Earlier this August we had to say goodbye to our 2013-2014 Jesuit Volunteers, Dane and Becca, who are off adventuring in new and exciting places! Annie and Carl, our summer 2014 Duke Engage Interns, have also returned to their studies in North Carolina (or for Annie, a semester abroad in Italy). On the brightside, today we are introducing the two new faces of SOLVE’s east and west side green teams who have been working this month to get the programs together and are excited to meet you all this year. Here’s some info about Ember and Karen, our new Jesuit Volunteers/AmeriCorps Members:
My name is Ember and this is my first time living and working outside of the Midwest. I grew up in the large Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois and recently graduated from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where I majored in Environmental Science with a concentration in Policy Analysis and a minor in Political Science.
My background in this field stems from broad areas. I studied abroad last summer in Nicaragua, where I worked on a water project helping to restore clean drinking water and fresh water facilities to the people on Ometepe Island. It blew my mind that the largest tropical freshwater island in the world has no access to running or safe water systems, and I was ecstatic to be a part of a motion to get those amenities in place. In my free time I was able to explore the wilderness by combing the beaches of Lake Nicaragua and hiking up volcanoes and into their craters. Back in the United States, I interned for several different environmental non-profits, including the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and Environment Illinois. At each of those places, I learned the importance of people becoming more aware of their actions and how they affect the world around us. Aside from being a ‘tree hugger,’ I have been a swimmer my entire life, and was able to turn that into my first set of jobs as a lifeguard, swim lessons instructor, and coach for 7 years. Thus, I am really looking to combining my passions of working with children and love for nature while serving with SOLVE’s East Side Green Teams and exploring the Pacific Northwest!
Hello! My name is Karen and I recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in environmental studies. I am originally from Long Island, New York, but I am so happy to have called the west coast “home” for nearly four years now. This is my first time in the PNW though, and I have been so absolutely amazed by all the beautiful greenery that I have seen non-stop since flying into Portland!
While in college, I studied abroad with the School for Field Studies for two summers, one of which was spent at the Center for Rainforest Studies in Yungaburra, Far North Queensland, Australia, and the other which was spent at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Atenas, Costa Rica. My passions for ecology, environmental justice and sustainability were really set on fire through these experiences, as SFS gave me the opportunity to take my learning outside of the classroom and into the field, giving me plenty of practice with data collection and analysis, lab work, scientific writing and oral presentation. It is for this reason that I am so excited to be serving with SOLVE as the Westside Green Team Education Specialist, because I am looking forward to not only teaching students about the environment in which they live, but also journeying with them into that environment and seeing them truly transform into stewards for the earth. I am looking forward to an amazing year, both with SOLVE and with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest!