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Envision Education Experience Team Bios

Leadership Team

Matt Castrina (Vice President, Career and Leadership Programs; Education Experience) Since 2003, Matt has developed and/or implemented programs for high-achieving middle school, high school, college, university, and continuing education students in Australia, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. For the past few years Matt has overseen Envision’s Career & Leadership Academy programming which offers a wide range of academic and educational experiences to its participants and families. Matt is a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Yolanda Golden (Vice President, Elementary and Middle School Programs; Education Experience) Yolanda joined Envision in November 2017 as the Vice President of Education Experience, overseeing elementary and middle school STEM programs that challenge students to discover and explore potential career paths through experiential learning. Prior to Envision, Yolanda served in various roles with Loyola University Chicago to include coordinating the School of Social Work’s advising program, teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level, and serving as the Associate Dean for Student Success at Arrupe College. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MSW from Loyola University Chicago.

Amanda Whitener (Vice President, High School STEM Programs; Education Experience) Amanda has been with Envision since 2013 in a variety of leadership roles, before transitioning into the Vice President role in 2019. Her primary focus is supporting high school STEM programming and leading her teams through program planning and development, curriculum preparation, and training. Throughout her career, Amanda has worked in STEM focused education roles, providing exciting programs to teachers and students. She enjoys the real-life connections that come from hands-on learning and is always looking for new ways to enhance what we offer. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology and loves to spend time outdoors or near the ocean.

Training Team

Kimberly Pagan (Program Manager, Training & Education Experience) Kimberly is originally from Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art from Western Michigan University. Kimberly joined Envision in 2011 as an Advisor and has served in multiple roles and programs before joining the Training Team in October of 2017. Kimberly enjoys going to concerts, going on bike rides and meeting sport Mascots.

Career and Leadership Academy

Greg Johnson (Senior Program Manager, Intensive Law & Trial/NYLF National Security) Greg joined Envision in August 2012 initially as a Manager of Training and Human Development before diving into the world of program management. During the summer he splits his time between Palo Alto, CA and Washington, DC as he supports his bi-coastal programs. In his role as Senior Program Manager, Greg oversees the development of his programs at every stage, as well as supporting other programs within the Career and Leadership Academy. Greg was born and raised in Indiana, and holds his Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education.  

Natalie Kauppi (Program Manager, Oxbridge Academic Programs) Natalie started with Oxbridge Academic Programs in 2011 as their Marketing and Recruitment Manager before transitioning to work as the Executive Coordinator for The Oxford Tradition. She focuses primarily on United Kingdom-based programs but has also helps implement and support programs in the US, France and Spain. In 2020, she took on the role of Program Manager for Oxbridge Academic Programs under Envision. She is originally from Washington, D.C., and received her Bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr College.  

Lily Noguchi (Program Manager, Honors Performance Series) Lily joined WorldStrides in an account support role and as a visa coordinator for custom higher education programs before joining the Honors Performance Series team in 2019. Having previously worked in higher ed admissions, she is enthusiastic about extracurricular educational opportunities and unique experiences for how they can enrich a student’s journey and have lasting impacts beyond the classroom. Lily holds a BS in Biology from Randolph College and was born and raised in northern Virginia.

Alyxandra Pikus (Senior Program Manager, Oxbridge Academic Programs) Alyx started with Oxbridge Academic Programs in 2017 on their admissions team before transitioning to work with their program development team. She focused primarily on USA based programs but has also helped implement and support programs in the UK, France and Spain. In 2020, she took on the role of Senior Program Manager for Oxbridge Academic Programs under Envision. She is originally from Michigan, received her Bachelor’s from the University of Richmond, and her Master’s from Columbia University.

Jessica Smyth (Program Coordinator, Intensive Law & Trial/NYLF National Security/Global Young Leaders Conference) Jessica joined Envision in 2018 as the Program Coordinator for NYLF National Security and Intensive Law & Trial. After working with organizations like Initiatives of Change International and Girls Inc., Jessica has years of experience both in the classroom and behind the scenes providing students with transformational, educational experiences. Jessica holds BA degrees in Geography and Science, Technology, and Society from Virginia Tech University. She received her MA in Global Studies from the University of Freiburg and wrote her thesis on the role of participatory and performative art in the communication of climate science.

Danielle Thomas (Senior Program Manager, NYLF Law & CSI/CSI Experience/Honors Performance Series) Danielle joined Envision in 2013 as a Program Coordinator before being promoted to the Program Manager position, primarily working with high school career programs. A California native, Danielle started at Envision in various field staff roles before being promoted to the corporate level. Prior to Envision, Danielle worked in event marketing management in the action sports and fashion industries as well as worked in human resources for an acute care hospital. She also teaches online collegiate business courses. Danielle holds a Master of Business Administration and a BA in Journalism, Marketing and Dance.

Joe Thompson (Program Manager, Junior National Young Leaders Conference/Junior National Young Leaders Alumni Conference) Joe is a Richmond, VA native and a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a concentration in Accounting. While attending NCA&T he cofounded and presided over one of the largest university funded organizations on campus, the Junior Aggie Club, also known as “The Aggie Maniacs.” Joe’s passion for working with youth began while working as a leader at his first youth program under the premise of improving students’ academia through afterschool initiatives. He is currently a Program Manager in the Career and Leadership Academy and has served in multiple roles with Envision.

STEM Academy - Elementary and Middle School

Sloane Hayes (Program Manager, NYLF Pathways to STEM/NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni) Sloane started with Envision in 2017, managing NYLF Pathways to STEM and NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni. Prior to Envision, Sloane worked as a behavior interventionist and teaching assistant at the elementary level. Sloane’s passion for education and youth development was strengthened by her service with AmeriCorps. She served for two years with Playworks, North Carolina where she taught social and emotional learning through play, managed leadership programs and sports leagues, and worked to increase family engagement at an elementary school in Durham, NC. Sloane holds a BS in Education from North Carolina State University.  

Mark Pacumio (Program Manager, NYLF Explore STEM/NYLF Explore STEM Alumni) Mark began his Envision journey seasonally as a site coordinator in summer 2019 before transitioning into a full-time role as the Program Coordinator for NYLF Explore STEM and NYLF Explore STEM Alumni the following fall. Prior to Envision, Mark found his passion for working with youths through his experience directing a leadership program for college freshmen and working with Virginia Beach City Public Schools to manage leadership workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2019 with a BS in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and a minor in Integrative Health and Wellness.

Odis Scales (Senior Program Manager, NYLF Pathways to STEM/NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni) Odis started with Envision as a seasonal Advisor in 2011 and transitioned to Program Coordinator in 2013. He has worked a range of programs within Envision's K-12 portfolio and is currently the Senior Program Manager for NYLF Pathways to STEM and NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni. Odis graduated from Howard University with a BA in Political Science. Prior to Envision, he served as a sponsorship committee member for the Brother-to-Brother Conference and Escape to the Mecca Mentor Coordinator for students preparing for their collegiate careers.  

Yasmeen Warner (Program Manager, NYLF Explore STEM/NYLF Explore STEM Alumni) Yasmeen joined Envision as a full time Program Coordinator in October 2016 and was promoted to Program Manager in 2018. She previously worked in a variety of seasonal capacities for Envision since 2014. Yasmeen is originally from Brooklyn, NY but now calls Washington, DC her second home. Her love for the nation’s capital stemmed during her time at Howard University where she graduated with a BA in Sociology. There she discovered her passion for education and youth development.

Liz Zasso (Program Manager, NYLF Pathways to STEM/NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni) Liz, a program alumna, started with Envision in 2015, working various seasonal positions before transitioning to Program Manager for NYLF Pathways to STEM and NYLF Pathways to STEM Alumni in 2019. Prior to joining Envision full time, Liz worked in education, teaching high school History for 4 years and 2 years at the elementary and middle school levels, along with coaching high school and teaching dance. She has a BSEd in History from Central Connecticut State University, along with certifications in both elementary and secondary education. Liz will be supporting all elementary STEM programming throughout the summer.

STEM Academy - High School

Heather Belen (Senior Program Manager, Medicine/Advanced Emergency Medicine) Heather is originally from Houston, Texas and received a BSEd in Health Sciences/Pre-Med and a minor in Chemistry from Baylor University. After graduating, she taught English as a foreign language in Bangkok, Thailand. Following travels, she received a Master’s in Medical Nutrition Sciences from Boston University School of Medicine and worked as a researcher for Partners Healthcare at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in the field of cardiovascular disease epidemiology. Heather started as an Advisor with the Global Young Leaders Conference in 2010 and has worked in various roles with many of Envision’s programs before joining the NYLF Medicine and Advanced Emergency Medicine programs. 

Sarah Smith (Program Manager, Medicine) Sarah Smith grew up all over the east coast from Connecticut to Alabama, but settled in Virginia. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from James Madison University. Sarah brings with her experience with educational programs and social services working with families and students of all ages and backgrounds. Sarah started with Envision as the Program Coordinator for NYLF Engineering and the Game & Technology Academy.

Anthony Varlese (Program Manager, Engineering/Game & Technology Academy/Aerospace & Aviation Academy) Anthony received his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. In previous work, Anthony has developed sustainability initiatives for each of the 17 residence halls of a college campus, monitoring and controlling energy usage. Anthony is an alumni of LeadAmerica (now part of Envision) attending both, Intensive Law & Trial, as well as NYLF Advanced Medicine & Health Care. He has been with Envision since 2014, working on programs such as NYLF Explore STEM, NYLSC, Technology & Innovation, Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit, and NYLF National Security.