Discover the new faces of the M.S. of Environmental Education Program:
Whitney Anderson is a native Oregonian. Her upbringing was rooted in the exploration of endless wilderness opportunities. Through outdoor adventure, she developed a curiosity for her local aquatic life and habitats. However, study abroad experience in high school took her to faraway places. The travel bug had bitten her, leading her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon. But, her care for the environment never waned. Upon graduating, she began working for the Bureau of Land Management as a River Ranger on Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rivers. Various other experiences, including teaching salmon education programs and helping with threatened fish species research, made her realize that her true aspiration was to help others cultivate an innate fascination with the environment as well.
Marina Bohn grew up in a small town in the East Bay of California, exploring the oak woodlands, creeks and open space of Mt Diablo State Park. She always loved water and was on the swim team since she was 5 years old. Her love for water led her to the University of California Santa Barbara to get her Bachelors of Science in Hydrology with an emphasis on Ecology and Biology. She developed a deep love for the ocean with surfing, freediving, kayaking and traveling as her favorite activities. The ocean is one of her greatest teachers and led her to be a sea cave kayak guide and naturalist for 6 years in Channel Islands National Park. Being a guide developed her passion to teach people about science and their environment and she later landed with a Santa Barbara nonprofit, Wilderness Youth Project. This nonprofit focuses on nature connection and instilling appreciation of and confidence in nature for children. The relationships she developed inspired her to continue her education at Southern Oregon University in the Master of Science in Environmental Education as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching for Single Subject Biology. She hopes to inspire people to love science as much as she does and to one day start a school.
Courtney Buel originally hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. While living in California, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. There she learned how to scuba-dive in the kelp forests of Monterey and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of being surrounded by nature. This passion ultimately led her to spend a summer on Catalina Island, teaching children how to scuba dive and identify marine species. After that summer, she became a marine science educator in San Francisco, teaching students about the ocean and connecting them with an environment that she loves dearly. She is also pursuing a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and hopes to one day be a Director of a marine science conservation nonprofit. In her free time, she likes to explore and enjoy nature with friends (and of course, splash in the ocean!).
Andy Dwyer is an upstate New York native where he remembers fun times with family and friends in the Adirondack Mountains. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in Horticulture from Oregon State University, he moved to Bend, OR with his wife. There he completed an internship in restoration horticulture. For five years, they lived in Bend, finished their degrees together, and started a native plant nursery and restoration business. An enjoyable part of his work was running volunteer groups, educating the public on land use, and working in environmental education with local schools on Central Oregon watersheds. The fun stuff of his business led him to SOU’s MS in Environmental Education program. The cohort model, hands-on approach of the program, and the development for Fall in the Field is inspiring. In his free time, he enjoys road-tripping, camping with his family, strolling around town with his 2-year-old son, Grahm, and board gaming with the cohort.
Karina Hassell comes from the “bridge of the world, heart of the universe,” also known as Panama. From a young age, this city girl was encouraged to explore her surroundings through science. Following her love for science and due to Panama’s strategic location, she studied Maritime Transportation Engineering at the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá. She later obtained a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Arkansas. However, it was through varied professional opportunities that she found a way to combine all her passions: science, education, and development. Witnessing firsthand the tremendous impact a good educator can have in a child’s life, she decided to pursue a Master in Environmental Education. She is thrilled to be part of Cohort 12 and ready to absorb as much knowledge from the program and region. Her goal is to provide learning opportunities for those who are curious and especially for those who are socially disadvantaged.
Sunya Ince-Johannsen received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies: Ecology and Conservation from Southern Oregon University. She is now pursuing a double Masters in Environmental Education and Teaching. In her free time, she loves snowboarding, hiking with her dogs, botanizing, and kitesurfing!
Michael Kaufman is from Menlo Park, CA. Michael completed his undergraduate studies at Texas Christian University, where he received a BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Human-Animal Relations. He is pursuing the Masters Teaching program for Single Subject Integrated Sciences in addition to the Masters in Environmental Education. He is a self-proclaimed semi-professional napper, an avid lover of all things Disney, and a volleyball player since he was 10. Lastly, he has a passion for animal studies, namely mammals and reptiles, and one day would like to teach high school animal sciences.
Brenda Miller spent her undergrad days at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. There she got her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a double major in Music. Brenda is also pursuing a Certificate of Nonprofit Management in addition to her Master’s degree. She loves to bird and cuddle with her ball python Cosmo. In addition to these hobbies, she also performs as a concert pianist.
Nora Seymour grew up in Massachusetts exploring the woods behind her house. She discovered her passion for environmental education while leading field trips in the permaculture garden at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she received her BS in Sustainable Food and Farming. Since then she has continued to grow food, curiosity, and a love for nature with kids of all ages. Nora is excited to be a part of the thriving environmental education community in Southern Oregon. She is also adding on the Certificate in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time, you can find Nora adventuring outside with her partner and dog or at a bluegrass concert!
Maya Shoemaker was born and raised in Santa Barbara and was blessed to spend her childhood exploring around her family home in the mountains, traveling around Central America and Mexico, homeschooling by a creek, and enjoying time in nature every day. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with an emphasis on Environmental Education and Evolutionary Biology. After graduating, she spent a year traveling and volunteering in Europe and Asia. Her time included working on farms in Turkey, bringing underserved Nepali children outside for sit spots, trekking through the Himalayas, and working with Vietnamese children with disabilities. She has worked for over ten years with a nature-based mentoring non-profit called Wilderness Youth Project. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Environmental Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching at SOU, as well as serving as the Farm Education Coordinator at the SOU Farm. In her free time, she loves to practice acro yoga, make things with her hands, sing, dance, and explore nature with friends.
Monique Streit grew up in Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Park and spent her free time exploring the woods and trails within the park. This has sparked a love of nature and all national park sites. A goal of hers is to visit all national parks someday. She spent many years working for the National Park Service as an interpretive ranger and in the maintenance division, creating signs for roads and trails in the national park. Monique has always had a passion for teaching and received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. From there, she taught 4th grade for five years, but specifically math and science for the last two years. While teaching, Monique organized an outdoor and environmental club for third through fifth graders. Students developed a deeper understanding of the environments surrounding the school, learned about native plants and animals in Northern Arizona, and helped maintain an outdoor classroom and wildlife and nature trail on the school campus. Her love of nature and education has led her to pursue an M.S. in Environmental Education from SOU. She hopes to inspire a love of learning and an appreciation for our environment in people of all ages through environmental education!
Sami Wolniakowski feels that educating and caring for children is second nature to her. As a teenager, she became a certified ski instructor and taught children and adults of all ages how to downhill ski. In these years, she discovered her zeal for educating, and this enthusiasm ultimately led her to pursue a B.A. in Education from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. Entering the world as a new graduate, she started work at the Multnomah County Outdoor School in Oregon. After this position, she worked as a naturalist/science teacher at Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming, for two years. During her time spent at Teton Science School, she was able to discover the importance of utilizing the outdoor environment as her classroom. She is excited to pursue her Master’s of Environmental Education at SOU and looks forward to continuing her development and growth as an educator.
Jessica Zuzack grew up in rural Pennsylvania, exploring the fields, forests, and creeks in her backyard. Her love of connecting to nature and optimism for finding solutions to environmental issues led her to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sustainability at Philadelphia University. She gained valuable experience in sustainable food systems, conservation, and community partnership from AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer work, an internship abroad, and work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She is very excited to be a part of the Masters of Environmental Education program and looks forward to a future of engaging kids of all ages in outdoor learning. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, yoga, dance, cooking, and knitting.