Board of Directors

The RPCV/W Board of Directors oversees the activities and upkeep of the organization. Terms last for 1 year with elections being held at the Annual General Meeting in July. All Directors serve without compensation. Feel free to contact us with your questions, comments, and suggestions.

President
president@rpcvw.org
Mariko Schmitz
Vanuatu '03 - '05 
mspic.jpg
  • Gives strategic direction to the Board
  • Schedules and presides at Board Meetings
  • Maintains partnerships with the NPCA, Peace Corps, and other organizations
  • Represents RPCV/W at formal events

Mariko Schmitz is a Washington D.C. local with strong ties to the international policy scene. She serves as the President of RPCV/W and has been a member of RPCV/W since 2007. She returned from Vanuatu (2002-2004), where she worked in Ecotourism, and a few years later received her M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. 

Since then she has worked at the nexus of development, energy and business and most recently with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on energy and environmental policy. Currently she is at the Howard Baker Forum where she consults with Japanese government and businesses on nuclear energy safety regulation.

Member Since: 2007

Previous Board Positions: Social Director, '12-'13

Vice President
vicepresident@rpcvw.org
Manuela McDonough
Panama '03 - '05 
mmpic.jpg
  • Coordinates Partnership for Peace program
  • Plans Board retreats
  • Supports strategic partnerships with other organizations
  • Presides in absence of the President

Manuela McDonough worked as an Environmental Health Volunteer in Panama from 2003-2005, where she led a community-wide recycling project, facilitated the construction of over 20 latrines, and lead a youth group focused on the prevention of STIs and HIV.

Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Manuela came back home in 2008 to work at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). She is currently Assistant Director for NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health. Manuela holds an AB from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Member Since: 2011

Previous Board Positions: Special Events Director, '12-'13
   

 
   
Secretary
secretary@rpcvw.org
Kelsi Ward
Peru '10 - '12 
kwpic.jpg
  • Editor-in-Chief of the weekly newsletter
  • Takes minutes at Board meetings and keeps organizational records
  • Curates RPCV/W archives
  • Compiles annual report
  • Provides reports and records to the Board

Kelsi Ward served in Peace Corps Peru as a Youth Development volunteer from 2010-2012, where she collaborated with local counterparts to develop programs in preventative health, education, and community engagement targeted at underserved youth and families in a rural community in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Northern Peru.  

She now works at the U.S. Department of State in the Cultural Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, where she supports U.S. public diplomacy through international arts-based exchanges. Kelsi spent her youth in the Christmas City of Bethlehem, PA and traveled south to College of Charleston before traveling to Peru and moving to DC.  She enjoys new adventures, cooking and eating eclectic foods, sunny days outdoors, and good company.

Member Since: 2012

Treasurer
treasurer@rpcvw.org
Jason Smith
Bulgaria '07 - '09 
jspic.jpg
  • Oversees annual budget
  • Manages dues and event income
  • Ensures all financial obligations are met
  • Provides monthly budget updates to the Board
  • Consults on all budget questions

Jason Smith served in Bulgaria as a business development volunteer where he consulted entrepreneurs and nonprofits, taught business basics to high school students, and hosted several youth focused projects. As an MBA/MAID candidate at American University, Jason continues to pursue a career in service.

Jason became involved with RPCV/W during the planning of the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Event at Arlington National Cemetery. He was instrumental in developing the formal program and organizing volunteers to make the event a success.

Member Since: 2010

Previous Board Positions: Community Service Director, '11-'12; Development Director, '12-'13

   
   
   
Social
social@rpcvw.org
Elizabeth Trenga
Guatemala '10 - '12 
etpic.jpg
  • Plans fun, recreational events
  • Negotiates group rates and promotions
  • Takes photos and contributes content to social media
  • Acts as ambassador to medically-evacuated RPCVs in Washington

Elizabeth Trenga served in Totonicapán, Guatemala, as a Youth Development volunteer from 2010-12. She implemented a life skills curriculum into local middle schools and led out-of-school activities for students which included co-writing and directing the first ever Guatemalan theatrical production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Elizabeth currently works as an Account Management Specialist at CEB and joined RPCVW this year as the Social Director. Originally from Alexandria, VA, she is happy to be back in the DC area close to family and friends old and new. 

Member Since 2012

Community Service
communityservice@rpcvw.org
Allison O'Donnell
Honduras '07 - '09 
aopic.jpg
  • Plans and carries out monthly community service projects
  • Point of contact for local organizations in need of volunteer assistance
  • Maintains relationships with socially-minded organizations
  • Promotes partner organizations using our newsletter and social media

Allison O'Donnell served in Honduras as a health volunteer from 2007-2009. She worked with a local NGO that manufactured household water filters for use in rural areas and taught HIV prevention education. After Peace Corps Allison completed her Master of Public Health in Health Management & Policy and now works in advocacy at Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. 

Allison serves as the Community Service Director and strives to connect RPCVs to local organizations to continue the Peace Corps spirit of service and feel more connected to the community.

Member Since 2012

   
   
   
Professional Development
profdev@rpcvw.org
Joshua Johnson
The Gambia '09 - '11 
jjpic.jpg
  • Plans events to help members advance their careers
  • Meets with job-seekers and reviews resumes
  • Manages Linkedin Group and shares jobs via social media and the weekly newsletter
  • Connects job-seekers to mentors

Josh Johnson, originally from Portland, OR, served as an Agroforestry Volunteer in The Gambia from 2009-2011 where he worked on food security as part of an NGO. He currently works in training at the State Department, which coincides neatly with his role as Professional Development director for RPCV/W. 

He has a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Central Michigan U, and a M.A. in Anthropology from Washington State University. For fun he studies ancient Greek, and, alongside his wife, explores what DC has to offer.

Member Since 2012

Special Events
specialevents@rpcvw.org
Sarah Weber
Vanuatu '10 - '12 
swpic.jpg
  • Creates and manages Holiday Party planning team
  • Plans JFK Wreath Laying Ceremony
  • Assumes lead role when RPCV/W is invited to participate in large, ceremonial events

Sarah Weber served in Vanuatu as a Community Health Volunteer with the Master's International Program. She led health education and awareness programs in a rural village and served as a Health Management Advisor for the provincial health office in the capital city focused on capacity building and training village health workers.

Sarah has a Master of Public Health from Tulane University. She is a Washington State native but is really enjoying living in the other Washington. She spent last summer working as a nutrition consultant for a USAID evaluation of an acute malnutrition program in Malawi. She now works as a Program Analyst at the Defense Center for Excellence in Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Member Since 2013

   
   
   
Development
development@rpcvw.org
Brandon Bragato
Niger '05 - '07 
bbpic.jpg
  • Plans annual silent auction to benefit Partner in Peace
  • Supplements RPCV/W income through various channels
  • Point of contact for donors and sponsors
  • Negotiates sponsorship agreements

Brandon Bragato isn't sure whether it was National Geographic or Indiana Jones, but ever since he was little he wanted to join the Peace Corps. After getting his undergraduate degree in San Francisco and his graduate degree in Belgium - both in International Relations – he went to Niger from 2005-2007 to serve as a Natural Resource Management volunteer. 

While in Niger, Brandon worked closely with local teachers to develop an environmental education curriculum, leading the development of a school garden project and two environmental camps in coordination with other volunteers from the region. He also had the good fortune to spend part of his second of year of service at Parc W, the country’s only national park, where he assisted with environmental monitoring, tutoring guides in English, and developing a visitation program sponsored by the Ministry of Education.

Brandon's been in DC for the last four years and working on the Hill for the past three, where he works primarily on public lands conservation and stewardship.  

Member Since 2013

Outreach
outreach@rpcvw.org
Courtney Dunham
Honduras '07 - '09 
cdpic.jpg
  • Oversees recruitment and sets membership policies
  • Responds to member inquiries 
  • Engages individuals and organizations who can strengthen membership
  • Ensures RPCV/W Members receive all benefits of membership

Courtney Dunham served as a Protected Areas Management Volunteer in La Campa, Lempira, Honduras from 2007-2009. Her projects included constructing ecological stoves with a women’s group, teaching health and environmental education, and facilitating income generation and eco-tourism opportunities with traditional Lencan pottery makers. 

After Peace Corps, Courtney worked at USAID/Honduras in Tegucigalpa from 2009-2010. She is currently a Research Assistant at The George Washington (GW) University Department of Health Policy and is also pursuing an MPH at GW. Her career interests are program evaluation of nutrition and food security interventions. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Courtney enjoys running, tennis, and all outdoor activities.

Member Since 2012

   
   
   
Public Relations
info@rpcvw.org
Chris Robinson
Jamaica '07 - '09 
crpic.jpg
  • Operates the website, social media accounts, and other online services.
  • Responds to press and general inquiries
  • Promotes RPCV innovation in DC and abroad
  • Sets internal and external coms policy

Chris served in Jamaica from 2007-2009 as a community development specialist. Based in the town of Glengoffe, Chris advised a local civic group and implemented a string of projects in agriculture, small business development, environmental engineering, and rural water supply. During the second year of his service, Chris partnered with agricultural extension officers communities across NE St. Catherine parish, helping farmers organize into functioning groups and embark on similar projects.

Chris moved to DC in 2010 and interned on Capitol Hill, finding numerous PCVs there and helped organize the Peace Corps Congressional Staff Association. He became involved with RPCV/W and oversaw fundraising efforts for the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Event at Arlington National Cemetery and was later elected to the Board in 2011. 

Member Since 2010

Previous Board Positions: Development Director, '11-'12; PR Director, '12-'13.

Historian
historian@rpcvw.org
Jesse Bailey
Morocco '07 - '09 
jbpic.jpg
  • Interviews members
  • Collects pictures and interesting documents
  • Conducts history panels
  • Maintains archives
  • Writes the history of RPCV/W

Jesse Bailey served in Morocco and got involved with RPCV/W during the 50th Anniversary Event. He was one of the lead coordinators for the iconic march over the Memorial Bridge from Arlington to the Mall.

As RPCV/W Historian, Jesse is tasked with looking back into our 30 year history and writing the story of returned volunteers who came to DC to live and start their careers. From 1961 to the present, the Historian is responsible for protecting the oral and photographic history of our members and the projects they tackled after returning from the Peace Corps. 

Member Since 2010

Previous Board Positions: Historian, '12-'13

   
   
   
President
president@rpcvw.org
Mariko Schmitz
Vanuatu '03 - '05 
mspic.jpg
  • Gives strategic direction to the Board
  • Schedules and presides at Board Meetings
  • Maintains partnerships with the NPCA, Peace Corps, and other organizations
  • Represents RPCV/W at formal events

Mariko Schmitz is a Washington D.C. local with strong ties to the international policy scene. She serves as the President of RPCV/W and has been a member of RPCV/W since 2007. She returned from Vanuatu (2002-2004), where she worked in Ecotourism, and a few years later received her M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. 

Since then she has worked at the nexus of development, energy and business and most recently with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on energy and environmental policy. Currently she is at the Howard Baker Forum where she consults with Japanese government and businesses on nuclear energy safety regulation.

Member Since: 2007

Previous Board Positions: Social Director, '12-'13

Vice President
vicepresident@rpcvw.org
Manuela McDonough
Panama '03 - '05 

mmpic.jpg
  • Coordinates Partnership for Peace program
  • Plans Board retreats
  • Supports strategic partnerships with other organizations
  • Presides in absence of the President
Manuela McDonough worked as an Environmental Health Volunteer in Panama from 2003-2005, where she led a community-wide recycling project, facilitated the construction of over 20 latrines, and lead a youth group focused on the prevention of STIs and HIV.

Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Manuela came back home in 2008 to work at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). She is currently Assistant Director for NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health. Manuela holds an AB from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Member Since: 2011

Previous Board Positions: Special Events Director, '12-'13 

Secretary
secretary@rpcvw.org
Kelsi Ward
Peru '10 - '12 
kwpic.jpg
  • Editor-in-Chief of the weekly newsletter
  • Takes minutes at Board meetings and keeps organizational records
  • Curates RPCV/W archives
  • Compiles annual report
  • Provides reports and records to the Board

Kelsi Ward served in Peace Corps Peru as a Youth Development volunteer from 2010-2012, where she collaborated with local counterparts to develop programs in preventative health, education, and community engagement targeted at underserved youth and families in a rural community in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Northern Peru.  

She now works at the U.S. Department of State in the Cultural Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, where she supports U.S. public diplomacy through international arts-based exchanges. Kelsi spent her youth in the Christmas City of Bethlehem, PA and traveled south to College of Charleston before traveling to Peru and moving to DC.  She enjoys new adventures, cooking and eating eclectic foods, sunny days outdoors, and good company.

Member Since: 2012


Jason Smith
Bulgaria '07 - '09 
jspic.jpg
  • Oversees annual budget
  • Manages dues and event income
  • Ensures all financial obligations are met
  • Provides monthly budget updates to the Board
  • Consults on all budget questions

Jason Smith served in Bulgaria as a business development volunteer where he consulted entrepreneurs and nonprofits, taught business basics to high school students, and hosted several youth focused projects. As an MBA/MAID candidate at American University, Jason continues to pursue a career in service.

Jason became involved with RPCV/W during the planning of the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Event at Arlington National Cemetery. He was instrumental in developing the formal program and organizing volunteers to make the event a success.

Member Since: 2010

Previous Board Positions: Community Service Director, '11-'12; Development Director, '12-'13


Social
social@rpcvw.org
Elizabeth Trenga
Guatemala '10 - '12 
etpic.jpg
  • Plans fun, recreational events
  • Negotiates group rates and promotions
  • Takes photos and contributes content to social media
  • Acts as ambassador to medically-evacuated RPCVs in Washington
Elizabeth Trenga served in Totonicapán, Guatemala, as a Youth Development volunteer from 2010-12. She implemented a life skills curriculum into local middle schools and led out-of-school activities for students which included co-writing and directing the first ever Guatemalan theatrical production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Elizabeth currently works as an Account Management Specialist at CEB and joined RPCVW this year as the Social Director. Originally from Alexandria, VA, she is happy to be back in the DC area close to family and friends old and new. 

Member Since 2012 

Community Service

communityservice@rpcvw.org
Allison O'Donnell
Honduras '07 - '09 
aopic.jpg
  • Plans and carries out monthly community service projects
  • Point of contact for local organizations in need of volunteer assistance
  • Maintains relationships with socially-minded organizations
  • Promotes partner organizations using our newsletter and social media

Allison O'Donnell served in Honduras as a health volunteer from 2007-2009. She worked with a local NGO that manufactured household water filters for use in rural areas and taught HIV prevention education. After Peace Corps Allison completed her Master of Public Health in Health Management & Policy and now works in advocacy at Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. 

Allison serves as the Community Service Director and strives to connect RPCVs to local organizations to continue the Peace Corps spirit of service and feel more connected to the community.

Member Since 2012


Professional Development
profdev@rpcvw.org
Joshua Johnson
The Gambia '09 - '11 
jjpic.jpg
  • Plans events to help members advance their careers
  • Meets with job-seekers and reviews resumes
  • Manages Linkedin Group and shares jobs via social media and the weekly newsletter
  • Connects job-seekers to mentors

Josh Johnson, originally from Portland, OR, served as an Agroforestry Volunteer in The Gambia from 2009-2011 where he worked on food security as part of an NGO. He currently works in training at the State Department, which coincides neatly with his role as Professional Development director for RPCV/W. 

He has a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Central Michigan U, and a M.A. in Anthropology from Washington State University. For fun he studies ancient Greek, and, alongside his wife, explores what DC has to offer.

Member Since 2012


Special Events
specialevents@rpcvw.org

Sarah Weber
Vanuatu '10 - '12 
swpic.jpg
  • Creates and manages Holiday Party planning team
  • Plans JFK Wreath Laying Ceremony
  • Assumes lead role when RPCV/W is invited to participate in large, ceremonial events 

Sarah Weber served in Vanuatu as a Community Health Volunteer with the Master's International Program. Her first year she lived in a rural village and focused on health education and awareness programs. She was promoted to a position in the capital as a Health Management Advisor for the provincial health office and worked primarily on the Village Health Worker Program facilitating trainings and conducting supervisory visits to the Aid Posts. 

Sarah studied International Health and Development at Tulane prior to her Peace Corps service and will received her MPH in May 2013. 

Member Since 2013


Development
development@rpcvw.org
Brandon Bragato
Niger '05 - '07 
bbpic.jpg
  • Plans annual silent auction to benefit Partner in Peace
  • Supplements RPCV/W income through various channels
  • Point of contact for donors and sponsors
  • Negotiates sponsorship agreements

Brandon Bragato isn't sure whether it was National Geographic or Indiana Jones, but ever since he was little he wanted to join the Peace Corps. After getting his undergraduate degree in San Francisco and his graduate degree in Belgium - both in International Relations – he went to Niger from 2005-2007 to serve as a Natural Resource Management volunteer. 

While in Niger, Brandon worked closely with local teachers to develop an environmental education curriculum, leading the development of a school garden project and two environmental camps in coordination with other volunteers from the region. He also had the good fortune to spend part of his second of year of service at Parc W, the country’s only national park, where he assisted with environmental monitoring, tutoring guides in English, and developing a visitation program sponsored by the Ministry of Education.

Brandon's been in DC for the last four years and working on the Hill for the past three, where he works primarily on public lands conservation and stewardship.  

Member Since 2013 


Outreach

outreach@rpcvw.org
Courtney Dunham
Honduras '07 - '09 
cdpic.jpg
  • Oversees recruitment and sets membership policies
  • Responds to member inquiries 
  • Engages individuals and organizations who can strengthen membership
  • Ensures RPCV/W Members receive all benefits of membership

Courtney Dunham served as a Protected Areas Management Volunteer in La Campa, Lempira, Honduras from 2007-2009. Her projects included constructing ecological stoves with a women’s group, teaching health and environmental education, and facilitating income generation and eco-tourism opportunities with traditional Lencan pottery makers. 

After Peace Corps, Courtney worked at USAID/Honduras in Tegucigalpa from 2009-2010. She is currently a Research Assistant at The George Washington (GW) University Department of Health Policy and is also pursuing an MPH at GW. Her career interests are program evaluation of nutrition and food security interventions. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Courtney enjoys running, tennis, and all outdoor activities.

Member Since 2012


Public Relations
info@rpcvw.org
Chris Robinson
Jamaica '07 - '09 
crpic.jpg
  • Operates the website, social media accounts, and other online services.
  • Responds to press and general inquiries
  • Promotes RPCV innovation in DC and abroad
  • Sets internal and external coms policy

Chris served in Jamaica from 2007-2009 as a community development specialist. Based in the town of Glengoffe, Chris advised a local civic group and implemented a string of projects in agriculture, small business development, environmental engineering, and rural water supply. During the second year of his service, Chris partnered with agricultural extension officers communities across NE St. Catherine parish, helping farmers organize into functioning groups and embark on similar projects.

Chris moved to DC in 2010 and interned on Capitol Hill, finding numerous PCVs there and helped organize the Peace Corps Congressional Staff Association. He became involved with RPCV/W and oversaw fundraising efforts for the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Event at Arlington National Cemetery and was later elected to the Board in 2011. 

Member Since 2010

Previous Board Positions: Development Director, '11-'12; PR Director, '12-'13.

Historian
historian@rpcvw.org
Jesse Bailey
Morocco '07 - '09 

jbpic.jpg

  • Interviews members
  • Collects pictures and interesting documents
  • Conducts history panels
  • Maintains archives
  • Writes the history of RPCV/W

Jesse Bailey served in Morocco and got involved with RPCV/W during the 50th Anniversary Event. He was one of the lead coordinators for the iconic march over the Memorial Bridge from Arlington to the Mall.

As RPCV/W Historian, Jesse is tasked with looking back into our 30 year history and writing the story of returned volunteers who came to DC to live and start their careers. From 1961 to the present, the Historian is responsible for protecting the oral and photographic history of our members and the projects they tackled after returning from the Peace Corps. 

Member Since 2010

Previous Board Positions: Historian, '12-'13