Team Nicaragua 2012-2013
From left to right
Not pictured: Javier Silva
- Katie Messick
- Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy
Katie received her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Mary Washington College and then moved to Boston, MA. where she worked for Cultural Survival, an indigenous rights organization. Afterward, she lead three international youth travel and service programs for her YMCA in the Berkshires. After doing sales and marketing for an international educational travel organization, Education First, Katie joined Peace Corps and served as an Urban Youth Development Volunteer in Paraguay. Katie graduated in May 2011 with a Masters in International Development Policy from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. While at Duke, Katie interned for Save the Children and Restless Development in Uganda. Katie became our Nicaragua Director in the summer of 2011 and oversees all of our Nicaragua programs and volunteers.
- Javier Silva
- Lund University '11, MS in Int'l Marketing & Brand Management
Javier was born in Bogota, Colombia, moving to the US when he was young and then growing up in Stamford, CT. In June 2011 Javier graduated from Lund University in Sweden with a MSc in International Marketing & Brand Management. Prior to that he spent 3 years as the Marketing Manager for a small consulting firm in CT. He developed marketing/business development campaigns geared at increasing sales, client retention and brand recognition (something he hopes will come in handy while running the Business Development program in Nica). Thanks to both his work and his time abroad Javier was able to travel extensively throughout Europe, South America and the Caribbean. He first heard about MPI through Lacrosse the Nations (LtN). Javier fell in love with what LtN was doing and when they told him they had partnered with MPI to bring someone down to help expand their programs he jumped at the chance. After this year, Javier hopes to stay involved with Lacrosse the Nations/Manna Project or any other organization doing work that he can be this passionate about.
- Jennifer Metzger
- Towson University '11, International Relations
Jennifer is from Annapolis, MD and graduated from Towson University in 2011 with a B.A. in International Relations. She has traveled throughout Asia, east Africa, and Central America and is happy to have landed in Nicaragua. She is excited to work with MPI, teach English, learn even more Spanish, and play lots of soccer! With some experience in the non-profit world she is also looking forward to helping with the administrative needs of MPI.
- Jamison Joiner
- Southern Methodist University '11, Business Managment, Spanish
Jamison is from Sherman, Texas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX in December 2011 with a B.B.A. in Business Management and a B.A. in Spanish. Previously Jamison lived abroad in Germany for a summer. He’s a huge SMU Mustang football fan and plans on going to law school when his year with Manna is up. Jamison joined Manna because of the opportunity to gain a fantastic life experience/better his Spanish while giving back to a community in a way that really makes a difference.
- JJ Parker
- Bucknell University '12, Neuroscience
JJ is from Lake Bluff Illinois, graduated with a Neuroscience degree from Bucknell University in May 2012. He has travel to Guatemala and Tanzania on service trips and is excited about the opportunities in Managua. He plans to begin medical school in Fall 2013, and this "gap year" will serve as a great chance to give back to an underserved community while learning lessons about humanity and himself. Parker is thrilled to learn Spanish, and explore Nicaragua's variety of nature and culture.
- Lydia Blevins
- College of William and Mary '11, Linguistics
Lydia Blevins hails from Pulaski County in Southwest Virginia. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Linguistics in December 2011. She became acquainted with Manna during five mission trips to Nicaragua with the non-profit ORPHANetwork during college. During her time in Nicaragua she fell in love with the culture and community and is ecstatic about the opportunity to serve there full time. Apart from adoring Nicaragua, Lydia loves spending time with her amazing family and friends, baking, writing, and being involved with church ministry. She hopes to make a more permanent commitment to a community development organization or Christian mission opportunity after Manna.
- Julia Benivegna
- University of Pennsylvania '12, Economics, Art History
Julia Benivegna graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2012 with a major in Economics and minor in Art History. Originally from Roxbury, Connecticut Julia had her first experience working for a non-profit in Mexico building homes for people living in a dump community. While working in Mexico she witnessed starvation and poverty. Moved by her experiences in Mexico she decided that after graduation she wanted to spend a year helping people in need. Impressed by Manna Project’s programs and excited by the work they do in La Chureca, she decided to join Manna. In her free time Julia likes to sing and play board games. After Manna Julia hopes to find a job in Marketing but to always keep on traveling and helping others.
- Robin Nichols
- Vanderbilt University '12, Engineering Science, and Spanish
Robin graduated in May 2012 with a BS in Engineering Science and Spanish with a minor in Engineering Management from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Since her first international service trip to Costa Rica in high school, Robin has always hoped to return to Central America to live. After learning about MPI through its founding chapter at Vanderbilt, Robin saw Manna as an ideal post-grad opportunity to further gain international experience and to help local communities. She is interested in a variety of MPI programs, including our Business Development program and is thrilled to be part of the Manna family!
- Hannah Peterson
- University of Pennsylvania '12, Economics and Sociology
Hannah Peterson is from Walton-on-Thames, England. Her interest in travel started early as she grew up in an international school and had the opportunity to travel around Europe, She just graduated in May from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Economics and Sociology. After studying Spanish all throughout high school, she took her first trip to Latin America to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a semester her junior year. After working for many youth development nonprofits in the United States, she knew that after she graduated this is what she wanted to pursue. It is her love for Latin America that made her choose Manna. Hannah hopes to use her business and Spanish knowledge to help the communities. In her spare time Hannah loves to dance and read.
- Kiely Barnard-Webster
- Bates College '12, Political Science and French
Kiely Barnard-Webster attended Bates College, and studied Political Science and French. Her interest in International Studies and non-profit community development inspired Kiely to join Manna Project, after hearing about the organization from fellow Program Director, Robin Nichols. Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Kiely has done research surrounding human rights infractions and international development efforts in different parts of the world, studying abroad in Kigali, Rwanda and Aix-en-Provence, France while in college. Her favorite pastimes include playing soccer, listening to music and knitting scarves
- Maggie Thomas
- Vanderbilt University, '11 Public Policy
Atlanta’s Maggie Thomas worked as a public diplomacy intern for the State Department at the US Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador prior to her arrival at our Nicaragua site. Studying abroad in Managua, Nicaragua allowed her to work with Manna, which, coupled with her desire to serve, led her back. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, cooking and enjoying good food. In the future, she hopes to pursue graduate school in Political Science and work in either government or the non-profit world.