Our Team

Mary Ellen Sprenkel
President & CEO

Mary Ellen Sprenkel has been a long-time champion for youth. Sprenkel came to The Corps Network in March of 2008 as Director of Government Relations. She was promoted to Vice President of External Affairs in 2011 and then Interim CEO in May of 2012, prior to being selected as President and CEO in October of 2012. During her tenure, Service and Conservation Corps have become better known programs to lawmakers and policymakers throughout the federal government. Legislation that would expand and bolster youth programs including Service and Conservation Corps has been routinely introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Under Sprenkel’s leadership, in 2010 more than $63 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects were granted to Service and Conservation Corps throughout the country by 15 federal agencies. These projects provided youth with jobs and service opportunities while connecting them to public lands including national parks and forests. More recently, Sprenkel has served as a member of the federal advisory committee tasked with providing recommendations to federal land management agencies on how to implement a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. 

In addition to her productive time at The Corps Network, she has ten years of Capitol Hill experience, including two years on the House Committee on Education and Labor handling postsecondary education, training, and life-long learning programs. She also worked for Representatives Matthew G. Martinez (D-CA) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Before joining The Corps Network, Mary Ellen was Vice President of Government Relations at the Education Finance Council, the national trade association for nonprofit and state based student loan providers. Prior to that, she spent two years as the Assistant to the President of the University of Montana.

Contact Mary Ellen Sprenkel
 

Marie Walker
Vice President

Marie Walker joined The Corps Network in 2014 as Vice President after serving as the Director of Programs and Development for the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV). She joined CCCWV in 1999 and as part of the senior management team, Marie was involved in the development and implementation of several innovative programs including the first Brownfields Job Training Program in West Virginia, the Office of Surface Mining VISTA team that provides leadership and community capacity building to coal mining counties in eight Appalachian states, as well as overseeing the Youth and Development department that employs disadvantaged young people in West Virginia.

She has served on several boards and community organizations including the The Corps Network, Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center Community Council, American Cancer Society, and Main Street Martinsburg.

Marie completed her studies at Concord University, Old Dominion University, and West Virginia University "Go Mountain Lions, Monarchs, and Mountaineers!!!!”

Contact Marie Walker


Nicole Aiken
Executive Assistant

Nicole Aiken joined The Corps Network in October 2011. As Executive Assistant, Nicole provides administrative support to the President/ CEO and Chief Operating Officer. Her duties include managing calendars and workload, compiling materials for meetings, and routing information among the Management Team. Nicole also provides general office support for The Corps Network's Washington, DC office.

Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Communications from Howard University and her masters degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development at Trinity Washington University.

Contact Nicole Aiken
 

Carolyn Benard
Director of Grants & Agreements

Carolyn manages grants and agreements for The Corps Network. Previously at The Corps Network Carolyn worked as the Grants Compliance Manager of the Conservation Corps of Greater New Orleans. In this role Carolyn was responsible for managing the data and evaluation side of the program as well as providing training and technical assistance to subgrantees regarding corps member management and support, grants compliance, performance measurement and data collection, and program development.

Carolyn has worked in the nonprofit and government sector for a cumulative 15 years in the fields of youth development, violence and drug prevention, and service learning. She has been involved in national service in a variety of capacities for ten years as a member, supervisor, grant monitor, and trainer.

Carolyn has a bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology and participated in a service-learning semester abroad in Jamaica as a teacher and student. Immediately prior to joining to The Corps Network originally, Carolyn worked for the Washington Service Corps (WSC) for nearly four years as a Program Coordinator supporting Corps across the state as well as the WSC Civic Engagement initiative. Prior to the WSC, Carolyn worked as an AmeriCorps Team Supervisor for three years in the Human Needs sector. Before supervising the team, Carolyn served as an AmeriCorps member on the team in 1999-2000, as a Volunteer Coordinator for a senior nutrition program in Washington State.

Contact Carolyn Benard
 

Joe Gersen
Director of Government Relations, Public Lands Service Coalition

As Director of Government Relations for the Public Lands Service Coalition, Joe will work with The Corps Network (TCN), the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), and other members of the PLSC to design and implement a strategic plan for meeting the policy and advocacy goals of Conservation Corps. Having a focus on environmental stewardship, resource conservation, and public lands-related policy and programs, he will work with the House and Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Interior Appropriations and work to build and grow relationships with the relevant federal agencies within the Departments of Interior and Agriculture.

Joe has over twelve years of experience in Washington DC at non-profit organizations, as well as in Congress and in the Executive branch. Before joining the Public Lands Service Coalition, Joe was the Public Policy Manager at America's Service Commissions, the national association for state service commissions, and focused on the oversight and appropriations process for national and community service programs. Prior to that, he worked in the office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service and for Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA). Joe has also spent time on both national and state wide political campaigns. Joe started his career as an AmeriCorps VISTA, developing an America Reads program in Valencia California. Joe has a Masters of Business Administration from the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Joe lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood in NW Washington DC with his wife and dog, and enjoys bicycling, hiking, and swimming.

Contact Joe Gersen
 

John Hosey
Gulf Coast Restoration Corps Director of Development

John Hosey joined The Corps Network staff in December of 2013 as the Gulf Coast Restoration Corps Director of Development. His responsibilities include conducting research and identifying potential government and non-governmental partners to develop local workforce development opportunities for youth and veterans. The focus of the GCRC Program is to provide a trained and qualified local workforce that will participate in and contribute to conservation and restoration projects as recommended by the Restore Act Council.

Additionally, he will be assisting local communities with the long term development of community based conservation corps programs. These programs will provide resources and support for starting a sustainable programs that are focused on education, workforce development, and leadership components. In the end, the goal is to assist local communities to produce long term Corps resources that provide conservation/restoration skills based jobs and education for young adults and veterans.

In his previous assignment he served as Director of United Way’s Volunteer South Mississippi and as the Board President for the South Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. He was actively involved in several projects related to expanding volunteerism across the state and building collaborative partnerships to address both current and future needs related to improving community resiliency.

Since 2007, John has assisted in regional research projects with several universities.  As a result he has co-published articles and served as both Investigator and Co-Investigator on grants related to these projects.  The programs focused on collaborative community partnership development, disaster mental health interventions and crisis response efforts following disasters (e.g., hurricane Katrina, Gustav and Gulf Oil Spill).  He also serves as a volunteer on the Gulf Coast Community Health Workers Training Program Advisory Board and the MS Gulf Coast Regional Planning Sub-Committee on Resiliency.

John enjoys the recreational and sports events offered along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When he is not working he enjoys spending time outdoors fishing, hiking and exploring historical sites across America. 

Contact John Hosey

Carol Huls
Director of Membership

AsDirector of Membership, Carol Huls manages the member database and keeps track of what Corps are doing around the country. Carol is the central point of contact for organizations looking for information on benefits (including the Health Insurance program), training and technical assistance, and connecting with Members of The Corps Network. She also plays a primary role in the coordination of the National Conference (an event which is definitely a team effort) and in arranging webinars and other training opportunities.

If you’re coming to visit DC, be sure to touch base with Carol for tips – she’s a Licensed Washington DC Tour Guide and a volunteer at the National Gallery of Art, and she tries to stay on top of the cultural activities going on in the city. Carol received her undergraduate degree in History and English from Calvin College and a Masters degree in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University.

Contact Carol Huls
 

Levi Novey
Director of Communications & Marketing

As The Corps Network's Director of Communications & Marketing, Levi is responsible for telling the incredible stories of Service and Conservation Corps nationwide. He was one of the co-authors of the book Join the Crew: Inspirational Stories of Young Adults in America's Service and Conservation Corps.

Prior to joining the Corps Network, Levi worked for the U.S. National Park Service for 10 years as a park ranger, social science researcher, and science communication specialist for 20 different national parks.

He has received a master's degree in Conservation Social Sciences from the University of Idaho and a bachelor's degree in History from Tufts University.

In addition to having co-authored Join the Crew, Levi has written several guidebooks to U.S. national parks, as well as scholarly papers and over 300 articles as an environmental journalist while living abroad with his family in Peru. He has written for numerous publications and groups including The Huffington Post, Live Oak Media, and Greenopolis. He enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, photography, movies, visiting the parks and museums in the DC area, and spending time  with his wife Alicia and daughter Coral.

Contact Levi Novey
 

Emilie Rafal
Data Collection Systems Coordinator

Emilie Rafal joined The Corps Network in May 2012 as the Data Collection Systems Coordinator. In this role, Emilie is responsible for implementing and managing a data collection system that will allow individual Corps and TCN to track programmatic elements and outcomes.

Prior to joining The Corps Network, Emilie supported out of school time programming for middle school youth at Higher Achievement Baltimore, where she managed the data collection databases, supported development, and assisted with recruitment.

Emilie graduated from the College of William & Mary (Tribe Pride!) with a BA in both Psychology and Women’s Studies. Outside of the office, she enjoys taking her Corgi mix on hikes and cooking vegetarian feasts.

Contact Emilie Rafal

 

Tess Richey
Development Assistant

Tess joined The Corps Network in December 2013 as the Development Assistant. She helps provide support in the areas of fund development, external and government relations, membership, and programs and projects.

Tess has a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources. While in college, Tess was the President of the Natural Resources Management Society and played on CSU’s rugby team.

Prior to joining The Corps Network, Tess worked for a non-profit, Southwest Youth Services, which focused on the health and wellness of Native American youth as well as at-risk youth.  She served as an AmeriCorps Vista for Southwest Youth Services for two summers, and during her second summer she supervised the Youth Conservation Corps program located in New Mexico. Her responsibilities included teaching and supervising young Native American students about ecology, restoration, conservation and natural resources management. Tess also spent two years during college working in the Operations department at i-cubed, a geospatial information systems organization based out of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Tess is a native New Mexican who enjoys hiking, kayaking and eating green chile.

Contact Tess Richey


Capri St. Vil
National Director of Education Programs

Capri brings over 25 years of experience in education. Her career in education began in Adult Basic Education in New York. She has also taught at the high school level in Brooklyn, NY. She was a member of the Humanities/Social Science department at Seattle Central Community College. She served in an administrative capacity and as a Core Faculty member at Antioch University in Seattle. Prior to joining the Corps Network, she was an Education Program Manager with FEGS, Education and Youth Services Department.

She has her MA from NYU in Educational Communications and Instructional Design as well as her BFA.

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Nancy Siegal
Director of Finance and Administration

As the Director of Finance and Administration for The Corps Network, Nancy's activities include, but are not limited to budget and finance (including all grants awarded to The Corps Network), general office administration, meeting planning, and human resource functions.

Nancy has over 30 years of Washington association experience and has built a network of financial, human resource, and hotel resources within the community. Prior to joining to The Corps Network, Nancy served as Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration at the Association of Academic Health Centers. Nancy is a graduate of Lesley University and holds a Masters degree from Central Connecticut State University.

Contact Nancy Siegal


Hannah Traverse
Communications and Grants Assistant

As the Communications and Grants Assistant, Hannah helps with a variety of projects at The Corps Network, including the development and production of print and digital media content and assisting with the management of core grant programs. She was the lead author of the book Join the Crew: Inspirational Stories of Young Adults in America's Service and Conservation Corps.

Hannah received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While in college, Hannah volunteered in DC Public Schools through the DC Reads Program and Prime Movers. She also spent a semester interning with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and spent over a year interning and writing for Street Sense; a DC-based newspaper that focuses on raising awareness about homelessness.

Hannah volunteers at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She enjoys warm jackets, houseplants and figs. 

Contact Hannah Traverse

 

Leslie Wilkoff
Director of AmeriCorps Programs

Leslie began with the Human Environment Center in 1984 and transitioned to The Corps Network when it was created in 1985. Since she began, Leslie has planned numerous conferences, designed and edited a quarterly newsletter and directed member services. Leslie has taken on almost every responsibility possible at one time or another, and has become one of the most knowledgeable leaders in the Corps Movement, sought out for her wisdom, command of Corps history, and expertise in AmeriCorps programs and initiatives.

As Director of AmeriCorps Programs, Leslie Wilkoff leads The Corps Network's AmeriCorps Education Award Program (EAP). Leslie created TCN's AmeriCorps Program Manual as well as a document on nontraditional uses for AmeriCorps Education Awards. She also ensures compliance and provides technical assistance to TCN subgrantees in Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) AmeriCorps grants.

 

Throughout her tenure Leslie has developed a cache of tools for national service and youth development programs and has emerged as one of the leaders of the EAP serving on numerous working groups for CNCS. She also provides training to subgrantees for the eGrants Portal on-line member management system. In addition, she helped develop and manages The Corps Network's Health Insurance Plan for Corpsmembers and AmeriCorps members.

Contact Leslie Wilkoff

 

Tyler Wilson
Director of Government Relations

As Director of Government Relations for The Corps Network, Tyler focuses on developing and advocating legislative and policy initiatives for the Corps Network; providing analysis and tracking of Congress, the White House, and federal agencies; and working with advocacy organizations here in DC on improving the outlook for youth development issues. He’ll also be focusing on raising Corps’ federal profile, improving government relations operations, and developing new Corps initiatives on education and workforce development, among others.

As a native Iowan, Tyler has always had a love of politics and policy and volunteered on political campaigns and organizations in college. He has 8 years of experience working for a Member of Congress from the state of Iowa and on Congressional and Presidential campaigns. For 6 years working in Congress, he managed and advised the Congressman on a wide-range of issues including agriculture, education, energy and environment, financial services, housing, labor and workforce, and transportation/infrastructure.

He also worked with the House Education and Labor Committee and managed disaster recovery issues through the worst natural disaster in the state’s history. Additionally he has drafted policy, legislation, and amendments related to education, energy and the environment, workforce, natural disasters, and transportation among many others. He also has experience working on communications and press-related projects.

Tyler lives with his wife and dog in DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. He enjoys reading, music, movies, exercising, and all types of outdoor recreation. He has a BA in both Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, IA - Go Hawks!

Contact Tyler Wilson