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Current Grassroot Soccer Interns

Daniel Akinola-OdussolaDaniel Akinola-Odusola
Site: Soweto, South Africa
School: Dartmouth College ‘13
Blog: grassrootdaniel.wordpress.com
Daniel was born in Greenwich, London, England and was raised both in London and in the Chicago area. He is a proud supporter of both Chelsea FC and Charlton Athletic FC. He graduated from Dartmouth College in June 2013 with a degree in Cognitive Science. Daniel studied abroad in Barcelona during the spring of 2011 and had a summer internship in Munich, Germany during the summer of 2012. After these experiences, Daniel is able to speak Spanish and some German in addition to English and French. Though he had played soccer his whole life, Daniel switched to South Asian dancing (in a group he helped start) and club fencing while attending Dartmouth. Daniel heard about Grassroot Soccer by participating in a 3v3 tournament and was convinced to apply for the program after his good friend and fellow 2013-2014 intern, Scott Sanderson, convinced him that it would be a great experience. Daniel is hoping to discover more ways in which soccer can spur social change in his role as a monitoring and evaluation intern.

 

Bud ArensBud Arens
Site: Lusaka, Zambia
School: Bates College ‘13 
Blog: budgrassrootsoccer.blogspot.com

Bud is a native of Weymouth, MA and a recent graduate of Bates College. While earning her degree in biology, she competed for four years in soccer and track for the Bobcats. The experiences of team camaraderie and community atmosphere instilled in Bud a deeper appreciation for the ability of sports, and specifically soccer, to positively influence other aspects of life. Since high school, she has spent summers working as a Sunset Point Camp counselor for children of low-income, urban communities where soccer proved to be a common interest upon which to strengthen cross-cultural relationships. Bud first learned of GRS through her Bates soccer coach and is thrilled about the opportunity to combine her academic and career interests in public health with her lifelong passion for the game of soccer.

 

Nick BarronNick Barron
Site: Kimberley, South Africa
School: Bates College ‘13
Blog: barefootbarron.blogspot.com

Nick first recognized the global power of soccer at a soccer academy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia playing alongside kids that attended the academy to escape a dangerous drug culture. Born and raised in the hot bed of U.S. soccer, St. Louis, Missouri, the game has been a part of Nick’s life as long as he can remember. After four years of playing soccer, running track and studying English at Bates College, Nick is eager to do some meaningful hands-on work in the world. After hearing about Grassroot Soccer from a parent of a good friend as well as his soccer coach at Bates, Nick saw his education and passion for soccer come together in the Grassroot Soccer internship. He is very excited to step back from his personal experience with the game and be a part of the game in a bigger more meaningful way with Grassroot Soccer. He will, of course, be taking every opportunity he gets to play with whoever he can get to play with him.

 

Eric BartholdEric Barthold
Site: Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
School: Colby College ‘12
Blog: ericgrs.blogspot.com

Growing up in New Hampshire not far from Grassroot’s Norwich, Vermont headquarters, Eric has been excited by GRS’s mission since his first “Lose the Shoes” tournament in middle school, and feels fortunate to already have so many friends and mentors at GRS. Eric played soccer for Colby College in Maine, where he studied English and Education, was a member of the alpine ski team and an a cappella singing group. He co-founded “Mules Against Violence,” a Colby club whose mission is to raise awareness of sexual violence in the college community and also to challenge gender roles and sexism. Since graduating from Colby, he has taught and coached in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and has brought his work with masculinity to teams and schools around New England. As a Programs Intern in Cape Town, South Africa, Eric is looking forward to combining three of his main passions in life – soccer, education, and activism – in his work at the Football for Hope Center in Khayelitsha.

 

Katherine Daiss Katherine Daiss
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School: University of California, Berkeley ‘10

Katherine is a San Francisco Bay Area native who can’t seem to shake her love for soccer and belief in its power to transform lives. While playing soccer at UC Berkeley, she majored in Communications, but was most stimulated by her minor in Global Poverty. Her first two years out of college, she worked in leadership communications, consulting tech leaders in Silicon Valley. Keeping her eye on her passion, she volunteered with a street soccer team in San Francisco that helped homeless men and women transform their lives by leveraging the life skills and confidence learned on the court. Through this network, she was introduced to Grassroot Soccer and looks forward to taking some of her prior work and volunteer experience to join the Curriculum & Training team in Cape Town.

 

Midori EckensteinMidori Eckenstein
Site: Kimberley, South Africa
School: University of Vermont ‘13
Blog: mimieck.blogspot.com

Midori is from South Burlington, Vermont and recently graduated from the University of Vermont. While at UVM she played all four years on the varsity soccer team, majored in microbiology, minored in molecular genetics, and completed research in a pharmacology lab that studied potential cancer therapies. While Midori still loves research, she wanted to gain experience outside of the laboratory. She began to search for a post-graduate volunteer/intern opportunity and knew she had found the perfect one after hearing from a teammate about Grassroot Soccer. Midori also enjoys kayaking, rock climbing and, of course, skiing is required when growing up in Vermont. She is a programs intern in Kimberley, South Africa.

 

Sandy FeuerSandy Feuer
Site: Lusaka, Zambia
School: Colorado College ‘11
Blog: worldadventures.blogspot.com

Sandy grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire, across the river from the Grassroot Soccer headquarters, and learned of GRS while in high school. He developed an early passion for traveling after studying abroad at the Island School for a semester in high school, and participating in Sea Semester, a college abroad program that gives its students the opportunity to sail a tall ship across the Caribbean. Sandy has volunteered in work projects in Australia, the Bahamas, and Brazil. He graduated from Colorado College in 2011, earning a degree in Environmental Policy. After college, he worked for Environment Colorado before venturing back to the Bahamas, where he joined a soccer team and competed all over the northern Bahamian region.  Inspired to continue traveling, he worked on a commercial fishing vessel in the Bering Sea and Southeast Alaska for the last two summers. During the rest of the year, Sandy worked in the restaurant business in Portland, Oregon, and climbed and snowboarded mountains all over the western U.S.  He is a huge soccer fan, played in high school and college, and is eager to combine his passions for the game and exploring the world while working as an operations intern in Lusaka, Zambia.

 

Ali GilbertAli Gilbert
Site:  Cape Town, South Africa
School: University of Pennsylvania ‘11
Blog: hakunamasoccer.wordpress.com

A spirited teammate and solid benchwarmer, Ali is a true believer in the power of sports to bring people together and promote personal development. She is a Baltimore native who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. As a student, Ali led freshman camping trips, played club lacrosse, tutored middle schoolers from at-risk communities in creative writing, and led fundraising for Penn’s chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. After college, Ali was an Account Manager for a healthcare brand at an international advertising agency in New York City, where she also played indoor soccer, volunteered with New York Cares playing sports with kids on weekends, and explored the sites and foods of the city. She will make any excuse possible to go play outside and is eager to meld her love of team sports and passion for working with youth at Grassroot Soccer. Ali is the Marketing & Communications intern in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Caitlin HilerCaitlin Hiler
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School:  Boston College ‘09
Blog: http://chiler-grs.blogspot.com

Caitlin grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and is a graduate of Boston College.  During college, Caitlin was a member of the BC Women’s Soccer Team and was the team’s representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Since graduation, she has made good use of her degree in Economics while working in financial sales at two firms in Chicago. Her love of soccer remains strong as she continues to play in several coed leagues. For the past couple of years Caitlin has enjoyed mentoring a student through the METROsquash program in Chicago. She first learned about GRS when she was a senior in college from a friend who participated in the intern program. When the organization was still in the back of her mind four years later, she knew she should get involved.  An avid traveler, Caitlin has been looking forward to returning to Africa since she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008. Caitlin is working at the headquarters in Cape Town as a programs intern.

 

Betsy KaeberleBetsy Kaeberle
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School: James Madison University ‘13
Blog: heavenstobetsyk.blogspot.com

Betsy is from Richmond, Virginia and graduated from James Madison University with a degree in international affairs and nonprofit studies. A track runner and soccer player in high school, Betsy ultimately retired to the less competitive intramural side of the game in college. Her love for travel and passion for global education led Betsy to travel to Ecuador and Honduras multiple times to help build schools during her college years. While traveling in both of those places, Betsy realized the power the game of soccer had to change lives. She was introduced to GRS her sophomore year when a fellow JMU-alum intern was featured on her university’s blog. Learning that GRS combined her passion to “be the change” with the game of soccer, she mildly stalked the organization, anxiously waiting for the year she could come to Africa. Betsy is eager for the life-changing experience ahead and hopes that it will be the beginning of a life-long career working in the global nonprofit sector. Betsy is a monitoring and evaluation intern in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Jeff LinhartJeff Linhart
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School: University of Cincinnati ‘12
Blog: livefromcapetown.wordpress.com

Jeff is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where he majored in biological sciences and minored in chemistry. At UC he played club soccer and was very involved with volunteer work at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. This past year he worked for a medical supply company, distributing medical equipment to patients at the University Hospital in Cleveland, Oho. He also coached boys’ soccer at Bay High School, from which he graduated in 2008. He learned about Grassroot Soccer through a spotlight about the program on a television series called “We Live Soccer” on Fox Soccer Channel. The intern class for this year was filled, but on a whim he decided to take his chances and inquire in an email anyway, and two months later he is about to begin his African adventure.

 

Melissa MeinhartMelissa Meinhart
Site: Lusaka, Zambia
School: University of Tennessee ‘12
Blog: meinhartabroad.wordpress.com

Melissa grew up competing with her three brothers and playing soccer in her hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. While taking a hiatus from soccer, Melissa studied Social Work at the University of Tennessee and interned at a refugee resettlement agency in Knoxville. Melissa’s experience working with street children in Ghana instilled a desire to work internationally, so she continued her studies at Columbia University, earning a master’s degree in International Social Welfare Policy from their School of Social Work. Melissa also interned at UNICEF HQ while in New York, igniting an interest in gender studies, social norms and the impacts of gender based violence. She learned of Grassroot Soccer through a friend and former intern of GRS. As someone who enjoys soccer and is passionate about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, Melissa hopes her time as a Monitoring & Evaluation intern in Lusaka, Zambia will help her to cultivate a better understanding of the applications of sport development programming. Melissa also intends to engage in numerous adventures, reignite her passion for soccer, improve her language capacity, taste great food, and meet exciting people.

 

Sarah MoranSarah Moran
Site: Soweto, South Africa
School: Providence College,‘11
Blog: splendidadventures.wordpress.com

Sarah grew up on a cattle farm in the small town of Honey Creek, Iowa. Spending most of her summers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, she decided to go to college in the East. She settled on Providence College in Rhode Island. She majored in Global Studies and did a semester abroad in Kunming, China. After graduating she completed a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and Americorps in Seattle, WA. She spent her year working at a small non-profit called Puget Sound Sage that was dedicated to creating partnerships between diverse organizations working to promote quality employment and affordable housing for low income families in metro Seattle. In August 2012, she moved back to the East Coast and spent 10 months working at a local Trader Joe’s. She learned about the GRS program from a family friend who is familiar with their work in Africa. As an intern she looks forward to learning the rich history and culture of South Africa and getting to know the people. Sarah is working as a programs intern in Soweto, South Africa, a township located in southwest Johannesburg.

 

Brittany NealeBrittany Neale
Site: Alexandra, South Africa
School: University of Ottawa ‘12
Blog: brittanyneale.wix.com/bnealegrs

Hailing from her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Brittany is a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of International Development & Globalization. Having caught the travel bug at a young age, she was able to see much of the world through her studies, including field research and internships in Kenya, Tanzania, and India. Brittany began playing soccer at a young age, and has also been involved in coaching and provincial refereeing. Consequently, she found the stream of sport-for-development a natural fit. Brittany has had experience teaching English and Physical Education to children abroad, and has most recently worked in customer service. She stumbled upon GRS while researching potential sport-for-development opportunities in advance of pursuing her Master’s. As a true Canadian, Brittany is a die-hard hockey fan, and will be cheering for both the Vancouver Canucks, as well as the Canadian national team during the Sochi Olympics. Brittany is a programs intern in Alexandra, a township of Johannesburg.

 

Katie PeloKatie Pelo
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School: Loyola Marymount University ‘12
Blog: lifedownincapetown.blogspot.com

Katie can’t stay in one place for too long. She was born in Washington, raised in Utah, and graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California with a degree in Communication Studies. She is now living and working in Cape Town, South Africa as a Business Development Intern. She got a case of the travel bug at a young age and has been lucky enough to visit many countries around the world as well as study abroad in Paris for a semester. A trip to Kenya in high school sparked her love of helping others and fighting the battle against HIV/AIDS. She has since been back to Kenya and has done service trips to Peru and India. Katie first heard about GRS when Dr. Tommy Clark spoke at a Scholarship Dinner benefiting her high school in 2012. She knew immediately that she had to be a part of the organization. It was the perfect combination of all her passions: sports, travel and service. She applied to the intern program that same week and the rest is history!

 

Anna RayneAnna Rayne
Site: Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
School: Haverford College ‘12
Blog: annakrayne.blogspot.com

At Haverford College, Anna captained the women’s soccer team and served on the school’s student health advisory committee. Following her graduation, she was employed as a research technician in a cancer research lab at the Columbia University Medical Center. After spending a junior year semester abroad in Cape Town, Anna has been plotting her return ever since, with hopes to address some of the social and public health issues she was exposed to while volunteering in a TB hospital there. She sees working for GRS as a perfect fusion of her love for soccer and interests in public health and medicine. Upon her return to the U.S., Anna will be pursuing her MD at Georgetown University.

 

Scott SandersonScott Sanderson
Site: Cape Town, South Africa
School: Dartmouth College ‘13
Blog: scottgrassrootsoccer.wordpress.com

Scott grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire, just a short swim across the Connecticut River from Grassroot Soccer’s headquarters in Norwich, Vermont. He attended Dartmouth College where he earned a degree in Government. While at Dartmouth, Scott raced mountain bikes and served as the director of VOX Racing, a small cycling team that helps students and members of the Upper Valley community become involved in bike racing. He also worked as an organic chemistry teaching assistant. But Scott wasn’t always a mountain biker or a TA; he started as a soccer player in Hanover’s local travel program and participated in many practices visited by enthusiastic and driven members of Grassroot Soccer. The memory stuck. Years later, as he prepared to leave Dartmouth, Scott’s desire to serve others, his experience with the unifying power of sport, and the memory of those bright-yellow GRS shirts motivated him to get involved. Scott is a Monitoring and Evaluation Intern at Grassroot Soccer’s global office in Cape Town.

 

Sri VeluvoluSridhar Veluvolu
Site: Alexandra, South Africa
School: New York University ‘13
Blog: http://smvsoccer777.wordpress.com

Sri recently graduated from New York University with a major in Biology and minor in Animal Studies. After his year in Alexandra is over, he will be attending the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Despite the fact Sri has been interested in vet med his entire life, he wanted to pursue his other passions – soccer, traveling, and volunteering – with his year off. GRS offered the most promise for Sri to satisfy his desire to contribute to causes outside, but still related to, the medical field. This will be his second trip to South Africa; his first was during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

 

Paul VergagaPaul Vergara
Site: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
School: University of Rochester ‘13
Blog: grassrootshocker.blogspot.com

Paul is a recent graduate of the University of Rochester and hails from the Bronx, New York. In college he designed an interdepartmental studies major called the Globalization of Music and Dance Culture and had minors in both Anthropology and Public Health. During his sophomore year, he became a founding member of Rochester’s chapter of GlobeMed, a network of collegiate chapters and international health organizations that work together to strengthen global health equity.  He was also a communications intern for the organization’s National Office. As an undergraduate, Paul was the captain of a traditional Indian folk dance team, Rochester Raas, and served as a university tour guide. In the spring of 2012, Paul studied abroad with the Semester at Sea program and traveled to a dozen countries, one of which was South Africa. He learned about Grassroot Soccer from a former intern, and felt it would be the perfect opportunity to combine his interests in youth engagement with health and development. Paul is a Programs Intern in Port Elizabeth.

 

Claire WattClaire Watt
Site: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
School: University of Vermont ‘10
Blog: yankeeonthebay.wordpress.com

A Vermont native, Claire attended the University of Vermont where she majored in Nutrition and Food Science. Following her passion for working with youth she has spent the past four years working in Boston as a nanny for two boys, ages 2 and 4. In her spare time she has volunteered at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Same Day Surgery unit. Claire was recently accepted into the Masters of Nursing program at University of New Hampshire, but when she heard about GRS she decided that grad school needed to wait while she pursued her dreams of giving back to a community in need. Grassroot Soccer is the perfect combination of all of her interests: public health, working with youth and sports. Staying active and being outdoors is an extremely important part of Claire’s life. When she isn’t working or volunteering you will find her hiking, biking or skiing in the mountains. She started playing soccer when she was four years old and continued through high school. Ultimately, her desire to help others and to experience a new culture has led her to join the Grassroot Soccer family.