Our exceptional staff members are the backbone of our organization. Their incredibly diverse backgrounds provide us with a profound understanding of the destinations we visit and offer our students one-of-a-kind experiences.
Rustic Pathways spans the globe! Most of our staff members are based outside the United States. While the cultural traditions of our team vary from country to country, the shared values that define Rustic Pathways and make them exceptional extend across all borders. Country Operations teams include international and local staff who work together to ensure Rustic students have fun, empowering, and safe experiences with us.
Exceptional Program Leaders
Our Program Leaders have backgrounds in teaching, experiential education, service learning, wilderness training, international development, and other outdoor and educational fields. Each year, we hold in-country training sessions for both new and returning staff to ensure we maintain our standards in safety, student learning, community service, and the overall Rustic Pathways student experience. Program Leaders are incredible role models for students and, most importantly, they are all dedicated to creating the best possible programs for students.
Anna is an alumna of School Year Abroad and has a dual degree in geoscience and Mandarin from Dartmouth. Anna’s passion for experiential education and travel was sparked in high school and furthered in college. She now applies this passion at Rustic Pathways, providing opportunities for teachers and students to immerse themselves in new surroundings and engage powerfully with other cultures. Anna was previously director of our China operations and now resides in San Francisco.
Patrick began his career in experiential education as a Harvard student, managing the University’s First-Year Outdoor Program. After graduating with high honors from the Social Studies Department, Patrick continued his passion for social enterprise as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He now brings his strong leadership skills, love of the outdoors, and experience as Country Director in Mongolia and Tanzania to our team of Personal Travel Advisors in Ohio. Patrick’s immense dedication to community partnerships and passion for creating meaningful student experiences continue to shine through in our customer service.
Jason joined Rustic Pathways in 2022. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio and now residing in Northern California, Jason joins Rustic Pathways after 18 years of serving in various leadership roles at a major retailer. Jason’s passionate about each opportunity to enhance our clients experience and developing leaders. Jason loves spending time enjoying his family, creating music, sports and photography.
Focusing his academic research on Genocide studies, Zack graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Sociology. Prior to Rustic, with a lifelong passion for travel and education, Zack worked as a high school English teacher in Japan and a historical tour guide in his hometown of New York City. In his time off, Zack has backpacked extensively throughout Europe and Asia, visiting over fifty-five countries thus far. Zack may be spotted running through the park or dancing at a local music festival. A trained Emergency Medical Technician, Zack uses his expertise to keep our students and staff safe throughout their program experience.
Dr. Will Smith is a recognized leader in wilderness medicine who joined Rustic Pathways in 2015. He practices emergency medicine in Jackson, Wyoming, and is clinical faculty for the University of Washington School of Medicine, as well as the Medical Director for the National Park Service. Locally, he serves as the Co-Medical Director for Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Search & Rescue, Bridger Teton National Forest, and Jackson Hole Fire / EMS.
Emily fell in love with travel and experiential learning after high school while taking a gap year in Bolivia and Peru. During her time at the University of Denver, Emily continued to seek out travel programs and opportunities while double majoring in Geography and International Studies. She was grateful for the opportunity to do coursework in Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Mexico, and Nicaragua! Since then she has worked in a variety of jobs including outdoor education, refugee services, ESL teaching, and as a Rustic Pathways Program Leader. Emily currently lives in Costa Rica and is passionate about animals (especially turtles!), rock climbing, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
Heather is a graduate of Cleveland State University with a degree in Psychology. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, her desire to learn new cultures is always satiated with each day working at Rustic Pathways. Her first international travel was with Rustic and helped her be brave enough to travel alone to Ireland and Scotland. When not working, she enjoys reading, taking nature walks and exploring all parts of Ohio.
Gabby is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. Once she graduated from college, Gabby combined her love for helping others and travel by serving as a humanitarian in Russia. She has traveled to 23 different countries and her goal is to travel to all seven continents. Since then, she has returned to live in Florida and joined the Rustic Pathways team to encourage students to learn more about different cultures through their own personal experience. While not working, Gabby enjoys being in the sun and in the water, going on spontaneous adventures, and traveling the world!
Amy’s passion is the intersection of education and travel; before working for Rustic Pathways, she led short-term exchanges and summer immersion programs in France for high school students. When not working as a Personal Travel Advisor for Rustic Pathways, she teaches postsecondary French courses. Amy loves language learning; after spending a summer in Nicaragua she became passionate about Spanish and most recently has been studying Arabic after going to Morocco as a Lilly Endowment teacher fellow.
Teryn is a Michigan native and graduated from Lake Superior State University with a degree in Parks and Recreation. She has always been passionate about Recreation and Travel and is excited to help students find the best program that will positively impact their lives. She currently spends half of the year living in Italy soaking in all of the culture and amazing food. In her free time, Teryn enjoys photography, hiking, kayaking, and taking off on last minute adventures!
Wyatt was born and raised in Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Northland College on the shores of Lake Superior, with a degree in Outdoor Education and an emphasis in Equity and Inclusion. He is deeply passionate about travel, the outdoors, and the positive transformations that come with intentional travel. He is excited to be able to share these opportunities with eager, like-minded students. In his free time, Wyatt enjoys playing with his son, hiking with his dog, canoeing, mountain biking, and connecting with friends and family.
Talia is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she studied International Relations and Food Studies. Talia is a firm believer in the importance of getting out of your comfort zone through exploring new places and cultures and is excited to help Rustic students attain such experiences. Talia loves to travel and try new foods along the way, whether it be in a new neighborhood in her home base of New York City or a market on the other side of the world. You can also find her hiking, playing tennis, reading on a beach, or walking her two labs.
Heather has always loved the outdoors and began organizing trips for her family and friends at a young age. She loves exploring the US National Parks and will hike all day just for a good view! For several years before joining Rustic Pathways, she planned group travel and now brings that experience and attention to detail to our student travel team. She believes that allowing students the opportunity to serve and experience cultures outside of their own enhances their understanding of the world and of themselves.
Matija completed an undergraduate degree at Northeastern University, then went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard. Her expertise in leadership training and recruitment has enabled her to achieve great success within the Rustic Pathways Group Travel division. Her highest priority is that educators and students walk away completely satisfied and fulfilled from their incredible experience. In her free time, Matija enjoys reading, working out, running, and practicing power vinyasa yoga.
Justin graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. He then pursued an M.A. at Biola University and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Manchester. During his time in the UK, he experienced the benefits and importance of travel for education. Having returned to the US, Justin also remains an instructor in higher education. He is devoted to helping students prepare for their futures, and loves to share with other educators how Rustic Pathways accomplishes this through service learning programs.
Emily’s global perspective developed at a young age in her bicultural Colombian-North American home where she loved to learn and experience the blending and sharing of two cultures. So much so that she graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in world languages and cultures and international studies. She has been in the field of education for just under ten years and truly believes that travel is essential to opening minds and hearts. Emily has lived on four different continents. She currently resides in Portugal where she spends her free time surfing, teaching yoga and hosting creative workshops and exhibitions at her local studio.
Cameron has always had a passion for travel. After her first solo trip to Europe, she knew seeing the world was a goal she hopes to accomplish someday. She has been to 29 countries and can’t wait to visit her 30th. She has lived in China, Vietnam, and is currently living in South Africa. Cameron was a teacher in Florida for nine years before moving overseas to work for international schools. Cameron is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree from the College of Journalism. Besides traveling, she loves trail running, swimming, cycling, hiking, watching college football, and going to the beach.
Kristi is native to NYC with a background in research, expeditionary learning, nonprofit development, youth empowerment, and marine mammal espionage. At City University of New York, she pursued a graduate degree in animal behavior and conservation. She has several published peer-reviewed articles on marine mammal behavioral ecology, population dynamics, conservation, and bioacoustics. Working with coastal communities and areas of limited bandwidth is what inspired her to work in student travel and youth empowerment initiatives. At Rustic Pathways, she leads outreach efforts as the Northeast Regional Manager – supporting and encouraging students to explore other walks of life and garner insight for how they want to make a difference in the world.
De’Lynn started at Rustic Pathways in February of 2022. Her passion of helping children thrive is evident by her multiple trips to Haiti, where she created incredible bonds with children in need. She is an alumni of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Master’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies. As Program Curator, she plans the group travel programs in all detail. In this role, she supports the development of young people’s focus on their part in this world.
Nick grew up in Boston, and graduated from Babson with a degree in business but has since lived in California, New Zealand and Colorado. Rustic Pathways combines his passions for the outdoors with traveling to experience new places and cultures. He fills his free time in Colorado with skiing, mountain biking, hiking and paddle boarding, but is sure to travel internationally every chance he gets. Today he introduces students to Rustic Pathways and helps them find the perfect program.
Candice is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio with a degree in business administration, and she recently earned her MBA from Lake Erie College. Candice brings her expertise, kindness, and attention to detail to our human resources department. She assists with the on-boarding of all staff and manages staff benefits and professional development.
Scott joined the Rustic team in 2018. He has been passionate about travel and sustainable development since he was bitten with the travel bug in college. He spent 5 years working in Japan, first as an English teacher and then pursuing an MA in International Development. He has led gap year programs that circumnavigated the world but now gets to spend a little less time in airports and focus on sharing the value and importance of intentional Rustic Pathways travel experiences to families. On his next travel adventure, he wants to go to Namibia.
Born and raised in Southern California, a stone’s throw away from the original Disneyland. Janette spent an unforgettable summer in western Europe and Florence on a study abroad program during her time at Cal State Fullerton. In 2016 she moved to Manchester and worked for a craft magazine publisher as a professional crafter and later at a marketing agency that specializes in life science and biotech businesses as a social media manager. She connected deeply with Rustic’s mission of philanthropy, travel, and training students to build the skills they need to create impact.
Mary began her career in the international media, where she met people from all over the globe. She particularly enjoyed working with journalists from developing nations who were expanding news coverage in their countries. After this job, Mary helped open a new school that offers the International Baccalaureate Program for younger students and was involved in other educational ventures. She now relishes the opportunity to share information about Rustic travel programs that enable students to gain an international perspective. In her free time, she enjoys musical theater, basketball, track, soccer, and hiking.