Levana Saxon is an organizer and educator with Practicing Freedom, using participatory action research, popular education, theater and creative action to generate collaborative community-led change. Some of the groups she has worked with include the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Paulo Freire Institute, Rainforest Action Network, YES!, the United Nations Environment Program and the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth Alliance. She taught theater and giant puppetry in the Oakland Unified School District where she helped design a new small autonomous public school. She currently blogs and facilitates anti-racism dialogues for white women with the White Noise Collective, and is a trainer with the Ruckus Society. She has a masters in Education with a concentration in Participatory Theatre.
Melissa Alexis studied dance at Amherst College and the Five College Dance Department and holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Spanish. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate in dance at Sarah Lawrence College. She has trained with artists including Ronald K. Brown, Lamine Thiam, Yvonne Daniel and Roseângela Silvestre, and performed with companies on the East Coast and in Dakar, Senegal. She has led classes in modern, West African, and Afro-Caribbean dance, also teaching a fusion of those traditions. Melissa's work has most recently been presented at Tufts University, Green Street Studios, The Dance Complex, Smith College, and Sarah Lawrence College.
Dalia Llera, Professor, holds an Ed.D. in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University. She is a licensed psychologist as well as a licensed school psychologist. Dr. Llera has taught in the Division of Counseling and Psychology at Lesley University since 1992 and has worked in a variety of school and community settings for over 30 years. Her work as teacher and clinician is informed by multicultural, feminist, developmental and ecological theories. Her doctoral research with abused high school Latinas and postdoctoral training with sexually abused children, adolescents and their families has given her a unique perspective on sexual violence and its interface with issues of power and oppression prevalent in society. The integration of theory, practice and personal experience have influenced her believe in peoples’ ability to heal and thrive. As a result she practices and teaches a strength-based approach that encourages and nurtures resilience.
Dr. Llera is the Coordinator of School and Community Programs in the Division of Counseling and Psychology. In this role she mentors future school counselors and community focused clinicians. She inspires her students to recognize the importance of working in urban settings and teaches them to regard schools as ideal places to promote growth, healing and social change. Moved by these objectives, she has been focusing on creating collaborations between urban public schools and the Division of Counseling and Psychology at Lesley.
Dr. Llera defines herself as an activist scholar and devotes consulting and training time to issues of social justice. Her university service is largely devoted to issues of diversity and social justice and she has co-chaired the University Diversity Council and chaired the GSASS Diversity Committee. She is co-editor of the book Crossing borders, making homes: Stories of resilient women and of several articles relevant to counselor training. She presents her work regionally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Llera enjoys the freedom that creativity affords and benefits spiritually from writing short stories, from music and dancing. She finds great satisfaction in her relationships with family, friends, colleagues and students, and considers it essential to enjoy life and maintain a sense of humor. She is inspired by Paulo Freire’s work and finds hope in his assertion that it is important to participate in the creation of a world where it is easier to love.
Andrew Hoyles was raised in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, which he will proudly call home until the day he dies. After a year of college in Michigan's upper peninsula, Andrew returned to his senses and transferred to Michigan State University, where he received a B.S. in Biosystem Engineering. While at MSU, he also participated in campus activism through Students for Economic Justice and helping to run a local community center called the North Star Center. In the course of these efforts, Andrew left the Mitten soon after graduation, with his hopes of seeing the rest of the country, starting with New York. Since this move, Andrew has spent the last several years focused on applied sustainable land-care techniques (including large-scale composting and related trainings), with his free time devoted to challenging male privilege and violence in his communities.
Nayantara Sen is an Associate Trainer and Executive Assistant at the Applied Research Center (ARC), a national research think tank and media organization that works to popularize racial justice ideas and to prepare people to fight for them. She consults and trains with community organizers, educators, public officials, teachers and activists to teach tools and strategies for dismantling structural racism. She also helps produce video spots for Colorlines.com, a daily news site offering award-winning reporting, analysis and solutions to today’s racial justice issues.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Nayantara received her degree in Postcolonial and Diasporic Literature, with specializations in Asian Pacific American Studies and Women, Gender and Social Justice Studies. A trilingual, first-generation immigrant, Nayantara is passionate about issues of reproductive justice and self-care for women of color.
Prior to ARC, Nayantara worked in film programming, running an independent film festival in Michigan. She has protested forced deportations and the expansion of the federal 287(g) program, and organized at anti-trafficking campaigns in India, teaching indigenous art therapy, English literacy and rehabilitation skills to youth.
In her spare time, Nayantara writes and performs creative short fiction and poetry, and runs The BrownHouse Collective, a writing and graphic design consultancy studio based out of NYC and LA.
Dr. Gabrielle Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Indian Nation, is an activist scholar committed to empowering indigenous perspectives. Gabrielle earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University, and her B.S. in Social Work and American Indian Studies from Cornell University. Her scholarly research focuses on American Indian identity, multiracialism, indigenous religions, and social movements, maintaining a regional specialization in the Chesapeake Bay.
Gabrielle has served in staff and advisory capacities for numerous organizations including Amnesty International, Survival International, National Geographic, the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, the Historic St. Mary’s Commission, the Accokeek Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities. In her passionate youth, she co-founded the League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations, a hemispheric alliance of Native people, which led the largest action north of Mexico to mark 500 years of American Indian survival in 1992.
Gabrielle is regularly featured in the media including National Public Radio, Tavis Smiley, the BBC, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. She lectures widely to diverse audiences at venues ranging from the White House to kindergarten classrooms.
Currently, Gabrielle is a Historian at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. At NMAI, she had also served as the Unit Head for Education and a Curator. She co-curated one of NMAI’s inaugural exhibitions with Jolene Rickard and Gerald McMaster, called Our Lives: Contemporary Life and Identity. She is also the curator of Return to a Native Place: Native Peoples of the Chesapeake Region which opened in 2007. Gabrielle co-curated the banner travelling exhibit, IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas and served as General Editor for the book of the same name. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with her two children, Sebastian and Jansikwe.
Krista Kellogg is the Marketing Director at Stearns Weaver Miller, a full service law firm with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Tallahassee. Before joining Stearns Weaver Miller, she served as the principal marketing and recruiting contact for the Miami office of McDermott Will & Emery. Previously, she was Assistant Director of the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning at the University of Miami School of Law.
Ms. Kellogg also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Psoriasis Foundation where she is Chair of the Outreach Committee, a member of the Development, Governance and Research Committees and serves as interim incoming Chair of the South Florida Community Division. She also serves as Chair of the 2011 National Volunteer Leadership Conference, which will be held on June 5-7, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia.
She is a member of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), and a former member of the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) and the Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP).
Alan Riser originally trained as a psychotherapist Al has developed a variety of skills and talents in working with many diverse groups in providing adventure based experiences. Al is currently the president of The Summit, an organization that provides adventure program development for camps, schools, hospitals and corporate clientele.
Al started in the early 80’s providing psychotherapy to clients in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation setting. Due to his interest in the outdoors he began to utilize these same psychotherapeutic processes in outdoor settings utilizing nature, the outdoors and adventure as tools for change. He was instrumental in developing the “Onward Bound” wilderness program for TODAY, Inc. a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Newtown, Pennsylvania. This program was designed to bring youth and inner-city children out for week long wilderness outings that included camping, backpacking, rock climbing, caving, orienteering and outdoor education.
Al left TODAY, Inc. in the late 80’s and went to work for a private consulting firm that developed innumerable adventure programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region. His title was Safety Director and Clinical Specialist. His tasks involved adventure program design for camps, schools, hospitals and corporate clientele. Al was involved in ropes course design, construction, staff training and development as well as designing the organization-wide safety standards and procedures for adventure programming for employees and consultants of the organization as well as the clientele that they served.
Al returned to TODAY, Inc. as the Director of Adventure Therapy in the mid 90’s. His tasks involved working with many and diverse groups such as therapeutic, recreational and school groups. Al has begun an initiative to assist schools in developing and institutionalizing adventure programming into school curriculum.
Al developed The Summit in 1999 in response to increasing demands from organizations to develop adventure programs, construct courses and climbing walls and receive quality training. The Summit assists organizations in developing adventure programs, design and installation of ropes/challenge courses and rock climbing walls. The Summit currently provides consulting for numerous schools, camps, conference centers, mental health agencies, local, regional and Fortune 1000 companies and the US military. The Summit is a member organization in the ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology). The Summit currently has clients in practically all states on the eastern seaboard of the United States and has offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. As CEO of The Summit, Al provides the vision for all three offices.
Al has worked with many and diverse groups including: five year olds in in-patient psychiatric settings, women in their sixties surviving breast cancer, corporate managers from companies such as AT&T, Lucent Technologies, British Airways, Johnson & Johnson and PECO Energy. He has worked intently with youth particularly in therapeutic settings and with camps and schools.
It is Al’s lifetime goal to see that every child has regular and consistent access to the life transforming art known as Adventure Education.
Though Lisa Winner grew up attending theater camps in Massachusetts, her involvement with Little Notch began in 1999 when she worked as a Unit Leader (UL), specializing in programming involving challenge course progression and rock climbing trips. One summer was all it took to become hooked on CLN, and she returned as UL in 2000 and then as Program Director in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, Lisa served as both Member-at-Large and Vice President of the Friends of Camp Little Notch Board of Directors. She was also on the summer leadership team during the summer of 2011.
Lisa graduated from Hampshire College in 2000, where she pursued a cross-cultural comparison of healing philosophies, traditions, and techniques. As a component of her studies at Hampshire, Lisa became certified in multiple forms of bodywork and holistic nutritional counseling at the Heartwood Institute in Garberville, CA. Upon graduation from both Heartwood and Hampshire, she began a seven-year practice as a massage therapist and holistic health consultant. In 2007, Lisa accepted a position teaching massage therapy at Everest Institute in Brighton, MA. In addition, she began a Master’s degree program at Lesley University to attain licensure as a Mental Health Counselor, with specialization in School and Community counseling. Lisa graduated from Lesley in 2009 and is currently employed as a full-time adjustment counselor at Concord Carlisle High School in Concord, MA. She has also provided clinical and group work to incarcerated youth in the greater Boston area.