Andy is an international education professional with 15 years of experience in the field. He has studied, worked and travelled across the Americas, Asia and Africa. He started Amazon Learning after working for four years developing Global Citizen Year’s Amazon program in Ecuador. Andy brings to Amazon Learning a profound knowledge and passion for cross-cultural education and international exchange programs. He is an Ecuadorian-American and was first introduced to the world of international education as an 18-year-old undergraduate in the U.S. at Louisiana State University where he studied International Relations. He furthered his exposure to global learning through a transformative experience in Guinea as an agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer. After his service he received his Masters Degree from the School for International Training in Vermont where he focused on designing and delivering study abroad programs. Andy is an energetic and inquisitive person who deeply believes in the positive effects of cross-cultural education on humanity. He loves to garden, hike and interior decorate.
Eliot has worked for over a decade in the non-profit sector in Latin America. Eliot is a co-founder of Amazon Learning and is the Executive Director of Runa Foundation. Prior to this, Eliot served as Executive Director of Finca Project, a reforestation and environmental education initiative in Costa Rica. He has worked as an environmental consultant and advisor to climate change negotiations at the United Nations. Eliot received his Master´s degree in environmental management from Yale University where he studied tropical forestry and conservation finance. Eliot brings to Runa his expertise in agricultural cooperative development, tropical forestry, and non-profit management. He is a professional adventurer and a good cook.
Mika is a proud Rhode Islander who has been living in Ecuador for the last 5 years working in the experiential education field. She spent 3 years as a Team Leader for Global Citizen Year, where she managed the program and bridge year fellows in the Chimborazo and Napo regions. Mika has been promoting social and environmental justice since her first internship with the international nonprofit Global Exchange in San Francisco. In Ecuador, Mika has also worked in support of an international human rights and environmental justice lawsuit brought by indigenous groups with Amazon Watch and el Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía. Mika graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in International Affairs, with minors in Sociology, Spanish, and Social Entrepreneurship. She is a photographer, explorer, and group leader that enjoys team-building activities that incorporate mindfulness and silly fun. Mika’s favorite part about the Amazon is being surrounded by people that are eager to share their knowledge about nature, medicinal plants, agriculture, and spirituality.
Dani has been a lover of the the outdoor world since childhood. She has created a deep attachment to the mountains, the river, the forest and the people living amongst them, always learning more about them and sharing awareness for their protection. Dani enjoys sharing with others the magnificence of nature and the incredible amount of knowledge that local communities have. As a Yoga Instructor and an incredibly passionate whitewater rafting and kayak guide, Dani is always searching for healthier ways to approach life in every way, whether that be through food, medicinal plants, body health, or mental health. Working and travelling abroad since she was a child and living in the Amazon jungle for 3 years has allowed her to explore this fascinating world and developed consciousness towards humanity.
With a degree in Education from The University of San Francisco in Quito (USFQ), and aligned with Waldorf education (R.Steiner), Dani has worked in Ecuador and USA as kindergarten and primary Spanish and English teacher for more than 8 years. She strongly believes that the best way to learn is through experience, stimulating body movement, senses, and creativity to fulfill body, mind and spirit.
Dani practices yoga every day (offering session to our interns too), whitewater kayaks as much as she can, goes hiking in the jungle, and loves to spend time with the kids and women in the communities, where she shares her knowledge and learns from them as well. Dani collaborates with Amazon Learning as a local guide, mentor, coach, Spanish tutor, emergency response support, and yoga instructor.
Carmen is a Kichwa local from the Napo province of the Ecuadorian Amazon. She joined the Amazon Learning team in the beginning of 2017 assisting with all aspects of the intern program and management of the intern house. Carmen speaks both Kichwa and Spanish as her native languages and she is learning English as well. During her free time, Carmen enjoys playing soccer, traditional Kichwa dance, singing, and running. Carmen also enjoys the Kichwa traditions of making Guayusa tea and Chicha, a fermented drink made from yucca and palm-tree fruits.
Originally from the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, Stephanie has spent the past three years traveling through Latin America and working in international education. Before Amazon Learning, she supported interns as a program coordinator in Bolivia with the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Then, she moved to the highlands of Ecuador where she designed and facilitated short-term, intercultural trips for high-schoolers with Global Glimpse. Stephanie was inspired to work in international education after participating in a Fair Trade, de-colonial study abroad program in Ecuador while in college; she experienced the power of exchange programs to create positive local impact and foster new generations of creative global thinkers. Stephanie graduated from American University’s School of International Service with a B.A. in International Studies and a focus area in Development. Outside of work, she enjoys swimming, dancing, drinking coffee, learning languages, and socializing. She is grateful for the chance to collaborate with locals who want to share their customs, histories, and beliefs with others.
Estefania moved to Tena when she was 12 years old from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Already as a young girl she showed great interest towards learning other languages and cultures. Now, she has been teaching English since 2008. Estefania has also worked as an associate for the Rio Napo Foundation, and doing translations for various organizations. Currently, she focuses on being a mom and giving private Spanish classes. During her free time, she enjoys reading about other cultures and historical novels, goes on bike rides, walks, goes to the river, and does crafts.