked on a variety of health education initiatives during her service, including behavior change courses for health professionals, HIV workshops, and health education classes with youth and pregnant mothers.

At the University of Arizona, Jessica is pursuing a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior Health Promotion. She is particularly interested in the intersection of migration, health, and community empowerment, especially with migrants from Central and South America.


ABDUL SIGAL     Graduate Program:  SBS, Development Practice, M.D.P.

Abdul Sigal served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana from October 2013-January 2017 working primarily in agriculture, community development and small-scale income gernerating activities for local communities.  Later in his service he worked on a multi sector USAID project called RING (Resiliency in Northern Ghana).  Abdul graduated from the University of California - Davis in 2012, earning a degree in managerial Economics with agricultural economics emphasis.  He now pursues his master's degree in Development Practice from the University of Arizona.  Upon completing his studies, Abdul will advance his career in agriculture and rural development focusing on East and West African sub continents.  His main hobby is playing and watching soccer.

JOE STEWART     Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Joe hails from the city of Miami in the glorious state of Florida.  After completing his Bachelors degree in Criminology at Florida State University, Joe decided to move overseas to teach English for a little while.  That ‘little while’ lasted seven years and it wasn’t until after moving back to the U.S. that Joe gave serious consideration to the Peace Corps. 

In the Peace Corps, Joe worked as an English teacher at an Islamic boarding school in East Java, Indonesia from 2012-2014.  Like many volunteers before him, the experience was life altering.  Now that he is back home, Joe is excited about the opportunity to attend the University of Arizona and learn more about what he can do to both promote and preserve this magnificent planet we share.


LYNN TCHIDA     Graduate Program: Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Lynn has most recently worked in northern Minnesota as a planner for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Economic Development and Education Departments. Prior to this position, she taught English Language Learners (ELL) in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) Family Literacy and Evening ELL Programs and Parent Education for Tri-District Community Education. She was also caregiver and advocate for her elderly parents. Prior to Peace Corps, Lynn provided educational consulting and training in the areas of leadership, diversity, civic engagement, adult basic education transitions to work, adult and youth enrichment and recreation, and early childhood. She has unique international immersion experiences while serving as an English language instructor, translator and liaison for two private adult learning centers and silk production training company in Lao PDR. She also served as Chair for the Ten Thousand Villages, Board of Directors, and as an advocate for international artisans and global fair trade efforts. Her professional experience includes positions in the federal government, corporate, non-profit, public education, and small business.

 Lynn is starting the first year of her doctoral studies through the UA College of Education, Educational Leadership program with an Indigenous and International Education focus. She’s currently involved with the National Peace Corps Association and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer groups of Minnesota, Tucson, and San Diego. Lynn enjoys time with family and friends, hiking, biking, yoga and meditation, spicy food, reading, world travel, road trips, and simply being adventurous.


DAVID THALENBERG     Graduate Program: SBS, LAS & Public Administration, M.A., M.P.A.


KELLI WILLIAMS     Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Kelli Williams served as an environmental volunteer in the mountains of Peru from 2014-2016. Her project focused on reforestation; more than 1,000 native trees were planted throughout her service. She also focused on community trash management by introducing recycling and composting into her community. Kelli has B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona and is pleased to be back in the desert for another two years of research while earning her Master's in Development Practice.


RYAN YOUNG     Graduate Program: Agricultural and Resource Economics, M.S.

Ryan Young is originally from San Diego, California. Ryan served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cambodia from 2009 to 2011, as an English Teacher and Teacher Trainer at Sok An Mouy Usaphea High School, in Tram Kak District, Takeo Province, about two hours south of the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. During this time, he also served as the Head Basketball Coach for both the boy's and girl's teams, with the girl's team advancing to the national competition level. He also developed a school building, assisted with the library programs, and taught a computer class for the students of the school.

Since that time, Ryan has continued to work in education, initially as a program coordinator for the federal grant program "GEAR UP." Later on, he became a high school social science teacher, where he enjoyed teaching Advanced Placement economics courses.




Last updated 21 Feb 2019