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.
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.
Back Row: Vincent Ricci, Jimmy Thomas, Nayna Shah, Nancy Shattuck (Country Director), Hunter Thomas
Front Row: Ayzsa Tannis
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
Board of Directors
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.
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).
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.