Meet our 2018 Communities and Conservation Team!


Abby Blumenthal   Virgo | Bold | Outgoing   Who is your hero?  My personal hero is my mom. I have never met anyone stronger or more passionate in my life. She taught me to be ambitious, self-sufficient, and the importance of looking at things from other people’s perspectives. I strive to be the best version of myself because of these things.   Why South Africa?  This trip to South Africa will give me invaluable life experience and a chance to learn from people I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. My goal for the future is to make businesses and people more sustainable, whether that is through policy or consulting. I think it is important to immerse myself in other cultures and ways of living if I am going to make well informed decisions on sustainability. When looking at questions of environmental justice I think this trip will give me a much-needed perspective that I haven’t been exposed to previously.   What are you looking forward to?  I am most looking forward to the homestays and hopefully making lasting connections with people. Along with this, I am looking forward to seeing the connection the people have to the wildlife around them and what this relationship means for sustainability and conservation in the area.   What do you hope to accomplish?  My goal is to learn as much as I can from the people I speak with and become a more involved activist in my own community as a result of this trip.

Abby Blumenthal

Virgo | Bold | Outgoing

Who is your hero? My personal hero is my mom. I have never met anyone stronger or more passionate in my life. She taught me to be ambitious, self-sufficient, and the importance of looking at things from other people’s perspectives. I strive to be the best version of myself because of these things.

Why South Africa? This trip to South Africa will give me invaluable life experience and a chance to learn from people I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. My goal for the future is to make businesses and people more sustainable, whether that is through policy or consulting. I think it is important to immerse myself in other cultures and ways of living if I am going to make well informed decisions on sustainability. When looking at questions of environmental justice I think this trip will give me a much-needed perspective that I haven’t been exposed to previously.

What are you looking forward to? I am most looking forward to the homestays and hopefully making lasting connections with people. Along with this, I am looking forward to seeing the connection the people have to the wildlife around them and what this relationship means for sustainability and conservation in the area.

What do you hope to accomplish? My goal is to learn as much as I can from the people I speak with and become a more involved activist in my own community as a result of this trip.

Marissa Nelson   Mother | Earth Lover | Goofball   Personal Hero : My dad   Why South Africa?:  This program is directly related to my major. I have always wanted to go to South Africa and feel the energy of the “Motherland”.   Looking forward to:  I am excited to experience the culture, the people, the animals, and how this program will expand my mind and heart.   Hope to accomplish:  I hope that the people of Hamakuya feel that we are giving them a voice and doing justice in telling their story. I hope to build the knowledge and skills necessary to start conservation projects from scratch, including a U.S.-based non-profit. I also hope that our travel group forms a community-like bond through this journey and we all accomplish our goals both collectively and individually.

Marissa Nelson

Mother | Earth Lover | Goofball

Personal Hero: My dad

Why South Africa?: This program is directly related to my major. I have always wanted to go to South Africa and feel the energy of the “Motherland”.

Looking forward to: I am excited to experience the culture, the people, the animals, and how this program will expand my mind and heart.

Hope to accomplish: I hope that the people of Hamakuya feel that we are giving them a voice and doing justice in telling their story. I hope to build the knowledge and skills necessary to start conservation projects from scratch, including a U.S.-based non-profit. I also hope that our travel group forms a community-like bond through this journey and we all accomplish our goals both collectively and individually.

Nolan Bunting    Who is your personal hero/heroine?  My late friend Carmen Field, who helped gave me a love of nature and taught me to always ponder the world that surrounds us.   Why South Africa?  Africa has always been a dream of mine. I have always wanted to be one with the biodiversity and the cultures of the region.   What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to seeing my first wild African animal of any kind, and participating in the homestay with the village we are visiting.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to learn about and change the way I view Africa. I want to be able to say, that I understand what it means to conserve endangered species and what it means to work with a community. My hopes are expansive as this is will be an amazing experience however, conservation is imperative on the planet and this is a good first step for me to understand the issues surrounding protection of natural resources.

Nolan Bunting

Who is your personal hero/heroine? My late friend Carmen Field, who helped gave me a love of nature and taught me to always ponder the world that surrounds us.

Why South Africa? Africa has always been a dream of mine. I have always wanted to be one with the biodiversity and the cultures of the region.

What are you looking forward to? I am looking forward to seeing my first wild African animal of any kind, and participating in the homestay with the village we are visiting.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to learn about and change the way I view Africa. I want to be able to say, that I understand what it means to conserve endangered species and what it means to work with a community. My hopes are expansive as this is will be an amazing experience however, conservation is imperative on the planet and this is a good first step for me to understand the issues surrounding protection of natural resources.

Amber McArdle   Adaptive| Abstract| Interactive   Who is your hero?  Growing up, Steve Irwin was my role model — kind with a passion for wildlife. His excitement for teaching people about wildlife spilled over onto people like me, and has been a major driver in shaping who I am, what I do, and how I to talk to people who normally don’t think about wildlife conservation.   Why South Africa?  In the homes I lived, there were countless stray cats. Having watched numerous documentaries on various mega fauna behavior (especially during Big Cat Week), I took it upon myself to adopt the stray and feral cats in my neighborhood (much to my mother’s dismay). Since I was so young, I took in each documentary like a sponge, learning the ins and outs of what these animals were predicted to do. By age 15 I’d eventually watched enough Big Cat Week videos to know which clips were reused from the previous years and memorized the same regurgitated facts. To fuel my passion further I eventually collected autobiographies that focused on women who began sanctuaries for animals and the people in areas like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Between ages 16-18, South Africa in particular had stolen my heart, and I knew I needed to go. It’s been nearly 7 years to make this dream a reality, so when I heard about this trip at the last minute I jumped at the chance to go.   What are you looking forward to?  I’m actually really excited to meet the  Black Mambas  organization in South Africa. Even more-so, I’m looking forward to brainstorming ideas with knowledgeable locals and the incredible group that I’m going with to conclude long term conservation solutions that satisfy everyone’s needs.

Amber McArdle

Adaptive| Abstract| Interactive

Who is your hero? Growing up, Steve Irwin was my role model — kind with a passion for wildlife. His excitement for teaching people about wildlife spilled over onto people like me, and has been a major driver in shaping who I am, what I do, and how I to talk to people who normally don’t think about wildlife conservation.

Why South Africa? In the homes I lived, there were countless stray cats. Having watched numerous documentaries on various mega fauna behavior (especially during Big Cat Week), I took it upon myself to adopt the stray and feral cats in my neighborhood (much to my mother’s dismay). Since I was so young, I took in each documentary like a sponge, learning the ins and outs of what these animals were predicted to do. By age 15 I’d eventually watched enough Big Cat Week videos to know which clips were reused from the previous years and memorized the same regurgitated facts. To fuel my passion further I eventually collected autobiographies that focused on women who began sanctuaries for animals and the people in areas like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Between ages 16-18, South Africa in particular had stolen my heart, and I knew I needed to go. It’s been nearly 7 years to make this dream a reality, so when I heard about this trip at the last minute I jumped at the chance to go.

What are you looking forward to? I’m actually really excited to meet the Black Mambas organization in South Africa. Even more-so, I’m looking forward to brainstorming ideas with knowledgeable locals and the incredible group that I’m going with to conclude long term conservation solutions that satisfy everyone’s needs.

Josh Kirshner   Gentleman | Scholar | Earthship   Who is your hero?  As of recently, my personal hero would be Joe Rogan.   Why South Africa?  I chose South Africa because it is relatively distant from our culture here in Colorado, and further deviated from Texas, where I grew up. I want to create sustainable housing for the future, that provides food and water. I need to know that the ideas I am working off of will work in other areas. This program is about conservation and working directly with recipients of our work.   What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to getting out of the country. I am excited to help with the needs of developing countries. “Americans sit fat” while the rest of the world struggles. Personally, I have never been outside the country, away from my life for more than a week, nor have I seen any charismatic megafauna in the wild, so that would be wild.   What do you hope to accomplish?  What I hope to accomplish is getting a base understanding of what the outside world is, how it operates, what the needs truly are for people in other places. We can only guess what others need until we show up.

Josh Kirshner

Gentleman | Scholar | Earthship

Who is your hero? As of recently, my personal hero would be Joe Rogan.

Why South Africa? I chose South Africa because it is relatively distant from our culture here in Colorado, and further deviated from Texas, where I grew up. I want to create sustainable housing for the future, that provides food and water. I need to know that the ideas I am working off of will work in other areas. This program is about conservation and working directly with recipients of our work.

What are you looking forward to? I am looking forward to getting out of the country. I am excited to help with the needs of developing countries. “Americans sit fat” while the rest of the world struggles. Personally, I have never been outside the country, away from my life for more than a week, nor have I seen any charismatic megafauna in the wild, so that would be wild.

What do you hope to accomplish? What I hope to accomplish is getting a base understanding of what the outside world is, how it operates, what the needs truly are for people in other places. We can only guess what others need until we show up.

Joe Burke   Adventurer | Student | Admirer   Who is your personal hero?  I have always had great admiration for my grandfather. He taught me many things about being a student of life, and to never quit on a challenge. He is the reason that I strive to be the best I can every day.   Why South Africa?  I had always wanted to study abroad, and when one of my Professors mentioned this research opportunity for the first time it, intrigued me. I decided to take a further look into it by asking her for more information. The more I found out about the project, the more intrigued I became. I became intrigued about the culture, the geography, the animals, the history; and I fell in love with the idea of it.   What are you looking forward to?  I’m looking forward to using all of the information I have learned over not only these past couple months, but my whole life. I am looking forward to smelling air I have never smelled before. I am looking forward to meeting people that I don’t know. I am looking forward to doing good work with my teammates. So, I believe the question has become, “What aren’t you looking forward to?” The thing I probably won’t be looking forward to is returning home- haha.   What do you hope to accomplish?  While we are in South Africa, I hope to accomplish a tremendously large task. I want to make people’s lives better. From the time we arrive and for years to come; I hope to accomplish the goal of making someone’s life better.

Joe Burke

Adventurer | Student | Admirer

Who is your personal hero? I have always had great admiration for my grandfather. He taught me many things about being a student of life, and to never quit on a challenge. He is the reason that I strive to be the best I can every day.

Why South Africa? I had always wanted to study abroad, and when one of my Professors mentioned this research opportunity for the first time it, intrigued me. I decided to take a further look into it by asking her for more information. The more I found out about the project, the more intrigued I became. I became intrigued about the culture, the geography, the animals, the history; and I fell in love with the idea of it.

What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to using all of the information I have learned over not only these past couple months, but my whole life. I am looking forward to smelling air I have never smelled before. I am looking forward to meeting people that I don’t know. I am looking forward to doing good work with my teammates. So, I believe the question has become, “What aren’t you looking forward to?” The thing I probably won’t be looking forward to is returning home- haha.

What do you hope to accomplish? While we are in South Africa, I hope to accomplish a tremendously large task. I want to make people’s lives better. From the time we arrive and for years to come; I hope to accomplish the goal of making someone’s life better.

Sabrina Romeo   Passionate | Explorer| Conservationist   Who is your personal hero?  My grandma is my personal hero because she had a very difficult childhood, but managed to preserve and grow throughout her experiences to become the amazing woman she is today. She is the most giving and courageous woman I know.   Why South Africa?  I have traveled to many different countries before due to my passion for marine life and conservation, but I wanted to expand my travel experiences and go someplace very different than where I have traveled before. I have always wanted to go to South Africa and this trip is the perfect experience for me to fulfill that dream.   What are you looking forward to?  As a conservation biologist major, I am really excited about getting a first-hand look the environment-human dynamics that we will see throughout our travels and being able to emerge myself in a new culture. I am also really excited for the game drives and the home stays.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I am hoping to learn about environment and wildlife management and relationships to humans in South Africa. I am also hoping to possibly learn about how climate change and the water crisis are affecting all levels of the ecosystem in the areas we will be visiting.

Sabrina Romeo

Passionate | Explorer| Conservationist

Who is your personal hero? My grandma is my personal hero because she had a very difficult childhood, but managed to preserve and grow throughout her experiences to become the amazing woman she is today. She is the most giving and courageous woman I know.

Why South Africa? I have traveled to many different countries before due to my passion for marine life and conservation, but I wanted to expand my travel experiences and go someplace very different than where I have traveled before. I have always wanted to go to South Africa and this trip is the perfect experience for me to fulfill that dream.

What are you looking forward to? As a conservation biologist major, I am really excited about getting a first-hand look the environment-human dynamics that we will see throughout our travels and being able to emerge myself in a new culture. I am also really excited for the game drives and the home stays.

What do you hope to accomplish? I am hoping to learn about environment and wildlife management and relationships to humans in South Africa. I am also hoping to possibly learn about how climate change and the water crisis are affecting all levels of the ecosystem in the areas we will be visiting.

Madison Waggoner   Dedicated| Adaptable | Adventurous   Who is your personal hero?  My mother, who has taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, and never allowing adversity to control your life.   Why South Africa?  After traveling to southeast Asia the past two years, I’ve become very interested in third-world and developing nations. There is a stark contrast between the way Americans live their lives compared to those who have so much less than what we might consider “very little”. Many of the things we take for granted are simply unavailable in these areas, and having the opportunity to learn about the challenges facing these populations in yet another part of the world was what drew me to South Africa.   What are you looking forward to?  As an animal science major, I’m most looking forward to the game drives, as well as learning about the wildlife-human relationship that exists in areas like Kruger National Park. Understanding how these relationships work on a personal level is the key to preserving threatened and endangered species, while also providing for local impoverished communities.   What do you hope to accomplish?  My main goal is to learn as much as possible regarding wildlife management in other countries. While I’ve learned a lot about animal management in the US, most of my classes do not discuss how these programs differ in other countries.

Madison Waggoner

Dedicated| Adaptable | Adventurous

Who is your personal hero? My mother, who has taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, and never allowing adversity to control your life.

Why South Africa? After traveling to southeast Asia the past two years, I’ve become very interested in third-world and developing nations. There is a stark contrast between the way Americans live their lives compared to those who have so much less than what we might consider “very little”. Many of the things we take for granted are simply unavailable in these areas, and having the opportunity to learn about the challenges facing these populations in yet another part of the world was what drew me to South Africa.

What are you looking forward to? As an animal science major, I’m most looking forward to the game drives, as well as learning about the wildlife-human relationship that exists in areas like Kruger National Park. Understanding how these relationships work on a personal level is the key to preserving threatened and endangered species, while also providing for local impoverished communities.

What do you hope to accomplish? My main goal is to learn as much as possible regarding wildlife management in other countries. While I’ve learned a lot about animal management in the US, most of my classes do not discuss how these programs differ in other countries.

Sydney Vander Waerdt   Versatile | Genuine | Free Spirited   Who is your hero?  My grandmother is my personal hero. She is a world traveler who educates herself in every way possible while traveling. She reads books about the area while she is there and writes extensive reflections to better her understanding of the environment. My whole life she has been taking me to museums, operas, given me books for every birthday, taught me that there are places to see, people to meet, art to appreciate, and things to learn. To top it all off, she is still rock climbing, playing competitive tennis, and gardening at the age of 75!   Why South Africa?  First of all, I made the decision to do things that are out of my comfort zone at a young age. I want to challenge myself and gain as much knowledge about this world that I can and seize the opportunities which allow me to do so. Africa is known to be the cradle of humanity, and I can only imagine what that continent must feel like. It not only has an extremely complex history, but a mysterious prehistory as well. I am excited to be exploring archaeological sites in Kruger National park, and experiencing the comfort and discomfort while studying the culture in the villages of Hamakuya.   What are you looking forward to?  I’m looking forward to seeing big game animals in their natural habitat and seeing stars in a rural area for the first time! This trip will be much more than anthropology work, so I’m excited to learn about conservation, rural and urbanizing communities, and everything else in between. I’m looking forward to stargazing, seeing sunsets, and hearing new animal noises. We are all going to be learning from the many different bright-minded people around us, and I’m excited for the impact it will bring. I am truly looking forward to meeting myself when I get back from this life changing experience.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I am hoping to pull aspects from the cultures that I experience and use them in everyday life and my education and to build other ideas and to better analyze situations. I am excited to take the next step forward and start to learn how to make urban living more sustainable. I have little idea what to expect from this education abroad program, but I am hoping to fuel a new passion in my life, set a more specific direction for my career, build a bigger base for my education, and form new relationships that will help me get to where I am going.

Sydney Vander Waerdt

Versatile | Genuine | Free Spirited

Who is your hero? My grandmother is my personal hero. She is a world traveler who educates herself in every way possible while traveling. She reads books about the area while she is there and writes extensive reflections to better her understanding of the environment. My whole life she has been taking me to museums, operas, given me books for every birthday, taught me that there are places to see, people to meet, art to appreciate, and things to learn. To top it all off, she is still rock climbing, playing competitive tennis, and gardening at the age of 75!

Why South Africa? First of all, I made the decision to do things that are out of my comfort zone at a young age. I want to challenge myself and gain as much knowledge about this world that I can and seize the opportunities which allow me to do so. Africa is known to be the cradle of humanity, and I can only imagine what that continent must feel like. It not only has an extremely complex history, but a mysterious prehistory as well. I am excited to be exploring archaeological sites in Kruger National park, and experiencing the comfort and discomfort while studying the culture in the villages of Hamakuya.

What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to seeing big game animals in their natural habitat and seeing stars in a rural area for the first time! This trip will be much more than anthropology work, so I’m excited to learn about conservation, rural and urbanizing communities, and everything else in between. I’m looking forward to stargazing, seeing sunsets, and hearing new animal noises. We are all going to be learning from the many different bright-minded people around us, and I’m excited for the impact it will bring. I am truly looking forward to meeting myself when I get back from this life changing experience.

What do you hope to accomplish? I am hoping to pull aspects from the cultures that I experience and use them in everyday life and my education and to build other ideas and to better analyze situations. I am excited to take the next step forward and start to learn how to make urban living more sustainable. I have little idea what to expect from this education abroad program, but I am hoping to fuel a new passion in my life, set a more specific direction for my career, build a bigger base for my education, and form new relationships that will help me get to where I am going.

Jenifer Warner   Strong | Motivated| Explorer   Who is your personal hero/heroine?  My mother, the epitome of a strong, selfless woman.   Why South Africa?  The rich history, incredible biodiversity, and oodles of sustainable opportunities, I believe that South Africa is a perfect place to begin my studies on sustainable development. Mix that with my strong desire to travel to all places unknown, South Africa is on the top of my list of places to explore.   What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to our homestays in Ha’Makuya. Though that is the aspect that I am most nervous about, I believe that completely immersing myself in a new culture will give me new outlooks towards conservation, my lifestyle, and communities.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to improve my research techniques while gaining connections in the CSU group and throughout the communities we will be staying with. I want to embrace my inner sponge and soak up as much information from my professors and fellow students.

Jenifer Warner

Strong | Motivated| Explorer

Who is your personal hero/heroine? My mother, the epitome of a strong, selfless woman.

Why South Africa? The rich history, incredible biodiversity, and oodles of sustainable opportunities, I believe that South Africa is a perfect place to begin my studies on sustainable development. Mix that with my strong desire to travel to all places unknown, South Africa is on the top of my list of places to explore.

What are you looking forward to? I am looking forward to our homestays in Ha’Makuya. Though that is the aspect that I am most nervous about, I believe that completely immersing myself in a new culture will give me new outlooks towards conservation, my lifestyle, and communities.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to improve my research techniques while gaining connections in the CSU group and throughout the communities we will be staying with. I want to embrace my inner sponge and soak up as much information from my professors and fellow students.

Jake Marinkovich

Jake Marinkovich

Natalie Miller   Compassionate| Loyal| Animal Lover   Who is your personal hero?  I don’t think I could honestly choose one person. There are so many people who make this world a better place, and I look up to each and every one of them.   Why South Africa?  I have always wanted to go to South Africa as I am fascinated with the biodiversity and ecosystems that exist here as well as the culture.   What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to being immersed in a new culture and being pushed to grow and learn. There are so many opportunities to learn about the culture, ecosystem, and myself on this trip, and I am excited for all of it. I am also looking forward to seeing the wildlife and learning how it interacts with the communities.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to gain understanding of how conservation works in a national park and how it affects the surrounding communities. I hope to gain perspective on my own life by experiencing a new culture. I also hope to find some clarity in deciding what path my future endeavors should take.

Natalie Miller

Compassionate| Loyal| Animal Lover

Who is your personal hero? I don’t think I could honestly choose one person. There are so many people who make this world a better place, and I look up to each and every one of them.

Why South Africa? I have always wanted to go to South Africa as I am fascinated with the biodiversity and ecosystems that exist here as well as the culture.

What are you looking forward to? I am looking forward to being immersed in a new culture and being pushed to grow and learn. There are so many opportunities to learn about the culture, ecosystem, and myself on this trip, and I am excited for all of it. I am also looking forward to seeing the wildlife and learning how it interacts with the communities.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to gain understanding of how conservation works in a national park and how it affects the surrounding communities. I hope to gain perspective on my own life by experiencing a new culture. I also hope to find some clarity in deciding what path my future endeavors should take.

Jess Faber   Determined | Hard-Working | Always a Child   Who is your personal hero?  My personal hero is Dina Velasquez. She is part of an organization called UPAVIM and lives in a marginalized community near Guatemala City. This community was established by women, each with their own heart breaking story, whom have come together looking for hope. The mission of UPAVIM is to empower the women in their community, giving them the opportunity to improve the quality of life, for themselves and for their families. I traveled to Guatemala to be a part of this mission a couple summers ago and I will never forget the first time I saw Dina waiting to greet me and the rest of the delegation. She was smiling the biggest smile I had ever seen, eager to rush me into a hug despite not even knowing my name. Throughout my time there she only got friendlier. Despite all the pain she has experienced in her life, she opened herself up to me in a way no one ever has before. Some may think that what she did is crazy, but really she is just admirable.   Why South Africa?  Dina and all the women of UPAVIM taught me things that can’t be taught in a textbook or classroom. So when I heard about the opportunities that this program offered traveling to South Africa, I realized I didn’t want to pass it up.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to accomplish experiencing South Africa and all it has to offer to the fullest extend. Between the culture, the people, and the wildlife. Learning as much as I can along the way. But mostly I look forward to forming connections with people that words can’t describe.

Jess Faber

Determined | Hard-Working | Always a Child

Who is your personal hero? My personal hero is Dina Velasquez. She is part of an organization called UPAVIM and lives in a marginalized community near Guatemala City. This community was established by women, each with their own heart breaking story, whom have come together looking for hope. The mission of UPAVIM is to empower the women in their community, giving them the opportunity to improve the quality of life, for themselves and for their families. I traveled to Guatemala to be a part of this mission a couple summers ago and I will never forget the first time I saw Dina waiting to greet me and the rest of the delegation. She was smiling the biggest smile I had ever seen, eager to rush me into a hug despite not even knowing my name. Throughout my time there she only got friendlier. Despite all the pain she has experienced in her life, she opened herself up to me in a way no one ever has before. Some may think that what she did is crazy, but really she is just admirable.

Why South Africa? Dina and all the women of UPAVIM taught me things that can’t be taught in a textbook or classroom. So when I heard about the opportunities that this program offered traveling to South Africa, I realized I didn’t want to pass it up.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to accomplish experiencing South Africa and all it has to offer to the fullest extend. Between the culture, the people, and the wildlife. Learning as much as I can along the way. But mostly I look forward to forming connections with people that words can’t describe.

Daniel Dominguez   Protector | Driven | Ayurnamat   Who is your personal hero/heroine?  Anyone that stands up for those that need help   Why South Africa?  I have always wanted to visit Africa and learn more about the cultures that exist on the continent. I am also highly interested in the smaller communities water systems and how they are providing water for themselves.   What are you looking forward to?  I am most looking forward to meeting and interacting with the locals, and diving right into their culture. Additionally, I hope the insights I gain while there will help me grow as a person.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to learn as much as I can about the needs of these communities and how I can best help them. I also want to learn as much as I can from the existing NGO’s we will visit and analyze their structure. The knowledge gained will help not only with my future goal of starting an NGO that helps rural communities in third-world countries get the water resources they need but also help me with the NGO I started with my friend 6-months ago.

Daniel Dominguez

Protector | Driven | Ayurnamat

Who is your personal hero/heroine? Anyone that stands up for those that need help

Why South Africa? I have always wanted to visit Africa and learn more about the cultures that exist on the continent. I am also highly interested in the smaller communities water systems and how they are providing water for themselves.

What are you looking forward to? I am most looking forward to meeting and interacting with the locals, and diving right into their culture. Additionally, I hope the insights I gain while there will help me grow as a person.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to learn as much as I can about the needs of these communities and how I can best help them. I also want to learn as much as I can from the existing NGO’s we will visit and analyze their structure. The knowledge gained will help not only with my future goal of starting an NGO that helps rural communities in third-world countries get the water resources they need but also help me with the NGO I started with my friend 6-months ago.

Alex Shaughnessy   Curious | Motivated| Perceptive   Who is your personal hero/heroine?  My mom, because she has shown me exactly what it means to be a strong and genuinely caring person.   Why South Africa?  South Africa is so different in both the diversity of landscapes and culture than anywhere else I’ve ever been before, making it the perfect place to put the things I’ve been learning at CSU into practice.   What are you looking forward to?  I am most looking forward to immersing myself in different communities and understanding what makes each one tick. I’m hoping to see a side of South Africa that most tourists never get to see and learn as much as I can along the way.   What do you hope to accomplish?  I’m hoping to soak up as much as I can over the course of this program and to connect not only with the residents of the communities that we interact with but also my fellow CSU students.

Alex Shaughnessy

Curious | Motivated| Perceptive

Who is your personal hero/heroine? My mom, because she has shown me exactly what it means to be a strong and genuinely caring person.

Why South Africa? South Africa is so different in both the diversity of landscapes and culture than anywhere else I’ve ever been before, making it the perfect place to put the things I’ve been learning at CSU into practice.

What are you looking forward to? I am most looking forward to immersing myself in different communities and understanding what makes each one tick. I’m hoping to see a side of South Africa that most tourists never get to see and learn as much as I can along the way.

What do you hope to accomplish? I’m hoping to soak up as much as I can over the course of this program and to connect not only with the residents of the communities that we interact with but also my fellow CSU students.

Kaitlyn Ammerlaan   Environmentalist| Excited| Koala Lover   Who is your personal hero?  My mom! She is so loving and supportive of my dreams.   Why South Africa?  I am interested in how communities interact with nature and South Africa is a wonderful and unique place to learn more about that.   What are you looking forward to?  I am most looking forward to hearing the stories of others and experiencing the world from a completely new perspective. I am also super excited to see all of the wildlife!   What do you hope to accomplish?  I hope to help build a nonprofit that assists the people and biodiversity of the region and can last well into the future. I also aspire to learn a lot from the communities that we interact with in order to best share their stories with others. This will be an incredible experience and I hope that I can discover more about myself and the world in which we all live.

Kaitlyn Ammerlaan

Environmentalist| Excited| Koala Lover

Who is your personal hero? My mom! She is so loving and supportive of my dreams.

Why South Africa? I am interested in how communities interact with nature and South Africa is a wonderful and unique place to learn more about that.

What are you looking forward to? I am most looking forward to hearing the stories of others and experiencing the world from a completely new perspective. I am also super excited to see all of the wildlife!

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to help build a nonprofit that assists the people and biodiversity of the region and can last well into the future. I also aspire to learn a lot from the communities that we interact with in order to best share their stories with others. This will be an incredible experience and I hope that I can discover more about myself and the world in which we all live.