ASD welcomes four new VISTAs to our Agriculture Education and Groundwork programs!

“Volunteers in Service to America”

Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is an anti-poverty program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA provides opportunities for Americans 18 years or older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with an organization (“sponsor”) to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty.

The power of AmeriCorps VISTA is extraordinary, and brings talented, passionate people on board to create or enhance your anti-poverty program by expanding the capacity of your organization.

Alyssa Maring

Alyssa is originally from northern Virginia and joins ASD as the Groundwork Capacity Building VISTA. Her Khoibu Naga-American heritage provides an Indigenous perspective to ASD. She visited her family in Manipur, India for the first time in July 2019 and has grown a greater appreciation for both natural and built environments. She earned her BS in Geographic Science, with a custom concentration in GIS and Socio-Ecological Change at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Before ASD, she was a grassroots organizer on and off campus, and helped launch, advocate for, and organize renewable energy and fossil fuel divestment campaigns. She has fieldwork and research experience in ESRI StoryMapping, food access and food sovereignty, environmental justice, and community engagement. She is relocating to Bristol, TN in May 2021 where she will immerse herself in the Appalachian region and learn to call it home. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, hiking, petting her cat Kiki (if she lets her), spending time with friends and family, listening to music, and playing Animal Crossing on her Nintendo Switch.

Hannah Gibbs

Hannah joins ASD as the Sustainability and Equity VISTA for the Groundwork team. She is an Eastern Kentucky native, with personal roots in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia and a deep passion for the future of the region. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Centre College in 2019, and her Master’s of Public Affairs in Sustainable Development at Indiana University in May of 2021. Hannah has worked as a fellow with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) and the Bonner Scholars Program at institutions attempting to address the systemic roots of rural poverty in the United States and how they intersect with the health of the environment. Beyond her professional life, Hannah is an amateur baker, proud member of the Appalachian Writers Community, and an avid Tracy Chapman fan.

Alexandra Davis

Alexandra humbly joins ASD as the Agriculture Education Marketing VISTA. She is eager to aide our community by increasing the awareness of our organization’s resources, as well as assisting in developing a sustainable long-term funding strategy for our Agriculture Education program. As a lifelong resident of Southwest Virginia, Alexandra brings a lot of love for the Appalachian Mountains to the team. She currently lives in Bristol, Virginia where she is proud to call her new home. She is a graduate of Radford University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.

Ciara Konhaus

Ciara Konhaus

Ciara joins ASD as the Agriculture Education Capacity Building VISTA and is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Her degree is in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture. While in college, she became very passionate about food justice and fighting food insecurity. She helped coordinate the App State Campus Farmers’ Market and spent a significant period of time volunteering at a local non-profit, pay-what-you-can restaurant in the area. Ciara is very excited to become a part of the local food system in southwestern, VA.

Click here to sign-up for volunteer opportunities with our Learning Landscapes program!