MAYA

Senior Year, California

Flexible, hardworking, driven, compassionate, passionate, open and easy to work with, empathetic light, extremely knowledgeable about being plant-based, focused, great communicator.

 

Being part of VSA's community this past year has truly helped me become a stronger plant-based leader. I would love to help build our community to larger numbers so more plant-based teenagers feel like they have a place to open up. Before coming to VSA, I did not have any friends who were plant-based or even vegetarian, so being able to talk openly about being plant-based has incredibly helped me. 

 

I want to make a bigger impact and to create a world that has more awareness about what is happening in the animal agriculture industry, the effects of meat and dairy products on our health, and the incredible harm that the industry is causing to our planet. 

 

I am building a website and nonprofit because I care so much about being plant-based and want to spread the knowledge to the masses. My niche and expertise is in being plant-based. I also have experience in funding. Earlier this year, I raised $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

 

I want to make the world a better place.

KATE

Intelligent, eager to learn, persistent, empathetic, strong, caring leader, a good listener, passionate, committed, and determined.

 

I’m excited to be a VSA intern to continue connecting, interacting and making positive changes with the same great people I know through the program at a more committed level than only meeting once a week. I want to leave an impact and spend time working on something meaningful.

 

VSA has given me the opportunity to engage in critical and enriching conversations and meet incredible people with similar beliefs. I am thrilled to be spending more time working with this group to grow the vegan movement, especially among young people like me.

 

I have a fiery passion for improving and serving the world and the lives of all creatures that inhabit it, especially those who otherwise might not have a voice.

MONICA

Strong communicator, experienced researcher, extensive presentation skills, dedicated, committed, kind, hard-working, passionate about animal advocacy. 

 

I want to be a VSA intern because this is an amazing opportunity for me to further both my leadership and practical life skills, and explore my passion, animal advocacy. I have never been a part of another animal advocacy group before I joined VSA, and VSA is so important to me. I have experience in forums in both Equity Club and Multicultural Student Union, which will help me bring social skills and experience leading discussions. 

 

I’m excited for the internship because I will gain further experience working with a nonprofit and advocating for a wonderful cause. It will further my personal goals, as I will be able to learn more about a cause I'm passionate about, animal advocacy, and will have the amazing experience to work with all of the kind people I've met at VSA.

Junior Year, Massachusetts

Junior Year, New Hampshire

GROUP LEADERS

     VICTORIA BARGER       

M.ED.

Executive Director

Hi! I’m Victoria. I love learning, teaching, and helping students reach their full potential. I believe in the importance of kindness and the power of plants to heal many of society's problems. I have over a decade of experience in the field of education, much of it as a middle school classroom teacher. For the past 3 years, I have worked for an international education nonprofit, giving presentations about the impact of food on health, animals, and the environment. I worked with VINE Sanctuary in Vermont, USA as a teacher for the Pasture Pals program. I have six brothers and five sisters and many wonderful nieces and nephews. I enjoy cooking, reading, being outside, and helping others.

Reach out to me at
victoria.barger@vegstudentalliance.org

MARY-CHRIS STAPLES

B.ED.

Program Director, Canada

Hello! I’m Mary-Chris.

I am a retired public high school teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience.

I love kids and teaching, animals, and am a passionate advocate for a plant-based world. Over the past 10 years, I have organized hundreds of educational and outreach initiatives and participated in a wide-variety of efforts to effect a move toward a more sustainable, plant-based future.

For the past two years, I have worked for an educational nonprofit, teaching middle and high school students about the impact of food choices on the world around us. I enjoy hiking and spending time in nature.

You can reach me at

mary-chris.staples@vegstudentalliance.org

BOARD of DIRECTORS

ZANNAH BREUNIG, MA

Board Chair

Zannah Breunig holds Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Religious Studies from UNC Charlotte and UNC Chapel Hill, respectively. Zannah also holds a graduate certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, which Zannah teaches at the college level. For the last three years, Zannah has been working for an international education non-profit giving presentations about the impact of industrialized animal agriculture on human health, animals, and the environment. Zannah has extensive leadership and management experience in the field of plant-based advocacy. Currently, Zannah is pursuing Rabbinic Ordination, and enjoys running and eating bananas in their free time.

TRACY TIMMINS, MS

Board Vice Chair

As a researcher and educator, Tracy Timmins brings a wide range of experiences to the Board. Tracy is currently completing her PhD at York University, Toronto, on human-animal relationships in cities. She is interested in how we can improve our relationships with animals and the natural world as well as build fair, sustainable, and healthy food systems. Tracy worked with middle and high school students for an educational nonprofit and has participated in and helped to organize outreach activities such as leafleting, documentary screenings, and plant-based cooking and skincare workshops. Tracy’s favourite plant-based foods are Mexican bean burritos with guacamole and vegan Caribbean food.

JOSHUA ROSE

Board Member

Josh Rose brings vast experience in youth development and nonprofit management to VSA. In his role as a manager for an AmeriCorps organization in Manchester, NH, he has a gift for bringing people together to form community and tackle today's toughest problems. Josh has been vegan for nine years and is thrilled to be sharing his leadership and program development skills with VSA. Josh feels that consuming a plant-based diet is a simple and profound way to live in harmony with the planet and all beings that inhabit it - "I look and feel healthy, I have a positive attitude toward my plate every meal, and I know that my decision to be vegan is the part I play in bringing balance back to the Earth." He currently lives in Nashua, NH. In his spare time, he enjoys playing board games with friends and reading wonderful books outside! 

MICHAELA PHANEUF

Board Member

Michaela Phaneuf is an active advocate for social justice issues. She founded the inaugural chapter of GSA at her high school in Manchester, NH, going so far as to take legal action to ensure a safe space for LGBQT students. Michaela has experience in holistic wellness both as a massage therapist and a yoga instructor. Michaela is an avid learner and a proud mother of a veg kindergartner. Michaela has been a vegetarian for over twenty years and recently began exploring the health and environmental benefits of a completely plant-based diet. She loves eggplant dishes and is fluent in German. She brings a wealth of advocacy experience to VSA. 

BOBBY KESSLING, MBA

Strategy and Outreach Advisor

Bobby Kessling believes in the power of young people to change the world and is a dedicated advocate for a plant-based lifestyle. He is thrilled to bring to VSA his extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, including program management and design, youth development, and nonprofit governance. He has held a progression of leadership roles at City Year, an education-focused service program. He has served in a governance role for several nonprofits and is currently the treasurer of Voices of Wildlife in New Hampshire.  

STUDENT LEADERSHIP TEAM