America Walks Announces Class of 2021 Walking College Fellows
We are thrilled to announce the the 30 local advocates who will receive Fellowships to participate in the America Walks’ Walking College program in 2021.
This was our most competitive and prolific application process to date. We received 226 applications for the 30 spots available for this year’s fellowship class, an application tally almost double last year’s number. We are seeing an increasingly advanced and diverse pool of people applying to be Fellows, especially around varying professional and personal backgrounds and interests.
This year’s fellowship class includes our youngest Fellow to-date, an advocate who is just 18 years old, someone who is exploring ways to use technology to encourage people to walk and many more unique, passionate individuals who clearly weave critical personal intersections into their whole person, whole-community style advocacy.
We chose fellows from these 19 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin – widening the reach of our program and grassroots impact by adding new voices and perspectives to the growing walking movement and the ever-expanding Walking College network.
Sarthak Prasad works as the Sustainable Transportation Assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He graduated with a Master of Science in Bioprocessing & Bioenergy in 2017, which led him to the world of Sustainability and from there to sustainable transportation. He manages the Bike at Illinois program, which is the campus initiative to promote bicycling on campus and community. He walks everywhere on campus, and promotes walking, biking, and transit passionately. One of his objectives for FY22 is to perform a Walkability Audit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Little Rock, AR
Rachel Cotner lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. She spent 15 years in the paper industry as a Procurement Manager working to reform “the way it has always been” by creating a transparent path and removing fear of the unknown. She is an avid walker, runner, member of the Little Rock Bicycle Friendly Community Committee and works with the local Safe Routes to Parks Community. She is passionate about connecting all of her city with safe routes to schools, work, groceries, libraries, and parks. Rachel wants to help build a city where cars are an option instead of the default.
Joyce Tang Boyland teaches research methods, analytical reading, and lifespan development as a psychology professor at Alverno College In Milwaukee Wisconsin.
She grew up in the suburbs completely unaware of the nature trail at the end of her street, moved to the city and fell in love with the lively streets, then married into a walking family (4-mile a day walking commutes, vacations like a week-long walk along the coast of Devon).
Costa Mesa, CA
David Martinez is a member of the City of Costa Mesa, California’s Bikeway and Walkability Committee, where he is an advocate for projects and policies relating to increasing mobility for pedestrians and cyclists.
He also serves as a Board Member for the Costa Mesa Alliance for Better Streets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making our streets better public spaces.
David is a Freshman student at USC majoring in Public Policy.
Maja Pedersen, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford Prevention Research Center with research areas of community-based participatory research, physical activity for health promotion and disease prevention, and gerontology. She is interested in improving opportunities for participation in walking for physical activity among rural and medically underserved communities, with a focus on older adults. Maja is from Fairbanks, Alaska, and spends her free time enjoying seasonal outdoor activities like hiking and cross-country skiing with her dogs.
Courtney Thomas works as the Advocacy Specialist at BLDG Memphis – a non profit dedicated to the equitable development and revitalization of Memphis neighborhoods. Passionate about centering black and brown voices in policy issues around poverty and social justice— she moved to Memphis in 2018 to work on the ground in the community. She looks forward to the opportunity to learn about how she can advocate for walkable and livable communities and create real change in her adopted city.
Cassie Condrey is president of Doorway to Louisiana, a local nonprofit committed to community revitalization and restoration, and also serves on the board for the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. She received her BA in English from Duke University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her short stories have been published in The Southern Review and The New Orleans Review, and she was awarded the Walker Percy Prize in Short Fiction. Cassie lived in Argentina, Singapore and New Orleans, before returning with her husband to their shared hometown, Lake Providence. They live there with their daughter, Milly.
Caroline Carter is co-host of ‘These Three Things Podcast (www.info@
FB: Caroline Carter (The Real Food Doctor). Instagram: getitin.mke
Montavius Jones is a Jesus follower and real estate professional helping to transform communities and lives. He has dedicated his life to advocating for equitable and high-quality spaces. Growing up in Milwaukee, he saw first hand the power the built environment has to shape people, an experience that started him on a path first to study real estate at Marquette University and then work with community groups to revitalize commercial corridors and build homes. He enjoys biking, riding the bus, reading about cities, and traveling. Check out his website HereThisIsWhy.com.
Nanette Cook is a mother, a community leader and teacher with 36 years of experience. She is also a wellness instructor at a local hospital and the coordinator of a national running series for kids in Lafayette. Nanette is currently a Lafayette City Councilwoman representing District 4, serving as vice-chairman. She has been on the council for over 5 years. Nanette was recognized as an“Influencer of the Year” and a “Trailblazer of the Year”. She is a FBI Citizens Academy graduate and member of the Healthy Acadiana Coalition Board. Nanette has an undergraduate degree from LSU and a master’s from UL. She has been married to her husband David for 39 years and they have raised 5 children.
Christina Smith–Galloway is a Winthrop University graduate and AmeriCorps alumna from Irmo, South Carolina. She is a small business screen printer with a passion for cultivating and celebrating community through the power of print and gardening.
Christina is a huge advocate for engaging in schools and serves as a volunteer on a number of school councils and foundations. As a Girl Trek Organizer, she is an avid trekker walking to improve her health and inspiring families and communities to do the same.
David “Zack” Magallanez, MPA, is a public service professional with over 6 years experience working with nonprofits and quasi-governmental agencies. He was recently appointed to serve as an Active Transportation Advisor with ActivateSA, and will soon become a middle school social studies teacher for a local charter school. Zack is a big advocate of pedestrian friendly streets, multi-modal transportation, and great city parks. He believes that every community should be walkable and safe for everyone regardless of income, background, or physical ability. Zack is excited to be a part of an amazing cohort of leaders advocating for better and safer mobility options. Zack has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University – San Antonio, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and is currently working toward completing a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning.
Corinna Owens has been a nearly lifelong resident of Columbus Ohio. Corinna enjoys outdoor activities for fun, relaxation, and exercise. These include gardening, bicycling, and walking. She has appreciated the education and advocacy work of Yay! Bikes in Columbus and has high interest in improving safe active transportation access in her neighborhood area. Corinna enjoys her professional work with The Ohio State University, leading a team supporting non-traditional and lifelong learners having a successful experience at Ohio State. She has substantial previous experience software design and development field, including project management.
Michelle Hahn is both a music librarian and an adjunct professor at Indiana University Bloomington, responsible for describing audio and video content for the music library. She serves several national and international organizations and presents frequently on topics of interest to librarians, including improving accessibility in libraries. She identifies as a “recovering ableist,” having been launched into the disabled community only recently giving her a new perspective on the world. As a result, she is working on being a better activist for accessibility, becoming a member of the City of Bloomington’s Council for Community Accessibility.
Doris Span is founder of the Don’t Forget Willie Foundation, Inc. The Foundation’s mission is education and advocacy for pedestrian safety, social justice, and widows’ empowerment. Mrs. Span created the foundation, which awards small scholarships, after her 70-year-old husband was killed in 2014 while crossing a major roadway on foot. Willie James Span was an Army veteran on his way to volunteer at a Veterans Administration hospital. An evangelist, Mrs. Span is also founder, advisor and CEO of MSR Ministries, S.E. Region, Inc., which provides ongoing life skills training, mentoring and spiritual retreats for women.
Jacob Davis earned his graduate degree from North Dakota State University and was the first graduate in the MPH program with the American Indian Public Health specialization. He has over fifteen years of experience working with Indigenous populations through various positions at a state, tribal, and national level. Jacob has worked at PCAND since 2017 when he was encouraged to create his position to serve the needs of the Indigenous population within the state. At PCAND, his mission is to raise awareness on the impacts of historical trauma within Indigenous populations by keeping it at the forefront when working with state, tribal, and federal partners.
Katherine Colburn, E.I.T., A.M. ASCE is a Rotational Engineer at the Utah Department of Transportation with a B.A. in English from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah. Katherine currently serves as State and Government Relations Committee Chair for the Utah Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She is an advocate for an ongoing dialogue between community voices and multidisciplinary technical perspectives in her professional practice.
Martinsville, VA Chad Martin serves as vice mayor of Martinsville, VA. He graduated from Shaw University with a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy and holds numerous other credentials, including a Duke University certification in nonprofit management. Martin has worked in the nonprofit world for over 20 years as a community organizer, Hunger Justice Leader for Bread for the World, volunteer coordinator for the women’s shelter, CASA volunteer, suicide hotline trainer, Crisis Intervention Trainer for several law enforcement agencies, Vice-President of The Martin Luther King Jr. planning council, Good News Prison Ministry, reentry council, History United Advisory Council, Board member for Girls Scouts, Virginia Food System Council Board of Directors and many more.Martin is currently working for the University of Virginia as Director of History United. He has spent the majority of his life in service to others and hopes one day someone can report that they have benefited from his help.
Amar Cid comes with more than a decade of experience in transportation planning. She formally managed a leading CA Climate Investment program of 150+ transit project worth $100+ Million on an annual basis. Amar is currently managing the newly created Caltrans Office on Race and Equity (CORE) and has deeply rooted passion for transportation equity as it relates to the environment and how it impacts community.
I was born and raised in South Philadelphia, where I now live with my own family. Growing up, I was an avid walker. This changed when I moved to the other side of the same part of town. Since then, I hardly walk at all. I only noticed that walking was a privilege when it was no longer available to me. Walking must be accessible to everyone, safely and equitably. As a Walking College Fellow, I will work to understand what factors influence walkable areas of urban settings and how to effectively counter those that exclude entire communities.
I have been teaching Italian language and culture for 20+ years. Walking is a key part of daily life in Italy. I will incorporate my skills as a language and culture educator with my work as a Walking College Fellow. Italian and walking move beautifully hand-in-hand: Passeggiamo assieme! (Let’s walk together!)
Laura Swinson is a software engineer in Blanco, TX. She was born and raised in Del Rio, TX, and has lived in a wide spectrum of walkable (and non-walkable) cities, including Brackettville, Austin, Seattle, and San Francisco. Laura is the President of Blanco Wheels and Feet, a nonprofit organization that promotes walkability and alternate transportation. She is passionate about creating a safe and fun walkable city and hopes to introduce more people to the magic of walking.
Teara Letreace is a Black creative, native to Miami who approaches life and work with a passion for social justice, literature, and wellness. Growing up in North Miami and now residing in Miami Gardens, as a mother and advocate of a teen with Down Syndrome, she values the importance of ensuring underserved communities have access to inclusive wellness and educational programs and resources.
Teara has over 10 years of experience in event planning, community organizing, and advocating. She is a trauma-informed yogi currently working on a certification in restorative yoga practices that advocates for Black communities to have access to healthy foods, safe routes to school, and an overall healthy environment that will enrich children’s whole lives. Teara believes that our bodies have the power to heal themselves, given the right tools, techniques, and environment, and is dedicated to providing communities with safe and healing spaces to grow in.
I am Barbara Roberts, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Birmingham, Alabama. My job, trying to help people who want to lose weight improve their health, is difficult in a state with some of the worst rates of chronic disease. The lack of safe and accessible exercise contributes to Alabama often falling into almost last place in rates of overweight, diabetes, etc. I am eager to make physical activity safe and accessible in Alabama to improve these chronic disease rates. I previously worked in public health in Florida including on initiatives to address walkability. I remain interested in this field and am eager to get started with the Walking College.
Alex Dileo is a nonprofit consultant at Coxe Curry & Associates, Atlanta’s oldest fundraising consulting firm. She is passionate about promoting an equitable, thriving Atlanta, with an emphasis on fostering edible and walkable neighborhoods. She serves on the board of the Oakland City Community Organization, leads forest restoration projects with Community Foodscapes, and is a past board member of Charis Circle, the nonprofit arm of the nation’s oldest independent feminist bookstore. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alex graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from Rhodes College. She lives with her senior dog, Toby, in the Oakland City Historic District.
Scott White is the Deputy Director at Farm&City, a Texas based policy think & do tank that works at the junction of transportation, land use and equitable decision making policies. Scott is based in El Paso, TX, and works on capacity building, fundraising and grant writing, as well as statewide advocacy, education and outreach. He has been accredited by the Congress of New Urbanism, is a League of American Bicyclists cycling instructor, serves on the Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition board of directors, and is a member of local Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets coalitions.
Karen Bass is a community wellness advocate and seasoned Sales and Marketing leader. She has over 30-years of experience in Fortune 1000 companies such as Xerox, Dell, ADP, Konica Minolta and Toshiba. Karen has an MBA and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt designation and has also worked as a 1099 consultant with her own company, Bass Business Solutions. She is a member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Marketing Committee and the leader of a grass roots walking organization called We Will Walk – The Golf Edition, where she leads local golf outings that walk 9 holes. Karen also is a certified RYT200 Yoga Instructor. She and her husband Anthony are happy empty nesters living in West Midtown Atlanta.
Katrina Keeby-Watkins is a former educator, therapist, social worker and long-time resident of Detroit, MI. Katrina earned her BA degree in Social Work from Siena Heights University, and earned her MA in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. Katrina has over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit professional developing community partnerships and building workforce development programs in the Metro Detroit area. Currently, Katrina is the founder/CEO of the Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation (BPNDC). Dedicated to empowering her community in an impactful manner, Katrina created BPNDC to help strengthen the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood by creating programs that encourage safety, sustainability, and stewardship.
Nicole Seahorne Hameen joined the Fairmount Park Conservancy team in January 2021 as the Community Program Coordinator. She will interface throughout the city, enhancing community facing partnerships, participation and promotions. Nicole first came to the Conservancy as a volunteer and then worked as a consultant. She began as a walk leader for WeWalkPHL, a free walking group program to support and engage neighborhoods with healthy initiatives including walking, hiking, “eat and educate” and appreciation of green spaces. She now manages the program.
Prior to joining the Conservancy, Nicole performed field research and data collection for Penn State centered on park usage and community input. She worked for the Institute for Community Justice’s workforce and development team, where she served in client support, outreach, program development and presentations. Her community activism is expansive. Nicole is a member of the Overbrook Park Civic Association and its beautification and community engagement initiatives. Her passion and enthusiasm for health and wellness includes GirlTrek, a national health movement for Black women and girls centered in radical self-care and community care. Nicole serves this sisterhood on its helpline and locally as a walk leader, event planner and Facebook Administrator.
Nicole is certified in mental health first aid, holds a certification from Temple University as a community health worker and studied Applied Behavioral Analysis at Kaplan University. Look for her throughout the Fairmount Park system laughing loudly with family and friends as she hikes trails and hugs trees.
Incline Village, NV/Bay Area, CA
Chris Nanda is an avid walker and excited about exploring ways to advance walkable communities. Chris normally lives in San Francisco but has spent the past few months in the Tahoe area. He spends his weekends hiking, surfing and exploring the Bay Area with his girlfriend and their cattle dog, Wylie. Chris works at an investment firm that backs later stage startups. He is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana.
Trevor Pearson – to be featured soon