Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Members come from all over the United States to Serve the Sierra. Right now, we have 28 Members serving at 16 partner organizations across the Sierra, from Chico in the Northern Sierra to Visalia in the Southern Sierra, and every region in between! Learn more about our wonderful current SNAP Members and SNAP Alumni by checking out their bios below.
2016-17 SNAP Members (Current Program)
Cynthia grew up exploring the southern Sierra foothills she called home until the age of 7, when her family moved to Tucson, AZ. Growing up she enjoyed taking road trips with her family to national parks all over the western U.S. She attended Santa Clara University and received a B.S.in Environmental Science with an emphasis in applied ecology. While in school she worked for a local non profit with a focus on improving indoor air quality in the San Jose area and as a GIS technician, collecting and mapping utility data for the town of Hillsborough, CA. Through her studies, she has always been drawn to interdisciplinary study and is looking for opportunities to integrate these critical thinking skills into her SNAP placement. She is passionate about environmental science, loves to backpack, hike, camp, and is excited to be finally returning home to the Sierra foothills.
Aly Cheney grew up in Boulder Colorado, where her love of wild rivers and big mountains began. She carried these passions into her education at Connecticut College were she majored in Environmental Studies and Economics. Both in her senior capstone project and in her research abroad, Aly explored how residents and tourists value the ecosystem services provided by their local watersheds. During her collegiate summers, Aly worked for the Tuolumne River Trust. While paddling the Tuolumne from the Sierras to the sea, Aly reaffirmed her passion for water conservation as a career. Since graduating Aly has been guiding rapids on the American River and backpacking in Costa Rica. She is excited to get back to California, participate in some hands on restoration work, and ski some Tahoe powder!
My name is Maya Chuck, I’m originally from New York City where I grew up in the Buddhist practice with my family. I attended Wheaton College in Norton, MA and majored in Biology in May 2014 where I found a great interest in fresh water and marine algae. I had a wonderful experience with environmental education as a science summer camp instructor for Mass Audubon Joppa Flats in Newburyport, MA which impassioned me to the pursuit of connecting with communities, learning from them, and supporting their connections to their local environments. I had a wonderful experience as a Resource Inventory Technician for the Bureau of Land Management in Redding, CA in the spring of 2016, which introduced me to working to conserve lands with wilderness characteristics through inventorying and creating updated maps to receive designation and protection. I’m incredibly excited to begin working with the Bishop-Paiute sovereign nation in conserving and protecting their lands’ watersheds!
Born and raised in Missoula Montana, Ryan Delaney discovered his love of the outdoors at an early age. It first began with a keen interest in local flora and has expanded over the years to include all aspects of nature. That love of the outdoors inspired him to pursue a degree in resource conservation and a minor in wilderness and civilization. He has used his education to share with others, especially youth, the wonders of the natural world. Most recently, he was able to live in Alaska as the camp coordinator where he taught children about wilderness survival, edible plants, and marine science. He has also held positions as a backcountry ranger, outdoor educator, and ski coordinator. When Ryan is not busy playing freeze tag with kids, he enjoys playing Spanish guitar, studying botany, and working on his chaco tan.
Teagan hails from the hills of eastern Kentucky. Growing up in Appalachia among people with an ancient connection to their land, she too gained a deep love for the outdoors. But, nestled alongside coal country, she also learned the necessity for environmental protection. This motivated her to obtain a B.S. in Environmental Policy, Planning, and Law with a minor in Water Resources from the New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. As a recipient of the Rosen Fellowship, she tested and mapped water quality for residents in the coalfields of West Virginia. It was here that she found a passion for teaching others about water quality as a means of community empowerment. She has since worked in recreation planning in the Adirondacks, studied the effects of acid rain on soil communities, restored mine-lands in Kentucky, and most recently worked at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, NC. She can work a plow, write a legal brief, or talk about college basketball—although maybe not all at once.
Seaming together a series of serendipitous yet intertwining sagas while maintaining a forward lean, Vincent has navigated a sinewed path with a boundless sense of discovery. He has gazed upon peaks of an almost unimaginable bounty of splendor while lightly treading in a disparate and solemn summer stream.
Drawing from experiences in agriculture, carpentry, and an ever-evolving artistic practice, Vincent continues his pursuit of determined personal renewal and communal fulfillment by focusing his energy toward positive interactions and fostering a lattice of knowledge.
Immersed in a West Coast state of mind and operating in a burgeoning open-air classroom, he hopes to restore wholesome, practical relationships between the land and its people. Look for him between the spine of your yellowed notebook pages and at the top of the stone breeding grounds of symbiosis.
With her eagerness to always be gaining a deeper understanding of her surrounding environment, Karin Emanuelson is a passionate engineer on a mission to restore and conserve our watersheds. Growing up outside Scranton, PA, she spent her childhood exploring the woods near her house and learning to appreciate the landscape.
As a young adult, she took her studies to the University of Vermont, where she graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. While there, she focused on prospecting for wind turbine sites and learning about environmental remediation. Her true passion, however, comes from immersing herself in the surrounding landscape by hiking in remote places, water skiing at her parent’s home, and running on windy trails.
Immediately upon graduating, she spent her time at an environmental consulting firm in Boston, MA working with water and wastewater treatment facilities. After traveling for the past year in Southeast Asia and the Western United States, Karin is looking forward to applying these skill sets to a more hands on approach with Sierra Streams Institute, in her new home of Northern California. What is one aspect of her new position she’s looking forward to most? Working with Nevada county communities and a talented team of multi disciplinary scientists.
From the moment she could walk, Chelsea was out exploring the foothills of the Southern Sierra Nevada. With the Sequoias right at her back door, she spent much of her youth outdoors. She grew up on a small farm where she learned the beginnings of animal husbandry and farming. It was here she fostered her love for land and animals alike.
It was only once she began attending Sonoma State University did she realize her passion for conservation. Inspired by incredible teachers and role models in the environmental community, Chelsea received a degree in Environmental Studies and Planning in 2016. While working towards her degree, she pursued myriads of internship work that ranged from GIS mapping of invasive species to leading educational tours for youth. Through interning she knew her love for the land could and should not be contained to just herself and has been working to help people connect with their local parks and preserves ever since.
She hopes her passion, knowledge, and experience will be a guiding light as she begins a new path with an organization in her home town, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, as the Lands Conservation Technician.
Maiya has lived the majority of her life on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in the small town of Tahoe City, California. Growing up in Tahoe built her appreciation for the Sierras because she was lucky enough to spend her time exploring, backpacking, running, biking, swimming, and skiing in the pristine Sierra Nevada backcountry. She then attended UC Santa Barbara where she graduated in 2014 with a BS in Aquatic Biology. Her education amplified her respect and passion for aquatic environments, so for two years she worked in Reno, Nevada as a lab technician for an environmental testing laboratory. Although it was satisfying to analytically identify water quality problems, she found that she was more interested in creating solutions to these problems through environmental monitoring and rehabilitation. She discovered this passion through volunteering for the Nature Conservancy, where she created a water quality and bioassessment sampling protocol for their restoration sites in the lower Truckee River. In her free time, you will find her running, hiking and adventuring. She is excited to work for American Rivers where she will have the opportunity to give back to the mountains that raised her!
Gabe grew up in a northern California beach town called Pacifica. Growing up he spent his years wrapped in the folds of the ocean as well as exploring the heights of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. He has spent years backpacking and exploring the state of California and all it has to offer, through these experiences he has developed a deep love and appreciation for the natural environment. Gabe see’s himself as an environmental renaissance man. This thirst for a broad range of knowledge led him to a bachelor’s degree in Physical Geography and Geographic Information Systems from San Francisco State University. From this discipline he was able to study many different areas of the environmental field, from gathering and analyzing fog along the California coast, to studying Carbon Dioxide flux patterns above the living roof of the Academy of Sciences. He has participated in river analysis and monitoring with a team of Dutch students while studying in Amsterdam, and researched snowpack levels in the Hetch Hetchy watershed using global information systems mapping techniques. He strives to inspire the younger generation to develop a deep love and connection with the natural world through first hand experience. Gabe cannot wait to start working in the Sierras and give back to an area that played and continues to play an extremely important part in his love for the natural world.
Emma recently graduated from Western Washington University, where she studied Environmental Policy and spent her free time exploring Mount Baker and Bellingham Bay. While in Bellingham, she also became involved in the campaign for Initiative 732, a carbon tax initiative that will appear on this November’s ballot.
Last year, Emma was fortunate enough to backpack through Patagonia for a study abroad program, where she learned about Chile’s ecology and environmental policies. She also interned for Bellevue City Hall, where she developed a fondness for fieldwork and environmental outreach. While Emma will always love Washington, she is excited to experience a completely different ecosystem and culture in Bishop, California.
Courtney Hudson grew up in the mountains of North Idaho where she spent her childhood fishing, swimming, and reading. After high school she received the Congress-Bundestag scholarship and spent a year studying abroad in Germany where she was inspired by Germany’s sophisticated recycling program and her host grandparents insistence on putting solar panels on their 170 year-old barn. After being accepted into Eastern Washington University Courtney combined her passions for social and environmental justice by pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis in Cultural Ecology.
In 2014 Courtney relocated to California with her husband Alex and their dogs, Vader and Maggie. Following stints as a canvasser and a utility forester, Courtney had the honor to be accepted into the 2015-16 SNAP program as the Stewardship Coordinator with the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL). The experience was so enriching that Courtney decided to stay on another year with SYRCL—this time as their Restoration Coordinator! Courtney is excited to continue working with SYRCL and the community of Nevada City.
Timmy Jacobs, Field Crew Lead at Butte County Resource Conservation District and California State Parks
Timmy grew up on the edge of the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Folsom, California spending many hours skiing, hiking, and camping in the Sierra Nevada. He then went to college at the University of California, Santa Barbara graduating with a double major in Geography and Environmental Studies. During his studies Timmy developed a passion for ecological restoration, sustainable agriculture, green building, and surfing. While at school he worked for the Cheadle Center of Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration on native wetland and grassland restoration.
After graduating he went on a brief foray through Europe and then returned home. Although he will miss the ocean, Timmy is excited to return home and work on ecological restoration and implementing community gardens. When he isn’t working Timmy will probably be skiing, running, biking, or playing tennis.
Indigo was born and raised north of San Francisco where she spent her childhood running around in the redwoods, or with her nose buried in a book. She followed her passion for both nature and learning and ended up at Stanford University studying Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary biological science. During her time at Stanford, she kept sane by climbing all of the rocks she could find, and spent her summers immersed in the world of environmental science, doing everything from working as a forest ranger to teaching high schoolers to trekking about in oak woodlands in the name of research. Now that she’s finished up her degree, Indigo is excited to return to serve the community in beautiful Bishop, California, a place with a magnetism she can’t quite seem to escape.
Carolyn Lanza split her childhood between Charleston, South Carolina and Detroit, Michigan. Growing up surrounded by vast amounts of water created a passion for the outdoors and more specifically water conservation. She earned a B.S. degree in Environmental and Natural Resources from Clemson University in 2016. Interning with Pickens County Stormwater Partners for two years provided an excellent experience in non-profit education and conservation. It further steamed her passion for protecting our great water resources. After exploring the east coast, she wanted to go into uncharted waters and take on the west side of the U.S. When she is not out protecting our waterways, she enjoys hiking, playing in puddles, and working on puzzels. She is excited to continue her journey of water conservation with the Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District as a Watershed Conservation Technician.
Marianne, a long-time resident of the Sierra Nevada foothills, developed a deep respect for the natural world through many impromptu explorations of the wildernesses, national forests, and state parks that surround her small hometown. These excursions incited within her a fundamental curiosity about the processes that form, shape, and alter natural landscapes. She received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geology from CSU Sacramento, where she found a passion for paleontology, paleo-oceanography, paleoclimatology – anything paleo! Marianne is fascinated with the concept that the Earth is always changing; whether it be from day to day or Era to Era, the Earth’s rivers, ecosystems, oceans, and mountains are never the same. Thus, Marianne is greatly looking forward to playing an active role in the changes that will happen to the communities and natural areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by participating in the 2016 – 2017 SNAP program.
Jessy first discovered her love of the outdoors while exploring the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas as a child and continued cultivating this passion after moving to Virginia Beach. She eventually ended up in Hawaii where she learned about and embraced the culture’s belief in “Malama ‘aina” – the responsibility of humanity to care for the land in order to sustain life and preserve it for future generations. After graduating from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, she began work as an ecosystem restoration field worker with the Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, focusing mainly on invasive species removal and habitat restoration. Although she loved living and working in Hawaii, Jessy is ready to bring everything she learned about respecting our natural resources back home. As the Stewardship Assistant at the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, she hopes she will be able to share this knowledge as well as gain new experiences that will help her continue to protect the natural world. On her off time, Jessy enjoys hiking and exploring with her dog, Scumbag Jo.
Whitney had the privilege to grow up a few miles away from the Sequoia National Forest in Three Rivers, California. She spent most of her days exploring the flora and fauna around her home, and became intimately acquainted with the stunning natural spaces in Mineral King and the eastern Sierra through hiking and backpacking trips all through her youth. She also cultivated an intense love of science and public service through high school, which lead her to choose the University of Oregon for her undergraduate study in Planning, Public Policy and Management with a focus on Environmental Management and a minor in Cultural Geography. While at the University of Oregon, Whitney had the opportunity to work with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in their Oregon Chapter, which provided her with opportunities to meet with and learn from visiting Nobel Peace Prize winners, scholars, ambassadors and other change makers. She worked as an Outreach Coordinator for the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Educational Support Services Program providing opportunities for LGBTQIA students throughout Oregon to realize their potential within higher education. During this time she also worked as a Facilitator for the Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team, creating original research-based bystander intervention workshops for college groups and other campuses throughout Oregon and California, while also working as a Special Education Teacher’s Aide in Nevada County. Whitney combined her passion for education and natural resource management through extensive coursework in public participation and endangered species management, and graduated in 2016 and moved to Nevada City, California, where her family currently lives. Whitney spends her free time rock climbing, hiking, running and exploring bread baking with her two huskies.
I was born and raised in Washington, DC, and began falling in love with the outdoors at a summer camp near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This initial attachment to nature pushed me West to Colorado College, and motivated me to introduce others to the outdoors by leading backpacking trips throughout Colorado and Utah. Extended expeditions in the wilderness have helped me form a practice of environmental awareness that is based on meaningful connections, with both nature and people. These experiences have taught me to think on larger scales, and question how we can protect landscapes across borders and ecosystems. I am very excited to bring my passion for the outdoors and large landscape conservation to the Tuolumne River Trust, while also exploring all of the crags, slopes, and rivers of the Sierra Nevada.
Sarah Muskin grew up in coastal New England and spent her summers exploring the Green Mountains of Vermont. She recently graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. At Vassar, she was an active member of the Varsity Track and Cross-Country Teams and grew to love the Hudson Valley. In 2015, she travelled to Tanzania with the School of International Training to study “Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology.” Sarah has engaged in water related topics not only through her academic courses in environmental management and ecology, but also in an independent study project about water borne disease prevention that she completed while abroad in Tanzania on the Coast of Lake Victoria. Sarah is passionate about stewardship, environmental health, and social justice. In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, hiking, reading, gardening, and learning new skills. Sarah was lucky enough to get to know the Sierra Nevada’s during a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail in 2014. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to return to the landscape she fell in love with in a capacity that allows her to contribute to its ecological and social health, and well-being, and learn more about the local communities and watershed organizations she will be engaging with.
I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, and thus grew up with the love of the ocean, the spectacular California coastline, and the nearby redwood forests. After high school I immediately became infatuated with Earth Science after taking Oceanography and Geology courses and ultimately taking that all the way to my graduation from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Geohydrology. Studying water sciences has helped my understanding of how important water is as a natural resource and has helped drive me to learn as much as I can in order to help protect it as a precious renewable resource for the future.
Naturally I have an innate fondness of surfing, sports and being active, as well as camping and being outdoors, so becoming part of the SNAP team and knowing I will be in the mountains and outdoors proves that it will be an exciting endeavor. I have spent quite a bit of time in the Sierra’s going on annual trips up to Pinecrest and Dodge Ridge for the beautiful scenery and awesome mountain activities and also going to one of my favorite locations in California, the Yosemite Valley! Being given the opportunity to be part of a group that gets to be near these beautiful landscapes along with getting the chance to help preserve the importance and alluring nature of what they have to offer while also learning a lot in the process is a stimulating privilege!
Maggie Regis, Conservation Assistant at El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts
Margaret (Maggie) Regis recently graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane WA with a B.S. in Biology and an A.A. in Environmental Science and Technical Theatre. She grew up in the Bay Area of California and has spent countless summers camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains with her family. She spent hours exploring the woods, beaches and any natural environment she found herself in. When she was young, her parents would give her a kite whenever they went to a beach because she would often wander away. However, she would never let go of the kite, so they always knew where she was. She spent years volunteering with the Marin Humane Society, Marin Treks Natural History Museum, various vet clinics, and many other organizations. Maggie started University as pre-vet but, through a series of events, she quickly realized her love for nature was more than just a hobby. She wants to help protect and improve the environment and is very excited to move back and work in her home State.
Anna is an avid outdoorswoman and passionate environmentalist new to the Sierra Nevada. Originally from Pennsylvania, she grew up hiking with her family throughout the northeast and is now an experienced backpacker who also enjoys climbing, cycling and practicing yoga. Studying at the Pennsylvania State University nurtured her appreciation for the environment, sustainable agriculture and community involvement through experiential learning opportunities in agricultural research and volunteering on sustainable farms. She recently graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management focusing in Soil Science and a minor in Watersheds and Water Resources and is eager to utilize her skills as the River Monitoring Coordinator with the South Yuba River Citizens League. While Anna is thrilled to begin a lifelong career in watershed stewardship, she is also looking forward to exploring the Sierra Nevada through hiking, paddling, climbing, snow shoeing and skiing!
Sam grew up in the Bay Area in the “small” town of Sunnyvale, CA. Thanks to his parents he spent many summers travelling up to the Sierras (especially around Lake Tahoe) to camp and explore. Realizing that one could get a career in the outdoors, relatively speaking, Sam attended Colorado State University (CSU) and got his bachelors in Natural Resources Management and Fishery Biology. While at CSU Sam could be found in class, but it was more likely to find him chasing trout in the numerous streams that dotted the Colorado and Wyoming landscape. Sam’s life experiences and numerous seasonal jobs working with environmental education and fish crews have led him to his position in California as Trout Unlimited’s Sierra Cascades Field Organizer, located conveniently in the Tahoe area. Sam believes wholeheartedly in Trout Unlimited and is excited to help foster opportunities for others to experience and protect the amazing coldwater fisheries in California.
Ian Taylor was born on the East side of Cleveland, Ohio where he eventually became an Eagle Scout and graduated from high school. Immediately following graduation, Ian traveled to the French River where he spent the summer as a wilderness canoe guide. Upon returning to the states, he became an EMT and worked in the Cleveland area until 2009, returning to Ontario every summer to lead youth in the wilderness.
In 2009, Ian returned to school at Hocking College earning degrees in Eco-tourism/Adventure Travel and Wildlife Resource Management and moved on to Ohio University to pursue a degree in Wildlife Conservation Biology.
Since 2012, Ian has worked as the “Nature and Outdoor Living Skills Coordinator” for a non-profit youth organization in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio. August ’15 – May ’16 Ian served as the Environmental Education Specialist for Bradford Woods, the adjunct outdoor education facility at Indiana University. During this time, Ian was promoted to “Assistant Director” and authored his own “Nature” and “Outdoor Living Skills” program as well as contributing to the Environmental Education curriculum at Bradford Woods.
Denise was born and raised in the city life Los Angeles, but as she was receiving her education from beautiful and slower-paced Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection, she developed the hunger for adventure and the outdoors. She had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica where she discovered rich Tican culture and the many beaches and national forests they take pride in. In addition, Denise became president of the Association of Environmental Professionals student chapter where she helped developed members’ professional skills and connect them to environmental professionals. Although new to the Sierra Nevada area, Denise is thrilled to explore the breathtaking landscape and to join her team at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center. Outside of work, Denise likes to explore, run, hike, and enjoy food that her new home has to offer!
Chloe was born and raised in Virginia but fell in love with the great outdoors while spending her summers roaming around Eagles Mere Lake in the mountains of Pennsylvania. She headed north for college to the University of Vermont, where she discovered a passion for connecting people with the natural world. Chloe developed her skills as an educator working as a Natural History & Field Ecology lab instructor in Vermont, a TA for a winter ecology course in western Maine, and as a science educator on Hurricane Island, Maine. While earning her B.S. in Wildlife Biology and a B.S. in Natural Resources Ecology, Chloe seized every opportunity to learn via adventure. This led her to study and conduct research in the Antarctic, Utah, Belize, Texas, and throughout the Northeast. Post graduation in May of 2015 and another season living and working on Hurricane Island, she packed up her truck and headed west where she most recently completed an AmeriCorps position with the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s California Condor Recovery Program. Chloe is super excited to work with the Sierra Streams Institute and spread her enthusiasm for the beautiful Sierra Nevada. When she’s not wandering around outside in awe of the little things, you can find Chloe crocheting, befriending dogs, or throwing axes.
Growing up in Southern California, Caleb Van Rossum found an early love for nature in the southern Sierras. It was from these experiences he gained a love for preserving and understanding the beauty this world has to offer. He is currently pursuing an education in Forestry with a focus in Hydrology conservation. He has spent the last few years working at an after school program in Watts, CA, teaching inner city kids about what it Growing up in Southern California, Caleb Van Rossum found an early love for nature in the southern Sierras. It was from these experiences he gained a love for preserving and understanding the beauty this world has to offer. He is currently pursuing an education in Forestry with a focus in Hydrology conservation. He has spent the last few years working at an after school program in Watts, CA, teaching inner city kids about what it means to be environmentally conscious. His passions include exploring new places, environmental education, and music. This year is gonna be an exciting one, as he gets to further explore and get to know the Sierras.