Sara Lamson Nathan
President & CEO
Health & Safety Manager
Managing Director of Programs
Summer and Gap Program Manager
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
IT Systems Manager
Associate Director, Foundation for AMIGOS
San Francisco Bay Area
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.
Luis Fernando was born in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. In 2010 he moved to Costa Rica to pursue his higher education studies at the National University in Heredia, where he graduated in Economic Planning and Social Development. During college years he participated in educational and cultural projects in Poland and Brazil. In 2015 he worked at the Refugee Education Trust as a consultant for the development of a guide geared to young students to detect and prevent school violence. In 2016 he started working for Global Student Embassy as Trip Coordinator in Nicaragua and Ecuador. Luis likes writing, audiovisuals and traveling, and believes in education and culture as tools for social change.
Luis Fernando nació en Managua, ciudad capital de Nicaragua. En 2010 se mudó a Costa Rica para cursar su carrera universitaria en la Universidad Nacional en Heredia, donde se graduó en Planificación Económica y Promoción Social. Durante la universidad participó en proyectos educacionales y culturales en Polonia y Brasil. En 2015 trabajó para el Fondo para el Educación de Personas Refugiadas como consultor, y desarrolló una guía dirigida a jóvenes para detectar y prevenir la violencia escolar. En 2016 empezó a trabajar con Global Student Embassy como coordinador de viajes en Nicaragua y Ecuador. A Luis le gusta escribir, las audiovisuales y viajar, y cree en la educación y la cultura como herramientas para el cambio social.
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.
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!
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 ManagerHouston
Growing up in Minnesota, Rachel never could have guessed all of the adventures that awaited her outside of the Boundary Waters. After trying her hand at ranching in Wyoming, traveling the southeastern US playing rugby, working a year in cities and towns around New Zealand, and training in Muy Thai in Thailand, Rachel found her second home in Latin America. Cumulatively, she has spent three years volunteering, working, and traveling in a dozen countries in Latin America. She is excited to be a part of the AMIGOS family and the incredible opportunities AMIGOS provides for young people across the Americas.
Top of her bucket list: Capitalize on the hilarious Minnesota-Venezuela confusion in a way that benefits both areas. It is shocking how many people think these words sound alike.
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
Candace was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She went to school at Colorado Technical University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration concentrating in Healthcare Management and a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Prior to this position, Candace worked for a professional sports television station called Comcast Sportsnet Chicago as a manager. This job was pretty cool because she got to meet a lot of professional athletes! In her spare time, she likes building things, taking working things apart, and putting them back together to see if they still work when she’s done. (She has about a 50% success rate at this point).
Top of her bucket list: Go skydiving.
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.