Alumnae Council 2019-07-23T14:53:33-07:00

Alumnae Council 

The Traveling School Alumnae Council supports our dedicated and dynamic global TTS alumnae community whose members are connected, supportive of TTS’s mission, and invested in its future.

Current Council Members


Anna Thompson
  • Base Camp: Ames, Iowa
  • Spring Semester,TTS17 Central America
  • Alumnae Council Officer since 2017

Anna is a graduate student in geology at Iowa State University. She can be found in Oregon, Iowa, Minnesota, and many places in between. Since she attended TTS17 in Central America, Anna has also studied abroad in New Zealand and done research in Iceland and the Canadian Rockies. Inspired by The Traveling School, she has taken these opportunities to travel independently and to have a more immersive experience. Sometimes with her studies as an excuse, she pursues camping, paddling, and road trip adventures. She has connected with TTS girls on college visits, road trips, and abroad. As an alumnae council member, Anna hopes to maintain a strong alumnae network that connects members across semesters and promote the mission of The Traveling School.

Alexa Wagner
  • Base Camp: Camden, Maine
  • Fall Semester,TTS14 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Officer since 2017
Alexa is an alumna of TTS14 in Southern Africa. After TTS, Alexa began higher education in Colorado at both Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Boulder for International Relations and Ethnic Studies. She is currently taking a break from school to focus on family and pursuing outdoor adventure. Alexa worked in Zion National Park with a fellow TTS alumna spending leisure time backpacking and canyoneering. She also traveled for six months throughout the southwestern United States hiking, rock climbing, and photographing her experiences. She recently traveled to Cuba in pursuit of international rock climbing and to continue to document the human experience through photography. Photography has been a passion for her and a creative outlet. She has been published in Maine Magazine and continues to show her photography through her website. She is currently a ski instructor in Camden, Maine. In the fall, Alexa will be returning to school, focusing her studies on Global Health and Reproductive Rights. TTS instilled a passion for adventure and experiential education. It taught her to hold the educational system to a higher standard, and to not settle for an education that isn’t compatible with one’s learning style. She is excited to connect with alumnae and help to continue building a strong foundation for the alumnae to share their stories, find inspiration, and feel welcomed and supported in pursuing their goals.

Grace Stopher
  • Base Camp: Eugene, Oregon
  • Spring Semester,TTS11 South America
  • Fall Semester, TTS12 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Officer since 2017
Grace migrated to the mountains in 2010 to fulfill her BA in studio art and art history at University of Montana. Her deep love for visual art led to a career in arts nonprofit administration. Her experience ranges from coordinating contemporary art galleries to administering Missoula County’s volunteer public art committee. Currently she works as an event and volunteer coordinator at her beloved city’s nonprofit contemporary art museum. She is thrilled to work with the Traveling School Alumnae Council to create unique alumnae engagement opportunities and foster dynamic support for Traveling School generations to come.

Helen Wilson
  • Base Camp: Sewanee, TN & Washington, DC
  • Fall Semester, TTS19 South America
  • Alumnae Council Member since 2018
Originally from the mountains of Tennessee, Helen will graduate with a degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in Spring 2018. Her focus on the intersection between the environment and migration developed during one gap year, two semesters abroad, and three great jobs — experiences that have allowed her to experience and learn the world in ways she ties back to her TTS semester in 2012. Helen truly believes in the mission of TTS and its ability to spur a personal trajectory of growth, challenge, and community and is excited to serve on the Alumnae Council. 

Cyprien Pearson
  • Base Camp: California & Cape Town, South Africa
  • Fall Semester, TTS16 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member since 2018

After her semester with the Traveling School, Cyprien moved overseas in 2011 to pursue her university education. Armed with the ardent belief that she would meet her own Mr. Darcy, she began her Bachelor’s degree at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Two years and one seasonal depression lamp later, she gave up her Austenesque view of the United Kingdom and moved to significantly sunnier South Africa. There, she transferred to the University of Cape Town and completed her Bachelor’s degree with a triple major in International Relations, Social Anthropology and Religious Studies. Fearing these interests to be a bit too broad, she enrolled in graduate school in 2016. She completed her first year of graduate school at the University of Cape Town before transferring to the University of Sydney in Australia for her final year. In December 2017, she graduated with a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations with an emphasis on Political Communication.

Looking back on her high school days, Cyprien credits her time with TTS16 to be one of the most influential periods of her life. It opened up her eyes to the possibility of studying and working in a foreign country; it introduced her to her favorite city in the world (Cape Town); and it showed her the beauty and benefit of cross-cultural communication — the simple realization that we are all more alike than we are different.

The combination of these experiences has cemented Cyprien’s passion for communication, intercultural connections, and politics. She is currently in the process of moving back to California and beginning her career. She hopes to one day establish herself in the field of political communication and political campaign strategy.

In her spare time, Cyprien can be found train-hopping with friends in Europe, sunbathing on the beach with her fiance in Cape Town or wine tasting with her family in Napa Valley. On less exciting days, she is most likely to be found sitting in front of her laptop, equally stressed and delighted by wedding planning.

Kaitlyn Hepburn
  • Base Camp: Harleysville, PA and Washington DC
  • Spring Semester, TTS26 Central America
  • Alumnae Council Member since 2018

An alumna of TTS25 to Central America, Kaitlyn has found herself drawn to the region, culture, and language of Latin America. As a result, Kaitlyn is studying for her BA in International Relations with a focus in Latin America at the American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. In addition to her primary major, Kaitlyn also studies Spanish in pursuit of a second major. She enjoys volunteering in English Second Language programs for children, teens, and adults while practicing her Spanish. Apart from her studies, Kaitlyn enjoys road tripping, working in Maine with fellow TTS25 alumnae, hiking rural PA, and exploring new and old travels with her family. A newfound escape, Kaitlyn thrives in the beauty and seclusion of Vinalhaven, Maine (brought to her by the lovely Hannah Noyes TTS25) during her summers since TTS. A former cheerleader, now rugby player, Kaitlyn likes staying active in all forms but running. New to DC, Kaitlyn can be found trying new Hispanic restaurants and looking for hidden gems of wilderness in the city. She is committed to the lifelong friendships that TTS25 has brought her and aiming to make TTS a reachable goal for ambitious young women from any and all backgrounds. Known to challenge herself and others, Kaitlyn lives to question.

Natalie Trono
  • Base Camp: Burlington, Vermont
  • Fall Semester, TTS22 Southwestern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member since 2018

Natalie is currently majoring in Economics and Social History with a minor in Environmental Science at Barnard College of Columbia University. Inspired by the impact going abroad with The Traveling School had in high school, Natalie also decided to go abroad in college to University of Cambridge for the Spring 2017 semester.

The Traveling School was an extremely impactful opportunity for Natalie and she is excited to help The Traveling School continue to work to expand access in order to give even more girls the chance to go abroad with TTS. The Traveling School not only instilled a love for learning and traveling, but has greatly expanded her worldview and provided lifelong friends. Natalie can’t imagine her life without The Traveling School and is thankful for the opportunity to continue being a part of the community through the Alumnae Council!

Ariela Martin
  • Base Camp: New York, New York
  • Fall Semester Southern Africa TTS22
  • Alumnae Council Member since 2018

Ariela is a senior at Barnard College and an advanced degree student at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she will be receiving a Masters degree in May of 2019. At fifteen years old, Ariela spent a semester in southwestern Africa. She returned to New Haven to finish high school and work as a staff journalist for the New Haven Independent. As an undergraduate student, Ariela worked for the Hillary for America campaign and The New York Times. Ariela hopes to use her leadership position on the Alumni Board to ensure every girl that has the opportunity to be a part of a TTS semester can make it a reality. 

Former Council Members



Tara Kane Prendergast
  • Base Camp: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Fall Semester, TTS6 New Zealand
  • Alumnae Council Officer  2015-2016

Tara is currently a Master’s student at the University of New Mexico studying community and regional planning, with a focus on community development and indigenous planning. She received a B.A. in history from Brown University where she led multiple public-service initiatives. Tara has worked in non-profit program development and strategic planning around issues of racial justice, educational equity, and representation in public media. Like most Colorado natives she spends most of her free time getting lost in the great outdoors. She is thrilled to be working with other TTS women to build a dynamic and robust alumnae community.

Allegra La Ferr
  • Base Camp: Bozeman, Montana & New Zealand
  • Fall Semester, TTS14 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Officer 2015 – 2018
Allegra earned a B.S. in Environmental Science-Marine Ecology from Western Washington University. Since her semester in 2009 she has pursued numerous marine science opportunities to all corners of the globe including South Africa, the Bahamas, and Australia. She has been an active supporter of TTS, attending alumnae events and connecting with alumnae based in her hometown of Bozeman, Montana. She hopes that by being on the council she can serve to better connect existing alumnae, and help forge new connections in the future. In her spare time Allegra can be found studying Marine Ecology, practicing her Spanish, hiking with her two dogs, or planning her next adventure.

Margo Brookfield
  • Base Camp: San Francisco, California
  • Fall Semester, TTS14 Southern Africa
  • Spring Semester, TTS17 Central America
  • Alumnae Council Officer 2015 – 2018
Margo earned a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Comparative Development in francophone Africa from the University of Oregon. She then began working for ARCC Programs (Adventures Cross-Country) leading service immersion and adventure travel trips abroad for high school students, and has been an instructor for both their Latin America and Africa gap year semesters. She has recently moved into their office in northern California full time to work on the gap programs. Every experience in her life has been shaped by her two semesters with TTS, which served as a catalyst for her desire to continue to explore and understand the world. Margo is absolutely ecstatic to be a part of the Alumnae Council and help to promote alumnae engagement and further connect our wonderful TTS network of strong, smart, adventurous and phenomenal women who are out changing the world.

Halle Schirmer
  • Base Camp: New York, New York
  • Fall Semester,TTS18 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member 2017
In May of 2016, Halle graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in Globalization Studies, specifically focusing on Public Health & Human Rights in Latin America. In recent years, Halle had the opportunity to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, exploring and discovering the many incredible places in South America, while studying Spanish and Contemporary Latin American politics.  Additionally, Halle held positions at several organizations including the United Nations Foundation, Concern Worldwide and Artists for Peace and Justice. Halle currently resides in New York City where she works for a film production company. TTS is where she first developed a passion for social change, and pursing a career in film allows her to use storytelling as a platform to convey important messages and inspire people to take action.


Bobbi Anderson
  • Base Camp: Squamish, British Columbia
  • Spring Semester, TTS19 South America
  • Alumnae Council Member 2015 – 2017

Bobbi Anderson is an undergraduate student at Quest University Canada. She is studying anti-oppressive Education, Psychology, and Social Change. Bobbi has spent time in India, Nicaragua, and Mexico working with rural communities on anti oppressive methods of Education. Bobbi is interested in Social Work and Teaching in order to reduce violence against women and shift the ways in which people think and behave on individual, collaborative, and cross-cultural scales. Bobbi is a part of the TTS alumnae council because she whole-heartedly believes that TTS encourages and fosters their students to advocate for social change. TTS fosters a fire in girls that only gets larger and deeper once they finish a semester abroad. Bobbi’s personal goals for the TTS alum council are as follows; she hopes to aid in increasing diversity in the socioeconomic class, race, ability, and social background of students, increasing fundraising opportunities for students, and increasing alumni networking and recruitment options.

Alice Symington
  • Base Camp: Burlington, Vermont
  • Fall Semester,TTS14 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member 2017
Alice earned her B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Vermont in 2016. Following a genuine desire to work in a meaningful career, a passion encouraged by her semester with TTS, Alice decided to switch her focus to human healthcare. She will be attending nursing school in the summer of 2017. During her semester with TTS Alice learned about many of the realities of our world and felt passionate to be involved in real change. Alice feels strongly about keeping TTS alumnae engaged and connected, we are a group of dedicated and passionate women who can and will positively affect our communities. In her free time Alice can be found riding her horse, hanging out with her dog and spending time with friends and family.


Mara Hoplamazian
  • Base Camp: Chicago, Illinois
  • Fall Semester, TTS22 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member 2015-2016

Mara took a semester abroad with The Traveling School her junior year of high school and believes wholeheartedly in its mission.  She took a gap year after graduating, and traveled through Ecuador, Thailand, India, and South Africa, working with NGOs and living with host families.  She is part of the class of 2020 at Yale, and is planning on studying public health and anthropology.  Mara was strongly impacted by her experience with The Traveling School and loves the chance to give back through the alumnae council.


Charlotte Scharfenberg
  • Base Camp: Virginia
  • Spring Semester, TTS23 South America
  • Alumnae Council Member 2015-2016

Charlotte is a senior at Foxcroft School, a small boarding school outside of Washington, D.C. As a sophomore, she spent the spring semester with TTS 23, exploring South American culture with 16 other girls. From her months with The Traveling School, Charlotte gained a deeper love for the world and an insatiable desire to adventure and listen to the stories of people from around the globe. She journeyed to Asia on a program with Adventures Cross Country last summer and hopes to study abroad in college. A horseback rider, runner, and hiker, Charlotte enjoys being active in the great outdoors. In college, she plans to pursue Spanish, the language she has been fascinated with ever since her experiences with TTS. Upon becoming a part of the Alumnae Council Charlotte has been able to foster connections among women from many semesters and appreciates the opportunity to be a part of TTS’s future.


Ava Swanson
  • Base Camp: Squamish, British Columbia
  • Fall Semester, TTS24 Southern Africa
  • Alumnae Council Member 2015-2016

My name is Ava Swanson and I went on TTS24 Southeast Africa! The Traveling School opened my eyes, changed my perspectives, and restored my passions for life and learning. I couldn’t be more grateful for such an influential experience; the inspiration and insight that the Traveling School provided has moved me to give back on the Alumnae Council. Outside of TTS, I’m a singer/songwriter, an activist, a mountain enthusiast, and a lover of learning. I’m currently a student at Quest University Canada, where I plan to study education, sociology, and music. I have high hopes of learning, performing, and traveling all over the globe during and after university. I can be found in my beautiful hometown of Bozeman, Montana, or up in my new home, Squamish, BC.


Abby Wilson
  • Base Camp: Washington, D.C.
  • Fall Semester, TTS20 Southern Africa
  • Spring Semester, TTS21 Central America
  • Alumnae Council Member 2015-2017

Abby is an alumna of both TTS20 in South Eastern Africa and TTS21 in Central America. Now a student at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs she is studying International Affairs with a concentration in Global Public Health and International Development. Abby is currently abroad studying at the University of Botswana studying a practicum of environmental and community health. She is headed in the fall semester of 2016 to the University of Cape Town to complete a year studying abroad enriching her perspective and challenging content by crossing borders. In the District, she works in the Peace Corp’s Epidemiology unit producing demographic research and publication. She hopes that upon graduating in 2018 a career in Public Health management with a specific interest in reproductive health and family planning abroad, most likely in Southern Africa will be pursued. In her free time, she enjoys time in the mountains, diving into warm oceans, creating wheel-thrown ceramics, loving on pups, adventuring with her South African significant other, and continuing a lifelong commitment to always eat great food. Her home base is right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania complete with two labradors and 5 humans. Abby is a part of the council because keeping the Traveling School experience relevant has greatly impacted her path and lifestyle and she is convinced that providing the same community and gateway is just as integral a part of the experience as our short and sweet 15 weeks spent in the field.

Interested in being on the Alumnae Council? Stay tuned for a call for applications in fall 2018!

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