Kate grew up in Santa Cruz, California. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Human Biology and Society. Her mother grew up in Nicaragua and much of her extended family still lives there; thus Kate is strongly connected with this part of her heritage. She travels frequently to Nicaragua and has worked as a volunteer for an orphanage in Mexico. These experiences opened her eyes to the rampant poverty that affects much of Latin America. Her drive to learn about life in different Latin American nations and pursue grassroots efforts to improve the quality of life in such areas drew her to MPI. She particularly values Manna's emphasis on building lasting relationships with community members. In her spare time, Kate enjoys painting, hiking, meditating, and trying new foods. She plans to attend law school after her time with MPI.
Gaby Hochu, Program Director
North Carolina State University ‘17, Biomedical Engineering
Gaby grew up in Memphis, TN. She graduated in May 2017 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from North Carolina State University. After traveling to Ecuador last year to volunteer with a nonprofit, she knew she wanted to return and work in the nonprofit field for a longer duration. She felt drawn to MPI because of its efforts to establish authentic relationships with the community and work toward sustainable change. In Gaby’s spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and relaxing with friends and family. She hopes to attend medical school in the future.
Abigale Purvis, Program Director
Northeastern University ’20, International Business and Spanish
Abigale is originally from Seattle, WA. In May of 2020, she will graduate from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in International Business and Spanish with a focus on Social Entrepreneurship and Food Systems Sustainability. Abigale is passionate about social change and sustainability, having worked previously with organizations in the US and abroad that focus on rural community development, sustainable consumption, and issues of urban homelessness. Abigale loves to travel and apply her passions abroad, having most recently spent time working and studying in India and Mexico. In her spare time, Abigale loves to cook, spend time with friends, and explore new places!
Kelly Teshima-Mccormick, Program Director
University of California ‘15, Political Science and Psychology
Kelly grew up in Oakland, California. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2015 with a double major in Political Science and Psychology. Kelly has always loved the Spanish language and is passionate about equality in education and serving communities. However, it wasn't until teaching in Japan that Kelly discovered an interest for international education and development. Kelly is excited to join Manna's team in Ecuador to support, engage with, and learn from the local community. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys hiking, watching sports, and discussing public policy.
Imhotep Simba, Program Director
Urban Youth Development Volunteer, Peace Corps Ecuador
Coppin State University '15, Global Studies
Imhotep was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He's currently serving as an Urban Youth Development Volunteer with Peace Corps Ecuador's Youth & Families Program. Prior to serving at Manna Project, Imhotep served at Casa de la Niñez #2 working with adolescent boys who have had challenges with drug addiction and experience living in the streets. Prior to his service in Ecuador, Imhotep served as a program manager for Concerned Black Men National's CBM CARES® National Mentoring Initiative where he had an opportunity to serve over 100 middle school boys in West Baltimore. What motivates him to work in Public Service and Youth Development specifically, are the mentors he had growing up and the opportunities they provided that improved his overall quality of life. Imhotep's ultimate personal and career goal is to contribute to ending extreme poverty.
Pechta Sok, Program Director
James Madison University ‘18, International Affairs
Pechta graduated from James Madison University and earned an International Affairs degree with a minor in economics. Her passion for human rights work has driven her to pursue roles inside and outside her community. She served as president within her university’s human rights organization, a devoted activist and coordinator, and life long student. She has a diverse background and identifies with three different countries. And although she has lived in three different countries, Manna will her first solo international trip. She aspires to be a global citizen and assist communities through communication and relationship-building. She is excited to share her knowledge and stories with the world, and she wants them to do the same. On her spare time she likes to try out different sports and activities, but she is currently involved in yoga, journaling and reading.