FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA Member Bios
Regional FIRST VISTA Leaders
Jason R. Barnes, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, Atlantic Region/Boston, MA
Jason Barnes is a seasoned Regional VISTA Leader who has been with the FIRST® VISTA Program for going on three years. Barnes is Co-Leader for the Atlantic Region. Barnes graduated from Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA with a B.S. in Biblical Studies. Barnes has extensive experience working in non-profit organizations involving community outreach and working with youth. As the Tech Coordinator for Boston's B-SAFE program, Barnes was responsible for teaching computers and technology to 122 students weekly ranging from K-8th grade.
Jordan Clark-Mand, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, Atlantic Region/Rochester, NY
Jordan Clark-Mand is the Co-leader for our Atlantic Region. Clark-Mand has extensive work experience in college athletics in leadership roles. At Oregon State University, she directed 25 ticket office interns, oversaw the women’s basketball ticketing operations, and initiated new outreach efforts to bring more youth to home sporting events. At the University of Houston, she worked with underserved youth sport teams to bring them to home UH sporting events and give them exposure to collegiate athletes. This included organizing ticketing, transportation, game time logistics, and activities with athletes.
Diego Lopez, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, Pacific Region/Manchester, NH
Diego Lopez has spent a year with the FIRST® VISTA Program as the HQ VISTA, and this year serving as the Regional VISTA Leader for the Pacific Region. Lopez has an extensive list of volunteer experience in the direct service segment of youth development, charity events for disease awareness, and community building. As Volunteer Coach for the Galt, Northern Special Olympics Team, he was responsible for ensuring the continued interest and progress of the athletes in each of the seasonal sports, as well as coordinating with athlete’s parents during Special Olympic events.
Kelli Lucas, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, Southern Region/Virginia Beach, VA
Kelli (Treff) Lucas is an alumnus and former mentor of FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1802 from Kansas City, KS. While in the Greater Kansas City area, Lucas worked as a key volunteer with all four of the FIRST Programs. While working with FRC Team 1802, Lucas focused on the business aspects of the team and influenced her to get her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Lucas is currently a distance learning student at Kansas State University pursuing a Master's in Youth Development. Lucas is excited to spend her 10th year with FIRST as a VISTA in Hampton Roads.
Angela Mayes, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, Southwest Region/St. Louis, MO
Angela Mayes has been an AmeriCorps member four times, and she is adding her AmeriCorps expertise to our FIRST® Regional VISTA Leader team as the Southwest Region leader. Mayes has been a tutor and mentor for the past five years in the St. Louis public school system and has tutored elementary, middle, and high school students in reading and math. Mayes was also responsible for initiating and maintaining the operation of, after school programs at Dunbar and Jefferson Elementary schools. In addition Mayes has worked with the University of Missouri-St. Louis as an AVID tutor at various high-schools and middle-schools throughout the St. Louis city area all while pursuing a Fine Arts Major at the same institution.
Olivia Walsh, FIRST Regional VISTA Leader, North Central Region/Durham, NH
Olivia Walsh has been teaching swim lessons for over 5 years at various gyms and health clubs. As an instructor she was responsible for teaching safety and stroke development skills to children of all ages. Walsh has a background in the fine arts and education, and participated as a student teacher for schools and after school organizations that could not otherwise afford to offer arts programs. Her work, both in the pool and in the classroom, has helped bring important opportunities to children. She believes strongly in teaching safety, creativity and communication skills to children as a foundation to growth and learning.
Katrina Adams, VISTA, Chicago, IL
Katrina Adams hopes to continue with her passion of providing service to the less fortunate through positive community service. As the founder of STARR (Striving to Achieve Righteous Realities), Adams strives to make a positive contribution to society through education, positive entertainment, and productive community services. Being a native of Chicago, Adams feels confident that her contributions to FIRST® will be not only be productive and supportive but compassionate and successful.
Karla Aguilar, VISTA, Hartford, CT
Karla Aguilar is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in Computer Science and minor in Ethnic Studies. She has experience working with low-income communities of color. She served as a “guru” for Google’s CS First Computer Science Club, aimed to inspire young students of color into STEM careers. She has also taught K-12 and adult basic computer classes through the Garfield Community Center in Santa Ana to improve computer literacy among the Latino community. Aguilar is eager to continue serving different communities and inspiring young students through FIRST®.
Gabriela Angulo, VISTA, Philadelphia, PA
Gaby Angulo has worked for three years trying to expand the STEM learning horizons for students all around Philadelphia. She has volunteered time working for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to advocate STEM education through Science shows and organizing tutoring sessions in High schools and college. As an intern for City Skies in the Franklin Institute, she is responsible for recruiting, training, and assisting community centers to encourage engineering through astronomy materials.
Benjamin Baumgardner, VISTA, Potsdam, NY
Benjamin Baumgardner is an alumnus of FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Team 568 from Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. Baumgardner is graduating from Clarkson University with a B.S. in Engineering and Management. In college, he attended the FIRST Robotics Living Learning Community pursuing every opportunity to extend STEM robotic initiatives. Baumgardner has collaborated with the Micro robotics Speed Team, and the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) mentoring program. Baumgardner truly enjoys being a Clarkson robotics facilitator and getting students involved in FIRST.
Paige Bothman, VISTA, Twin Falls, ID
Paige Bothman has participated in other AmeriCorps VISTA programs, specifically with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA. Bothman believes that creating more opportunities for children to become leaders, especially in Science and Technology, is one of the best causes that she can dedicate her time to. Bothman has enjoyed every second working in a non-profit environment, working extensively to build business partnerships and recruiting youth and adult volunteers. Bothman believes that setting goals and creating lasting resources is integral to the continued success of the VISTA program.
Chloe Brown, VISTA, Lees Summit, MO
Chloe graduated in May of 2015 with degrees in Evolutionary Health Policy and Health Sciences from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Brown is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in a related field after her service. Brown’s interest in becoming an AmeriCorps Vista for FIRST stemmed from her interest in science and technology combined with using her skills in policy development and implementation. The desire to give back to the community has always been a part of Chloe Brown’s life. She has volunteered at numerous shelters, food pantries, children’s camps, and events throughout her life. She comes from a family of non-profit workers and hopes to continue this tradition as she continues into her own future career.
Victoria Burg, VISTA, Tampa, FL
Victoria Burg has worked with quite the variety of people and in many different work places. Victoria has been involved with FIRST since high school, when she was on FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 108, SigmaC@ts. Since then she has not only planned and volunteered at Regionals in her area, but she has tried her best to help out any region in need. FIRST is not the only non-profit experience she has, though. Burg was a Girl Scout all 13 years of her pre-college education and is now a troop leader in Orlando, FL. She has also volunteered with other organizations such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the Free & Accepted Masons and their subsidiaries, local art & science museums, the Humane Society and more. Burg feels that one of her main mission in life is to help people—from tutoring, to volunteering, to donating blood and plasma. Burg just loves to lend a helping hand and make the world a better place.
Justin Chapko, VISTA, San Antonio, TX
Justin Chapko’s experience in volunteering for a non-profit organization stems from being a student member of his high school FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 457. Chapko held the title of team captain for 2 years. Chapko also led the team into competitions and made presentations at events geared toward recruiting students and members to join FRC.
Abigail Cohen, VISTA, Boston, MA
Abby Cohen is excited to make her non-profit and AmeriCorps debut this summer working as VISTA for FIRST. Cohen is a recent University of Pittsburgh alumni, where she received degrees in both Economics and Philosophy. Cohen also graduated with Extra Curricular Distinction due to her widespread involvement on campus. Cohen was the head of the TEDx logistics committee, a First Year Mentor, brother of Alpha Phi Omega, member of the OCC honorary society, Peer Educator in the University's sexual assault office, member of the Alcohol Task Force, and a Pitt Program Council committee member, to name a few. Cohen plans on using this year to help those who cannot help themselves and hopefully get more involved in the Boston non- profit community.
Tanya Drake, VISTA, Indianapolis, IN
Originally from Clemson, SC, Drake moved to Indiana in 2012. Mother of two fabulous boys ages 16 and 13, she has been married to fellow FIRST mentor, Joshua Drake. Growing up Drake was into ultra girlie things. She was a cheerleader, on the prom committee, prom queen, on yearbook staff and in the beta club. Drake was accepted into the North Carolina school of math and science as a sophomore, but declined. Drake had never heard of FIRST or robotics. With no formal degree in STEM education, she has always loved STEM and found it fascinating. When her children started school, she was introduced to the program. Drake had been hooked ever since. Drake has been involved in FIRST since 2008, either as a mentor or volunteer. “I love it and plan to continue with the program as long as my body let's me.”
Mimi Duru, VISTA, Memphis, TN
Mimi Duru is a recent graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in Business Administration. While a student there, she held marketing and campus outreach positions for the American Marketing Association and its local chapter in Memphis, TN. Well-versed in Marketing and recruitment, Duru was also one of three student representatives for the Disney College Program in Mississippi State University for two years, before transferring to the University of Memphis.
Jessica Eggart, VISTA, Manchester, NH
Jess Eggart received a BA from Metropolitan State University of Denver and is currently working on a MA in communication at SNHU. Eggart comes from an arts, dance and theatre background and has shared her love of creativity with humans of all ages, from first grade through senior citizens. Eggart has an extensive resume, which includes experience as a volunteer coordinator for a non-profit no-kill animal shelter. She has also served as a recruitment specialist for ACE Surgical Assisting, an online technical trade school. Her diverse background allows for a unique worldview and a desire to serve with non-profit organizations such as FIRST.
Dylan Fuehrer, VISTA, Kansas City, MO
Dylan Fuehrer has extensive experience with FIRST® Robotics Competition. Fuehrer has been a part of FRC for six years with responsibilities regarding the overall efficiency of all engineering products in the program. As the lead mechanical manager of a successful FRC team, he was responsible for shop safety and supervision of team members in and using machines and tools. Fuehrer has also served as a mentor/coach to several FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) teams in the Kansas City area.
Susan Garduno, VISTA, Flagstaff, AZ
Susan Garduno brings many years of management and organizational experience to the FIRST® VISTA Program, having worked in banking, daycare, restaurant management and parochial schools. She uses her skills to effectively advertise FIRST at all levels. Being a parent of an alumnus of FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 2486 “Coconuts,” she reminds us that even though her child graduated from FIRST, she did not. She has helped start teams at all levels of FIRST and enjoys supporting teams so that they are able to achieve their goals.
China Genwright, VISTA, Washington, DC
China Genwright is a graduate of Delaware State University; where she received her undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics: Bioengineering. She has been deeply involved with the FIRST organization for the past two years as a robotics summer camp instructor, mentor, and coach of FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) teams. In her spare time, she also likes to volunteer at various FIRST tournaments and events for Jr. FLL, FLL and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). Genwright has high hopes for her year of service as an AmeriCorps FIRST VISTA and plans to take on the challenge of site supervisor and establish a robotics team in every school district in the state of Delaware.
Janette Gilleon, VISTA, Wesson, MS
Janette Gilleon is the mother of three adult children and “GiGi” to four amazing grandsons. She was raised in a small Mississippi town and knows the importance of community and the need to promote interest in STEM related fields in our youth of underserved and low income areas. Gilleon built a career in nursing and enjoys the satisfaction of helping others. Over the years, she has volunteered for many fund raising events, and assisted in organizing and overseeing health fairs, Relay for Life events and various other good causes.
Delilah Gilliam, VISTA, Richmond, VA
Delilah Gilliam is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds dual degrees in Global Development and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Gilliam has partnered with VirginiaFIRST® for her second year of service in order to lead the organization in their initiative to alleviate the ill effects of poverty within Richmond, Virginia communities'. Through the development of a sustainability pilot, she hopes to unite communities and invigorate a generation's love for STEM education.
Rebecca Hannaford, VISTA, Tampa, FL
Rebecca Hannaford is a second year AmeriCrops VISTA. During her first year, she was a Corps Member with AmeriCorps City Year Philadelphia, where she worked with a class of eighth grade students in Northeast Philadelphia as a mentor and literacy/math tutor. She shifted into indirect service as a VISTA member, and relocated with her significant other to Tampa. Coming from a FIRST family, she is excited to have the opportunity to support teams, and spread the program into more Tampa communities.
Clayton Hawthorne, VISTA, Moscow, ID
Clayton is a recent high school graduate. He has participated in numerous volunteer activities including community work days to clean up downtown, help at Harvest Texarkana Food Bank, Randy Sams Homeless Shelter, and First Choice Pregnancy Center. Clayton served as a Teen Court juror and attorney as well as being a Junior Volunteer at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana, Texas.
Kimberly Holman, VISTA, San Antonio, TX
Kimberly Holman has a background in After-School enrichment and youth development. As a member of the CASE Kid's Day AmeriCorps program, in Houston, TX, she served as an after-school teacher for underserved youth in the Harris County area. She also serves as a leader in her church youth group. Holman has served two full-time terms in her previous AmeriCorps program. Her experience as an AmeriCorps member has greatly increased her passion and understanding of the need to be in service to others. As an after-school teacher, Holman was responsible for teaching STEM based curriculum, homework help, and tutoring.
Liam Honecker, VISTA, Fairmont, WV
Liam Honecker has extensive knowledge in the field of engineering and computer science. His first forays into the world of FIRST began in the early 2000’s at FIRST LEGO League (FLL) event in which he was a runner up in “gracious professionalism” during the “Volcanic Panic” game. Concurrent with his passion for FIRST, Honecker is an autodidactic, enjoying building, breaking, and fixing electronics. Honecker is excited to serve as a FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA and bring STEM education to the underserved.
Rebecca Janisch, VISTA, Chicago, IL
Rebecca Janisch has recently served with AmeriCorps NCCC back in November 2014 as a team member. As she was serving she traveled all around the South assisting in various non-profit organizations and showed leadership when she was appointed as assistant team leader during one of her rounds. Janisch at the time was attending college where she was striving to earn her degree in English Literature. Currently she is relocating from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago, IL to serve with FIRST. She is an outgoing individual with a funny sense of humor.
Lauren Jefferson, VISTA, Hartford, CT
Lauren Jefferson is a recent graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a major in Management Science. While at MIT, Jefferson worked with Engage the Power on a domestic violence awareness and information campaign designed to dispel myths about domestic violence and start a community conversation within the city of Cambridge, MA. Additionally, she organized two of the philanthropy events that her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, held in support of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and domestic violence awareness. As a Communications Leadership Development Program Intern for General Electric, Jefferson helped organize an annual fundraising event in support of the Petit Family Foundation.
Mathan Johnson, VISTA, Los Angeles, CA
Mathan Johnson is a goal driven college graduate who has extensive experience volunteering and teaching English to ESL students. As a TEFL certified ESL teacher, Johnson lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain, teaching and volunteering at the local Elementary school with 5th and 6th grade level students. Johnson majored in American Culture, which highlighted the differences between North American cultures and other cultured countries, such as Spain. His competitive spirit has also adhered to his passion for sports, particularly basketball. While at U of M, he minored in Sport Management, coached and volunteered with a youth sports camp dedicated to those underprivileged kids in urban communities and was an active member of the Sport Business Association, a non-profit organization helping youth become more informed about the business of sports.
Paul LeFebvre, VISTA, Leominster, MA
Paul LeFebvre has a solid background in both robotics and in the non-profit sector. As a program instructor for the Boys and Girls Club of America in Leominster, MA, LeFebvre was responsible for teaching STEM based classes such as NAO humanoid, LEGO robotics and Arduino. LeFebvre also spends time on mentoring local children in programming, electronics and whatever else sparks their imaginations and keeps them curious about learning.
Michael Lyden, VISTA, Fairmont, WV
Michael Lyden enjoys working with and for youth, especially in educational settings. He has worked as a tutor, teacher, mentor, and youth director while in college at Marshall University. His strongest interests (and college majors) are in mathematics and special education. Lyden's volunteer interests not only involve youth development, but also housing construction and repair. He regularly goes on work teams in different regions of the US to aid in disaster relief; working with programs supported by the United Methodist Church.
Rebecca Mabry, VISTA, Greensboro, NC
Rebecca Mabry’s education includes a BS in Justice & Policy Studies and a post baccalaureate certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has 15 years of human service experience in the public sector including criminal/civil courts, local government and nonprofit organizations. As seasoned case manager and program coordinator, Mabry is a proven professional with strong client services skills and a customer advocate. She has extensive experience in planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of various program components. Marby is recognized for her ability to establish and manage relationships with partnering agencies, specializing in community collaborations, outreach and engagement. Special interests include family self-sufficiency programs, social corporate responsibility and philanthropy.
Rachael Mann, VISTA, St. Louis, MO
Rachael Mann is studying to be an interior designer at Maryville University. Mann has been involved in the volunteer community since childhood. She gained her love of serving the community from her mother who worked for non-profits for over 20 years. Mann volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club for 3 years as an assistant volleyball coach and counselor. In addition to her volunteer work at the Boys and Girl's club she has also donated her time to Thrives, Healthy families, and various homeless shelters in her community. Her city of origin is Detroit, Michigan. She moved to Missouri in 2005, where she continues to serve her community.
Jennifer Martucci, VISTA, Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer Martucci has grown up with FIRST®, participating in FIRST LEGO® League teams and the invitational VEX (now FIRST Tech Challenge) event, and volunteering in Washington State ever since she aged out of the program. Martucci attended Savannah College of Art and Design, where she double-majored in Film & Television and Dramatic Writing, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Martucci then worked for a year as a high school English teacher at a charter school in Southern Florida before moving back out west to Los Angeles, CA. With her extensive robotics and event planning experience and her passion for the arts and motivating young people, Martucci is excited to interact with students in underprivileged areas of LA and inspire them to create and learn.
Nicole Mauntel, VISTA, Indianapolis, IN
Nicole Mauntel began volunteering with youth while still in high school. continued to volunteer with youth during her college career as a Sycamore Service Corps member working with at-risk adolescents. While in college, Mauntel had several unique opportunities where she participated in an internship in Honduras and studied abroad in Japan, giving her a wider world view to share with her students. After college, she began volunteering with a middle school FIRST® Robotics team, working with students on team building skills, and helped teams to think outside the box to solve world problems.
Tia McDougal, VISTA, Dover, DE
An avid Volunteer, Tia McDougal is relocating from North Carolina to Delaware to embark on her third AmeriCorps term with FIRST. She brings many years of experience to FIRST including positions held in accounting, human resources, corporate retail, volunteer management, executive administrative support, and educator. McDougal was also owned and operated an executive events management company. She attended the University of Delaware as a Spanish and Political Science dual major and has spent decades mentoring, educating, and empowering youth.
Bianca Orozco, VISTA, Portland, OR
Bianca Orozco is an individual who has always been passionate about social justice and providing an environment where others can learn and thrive. While attending Oregon State University, earning a B.A. in English and a Minor in Writing, she not only stayed busy with her sorority but also volunteered with the university’s student-run literary magazine “Prism”. Her involvement in the Prism Committee helped provide students an artistic outlet for their work. She also worked with “Project Social Justice” where she, alongside a mentor, attended workshops dealing with issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. and the international community through the “Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association” where during their “Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service” she helped create large sets of fraction and multiplication tables for elementary schools in Gondar, Ethiopia.
Moises Reyes-Maldonado, VISTA, San Juan, PR
Born in Puerto Rico, Moises Reyes has felt a lot of passion for volunteerism and working with disadvantage populations. Reyes was a leader since Jr. high school and also at church; getting involved in solving teenagers’ conflicts and situations. In his professional career he has performed in management, sales, customer services, advertising strategies, advertising campaigns, booking, public image, logistic, expos and others. Reyes also has served as a volunteer for different organizations and charities like "Relevo por la vida" for the American Cancer Society, "Shelter a soul" for Iniciativa Comunitaria, Northeast Ecological Corridor, multiple fundraisers for charities, schools and people with disease.
Oscar Salinas, VISTA, Los Angeles, CA
Oscar was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Growing up, he and his family struggled to get by, with his parents having to work paycheck to paycheck. Now as an adult and with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, he looks to give back to communities by volunteering. While in school, Salinas learned the importance of helping others less fortunate by doing multiple community service projects with his fraternity and other organizations. He’s also developed leadership skills through the journalism courses he took and the service projects he led as an undergrad. Combining that with his 10+ years of work experience in various fields, he’s always ready for anything.
Roshonda Smith, VISTA, Greensboro, NC
Throughout her early career, Roshonda Smith has gained rigorous hours of experience by working extensively with various non-profit organizations. Activities such as consecutively working in overnight homeless shelters for men, providing guidance and support to homeless and formerly homeless veterans, and providing utility assistance and job skills training in low income communities; with her most recent service experience being completed with AmeriCorps: Partnership to End Homelessness. Hailing from Johnson C. Smith University, this Golden Bull’s undergraduate background specializes in Computer Science Information Systems B.A. and Information Technology Security Management (AS).
Christina Trimingham, VISTA, Boston, MA
Christina Trimingham became involved with FIRST in 2012 when she joined FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 3250 (Sacramento CA, Kennedy Robotics). She excelled in many positions varying from public relations to head fabricator and team captain. Christina began her commitment to community service in high school when she began exhibiting and selling her photography to donate the proceeds to charity. She hopes to use her term as a FIRST VISTA to help other children experience what she had the privilege to with her FIRST team.
Claytoya Tugwell, VISTA, New York City, NY
A recent graduate of Columbia University (M.A. Sociology; B.A. Political Science & African American Studies), Claytoya Tugwell is a youth development professional with over six years of experience working with underserved communities in advocacy, counseling, and mentorship roles. Born and raised in Jamaica Queens, Tugwell is a NY enthusiast and is proud to support FIRST NYC in expanding equal educational opportunities be they from low-income, first generation, LGBT, or communities of color.
Ryan Utzman, VISTA, Fairmont, WV
Ryan Utzman is an alumnus of FIRST ® Robotics Competition (FRC) team 2614 from Morgantown, WV, and has served as a mentor there for 3 years. Utzman has also been involved with FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) as a Judge and Referee at local tournaments. Utzman is excited to continue reaching out to students through FIRST.