Service with Manna Project: Nicaragua 2005-2006 Current Title and Employer: CEO, Acton School of Business
"My time at Manna Project was one of the most formative years of my life. I was empowered by the autonomy that Manna Project instills in its Program Directors to take ownership, not only of the work we were aiming to accomplish, but of my role within the community at large. This quality has been ever-present in my work since, whether working with big companies on corporate responsibility or running an entrepreneurial MBA program."
Service with Manna Project: Guatemala 2010-2011 Current Title and Employer: Executive Director, PelotonU
"Manna Project was the most important thing that happened to me in college. Because of an MPI Spring Break trip my freshman year, I majored in international development, moved to Guatemala after college, and choose a career in social entrepreneurship. The mentors I followed and responsibility I was given were critical in equipping me to now run an education organization."
Service with Manna Project: Ecuador 2007-2009 Current Title and Employer: Venture Partner at UnLtd USA • Adjunct Assistant Professor at the LBJ School's RGK Center
“My two years with Manna Project in Ecuador have continued to shape my career. Some of my fellow volunteers remain my closest friends and (hopefully) future coworkers, and some of what we learned - how to interact with other organizations, manage projects, work within a team - has accelerated my career significantly.”
Service with Manna Project: Ecuador 2009 - 2010 Current Title and Employer: Financial Economist, FDIC
"My time with Manna Project really opened my eyes to what life is like outside the United States. It helped me become a better global citizen and gain firsthand knowledge of some of the economic issues facing developing countries, which has proven invaluable in pursuing a graduate degree in economics."
Service with Manna Project: Guatemala 2010-2011 Current Title and Employer: Client Services Specialist, INTL FCStone Global Payments
“I am continually inspired by the incredible people who make up Manna Project. Not only do they care deeply about the communities they serve, they care equally about the personal growth of the volunteers who have chosen to invest their time and heart with Manna Project. Manna Project continually inspires me as it not only invests in the development of communities in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, but also in cultivating compassionate, thoughtful, and dedicated leaders."
Service with Manna Project: Co-founder; Nicaragua 2004-2005 Current Title and Employer: General Surgery Resident, University of Texas Health Science Center
"Manna Project, its communities and its mission, made a huge impact in my life. My MPI experiences empower me to more closely relate with the growing Latino patient population and to appreciate to a greater extent the blessings, opportunities, and privileges we are afforded in the United States."
Service with Manna Project: Nicaragua 2004 - 2005 Current Position and Employer: Real Estate Development & Urban Planning Project Manager, Carmel Partners
“I really enjoyed working with a group of ambitious young people with such diverse interests and backgrounds to build places and programs that made great social and physical impact on communities. Now in real estate development, I work with experts in a wide variety of fields to create places that make neighborhoods better and communities stronger. I'm better at and really enjoy collaborating across disciplines thanks to Manna Project.”
Service with Manna Project: Nicaragua 2005-2006 Current Title and Employer: Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
"My initial interest in Nicaragua grew from a visit as part of a college course surveying the economics, politics, and culture of several Latin American countries. Although I thought I was well prepared to understand the challenges faced by Nicaraguans, my year of service with Manna Project opened my eyes to the real challenges faced by those struggling to make ends meet and to provide decent living conditions and education for themselves and their families. When I left, I felt that I had gained more from my time amongst the people of Cedro Galán and Chiquilistagua than I had contributed to their lives and community."
Service with Manna Project: Nicaragua 2012-2013 Current Title and Employer: Executive Director, Lacrosse the Nations
“My time spent with Manna Project has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I developed incredible relationships and made memories that I will cherish forever. I'm certain that a part of me will always be involved with Manna Project in one way or another."
Service with Manna Project: Ecuador 2012-2013 Current Title and Employer: International Defense and Trade Policy for Congressman Bruce Westerman
"My year with Manna Project was a wonderful experience which I will cherish for the rest of my life. Not only was I fortunate enough to spend it with an amazing group of people but I learned a lot about myself both personally and professionally. Having a number of roles taught me how to balance my work load and showed me the importance of being well-organized."
Maddie (Jalandoni) Orange
Service with Manna Project: Nicaragua 2008-2009 Current Title and Employer: Program Officer - English Access Microsponsorship Program, AMIDEAST
"One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a Manna Project Program Director is the importance of recognizing your program's stakeholders and their values. Whether they are 6 year old Nicaraguan boys, local teachers, or multi-million dollar donors. By keeping this in mind, I have successfully advanced my career in international exchange programs while also pursuing a Masters in Public Health."
Sponsor a Child
Sam's passion for cross-cultural collaboration began when she studied abroad in South Africa while pursuing her bachelor's degree in Social Work at Florida State University. After graduating, Sam joined the Peace Corps as a youth development volunteer in Baguio City, Philippines for two years. She was then selected as a Graduate Degree Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she earned her Master of Social Work degree and a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Sam brings a wealth of nonprofit leadership experience to MPI through her previous positions as the Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii, and as the HIV Planning Manager at Suncoast Health Council. Sam lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband and their two dogs, Frankie and Baguio. Sam also serves as the Communications Chair for the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Tampa Bay.
Nicaragua Country Director
Christina's involvement with nonprofits began when she volunteered for a domestic violence organization while pursuing her BA in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She went on to spend eight years working with domestic violence victims, incarcerated females, and at-risk youth. In 2009, Christina received a Master in Public Management from SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy. She completed her graduate practicum at the World Health Organization and went on to spend two years working with the Nicaraguan Ministries of Health and Education in a rural community. Christina is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and was selected to receive the Emerging Global Public Health Scholars Award. Prior to joining Manna Project, Christina worked as a Research and Evaluation Associate for Safe Horizon, the largest victims' services agency in the US.
Ecuador Country Director
Carolyn's love of Ecuador began when she first arrived in 2011. After working with an isolated Kichwa community for six months, Carolyn rejoined society to join a local nonprofit organization, where she led volunteers and interns on their cultural exchange and development journeys. Carolyn brings passion and experience to MPI Ecuador through a diverse background in international development and small business operations. Since graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Film Studies and Spanish, Carolyn has taught English, led high-school study abroad trips, managed a nonprofit organization, worked as a translator and interpreter, and even started and operated her own restaurant in Tena, Ecuador! In addition to leading MPI's Ecuador team, Carolyn is pursuing a Graduate Certificate from the Public Health Department of the University of South Florida in Social Marketing for Social Change. She has lived in Indiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Spain, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. Her hobbies include swimming in rivers, riding horses, hiking in the jungle (or the Andes!), and meeting new people and cultures.
Nicaragua Site Coordinator
Austin first became interested in nonprofit work and international development when he lived in Ecuador from 2005 – 2006 and saw unmet needs that he knew didn’t need to exist. Since then, Austin has received a Masters of Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University in 2014, and gained 6 years of nonprofit experience along the way. His most recent role was with a large hunger-relief organization in Seattle, Washington, sourcing millions of pounds of donated food from manufacturers, farmers, and distributors. Austin and his wife Kelsie have always planned on transitioning into international nonprofit and education work, and they are thrilled to now be in beautiful Nicaragua. He is excited to be a part of the Manna Project team and believes the organization has a smart and sustainable business model that makes a positive difference in the lives of everyone involved.
Ecuador Community Relations Advisor
Nancy served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator in Ecuador from 1999-2001 after graduating from Washington State University with a BS in Animal Sciences.Upon her return to Washington State, she worked as a domestic violence victim’s advocate at a local shelter and then later for over ten years in the prosecutor’s office. In her free time, she became involved in her local community as a fitness instructor, holding certifications as a Group Fitness, Zumba, and CrossFit instructor.Nancy, her husband, their two kids, her mother, and their dog returned to Ecuador to stay in December 2014. Nancy loves the country of Ecuador and all it has to offer!
Director of Communications and Development
Meghan developed a passion for the community fostered in a multicultural learning environment while studying abroad in Manchester, England. In the intervening summers, she facilitated leadership programs for international high school students in Germany. Meghan received her BA in English from the University of Central Florida in 2005 and spent a year fighting cancer before joining the executive team at Full Sail University. In this role, Meghan had the privilege of coordinating philanthropic efforts in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. This experience inspired her to pursue a career in nonprofit communications and development, and she soon joined Global Teams, an organization that sends volunteers from 25 countries. Meghan joined Manna Project in 2014. Having personally benefited from the work of several nonprofits, Meghan believes in the importance of connecting people with life-changing resources and loves working with our volunteers and partners to empower effective, mutually-beneficial, and community-driven development.
Director of Finance and Administration
Haleigh majored in Accounting at the University of Kentucky and discovered her sense of adventure and travel over the course of several trips to Europe. After obtaining her Masters in Accounting from the University of Central Florida and CPA certification, Haleigh worked at an accounting firm in the Orlando area. Haleigh is excited to share her accounting and financial knowledge to help Manna Project reach its developmental and financial goals. She enjoys working for an organization committed to developing personal relationships and enriching communities in Latin America. Haleigh is also an accomplished athlete. Drawing on her experience as a collegiate swimmer, she also coaches a local swim team.
Jocelyn Lancaster, Board Chair
Program Manager, LinkedIn
Masters Candidate, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, San Francisco State University
Jocelyn was a Program Director at MPI's Ecuador site from 2008-2009, leading the Adult English and Spring Break Volunteer programs while supporting other initiatives such as women's health & nutrition and the after school program. Currently living in San Francisco, Jocelyn is a Program Manager for LinkedIn and holds a Master of Industrial/Organizational Psychology degree. Her interests lie in organizational development and international work teams. She is thrilled to continue supporting MPI as Board Chair.
Financial Economist, FDIC
Chet first got involved with MPI as a short term volunteer in Nicaragua during 2008. As a 2009 Ecuador Program Director, Chet led the microfinance program and constructed a training manual for operations. He also taught adult English and children's art. During his time with MPI, Chet gained a firsthand knowledge of economic issues faced by developing countries, which has proven invaluable in his career as a financial economist. Chet holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Maddie Orange, Board Treasurer
Project Coordinator, Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH)
Maddie was first introduced to MPI in 2007 while studying abroad in Nicaragua. She returned as a Program Director from 2008-2009 and focused on after-school programs for children and microloans for women. In 2010, she also served as part of the feasibility team for Manna Project's former Guatemala site. After returning to the States, she earned her MPH in Community-Oriented Primary Care from George Washington University. Maddie currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area and supports Christian Connections for International Health’s reproductive health projects.
Legislative Assistant, Congressman Bruce Westerman
During his 13 months as a Program Director in Ecuador, Jefferson launched the microloans program, ran the teen center, and led alumni and international public relations for the site. This experience furthered Jefferson's passion for international affairs. He moved to Washington D.C to pursue a career in politics and international relations. Jefferson joined MPI's Board of Directors in the spring of 2014. He currently handles international, defense, and trade policy work for Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04).
Lori Scharffenberg, Secretary
Co-Founder, Manna Project International
As one of Manna Project's founders, Lori has been a vital part of the MPI team since graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2004 with degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education. Lori's involvement began when she helped charter the organization in January of 2004. In September 2004, Lori and 9 others journeyed to Nicaragua where they founded MPI's first international site. Lori taught preschool and designed and implemented the first art and literacy programs. Lori acted as the Nicaragua Country Director before stepping into the role of Executive Director. She now serves on the Board and lives in Orlando, Florida with her family.
Flight Controller, NASA Johnson Space Center
Fiona was first introduced to MPI as a summer volunteer in Ecuador in 2009, shortly after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a mechanical engineering degree. Two years later, she returned as a year-long Program Director in Nicaragua in 2011-2012, and was involved in the English, math, literacy, and child sponsorship programs. Currently, Fiona lives in Houston, where she works as a flight controller in NASA's Mission Control Center for the International Space Station.
Independent Project Manager
After completing a M.A. in Economic Development at The Catholic University of America in 2013, Holly became the University's Graduates Studies in Economics. Prior to this role, Holly served as the Director of Federal Programs at the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) and as the Project Manager for two NASA education programs. At HCF, Holly designed, wrote, and secured grants totaling nine million dollars. She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. She was a recipient of the Marjorie Cook Award for women’s advocacy, an academic researcher on a Fulbright Project in Guatemala, and six-year mentor with the Big Brother Big Sister Program.
VP of Global Payments, INTL FCStone Global Payments
Kat has been involved with MPI since 2007, when she joined the Vanderbilt campus chapter. She went on to become the campus chapter President before co-founding the Guatemala site in 2010. Upon returning to the U.S., Kat continued to work for MPI stateside as the Communications Coordinator. Kat now works for a leading global payments provider, INTL FCStone, where she utilizes her Spanish and Portuguese by working with Latin American clients.
Account Director, Tongal
Scott first got involved with MPI as a freshman at Vanderbilt University, and served as the Co-President of MPI's Vanderbilt campus chapter his senior year. Currently living in Brooklyn, Scott is an Account Director at Tongal, a platform for creative content development. Previously, Scott worked at Google as an online advertising strategy consultant, with a focus on YouTube and the digital video space. He has a passion for social entrepreneurship and international development, having worked and done research in Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Scott has a Master's Degree in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in English and Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University.
Global Strategy, Paypal
Annie first got involved with MPI as a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and served as the VP of Global Programs for MPI's Vanderbilt campus chapter her senior year. Annie recently moved to San Francisco to join PayPal’s Global Strategy Team. Previously, she worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, focusing primarily on financial inclusion by offering formal financial services to low-income families. She lived in Bogotá, Colombia for a year doing research on the same. Annie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University.
Nicaragua 2014 - 2015
Front Row: Natalie Ball, Julie Sawyer, Brittny Randolph, Erica Crosley, Katy Clements, Christina Palazzo (Country Director)
Back Row: Connor Smallwood, Gretchen Heine, Juliene Joyner, Elena HogenEsch, Dana Hanley, Sam Schadt
Not pictured: Robert Grundmeier, Blair McGee, Alexa Rothenberg
Ecuador 2014 - 2015
Front Row: Catherine Althaus, Jessa Armstrong, Amelia Hulbert, Carley Clement
Back Row: Fred Schick, Evan Quinnell, Sydney McKenney
Not Pictured: Virginia Green, Katherine McCaw, Ann-Lowry Brown, Michael Weiner, Allegra Mangione
Nicaragua 2015 - 2016
Front Row: Martha Lee, Michael Graham, Kayla Sloane, Carissa Chen
Back Row: Christina Palazzo (Country Director), Liz Rosenbaum, Shanelle D'Alessio, Daniel Lewis, Heidi Tso, Jessica Whitney
Not pictured: David Schmid, Maria Molinaro, Madeline Drake, Hank Cohen and Mike Fisher
Ecuador 2015 - 2016
Front Row: Marina Wells, Kristin Sorenson, Amanda Rasch, Kelsey Williams
Back Row: Nancy Shattuck (Country Director), Melissa Picon, Monique Lara, Alex Saal, Emily Pratt, Everett Phelps, Gabby DeMarco
Ecuador 2016 - 2017
Back Row: Vincent Ricci, Jimmy Thomas, Nayna Shah, Nancy Shattuck (Country Director), Hunter Thomas
Front Row: Ayzsa Tannis
Nicaragua 2016 - 2017
Back Row: Tucker Brown, Gavin Allman, Brooke Wilson, Stephanie Crouse
Front Row: Christina Palazzo (Country Director), Rachel Kanen, Sanjana Rao, Rachel Zolotarsky, Niki Beggs
Not Pictured: Austin Fowler (Country Coordinator) and Senior Program Directors Martha Lee, Shanelle D'Alessio and Daniel Lewis