Meet Our VISTAs!

Ecolibrium3 places AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers at local organizations to advance anti-poverty, community resiliency, sustainability, and equity initiatives. Meet our 2021-22 volunteers!

Ecolibrium3 hosts eight AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers

Lin James, VISTA Team Leader

Lin James has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for two previous terms and is now serving as one of the Ecolibrium3 VISTA Leaders. Lin
graduated as an older than average student with a B.S. in Health Education
and an M.S. in Environmental Studies, both from Bemidji State. She is passionate about prevention both in health and in sustainability of the Earth’s resources, and connecting people to nature. Lin loves to travel and see new places and meet new people, especially when it involves exploring nature by hiking, biking and paddling. Lin is also a certified yoga instructor. She is in awe of the commitment and work of younger generations in helping to support communities and the environment.

Philip Duket, VISTA Team Leader

Philip Duket is serving as one of the Ecolibrium3 VISTA Team Leaders. His first position out of college was serving as a VISTA Volunteer in Decatur, IL. That experience has shaped his work life – always being of service to others. Philip has a great deal of experience as a preventionist, with a focus on
systems level change. He believes in empowering people, giving them the knowledge and tools to address the challenges being faced. Philip looks forward to working with fellow VISTAs and supporting
their initiatives.

Cameron Kadlubowski, Eco3 Sustainability and Equity VISTA

Cameron is serving as a Sustainability and Equity VISTA with Ecolibrium3. He originally hails from Harvard, IL, and has spent the last three years in Ashland, WI, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Community Development and a minor in Climate Change Studies. Cameron finds fulfillment in active civic participation and is particularly invested in topics related to sustainability, climate change, and urban/community planning. Additionally, he typically spends his free time outdoors, hiking, cycling, kayaking, skiing, and more.

Lena Nguyen, Eco3 Transportation VISTA

Lena Nguyen is serving as the Sustainability and Equity – Transportation VISTA at Ecolibrium3. She recently graduated from the University of Virginia, majoring in Civil Engineering and minoring in Urban Planning and Global Sustainability. She is passionate about integrating sustainability and equity in the built environment and is beyond excited to use her education, skills, and enthusiasm to help develop a better transportation system that serves all people. When she’s not busy with her many side projects, she can be found biking around the city, engaging in different physical activities, or reading a book.

Maia Sowers, Eco3 Sustainability and Equity VISTA

Maia Sowers works as a Sustainability and Equity VISTA with Ecolibrium3. They graduated from UNC Asheville in North Carolina with a major in Environmental Management and Policy and a minor in Economics. They drove from Charlotte, North Carolina to serve in Duluth and are super excited to get started with all the cool projects that Eco3 is working on. Maia has an interest in sustainability, urban planning, and renewable energy and enjoys most outdoor activities, doing art, and crafting.

Molly Oace, Eco3 Urban Agriculture and Resilience VISTA

Molly Oace is serving as an Urban Agriculture and Resilience VISTA at Ecolibrium3. She recently studied and participated in rural regenerative solutions and holistic agriculture in Greece. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Molly became passionate about food production while working on small farms around the world. She will be assisting the Eco3 Urban Farm in providing fresh and organic produce to the Lincoln Park community using regenerative practices. Molly is excited to set up food production programs and partnerships that promote food sovereignty and resilient communities in Duluth. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, foraging, and cold-water swimming.

Reese van Houten, Eco3 Communications and Community Resilience VISTA

Reese Van Houten is serving Duluth as Ecolibrium3’s Community Communications Specialist. Originally from the Great Lakes State, Reese grew up with a close relationship to her environment, inspiring her passion for sustainability. In 2020, she graduated from Oakland University with a B.A. in International Relations and a concentration in Urban Studies. Reese continued her education at Virginia Tech, attaining her Master’s in Natural Resources and Global Sustainability in 2021. Prior to AmeriCorps, Reese worked with the Center for Disease Control, researching the health outcomes of PFAS exposure through drinking water in Parchment, Michigan. During her time with the CDC, Reese was moved by the resilience of Parchment and found herself wanting to nurture the same sense of community through capacity building and human connection. In her free time, Reese enjoys practicing yoga and mediation, bird watching, and hanging out with her cat Bigfoot.

Meet the other amazing VISTA volunteers we have placed in the community

Ashley Newton-Deckrow, Northern Bedrock Capacity Builder VISTA

Ashley Newton-Deckrow will be serving as the Northern Bedrock Capacity Builder Vista with Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps. She is originally from a small town outside of Traverse City, Michigan. Ashley did her undergraduate work in anthropology and archaeology and will be receiving her graduate degree in history in June. She moved here about a year ago to serve as an Americorp crew member with Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps. She is excited to help Northern Bedrock grow and see how the administered side works compared to the hands-on experience she gained last summer. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and working on puzzles.

Audrey Aouga, Family Freedom Communication & Youth Resource VISTA

Audrey Aouga is a Ecolibrium3 VISTA member placed at the Family Freedom Center, an unapologetically Black, youth organization in West Duluth. They joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program in order to understand the processes of non-profit organizations, learn how to create programs for Black youth, understand how to find valuable resources for Black families, and combat poverty in low-income communities of color. Audrey graduated from the School of Art and Letters at the College of St. Scholastica in May 2022 with a degree in Peace and Justice Studies and minor in ASL and Deaf Studies. They enjoy spending their free time in sunny weather with friends—preferably at the beach or near water—cooking, and writing poetry. They are so excited to be involved in the VISTA program and even more excited to connect with families of color in Duluth.

Caitlin "Cat" Dewlen, Community Action Duluth Ecological Justice VISTA

Caitlin Dewlen is serving as the Ecological Justice VISTA at Community Action Duluth serving the Seeds of Success and Duluth Stream Corps programs. Their role supports the community by helping to increase access to healthy food and improve stream and forest health in Duluth. Caitlin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia Southern University. Caitlin lived in Minnesota for the first three years of her life and is grateful for the opportunity to return, though this will be her first time in Duluth. In their free time, Caitlin enjoys frequenting the local library, finding new places to explore, cooking, and spending hours on Facetime with their sister.

Carissa Brownotter, PRAIRIE Farm Urban Food & Ecology VISTA

Carissa is Hunkpapa Lakota and Diné. She is originally from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and currently resides in Fargo, ND. This year she will be serving as the PRAIRIE Urban Food and Ecology VISTA focusing on equitable food production, ecological research & demonstration, land stewardship, social renewal, and creating access to land, training and resources with BIPOC and other underserved individuals. Carissa received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and is finishing her Master’s in Public Health with a specialization in American Indian Public Health from North Dakota State University. Her career interests lie in promoting health and wellness in her community through strengthening relationships and developing opportunities. Carissa has dabbled in a wide range of experiences, each with a connection to community and wellness. She taught math as a middle school teacher, mentored as a graduate writing consultant, and supported a local food pantry as a warehouse supervisor. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, reading, laughing, and playing with her pup, Humphrey T. Bogart.

Gabrielle Gingras, City of Northfield Sustainability Associate VISTA

MN.. Gabby is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota Morris and has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. Gabby is looking forward to using her passion for sustainability and the environment to serve the Northfield community while serving as a VISTA. In her spare time Gabby enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her cat, Puffin.

Isabell Beasley, Fond Du Lac Food Sovereignty VISTA

Isabell Beasley is serving as the Food Sovereignty VISTA with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She recently graduated from Rice University with a major in Biosciences, focusing on Cell Biology and Genetics, and a minor in Medical Humanities. Isabell gained an appreciation for agricultural development and agro-ecosystems working at her university’s holistic community garden, helping to provide fresh and inexpensive crops to campus kitchens and helping to foster a deeper connection between the campus population and the environment. She is excited to grow and learn from the thriving communities at Fond du Lac throughout the upcoming year. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, tending to her houseplants, attending concerts, foraging mushrooms, and exploring nature!

Kyra Kjeldahl, St. Louis County Public Health Opioid VISTA

Kyra Kjeldahl is serving at St. Louis County Public Health as the Opioid VISTA. During her service, Kyra will be helping to address the opioid epidemic by building systems to reduce overdoses and increase harm reduction practices, and by expanding educational opportunities, partnerships, and funding to reduce opioid use. Originally from Maple Grove, MN, Kyra graduated from Luther College in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Global Health and a concentration in the Science of Disease and Wellness. In her free time, Kyra can be found reading, hiking, and listening to true crime podcasts.

Parker Angelos, City of Duluth Energy and Sustainability VISTA

Parker Angelos is serving as the City of Duluth Energy and Sustainability VISTA. In 2019, Parker graduated with a BA in International Studies and Spanish from Indiana University. In 2022, he earned his Master of Environmental Sustainability with a concentration in municipal sustainability at Indiana University from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In his free time, he enjoys being in nature, camping, hiking, traveling across the country and abroad, and trying new cuisines. Serving the Duluth community this year, he hopes to support the creation of a more equitable and sustainable society by combating the effects of climate change. He is excited to join Ecolibirum3, to meet and learn from the Duluth community, and to explore the natural beauty of Northern Minnesota.

Maixent "Izzy" Ralaingita, Duluth Superior Area Communty Foundation
Community Disaster Resilience VISTA

Izzy Ralaingita will be serving as the Community Disaster Resilience VISTA with Ecolibrium3. Izzy will work in establishing and strengthening the multi-sector community disaster resiliency network expand partnerships and best practices. With a degree in community planning from the University of Maryland, College Park, and disaster management, from American Public University, he is currently working on doctoral program in community disaster resilience planning. Izzy is originally from Madagascar and have worked in both domestic and international in various area involving disaster management, community-centered poverty reduction, international conflict resolution and resilience building. He believes on the sustainable effects of behavioral induced community transformation. He loves folk music and outdoor sports.

Thomlin Swan, Zeitgeist Community Development Coordinator VISTA

Thomlin Swan is serving as the Community Development Coordinator at Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community in Duluth.  Thomlin grew up on the shores of Mahicantuck “the river that flows two ways” (Hudson River) on Lenape land in New York City, and for the last few years has lived at Nahgahchiwanong “where the water stops” (Fond du Lac Reservation) on Ojibwe land in Cloquet, MN. Thomlin is an experimental theatre maker, documentary filmmakergraphic designer, parent, and somatic therapist in-training. They first encountered the Great Lakes in 2015 working with the Great Lakes Commons—an initiative to return Indigenous water governance practices to the Great Lakes bioregion. In 2016, they toured an outdoor folk opera that connected with communities of color living in designated “sacrifice zones,” impacted by decades of environmental racism. The opera helped uplift stories of resistance and resilience to manufactured emergencies like water poisoning and water shut offs in southern Michigan to legacy toxicity in Western New York to wetland destruction by Enbridge’s oil pipelines in Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In 2021, they co-founded a Great Lakes network of artists and educators using critical storytelling for social change called Emergent Seas. The Emergent Seas network is helping redistribute resources to Black- and Indigenous-led water warriors on the Great Lakes, and preparing the narrative soils for “Indigenous Peoples Year” from July 4, 2026 (the U.S.A’s 250th Anniversary) to July 1, 2027 (Canada’s 260th Anniversary). Thomlin is interested in continuing to bring a social justice lens and creative imagination to issues of community wellbeing and resilience in the north woods. Understanding that strong relationships are vital to enacting change, their VISTA work will focus on strengthening relationships between various community groups across the region. Thomlin is thrilled to be joining the Zeitheist Community Development team this year to help improve 6th Ave East and in the Central Hillside neighborhood of Duluth, using the arts and creative, grassroots community practices to unleash their collective imagining of what’s possible. 

Want to join a cohort of passionate individuals serving the community? Check out our open positions!