Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Trudy, Joseph and Kara
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Trudy, Joseph and Kara

We see a strong ‘Rustic Spirit’ within Rustic Pathways alumni, students that have returned from our service-oriented travel programs. These students are empathetic, self-aware, and strive to positively impact the lives of others.

This ‘Rustic Spirit’ is also seen in young change makers around the world. They prove themselves to be community-oriented and positive impact-minded through their actions.

We want to recognize and celebrate these individuals. The following students embody Rustic Spirit and are making a positive impact wherever they go.

Trudy Poux
Age 17
The Darrow School
New York, United States

Trudy recently started a composting program at their boarding school. Once the program is fully implemented, it will save thousands of pounds of food waste from being thrown out each year. By using a combination of worm composting and rotating composters, Trudy and others involved have been breaking down food waste and delivering compost back into their community.

Trudy grew up in upstate New York which gave them a firsthand experience on nature and how climate change is affecting our earth. They enjoy acting, singing, playing sports such as softball, and being immersed in nature. In college Trudy plans to major in theater.

Impact advice: Take it one step at a time, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It is okay to learn as you go!

Joseph Landolphi
Age 17
Parish Hill High School
Connecticut, United States

For a senior project, Joseph coached some friends who wore blindfolds to play against visually impaired people in the sport of baseball for the blind, a game that uses audio cues for people with a visual impairment. It was created in Europe and a team from New York had been looking for competition to play against, but there aren’t many teams in existence in the United States. Joseph describes the opportunity as a great honor and privilege to play against this team. His goal was to bring people out to this event in order to raise awareness to the sport, and this was accomplished!

Joseph plays baseball for his high school, and also enjoys spending time playing sports with his friends and siblings. He plans to major in data science and analytics at the University of Connecticut. Joseph intends to get a job involving sports analytics so he can work for a professional team in the future.

Impact advice: There are many ways to make a positive impact just by getting involved in something you love. Opportunities will come about if you look for them.

Kara Dawson
Age 18
Mississinewa High School
Indiana, United States

Kara has found many opportunities to make an impact through the National Honor Society and student council. She volunteers and gives blood at Red Cross blood drives, and also assists at middle and elementary school robotics competitions. Outside of school, she has been able to make a difference as the Indiana chapter leader for the Curvy Girls Scoliosis Support Group for over two years. In this role Kara supports girls as they go through their difficult journeys with scoliosis.

In her free time, Kara enjoys baking, hiking, and reading books. She plans to major in biochemistry and pursue a career in the genetics research field.

Impact advice: Don’t doubt what you can do. Even if it seems minuscule, the little things can have the biggest impact. 

Nominate a Student

Do you know a student doing valuable work that deserves to be recognized? Nominate them here! Are you making an impact? Tell us about your work here.

Make Change

Interested in creating change in your community? Check out our guide and learn how to make an impact as a student.

At Rustic Pathways, our goal is to make positive contributions to the communities we visit through responsible travel operations and community service projects that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.