The 2015-2016 Outdoor Education Program Staff
From left to right: Katie McBride, Garrett Greely, Alyssa Parker, Kylie Robey, Joshua Hapner, Shauna Guglielmo, Amy Banner, Katie Quesnell, Ashley VanSpeybroeck, Shannon Forney, Jennifer Mitchell, and Melanie Costello.
Seasonal Staff Biographies
Shannon Forney (Education Program Specialist)
Shannon returned to Taft as an Education Program Specialist in August after working at Taft for a year as an Outdoor Education Intern. She has also spent several years working as a Dog Groomer with PetSmart. Shannon has a B.S. in Physical Education from NIU. She enjoys teaching and learning about osteology and hide tanning.
Garrett Greely (Education Program Specialist)
Garrett started working as an Education Program Specialist at Taft in November of 2014. He has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Louisiana Tech University. Prior to coming to Taft, Garrett was an Educator with Nature's Classroom in Massachusetts. He has also held a position with the Keystone Science School in Colorado as a Trip Leader/Outdoor Educator, and he was an Intern for the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance in Chicago. His professional interests include a collection of -ology's: ecology, biology, zoology, mycology, geology, population ecology, and education.
Shauna Guglielmo (Senior Education Program Specialist)
Shauna started at Taft in 2014 as an Education Program Specialist and returned this August as a Senior Education Program Specialist. Her previous positions include Outdoor School Program Educator at Joy Outdoor Education Center in Ohio, Head of Outdoor Living at Camp Winnebago in Maine, AmeriCorps Academic Success Counselor for Boys Hope Girls Hope in Ohio, Writing Tutor at ECSU Writing Center in Conneticut, Specialty Counselor at Camp Chipinsaw in New York, and Youth Educator at Bexleyheath Youth Center in London, England. She has a B.A. in English Literature, Language, and Letters with a minor in Writing from Eastern Conneticut University and studied Child Phychology and Behavior Modification at Greenwich University in London. Shauna's professional interests include curriculum development, geology, environmental studies, ornithology, and STEM education.
Katie McBride (Education Program Specialist)
Katie spent the 2014-2015 school year finishing her degree at NIU while also working at Taft as an intern. She has returned for the 2015-2016 school year as an Education Program Specialist. She spent the summer working in Durango, Colorado with the Southwest Conservation Corps, and worked for the Byron Forest Preserve District during the previous summer. Katie has a B.A. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Policy from NIU. Her professional interests include prairies, restoration, energy issues, and sustainabilty.
Jennifer Mitchell (Education Program Specialist)
Jennifer earned a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English from Abilene Christian University. Prior to starting at Taft in August, Jennifer worked as an Instructor for the Dallas Zoo education department. She has also worked at the Battle Creek Public Schools Outdoor Education Center as an Instructor Counselor, as an Intern at Schoodic Education Adventure in Acadia National Park, and as a Counselor for Redbud Park YMCA of Abilene. She enjoys teaching and learning about water ecology and conservation topics.
Alyssa Parker (Education Program Specialist)
Alyssa started at Taft in August. Prior to that, she worked as a Naturalist at San Mateo Outdoor Education in California and an Educator at Shangri La Botanical Garden in Texas. She has also worked as a Naturalist Apprentice for the USDA Forest Service at Land Between the Lakes NRA in Kentucky. Alyssa has a B.S. degree in Biology with minors in Evironmental Science and Coastal Management from Eckerd College. Her professional interests include herpetology, birding by ear, and wildflowers.
Katie Quesnell (Outdoor Education Intern)
Katie Q (as we call her) is currently working on her M.S. in Geology at Northern Illinois University. She has a B.A. from Knox College with majors in Environmental Studies and Biology and a minor in Earth Science. Formerly, she was the Director of the NIU Honors China Study Abroad Program and has also worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, a Graduate Research Assistant, and as the Coordinator of the NIU Give and Go! recycling program. She started at Taft as an Intern in September. Katie's professional interests include hydrocarbon pollution, water contamination, and human-environment interactions.
Kylie Robey (Outdoor Education Intern)
Kylie started an Internship with Taft in August. She has a B.S. in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. She has previously worked as a Textile Rehousing Intern and Curator Assistant at the Pick Museum of Anthropology at NIU. Her professional interests include archeology and forensics.
Ashley VanSpeybroeck (Senior Education Program Specialist)
Ashley majored in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration and minored in Environmental Studies at Western Illinois University. She was an Education Program Specialist at Taft for the 2014-2015 school year and has returned in the Senior Education Program Specialsist position. She has previously worked as a Seasonal Naturalist at the Wapsi River Environmental Educaiton Center in Dixon, Iowa, as an Intern and Naturalist at Rock Eagle 4-H Environmental Education Center in Georgia, and as a Merit Badge Counselor at Boy Scout Camp Loud Thunder in Illinois City, Illinois. When not making something out of yarn, Ashley enjoys learning about and sharing her knowledge about all things pioneer technology, mycology, canoeing/kayaking, and field identification.
Permanent Staff Biographies
Amy Banner (Assistant OE Coordinator)
Amy started at Taft as an Education Program Specialist in 2012. Since then, she has worked as a Senior Education Program Specialist and started as an Assistant OE Coordinator in August. In addition, Amy has worked as a Naturalist at Glen Helen Environmental Education Center. She was an Americorps Member with the National Civilian Community Corps, working with the Toledo Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity, Vinton Weed and Seed, Buley Afterschool Center, and the Flint Housing Association. Amy's professional interests include wildflowers and astronomy. She has a B.A. in Historic Preservation with a minor in Art from Ursuline College.
Joshua Hapner (Assistant OE Coordinator)
Joshua has worked at several camps before coming to Taft in 2011. These include YMCA Camp Greenkill in New York, 4-H Camp Palmer in Ohio, 4-H Camp Wahsega in Georgia, and South Mountain YMCA Camp in Pennsylvania. He also spent time as an Interpretive Ranger for the NPS in Washington and spent a summer in Missouri doing stream sampling for the MO Department of Natural Resources. He has a M.A. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from Ball State University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Joshua enjoys learning about and sharing his interests in plant and tree identification, nature photography, entomology, and herpetology.
Melanie Costello (Campus Director/OE Coordinator)
Melanie earned her M.S.Ed. from NIU in Outdoor Teacher Education and a B.S. in Biology/Ecology with a minor in Chemistry from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She started working at Lorado Taft as a Graduate Assistant and has since worked as an Assistant OE Coordinator and OE Coordinator, and she has been the Campus Director since 2012. She has also worked as an Educator at Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL; she was a Youth Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension; and she has worked as a Crew Leader/Cabin Counselor for the Minnesota Conservation Corps. Her professional interests include the benefits of time spent in nature for children, habitat restoration and native landscaping, and STEM education.