Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellows

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Summertime will soon be just a memory as Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s students, instructors, staff members, and campus administrators make their way back to Estes Park for our 79th trimester.

Among those new and returning Eagle Rockers is a cohort of instructional, professional development, and student services fellows. This time around, our Public Allies Fellows includes a total of 12 new and returning charges, each either beginning or continuing a year-long commitment of service to the Eagle Rock community.

Public Allies Eagle Rock

Beginning next week, our dozen fellows will jump onboard and participate in everything we have to offer when it comes to education and professional development. And each of these fellows will be responsible for supporting alternative and progressive approaches to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on engaging students in their own education.

Claiming the title of Fellow is no walk in the park. Helping to mold fair and equitable societies takes work, and the task requires a stubborn passion and the courage to take action. Funded by AmeriCorps, Public Allies is centered around this concept… that everyone has the ability to lead and anyone can be an inspiration to others.

With that conception at the forefront, each of the fellows featured below has committed to becoming active participants in our unique residential and community-based form of education between now and next August. Each has already expressed or demonstrated a passion for teaching and youth development, as well as an interest in progressive education — which is very much what Eagle Rock School is all about.

Below, we present a brief bio and some random facts about each of these young leaders:

Amelia la Plante Horne, Outdoor Education (2nd year fellow)

Amelia will be staying at Eagle Rock for another year, this time as our Outdoor Education Fellow (transitioning from Residential Life). She is most excited to continue supporting and advocating for student empowerment. Amelia is originally from Las Vegas, N.M., with plans to eventually return there.

After graduating from Eagle Rock in the Spring of 2014 (ER 62), Amelia attended Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, where she designed and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ecological Praxis in Healing. During college, some of her favorite things to do were help create a campus herb garden and community apothecary, attend a weekly reading/writing group called “Women Empowering Women” at the local women’s prison, and becoming a yoga instructor.

Amelia is dedicated to speaking up for her beliefs and performing work that aligns with her ethics in professional and unprofessional spaces. She loves to laugh and to be laughed at, cook with loved ones, travel, read, garden, make art, cry at beautiful things, and stay physically active.

Chelsea EhretChelsea Ehret, Science & Math

Chelsea was born into a military family and has called many regions in the U.S. and world her home. She has a master’s degree in sustainable resource management from the Technical University of Munich in Germany, and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Chelsea has thus far spent most of her life surrounded by people of different cultures, and she helped integrate international students into American university life in Missouri. She was a college-level chemistry tutor for three years and assisted in converting a class from traditional to a more collaborative style of learning. She also spent several years educating people in technical outdoor skills, including while mentoring youth for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award program in the United Kingdom.

Chelsea enjoys most outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing, and she always brings her dog along when she heads outside. She has a special place in her heart for long-distance running, and she regularly explores her physical and mental limits through running. When she’s not active, Chelsea enjoys reading, creating in the kitchen, or spending time with family.

Dan MarignyDan Marigny, Human Performance

Dan was born and raised in western Kentucky but spent most of his early childhood traveling the country, playing sports. He has nearly completed his college career — Dan plans to earn a degree in global public health with concentrations in psychology, anthropology, and entrepreneurship — all part of an individualized major program he created at the University of Louisville.

Throughout the years, Dan has mentored, tutored, and coached youth up to high school age, worked with athletic trainers at a collegiate level, and has been heavily involved in whatever community in which he has had the opportunity to be placed. As a Public Allies Fellow, Dan is excited to share his passion for athletics, health and fitness, and working with youth, where he’ll have the opportunity to use his strengths to make an impact.

Dan likes to spend his free time playing sports recreationally, hanging out with his many nieces and nephews, trying to play the piano, looking for new places to eat, and spending as much time as possible with his friends and family.

Diana RusinDiana Rusin, Health, Wellness & Counseling

Diana was born in London, Ontario, Canada, and spent her childhood living in Troy, Mich. She earned her Master of Social Work degree with a certification in School Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

Diana’s passion for working with children and youth began after serving as a camp counselor at Camp Ozanam, a summer camp in Detroit that provides children a cost-free summer camp experience filled with swimming, arts & crafts, and sports, all the while fostering confidence, independence, and leadership skills.

In her free time, Diana enjoys reading, writing, spending time with friends and family, running, cooking, watching “This is Us” on television, and traveling. In the past few years she has traveled to Iceland, London, and Poland, along with 15 states in the United States.

Joan CordovaJoan Cordova, Residential Life

Joan was born and raised in a small mountainside village in central Mexico, where he lived until his teens. In 2010, his family immigrated to Tifton, Ga.,  where Joan discovered his love for the arts.

After high school, Joan attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and then the University of Georgia. This past May, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in romance languages and a Bachelor of Arts in studio arts, as well as a minor in religions studies.

And now, Joan has made traveling one of his long-term aspirations. So far, he has only been to three countries (Mexico, the United States, and Brazil). He hopes to be a teacher one day. Throughout his college career, he was heavily involved in organizations that focused on social justice and multicultural and interfaith. Then he joined a Bollywood infusion dance team!

He has mentored and tutored at-risk children in Brazil and in the Athens, Georgia, community, believing that access to a high-quality education is the ultimate tool to a more equitable world. Joan dreams of becoming a professional creative and a college professor. He hopes to learn as much as he can from the Eagle Rock community and contribute to the development of the students’ minds and future.

This summer Joan has been busy working, traveling around the Southeast, writing and learning to swim. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, running, dancing, drawing, painting, reading, writing, taking long walks and learning about cultures.

Laila HosseinzadehLaila Hosseinzadeh, Life After Eagle Rock

Laila was born and raised in Greensboro, N.C., and graduated in 2017 from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., with a global studies degree. She has been an AmeriCorps participant for the last two years — first as an educational program coordinator and most recently as a case manager, both in organizations serving refugee and immigrant clients. During that time, Laila also had the opportunity to teach English to speakers of other languages arriving here in the United States.

Laila is passionate about working with international communities, women’s empowerment, and youth development, all in an effort to help individuals reach self-sufficiency and realize their potential. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, storytelling, volunteering, learning languages (currently Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi), and discovering local coffee shops and restaurants.

Cilly GeraniosCilly Geranios – Health, Wellness & Counseling

Cilly grew up in Big Sky Country (Montana) before heading east for Hamilton College in upstate New York. During her time there, Cilly helped create a sense of community through her work on the student newspaper, The Spectator, as well as in residential life, volunteering at the local hospital, and playing fthe prop position for Hamilton College’s club-based Women’s Rugby Team.

Cilly recently earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in creative writing and psychology from Hamilton. And if you were to ask her about comic books, be prepared to settle in for a long, nuanced conversation. Ask her about Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and be prepared for more of the same. Ask her about both to see her spontaneously combust. When she’s not working, Cilly enjoys baking, doodling, Uno league-ing, Netflix-binging, online shopping, writing, weightlifting, and being with her family.

Lucia SiciusLucia Sicius, Residential Life

Lucia is originally from Miami, Fla. and has lived in Spain and Chile as well. She is a recent graduate of Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. While at FSU, Lucia worked as a resident assistant (RA) in the residence halls as well as a night staff member on campus.

Lucia’s passion for education and social justice came from her work with PeaceJam Southeast for more than three years. Along with this, Lucia also has a passion for music (playing and listening), sports (especially soccer), traveling, having adventures, and hanging out with friends.

Michelle FrancoMichelle Franco, Visual Arts

Michelle was born in California, then moved to Argentina where she was raised. However, once she moved to Colorado, Michelle knew this was her home away from home. Metropolitan State University of Denver was where Michelle received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in jewelry and metalsmithing. There, Michelle fell in love with fire, metal, and completing big projects.

While in college, Michelle was a teacher’s assistant. She enjoyed listening to students’ concepts and what they were working on and helping them problem solve. Ever since she was little, Michelle knew that she wanted to help people in any way she could.

When she came across AmeriCorps and discovered Eagle Rock and the Public Allies Fellows program, not only was she elated that it was in Colorado, but that the environment and campus were stunning. While her brother Sebastian (our 2016/2017 & 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development) was working at Eagle Rock, Michelle saw how well he got along with the students and knew that this was where she wanted to be, also.

Aside from metalsmithing, Michelle likes to read, make any kind of art, play the ukulele, travel, and learn new languages.

Mary LoomisMary Loomis, Literature & Literacy

Originally from Massachusetts, Mary graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in environmental studies. She fell in love with environmental literature during a semester spent studying in Utah’s canyons, where she discovered the works of Terry Tempest Williams.

Mary dedicated her senior spring semester in college to writing a creative nonfiction thesis exploring human-land connections along Main’s Mid-Coast. Since graduating, Mary has enjoyed working both in outdoor education and sustainable agriculture. As an educator, she has observed first-hand how experiential learning and a strong community can positively impact both student experiences and learning outcomes.

Mary is excited to work alongside students and staff alike at Eagle Rock this coming year. In her spare time, you can usually find her running, playing in intramural sports leagues, hiking with her pup, reading, sipping dark roast coffee, or writing letters to friends and family.

Travis BurhartTravis Burhart, Professional Development

Travis was born outside of Washington, D.C., but spent most of his childhood growing up in the greater Nashville, Tenn., area. He recently earned his degree in environment and society from Florida State University. While he attended college in Tallahassee, Travis was a campus tour guide, conducted research in the FSU College of Education, and played several different intramural sports.

He is excited to become part of the Eagle Rock community and hopes to later pursue a master’s degree in educational policy that supports his future interest in working toward greater equity in schools. Outside of these interests, Travis enjoys reading, backpacking, rock climbing, and going to concerts.

Ayinde Gittens-SmithAyinde Gittens-Smith, Residential Life

Ayinde is originally from Laurel, Md. After attending a military-based high school, he studied studio art at Goucher College, in Towson, Md., where as a member of the college’s NCAA Div. III track and field team (4 x 100 relay and high jump). For the last five years, Ayinde has worked with youth of all ages and from all walks of life as an after-school program counselor and summer camp counselor. Like all of his fellow fellows, Ayinde values community service and believes it is important for people to not only give back to the community, but to also be an active, caring, and loving neighbor. On the artistic front, Ayinde is quite versatile — he paints, shoots digital and film photography, sculpts, and  printmakes. After finishing studies required of his bachelor’s degree, Ayinde plans to continue teaching and creating art professionally, and one day plans on opening a community-based studio space for young and aspiring artists.

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