Home / Blogs / Welcome, New Alliance Team Members!
November 2, 2023
The Alliance has had another growth spurt! Please join us in welcoming nine new team members across the watershed.
Morgan was born, raised, and still resides along the banks of Virginia’s beautiful James River. Her fundraising career began while founding her alma mater’s internet radio station and matured at JFS Richmond, where chief among her many responsibilities was nearly doubling the agency’s private foundations revenue. Morgan is profoundly inspired by the Alliance’s hardworking, passionate staff, and she’s honored to invite you to join our mission to restore the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay!
In a previous life, Morgan taught creative writing to exceptional high school students at the University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop, as well as undergraduates at the University of Colorado Boulder. She still brings her collaborative, empathetic, and engaging approach everywhere she goes. Morgan holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University and a MFA in Creative Writing from CU Boulder, where her thesis was supervised by the late Noah Eli Gordon.
When she’s not squinting at spreadsheets or Google Docs, Morgan enjoys spoiling her rescue dog, thrifting for funky decor, and watching sports – especially UVA men’s basketball, the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Capitals.
Jeremy joined the Alliance in October 2023 as a Pennsylvania Agriculture Projects Coordinator. A Maryland agriculturalist born and raised, Jeremy grew up in the food industry and farming in Central Maryland, which led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Sciences, with a minor focusing the degree on Poultry & Avian Sciences at Penn State. During college, he had the opportunity to work on and help manage operations in both his home county, Frederick, and in Lancaster County After undergraduate, he attended Vermont Law & Graduate School achieving his Juris Doctor focused on Food & Agricultural Law in 2022 and was admitted to practice by the state of Alabama in 2023. Jeremy worked in the nexus between agriculture, forestry, and outdoor recreation at the federal level, before coming to The Alliance.
Jeremy plans to use his experiences, both as a poultry farmer and an agricultural advocate, to work with new & existing farmers and partners to successfully expand the Pennsylvania Agriculture Projects team. Currently, Jeremy splits his time between Frederick County, Maryland, and the Upper Dauphin’s Susquehanna Valley, but still finds ample time outdoors to hunt, trap, hike, camp, and fish.
Joel joined the Alliance in October 2023 as the New York Agriculture Projects Coordinator. Joel grew up just outside of Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes region. A graduate of SUNY Oneonta with degrees in Political Science and International Development Studies, Joel has spent his professional career thus far working in Agriculture and Outdoor Education with Middle and High School students in the Pacific Northwest. In his years in Oregon and Washington, Joel led backpacking trips along the cascade volcanoes, and managed a 3-acre educational farm outside of Portland, Oregon. Joel plans to use his experience as a farmer and an educator to communicate effectively with farmers and Alliance partners to successfully expand the Agriculture Projects team into New York.
Joel is thrilled to be returning to upstate New York to live among the hills, lakes, and streams that taught him to love, respect, and care for the outdoors. He looks forward to apple cider after long fall hikes, ice skating on frozen ponds, and searching for swimming holes to beat the humid weather.
Joel loves to spend his time snowboarding, backpacking, cooking, gardening, watching baseball games, and quiet evenings with his dog, Opal, and partner, Emily.
Noah joined the Alliance team in 2023, as a Pennsylvania Agriculture Projects Associate. He grew up in South-Eastern Pennsylvania, where he quickly found a love for the outdoors at a young age. Whether that be getting lost in forests, or trying to find new “secret” fishing spots, Noah was always on the move, searching for the next new adventure. Having spent many summers working at his grandfather’s dairy farm, Noah realized the importance of farming, and the connection with the land that all people have. His time on the farm gave him access to land he would never have had access to, and inspired his love of the outdoors.
Noah graduated from Albright College with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 2023 and a minor in Marine and Aquatic Science. While at Albright, Noah participated in various research projects regarding invasive and non-native species, deer browsing impacts on plant communities, and timbering’s effect on stream water quality. He takes particular interest in macroinvertebrate insects, and would try to find a way to include them in his research however he could.
When not working, Noah can be found rock climbing in and around Pennsylvania and New York, or mountain biking the local trails near his home in Berks County.
Sandy joined the team in August 2023 and serves as the Agricultural Projects Coordinator in Central Pennsylvania. She focuses on outreach and farmer conservation practices that lead to improved farm sustainability, and quality of water, land, and air in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. As part of the Alliance team and partnerships, she collaborates with farmers, nonprofits, food cooperatives and their food supply chains, as well as government leaders.
Sandy has been an ‘in the field’ agriculture practitioner throughout her career and seeks to deeply understand motivators and guide decisions of people within their immediate and global environments. Her previous experience and education have been coaching various facets of dairy management by advisors and farmers. Sandy has a master’s degree from University of Florida in dairy cattle feeding and a doctorate from University of Wisconsin-Madison in decision theory as it relates to animal health. She recently received her provisional Nutrient Management Plan License and became a Master Watershed Steward to fulfill a personal goal to better understand conservation practices to help farmers in a constantly changing environment and to play an active role in improving water and air quality for farm sustainability and for future generations.
Sandy spent the first 20 years of her life in Havre de Grace at the intersection of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River and has lived in Lewisburg Pennsylvania and near the Susquehanna River again for the last 22 years. The land and waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are an integral part of her DNA. Her 30+ years of working directly with farmers and deeply understanding their life’s work, their challenges and aspirations combined with all our need for food has further informed her work and job with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
In her free time, Sandy participates in a Nature Journaling club in State College and is learning about her natural environment by drawing and journaling about it. She is also a member of the Nature Book club through the Middle Susquehanna River Keepers. Sandy and her husband Rob and black lab, Fiona, enjoy hiking, cycling, kayaking, traveling to new places and visiting with family.
Edward joined the Alliance in August, as a Forests Projects Coordinator. Hailing from Maryland, Edward has worked and studied in the environmental field from Virginia up to New England for the past decade, be it living on a sailing ship, training bald eagles or teaching people to identify trees. He studied environmental humanities at Juniata College, and spent a semester in the Amazon and Galapagos before going to graduate school at Antioch University New England. There, he obtained a Master of Science in Ecological Anthropology, studying environmental values of people who live and recreate on the land in upstate New York.
Edward has been a faculty member at the University of Maryland, worked as a park ranger, as a researcher and as a wilderness guide. He is deeply interested in getting people out into America’s wilds and helping everyone see the benefits of taking a good hike in the woods and understanding the reasons we must protect them.
Alex joined the Alliance in August 2023. He serves as the Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee Project Associate. In this role, Alex assists the Committee Coordinator in providing organizational support and meeting coordination for the Stakeholders’ Committee members as they meet with government officials and technical experts across the watershed.
Alex graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2018, where he majored in History and completed a double minor in Art History and U.S. National Security. Although he hasn’t practiced for a few years, Alex was a member of the CNU Marching Captains where he played tenor saxophone and trombone. Following graduation, he moved to Boston to serve as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year, an education and community service nonprofit. Although this experience made clear to him that teaching was not his career calling, Alex still possessed a strong desire to pursue a career in public service and civic engagement.
After his time with AmeriCorps, Alex was accepted to Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies where he graduated in 2021 with a MS in Global Studies and International Relations with a concentration in conflict resolution. Initially after graduation, Alex planned on applying to be a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. However, due to the disruption brought on by the pandemic, he decided to return home to Virginia.
Upon his return to Richmond in 2021, Alex was hired by the Virginia Department of Health as a Contact Tracer and Public Health Investigator as part of a COVID-19 Response Team. During his time with VDH, he was responsible for monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks and providing quarantine guidance for correctional facilities within the Piedmont Health District.
For fun outside of work, Alex can be found riding his bike around Richmond, enjoying the James River, working out, or rummaging around some dingy thrift store.
Raised just north of Charlottesville, Virginia, Shannon grew up playing in the creeks and mountains of the central Blue Ridge and crabbing with her grandparents in the Northern Neck. A nature kid from the very start, she went on to earn her BS in Environmental Science and Agriculture from the University of Vermont.
Shannon has worn many professional hats, from various market farms across the country, to leading wilderness experiences in West Virginia, working as a horticulturist at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, developing Urban Farming programs in Charlottesville City schools, and most recently as a Conservation Specialist with Lord Fairfax Soil and Water. The defining themes of her career are stewardship and community engagement. Joining the Alliance in 2023, Shannon is excited to put her skills to work supporting farmers and restoration efforts across her home watershed.
Outside of work you can find Shannon backpacking, paddling, biking, and quad skating around the Shenandoah Valley. She lives in Harrisonburg, VA with her husband and their dog, cat, and vegetable garden.
Sira serves as a Finance Assistant at the Alliance, where she plays a crucial role in managing financial payables, including credit card expenses, ad-hoc financial tasks, and check handling.
Beyond her professional accomplishments, Sira has recently embraced a new role as a pet parent to a lovable dog named Link. Her adoption of Link has brought an extra dose of joy and companionship to her life.
Sira’s journey began in Chongqing, China, a mountain city that has greatly influenced her perspective and values. Her upbringing in Chongqing has instilled in her a deep appreciation for culture, community, and a commitment to positive change.
With a strong educational foundation, a commitment to finance, and a heartwarming connection with her furry friend Link, Sira Fan is not only a dedicated finance professional but also a caring individual who brings her unique experiences and values to the Alliance, enhancing the organization’s mission of creating positive change in the community.
Learn more about our team here!
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