Ulises Zatarain, Program Director
Ulises Zatarain brings over 10 years of experience in community development programming and fundraising. Most recently Ulises was an independent business development and fundraising consultant for a variety of small businesses and community based organizations in the east coast and mid west. Ulises also held the position of Vice President of Community Programs for The Resurrection Project (2010 - 2014), and Deputy Director of Workforce and Economic Development for the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois (2009 - 2010). Ulises has also taught Literature, Visual Arts, and Humanities at St. Augustine College in Chicago, as well as implemented seminars on humanities, arts and culture at multiple institutions. He has a Master of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Nadia Mercer, Site Manager
Nadia Mercer has experience ranging from permaculture design in Maui, to working on a vegetable CSA farm in PA, to managing the Washington Youth Garden's one acre demonstration garden and several school gardens (2011-present). She received a degree in Studio Art from James Madison University in 2006 and applies these right brained skills to create three-dimensional vegetable garden experiences for DC youth and families. Since joining WYG Nadia has transitioned the demonstration garden from predominantly annual vegetable production to include an orchard demonstrating permaculture techniques, fifteen raised beds, a drip irrigation system, and youth orientated design elements. She is taking continuing education classes in Landscape Design and Horticulture at the USA Graduate School.
Noah Lee, Demonstration Garden Programs Coordinator
Noah received a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of Chicago in 2013. Since volunteering with Growing Power as a high school student in Milwaukee, WI, he has had a passion for community agriculture. Though internships at museums, youth development organizations, and farms, he has seen the value of experiential education. Now at the Washington Youth Garden, he works with both the SPROUT and Green Ambassadors Programs. While his first summer in DC has come to a close, he looks forward to harvesting WYG’s crop of sweet potatoes and handling DC winter with Midwestern ease.
Morri Sands, Development and Administration Coordinator
Morri joined the Washington Youth Garden in late July 2015. With a B.A. and M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, her passions in the field shifted significantly from wanting to work with underserved youth to renewable energy to food security and sustainable agriculture. Her studies have led her to working on amazing projects such as the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute for South and Central Asia, to living in Sweden to study Peace and Development Studies at Linnaeus University and working at an NGO in Malta on environmental, migration, and education issues. In her spare time, you can find her developing health-conscious recipes, working on DIY projects, reading and making comics, rock climbing, and visiting farmers markets.
Saxon Henderson, FoodCorps Service Member
Saxon Henderson will be serving as a FoodCorps Service member at both Center City Public Charter School and John Burroughs Elementary School this upcoming school year. Originally from Richmond,VA, she came to the DMV area to attend George Mason University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her Master's degree in Public Health, and she aspires to use her degree to combat childhood obesity by providing access and education to healthy food and life choices.
Erin Brennan, FoodCorps Service Member
Erin Brennan is an asparagus lover from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a small town called New Tripoli (pronounced like cannoli), on a small farm, in a small cottage. Her parents helped to cultivate her love of nature and plants. Erin majored in globalization with a focus on human rights at Gettysburg College. She found that food justice was at the heart of many human rights related issues. Erin will be serving at KIPP Webb for the next year. She is looking forward to inspiring a love of dirt and sweat, as well as encouraging kids to discover a world through new eyes, gleaming with awareness that plants are actually very cool.
Brady Wheeler, FoodCorps Service Member
Brady graduated in 2015 from Sarah Lawrence College's undergraduate program and focused primarily on environmental psychology, social sciences, and how these fields overlap and contribute to how children interact with their world and grow. Throughout the course of the next year, he will be working alongside the wonderful teachers, staff and administration at Friendship Woodridge Public Charter Elementary/Middle School to continue the work they've done in partnership with WYG over the past three years. He's a huge potato plant fan and is looking forward to making this year worthwhile and a great learning experience for everyone involved in the project!