Profiles of Center Interns and Key Volunteers

Current Interns and Volunteers
Amrit Moore

Amrit Caroline Olivia Moore– Spring 2013
Amrit Moore earned a B.F.A. in Drawing and minor in Business at Earlham College and is now working for a masters degree in Museum Studies at Southern University at New Orleans. Amrit has worked at both the Joseph Moore Museum where she created illustrations to help teach children about science and at the Richmond Art Museum where she used art projects to teach students about the cultures of Africa and India. She is dedicating her masters thesis to creating illustrations of Amazon animals that CACE will use in its public outreach, materials for marketing Amazon handicrafts (like woven belts with jungle snake patterns) and other merchandise featuring creative designs of Amazon wildlife. In addition to art, Amrit's other experiences include being a party host, supporting (Quaker) Young Friends conferences, and traveling in France, Turkey and Palestine.

Past Interns and Volunteers

Amy Thissell

Amoreena (Amy) Thissell – Fall 2011 and Spring 2012
Amy Thissell is a recent graduate of the Geography department at the Univ. of California in Los Angeles where she also studied anthropology. She is very interested in studying human impacts on the environment and promoting conservation in Latin America and Africa. At UCLA she was a leader in the UCLA Hiking Club and active in the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. Amy earlier worked as a lab assistant and office assistant when she began her undergraduate studies at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Amy's volunteer work with the Center is focused on developing education materials about the Amazon environment, peoples, and biodiversity for our website and social media sites. She hopes to begin a master's program in geography in the fall of 2012.

Center for Amazon Community Ecology volunteer - Maggie Redden

Maggie Redden– Summer 2011
Margaret (Maggie) Redden is a Penn State graduate who now works with the university's Athletic Communications department doing writing and press relations. She has also worked as a reporter, organizer and grant writer with the Construction Data Company, Irish Repertory Theatre, and Childrenís Specialized Hospital. Maggie has worn many hats including musician who played at Carnegie Hall, Paralympic athlete who competed in China, orphan adopted from India, and Miss New Jersey Pageant contestant. Her volunteer work with non-profits includes joining two mission trips to Mexico and teaching skiing in the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain. Maggie is helping the Center fortify its use of social media with Facebook and Twitter to enhance public awareness about the Center and handicraft marketing. Next year, she expects to begin serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America.

Meghan Williams

Meghan Williams– Spring and Summer 2011
Meghan Williams graduated from Penn State Univ. in 2010 with majors in International Politics and Spanish. She went to a DoDDS American High School in Heidelberg, Germany and lived for a year with the IES program in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a year during college. Meghan has been a volunteer translator, organizer and fundraiser with many non-profit groups including Food First International Network, Youth for Understanding, Habitat for Humanity, and Penn State chapters of Amnesty International and Rescue Childhood. She is currently working as a child care provider and is considering a stint in the Peace Corps. Meghan is helping the Center organize its upcoming spring fundraising party and translating interviews with native artisans from Spanish to English.

Shadan Al Mana

Shadan Al Mana– Spring 2011
Shadan Al Mana is an Advertising major in the Penn State College of Communications from Riyadh, Saudia Arabia. She has prepared designs, written copy, done fashion photography and created promotional materials for numerous groups including I Safe, the Sunday Womenís Group (in Riyadh), the Saudia Arabian Student Association, and the Penn State Khaleeji student association. Shadan is working with the intern team to photograph crafts made by CACE artisan partners and prepare brochures for new products like the Amazon guitar strap.

Laura Gunderman

Laura Gunderman– Spring 2011
Laura Gunderman is a Journalism and Art student in the Penn State Univ. College of Communications from Elizabethville, PA. She continued taking classes online from the Harrisburg Area Community College during a semester abroad in England. She has worked as an assistant at the Zoller Gallery in State College, PA and been a lifeguard at Hershey Park. Laura has been involved with the Blue and White Society and Student United Way. Lauraís internship with the Center is focusing on preparing descriptions of products and profiles of plants and artisans for the online Amazon Forest Store.

Shavon Hampton

Shavon Hampton - Spring 2011
Shavon Hampton is a student at the Penn State College of Communications from Washington, D.C. who is majoring in photojournalism with a minor in communications arts and science. She has a wide variety of photo and website design experience that can be seen on her e-portfolio. Shavon has worked as a cashier and clerical aide at several businesses and was an active member of the Campus, Activities, Multicultural and Programming Club at the Mont Alto campus of Penn State. Shavon internship with the Center is focused on photographing handicrafts and models for the Amazon Forest Store.

Alyssa Meadows

Alyssa Meadows– Spring 2011
Alyssa Meadows is from Kunkletown, PA, but she began her college at the Univ. of Miami in Florida where she studied marine sciences and was a photographer for the yearbook. She now studies photography and graphic design at the Penn State Univ. School of Visual Arts. She has shown her work at several exhibitions, volunteered for ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, PA since 2003 and been actively involved with Cane-4-a-Day in Miami, Wilkes Barre Student Government Association, and several honor societies. Her internship with the Center is focused on photographing handicrafts and designing new informational tags for them.

Jennifer Nagel

Jennifer Nagel– Spring 2011
Jennifer Nagel is a photography student from Lansdale, PA in the Penn State Univ. School of Visual Arts. Outside of class she has been developing her photo shooting, editing, teaching, studio work and website skills at Camp Mataponi in Maine at the Hourglass Portrait Studios and Moviní On Music Festival in State College, PA and won awards for her digital photos at the Montgomery County Community College Art Exhibition. Jenn also loves to take her camera into the outdoors where she enjoys running and hiking. She is working with the team of CACE spring 2011 interns to take photos of Peruvian handicrafts for the Amazon Forest Store.

Dan Sackett

Dan Sackett-Spring 2011
Dan Sackett is a student from Lansdale, PA at the Penn State University College of Information Sciences and Technology whose studies include computer programming, network and database management. He started Sackett Solutions - his own freelance website design and development company. Dan is using his tehcnical skills to help CACE design the structure and program needs for its online Amazon Forest Store. He is also doing a year long writing project, is an enthusiastic member of the Penn State Ultimate Frisbee Club Team and is a volunteer for the annual THON fundraising event.

Penn State Net Impact logo

Penn State Net Impact– Fall 2010
Penn State Net Impact is Penn State's MBA chapter of Net Impact, a global organization of students and professionals using business to improve the world. Net Impact offers a portfolio of programs to educate, equip and inspire our over 10,000 national members to make a positive impact through business. Spanning six continents, its membership is one of the most influential networks in existence today and includes current and emerging leaders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development and environmental sustainability. In the fall term of 2010, four Net Impact members worked with CACE to begin developing ideas for marketing the guitar straps made by artisans in CACE's partner communities in the Ampiyacu River area of Peru.

Bob Long

Bob Long– Fall 2010
Bob Long is an MBA Candidate at Penn Stateís Smeal College of Business Class of 2011, concentrating in Corporate Finance and Strategic Leadership. Prior to his studies, Bob worked for five years as a mortgage consultant for Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors in Philadelphia, while also touring and recording live music with his band. Bob is preparing for a consulting career upon graduation from Smeal, specializing in corporate education and change management. Bob earned a bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University in 1997.

Moulik Desaia

Moulik Desai– Fall 2010
Moulik Desai is an MBA Candidate, Class of 2012, at Penn Stateís Smeal College of Business, looking to focus on Supply Chain Management. Before joining Smeal, Moulik worked for six years as an IT consultant in Infosys Technologies Ltd. working with his client, Aetna Healthcare Inc. in Connecticut. In addition to technology skills, Moulik specialized in knowledge management and process improvement. He earned his Bachelorís Degree of Engineering in Information Technology from the University of Mumbai in 2004.

Alex Rosenthal

Alex Rosenthal– Fall 2010
Alex Rosenthal is a class of 2012 MBA Student at Penn State University. Prior to attending Penn State he worked as a communications consultant for Fortune 500 companies such as Pfizer and General Electric. His interests include sustainability, energy efficiency, corporate social responsibility and renewable energy. He is a member of the MBA Finance Association as well as Net Impact and hopes to work in a finance and strategy capacity upon graduation.

Ross Shutt

Ross Shutt– Fall 2010
Ross Shutt is an MBA Candidate, Class of 2012, at Penn Stateís Smeal College of Business, concentrating in Finance and Supply Chain Management. Prior to the MBA program, Ross worked as a financial analyst and accountant at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, PA. Ross earned a bachelorís degree in Finance from Penn State in 2008, with a minor in Economics.

Alejandra Santamaria

Alejandra Santamaria – Fall 2009
Alejandra is an Advertising major in the Penn State Univ. College of Communications with minors in Italian and Womenís Studies. She has helped organize and publicize a variety of special events through her job with the universityís department of Campus Life and Residence Life and leadership roles with the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON), Student Government Association and Black and Latino Association at the Mont Alto campus. Alejandra is going to use her creative and public relations to help the Center build and market its online Amazon Forest Store and use her native language skills from her birth country Venezuela to prepare publicity materials for the Center in Spanish.

Natalya Stanko

Natalya Stanko – Fall 2009 & Summer 2009
Natalya is a Penn State Univ. student in the Schreyer Honors College majoring in Journalism with minors in Natural Science and Spanish. Natalya was an Amazon Field Volunteer with the Center in the Peruvian Amazon for six weeks in the summer of 2009. She visited Bora native communities along the Ampiyacu River, Maijuna native communities along the Sucusari River, campesino communities along the Tahuayo River and the Jenaro Herrera research station on the Ucayali River. She assisted field work on copal resin and interviewed dozens of artisans about their lives and handicrafts. Read about her experiences at: Natalya's Amazon Log. She is now using her other skills as a website designer to help create the Center's on-line Amazon Forest Store. Natalya is an outdoor enthusiast and adventurer who enjoys hiking, skiing, climbing, gardening and biking. Natalya helped with environmental education and clearing trails for the Jatun Sacha Foundation in the Ecuadorian Amazon and cycled 4,000 miles across Canada. She her other activities include belly dancing and periodically returning to Ukraine where she was born.

Rachel Darville

Rachel Darville – Fall 2009
Rachel is a student at Penn State Universityís Schreyerís Honors College who is majoring in Art and Advertising with a minor in Spanish. She has worked in the marketing department of an installation art museum in Pittsburgh and has a passion for photography, art, and other cultures. She has visited Brazil and plans to spend the spring semester in Spain. Rachel has also supported several social justice, health equity, and other non-profit efforts through involvement with groups including GlobeMed, THON, Global Connections, and several youth councils in Little Rock, Arkansas. Rachelís internship with the Center will focus on taking photographs for the Centerís online Amazon Forest Store and helping to create graphic designs for Center merchandise.

Samantha Shal

Samantha Shal – Fall 2009
Samantha is a student at Penn State Universityís School of Visual Arts majoring in photography with a minor in technical lighting. She has been gaining considerable experience as a photographer in front of and behind the camera with jobs in State College at The Daily Collegian, Studio 2 Photo Photography, and J.B. Shavel Photography and showing her work in five exhibitions. Samantha is applying her photography and design skills as an intern to help the Center photograph Peruvian handicrafts and edit photos for the new Amazon Forest Store.

Susan Keen

Susan Keen– Fall 2009
Susan is a photography major at the Penn State University School of Visual Arts majoring in photography. She has worked as an office assistant and will be using her skills to organize the photos for the Amazon Forest Store. She takes class with the Penn State Volť Ballet Club and is on the production staff of Kalliope Literary Magazine. In her spare time she likes to bike, read, and travel.

PSMA logo left

Penn State Marketing Association - CACE Support Group 2009– Fall 2009
Six students involved with the Non-Profit Division of the Penn State Marketing Association are working with the Center to boost marketing its Amazon handicrafts. These activities will include featuring some of these items in a fall fashion show, organizing focus groups to identify the most attractive crafts, staffing craft shows and generating ideas for new crafts.

Alexander Dawson

Alexander Dawson– Fall 2009
Alexander is a Marketing major with the Penn State Smeal College of Business and is active with the Penn State Marketing Association Non-profit and Advertising divisions. His main hobbies and interests are photography, graphic design and playing soccer.

Helen Wang

Helen Wang– Fall 2009
Helen is a student at the Penn State Smeal College of Business who is majoring in Marketing and doing a mior in Chinese. She works as a cashier at the Wegmanís store in State College. In addition to her involvement with PSMA, Helen also participates in the Schreyer Honors College Student Council and the Asian Pacific American Caucus. Her other main hobby is playing the violin.

Jacob Gillett

Jacob Gillett– Fall 2009
Jacob is a student at the Penn State Smeal College of Business who is majoring in Marketing. He is involved with the Advertising, NON-Profit, Fundraising/Sales, Professional Event Planning, Entertainment Event Planning, and THON divisions of PSMA. One of these activities has been selling radios from Live Sports Radio through Keystone Staffing before Penn State home football games. Jacob is also the chair of the Blood Drive for the North Halls Assoc. for Students. He likes hanging out with friends, going to Penn State games and watching the TV show 24.

Jayne Gazdalski

Jayne Gazdalski– Fall 2009
Jayne is a student at Penn Stateís Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing with minors in Spanish, Psychology, and International Business. She is a Senior Executive Associate of PSMA, is involved in its Marketing Research, Retail, and Non-profit divisions and participates in many community service events through the group. She is also leading the PSMA CACE support group. Her other activities include playing piano, writing music, and participating in the Penn State Percussion Ensemble. Jayne has a passion for the Spanish language and culture and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain in the summer of 2009. She wants to keep travelling as much as possible.

Johanna Davis

Johanna Davis– Fall 2009
Johanna Davis is a Penn State student majoring in marketing and sociology with a minor in Spanish. She has done marketing behavior research for several professors at various universities. She is involved in the Rules and Regulations Committee of the PSU Dance Marathon (THON), the Golden Key Society, and the PSU Spanish Club. She also loves to travel and fence.

Maurice Zhu

Maurice Zhu– Fall 2009
Maurice is Penn State student from Hershey, PA majoring in Marketing at the Smeal College of Business and is pursuing minors in Spanish and Psychology. He is active within the Penn State Marketing Association and volunteers with the Penn State Student Red Cross Club. He also is a research assistant in the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception Lab. He loves traveling and spent last summer studying in Sevilla, Spain. He also enjoys running, playing tennis, and playing guitar, and is training for a half-marathon.

Teresa Carosa

Teresa Carosa – Spring 2009
Teresa is a student in the Penn State Univ. College of Communications where she is majoring in art for advertising and new media in art. Her internship with the Center focused on designing the new logo and design for the Centerís Amazon Forest Store Ė the future online outlet for handicrafts made by artisans in the Centerís partner communities in the Amazon. Teresa has received numerous awards for her academic, artistic, and community service achievements. She has helped organize blood donations, been a dormitory resident assistant, been a lead banquet server, and assisted autistic and academically challenged children. Teresa hopes to use her photographic and graphic design skills to work in public relations. She her webpage at:

Christina Conley

Christina Conley – Spring 2009
Christy is an MBA student in the Penn State Univ. Smeal College of Business with concentrations in marketing and finance. She volunteered with the Center to assist in the design of its online Amazon Forest Store. Christy is the founder of Kinetic Solutions Ė an information technology consulting company that has designed websites and supported other client marketing needs. She previously worked as a communications engineer, marketing director and medical systems programmer for other companies. She has also been a graduate teaching assistant, active member of the MBA association, student environmental group recycling initiative, and volunteer in a homeless shelter food program. .

Greg Harriott

Greg Harriott – Spring 2008 to Spring 2009
Greg graduated from the Penn State Schreyer Honors College as a film and video major. He was an Amazon Field Volunteer in the summer of 2008 when he spent six weeks shooting over 30 hours of video of Center research and community activities on the Ucayali, Ampiyacu and Tahuayo Rivers. See his video Peruvian Amazon Handicrafts: People, Plants and Community Support and his essay I need this shot for an account of his experiences. Greg earlier logged other Center videos and produced Introduction to Jenaro Herrera - the town where the Center began its copal research and handicrafts projects in the Peruvian Amazon. He produced other documentaries and worked at the Penn State Smeal School of Business, Engel Entertainment, and Wegman’s Markets.  Beyond his video interest, he enjoys hiking, camping and foreign travel. He now lives in New York City pursuing his video career. See his Cinematography work at:

Lauren Herwehe

Lauren Herwehe – Spring 2009
Lauren is Penn State Univ. student in the Schreyer Honors College majoring in Geosciences and Geography. She helped the Center write descriptions of handicraft items for inclusion in the online Amazon Forest Store. She has been involved in research projects on urban poverty and hydropedology in Pennsylvania and rocks in Kenya. Lauren has traveled in Argentina and Peru, run cross country, led campus tours, volunteered with an orphanage in India and programs for mentally disabled students and used her Spanish-speaking abilities to assist foreign students to improve their English speaking abilities. She hopes to become an environmental consultant or environmental lawyer.

Mac McAlpin

William "Mac" McAlpin – Spring 2009
Mac graduated from the Penn State Univ. School of Communication with a major in Broadcast Journalism and minor in English. He helped compile video about the Centerís new partner communities in Peru Ė the indigenous communities along the Ampiyacu River and mestizo communities along the Tahuayo River. Mac developed a passion for coverage of sports in his high school newspaper and radio station and was recently a production intern for TV coverage of two minor league baseball teams. He would like to work in journalism or public relations. He has a strong interest in Latin America and has been involved in an AIDS action organization and been involved in an Outward Bound course.

Jessica Remitz

Jessica Remitz – Spring 2009
Jessica is a recent graduate of the Penn State Univ. where she majored in Journalism with minors in International Studies and Business. She was a volunteer writer and editor of the Spring 2009 edition of the Centerís newsletter Amazon Connections. Jessica has interned as a writer and editorial assistant with Waterfront Media and Us Weekly magazine and was active in Penn Stateís independent student newspaper the Daily Collegian serving at different times as its news chief, copy editor, science and health editor, arts editor, and opinions editor. Her other jobs have included being a bartender, waitress, swim coach and life guard. She now lives in New York City pursuing a career in magazine or book publishing.

Mike Staub

Mike Staub – Spring 2009
Mike is a student in the Penn State Univ. College of Engineering majoring in Chemical Engineering. He did an internship with the Center through a course in his departmentís Leadership Development Program to inventory the Centerís collection of handicrafts to be listed in the online Amazon Forest Store. Mikeís major extra-curricular activity is playing trumpet in the Penn State Blue Band. He has an interest in the growing connections between biology and engineering and hopes to work with a chemical company to market products that can help meet needs for more food, better medicines or options for clean energy.

PMSA group

Penn State Marketing Association – CACE support group
Four students from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business are working with the Center to assist its efforts to market Amazon handicrafts through the Non-profit division of the Penn State Marketing Association (PMSA).  Their project includes improving graphic images and materials for displaying jewelry and bags at craft fairs and helping to staff these events.  These students are:

Kelly Burns

Kelly Burns: Kelly is a junior with a marketing major and psychology minor from Elicott City, Maryland.  She is the assistant director of the non-profit division of the PMSA and is passionate about the positive impact that this group can have on communities and society.  She is an avid photographer and has worked several summers for Forman Inc. where she helped produce their product catalogue.  She would like to visit all 50 states in the U.S.

Jason Keller

Jason Keller: Jason is a junior with a marketing major from Wilmington, Delaware.  He has a strong interest in graphic design and does creative work for the Penn State newspaper the Daily Collegian.  He has done a graphic design internship with the Wilmington News Journal and hopes to work with a advertizing agency in New York City.  Beyond his artistic interest, Jason enjoys surfing – particularly on the North Carolina coast.

Johanna Maldonado

Johanna Maldonado: Johanna is a sophomore marketing major.  She has worked with the Bank of America in telemarketing and collections.  She is bilingual in English and Spanish, is a member of the National Hispanic Business Association, and has spent time in her mother’s native country of Ecuador.  Her other talent includes playing the cello.

Jan Lin

Jan Lin: Jan is a junior who is majoring in business marketing and taking a minor in international business.  She works at Otto’s Brew pub and has done an internship at the Bank of America.   She is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys backpacking, kayaking, surfboarding.  She traveled in Europe, China, Taiwan and hopes to study abroad in Argentina.

Matt Hunter

Matthew Hunter – Spring 2008
Matt did a Video Internship with the Center in the spring term of 2008 where he helped log video taken in Peru since 2006 and produced a short video Handicrafts of the Peruvian Amazon – the town where the Center began its copal research and handicrafts projects in the Peruvian Amazon.  Matt has worked on various aspects of video productions with the Penn State Palmer Museum of Art and Digital Media Group. Matt graduated from the Integrative Arts program at Penn State University in May 2008.

Meghan Walsh

Meghan Walsh – Spring 2008
Meghan did a Journalism Internship with the Center in the spring term of 2008 during which she interviewed several rainforest experts and wrote feature stories for our newsletter and website.  Meghan is a junior at Penn State University where she is majoring in Journalism and History.  Her media related experience has featured being a sports radio talk show host and writing articles for the Penn State yearbook La Vie and humor magazine Phroth.  Meghan has worked as a camp counselor and clerk at a dormitory and store.  She has also served as a volunteer with Amnesty International, Penn State THON dance marathon, dormitory representative, Penn State Mock Trial Association, and a girl’s basketball team.  Meghan continues to volunteer with the Center at special events.

Jenna Coughlan

Jenna Coghlan – Spring 2008
Jenna did a Photography internship with the Center in the Spring term of 2008 where she channeled her love of nature and camera skills to take pictures of handicrafts made by the Tembé Indians of Brazil and artisans from the river town of Jenaro Herrera in Peru for our website’s Amazon Forest Store.  She graduated from the Integrative Arts department of Penn State University in 2008.  Jenna diverse work experience during college included stints as a sandwich maker, file clerk, painter, landscape designer and laborer, nursery sales representative, ski lift operator. 

Alexandra Robinson

Alexandra Robinson – Spring 2008
Alexandra did a Journalism Internship with the Center in the spring term of 2008 when she wrote several pieces for the Center’s newsletter and website.  She is a junior at Penn State University where she is pursuing a double major in Journalism and English and a minor in French.  Alexandra did a media internship with Creative Beauty Innovations Laboratories and a research internship with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  She has also worked as a child care worker, usher, food server, and receptionist.  Her other activities including being a member of the Penn State crew team, volunteering at The Second Mile, dancing and figure skating.

Erin Bankey

Erin Bankey – Spring 2008
Erin’s volunteer service to the Center focused on designing the basic structure for our website’s online Amazon Forest Store.  She graduated from Penn State University in 2008 with a major in advertising and public relations.  During her school career, she had a communications internship with the Sunlight Foundation, marketing and promotions internship with CBS Radio, media relations intern with the Penn State Athletic Communications office.  Erin was also an active volunteer in the Penn State Blue and White Society, Thon (the Penn State Dance Marathon), and Peer Mentor in the College of Communication.

Vanessa Baker

Vanessa Baker – Spring 2007
Vanessa did a Journalism internship with the Center in the spring semester of 2007 when she wrote several articles for and designed the first edition of Amazon Connections – the Center’s newsletter.  Her earlier work included writing for York College’s student newspaper The Spartan, chairing the education committee at the Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership in York, PA, and teaching English in China during the summer of 2002.  After graduating from Penn State University with a major in journalism, she has worked as a writer for the Centre Daily Times and Centre Publications.  Vanessa continues to volunteer for the Center at special events and writing tasks. She plans to spend one year teaching English in South Korea.

Marissa Plowden

Marissa Plowden – Summer 2006 & Summer 2007
Marissa was an Amazon Field Volunteer with the Center in the summers of 2006 and 2007 at Jenaro Herrera in Peru while she was a student at State College Area High School.  She helped collect and analyze data in the copal project during the first season and spent both summers as a clerical and support person at the public health clinic in the town.  See her essays about these experiences at Marissa’s Amazon Memories.  Marissa is now a sophomore at Haverford College where she is studying psychology, graphic arts, English, and Spanish.  She is active in the women's acapella singing group the Outskirts, works in the arboretum and participates in various service projects.