Jennifer grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Villanova University in 2017 with a degree in Psychology. She had taken Spanish in school so during her spring semester junior year she decided to study abroad in Spain. It was a great experience and she learned she had a love for learning about other cultures and wanted to continue improving her Spanish. After graduating Jennifer didn’t know what she wanted to do so decided to take a gap year. She choose Manna Project because in addition to being able to improve her Spanish she loved the idea that with the holistic approach she will be working in different fields and exposed to far more.
Brenna Hale, Program Director
Montana State University ‘17, Biological Sciences and Latin American Studies
Brenna grew up in Billings, Montana and graduated from Montana State University with a double major in Biological Sciences and Latin American Studies in December of 2017. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Brenna enjoyed teaching Spanish in local elementary schools and English to migrant workers in her community. Through the relationships she made with the families she taught, Brenna knew she wanted to work with an international nonprofit after graduation. Brenna is passionate about MPI Ecuador's focus on education for both children and adults and its close ties to the local community. She is also excited about the opportunity to improve her Spanish skills! In her spare time, Brenna enjoys exploring anything outdoors and spending quality time with friends and family.
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.
Tori Baldassini, Program Director
Northeastern University ‘19, Political Science and Spanish
Tori grew up in Hingham, MA, a suburb outside of Boston. In May 2019, she will graduate from Northeastern University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. Tori is passionate about serving her communities, having volunteered with organizations that support health education, academic achievement, and elder engagement in the Boston area. This love for community development inspired her to join Manna. She also enjoys exploring new cultures and forging friendships with people from a variety of different backgrounds. She has travelled to many different countries, including Spain, Japan, and China, but this is her first time in South America!
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.