Mary Ellen Sprenkel has been a long-time champion for youth. Mary Ellen came to The Corps Network in March of 2008 as Director of Government Relations. She was promoted to Vice President of External Affairs in 2011 and then appointed Interim CEO in May of 2012, prior to being selected as the CEO in October of 2012. During her tenure, Service and Conservation Corps have become better known programs to lawmakers and policymakers throughout the federal government. Legislation that would expand and bolster youth programs including Service and Conservation Corps has been routinely introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Under Mary Ellen’s leadership, in 2010 more than $63 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects were granted to Service and Conservation Corps throughout the country by 15 federal agencies. These projects provided youth with jobs and service opportunities while connecting them to public lands including national parks and forests. More recently, Mary Ellen has served as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee tasked with providing recommendations to federal land management agencies on how to implement a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.
In addition to her productive time at The Corps Network, she has ten years of Capitol Hill experience, including two years on the House Committee on Education and Labor handling postsecondary education, training, and life-long learning programs. She also worked for Representatives Matthew G. Martinez (D-CA) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Before joining The Corps Network, Mary Ellen was Vice President of Government Relations at the Education Finance Council, the national trade association for nonprofit and state based student loan providers. Prior to that, she spent two years as the Assistant to the President of the University of Montana.
Marie Walker joined The Corps Network in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. She previously served as the Director of Programs and Development for the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV).
During her 15 years with CCCWV, Marie was involved in the development and implementation of several innovative programs, including the first Brownfields Job Training Program in West Virginia, and the Office of Surface Mining’s VISTA team, which provides leadership and community-building capacity to coal mining counties in eight Appalachian states. Marie also oversaw CCCWV Youth and Development department, which employs disadvantaged young people throughout West Virginia. In 2013, as a member of CCCWV’s senior management team, Marie helped organize and managed the oversight of 352 service projects that occurred in the span of 5 as part of the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative. The projects took place in 9 southern West Virginia counties and on National Park Service property. Over 1,700 local volunteers participated, as well as over 30,000 Boy Scouts of America Troops from across the country, and 16 teams of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members. The Initiative generated over 319,000 service hours during the 5 day period.
Marie has served on the board of directors for several organizations, including NASCC (National Association of Service and Conservation Corps); WV Development HUB; Harpers Ferry Job Center Community Council; American Cancer Society; and Main Street Martinsburg. She currently serves as a board member for OSM/VISTA Teams, and as a member of the Service Year Advisory Committee.
Marie holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Sociology, as well as MPA in Public Administration. She studied at Concord University, Old Dominion University, and West Virginia University. Go Mountain Lions, Monarchs, and Mountaineers!
In her spare time, Marie enjoys playing nine holes of golf, listening to great jazz music, and watching college football.
Laura comes to The Corps Network from her previous position with the National Honor Society Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to student leaders who provide service in their communities. Previously she worked for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a non-profit educating for the benefit of international development and diplomacy. Previously she worked for the International Center for Research on Women, focusing on Global Health, Youth and Development. She also worked at Every Mother Counts, a maternal-health NGO. Her previous experience includes working for Inyenyari, a social benefit energy company in Rwanda and serving as committee consultant, policy staff, and finally Chief of Staff for several state and local representatives in California. Laura has worked on numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and presidential level overseeing field, fundraising, and policy development. She attended the University of California at Davis where she earned a Bachelor of Art in International Relations. She is a native of San Francisco and now lives in Washington DC with her husband and son.
Garrett has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geology from the University of South Alabama. He has lived, worked and played on the Gulf Coast his entire life which he proudly calls home. Garrett was part of a group of citizens that started The Delta Bike Project (DBP) in Mobile, AL. DBP was created to minimizes economic and educational barriers, for at risk youth and the homeless population, and to have access to the tools and knowledge for do-it-yourself bicycle repair and low cost access to donated and recycled bicycles.
In line with Garretts personal mission to be a part of the change, after Delta Bike Project, Garrett and his wife traveled through Central America to work with the indigenous people to improve agricultural practices, teach modern building techniques and to develop and work in an animal sanctuary. During this time, Garrett says he was often shocked at the lack of environmental awareness and appalled by the non-existence of any type of enforcement of conservation or marine ecosystem protection. This awareness led him to make a personal commitment to come home and work to help preserve The Gulf of Mexico for the next generation. It is this passion that led him to The Corps Network and the GulfCorps program.
When Garrett is not working he enjoys being a new father, traveling, cycling and organic farming.
Allen Dietz has over 35 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. He has managed or provided technical support to AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Senior Corps programs for the past two decades. Allen founded and managed a large statewide AmeriCorps program in Texas, served as the Chief Operations Officer for the Washington Service Corps, and was the director of a Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Allen was deeply involved with the development of The Corps Center of Excellence Accreditation Standards for Service and Conservation Corps, and currently manages The Corps Network’s national accreditation process.
Allen lives on the edge of the North Cascades in Washington State and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and skiing in his free time.
As Youth Program Management Assistant through a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), Michelle works with parks to expand opportunities for Corpsmembers, strengthen partnerships between Corps programs and the NPS, and measure the effectiveness of Corps programs. Michelle is based in the National Park Service Northeast Regional Office in Philadelphia.
Michelle has worked extensively within Corps programs. She started with SCA in 2009, as a Corpsmember on a backcountry trail crew on the Pacific Crest Trail in California, and as a ranger intern in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Inspired by these experiences, she continued her Corps work as a Crew Leader for the Southwest Conservation Corps (2010), and as both a Crew Leader and field coordinator for the Maine Conservation Corps (2010-2014).
Michelle has previously worked as an environmental engineer and an organic farmer. In her free time she enjoys gardening, running, hiking, and playing guitar.
As a Programs Coordinator, Lauren oversees and provides support for U.S. Forest Service, NPS, and Fish & Wildlife projects and initiatives in addition to various other AmeriCorps and TCN programs like HOPE Crew.
Prior to joining The Corps Network team, Lauren completed an AmeriCorps service term with the Montana Conservation Corps as a Northern Rockies region field crew member. She served in wilderness areas, public lands, and national parks in Montana and Idaho on backcountry trail construction, conservation, and historical preservation projects.
Lauren is also a Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings leader and volunteers her time by organizing outdoor recreational activities and she recently received Wilderness First Aid Certification through MEDIC SOLO Medical School.
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys kayaking, Netflix-binges, and attending geek conventions.
Candace Hollingsworth joined The Corps Network in January 2019 as the Director of AmeriCorps Programs.
Candace has a passion for service and improving the effectiveness of public sector organizations to advance their missions. She has 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector having assumed roles ranging from grants manager to virtual CFO and has managed projects of all sizes. However, Candace is no stranger to corps or The Corps Network. She cut her teeth in workforce development through service and conservation corps as the grants finance manager for the Conservation Corps of Greater New Orleans, a project of The Corps Network from 2008-2009. Since that time, Candace has kept positive youth development as a centerpiece of her work as the mayor of the City of Hyattsville. In that role she regularly works to build strategic partnerships and programming to create meaningful connections with young people to promote civic engagement, expand education and economic opportunity, and support the long-term sustainability of the city.
Candace is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and received a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies from Emory University and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) specializing in education, family, and social policy from Georgetown University. When she’s not at work or banging the gavel, you can find Candace somewhere enjoying great coffee or bourbon and making friends laugh with animated stories and eerily accurate impersonations.
As the Program Manager, Hillari monitors grant compliance and reporting, ensuring that funding goes to serve our various Corps nationwide. Prior to joining The Corps Network, Hillari served as a Resource Assistant with the USDA Forest Service and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service under the Public Land Corps Agreement in Washington, DC. While at the USDA Forest Service, she served in the National Forest System Deputy Chief Office and on the Volunteer & Service Program staff. During her time with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Hillari was an Outreach Specialist coordinating activities, fostering partnerships, and managing volunteers for the People’s Garden program. Some highlights from her time as a Resource Assistant include camping with youth in Wisconsin, attending the Tahoe Summit in California, serving as a keyworker for Federal campaigns, and hosting special emphasis programs in collaboration with other USDA agencies.
Born and raised in the small first state of Delaware, Hillari has built a lifestyle and career around environment, volunteerism, and community development. A lifelong Girl Scout and former Troop Leader, she enjoys mentoring and teaching young girls. Aside from volunteering, Hillari loves traveling, reading, and sharing her passion for sustainable agriculture and environment.
During her time in higher education as a McNair Scholar, Hillari completed a series of research projects including – Salmonella in Red Round and Roma Tomatoes, Fluorescence in Extremophiles, SORC Water Quality Analysis, Effects of Highway Runoff on a Manmade Retention Pond, Parental Habits of Veery Migratory Birds, and Environmental Degradation and Public Policy – a study on Fracking. Her Bachelor of Art is in Political Science from Delaware State University. Hillari earned a Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication with a concentration in Sustainability and Environment from Temple University, School of Media and Communications.
As an AmeriCorps Program Manager, Khadija will oversee and provide support for the AmeriCorps programs: Opportunity Youth Service Initiative (OYSI), Transportation and Infrastructure (TIP), and lastly the Educational Award Programs (EAP).
Prior to joining The Corps Network, Khadija served as a Grants Managements Specialist for the DC Commission for National and Community Service. Khadija graduated from Howard University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Contracts and Procurement from The University of The District of Columbia.
Khadija enjoys spending time in nature, reading nonfiction books as well as keeping up with the news. Khadija is a member of the Young African Professionals (YAP).
Stephanie Mathes is a native Mississippian with over 20 years of nonprofit management and workforce development experience. She attended California State University, Long Beach studying Philosophy with an emphasis in Pre-Law. She, and her husband Bruce, have three college aged children. Her favorite pastime is gardening, painting, and being involved with her local church.
Prior to taking her current position as The Corps Network’s Director of Gulf Operations, Stephanie was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of a local community development organization (CDC) specializing in human development programs including workforce training for opportunity and at-risk youth. Over the course of her 20-year career, Stephanie has worked with nonprofit organizational management, project development and the implementation of over 135 million dollars of federal funding. Besides the workforce training institute, her project implementation experience has included prevention of child abuse, micro-enterprise, social enterprise, juvenile justice programs, housing and homeless programs, and disaster response/recovery. While at the CDC, Stephanie developed and managed the organization’s conservation corps program as part of their Environmental and Conservation employability track. Stephanie is very involved in her community serving on a variety of local Boards of Directors and committees. She completed Leadership Gulf Coast, Class of 2014 and is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program
LaShauntya joined The Corps Network in 2016 as a Fellow to the Education and Workforce Development department and is now the Member Services Assistant. She brings 16 years of environmental service to her position. She started as an AmeriCorps member at Earth Conservation Corps, a DC-based environmental organization. She completed two terms and was asked to join the staff as a site manager. After six months, she was promoted to Youth Program Coordinator. She has been featured on 60 Minutes, NOW with Bill Moyers, and in People magazine. In her free time, LaShauntya enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling.
Danielle Owen has joined The Corps Network as the Director of Government Relations. In this role she works to develop and implement policy and legislative initiatives with a focus on conservation/natural resources, national service and youth/workforce development. She works closely with Congress and federal agencies on these issues.
Prior to joining The Corps Network, Danielle worked for 14 years in the office of former Congressman Melvin L. Watt, seven of those years serving as his Chief of Staff. Following her time in the House, she served as a Director of Governmental Affairs and then as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs in the Office of Secretary Foxx at the United States Department of Transportation. When not working, Danielle can be found in a bookstore searching for her next favorite book or talking about her adorable nephew, Owen, and her adorable niece, Emerson.
Conor started as the Government Relations Associate for The Corps Network in 2018. In this role, he advocates for the legislative and political agenda of The Corps Network by working closely with federal agencies, members of Congress, and The White House, coordinating with other advocacy groups, and managing coalitions of public and private partners. Through research, issue tracking, and outreach, Conor develops specific legislation and legislative priorities to support member corps and their initiatives. Conor’s areas of focus include opportunity youth initiatives, education and workforce development, juvenile and adult justice, and clean and renewable energy. Conor also works closely with other members of The Corps Network staff to develop new initiatives and support member corps generally by providing overall government relations support for all Corps Network and national service issues.
Prior to joining The Corps Network, Conor held multiple government relations and political positions. These positions included time spent at McGuireWoods Consulting and on the Ralph Northam Campaign for Governor. His responsibilities included researching and tracking legislation, organizing issue advocacy, drafting and distributing memoranda, and developing talking points and policy stances. Conor also has significant service experience. He worked as a tutor to underserved 8th and 9th graders in Cape Town, South Africa, and participated in the Appalachia Service Project and Habitat for Humanity. Finally, Conor received acknowledgements for his work supporting authorship of the third edition of The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global Politics.
Originally from Massachusetts, Conor received a BA in Government from The College of William and Mary. He is an avid sports fan, following the Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, and New York Giants closely. He currently lives in Arlington, VA and enjoys playing intramural sports and catching up with friends.
Capri St. Vil serves as the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at The Corps Network. Capri joined The Corps Network in 2012 to work on the Post-Secondary Success Education Initiative, which was funded by Open Society and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Capri has over 25 years of experience in education in New York City, Seattle, and DC working early on in Adult Education. For seven years she taught high school English. It was there that she was selected to work collaboratively with IBM and the reading department to introduce educational technology with a program called P.A.L.S (Principle of Alphabet Literacy System) into the remedial high school reading program. She successfully wrote a grant with a member of the science department, where they introduced the first Macintosh SE computers in teaching HyperCard to the student population.
She went on to teach Media Studies/Cultural Studies for ten years at Seattle Central Community College, where she was introduced to the concept of “Coordinated Studies/Learning Communities,” which is a collaborative interdisciplinary approach to higher education. She was selected to teach the Intercultural Communication course for international students, among students primarily from Japan, Taiwan, China, and Indonesia at Seattle Central Community College. Capri served four years as a Core Faculty Member and then the Director of Student Life and Disability Services at Antioch University Seattle. Capri has developed college-level and high school-level curricula.
Prior to joining The Corps Network, she was in NYC at Federation Employment Guidance Services (FEGS) in their Education and Youth Division where she developed the education program for their now signature Bronx program (serving over 400 young people a year) that works primarily with foster care youth.
Capri has a BFA in Television Production and her MA in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from New York University.
As the Resource Assistant at The Corps Network, Brandon provides administrative and legislative support to 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) initiatives related to outreach and relationship building with the U.S. Forest Service Regions. Furthermore, Brandon assists with communicating and demonstrating the advantages the newly passed 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act—which prioritizes the preservation of national public lands by encouraging veterans and youth to participate in land management projects.
Prior to joining The Corps Network, Brandon worked for Amnesty International—focusing on aiding international refugees and asylum seekers. Before Brandon became a human rights advocate with Amnesty, he spent two years serving as a Staff Assistant and Legislative Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Originally from Washington, DC, Brandon attended Georgetown Day School, and graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in History. He is an avid traveler, visiting dozens of countries—most memorably Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
Away from work, Brandon loves spending time with his incredible wife and amazing son.
As the Member Services Manager, Bobby coordinates and manages activities designed to identify and meet the needs of TCN members, including administration of membership information, management of efforts to retain and recruit members, assistance with the Corps Center of Excellence Accreditation program, and the coordination of member benefits. Member benefits include technical assistance offerings, trainings, resources, partner relationships, events and new initiatives as they arise.
Prior to working at The Corps Network, Bobby completed two AmeriCorps terms-of-service with the Montana Conservation Corps as both a crewmember and a crew leader. He served on a backcountry wilderness trails crew as well as a roving habitat restoration crew. Bobby also worked as the Government Relations Intern at The Corps Network where he assisted the Director of Government Relations as well as provided logistical support for the Public Lands Service Coalition.
Bobby graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a BA in International Affairs. Outside of work, he enjoys running, documentaries on Netflix, and watching the Wizards and Nationals.
Hannah received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While in college, Hannah volunteered at the National Air and Space Museum, and volunteered in DC Public Schools through DC Reads (a tutoring program) and Prime Movers (a journalism education program). She also spent a semester interning with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and spent over a year interning and writing for Street Sense; a DC-based newspaper focused on raising awareness about homelessness.
As Government Relations Manager for The Corps Network, Josh works to advance the legislative and policy initiatives for the Corps Network; providing analysis and tracking of Congress, the White House, and federal agencies; and working with advocacy organizations here in DC on improving the outlook for youth development and other issues for Corps. He also focuses on raising Corps’ federal and legislative profile, improving internal government relations operations, and representing The Corps Network publicly. His focus areas include (but are not limited to) public lands, national service and AmeriCorps, disaster response, and veterans’ issues.
Originally from Minnesota, Josh was U.S. Army Infantry for six years and received a Purple Heart while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During and following his term of service in the military, Joshreceived a BA from Georgetown University and interned for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Josh lives in the District; outside of work he enjoys hiking, playing golf, ceramic art, and spending time with his cat, Natasha.
As the Communications Assistant, Grettie helps run The Corps Network’s social media accounts. In addition she creates content for The Corps Network’s blog, resources, and events.
Prior to joining The Corps Network team, Grettie completed a service term with Service Year Alliance. Grettie received her bachelor’s degree in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Outside of work, she enjoys drinking iced coffee, and spending time with friends, family and her dog, Mully.
Leslie began with the Human Environment Center in 1984 and transitioned to The Corps Network when it was created in 1985. Since she began, Leslie has planned numerous conferences, designed and edited a quarterly newsletter, and directed member services. Leslie has taken on almost every responsibility possible at one time or another, and has become one of the most knowledgeable leaders in the Corps Movement, sought out for her wisdom, command of Corps history, and expertise in AmeriCorps programs and initiatives.
Leslie Wilkoff administers The Corps Network’s AmeriCorps Education Award Program (EAP) and oversees TCN’s other AmeriCorps grants. She created TCN’s AmeriCorps Program Manual as well as a document on how to get the most out of the AmeriCorps Education Award (scholarship), which includes non-traditional uses of the award. She also ensures compliance and provides technical assistance to all TCN Subgrantees in our Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) AmeriCorps grants.
Throughout her tenure, Leslie has developed a cache of tools for national service and youth development programs and has emerged as one of the leaders of the EAP, serving on numerous working groups for CNCS. She also provides training to all Subgrantees for the eGrants Portal on-line member management system, AmeriCorps Compliance and other aspects for running a successful, compliant program. In addition, she worked with Willis Towers Watson to develop The Corps Network’s Health Insurance Plan for Corpsmembers and AmeriCorps members.
Leslie has a degree in Textile Design and likes to spend her free time creating beautiful quilts and other fabric items. The AmeriCorps Subgrantees who attend her session at the Annual Conference always get a fun fabric craft or toy to take home.
Aileen Yelle is a native Mississippian with an MBA and over 20 years of small business, HR and project management experience. She has three grown boys, loves to cook, and loves to watch movies, football and sunsets on the water. She has traveled to almost every area of the country (and lived in a few different areas), but she chose to make her home on the southern shores.
Aileen has experience running a small construction business, working in human resources, and project management. She has worked in a variety of industries including computer software, wireless communications, manufacturing, beverage distribution, multimedia, finance and non-profit.
Prior to taking her current position at The Corps Network, Aileen worked with Climb CDC for five years, investing in Mississippi Gulf Coast communities through housing programs and workforce development for opportunity youth. During her last year with Climb, the organization had two Conservation Corps crews; Aileen was closely involved with hiring the crews and implementing the program.
“Working in the non-profit workforce development arena has been infinitely more satisfying than any job in a for-profit company because it allows me to merge my moral and spiritual principles with my daily work endeavors. I feel privileged to continue my career on a regional scale with The Corps Network, increasing the environmental, social and cultural impact I can have on my southern home.”