Emerging Leaders 2023 Cohort & Staff
Meet this year's Emerging Leaders Program staff and cohort, an incredible team of individuals who want to form an inclusive community and build leadership skills to support future career interests in natural resource stewardship and outdoor recreation. Throughout the 14-week program, cohort members have opportunities to collaborate with community partners and land management agencies.
Learn more about the Emerging Leaders Program
Emerging Leaders Staff
Angelic Friday | (she/her) | ELP Project Coordinator
In her role at WTA, Angelic hopes to foster a supportive and inclusive community for the Emerging Leaders cohort. "I want to be an advocate for this cohort and help aid them in their professional aspirations," she says. Outside of work you can find her hiking out on a trail, spending quality time with friends, and working on fun side projects.
Beatriz “Bea” Vazquez | (she/her) | ELP Assistant Leader
Bea hopes to guide, mentor and build lifelong connections for our 2023 cohort navigating the environmental industry. "I plan to share the wealth of knowledge my mentors passed on to me, and I look forward to learning from this cohort and growing as a leader," she says. When not on trail, she is scaling rock walls and tree stumps. She is turning the people closest to her into rotting, decaying zombies with fx makeup. She can also be found on the couch with a potato watching the Last of Us, Train to Busan or Shawn of the Dead.
MJ Sampang | (she/her) | Community Partnerships and Leadership Development Coordinator
Maryjo, also know as MJ, is a first generation Filipina-American who grew up in the Bay Area and is now settling some roots in the PNW. She is a certified environmental and outdoor educator from California’s Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) and has worked with various nonprofit organizations focused on environmental justice and empowering BIPOC youth through the outdoors. Her true passion is to continuously create equitable and accessible outdoor programs for underrepresented youth and communities. If you don’t see her on trail or randomly staring up at the trees to see if there is an owl present, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee and drinking a kombucha.
Charlie Lavides | (they/them) (she/her) | ELP cohort member
Born and raised in the greater Seattle area, Charlie studied the intersectional major of Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior, with a minor in Consciousness at the University of Washington. Essentially, these are a blend of sociology, psychology, philosophy, and the scientific study of states of consciousness. After graduating they traveled to the Philippines, and backpacked across Japan, returning to Seattle with a newfound appreciation for Washington’s lush forests, mountains, and seasonal change. Previously, they worked with WTA’s youth volunteer programs as an assistant leader and fell more in love with hiking and trails. They continue to study human behavior, leadership styles, and the science of mind & body connections through varying classes through the Sundust Oracle Institute to gain the skills to uplift BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and neurodivergent communities. In their free time you can find them reading, cruising on their longboard, or researching dreams to reach deeper states of awareness.
Shanice Snyder | (she/her) | ELP cohort member
Shanice Snyder (who also goes by Sol as a nickname because she is a huge Sun stan) currently resides on Puyallup and Coast Salish lands. She is mixed race (half Black, half white) and was born in Glendale, Ariz. on Luke AFB. Her dad was in the Air Force, so after being stationed in Arizona, they moved to Washington in 1999. Being born in the desert, Shanice prefers warm and sunshine over cold and rain. Before joining ELP, she was part of EarthCorps 2022 BIPOC cohort doing restoration work all along the Salish Sea (Puget Sound). She hopes that by working with WTA, she can continue to gain experience and build her resume to find jobs within the outdoor industry. "I hope some values I can bring is that when we say the outdoors is for everyone, that we truly mean that with our actions and not just our words. That we work to show better representation with the outdoor space including dark skinned people, plus size people and folks with disabilities. To be mindful that we amplify the voice of Black and Indigenous peoples that tend to be left out of so many conversations but who actually should be at the front," she says. She is a rhythm skater, meaning that she dances and does routines on quad skates. It's been one of her favorite ways to embrace self expression through movement.
L Kravit-Smith | (they/them) | ELP cohort member
L Kravit-Smith, is from Olympia, Washington but was born in Guatemala. They recently graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree focused in Latin American history and organic farming. Their hopes in working with WTA are to be able to work with youth in the outdoors, as well as gain skills in leadership and trail maintenance. They come from a background of vegetable and herb farming, and this will be their first time diving into trail work! "I hope to bring my love of the outdoors into this program, as well as my passion for accessibility for all in the outdoor community. I am incredibly excited to be working with an incredible group of people this season," they say. Outside of work they like to crochet, write poetry and dance.
Michelle 美薇 | (she/her) | ELP cohort member
Despite spending the first 18 years of her life in the big city of Beijing, nowadays you will most often find Michelle in the great outdoors. Following her passion for working outside has led Michelle everywhere from guiding family nature walks in her local parks to leading a crosscut crew 15 miles in the backcountry. In working with WTA’s Emerging Leaders Program, Michelle hopes to find the community, safety, and representation she has been greatly missing in the outdoor industry as an Asian American. Throughout ELP, Michelle hopes to bring her determination to make the outdoors an inclusive space for all. Outside of work, you’ll find Michelle birding, skateboarding or songwriting.