2016-2017 C3 TwinCities VISTA Cohort

Madeline Geitz

Systems Change Innovator, Eastside Financial Center: Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota

Madeline is an Ohio transplant and recent Carleton College graduate. She joined C3 Twin Cities because of her interest in community organizing and social justice, particularly economic justice. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Twin Cities, reading non-fiction, and eating spicy foods.

Olivia Hanson

Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator, Friendship Academy of the Arts

Olivia is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota majoring in Political Science. In her free time she enjoys reading, trivia, and spending time with her friends and family. Olivia is excited to spend this year improving her marketing and fundraising skills while connecting with her community. Her favorite quote is from Rabindranath Tagore:
``I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy.``

Melanie Heckt

Northside Fresh Engagement Coordinator, Appetite for Change

Melanie grew up in Andover, MN and will receive her degree in Food Systems and minor in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota in December 2017. She is passionate about food, health, and environmental justice and is excited to be working in all of these areas during the VISTA year. Melanie loves swing dancing, crocheting scarves, and cooking with friends. While at the Northside Fresh Coalition and Appetite for Change she hopes to develop a stronger sense of community, activism, and food sovereignty.

Madison McConnell

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Hiawatha Academies

Madison was born and raised in Duluth, MN and recently graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Arts Journalism and Mass Communication (B.A.J.M.C.) in Public Relations with a concentration in Leadership Education and Development. She is fascinated by the power of words which is why her focus has been on messaging, crafting the impact of those words, particularly via social media. She chose to serve at Hiawatha Academies through C3 Twin Cities to grow her professional skills and amplify the voice of the underrepresented.
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Krystal Garvais

Social Media and Volunteer Service Liaison, Hennepin Health Foundation/MVNA

Krystal was born and raised in small-town West Central Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Religious Studies. Her hobbies include reading, coloring (before it was cool again), puzzles, enjoying sunshine outside, riding bike, and most of all, spending time with her 1 ½ year old son and husband. In her second year as a C3 VISTA, Krystal originally joined because of her desire to learn about social issues and affect change (however small). She is returning because 1. She has a hard time letting go of projects 2. C3 is a great program! Additionally, she will be applying for grad school Psychology programs and hopes to apply her experiences in C3 to further her educational and personal goals.

Ollin Montes

Project Specialist, City of Lakes Community Land Trust

Ollin serves as a Project Specialist for the City of Lakes Community Land Trust. He graduated from Macalester College and studied the connections between urban policy, racism, and economic inequality. His life has led him to work in solidarity with fellow communities of color to promote economic equity and their influence in urban governance. On weekends, he is somewhere to be found in a kitchen cooking with friends.

Eden Teller

Communications Coordinator, KIPP Northstar Academy

Eden Teller was born and raised in Berkeley, California. After moving to Minnesota to pursue journalism at Macalester College, she quickly adapted to the chillier climate and now calls the Twin Cities home. In her VISTA assignment at KIPP North Star Academy's college access program, she hopes to broaden awareness of KIPP and create connections that will allow more under-served students to attend university. In her spare time, Eden hikes, reads, and dreams up ways to repurpose found objects into arts and crafts.

Adam Kolb

Project Coordinator, Office of Housing Stability

A lifelong small-town Minnesotan, Adam completed his studies in Communication at Saint John’s University (MN) in 2016 and then set off for Tanzania as a member of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps—a year-long volunteer program for recent graduates of Saint John’s that sends its members to Benedictine monastic communities worldwide to immerse themselves in a foreign culture through work, prayer and intentional living. Throughout his time of service in Africa, Adam became embraced by never-before-imaginable friendships, definitions of community, worldviews, moments of true happiness and monumental growth. He was thus led to apply to C3 Twin Cities’ VISTA program and dedicate the next year of his life to learning about, serving alongside and becoming one with the diverse and still foreign Twin Cities community whilst working in the Hennepin County Housing Stability Office. In his free time, Adam enjoys exploring the world around him by running, traveling, reading, writing, listening to music and absorbing podcasts—a newfound love for him.

Diana Siegel-Garcia

Program Associate, Pohlad Family Foundation

Diana Siegel-Garcia is still getting used to the idea of two seasons- winter and patio. Diana graduated from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a B.A. in urban planning and women’s and gender studies. Hailing from the land of 10,000 pizzas aka New Jersey, she is very excited to spend her second year in the land of 10,000 lakes with the Pohlad Family Foundation. After a year of service with College Possible Minnesota, she is interested in comprehensively understanding the nonprofit sector through a holistic approach. When she is not in the office, you can either find her creating, organizing, or cuddling on the couch with her (roommate’s) very fluffy cat, Feminist Noir.

Nonkululeko Shongwe

Community Wealth Building Program Coordinator, Nexus Community Partners

Nkuli was born in South Africa and raised in Athens, Ohio. She recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minors in Communication Studies and French. Nkuli enjoys cooking, catching up on her favorite shows, and exploring the Twin Cities. She joined C3 Twin Cities to gain experience in the nonprofit sector and to engage in meaningful work that benefits disenfranchised communities.
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Raquel Arismendez

Youth Engagement Coordinator, Project for Pride in Living: LEAP Initiative

Raquel Arismendez is the Youth Engagement Coordinator for the LEAP Initiative through Project for Pride in Living. She has studied Education, Youth Studies, Child & Adolescent Psychology, and Critical Pedagogy at three different institutions over the past six years. She plans to continue working with opportunity youth and education reform throughout her professional lifetime.

Robbin Olsen Molnar

Employment Development Specialist, Better Futures Minnesota

Robbin was born in Los Angeles, California but has made Minneapolis their home over the last 10 years. They have a background in disability services and childcare and couldn’t wait to branch out into community wealth building. They enjoy singing, kickboxing and walking their Saint Bernard, Layla. They hope this year will better prepare them for their future as a Junior High Literature Teacher and are excited for the opportunity to learn and connect with the community.

Hli Vang

Youth Employment VISTA, YouthLink

Tallie is from the Eastside of Saint Paul, and a recent graduate from College of Saint Benedict with a degree in Asian studies and minor in Biology, Japanese and History. Her hobbies are loving animals, cosplaying, thrill seeking, cooking/eating, playing sports, learning languages and listening to music. During her year of service with Youthlink, she plans to build her professional skills in the nonprofit sector as well as expand her networks in Minneapolis. During her free time, she likes to make people smile and laugh. Her favorite quote is from Diane Mariechild “A woman is a full circle. Within her is the ability to create, nurture, and transform.”

Sarah Reiter

VISTA Leader, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota

Sarah Reiter, originally from Lakewood, CO, has lived in Minnesota on and off for the past 5 years. She attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN graduating in May 2016 with degrees in Global Studies and French. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her friends at local breweries/bars as well as going to any festival or show particularly those put on by the Theater of Public Policy. Sarah is an alum to the C3 Twin Cities VISTA program and is very excited to continue her service for another year. Sarah hopes to facilitate a year of community bonding and collective growth as the VISTA Leader for the 2017-2018 C3 Twin Cities cohort.

Henry DeGrand

STEM Lab and Maker Space Manager, North Community High School

Born in Columbus OH, Henry has lived in Eugene, OR, Copenhagen, DK and Wooster, OH, where he received a degree from the College of Wooster’s Urban Studies program. From playgrounds to public squares, Henry is enamored with the various geometries that enable human growth, and is eager to learn with C3 as he helps organize North High School’s Makerspace. He hopes to further develop a role that facilitates learning through play, visualizes beautiful information, and connects us to our spatial environments. When not in the office, Henry is usually either in motion, painting, or cooking.

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