Meet This Summer's Returning Program Leaders
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Meet This Summer's Returning Program Leaders

This summer, seasonal staff members will help students navigate airports, customs, and new experiences across 17 different countries and 100+ Rustic Pathways programs.

Each year, our Country Teams get even better at what they do. More than half our Program Leaders have returned to work another Rustic summer this year.

We’ve invested more resources in recruiting and training Program Leaders to prepare these already skilled leaders for facilitating unforgettable summers for students. Get to know a few of Rustic’s talented Program Leaders who are returning for another summer, and check out which trips they’re currently scheduled to lead.

South Pacific

Liam Lannigan

Australia Program Leader

Liam comes from a small town in the Kimberley region called Halls Creek, where he was raised by his grandmother who is an important village elder. He joined Rustic Pathways in 2014 and since then has enjoyed program leading as an opportunity to travel and to learn more about Australia. He also likes learning about the countries and cultures of international students visiting Australia.

Nancy Trujillo

Fiji Program Leader

Nancy started with Rustic Pathways in 2016 as a program leader in both the Dominican Republic and Thailand. She has gone on to lead programs in Cuba, the USA, Mongolia, and China, and she joins us this summer as a program leader in Fiji. Nancy loves to ride her bike, walk her dog, and once a year travels to Puerto Rico with her best friend. She wants to save the world and bake cookies.

Southeast Asia

Senghong Yourk

Cambodia Program Manager

Senghong is a recent graduate of Royal University of Law and Economics where he received a degree in international relations. He brings his impressive knowledge of the many issues affecting life in Cambodia today. Senghong is very passionate about discovering new things and being a role model while making a positive impact in his country. Outside of Rustic Pathways, he is very involved in efforts working to bring change to Cambodia and is a member of the U.S. Ambassador Youth Council, where he meets with the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia every month to discuss different issues.

Anou Phetsila

Laos Senior Program Manager

Anou, who joined Rustic Pathways in 2009, hails from the rural western frontier of Xayaboury Province along the border of Laos and Myanmar. As a certified Wilderness First Responder, he has been a key staff member on the Come With Nothing: The Mekong Expedition staff for several years. Anou has traveled extensively with students throughout Southeast Asia.

Hugh Harvey

Thailand Program Leader

Leading Back Roads of Southeast Asia

Hugh first started with Rustic in 2013 running Come with Nothing programs in Thailand. After a few years living and working in San Diego, he moved back to Southeast Asia in 2017 and has since worked full time running gap year and student travel programs.

Rebecca Liebeskind

Vietnam Program Leader

Leading From Hanoi to Ha Long

A common theme in Rebecca’s professional and academic career has been her interest in and passion for active global citizenship through an understanding of the world. She has traveled, volunteered, and worked abroad in more than 40 countries. These experiences not only helped to broaden her perspective and enhance her sensitivity to many global issues but also enabled her to learn languages and tools that she has applied in various jobs and tasks.

Asia

Harvey Wei

China Program Leader

Leading Panda Conservation and Wild China

Harvey has been leading tours in China for 15 years, introducing travelers to its cities and rural areas. He joined Rustic as a program leader in China last summer and recently led programs in Fiji as well.

Kyle Donahue

Mongolia Program Leader

Leading Off the Map: Mongolia

An enthusiastic adventurer, Kyle loves doing anything outside in any weather. He has been traveling for the better part of 7 years and has lived on 4 continents. You will find him skiing, hiking, biking, surfing, or cooking.

Americas

Steven Boyle

Cuba Program Leader

Leading Intro to Photography in Cuba

Steve travels the country to create compelling imagery for advertising and editorial clients. When working with athletes he strives to capture their physicality, intensity, and inherent competitiveness. Steve attended the University of Missouri and received a degree in photojournalism. Before beginning his freelancing career, he spent a year as an assistant & lighting tech for Sports Illustrated and briefly held a desk job as a photo editor at a fitness magazine.

Laura Rojas Cortorreal

Dominican Republic Program Leader

Leading Mountain Air and Village Service

Laura is originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Known for her sunny disposition and sense of humor, Laura describes herself as someone who strives every day to be a better person, enjoy life, and learn something new. She joined Rustic Pathways as a program leader in the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2018.

Nikki Okawa

United States Program Leader

Leading Aloha Service

Originally from Hawai’i, Nikki loves anything outdoors. Especially if it involves the ocean!

Africa

Zinab Abouti

Morocco Program Leader

Zinab has extensive experience in teaching language and cultural courses, instructing recreational activities, and leading high school students during educational and international travel. She has worked for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Cultural and Language Center in Marrakech, and the American School of Marrakech. Zinab started working with Rustic Pathways as a group leader in the summer of 2015 where she implements her love of teaching and exchange of culture with expatriate students outside the classroom.

Tusajigwe Mwambipile

Tanzania Program Leader

Leading Serengeti to Zanzaibar and Njoro Village Service Immersion

Originally from Dar es Salaam, Tusa attended primary and high school in Kampala, Uganda. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Dar es Salaam, and now lives in Arusha. Tusa joined Rustic in 2016 seeking new challenges, friends, experiences, and, above all, fun! She loves to exchange ideas, share insights into her country and all it has to offer, and learn about the world through Rustic’s students.

Please note that these Program Leaders are currently scheduled to lead the programs listed. However, due to the inherent nature of travel, sometimes Program Leaders’ schedules change throughout the summer.


If you’re still interested in traveling this summer, it’s not too late! You can enroll in most Rustic Pathways programs up to eight days before its scheduled departure. Click below to explore programs by departure date.

About the Author

Kalen Valentine

Social Media and Website Marketing Coordinator

Kalen’s passion for travel was first ignited by a trip to China in high school and expanded in her time at Boston University, where she studied international relations and communication. She also studied abroad in Paris at BU. After graduating, she spent a year teaching English in northern France. She first joined Rustic Pathways as an intern on the Creative Team and now creates content and optimizes Rustic’s online presence as the Social Media and Website Marketing Coordinator. She lives in Austin, Texas, where you can often find her catching a live show or dancing it out at her favorite hip hop fitness class.