2016 Corpsmember of the Year Candidates

We were so impressed with all of the Corpsmember of the Year applications we received this year that we wanted to highlight everyone! We will announce the 5 winners within the next week. 

Corpsmember stories are arranged in alphabetical order by Corps name. 

Glauco A Puig-Santana 
ACE – American Conservation Experience

As an AmeriCorps member with American Conservation Experience (ACE), Glauco excelled in many areas. What set him apart from his peers was more than the things he did, it was the way in which he went about doing them. Glauco set a positive tone on projects, radiating a positive attitude and working to instill a culture of cooperation and personal growth within his crew and the organization at large. Glauco’s initiative to take a sense of responsibility over others as a friend and mentor noticeably strengthened the culture and camaraderie within the ACE Utah Corps.

Growing up, Glauco had little experience with nature. He explains, “My family and I came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1995, with little else than the clothes on our backs. From the moment my young parents arrived in the U.S., they had to start their whole life from scratch.” Taking time to experience and explore nature was never a possibility. It was not until Gluaco took a trip to the Everglades National Park during his sophomore year of college that he realized what he was yearning for his whole life. During this trip he found “raw and untamed” wilderness. He found a “tranquil oasis” and nature. But most importantly, he found himself.

After completing his service with ACE, Glauco took a position as a park ranger with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. He currently works as a field technician with the Audubon Society. Glauco hopes to bring a smile to every person he comes across while teaching them the art of finding happiness in nature. He wants to be known as the “tireless advocate” of wilderness conservation. 


Skylar Begay 
Arizona Conservation Corps

After proving his relentless work ethic and fast learning ability as a Corpsmember with Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), Skylar Begay was an obvious choice to lead the Corps’ Ancestral Lands pilot program with Grand Canyon National Park.

As a Native American, Skylar has provided the Corps with invaluable insight into Navajo traditions. In one specific case, Skylar was able to bring a broad approach to helping one his Corpsmembers who continuously experienced a range of physical symptoms while out on projects. Skylar consulted Navajo elders about his Corpsmember’s condition and suggested that the symptoms were a result of working on historic cultural sites. This perspective helped Corps staff develop a solid plan to support the ailing Corpsmember.

AZCC has been a perfect fit for Skylar, allowing him the opportunity to gain work experience that aligns with the Navajo concept of living in harmony with nature. His stated goal of being a role model to native youth has already been realized; there is a lack of young Navajo men in leadership positions, even in the Southwest, but Skylar worked to develop up-and-coming leaders on his Ancestral Lands crew. His eagerness to share about his culture and keep conversations moving in a positive direction encouraged others to set aside any doubt and embrace curiosity.

Skylar is currently a senior at Arizona State University majoring in geography with a minor in sustainability. He aspires to attain a PhD in sustainability and pursue a career in the conservation of natural landscapes and ecology. 


Stephen Lyter 
California Conservation Corps – Redding Center

Stephen Lyter has risen up the ranks from Corpsmember, to Specialist, to Crew Leader during his term of service at the California Conservation Corps (CCC) Redding Center. He completed the CCC’s grueling 6-month Backcountry Trails Program, successfully completed an internship with the U.S. Forest Service, and has also had the privilege to serve as Vice President of the Corpsmember Advisory Board where he represented his peers in front of elected representatives and officials. Through his experiences with the CCC, Stephen has found his voice and his true self.  

One of Stephen’s notable achievements was the development and implementation of a “goal tracker” system for himself and his fellow crew members. Each week, everyone – including Stephen and his supervisor, would come up with at least one goal they aimed to complete by the end of that week. During the course of the week, Stephen and his supervisor would meet with each crew member to review their goals and three steps-of-action needed to complete their goal by the end of the week. This new system created an environment that encouraged accountability and personal growth. Stephen’s unwavering passion to help others achieve their goals comes from the notion that “practice is only as good as the habits you create, practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent.”

Stephen’s goal is to become an ergonomist, providing training to trail crews, Conservation Corps, nonprofits, businesses and schools on techniques associated with the use of proper body mechanics when using equipment. He hopes that his efforts, both past and future, will encourage young people to take care of their body so they can continue to work and enjoy life to the fullest while staying healthy and strong. 


Vanessa Campos 
California Conservation Corps – Camarillo Center

Crewleader Vanessa Campos has been a positive and productive influence at the California Conservation Corps – Camarillo Center (CCC). She is known for boosting the self-esteem of trainees during the orientation process, and for being a staunch advocate for health and safety practices; she even takes personal time outside of the workplace to help smaller groups of Corpsmembers improve their physical fitness and endurance.

Vanessa has stepped confidently into many different leadership positions. She serves as a CCC color guard, participating in community functions and making new recruits to the team feel welcome during drill rehearsals. She serves as a Corpsmember Advisory Board officer, using her off hours to help organize and oversee various recycling projects, recreational activities and community volunteer events. Vanessa also serves as a volunteer Dorm Captain, facilitating weekly dorm meetings, assigning duties and inspecting common areas. 

Prior to joining the Corps, Vanessa had a hard time communicating with people, but now she feels as though the Corps helped build her self-confidence in a way where it is easier for her to talk in front of large crowds and become the leader she was destined to be.

Vanessa plans to use her AmeriCorps scholarships to go back to school and enroll in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Her ultimate goal is to apply her knowledge from working with the CCC/CalFire type-1 hand crew to become a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. As a result of her experiences with the CCC, Vanessa believes that she can “help others challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones, take risks to learn new things, go to new places and to help others in their communities by volunteering and getting involved to make a difference in the lives of others.”


Wyatt Clark 
California Conservation Corps – Inland Empire Center

Wyatt Clark experienced a tumultuous childhood and was abandoned by the individual that he depended on the most: his mother. Homeless and with nowhere to go, Wyatt joined the California Conservation Corps’ (CCC) Silverwood EDRip residential Spike Camp. After six months of living at the Tent Camp and saving money, he was able to obtain his own housing and transferred to the CCC’s Inland Empire non-residential program.

Wyatt thrived in the Corps; he had never realized how much he craved structure and discipline. After his chaotic upbringing, the CCC created the supportive network that he longed for. Wyatt’s maturity and reliability led to his promotion to Crew Leader and his election as President of the Corpsmember Advisory Board at the Inland Empire Center.

As a Crew Leader, Wyatt leads by example and holds high expectations for himself as well as others. Though he had rarely volunteered prior to joining the Corps, Wyatt credits the CCC with helping him find fulfillment through public service. He has well over 100 volunteer hours and wants to continue his service by eventually becoming a Conservationist I in the CCC.

“While at CCC, I learned the true meaning of comradery and what it means to be a part of the community,” said Wyatt. “I can write a book on my experiences within the Corps in just my brief time here, but they would all tie together with me becoming a more educated, responsible, and caring human on this planet.” 


Dorell Boyd 
Citizen’s Conservation Corps of West Virginia

Dorell Boyd has served on two projects as a Corpsmember with Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV). He first participated in a vegetation removal project that helped reclaim an overgrown section of the Manassas Battlefield Park. Next, during the summer of 2015, he participated in another project with the National Park Service as a member of a Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew at Prince William Forest Park. Dorell learned how to repair windows according to historic preservation standards and he gained experience in stone masonry through repairing and reassembling chimneys and other stonework throughout the park.

Dorell’s work performance and professional demeanor earned him a promotion to Supervisor in Training. He has been recognized both internally by and by CCCWV’s project partners for his commitment to achievement and his ability to expertly apply new skills. His work has been documented and appreciated by National Park Service staff who consider him part of their team. The evolution of his craftsmanship has gained him the respect of his peers and supervisors alike. He is now considering furthering his education in the vocational trades – specifically historic preservation – and pursuing opportunities with the National Park Service.

“I have enjoyed every moment of my Corps experience,” said Dorell. “I enjoy working with my hands and working outdoors in the National Parks. Being surrounded by trees and nature is the best office I can imagine.”


Jelene Feyijinmi 
Civic Works 

Jelene has been a great asset to Civic Works’ Baltimore Energy Challenge program. She first learned about Civic Works when, as a stay-at-home mom, she had the opportunity to volunteer at a Baltimore Energy Challenge event. Excited about the work that Civic Works did to educate the community about environmental sustainability, Jelene decided to join the program.

During her term of service, Jelene helped recruit and train over twenty community members to be Energy Captains – residents who will act as ambassadors and recruiters in their neighborhoods for energy conservation practices. Additionally, she has planned and participated in several block parties to celebrate Civic Works’ partnerships in local communities, and she keeps Civic Works staff up to speed on all six of the Community Action Centers with which they are involved. Jelene’s personalized touch on projects sets her apart from her peers. For example, in preparation for an event she hand-designed and addressed invitations to over 200 Energy Captains.

Jelene’s educational and personal aspirations have changed since beginning her AmeriCorps term with Civic Works; based on her experiences working with the community, building partnerships with community resources at the local level, she has decided to pursue a career in social work. Her position with Civic Works has prepared her to work with everyone from adolescents to seniors to ensure a thoughtful, brighter, and more sustainable future for Baltimore. 


Adriana Robles 
Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps

Though she had little outdoor experience, Adriana Robles was the first Corpsmember to sign up for Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps’ (LCC) first summer trails program. Adriana successfully completed her first term with the LCC and is now working on an extended term pending high school graduation in December 2015. As Vice President of LCC’s Student/Corpsmember Council, she is admired as a strong leader by her peers and Corps staff. Most recently, Adriana successfully coordinated LCC’s National Public Lands Day AmeriCorps service project. She recruited volunteers, made the necessary arrangements with staff at Pinnacles National Park, and took the lead in planning the logistics of the trip. Transitioning from her West Fresno neighborhood to living and working outdoors was something that Adriana never anticipated for her future.

Prior to joining the Corps, Adriana’s life consisted of doing drugs and drinking alcohol every day. She knew she would eventually have to leave the “street life” and make a promising future for herself.

“I decided to become a Corpsmember because I felt like I was going to be nothing in life…I wanted to prosper and become the successful woman I was born to be,” said Adriana. “Being at the Corps has shown me that you can be lost the majority of your life, but when you find something you adore and are really interest in you will find yourself and will also find new lifelong friends.”

Adriana is currently applying to college She plans to obtain her masters in microbiology and pursue a career in natural resources education. 


Mercedes White 
Greater Miami Service Corps

Mercedes White served as a dedicated member of Greater Miami Service Corps’ (GMSC) YouthBuild program and as part of The Corps Network’s Education Awards Program. During her three AmeriCorps terms of service, Mercedes earned her high school diploma; received D.A. Dorsey Legacy Honors for obtaining a high GPA; served as the graduate speaker at D.A. Dorsey Technical College; and acquired perfect attendance while displaying qualities of determination and leadership.

Mercedes believes in community service and often volunteers for weekend projects like the Miami Dolphins AARP One in a Million Meals for seniors program, where she contributed to packing 432 bags of protein, vitamins and rice. She has also participated in community clean-ups and painted homes for low-income and elderly residents. She has a “polite yet commanding personality that she leverages a peer leader.”

Mercedes’ accolades ring of high importance because of her sheer willingness to succeed while being a single parent of two who survived a life-threatening car accident that forced her to drop out of school. She shares that “she is glad to be alive and have a second chance at reaching her goals.” Mercedes credits GMSC with helping her gain confidence and the direction she needed to achieve her goals. Mercedes wants her story to inspire others to never give up on their dreams.

“I could have used the car accident, being a single parent and high school dropout as an excuse or a crutch,” she said. “Through the support from GMSC, I was able to dream again. I would say I want others to dream and never give up in reaching towards their dreams and goals.”


Ronnie “Keoni” Kikala 

“AmeriCorps has changed my life completely. My perspective environmentally has changed tremendously.”

Those words were spoken by Ronnie “Keoni” Kikala, a former Kupu – Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps intern with the Pahole Rare Plant Facility on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Before joining AmeriCorps, Keoni did not know how harmful litter and pollution can be for the delicate ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands. Protecting nature was not something he thought about as from a young age he was exposed to harsh life circumstances through his father’s struggles with drug addiction and domestic violence. Aimlessly floating between jobs, Keoni learned about Kupu through a family friend.

Due to the time of Keoni’s enrollment in Kupu, he started his term three months behind his peers with no experience, less time to complete his hours, and less pay. However, for Keoni it was never about the time or the money; he was always more than willing to learn and go the extra mile for a job that gave him meaning and purpose.

Keoni started at Kupu as an intern with the State of Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife at the Pahole Rare Plant Facility and Lyon Arboretum. He had opportunities to engage in amazing work with extremely rare native Hawaiian plants. By the time he completed his second year of service as a Corpsmember, he had found his life’s passion and Lyon Arboretum had found their newest staff member. The staff at Kupu considers Keoni to be a tangible expression of Kupu’s namesake; in Hawaain kupu means “to sprout, grow, or germinate.” Keoni is one of those seeds that has not only sprouted, but become fully-rooted and is helping grow the next generation of environmentally conscious people in his community.


Jasmin Angeles 
LA Conservation Corps

As LA Conservation Corps’ (LACC) 2016 Corpsmember of the Year, Jasmin Angeles’ story inspires a legacy of service. “Jasmin is a positive role model to her peers, an inspiration to LA Conservation Corps staff and an asset to her community,” said her supervisor. “Her strong work ethic and passion for the environment are exemplified by her achievements.”

Jasmin’s accomplishments with the Corps are all the more impressive considering her unstable adolescence in which she was removed from her home and put into foster care. She turned to LACC as a way to support herself, but soon realized that the Corps could be so much more than just a job. After her first couple of weeks with the program, she received more opportunities for growth than she ever anticipated. When reflecting upon her service at LACC, Jasmin said, “It was an opportunity for me to improve myself by facing and overcoming gender biases, where people think a woman can only do so much or only be certain things.”

Jasmin currently serves as a Corpsmember Driver and her daily tasks range from water conservation projects to operating heavy machinery and power tools. She is often the only woman in a crew of men and yet she still manages to earn the respect necessary to create a cohesive team effort. Jasmin wants to be someone who makes a difference for the younger generation, and she wants to “help others understand that when an opportunity comes their way, it’s important to improve themselves and take it.”

Jasmin is currently enrolled in an associates degree program. She hopes to transfer to a four-year university to receive her bachelor’s degree in biology, and eventually a master’s degree in wildlife biology. 


Claire Morrissy 
Mile High Youth Corps

Claire Morrissy wanted to be a Corpsmember since she was in high school. However, because of the expectations of those around her, she felt that she didn’t have the option to delay college to join AmeriCorps. Claire began to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies, but feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy led to a self-punitive eating disorder. The process of overcoming this condition helped Claire put things in perspective and realize her deep desire to help others and the community.  

Claire says that her two terms of service at Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) led her to “discover the potential within [herself] and to never let insecurity stifle that potential.” In her current role as a Conservation Alumni Mentor for MHYC, Claire serves as a liaison between Corpsmembers and staff, provides staff with critical program and project feedback, cultivates community partnerships, and mentors Corpsmembers across nine conservation crews. Throughout her service, Claire has developed and facilitated twelve critical technical trainings on the proper use of land conservation related equipment; designed a more efficient system for tracking tools; facilitated focus groups on project specific safety; and developed a new MHYC safety manual.

Claire’s peers have noted her “willingness to do anything and everything” to support the programs at MHYC. She is now beginning the process of finding post-program employment and has actively pursued training and knowledge to support her long-term goals of becoming involved in regional planning and sustainable land management.


Katheryne Lewis 
Montana Conservation Corps

Born in Savannah, GA, to a father in the Navy, Katheryne moved a lot as a kid and spent little time outdoors. However, she has always loved a challenge and sees the value in putting herself in new situations. After a backpacking trip with her college rugby team, Katheryne decided to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail solo. Enjoying being connected to nature but wanting more of a connection with people, she decided to enroll in Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. This later led her to enroll in Montana Conservation Corps’ (MCC) Leader Development Program.

As a Youth Crew Leader with MCC, Katheryne worked in rural communities serving as an advocate for public lands and as a strong role model for her crew. She embraced talking about tough issues around equality, LGBT rights and feminism, challenging her Corpsmembers to consider different points of view. Ultimately Katheryne’s goal is to see more underserved youth and people of diverse races and ethnicities out in the wilderness, helping preserve and enjoy the land. In a field that she describes as “dominated by white males,” Katheryne challenges others’ ideas and perceptions by working hard while also being a compassionate and sensible leader. AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) will have the opportunity to host Katheryne for her third 21CSC Corps experience.


Angela Noah 
Northwest Youth Corps

Prior to joining the Northwest Youth Corps (NYC), Angela was very quiet and afraid that she would never amount to someone important.  Her participation in NYC’s five-week youth crew program and eight-week adult crew helped her enhance her leadership skills. By the end of her second session with the Corps, Angela’s strong work ethic and ability to motivate her crewmates made her seem more like a Co-Crew Leader than a Corpsmember.

During Angela’s second session, which was with NYC’s Native American Conservation Corps, she was the only female on a small three-person work crew. Angela’s consistent positive attitude inspired others of both lesser and greater experience to work harder and perform better. Her kind encouragement helped the two quiet, closed-off brothers on her crew come out of their shells and gain confidence.

Angela recollects her experience with the backcountry project along the Rogue River in Oregon. With sixty pounds on her back, raw blisters on her feet, and four days without a shower she took on the twenty-two mile trail with her fellow Corpsmembers. As she approached the end of the trail, she remembered tears and hugging the crew that became family through their shared accomplishment. “It was the moment that I realized I could do anything I set my mind to,” said Angela. The experiences that she gained from working in the woods gave her the courage to love and forgive. “I no longer pity myself,” she explained. “I took charge and set out on a journey to inspire others that anything is possible.”

Angela plans to graduate high school in May 2016 and continue working with the Conservation Corps in some capacity. She wants to help empower Native American youth through a conservation, just as she was. 


Shaini Phelps 
Sequoia Community Corps

Shaini Phelps currently serves as a Crew Leader with Sequoia Community Corps (SCC). Prior to joining the Crops, Shaini was taking an assortment of random college classes, unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. She craved the opportunity to do something that she was not only passionate about, but that would also take her on a different route aside from college.

Through her experiences with SCC, Shaini has found her love and passion for teaching. She explains that, “being able to educate children and community members on the importance of recycling is very exciting for me. I would never have thought that I could see an aluminum can in the trash and it would break my heart!”

Shaini has been a Crew Leader for the Department of Recycling for two years. Over the course of her service, she has been a Corpsmember of the Month, received a promotion to Driver, and most recently won SCC’s Corpsmember of the Year award. Shaini’s supervisors believe that she truly embodies the values and traditions of the Sequoia Community Corps. She has been tasked with representing the organization at local events and in Sacramento during the California Conservation Corps annual review.

The biggest lesson Shaini learned from the Corps is that it takes a cohesive group effort to make a big change. She identifies with a line from the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

Shaini plans to pursue a career in herbology; working with alternative medicine as a means of holistic healing. Heraspirations are fueled by her belief that nutrition is the root of one’s health. “If we can connect people with why it is important to eat organic it would change the world!” said Shaini. “I want to change the world!” 


Sarah Brown 
Southeast Conservation Corps

Sarah grew up in eastern Tennessee and describes working on conservation in this area as “an honor and a privilege.” After spending her college career studying and working in laboratories, she felt the need to “use her body as much as her mind” and to “look into the sky more often than computer screens.” Wanting to be close to home while a close family member struggled with health issues, Sarah became a Corpsmember on Southeast Conservation Corps’ (SECC) first AmeriCorps crew in the summer of 2014. Sarah’s positive attitude and true love of working outdoors and giving back to the community went a long way in making that first crew a success, and making it possible for SECC to bring more AmeriCorps crews to the southern Appalachians.

After Sarah’s first term with SECC, she moved to Grundy County, TN to work as a post-bac fellow for a collaborative summer camp program designed to foster social connectedness in low-income communities, thus supporting family and childhood resilience. Throughout her fellowship, Sarah was inspired to teach the conservation skills and land ethics she learned during her term with SECC. She eventually helped start an extension program to engage middle school students in conservation and service learning.

Wanting to continue her participation in meaningful work, Sarah returned to SECC earlier this fall as an Assistant Crew Leader. She hopes to lead crews during the summer of 2016 before returning to school. Her goal is to earn a PhD in cancer cell biology and public health or become a pediatric oncologist. 


Loren Russell 
Southwest Conservation Corps

Loren Russell’s Corps experience provided him the opportunity to positively impact the small community of his crew as well as the larger community of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC). During Loren’s term of service he learned the art and science of wildland firefighting as a member of SCC’s Veteran Fire Corps. He now finds himself being recruited by the experienced firefighters of the U.S. Forest Service; they take interest in Loren because of his exacting nature, his strong work ethic, and the intelligence and leadership he demonstrates.

Loren completed his service with the U.S. Air Force one week prior to starting his term of service with SCC. During Loren’s time in the Air Force he flew over 800 combat hours as an airborne reconnaissance crewmember providing intelligence to ground troops in Afghanistan. He received an air medal with two oak leaf clusters, an Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, an Air Force Commendation Medal, and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

“I left the military with opportunities to make money and to enter into roles where I could be in charge and have ‘power,’” said Loren. “Many people thought I was nuts for going right into a Corps program. I am glad I did this because I learned skills that I have always wanted to learn and these skills will help me find a path post-military that has meaning and service.”

Loren deeply impacted his crew with his humble nature and through simple things like consistently being prepared and present, mentoring others, exhibiting a kind manner and providing constructive feedback. His actions strengthened the Corps experience for everyone around him because of his deep commitment to helping others be successful. Loren lives by the mantra “You can accomplish whatever you want and need to accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Loren is currently applying to wildland fire and prescribed burn crews. He is also registering for classes to gain more knowledge in forestry and GIS mapping. 


Tim Gunn 
The Sustainability Institute 

Timothy Gunn grew up in a “rough and rugged” part of North Charleston, SC, but with the support of his family he was able to become the first male in two generations to graduate from high school. Tim enrolled in college, but his postsecondary career was cut short when a bad decision landed him in jail. During the last few months of his incarceration, after waiting two years to go to court, Tim met Ladine “JR” Daniels, a 2012 Corpsmember of the Year from The Sustainability Institute. JR told his story and encouraged Tim to give him a call when he was released. Tim followed through and became a Corpsmember with The Sustainability Institute in 2014.

Tim’s strong work ethic and eagerness to serve earned him a promotion to Assistant Site supervisor. He carries a lot of responsibility on service projects – identifying and organizing materials, scheduling projects, interacting with project homeowners and educating them on services as they occur. Tim never fails to step up as a leader; he mentors new Corpsmembers and also identifies future Corpsmembers by mentoring youth in the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

Tim currently takes college classes in the evenings and, on the weekends, operates his growing lawn care and pressure-washing business. He has continued to serve in the Corps despite having the skills and experience to obtain full-time employment in the energy industry (a number of employers have already offered him positions). For now, Tim has decided to remain at The Sustainability Institute so that he can continue leading, mentoring and ensuring that what he learned as a Corpsmember – in terms of life skills and work skills – can be passed to new Corpsmembers and create a longstanding legacy.


Olivia Johnson 
Texas Conservation Corps

In an effort to carry on her military family’s tradition of service, Olivia Johnson decided to become an AmeriCorps member with Texas Conservation Corps’ (TxCC) Disaster Response Team. She had previously worked as an EMT and wanted to learn more about the field of emergency management.

As part of the Disaster Response Team, Olivia has been deployed three times: once to San Marcos, TX during the Memorial Day flooding; once to Bastrop, TX after devastating wildfires; and once to Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor. In Saipan, one of Olivia’s greatest accomplishments was creating a more efficient and streamlined data base to manage confidential information about disaster survivors. The new system helped expedite the process of completing intake forms and made it easier for various volunteer organizations to share information. She also helped create an online volunteer application, which completely transformed TxCC’s database procedures for deployments. During her deployment to Saipan, Olivia also simultaneously coordinated over 70,000 meals for the thousands of volunteers and hundreds of affected homeowners and their families. She was recognized by FEMA for her noteworthy achievements.

“Olivia’s calming presence and strong work ethic transfers throughout her crew and motivates others to push themselves.” She grew as a leader and public speaker while at the Corps; a particularly impressive accomplishment as she only began learning English at age 14 her family moved from South Korea to Guam. Olivia is not only honoring a legacy of service during her term of service, but creating one as well.


Nick Noble 
Utah Conservation Corps

Nicholas Noble has served two 450-hour AmeriCorps terms of service with Utah Conservation Corps (UCC). Noble served his first term of service during the summer of 2014 as member of a trail crew in the High Uintas Wilderness. The project required navigating tough terrain above 11,000 feet for four weeks. He was always willing to take on new and challenging conservation service work despite his vision impairment.

During this past summer, Nick applied to be a crewmember with UCC’s inclusive crew so that he could help others with disabilities successfully manage the challenges of conservation work. However, UCC staff was so impressed with Nick’s previous term as a Corpsmember that they asked him to serve as a Crew Leader for the inclusive crew.

Nick stepped confidently into this position and played an instrumental role in recruiting crew members, including three AmeriCorps members with physical disabilities. Nick successfully led this crew in completing ADA accessibility surveys at over 40 recreational facilities on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The UCC staff considers Nick to be a role model for all UCC members; he pushes the bounds of physical limits while embodying a spirit of national service.

Nick is currently a studying Recreation Resource Management at Utah State University’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. In his spare time, he volunteers by leading others with vision impairments geocaching in the Bear River Range.