Our Team in Dominican Republic

Leadership

Harry Alvarez

Dominican Republic and Cuba Country Director

Harry was born in New York City and raised in the Dominican Republic. Harry graduated from SUNY New Paltz with degrees in Psychology and Spanish and completed Pre-med coursework at Columbia University. After his first summer in Costa Rica in 2008 he decided that there’s more than one approach to helping others. After managing programs in both Costa Rica and Panama for four years, Harry opened our programs in the Dominican Republic in 2012 and our Cuba programs in 2015. Harry carries tremendous pride in bringing students to the Caribbean. In addition to his passion for community work and Latin dance, Harry enjoys cooking and hosting friends at his home in New Orleans.

Team

Carlos Rodriguez

Dominican Republic Program Manager

Carlos joined Rustic Pathways in 2013. A native of Haiti who has spent most of his life in San Pedro, Carlos brings his invaluable local knowledge and infectious positivity to our programs in the bateyes. He is fluent in Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, and has a love for language, culture, and community service. Prior to joining Rustic, Carlos worked as a sugar cane cutter and a community organizer.

Genesis Gonzales Espinal

Dominican Republic Administration and Finance Assistant

Genesis represents the rock that keeps our Santo Domingo office in place. Genesis has a bachelors degree in accounting and administration from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña and has an in depth knowledge of the intricacies of Dominican tax law. She’s a native of Santo Domingo and handles our administration and finances. Her positive attitude and calm demeanor make her a favorite with staff.

Juan Samuel Batista

Dominican Republic Program Manager

Juan Samuel is a native of the beach town of Boca Chica just outside of Santo Domingo. He comes to Rustic Pathways with over a decade of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry in the Dominican Republic. Samuel holds a degree in Theology from the Dominican Institute for Religious Studies and is the founder of the Jonas Foundation which is dedicated to community development in his local community and the surrounding areas. In addition to his native Spanish, Samuel also speaks English, French, and Haitian Creole.

Carlos Estrella

Dominican Republic Groups Manager

Carlos, a native of Santo Domingo is an avid outdoorsman who’s been exploring nature since he was a kid a Scout. He has summited Pico Duarte, the country’s highest peak, more than 30 times and hiked 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the northeastern United States. Carlos joined Rustic as a program leader in 2016 and now managers our group programs. His love of the outdoors, approach to safety, and attention to detail makes him the perfect person to manage the intricacies of our school groups in the Dominican Republic.

Brendan Fields

Impact Manager

Brendan was born and raised in Virginia, where he graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in History. He spent three years in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps Volunteer working on childhood literacy and teacher training, and then completed an MA in Latin American & Caribbean Studies at New York University. Brendan has a passion for education, development and languages. He enjoys getting to know new people and places, reading about history, and a good cup of coffee.

Maoli Almanzar

Administrative Assistant

Maoli was born in Moca, Dominican Republic and moved to the nation’s capital to pursue her studies. She’s currently pursuing an accounting degree from La Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, and uses her excellent organization skills in our office daily! Additionally, she is currently studying English at the Technology Institute of the Americas. Maoli loves supporting our Caribbean team with compassion and ease. When she’s not working hard to make sure our office is in order, you can find Maoli baking with her two young children.

Lidia Philippe

Program Manager

Lidia is a native of Santo Domingo Este and has been leading programs with Rustic Pathways since 2016. She is passionate about social and environmental activism and was a student favorite on our Marine Life programs. Fluent in English, Spanish and Creole, Lidia helps facilitate cross-cultural connections and community interaction on our programs. She now manages our Life in the Bateyes programs.

Manuel Del Villar

Program Manager

Manuel has a degree in chemical engineering from the University Pedro Henríquez Ureña and is currently pursuing a master’s in water treatment systems. He has two years of work experience in student travel with a Canadian company and started as a Rustic Program Leader in May of 2018. He has been a program leader on our Public Health in the Caribbean and was the leader on the inaugural program with our gap year partner Verto Education. Manuel is an enthusiastic, dynamic, and compassionate person. He loves traveling and teaching students about the culture and history of the Dominican Republic.

Pedro Valdez

Program Manager

Pedro joined Rustic in 2018. He’s native of Santo Domingo and is passionate about interculturalism, education, and social justice. As a social researcher for public and private institutions in the Dominican Republic and a volunteer of TECHO, an NGO that fights against poverty and disparity in Latin America, he’s worked with vulnerable communities in the Dominican Republic. He’s getting a degree in sociology from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo and has been an exchange student in Taiwan and the United States. He loves reading, languages, dancing, traveling and being with his family and friends.