This is Brittany's fourth year on the Y.E.C.A. Steering Committee and she currently serves as the Chair. Previously she filled the role of Communications Coordinator from 2015-2016. Brittany works at Care of Creation, a Christian environmental nonprofit based in Madison, Wisconsin, as the Creation Care Outreach Specialist. She previously served as the Special Projects Coordinator and contributed to the development of the Lausanne/World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Network, which has hosted international conferences for over 40 countries in the last 5 years. Her experiences include speaking on college campuses and at various faith-based environmental gatherings, organizing workshops for international conferences, writing for the Our Father's World blog, and networking with creation care leaders.
Brittany received an M.S. in Environmental Conservation in 2017 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and her B.S. in International Agriculture and Natural Resources from UW-Madison in 2012. As a grad student, Brittany lived in the Peruvian Amazon for three months, directing an ecological assessment of the rainforest while working with a mission organization. She is looking forward to life after graduate studies and rediscovering hobbies like painting and hiking during her free time.
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap serves as the National Organizer and Spokesperson for Y.E.C.A. and has been a steering committee member since 2013. Kyle holds an undergraduate degree in religious studies from Calvin College (B.A. '12) and a Master of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary (M.Div. '16). Before coming on staff at Y.E.C.A., Kyle served for four years as the Creation Care Coordinator at the Office of Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, where he worked to educate and equip individuals and congregations to learn and act at the intersection of creation care and Christian faith. Much of his professional experience has involved the integration of theology, science, and action toward a deeper awareness of our Christian responsibility to care for God's earth and to love our neighbors, both at home and around the world.
Kyle has received numerous awards for his work, including being named in 2015 to Midwest Energy Group's inaugural 40 Under 40 cohort for his work on climate change education and advocacy. He has been featured in national and international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, NBC News, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. He is married to Allison and resides in Grand Rapids, MI with their son Simon. In his free time, Kyle enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time outside in God's beautiful creation.
Brittany is an environmental specialist for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She assists with the state Voluntary Cleanup Program and is a member of the Disaster Response Team. Her previous work included supporting research in nuclear waste treatment, coal ash reuse, and urban stormwater modeling.
Brittany received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology from Eastern University (PA) in 2011. She was active in creation care initiatives both on and off-campus, serving as an environmental campus club leader and as a student leader with Renewal. During her internship with Renewal, she helped to publish two reports on the student creation care movement in the U.S. and Canada, and also lobbied on issues including climate change and mountaintop removal. Brittany came on board with YECA as a founding steering committee member in 2012. She received an M.S.E. in Civil / Environmental Engineering from Catholic University (DC) in 2016. Brittany and her husband, Chris, are based out of Topeka, KS, where they are house-hunting and adjusting to life on the plains.
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Riley currently works as a geophysicist at the Illinois State Geological Survey in Central Illinois. He recently graduated with a master's degree studying sustainable community development and water resource management at the University of Wisconsin, after earning his undergraduate degrees in Geophysics and Biblical and Theological Studies, and a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) at Wheaton College (IL). Riley grew up in Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and San Diego, where his family currently lives. Riley enjoys playing basketball and working on/riding his bicycle--he is still riding the same bike he got for his tenth birthday! (Though with some modifications). He picked up volleyball in high school and has recently been learning how to grow plants without all of them dying.
- You can contact Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Armila is currently teaching in the department of Environmental Science, Public Health and Sustainable Development at Taylor University. She grew up in Ann Arbor, MI. and when she came to Upland, Indiana to attend Taylor in 2008, she considered herself a transplant Hoosier. She holds a BS in Biology (Taylor '12) and a Masters of Environmental Science (Taylor '13).
While in undergrad, Armila served on the cabinet of Stewards of Creation, the student-run creation care club on campus. Currently, she helps lead the Sustainability Assistants, a group of students who promote campus-wide sustainability initiatives. She is also the faculty sponsor for the Taylor University chapter of the Food Recovery Network.
In her leisure time, Armila enjoys being outside, running, doing puzzles, reading, going on little bike adventures, concocting edible experiments in the kitchen, growing things, writing letters, and foraging/telling people about wild edible plants.
In the fall of 2014, Anthony began his Master's in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at the University of Maryland. After this program, he hopes to enter into the land management field.
Prior to moving to the East Coast, Anthony graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA in 2011 and then worked for 3 years as the Sustainability Coordinator for Westmont Dining Services. In this position, he cultivated 3/4 of an acre of campus land for student consumption and donation and provided opportunities for student sustainability engagement at the college. He is excited to be a part of the Y.E.C.A. Steering Committee and to contribute to this organization's inspiring stewardship work.
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Luke earned his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Public Health and a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) from Wheaton College (IL). While a student at Wheaton College, Luke worked as a research and health intern at Shalom Delhi HIV/AIDS Care Center (a project of Emmanuel Hospital Association), where he helped research the needs of families affected by HIV/AIDS and developed a project proposal for an income generation program for these families.
Luke grew up in a missionary fmaily and lived in Nouakchott, Mauritania for nearly four years, where he developed an interest in the dependence of human health upon the condition of the environment. In the near future, he hopes to further this interest by pursuing a Masters in Public Health with an interdisciplinary emphasis on environmental protection.
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Rachel is currently a PhD student in Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. Through her research, Rachel is exploring how climate change governance can better reflect the complex, non-linear and dynamic nature of social-ecological systems. Before beginning this program, she served as Y.E.C.A.’s National Organizer and Spokesperson and has been a part of the organization since its inception, including two years as Chair of the Steering Committee.
As part of her professional development, Rachel has worked for numerous agencies and organizations including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, A Rocha Peru in Lima, Peru, National Socio-Ecological Synthesis Research Center, Society for Conservation Biology, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While working at the EPA as a GRO Fellow, Rachel developed a Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Native American communities in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Currently, during the summer, she teaches Environmental Law and Policy at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in Michigan as an Assistant Professor.
Rachel holds undergraduate degrees in Environmental Studies and International Relations from Wheaton College (IL) as well as a Master of Public Policy and Master of Science in Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Rachel’s vocational passions drive her to facilitate dialogue and action on creation care within the Christian community as she believes that positive societal transformation will in large part flow from the church bearing witness to God’s mission of love, hope, and restoration in this world.
In 2015, Rachel was named a White House Champion of Change for her efforts in protecting our environment and communities from the effects of climate change.
Katie Thomason is the Sustainable Palm Oil Markets Coordinator at Conservation International. She recently earned her MS degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied sustainable development and conservation biology, particularly concerning land use and urban sprawl. Katie earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. She credits her undergraduate experience with providing the defining moment when she felt called to a career in environmental stewardship.
Katie is an advocate for sustainable socio-ecological systems, and she sees her career as an opportunity to connect both Christians and non-Christians. She would like to improve this dialog.
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Rick recently moved to his new home of Minnesota where he works for the Land Stewardship Project, building capacity for grassroots change in the food and farming system. He also coordinates the education program of a local church.
In his home state of New Jersey, Rick served as the interim development director of a youth services nonprofit and apprenticed on a small scale organic farm. He received a Masters of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary where he was deeply involved in student organizing. Besides fighting for a more just and sustainable world, Rick likes venturing out on cross country bike rides and watching cat videos with his kitten.