Team

Chris Stakich
Chief Executive Officer

An expert on travel and service-based education, Chris leads Rustic Pathways with an eye for innovation and excellence. Since graduating from Harvard in 2001, Chris has worked in virtually all areas of our organization, from running programs in Costa Rica to managing our global team. He works diligently with our team to develop future leaders who embody a broad perspective and compassion for the world. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife and three young sons.

Oscar Hackett
Chief Financial Officer

A former Rustic Pathways student, Oscar “Oz” returns to us as our chief financial officer. With extensive experience in finance, business, and law, Oz applies his expertise to streamline and grow Rustic Pathways’ business operations. Oz earned his bachelor’s degree in science, technology, and international affairs from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and received his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. In his free time, Oz enjoys sharing his passion for adventure and travel with his wife and young son.

Brent Watkins
Vice President of Program Operations

Brent holds a master’s in teaching from Johns Hopkins University where he is also on the adjunct faculty at the Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining Rustic Pathways, Brent managed the training and preparation of new classroom teachers for Teach For America – Baltimore. With extensive experience in learning development and teacher training, Brent ensures the highest level of quality across our programming.

Anna Lugosch-Ecker
Vice President of Sales

Anna is an alumna of School Year Abroad and has a dual degree in geoscience and Mandarin from Dartmouth. Anna’s passion for experiential education and travel was sparked in high school and furthered in college. She now applies this passion at Rustic Pathways, providing opportunities for teachers and students to immerse themselves in new surroundings and engage powerfully with other cultures. Anna was previously director of our China operations and now resides in San Francisco.

Ryan Gibbons
Vice President of Business Operations

With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Ryan brings his talent in marketing, photography, and design to Rustic Pathways. Originally a Costa Rica program leader, Ryan spent four years building our creative team before taking over Business Operations. Ryan now focuses on creating a world-class client experience for each and every family at Rustic. Prior to joining Rustic, Ryan worked for NPR in Washington D.C.

Tim Porter-DeVriese
Vice President of Gap Year

Since working extensively throughout Southeast Asia as a trip leader and program manager, Tim has spent the last six years overseeing the development of our rapidly growing Gap Year division. With a deep understanding of our organizational ethos and host communities, he creates powerful, transformative experiences for Gap Year students from all over the world. An honors graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, he is passionate about international art, music, and cuisine. Tim speaks fluent Thai and spends most of his time in western Massachusetts.

Molly Johnston
Vice President of Human Resources

After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Molly kicked off a sixteen-year career bringing strategic human resources skills and processes to a variety of organizations throughout Colorado. She now brings her diverse talents to Rustic Pathways as our Vice President, Human Resources. As a passionate Human Resources professional, Molly believes that HR purpose is to build and foster an environment, rich in creativity and sense, that empowers individuals and the organization as a whole.

Kevin Porter
Global Program Operations Director

Kevin is entering his seventh year with our program operations team. Based in Boston, he manages our team of diverse country directors and ensures the quality of the programs we deliver. Prior to assuming this role, Kevin worked for three years as our Ghana Country Director. Kevin has worked with development organizations in East Africa, completed research for the UN, and oversaw wilderness leadership programs while attending Harvard University.

Dave Dennis
Safety and Risk Management Director

Dave has a master’s degree in risk management and more than 20 years of experience in the adventure and student travel industry. Prior to joining us, he owned a consulting firm that specialized in implementing risk management and emergency response programs for both domestic and global tour operators. He works with our operations team and local country leadership to ensure the quality and consistency of all Rustic Pathways’ programs worldwide. Dave lives in Colorado with his wife and children.

Ann Fuller
Community Impact Director

Ann brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Rustic as our global community service director. With a master’s in urban planning from NYU, Ann has been integral to our Fiji operations and the development of the Nasivikoso School in the Nausori Highlands. She now applies her expertise to ensure that our service initiatives meet rigorous standards and achieve meaningful results, and that our partner organizations are legitimate providers whose approach is rooted in best practice.

Erin Murphy
Student Impact Director

Erin is passionate about Rustic Pathways’ vision of a world where travel is an essential part of every student’s education.   After graduating from Notre Dame, Erin spent three years in northeastern Thailand teaching business English at Khon Kaen University through a Princeton in Asia Fellowship.   Erin earned her master’s in education at Harvard and brings great energy to our team of educators. Though Erin bounces from country to country quite a lot, there is still no place like home in Virginia.

Evan Morgan
Business Intelligence Director

Evan wants to live in a world where international conflicts are resolved through friendly Spikeball matches, cat and dog lovers alike see the best in each other, and personal experiences rather than titles define whom we are. As the Director of Business Intelligence he embraces the art and science of sensing, synthesizing, and strategizing on information relevant to a diverse and highly talented organization. When not optimizing through constraints, you can find him playing soccer, exploring San Francisco by bicycle, or cultivating happiness and compassion through music and meditation.

Brielle Friedman
Marketing Director

A Rustic Pathways alum, Brielle returned to us after earning a degree in international relations and creative writing from Brown University. She now channels her passion for travel, writing, and design as our Marketing Director and works with the creative team to spread the word about Rustic. Brielle founded a dance-cardio company in Providence, Rhode Island and took first place for her business plan. Her love of travel led her to a small town in Guatemala’s highlands where she discovered salsa dancing. She now competes and and performs across the United States.

Mike Valentine
Technology Director

After obtaining his MBA from Kent State University, Mike took on IT management roles in several industries including hospitality, healthcare, and manufacturing. Mike brings this broad experience of technology management to Rustic Pathways as the Director of Technology. Mike is passionate about using technology to improve operational and customer success. Mike lives in Ohio with his wife and two children. Since joining Rustic Pathways in 2016, Mike is excited to start exploring more of the world and, when his children are old enough, giving them the opportunity to do so as well.

Lauren Anderson
Program Staffing and Training Manager

Lauren joined Rustic Pathways two weeks after her graduation from Emory University, and has been a member of our team ever since! She spent her first six years in Costa Rica overseeing our operations and seasonal staff, and now manages staffing and training across our global programs. A lover of student travel, Lauren lends her energy to continuing student involvement. She lives in Chicago, travels often, and enjoys maintaining her Spanish fluency.

Matija Paunovski
International Recruitment Director

Matija completed an undergraduate degree at Northeastern University, then went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard. Her expertise in leadership training and recruitment has enabled her to achieve great success within the Rustic Pathways Group Travel division. Her highest priority is that educators and students walk away completely satisfied and fulfilled from their incredible experience. In her free time, Matija enjoys reading, working out, running, and practicing power vinyasa yoga.

Lauren DeAngelis Àlvarez
U.S. Regional Recruitment Manager

Our Regional Sales Manager, Lauren brings experience from across Rustic Pathways’ sales and operations, including as our Strategic Partnerships Manager and USA Country Director. She lives between two Caribbean cities – New Orleans and Santo Domingo–and spends time by the ocean in New England where she grew up. She is a Temple University alumnus and non-fiction reader. You can usually find her hosting unexpected parties, exploring cities, or hiking the bayous with her family.

Dustin Aschenbeck
U.S. Regional Recruitment Manager

Dustin joined Rustic Pathways in 2010 as our India Country Director. Whether he is busy working on the river guiding trips in the mountains of Colorado or sharing stories of his many global adventures, Dustin believes that his life’s journey should never be a destination but a journey of careful observation and intentional living. When not traveling throughout the world, Dustin enjoys playing classical piano and kayaking with his friends.

Jared Kahan
U.S. Regional Recruitment Manager

Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Jared has a background rooted in international travel, community service and teenage leadership development. A former tour guide in Florence, Italy, and a lover of Southeast Asian cuisine, Jared manages the Ricefields, Monks and Smiling Children program. Jared has a degree in International Human Rights from Arizona State University and is an avid DC sports fan.

Sammy Gacsi
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Sammy has a degree in sociolinguistics from the University of Szeged in Hungary which is where he was born and raised. During his eight years working with Rustic Pathways, his enthusiasm, creativity, and leadership skills have made him an integral member of our global team. Sammy takes great pleasure in sharing his passion for education and travel with our teachers and their students. After a decade of travels he now lives with his wife and son in the quaint little town of San Gil, Colombia.

Nicole Anderson
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Nicole has been in the international education field for over a decade. While attending Naropa University for her undergrad in environmental studies, she studied abroad in Belize with the School for International Training (SIT), where she went on to earn her MA in International Education. She’s traveled all over the world, led students in the field, and is passionate about getting students abroad with Rustic Pathways! Nicole loves spending time with family and being outdoors where she lives in Boulder, CO.

Kelli Crooks
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Kelli has worked in the student travel industry for the past 10 years with a focus on both the sales and operational sides of the business. She studied Social Studies at Eastern Washington University with an emphasis in Secondary Education and has since traveled extensively both domestically and internationally to meet with teachers eager to travel with their students. Kelli currently resides in McKinney, Texas with her husband and two young girls. She is an active board member and volunteer at her local elementary school with the PTA.

Brandon Hartman
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Brandon joined Rustic Pathways in 2013 as a personal travel advisor before transitioning to the Group Travel team. He studied finance at Miami University, and has a background in banking. Brandon takes pride in customer service, and has employed those skills for the past three years as a group travel program coordinator. Brandon has a beautiful wife and an adorable son, plus another boy on the way. He is a passionate Ohio State and Cleveland sports fan, and looks forward to teaching his sons about his favorite teams.

Britt Herron
Group Travel Program Coordinator

As a Princeton University undergraduate and a Teach for America corps member, Britt developed an enthusiasm for educating youth and international travel experiences. After teaching mathematics and obtaining a master’s degree in education at the University of Colorado, she brushed up her Arabic language skills to lead RP programs in Morocco for two summers. Britt believes in the power of experiential learning and is committed to working with educators across the globe to make travel an essential part of every student’s education.

David Gormley
Group Travel Program Coordinator

David has had a passion for travel since a young age. As a child he spent the summers exploring Maine’s rocky coastal islands, and at the age of 11, departed with his family for a year of sailing down the east coast and crossing the Gulf of Mexico to explore Central America by boat. David graduated from Champlain College’s Stiller School of Business with a B.S. in International Business. He is an avid outdoorsman and spent two years exploring the North Cascades before joining Rustic as a Program Leader in Thailand.

Meg Koerber
Group Travel Program Coordinator

After studying Communications and Spanish at UCLA, Meg moved from her hometown of Los Angeles to Spain, where she taught English as a foreign language. She has also worked as a counselor for international high school students, and loves connecting with students and educators from all over the world. Her passion for travel began with her own Rustic Pathways trip, where she volunteered with a nature and wildlife conservancy group.

Nikita Prabhakar
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Nikita graduated from Barnard College in 2013 with a degree in psychology. Her passion for travel stems from exposure to her roots in South Africa and India from a young age, and her multi-cultural upbringing in Hong Kong. She is proud to have called three of the most international cities in the world home: New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.

Brad Wolf
Group Travel Program Coordinator

Brad graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Marketing. After jumpstarting his career in sales and management, he spent 12 months extensive backpacking throughout Europe, Australia, and SE Asia. This passion for travel was shared with study abroad students while working as a Sales Director and Lead Tour Guide in Florence, Italy, where he now lives full time. In his downtime, you can find Brad strumming his guitar around local watering holes in Italy or stuffing his face with a big bowl of pasta.

Kristen Waldron
Group Travel Program Administrator

Kristen has enjoyed 3 years with Rustic Pathways and calls on her skills as a former high school teacher to flight lead and manage the tasks of organizing Group travel. This Florida native was raised in Colorado and now calls the RP central location of Ohio home! An alma mater of the University of Northern Colorado and Kent State University, Kristen has a passion for education and service that shines in her work for the Groups department. You can most often find Kristen outside with her horse and dogs!

Aimee Brayman
Group Travel Program Advisor

Aimee has worked in the student travel industry with emphasis in sales, professional training, and curriculum development. A double major graduate from Gonzaga University with degrees in English Language Arts/Literature and Secondary Education, Aimee’s love of travel was sparked young when she traveled to Europe for 10 days as a 7th grader. She is passionate about experiential learning and seeing students grow and change via travel. During her free time, Aimee can be found running her brewery with her husband, hunting, cooking, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.