Meet the Office 2019-06-14T10:35:02-07:00

Meet the Office

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Jennifer RoyallExecutive Director & Head of School
  • Base Camp: Montana
  • Fall Semester, South-West Africa 2003
  • Spring Semester, South America 2004

 

Jennifer Royall is a lifelong educator whose Traveling School history began in 2003. Successfully running semesters in southern Africa and South America, Jennifer fell in love with the power of The Traveling School’s mission, believing students learn best when the material is relevant and accessible and that the power of engaging in another culture can broaden personal points of view, enrich global understanding and transform lives. In 2008, Jennifer joined the administrative staff and later transitioned to the Head of School, becoming Executive Director in 2016.

Prior to The Traveling School, Jennifer spent nearly 20 years in the classroom. With a M.Ed. from Lesley College and a BA in Political Science from Duke University, she first learned the importance of incorporating outdoor education, community engagement and rigorous academics at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, CA. Later, as a middle school teacher, she endeavored to broaden the traditional classroom by infusing Montana’s natural wonders and its people. Jennifer earned National Board Certification in 1999 and received recognition for her teaching efforts with a Milken National Educator Award In 2001.

Additionally, Jennifer’s professional experience in the outdoors includes two decades of leading biking, hiking and river trips with teens and adults throughout the Rocky Mountain West and internationally in wild settings of New Zealand, Europe, Mongolia and Tahiti. Whenever possible, Jennifer and her husband have traveled extensively searching for suitably exciting whitewater for kayaking, the perfect waves to surf in Mexico and Central America, great ski spots all over the West, and remote waters for sea kayaking in Alaska.

Aunge Thomas
Aunge ThomasAcademic Dean & Program Director
  • Base Camp: Montana
  • Fall Semester, South-East Africa, 2011, 2013
  • Fall Semester, South-West Africa 2012
  • Spring Semester, South America 2010
Aunge Thomas graduated from Montana State University in 2004 with a B.S Degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Bio-resources engineering. Throughout college she worked with MSU Expeditions, a freshman outdoor orientation program, helped develop Wild MSU, a club for outdoor enthusiasts, and helped establish Engineers Without Borders-MSU. Upon finishing college, Aunge was a raft guide in the summer and a ski instructor at Big Sky Resort in the winter. Aunge taught at High Mountain Institute in Colorado, in addition to teaching with The Traveling School in South America and Southeast Africa. In her free time Aunge loves to explore the Gallatin Valley on her road bike, skis, kayak, or on her porch with a book and a good cup of coffee. Aunge believes in the power of teaching students to think outside the box to understand interconnectedness of the world today. The Traveling School imparts passion among students to seek knowledge about the aspects of the global community through unique and experiential educational settings.
Elsie ThomsonOperations Manager
  • Base Camp: Montana
  • Fall Semester, Southern Africa 2015
  • Spring Semester, South America 2016, 2018
Elsie is originally from the flatlands of southeastern Wisconsin. She earned a Bachelors’ degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While earning her undergraduate degree she spent a semester studying abroad in Tanzania and Zanzibar. After graduating, she found her way west and began working for Teton Science Schools (TSS) in Jackson, WY as a field instructor. During her time at TSS, Elsie fell in love with the Rocky Mountain West and place-based, experiential education. Since then, Elsie has bounced around the Rocky Mountains working for a variety of organizations including Ecology Project International, NOLS, and Colorado Mountain Club in addition to The Traveling School. Along the way, Elsie also earned a Masters’ degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana with a focus on environmental education and nonprofit administration. In her free time, Elsie loves exploring the mountains through rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking. She is excited to call Bozeman home and explore her new role in The Traveling School office. 
Laura BrinDevelopment Director
  • Base Camp: Montana

Laura Brin, a native of Colorado, holds a B.A. in Sociology from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges. While at Pitzer, she spent two semesters abroad – one in Northern India, and the other as a student on the NOLS Patagonia semester – bringing a personal passion for travel and abroad education to The Traveling School. Laura has dedicated her professional career to nonprofit work, with a particular interest in education as a way to empower girls, individuals, and communities. Prior to joining The Traveling School team, Laura worked in development for Central Asia Institute, another Bozeman-based nonprofit, and most recently worked as an administrator at Montana State University. She currently serves on the board of directors for BridgerCare, Bozeman’s reproductive healthcare clinic. In addition to her professional pursuits, Laura enjoys skiing, running, fishing, and playing in Montana’s mountains and rivers with her husband, friends, and her dog. 

 

Dalton McCurdyAdmissions Manager
  • Base Camp: Montana

Over the past 15 years, Dalton McCurdy has worked at schools in Connecticut, Vermont, Colorado, and Montana in various roles including teacher, advisor, curriculum coordinator, and department chair.  She has an M.S. in Science Education from Montana State University and a B.A. in Environmental Science from Middlebury College. She has also spent time as a consultant and a coach, supporting teachers, students and institutions in designing personal learning experiences and reimagining what education can look like in various settings.  She serves on the board of directors for Gallatin Valley Farm to School and works on the TEDx Bozeman speaker team.  As a mother of three young girls, she is both personally and professionally invested in the future of education and promoting the development of the next generation of strong, independent, and curious young women through a global lens. Dalton values the balance of work and play and continues her pursuit of this equilibrium by running, floating, and road-tripping with her family and anyone else who’s up for an adventure as often as possible. 

Kaitlin BearProgram Assistant
  • Base Camp: Montana

Kaitlin Bear grew up exploring the rivers and mountains surrounding Bozeman, Montana. Her enthusiasm for experiential learning began during those unique childhood moments spent alone in nature.  These early experiences instilled a sense of curiosity and independence that paved the way for future adventures, including horseback pack trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, 9-months of volunteer work with AmeriCorps in rural New Hampshire, and sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii on a tall ship research vessel. Kaitlin holds an MES in Environmental Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Studio Art from Hamilton College. Prior to working at The Traveling School Kaitlin was a middle school science teacher. She started her teaching career with the Montana Outdoor Science School before moving into a more traditional classroom role.  Throughout her 10 years of teaching Kaitlin loved sharing her passion for critical thinking and the natural world with her students.  As a mother of two young girls, Kaitlin passionately supports The Traveling School’s mission to nurture confident, self-aware young women through place-based experiences. 

Maddy EglianDevelopment Assistant
  • Base Camp: Montana

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Maddy landed in Bozeman during the fall of 2015 to attend Montana State University. Now a senior at MSU, she plans on graduating in spring of 2019 with a B.S. in community health and a minor in writing. Prior to joining The Traveling School team as a development assistant, Maddy worked as both an in-home CNA and a medical technician at Highgate Assisted Living. She also interned with the Bozeman Area Community Foundation working on projects like Give Big and Run to the Pub. Her first beginning at TTS was in May 2018 when she began a six month internship with the development and marketing team before returning in March as a development assistant. When not studying or running cameras and audio for her other job at KBZK News, Maddy enjoys traveling, reading, and writing. She has adventured to eight different countries and 39 states, her favorites including Sydney, Australia; Reykjavik, Iceland; and San Diego, California — however, much to her dismay she only has four passport stamps. When at home, you can find Maddy either hiking in Yellowstone or spending the day with friends or a good book— whichever seems like the best company. She is excited to continue her time at The Traveling School encouraging young women to learn from the world around them!

 

 

 

NoxThe Office Dog
  • Base Camp: Montana