Sara Lamson Nathan
President & CEO
San Juan, Dominican Republic
Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica
Palmares, Costa Rica
Mental Health Coordinator
Gap Program Coordinator, Project Director - Chimborazo
Cuenca and Chimborazo, Ecuador
Health & Safety Manager
Managing Director of Programs
Summer and Gap Program Manager
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
IT Systems Manager
National Director, Alumni Relations and Development
San Francisco Bay Area
This will be Matthew’s third summer working with AMIGOS. In 2016 he was a Project Supervisor in Azuero, Panamá and last summer he was the Project Director for Barranquilla, Colombia. Matthew graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Global Poverty & Practice. His first experience abroad was as a Rotary exchange student in Guayaquil, Ecuador during high school-and since then he’s had the privilege to experience more of the Americas with AMIGOS. Matthew currently lives in Guadalajara, México and works as an English teaching assistant at La Universidad de Guadalajara as a COMEXUS Fulbright-García Robles U.S. Student Program Grantee. In his free time he is learning Mayan, exploring the state of Jalisco, and getting better at cooking.
Lucia has more than ten years of experience in the non-profit sector on both a local and international scale. She has an MS in Epidemiology and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, both from the University of León, Nicaragua. She has extensive experience in counseling students in elementary and high school settings and has successfully created and delivered various workshops on self-esteem and creating goal oriented action plans. In 2012, Lucia worked as an In-Country Program Coordinator for Global Glimpse where she designed, organized, and led a three-week service and leadership development trips in León, Nicaragua for low-income high school students from the United States. In 2013, she continued her work with Global Glimpse, becoming an In-Country Program Manager and opening a program site in San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic. During 2014, she collaborated with Rustic Pathways Costa Rica in leadership programs with teenagers from the US. That same year, Lucia was accepted into the prestigious program of Atlas Corps in Washington DC, where she served in after-school programs and leadership programs focusing on Latino undocumented youth and other minorities. For the last two years, she has been collaborating with Global Citizen Year in Ecuador as a coach, mentor, supervisor and facilitator for youth (18-19 years old) who are living a gap year program experience in country.
She has conducted research and published papers on suicide and addiction in Central America and on the connection between drug use and the mistreatment of children in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has a strong research background but her passion is working with youth to develop leadership skills and promote cultural exchange.
Lucia feels that her experience in working with different communities has allowed her to gain a new perspective as a global citizen, and has transformed her into a more compassionate and committed human being.
Bella lives in Boston, where she studies marine science and Spanish at Boston University. She was born in Chicago and raised just north of the city, so she participated in the AMIGOS Chicago North Chapter before and after she was a participant in Pérez in 2014. After her senior year of high school, she decided to take a gap year with AMIGOS in Chinandega, Nicaragua. She had an amazing experience working with Fundación Pantaleon teaching English to first through eleventh graders and facilitating extracurricular activities in a casa materna (where pregnant women who live in far communities come a week or so before they’re about to give birth to be close to the hospital). Last year, she was the Senior Project Supervisor of the Pérez project and had the opportunity to be the Directora of the campamentos we held in Rio Macho. In her free time, she loves to ski, spend time with her family, walk outside, eat fruit, and, of course, speak Spanish!
Derek is originally from Findlay, Ohio and he studied anthropology and Spanish at Case Western Reserve University. After graduating from college, he moved to Colombia and lived there for almost four years working in a variety of jobs focused on English education. During this time, he also completed a graduate program in applied economics at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.
His first AMIGOS experience was as a participant in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2011 and he returned as a Project Supervisor in San Pedro, Paraguay in 2012. He is thrilled to be coming back to the AMIGOS team and leading the Palmares, Costa Rica project with our incredible in-country partner agency, Casa de la Juventud. In his free time he enjoys watching movies, learning about different cultures, and talking with friends over a cup of coffee.
Natalia is currently finishing her senior year at Colorado College, where s studies mathematics and Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys theatre, reading, and knitting. Her AMIGOS adventures began in 2014 as a participant in Paraguarí, Paraguay. She then served as a Project Supervisor in Coclé in 2016. Other formative experiences have included studying abroad in Ecuador and Cuba and playing on her college’s tennis team. She believes her summers with AMIGOS have been immensely challenging and rewarding, and she is honored and excited to see each of her participants grow throughout their time with AMIGOS!
Cara is a public health advocate who is passionate about social justice and sustainable development. For the last few years she has worked at the NYC Department of Health coordinating immigrant health care programs, and before that worked as a Public Health Advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She loves working internationally as well as getting involved in local immigrant and refugee communities in the US!
Cara was born in Portland, Oregon and has been studying and working in Atlanta, Georgia and New York City since she graduated from high school. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Emory University in Latin American Studies and Global Health and is currently completing her Master’s in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.
This will be her 6th summer with AMIGOS! In her free time she enjoys being a cat mom of two, practicing yoga and photography, and traveling whenever she is able.
Steffany studied International Business a double degree at École Supérieure de Commerce et de Management. Her first AMIGOS experience was as a National Supervisor, back in 2013 when it started out as a pilot in Barranquilla, Colombia. Since then, she has been amazed by the life-changing and unique opportunities only AMIGOS can give to participants. She believes the experience changes the way one sees the world. She firmly believes youth can make a real impact by working alongside young people from local communities in youth-led projects, by immersing themselves in another language & culture, by taking real action on social challenges, and most importantly, by making friends for life.
Margaret Laliberte is a child and adolescent Psychiatric Nurse Specialist with an extensive history of clinical work with adolescents & families in a variety of mental health settings. In her 30 years of clinical practice, she has worked in residential, day treatment, & out patient programs as well as participated in evaluating adolescent programs & their development across the country. She currently maintains a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and does individual and group consultation to Child & Adolescent therapists. Margaret has coordinated the Mental Health program for the AMIGOS organization for the last 15 years. She does the mental health screening of all applicants where necessary, provides senior staff training, and takes the lead on providing summer consultation to staff in the field.
Margaret’s own daughter, Amy, was a long term AMIGOS participant, from Chapter Volunteer to a two-time Project Director!
Lucy is thrilled to be part of the AMIGOS team as Program Assistant for the Ecuador Gap Year Program! A Virginia native, Lucy graduated from the College of William & Mary with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Her love for learning about new people and places and her passion to explore led her to join the Peace Corps after graduation, and she has not left Ecuador since! After finishing her stint with the Peace Corps TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program in Riobamba, Ecuador in April 2017, Lucy led a group of U.S. university students in a 2-month social innovation and cultural immersion internship that led her through various indigenous communities in Ecuador’s central and southern highlands. In her free time, Lucy enjoys hiking, running, and trying new street foods that she encounters along the way. Lucy is so excited to have the opportunity to share her love of Ecuador with the AMIGOS participants!
Top of her bucket list: Trek through Patagonia
Born in Los Angeles, California and then moving across the country to rural western Maine, Alli learned to embrace change from a young age. With this love of seeking new experiences and adventures, she has studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and Spain, led an alternative spring break trip to Guatemala, and filmed a documentary about reconnecting with her family back in Cuba. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in Education from Colby College, Alli has spent the past few years leading a dynamic college prep program in Lewiston, Maine where she has had the opportunity to work with some of the most inspiring youth from around the world and help them realize their future goals. Alli is beyond excited to combine her life passions of developing confident and powerful youth leaders, working to create strong and thriving communities, and building unity across cultures by joining AMIGOS in Nicaragua with the Gap Year Program this 2017-2018 year.
Nacida en Los Ángeles, California y luego mudándose al otro lado del país al estado rural de Maine, Alli aprendió desde muy niña a gozar del cambio. Con el encanto de buscarse nuevas experiencias y aventuras, ella estudió en la República Dominicana y España, lideró un viaje a Guatemala y filmó un documental sobre reencontrarse con sus familiares en Cuba. Después de graduarse con un título de Estudios Latinoamericanos con una concentración en Educación de Colby College, Alli ha pasado los últimos años dirigiendo un programa dinámica de preparación académica en Lewiston, Maine donde ha tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con jóvenes inspiradores de todas partes del mundo para ayudarles realizar sus objetivos para el futuro. Alli está muy emocionada para combinar sus pasiones de desarrollar líderes jóvenes, trabajar para crear comunidades prósperas y construir la solidaridad entre culturas distintas a través de juntarse con AMIGOS en Nicaragua con el Gap Year Program este año.
Adam joined the AMIGOS team in 2017 as Program Coordinator for the Ecuador Gap Year Program. Although not an AMIGOS alum, Adam has extensive experience living with and working alongside developing communities within Latin America. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Adam served as a member of the United States Peace Corps in Guatemala. His experience in the Peace Corps forged within him a passion for indigenous communities and public health. The opportunity to help young people learn more about their world and themselves makes him happier than a big ole bowl of grits. In his downtime he enjoys running, reading, and eating unhealthy amounts of cheese.
Top of Bucket List: Visit every Spanish speaking country before his 35th birthday.
Lauren is originally from San Diego and studied Art History at Portland State University. In 2017 she joined AMIGOS after relocating to Houston from New Orleans. Although she is not an AMIGOS alumna, she is passionate about our global community and is extremely proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to youth leadership. While spending two months in Argentina, Lauren developed a profound appreciation for Latin America and is eager to deepen her understanding of other cultures. Lauren loves trivia, Boston Terriers, exploration, and abstract expressionism.
Lily is passionate about social change and the power of youth to impact their world. Her enthusiasm for meaningful travel began in high school, when she lived with a family in Mexico for a Spanish immersion program. Since then, she practiced her Argentine accent while studying abroad, ate innumerable salteñas in Bolivia, met the president of Colombia, and swam in the deep waters of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán. She studied international development at SOAS, University of London, where she completed her Master’s degree. Lily is excited to bring new Amigos into the fold so they can have amazing experiences through leadership and service in Latin America. A lover of parades and dances, Lily has been to Carnaval in Oruro, Bolivia and Barranquilla, Colombia – next on the list is Brazil!
April is a native Houstonian, marketer, and veteran Amiga.
In 2008, she participated in AMIGOS in Guanajuato, Mexico. At Colorado College, she majored in Sociology and continued her Latin American travels in Ecuador and Cuba. An avid backpacker, she spent a month in the backcountry on three separate occasions.
April is excited to use digital marketing and new technologies to get the word out about the power of AMIGOS programs.
Rissa began her AMIGOS journey as a participant in Paraguay in 2008, which jumpstarted a decade long focus on sustainable, impactful volunteer work. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with dual degrees in Anthropology and Spanish Linguistics, and began working across Latin America in varying contexts. In 2015 and 2016, she returned to the fold on summer staff in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Rissa is passionate about health and safety as the first step to a successful AMIGOS experience. When she’s not updating handbooks or screening Confidential Health Forms, she can be found frequenting estate sales and reading anything she can get her hands on.
Top of her bucket list: Sail around the world & learn at least one new language.
Ana is a 4x Amiga, first joining as a participant in Paraguarí, Paraguay in 2007. Since then, she has worked with AMIGOS in Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Ana worked on the Youth Team at Ipas where she focused on increasing access to abortion and other reproductive health care for young people around the world. Ana has a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Boston University, a Master’s degree in Global Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health and is a Women Deliver Young Leader.
Top of her bucket list: Learn how to bake!
Jenny joined AMIGOS in October 2017 and is ecstatic to be part of such an amazing organization. Though she never participated in AMIGOS, she has traveled widely throughout Latin America for study abroad in college and in a previous role as an International Admissions Counselor at a university in Georgia.
Jenny is passionate about the work of AMIGOS and nonprofits in general. She completed an Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Administration and wants to help more people become involved with nonprofits — as donors, volunteers or in any way that they desire!
Bucket List Items: Travel to every continent, have a farm (well, maybe just some chickens and a goat).
David is a fifth-generation Texan and was raised in Lindale, TX. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has worked in the for-profit and non-profit arenas in IT, finance, and management. He is excited to be at AMIGOS to support the incredible work that is being done through its staff and volunteers.
Top of Bucket List: To compose a Bucket List.
Caroline has been with AMIGOS since 2009, a two-time participant and three-time member of summer staff. She has AMIGOS experience in Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, and Ecuador, and can’t wait to visit the other project areas! Caroline studied Communication and Latin American Studies at The College of Wooster, and joined the AMIGOS full-time team in 2015. She loves watching young people across the Americas find their voices through our programs. When she’s not striking up conversations with taxi drivers or meticulously color-coding spreadsheets, Caroline likes to spend her time baking sweet treats for her officemates.
Top of her bucket list: to raise a small herd of alpacas.
Spending the last three years in real estate in Michigan, Lauren is excited to be back in her home town of Houston, bringing her marketing and outreach experience to Amigos. Lauren is a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word with a degree in Sociology where her weekly attempts at Zumba encouraged her to take dancing classes in Latin America. After living with a host family in Guatemala and participating in local activities, Lauren was excited for the opportunity to study abroad in Chile where she spent the semester studying the culture, traveling, and acting as a teacher’s aid at a local middle school. She is excited to meet new participants, exchange stories with alumni, and is still working to become decent at salsa, bachata, and Argentine tango.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Canaima National Park in Venezuela
Managing Director of Regional Operations
Lauren first became involved with AMIGOS as a mentor on the first AMIGOS Youth Ambassadors exchange to Paraguay in 2012. In 2013, she was the Project Director in the Yucatan, Mexico before she took on her current position. Lauren is a proud University of Wisconsin graduate, with degrees in Environmental Studies and Global Cultures and extensive travel experience in South America and globally. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Lauren worked as an AmeriCorps *VISTA on higher education service-learning initiatives then worked in a variety of youth, media, and educational-focused nonprofits, developing engaging programs focused on social justice and building more equitable communities.
Top of her bucket list: Trek to the tip of South America and hop a boat to Antarctica to drink beverages with 3 million year old ice.
Erin is not an AMIGOS alum but she is passionate about cultural exchange, languages, travel, and education. She is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Political science, originally from Texas. During her time at Notre Dame she had a transformative study abroad experience in Chile which, coupled with a variety of other service experiences, has fueled her interest in Latin America and social justice. Erin is excited to advocate for Amigos and is grateful for the opportunity to promote the same kinds of service, leadership, and cultural experiences that have shaped her own personal development but is extremely jealous of anyone who actually got to participate in an AMIGOS program. In her spare time you can find her exploring the city and if you ever visit D.C. she can give you a definitive ranking of the best cupcakeries in town.
Top of her bucket list: Hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain and take fun photos at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
Taylor began her AMIGOS adventure in 2008 as a participant in Nicaragua. After that life changing experience she continued to volunteer with like-minded organizations and travel in Latin America. She graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in Child and Adolescent Development and began working with youth and families. In 2015 she joined the National Office Staff to support participants and staff throughout their summer programs. In the fall of 2015 she transferred to the West Coast Team to work on recruitment and chapter support!
Top of her bucket list: Visit every continent and try the food!
As CEO, Sara leads the senior management team at AMIGOS in developing the vision and systems to ensure that programs stay relevant, sustainable, and impactful. Prior to leading the organization Sara served as Director of Programs at AMIGOS for four years, building new program models, including the gap year, college programs, and programs for youth from Latin America. Prior to working at AMIGOS, Sara served as Associate Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Sara holds a Master of Science in International Development Management from the London School of Economics and bachelor’s degrees in Conservation and Resource Studies and Spanish from the University of California Berkeley. Sara got her start with AMIGOS as a participant in Costa Rica (1997) and Brazil (1998) and worked on program staff in the Dominican Republic (2000 & 2001) and Paraguay (2003).
Top of her bucket list: Take a month touring across Vietnam to visit the cities and coastal areas and enjoy amazing Vietnamese cuisine every day.
Luis is responsible for the finance, accounting, treasury, facilities, and IT functions at AMIGOS. Luis first got involved with AMIGOS in 2013 but became involved in ‘las Americas’ much earlier in life when he was born in El Salvador. He was raised in Houston, TX and attended the University of Texas, where he received his BBA from the Business Honors Program. After a few years of working with Enron (sorry about that), he then received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Business. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Luis worked in various energy/utility firms and in the microprocessor industry.
Top of his bucket list: Travel to Petra, Jordan.
Krista is from San Francisco and lives there now with her family across from Ocean Beach.
As soon as she heard about AMIGOS in her freshman year, she wanted to go. She waited impatiently until she was 16 and then headed to Mexico in 1982 to work in latrine construction. To this day, she walks by bags of concrete at Home Depot with a well-trained desire to get some water and start mixing. The following summer, she went to Ecuador on a rabies vaccination campaign. While studying Sociology at UCSC, she returned to Ecuador in 1985 as field staff and then went back to Mexico in 1987 as the project director in Michoacan.
After college, she moved to Washington DC for two years. Her life took an unexpected turn when she moved to Seoul ,South Korea for three months that became five years. Asia was a true revelation to her and she loved every moment. When she returned to the US, she came back to San Francisco to work in International Education. She is thrilled to come full circle and be back with AMIGOS on the west coast.
Top of Krista’s bucket list: Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain with her husband (though he does not know that yet).
Abbie is a 5-time Amiga, serving as a participant in Panama and the Dominican Republic and serving as a member of the summer leadership team in Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. After graduating from Rockhurst University with a degree in Psychology and Spanish, Abbie received her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She is thrilled to be overseeing projects in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, two of her favorite countries in Latin America (among many others). In her free time, you can find Abbie playing basketball, reading, people-watching, and going on long runs with her dog.
Top of her bucket list: Hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail with her dog, Sammie.
Mason is a second generation AMIGO and was first a participant in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2000. This experience helped Mason discover his passion for traveling, cross-cultural exchange, and facilitating positive social change. He returned to work with AMIGOS on project staff four times and studied Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Mason was the Training Director for the Tucson Chapter of AMIGOS before moving to Houston in 2011 to work for AMIGOS headquarters. He is proud to support passionate young leaders to train and prepare for their AMIGOS experiences.
Top of his bucket list: Try at least one traditional meal from every country.
Rasha joined AMIGOS in January 2014. Though not an AMIGOS alum, she served as Project Director in her home country, Colombia, from 2014-2016. In 2016 she moved up to the role of Regional Director, overseeing all programs in Panama and Colombia. She graduated in September 2013 with a degree in international relations from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia with emphasis on political science and diplomacy. Through her years in Uninorte, she was always an active part of UNIVOLUNTARIOS, the volunteer group on campus. Rasha was born and raised in Colombia, but she is also Lebanese and Brazilian.
Top of her bucket list: Get to meet all her family that lives all around the world.
Vanessa started her adventure with AMIGOS in 2013 as the Program Coordinator for Gap Year in Nicaragua. She continues loving her job in that role and has also twice served as Project Director for AMIGOS summer programs. Vanessa attended the University of Oregon Clark Honors College, double majoring in International Studies and Political Science. She is passionate about international development, environmental education, and youth leadership. Before joining the AMIGOS team, Vanessa worked for Global Glimpse, designing and leading group experiential learning trips to Nicaragua for young leaders.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Patagonia and experience the astonishing beauty of the untarnished terrain.
Belén joined AMIGOS and Plan International in June of 2016 working with the Youth Ambassadors Program in Ecuador and the American Youth Leadership Program in Houston. Belen graduated from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador as a clinical psychologist. After graduation, she began working with teenagers on drug prevention workshops lasting ten months. Belén loves working with teenagers and empowering them to feel capable of fulfilling their dreams and fighting for what they want. She loves learning from them every day. In her free time you can find Belén reading or dancing.
Top of her bucket list: Travel around the world!
Elizabeth Bonilla joined the AMIGOS organization in 1998, bringing with her experience in customer service and administrative skills after working several years as a Receptionist/Office Manager for an auto dealership. Though not an AMIGOS alum she had always hoped to be part of an organization that truly cared about social change and community development, so when the position at AMIGOS became available she took it. Through the years she has assisted several of the different departments in the organization and now is primarily involved in assisting the programs department with many different types of projects. She has experienced first- hand the organizational growth and truly hopes that her children will also get the opportunity and privilege to one day be able to participate in one of the many great programs that AMIGOS has to offer.
Top of her bucket list: Win the lottery.
Chapter Operations CoordinatorHouston
Trey’s fascination with cultural immersion and love of exploration began when he moved to Australia in middle school. Being from a small Texas town, he had no idea what this world had to offer until then… and he hasn’t stopped exploring since. He received a degree in International Relations from the University of Texas, focusing on sustainable agriculture and poverty reduction programs in Latin America. After studying in Austin and Argentina, and working in Los Angeles, he returned to Houston to await his next adventure. He loves tacos, anything outside, music festivals, doggos, and most people. He is thrilled to be a part of AMIGOS and the invaluable opportunities it provides!
Top of his bucket list: Try everything at least once
An avid traveler and language enthusiast, Meghan first joined AMIGOS as a participant in Azuero, Panamá in 2011. After graduating from Salem College in North Carolina with a B.A in Communication, she returned to both AMIGOS and Panamá as a Project Supervisor in Coclé during the summer of 2016. Prior to joining the AMIGOS headquarters team, she was an AmeriCorps member in her hometown of Madison, WI working to close the achievement gap in bilingual elementary classrooms through a tutoring and mentorship program. She is passionate about how educational experiences, both traditional and non-traditional, contribute to leadership development and thrilled to be part of the work AMIGOS does to provide such opportunities to young people.
Top of her bucket list: A tie between visiting Belize and walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Katie was excited to join the International Office Staff in the fall of 2014 after spending five summers in Latin America with AMIGOS, both as a participant and on project staff. Prior to joining AMIGOS she was a Health Educator with Peer Health Exchange and graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Public Health. In her free time Katie enjoys knitting, learning to rock climb, finding cheap yoga, and adding to the decorations in her office.
Top of her bucket list: Visit all US National Parks
Cynthia joined AMIGOS in 2013. She was born and raised in Michigan, and misses the snow but loves the Texas sunshine. She has an Accounting Degree from Michigan State University and loves numbers! She has experience as a bank examiner, internal auditor, and has been the Assistant Controller for a major grocery chain and the Treasury Director for a global staffing firm. She also loves to travel!
Favorite travel memory: Experiencing the wonderful sights of a volcano and a glacier in the same day in Iceland
Jacque joined AMIGOS in 2001 as the Executive Assistant to the President. As Data Manager, she now maintains AMIGOS’ information database. Jacque graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a BS in Anthropology. She was fortunate to be able to spend the 1990s traveling and living in several countries throughout the world, experiencing many different cultures.
Favorite travel memory: Living in the jungle of Borneo being serenaded by gibbons each morning.