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), a Master of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary (M.Div. '16), and is ordained in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). 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.
In 2015, Kyle was named 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.
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 email@example.com.
Armila is on the teaching staff in the Plant Pathology department at UW-Madison. She grew up in Ann Arbor, MI, where she enjoyed being outside, doing puzzles, reading, going on little bike adventures, growing things, and foraging in her backyard. She moved to Upland, Indiana to attend Taylor University in 2008, where a friend in her plant biology class got her truly jazzed about environmental science. 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, and in grad school, she started a campus garden. While teaching at Taylor, she helped lead the Sustainability Assistants, a group of students who promote campus-wide sustainability initiatives. She also served as the faculty sponsor for the Taylor University chapter of the Food Recovery Network.
In her leisure time, Armila enjoys spending time with her husband, Nate. They enjoy being outside, doing puzzles, reading, going on little bike adventures, concocting edible experiments in the kitchen, writing letters, and foraging.
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.
- Contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- Contact Katie at email@example.com
Rick Morris lives squarely in the intersection of faith, politics, and the environment. He got into climate change advocacy after a superstorm ripped through his home state of NJ while he was attending seminary. He holds two degrees in religion and theology (B.A. Wheaton College '10, M.Div Princeton Theological Seminary '14) and trained as an organic farmer in Japan and NJ.
Rick currently works a clean energy organizer with the Sierra Club, where he and a committed group of activists are building a movement for a just, equitable, and fast transition to 100% renewable energy in Rochester, MN. He also serves on the Rochester Parks Foundation board, represents Y.E.C.A. on the JUST Transitions working group of the US Climate Action Network, and is an occasional lecturer and preacher. Feel free to reach out to Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @theRickMorris.
Kaleb is a graduate student at The University of Chicago, pursuing a joint MDiv/MPP degree at the Divinity School and the Harris School of Public Policy. On campus, he is on the leadership teams for the Graduate Christian Fellowship (Intervarsity) and the Project on Political Reform's Student Advisory Board. He also works part-time as the Director of Student Ministries for Ravenswood Evangelical Covenant Church (Chicago, IL) and has visiting student status at North Park Theological Seminary. In 2017, he was a recipient of the Divinity School's International Ministry Grant in order to study and report on the response of churches in Sweden to the global refugee crisis.
A lifelong member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, he has served various ECC ministries including Covenant World Relief, Cascades Camp and Conference Center, and CHIC 2015 ("Long Road to Justice"). Kaleb is an alum of North Park University (IL) where he received a BA in Global Studies and Conflict Transformation, and also competed for the Vikings as a Cross Country/Track & Field athlete. After graduation in 2012, Kaleb participated in the summer internship program at the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
Kaleb is passionate about helping the church embody the beauty and simplicity of Christ's gospel in our broken and complicated world, and he believes climate change presents an excellent opportunity to do just that. From 2013-15, Kaleb served as the Communications Coordinator for Y.E.C.A, and since 2016 he has helped to spearhead Y.E.C.A.'s civic engagement initiatives. During this time, Kaleb has been invited to lead conversations about climate change with a range of religious audiences, from evangelical student groups to ecumenical retreats and even some interfaith gatherings. He also presently serves on the Climate Action Task Force for the 2018 Parliament of World Religions in Toronto.