Originally from Northern California, Allen relocated to Washington D.C. to study at American University. There, he doubled majored in International Studies Spanish. While in university, Allen focused his academic interests on urban, environmental, and community issues such as air pollution, gentrification, and environmental justice. After graduating, Allen began working in civil rights and coordinated a Workers’ Rights Clinic where workers from the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area could come and get free legal advice about workers’ issues. While in D.C., he began volunteering with Latino Outdoors where he led various outings, promoting Latinos being a part of the outdoor narrative, and encouraging POC to enjoy the outdoors. Now relocated to Seattle, Allen still volunteers with Latino Outdoors where he is able to combine both his personal and professional interests. Currently, Allen is the Hydropower and Outdoor Recreation Fellow at the National Parks Service regional office in Seattle. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, biking, and climbing.
Partnership Wild Scenic Rivers, Boston
Cassidy is the upcoming Communications Fellow for the partnership with the Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Park Service in conjunction with the Hispanic Access Foundation. She is an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Environmental and Soil Science. She currently works as a GIS Consultant and science writer for the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. She lives in Blacksburg, VA with her husband and rotating foster cats.
National Trails Program
Upon graduating from Florida State University, Crystal took an administrative position as an office manager and began volunteering with the Crisis and Suicide prevention lifeline. During this time, she grew to love the time she spent volunteering more than the work she was getting paid to do, and so she decided to pursue a role in social work that involved working in the outdoors. Before this fellowship, she worked as a head field guide for a wilderness family therapy program in Utah, where she led groups of struggling adolescents through backcountry Utah. That was where Crystal began to share her love of the outdoors and created a culture that emphasizes the importance of love and vulnerability amongst students and staff. Crystal is now a Marketing and Communications fellow for the National Park Service’s National Trail System and is based in Lakewood, Colorado.
A Chicago Native, Elijah Olomoniyi graduated from the University of Illinois college of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) in their class of 2018. Within that program, he pursued a major in Public Policy and Law. During his time at the University of Illinois, he was involved in a volunteer program with Alternative Seasonal Breaks as well as a food waste research project conducted within the College of ACES. Aside from his studies he also was selected for two internships; one was with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) at the Washington D.C. headquarters and one was with Congressman Mike Quigley at his district office. Through his time at the NACD he developed a passion and love for agricultural policy as well as conservation.
Erica is a recent graduate from American University with an undergraduate degree in International Studies and Legal Studies. She is passionate about the intersection of sustainable development and environmental policy. Erica’s most recent professional experience was interning for AGE Africa, an international development organization featured by Michelle Obama’s Global Girls Alliance for its work with women and girls in Malawi. Erica hopes to use her experience creating content on conservation and sustainability to pursue a graduate degree in environmental policy. Through this program, Erica will work as a Communications fellow for the RTCA Washington DC, Support Office. In her free time, Erica enjoys walking dogs, listening to live music performances, and writing poetry.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Lizzy Gardner graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s in Recreation Administration and Outdoor Leadership, and continued with WKU to complete a master’s program in 2018 in Recreation & Sport Administration, focusing on Environmental Education. Lizzy has been passionate about the outdoors since she was a young child and has developed to see outdoor recreation become an integral part of her life, both personally and professionally. Lizzy started working in the field in 2009 at a residential summer camp, and has continued worked for the DOE Clean Fuels Coalition, local outdoor retailers in Indiana and Kentucky, as an instructor in outdoor recreation at WKU and Lees-McRae College, and as the Director of Campus Recreation & Outdoor Programs at Lees-McRae in North Carolina. In her free time Lizzy enjoys running on road and trail, mountain biking, backpacking, paddling, cooking and spending time with her dog Ozzie.
RTCA Santa Fe Field Office
María Fernanda Treviño is an Environmental Designer, certified in Ecological Planning and Historic Preservation, with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition to this degree, she also completed a second Master in Environmental Building Design at the University of Pennsylvania. María strongly believes in multidisciplinary involvement to provide adequate design solutions and has experience working with both non-profit, as well as with the private sector. Through her career, María has been involved in design and research projects at a local, regional and global scale; while also gaining professional experience in the fields of landscape and architecture design, historic preservation, environmental performance, and watershed regional planning and research.
RTCA Chicago Field Office
Chicago-born Natalie Burgos’ passion for the environment happened to start with Jurassic Park’s iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex. Initially wanting to be a paleontologist, Natalie’s environmental interests quickly evolved to include modern animals, plants, the weather systems and ecosystems as she watched countless documentaries, rode horses and eventually visited her parents’ motherland: Colombia, a nation of the Amazons. Awed by the natural majesty, and dedicated to protecting it, Natalie graduated in 2017 from the Loyola University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation and Restoration Ecology. After graduation, Natalie completed reservoir restoration projects with the Army Corps of Engineer and worked with marine mammals in the Sheed Aquarium. Now, through the MANO Project, Natalie is working as an Urban Ecology Intern with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.
RTCA Program, DC
Suhey Ortega is a first-generation Mexican-American born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University in December 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Sustainability and Transborder Chican@/Latin@ Studies along with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. In her 4.5 years at ASU, Suhey has been able to focus her degree on-campus and community projects. The latter projects consisted of a documentary screening and volunteer clean up at local wetland and a Latinx Eco-Fest that engaged Spanish speaking Latinxs to practice environmentally friendly habits. Suhey previously interned with the National Park Service in Atlanta’s Southeast Regional Office to incorporate Latinx community engagement within the agency as well as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to implement bilingual boat safety community courses and language and cultural training sessions to the agencies law enforcement division. She hopes to gain an understanding in government agencies’ roles in providing cultural diversity and inclusion both internally and in the communities they serve. In her free time, Suhey enjoys traveling, reading, and watching VICE documentaries.
RTCA Austin Field Office
Sydney Garcia is a recent Master of Environmental Management (MEM) graduate from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a concentration in ecosystem science and conservation. Before pursuing her advanced degree, Sydney graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. With specializations in biology and certificate in geographic information systems, Sydney’s overarching career goals involve bridging the gap between conservation in the built environment and human-centered design. Her most recent projects have focused on evaluating ecosystem services of green infrastructure and surveying mental health outcomes of green space elements in Austin. By conducting qualitative and quantitative data analysis, she generates interdisciplinary sustainable solutions for complex issues at the population level that is both cost-efficient and culturally relevant. She is most passionate about protecting Texas’ most vulnerable ecosystems, promoting sustainable practices to combat climate change, and aiding underrepresented minority groups to success.