The Emerging Leaders Program prepares exemplary early career leaders to help advance our work at SHIFT and in America. Led by Program Director Dr. Morgan Green, The 2019 ELP will be held from Oct. 12-16. On Oct. 16, participants will take part in The 2019 SHIFT Festival.
The 2019 ELP includes the following participants:
Amaka Agodi is a burgeoning public health professional from the Bay Area who graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Since graduating, she has worked as a Clinical Data Associate in Santa Monica, a research assistant for Heluna Health and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and most recently, a program assistant for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Her passions and research interests include health disparities, social epidemiology, women’s health, children’s health and all things related to the African diaspora. After conducting extensive nature research on the benefits of being outdoors, she created Girls in Nature, a summer program, to increase access to nature with the hope that minority adolescent girls will see nature as a safe space to nurture their growth into womanhood. In the fall of 2019, Amaka will begin her epidemiological studies as a Masters of Public Health student at Georgia State University while also working as a research assistant with Dr. Shanta Dube.
Brian Anderson is a climber, trail builder mountaineer and lover of wild spaces. His most recent work was as a Peace Corps volunteer where he worked for the Foundation Caminando Panamá to help design and create a backpacking trail around the extinct Volcanic Crater of El Valle de Anton. He is passionate about getting people outside to fall in love with nature and also using economic incentives to be part of the solution to the conservation crisis we find ourselves in. He has been a outdoor educator, a mountaineering guide, rafting guide and has worked for several conservation non profits. Currently he is studying a master’s degree in International Studies with a focus on International Development and the Environment at the University of San Francisco. He dreams of working to be part of the solution to the challenges that we face as a global community through helping people fall in love with the natural world.
Raised in the northern village of Barrow, AK, Logan DeMarcus developed a diverse passion for the outdoors and a love for “Alaskan” life. With the help of his folks, he spent an abundant amount of time outdoors throughout Alaska, and the opportunity to grow up in a remote village shaped his appreciation for personal challenge, and the connection found in small, tight-knit communities. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 2009-2013 before attending Penn State for a B.S. in Rehabilitation & Human Services.
For the last six years Logan has been developing as a professional mountain and river guide, outdoor educator, and program facilitator for underserved populations. Logan now spends the winter backcountry ski guiding in Cooke City, MT, the spring/early summer mountain guiding on Denali, the rest of the summer whitewater guiding in Alaska, and all the while intermittently facilitating outdoor programs throughout the US. Here’s to high fives and happiness!
Molly Elliott works in medical policy, and has research experience in environmental influences in epidemiology. Her recreation interests stem from her upbringing in the Oregon outdoors and her academic training in health behavior change. Molly is an avid outdoorswoman and advocate for protecting wild public lands. She sits on the Montana Chapter Board of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and is an Ambassador for Hunt to Eat. Molly and her partner Alex reside in northwest Montana, where they hunt, fish, downhill ski, and trail run together.
Joe Fairbanks was raised in Duluth, Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior. He is a freelance photographer and filmmaker who has done work for private companies, public institutions and non-profits. His passion for conservation comes from a deep sense of place and appreciation of the natural landscape of Northern Minnesota. In 2017, Joe graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Film & Media Studies and Government. After graduation he worked as Dartmouth’s Sustainability Fellow.
In 2019, he and his father opened Duluth Canoe, a small business that builds custom wood canvas canoes and restores all types of wooden watercraft. Joe is an active volunteer for Save The Boundary Waters, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, and Duluth for Clean Water.
Tyler Grisgby is an educator, artist, photographer and community organizer from Washington, DC. Tyler has been a youth program facilitator with One Common Unity (OCU) since 2015, supporting young people in reaching their academic, artistic and professional goals. As a mentor, he works to provide and encourage social-emotional literacy, leadership development, restorative justice, holistic health & wellness, artistic expression and connection with nature.
Tyler has worked with schools, community arts centers, public health organizations and urban farms. He has trained hundreds of people in conflict resolution, non-violent communication, trauma informed classrooms, non-judgmental counseling skills, transgender and queer competent care and cultural humility. As a community activist Tyler has contributed to various initiatives against biased policing, environmental injustice, transgender violence and gentrification in Washington, DC.
Personally, Tyler loves art, nature, traveling, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, cooking, yoga, reading about social movements and philosophy, and studying plants and wildlife.
Noelle Kooyahoema: “Loloma! Nu Humevensi yan ma’tsiwa, pu nu Noelle Kooyahoema yan pahan ma’tsiwa. Nu Qalwunga Sipoulovi ep kii’ta. Greetings! My name is Humevensi (which means different color kernels on one ear of corn). My English name is Noelle Kooyahoema. I am Sunforhead clan from the village of Sipoulovi, located on the Hopi Reservation.”
Noelle is currently the Field Coordinator for the Ancestral Lands Hopi Conservation Corps, an organization that provides opportunity to youth and young adults on the reservation, empowering individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment.
Juan Lazo Bautista grew up both in Oaxaca, Mexico, and California where he experienced different ways of living and enjoying the natural environment. His indigneous customs and family centered upbringing instilled strong values of conservation and motivate today much of his practice around nature and forest therapy, inviting participants to explore relationship with themselves, others and their environment. He understands these experiences as an extension of healthy community building and is eager to share this practice with others. Juan is equally excited to reimagine our world systems and co-create healthier realities for future generations. He is an avid doodler, bike rider, hammock lounger and vegetarian food fanatic.
Tatiana Magee double-majored in Geography and Community and Regional Planning with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Appalachian State University and is currently working towards her M.A. in Geography. When she’s not in the Geography lab, she can be found climbing around the High Country, hiking in the Blue Ridge, and enjoying the various outdoor opportunities that Western North Carolina has to offer.
As the Southeastern Community Research Coordinator, Tatiana is responsible for researching outdoor recreation economic development project initiatives and related economic analyses of A.T. Communities to promote geotourism. As a latinx in both the outdoor community and environmental realm, individuals like herself are rarely along the trail, at the crag, or in the boulder field. With society continuing to separate itself from the natural environment, the promotion, protection, and potential of its influence is more critical than ever.
Madison McCoy is an activist, healer, organizer, lifelong-learner, peacemaker, and connector. She currently holds the role of Program Associate at One Common Unity.
Madison’s day to day work focuses on making sure the One Common Unity flagship youth program, Fly By Light, and its facilitators are coordinated for success. Additionally, she has facilitated the Fly By Light Program at multiple DCPS school sites and coordinates & co-authors curriculum for week long Fly By Light nature immersion retreats.
A graduate of George Mason University, Madison holds a bachelors degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. In 2017, Madison was awarded the Seeds of Change award for her community and social advocacy work. She was recently accepted as a 2019-2020 Personal Transformation Fellow through the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute.
In her free time, Madison enjoys practicing yoga, watching ocean documentaries, writing poetry, and spending time with loved ones in Malcolm X Park.
Amy McDonnell is a second year doctoral student in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Utah. She works in the Applied Cognition Lab researching the effect of being in nature on your brain. Amy and her research team use electroencephalography (EEG) to search for a neural biomarker of the so-called “nature effect”. To do so, they bring participants on 5 day camping trips in southern Utah and record brain activity while participants complete various cognitive tasks.
Amy has a background in clinical mental health research and worked as a wilderness therapy guide in southern Utah before attending graduate school. Her work in wilderness therapy and experience on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 inspired her to study nature and its impact on human cognition, emotion, and brain functioning. She is ultimately interested in exploring the neurological benefits of spending time in nature as a way to encourage the use of wilderness as a place for peace, healing, and restoration.
Alexi McHugh, MPH, is a Public Health Professional who has been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in the field of public health on both coasts of the United States. His work in, and with, non-profits, higher education, and government has focused on a range of topics and issues, from HIV/AIDS and Obesity, to Outdoor Spaces and Diversity. He recently wrapped up a term as a RARE AmeriCorps Volunteer in Oregon, working with rural Latinx populations and facilitating outdoor engagement for families with young children. He is currently working with the National Park Service Office of Healthy Parks, Healthy People as a Diversity & Volunteer Consultant. He is actively searching for employment in the outdoor space where he can bring his public health background to full use.
In his free time, he enjoys conversing with others in order to learn from their experiences, creating community connections, and immersing himself in new and challenging scenarios. He is immensely excited for SHIFT and to meet a great group of folks.
Eric Oliver works with Conservation Voters for Idaho, where he serves as a bridge between CVI and rural communities across Idaho by highlighting shared values and collective priorities. His work helps to organize a united conservation front in small towns and big cities alike, ensuring that Idaho’s outdoor way of life will be passed on to future generations.
Before joining CVI’s team, Eric has held a number of diverse roles focusing in one way or another on environmental and social justice, including coordinating programs for youth on public lands with the Idaho Conservation Corps, working alongside human rights defenders with Peace Brigades International, and assisting with advocacy and public education at the Washington Office on Latin America. He grew up in a small woodsy town in New Hampshire, has a B.A. in International Studies from American University, and for the past few years has lived in Boise, ID with his partner and their cat Cecil.
Courtney Schultz, PhD is the Executive Director of Health and Technology Partners LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to improving wellbeing through cooperative partnerships with healthcare providers, communities, and natural resources. As the Executive Director, Courtney oversees the development of innovative and customized programs for clients, working to integrate nature exposure into a salutogenic healthcare approach for communities. With nearly a decade of experience leading research projects, Dr. Schultz has developed an expertise in the design and execution of behavioral research across the lifespan, specifically focused on engaging underserved communities and in identifying public health goals support by public parks and trails.
Marya Skotte graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a BA in Political Science and graduated as part of the National Society for Leadership and Success. After graduating, Marya served as an AmeriCorps in Oakland, California at the International Rescue Committee, where she was a financial coach for refugees and asylees resettling in the Bay Area.
After AmeriCorps, Marya settled in Washington, DC and worked on the Community Partnerships team at the National Park Foundation (NPF), where she led and managed the creation of a new national program for national park partners. While at NPF, Marya became interested in business, entrepreneurship, and the intersection with environmental sustainability and completed an online business certificate program through the Harvard Business School Online.
Marya will attend Colorado State University’s Impact MBA (formerly known as the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA) this fall, and will focus on the intersection between business for good, conservation, and social enterprise. Marya is an avid outdoor enthusiast, national park nerd, and currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Ryan Tant is a Program Coordinator with the Stewards Individual Placement Program, a program of Conservation Legacy, in West Virginia. He has worked in non-profits since 2015 and completed two full year AmeriCorps terms with the Minnesota and Iowa Conservation Corps. He has also worked as a Crew Leader at the Appalachian Conservation Corps. Ryan is a Maryland local and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Salisbury University. He spends his off time volunteering, riding mountain bikes, climbing, or skateboarding.
Tiana Wilson-Blindman grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota (Oglala Lakota). She is currently a Master’s Student at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her concentrations lay in Climate Change Science and Solutions, as well as Environmental Policy Analysis. She received her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she also minored in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. During her undergraduate study, she taught high school physics at the CU Upward Bound program (CUUB) and interned with the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative (NASHI). In her time following, she served as an Americorp member at Teton Science Schools teaching Environmental Science to grades K-12 within Grand Teton National Park as well as served as the Civic Engagement Fellow in the 2018 midterm elections for Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.
After experiencing the environmental effects of Uranium mining on Indigenous lands as well as the human effects of the energy extraction industry in her community, she hopes to work within environmental policy and legislation as it pertains to Indigenous human rights, access, and education.