Paul Andrews, Crew Leader
Paul joins the VYCC after a year in southwest Utah working in wilderness therapy. He is passionate about working directly with people and wilderness and he believes that outdoor experience can be a catalyst for personal growth. Originally from Oregon, Paul has journeyed across the U.S. four times in the last four years for work, life and adventure. He has worked as an assistant teacher at a daycare, a sales associate, a barista, a customer service clerk, a rock climbing and canopy tour guide, and a wilderness field instructor. Prior to his travels, Paul studied Psychology, Music and Outdoor Leadership at the University of Oregon. As a Community Crew Leader he looks forward to working with his hands, mentoring teens and enjoying the New England countryside. In his leisure time, you may find him exploring wild areas, relaxing at a coffee shop, laughing loudly, being ridiculous, trail running, stretching in odd poses, cooking delicious food and playing pretty songs on guitar.
Heather Coyne, Irene Recovery Crew Leader
Heather is joining VYCC this fall after working the spring and a part of the summer as a Crew Leader with the Conservation Program. Growing up in southern Maine; Heather spent much of her time hiking, camping, and backpacking in the wilderness of Maine. Attending the University of Southern Maine, she double majored in English and Biology. After traveling the U.S. and parts of Africa, she returned home to pursue a career in conservation. Miss Coyne is very excited to be working for the VYCC.
Erin Borysewicz, Crew Leader
Erin Borysewicz joins the VYCC from a small fishing town called Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, which she likes to call the “Real Jersey Shore”. Erin graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronic Media. She soon realized instead of being behind the camera, she wanted to work hands on with people from all walks of life, teaching them social/environmental awareness, thus resulting in her pursuit of a Master's in Social Work Degree. Erin’s trek to VYCC stems from her love of adventure, where she has roamed the country working at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado as an A/V Technician, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts as a PR Assistant, and most recently teaching emotionally/behaviorally challenged youth at The Education Academy in New Jersey. Along with her love of a simple campfire shared with good friends, Erin has backpacked The White Mountains, The Blue Ridge Mountains, The Rockies and last summer fell in love with the beauty of The Green Mountains. She is thrilled for the opportunity to experience her love of the wilderness with like-minded people, working toward improving our natural world through education. In her spare time, Erin loves singing, biking, yoga, writing and each spring, treks up to Ontario for steelhead rainbow trout fishing, in hopes of one time out-fishing her Dad.
Molly Huyett, Irene Recovery Crew Leader
Molly graduated from the University of Vermont in 2009 and has been living in Vermont ever since. During the winter, she is a ski instructor at Stowe Mountain Resort. Molly joined the VYCC back in 2010 as part of a crew working on the Application Trail. She had such a great experience that she stayed on board for the Fall and came back the following summer to help another crew working in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area that was converting an old hiking trail to a major Vermont mountain bike trail. The 2012 Irene Recovery Crew will be Molly’s fifth crew with the VYCC, and she is thrilled to be back for another season.
Kirsten Brewer, Crew Leader
Kirsten Brewer is currently a Master's candidate at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School pursuing a M.S. in Natural Resources with a concentration in Environment, Society and Public Affairs. She completed her undergraduate degree at Pitzer College (Claremont, CA) in Environmental Studies and Spanish. Her experience includes two years serving as an Americorps volunteer, first with the Maryland Conservation Corps and then at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. Right after graduating from college, she spent a year in South Korea as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Though school and work have taken her around the country and the world, she's thrilled to be back in New England not far from her hometown in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her passion, and focus of her graduate research, is diversity in conservation education and her goal is to make the environmental movement as welcoming as possible for people from all backgrounds. Kirsten is excited to bring this passion to the Burlington Community Crew this summer.
Chelsie Brown, Crew Leader
Chelsie is joining the VYCC team this season having just graduated from Lyndon state College with a degree in Environmental Science. While working her way through college, she has gained many memorable experiences; from snowshoeing northern Canada in search of wolves to back packing out west for two weeks trying to decipher our continents geologic past. With a passion for anything that gets her outdoors, Chelsie enjoys hiking, camping and more recently, rock climbing. She is looking forward to working as an Assistant Community Crew Leader this summer where she can share her love and knowledge of our natural world with others.
Hannah Bushey, Crew Leader
Hannah Bushey arrived at the VYCC for a summer experience. Hannah hails from Essex, Vermont. She is currently pursuing a degree in Physical Education at Norwich University. She is very passionate about the outdoors and wilderness, and is looking to be challenged this summer through the VYCC experience. She is looking forward to working with others who share a strong desire to keep Vermont beautiful and healthy. Hannah’s interests range from enjoying the outdoors with a hike, walking the dog, going for a swim, to getting roughed up on the Rugby Pitch.
Tashni Chamberlain, Crew Leader
Heather Coyne, Irene Recovery Crew Leader
Heather is joining VYCC this fall after working the spring and a part of the summer as a Crew Leader with the Conservation Program. Growing up in southern Maine; Heather spent much of her time hiking, camping, and backpacking in the wilderness of Maine. Attending the University of Southern Maine, she double majored in English and Biology. After traveling the U.S. and parts of Africa, she returned home to pursue a career in conservation. Miss Coyne is very excited to be working for the VYCC..
Ivan Crnic, Crew Leader
Ivan Crnic graduated with a liberal arts degree from Baldwin-Wallace College (BW) close to his hometown of Cleveland, OH. He has a passion for literature and feels that translating complex metaphors and themes to everyday life is a truly noble goal. Fittingly, at BW, he had the opportunity to instruct and creatively engage inner city youth, and it changed his outlook on education, and consequently his career path. Following this new path, in the summer Ivan worked as a Naturalist and Interpreter for the Cleveland Metroparks. Here, he found that he could begin to integrate his variety of transferable experiences to one goal: expanding awareness of himself and his environment, and to help others to develop their own self-awareness. Most recently, Ivan has worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor at Nature's Classroom residential camp, a magical place where kids come to get out of the classroom, to use their five (or six) senses, and where everyone is accountable for their own words and actions.
Andrew Deatt, Crew Leader
Andrew grew up in Hanover, NH, spending much of his time just across the bridge in neighboring Vermont. His conservation work began as a Student Conservation Association sponsored intern in the Chugach National Forest, situated on the rugged southern coast of Alaska. After graduating in 2010 from the University of New Hampshire, he returned to the Chugach to work full time on a US Forest Service trail maintenance and construction crew for two seasons. Andrew returns to Vermont after a winter of travel on the west coast, the Hawaiian islands, and New Zealand. During this time he volunteered on organic farms, learned to surf and stand up paddle board, and met travelers from around the world staying in youth hostels. Andrew is looking forward to applying his skills and experience with the Forest Service as a crew leader with the VYCC this summer.
Laura DeMaria, Crew Leader
Laura comes to VYCC from a varied background both with the Corps and without. Originally from Connecticut, she moved to Vermont at thirteen. She developed a love of working outdoors as a two time VYCC Corps Member. After going to Maine College of Art and receiving a BFA in Printmaking she also did a stint as a Crew Leader for the 2001 Montpelier Community Crew. She had the honor of being the a Leader of the first crew to help reconstruct the West Monitor Barn. She is very excited to return this Summer after many years away, and hopes to bring some of her current experience as a Yoga Instructor and Trainer to the Women's Leadership Development Conservation Crew.
Julie Freeman, Crew Leader
Julie Freeman spent her childhood on the sandy beaches of Florida. Her family moved to outside of Nashville, Tennessee where Julie graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. A few years after graduation, she found herself looking off the top of the retail ladder with a pretty bleak view. A coin was flipped and a decision was made and off to Hawaii she went to see what life was all about. Soon thereafter, she met the adventure of her dreams. Endless opportunities came her way: from island adventures, to surfing in Mexico, to sailing in the Caribbean, to backpacking in Europe. Life has been less than dull these days. She has found a new passion for mother nature and enjoys the beauty in living a simple life.
Anna Gouznova, Crew Leader
One farmer’s kindness nearly three years ago convinced Anna that Vermont feels more like home than any other place in the world and she decided to stay after reaching Journey’s End at the northern terminus of the Long Trail. Last year, Anna returned to live and work at one of her favorite places on the Long Trail, Little Rock Pond, and remained a part of the close knit Danby community throughout the winter, working and living on Yoder Farm. Most recently, Anna is returning from several months in Russia with her Moscow based Aunt Olga and Grandmother Lydia who lives in a small village near the Black Sea. As a residential Crew Leader, Anna will draw on her experiences with the Green Mountain Club, Appalachian Mountain Club and as a VYCC Park Educator to help herself and her crew feel comfortable while living and working for extended periods of time in the Green Mountains.
Zander Hamilton, Crew Leader
Zander is a veteran of several youth corps. He has worked in diverse locations such as the bottom of Grand Canyon, the spine of the Rocky Mountains, and the coastal rainforests of Oregon. He is an avid outdoorsman, and has visited 21 of our National Parks in the past year. He will spend the six weeks before VYCC hiking the Appalachian Trail. His favorite hobbies are geocaching, skiing, Magic the Gathering, mountain biking, and chess. Zander is extremely tall and beardy, looking like a cross between Abe Lincoln and Grizzly Adams.
Liz Kelly, Crew Leader
After an inspiring experience on the Leadership Development Crew last summer, Liz Kelly joins the VYCC on another adventure as a Crew Leader. Liz was raised in a small, rural town in Connecticut but currently resides in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Attending Plymouth State University, she is working towards a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Sustainability and Ecological Design. During her time at PSU, Liz has been actively involved with environmental and social justice issues ranging from sustainable agriculture to renewable energy. She is passionate about ecological landscape design and environmental leadership, both of which she is excited to share with her crew. She loves backpacking in the White Mountains, sunflowers, and a good laugh!
Alisha Kissell, Crew Leader
Alisha is re-joining the VYCC family after spending a year working in environmental restoration and trail building with EarthCorps, a non-profit based in Seattle. Before making the move to Seattle she had worked as a VYCC Park Educator around the Lake Champlain area. She is thrilled to be moving back to New England and venturing into a new position with the VYCC as a crew leader for a Leadership Development Crew. Originally from Ohio, Alisha received her Bachelor’s in Botany and Environmental Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University, and has since been looking for the perfect opportunity that intertwines her love of environmental stewardship and strengthening communities of all sizes. She thinks some of the finer things in life include chopping garlic, the smell of crushed sassafras leaves, knitting, and drinking a cup of coffee prior to an early morning hike.
Michael Lawlor, Crew Leader
Michael is an undergraduate student at the University of Vermont pursuing a degree in environmental science and conservation biology. Most recently, Michael studied conservation biology and restoration ecology in Chilean Patagonia. On his time off from school, Michael was a sea kayak guide for people with disabilities. He finds that sharing his passion for the outdoors with others is the best part of working in the outdoor industry. Michael continues this at UVM where he leads an outdoor trip for incoming freshman and teaches a sea kayaking leadership development course. He cannot wait to bring this enthusiasm to the VYCC. He's especially excited to to lead the Burlington community crew because the comforts of a home sound really appealing after spending seven out of the last twelve months in a tent.
Emily LeGrand, Crew Leader
Emily grew up playing in the rocky streams of northwestern New Jersey. She moved to Minnesota to attend Carleton College, and graduated in 2009 with a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies. A semester in New Zealand led to several years of outdoor work as a research assistant in a plant ecology lab, an environmental educator in Minnesota, a farm hand in Minnesota and trail work in Massachusetts. She now lives in Nova Scotia where she studies library and information studies and ecological economics at Dalhousie University. The transition to cities and computers was a bit unwelcome, so Emily decided to draw on her trail skills, her love of working outdoors, and her interest in mentoring and educating as a VYCC crew leader during summer 2012. She's excited to get to know her crew members and for a summer in the woods!
Thomas Pearce, Crew Leader
Tom is just a kid from the Chicagoland area who learned to love being outside during fishing trips with his dad. After studying history and teaching at Bradley University, he served with the SCA for one year, building trail for a summer in Whiskeytown, California, and then learning how to be part of a community in the Massachusetts Parks program. During his ten months in Massachusetts, Tom realized that he feels best when sharing outdoor experiences, and now wishes to make sharing the health and happiness of nature his life’s work. He enjoys digging holes for rocks, running after work, crunchy peanut butter, living in the woods, and listening to people tell stories.
Ryan Pennesi, Crew Leader
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife Conservation, Ryan Pennesi is excited to be a Crew Leader with the VYCC this summer. Ryan grew up in Central Massachusetts, where he discovered his passion for nature and all wild things. For the past two summers, Ryan has worked as a Tour Guide, Animal Handler, and Presenter for Animal Adventures Exotic Zoo and Rescue Center. He has had the opportunity to wrestle American Alligators, feed baby Coatis, scratch behind the ears of a Canadian Lynx, and play with Ring-tail Lemurs! Ryan is passionate about animals and would love to share stories about his experience as a zoo employee. As an officer for the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society at the University of Massachusetts, he has assisted at a Moose Check Station in ME, been a part of the 2012 New England Wildlife Conclave in PA, and volunteered for the control of the invasive plants Garlic Mustard and Japanese Stiltgrass in Western Ma. On a typical day you may find Ryan exploring the forest, playing soccer, throwing the disk with friends, or playing some jazz on his trumpet.
Nick Prechel, Crew Leader
Nick Prechel returns to the VYCC for his second season with a diverse background in volunteer service and conservation work. A native from Buffalo, New York Nick graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2005 with a degree in Business Administration and has recently completed his first year in graduate school at SUNY Cortland pursuing his masters in Recreation Management. This will be Nick’s fourth season as a crew leader having led crews before in Colorado, Alaska and Vermont. He is excited to work outdoors again this summer and to collect data for his master’s thesis studying the impact that conservation corps has on its participants.
Janel Roberge, Crew Leader
Janel Roberge arrives at the VYCC after graduating from Saint Michael's College with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. Originally from Milan, New Hampshire (not Italy!), Janel grew up in the woods and is super-pumped to be returning to them after living in the hub-bub that is Burlington. She now resides just down the road of the West Monitor Barn and will be biking to work! Having previously been head of lab with the EPSCoR Streams Project Macroinvertebrate Team, Janel possesses an un-paralleled love of bugs and can usually be found shouting out their Latin names. Janel is the Assistant Crew Leader for the Montpelier Residential Crew Team and truly strives to live the motto of the VYCC.
Jeremy Schleining, Crew Leader
Jeremy, a Seattleite (not to be confused with satellite), comes to the VYCC after completing his second term with EarthCorps, a Seattle-based nonprofit focusing on environmental restoration in local parks and wilderness areas. He travels to Vermont to serve as a crew leader with a Leadership Development Crew. Jeremy is excited to contribute his knowledge of hands-on environmental work, and share his passion for building strong communities with his crew. With experience in restoration in the Pacific Northwest, he is looking forward to expanding his conservation knowledge to include a new and exciting ecosystem. Jeremy’s passion for the outdoors goes beyond conservation work, as he loves to spend his free time backpacking, snowboarding, biking, and exploring new places.
Eric Schweitzer, Crew Leader
Eric Schweitzer returns to the VYCC for a second season after building mountain bike trails in the Moosalamoo National Recreation area with his VYCC crew in 2011. Coming to Vermont from Pennsylvania, Eric looks forward to a break from debits and credits as an Accounting student at Alvernia University; preferring the crack of a double-jack against a crush-rock over the crunching of numbers. Eric was introduced to hiking on family camping trips by his older brother, who he struggled to keep up with. Ever since those camping adventures as a kid he has continued to develop his passion for the outdoors. In Eric’s spare time he enjoys playing guitar, baking and going really fast on bicycles.
Stacy Sexton, Crew Leader
Stacy Sexton hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is going to be a junior at Lake Superior State University in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula studying Parks and Recreation Management. Stacy will be a first time assistant crew leader for the summer of 2012, but previously worked with Mackinaw State Historic Parks as an Adventure Tour Guide and Park Naturalist. As an avid hiker, explorer, and outdoors woman she is looking forward to experiencing the state of Vermont, while learning more about conservation and sharing it with others. Having never really seen the east coast she is PUMPED! In her down time she likes to kick back with a good book, or sketch pad, and enjoy what the day brings.
Jay Snowdon, Crew Leader
Jay is a third-year forester at the University of Vermont where he has declared a concentration in Forestry Conservation Education and Wilderness Connection. His interest in place-based outdoor education led Jay to my return to the VYCC for his third year this summer season. He has led a Leadership Development Crew in addition to being a Corps Member himself, oh so long ago. Jay has become something of a Padawan to the Leadership Masters Tom Hark and Chris Ricker. When not making Star Wars references or leading people through the woods, he enjoy a good book, a good nap, and a good hammock to keep his mind at ease from this hectic world called the "frontcountry." Jay is excited to be back at the VYCC and hopes to bring a lot of good energy and good comedy to the staff and his crew as they embark on yet another magnificent journey!
Samantha Sweet, Crew Leader
Samantha's interest in the conservation world was initiated back in 2008 when she was hired at VYCC as a Parks Crew Member. Since then, she have traveled throughout the U.S. collecting a variety of experiences including: college in Oregon, white water raft guide training in Colorado, and most recently working for another conservations corps in Seattle. Samantha is excited to be back in the beautiful state of Vermont, working for the VYCC, and hopes to have a fantastic summer with her crew members! Other interests aside from conservation and the outdoors include: playing with her niece and nephew, hacky sacking, collecting instruments in hopes of learning to play them, and exploring the country and hopefully soon more abroad!
Priscilla (PT) Tanger, Crew Leader
PT was raised in Hanover, Massachusetts. She attended Stonehill College from where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Visual and Performing Arts. After traveling to New Zealand and spending time hiking, mountaineering, and rock climbing, PT was inspired to change directions and work outdoors. She spent the past year in Arizona doing conservation and trail work and is excited to join VYCC for another great season. Her extensive trail experience has given her the distinct honor of leading this year's Women's Parks Restoration Crew. Her favorite tool (aside from the chainsaw) is the crosscut. When not on the trail, PT can be found exploring antique shops and using her REI gear to the limit
Dru Taylor, Crew Leader
Dru Taylor is a rugged explorer and ski enthusiast of the Colorado Rocky Mountains! Home is a small town in Silverthorne, Colorado, as well as in the Hawaiian Islands where he went to college at the University of Hilo. While in Hawaii, his fiancé, Julie found the job post for VYCC. The job matched their dreams and ambitions so he set aside his work in construction/surfing for a summer in order to focus on the opportunity to explore the heart of the Vermont wilderness. He specializes in living life to its fullest and anticipates adventure, sweat, and accomplishment this summer as a Crew Leader for the VYCC. Dru is excited to share his knowledge of construction, backcountry living, and passion for nature with the crew members.
Michael Trubman, Crew Leader
Michael Trubman is originally from Philadelphia, PA but has recently been living in Montana. While in Montana, Mike worked for the Montana Conservation Corp (MCC) where he fell in love with using a chainsaw and all forms of trail work. After his season with the MCC, Mike stayed in Montana and worked at a ski resort, spending his winter being very cold and falling down a mountain while trying to learn to snowboard. Before joining the MCC Mike attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with a degree in cognitive psychology and spent a semester abroad studying in beautiful New Zealand. Mike is thrilled to bring his passion for push-ups and 'taking care of business' attitude to his VYCC crew this summer.
Regina Wang, Crew Leader
Regina grew up in the great state of California, and is joining VYCC for the first time this summer. She is currently studying geosciences and public policy at Princeton University, where she is also a leader for the Outdoor Action pre-orientation trip. From two Student Conservation Associations crews to a snorkeling and camping trip in Fiji to numerous backpacking trips throughout the school year with Outdoor Action, Regina is always trying to get outside. She is also taking numerous environmental studies courses as she hopes to work on the preservation of natural resources in the future. Besides just being outside, Regina loves running, swimming, hiking, reading, eating, and talking with people, and she is looking forward to doing at least three of these things this summer.
Taylor Weiss, Crew Leader
Taylor Weiss, a native of Cleveland, arrives at the VYCC after graduating from Allegheny College with a degree in Environmental Science. Taylor is passionate about agricultural and community based environmental education and conservation programs, and has spent previous summers as a Crew Leader for Student Conservation Association in Pittsburgh and working as the Educational Outreach Coordinator at a local sustainable farm in rural PA. Taylor spends her time biking, and hiking around the Ohio and Pennsylvania countryside, while indulging her love of hot pepper jelly and raw milk. Amongst her many interests, she is an avid rugby player, having converted from soccer in high school.
Alyssa Wirkus, Crew Leader
Alyssa Wirkus is from Parma Heights, Ohio and has a degree in music education from Hiram College. She has worked at a variety of camps over the past couple of years and is enjoying her fourth season as an Outdoor Educator at Nature's Classroom in Ohio. She is very excited to be a crew leader with the VYCC and wants to make a positive impact on the lives of the crew members with whom she works. She has also worked as a choir director, teaching grades 7-12, in Parma, Ohio. Alyssa has backpacked in Europe and enjoys playing the flute, teaching, and crafting.
Crew Leader Profiles