Our team consists of individuals with a background in higher education, public service, and social change who are seeking to transform the realm of higher education in the United States. We are joined by several veteran professors with more than 100 years combined experience teaching college courses, former student services and college admissions counselors, founders of educational and civic non-profits, filmmakers, and more.
Recruitment and Retention Specialist & AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Ursula is a passionate explorer of the human experience and curious about the acts and observations that disrupt categorization and illuminate the world's connectedness. An artist in training, Ursula is uncovering her next steps in life. An enthusiastic advocate for experiential education, she's engaged youth in creative writing classes, wilderness canoe trips, horseback riding, artistic inquiry, and studying abroad. Along the way, she's made a home for herself in Minnesota, Washington, Australia, & most recently Copenhagen, Denmark working with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. Ursula is thrilled to be taking her next step in Portland with Wayfinding Academy.
Contact Ursula directly by clicking here!
Strategic Marketing Manager
Marzeta is an adventure seeker, strategist, and philanthropist who does her best to live out loud in the space where work, life, service, and exploration (food, travel, people!) intersect. She cares about culture and cuisine, communications and conversation, charity and community, education and lifelong learning. These inspire and infuse her purpose-driven work in strategy, communications, project management, experience curation, and leadership development. Marzeta has a huge admiration for (and enjoys working with) people with a strong desire to do (inner and outer) work that matters.
When she's not taking action for impact, you can find her enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends, dancing up a storm to soca music, serving the community with the Rotary family, planning her next trip to discover more flavors of the world, curled up with a good book, listening to podcasts, or with legs folded and eyes closed on a yoga mat where she's resetting and recharging.
Contact Marzeta directly by clicking here!
Director of Campus Activities and Student Affairs
M.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, Portland State University
Tina is passionate about experiential education and the intersection of college and community. She's honored to be a part of a higher education institution that isn't afraid to ask hard questions, dream outside the box, and put people ahead of profits. When not planning events like TEDxMtHood or the World Domination Summit, you can find her adventuring outdoors with her friends, baking (usually sweet treats), and always looking for a great book to read.
Contact Tina directly by clicking here!
Chief Academic Officer, President, and Founder
Ph.D. Organizational Psychology & Leadership, Claremont Graduate University
Michelle is doing her life's work right now, which is exhilarating and terrifying. During her 15 years teaching Leadership and Organizational Behavior courses in the traditional college system, she had a front row seat for what is broken about that system. About 3 years ago, she began gathering a group of like minded badasses around a vision of what a revolution in higher education could look like. After years of helping groups and non-profits organize for social impact as a volunteer (SuperThank, TEDxMtHood, World Domination Summit) Michelle started her legacy project and the Wayfinding Academy was born.
Contact Michelle directly by clicking here!
Chief Business Officer
M.B.A. Portland State University
Bjarke is a hope-seeker, a Dane, a numbers lover and an environmental justice activist with a conviction that the training of future generations is a key part of the solution. Bjarke moved to Portland in 2011 to pursue his MBA, as a supplement to his bachelor degree in industrial engineering. With this combination he has skills in the technical realm, the user-centered design realm, financial realm and the organizational strategy realm allowing him to function as a fluid team member with a flair for the technical and quantitative analytical space. Outside of work Bjarke spends most of his time with board games and outdoor activities like hiking, skiing and sailing. Although it is hard to find enough time for skiing and sailing within the traditional American labor market, hopefully we can use the WFA to make more of that happen.
Contact Bjarke directly by clicking here!
Hello all! My name is Grace McMickens and I am a rising junior at Lewis & Clark college. I am studying Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in gender studies.I am originally from Brooklyn, New York but it smelled weird so I came to Portland for school. It smells far better. I love to write so I try to spend at least 30 minutes a day writing. I also enjoy listening to music and true crime podcasts. Looking forward to meeting everyone in joining the Wayfinding crew!
Recruitment and Retention Specialist & AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Travis is a recent college graduate who majored in environmental studies. He enjoyed his time there, but quickly became disenfranchised with how higher education functioned. So, he is excited to see where his time with Wayfinding takes him. He is particularly interested in environmental and social justice, community empowerment, and ecology. He has working experience as an ecosystem surveyor, a teacher, and a Lyft driver. He is from Beijing, China, but moved here to avoid the smog. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, going to breweries, and playing volleyball.
Director of Technology & Wayfinding Guide
M.S. Educational Leadership and Policy, Portland State University
Poe brings a background in education as well as technology to the Wayfinding Academy. He started his journey in education as an experiential educator leading extended wilderness-based expeditions focusing on facilitating student’s personal growth and self reliance in an outdoor context. He brings this authentic experience to the field of higher education as one of our Wayfinding Guides. In addition to working directly with students, Poe also brings his broad background in information technology as our Director of Technology. When he isn't Wayfinding you might find him bouldering, cooking, working on his house, or building train tracks in the living room with his daughters.
Contact Poe directly by clicking here!
Lead Matchmaker & Wayfinding Guide
M.S. International Relations, University of Illinois
Tiana always thought she'd grow up to be ambassador to France, but that didn’t quite go as planned. A former humanitarian aid worker, she developed and implemented an innovative program in Iraq that taught people with disabilities (PWDs) how to advocate for themselves and become social change agents, ran a gender program that taught 10,000 women to read and write, and served as the State Director in Southern Kordofan until being extracted from the civil war in 2011. She has also worked for non-profits on employment for PWDs where she developed job readiness training and disability awareness training for employment partners. She most recently worked as a development consultant on the Syrian Crisis in Turkey. Since saving the world didn’t work out, she joined the Wayfinding to help people choose their life on purpose while she continues to explore what she wants to be and do when she grows up. Tiana is a public speaker on topics such as tenacity, leadership, and disability, and she's working on a memoir, “American Non-combatant.” A member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team for 5 yrs, Tiana is a two-time Paralympic medalist, bringing home bronze and silver. Her work on behalf of people with disabilities was featured on NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Here and Now, and The Takeaway. Most recently she gave a TEDx talk titled “Redefining Disability.”
Internship Coordinator & Wayfinding Guide
Ph.D. History, University of Minnesota
Tiffany D. Vann Sprecher holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She has taught History and Writing at the university, community college, and high school levels. Dedicated to educational outreach, she has been involved in several prison education programs in Boston, New York, and Portland, OR. She has also taught at the Brooklyn Brainery, a crowd sourced educational facility; acted as a History consultant for Beutler Ink, a data visualization company; and even presented a lecture on medieval torture at a Game of Thrones party. In addition to her work at Wayfinding Academy, Tiffany tutors students in Reading, Writing, and the Humanities, and provides consulting in business communication.
Cultivator of Adventure & Challenge
M.Ed. Student Affairs Administration, Western Washington University
Marli has been an experiential educator for over 15 years with a Bachelor's Degree in Outdoor Education and a Master's Degree in Education. She is passionate about creating inspiring, impactful and empowering programs where students can learn, grow and expand into the best version of themselves. Marli believes that the Wayfinding Academy is how Higher Education should be and is honored to get to be a part of such a dedicated team of educators who are driven to change the education system and create a powerful learning experience for each and every student. She believes that everyone has the potential to fulfill their most inner desires, hopes and dreams and her biggest goal is to provide both the inspiration and the tools to make that possible.
Sarah’s background is in education and non-profit leadership. She is a former high school English teacher, working for grassroots activist groups and homeless shelters in Georgia, and assisted in building a safe place for young people to be after school in rural Colorado. She is excited to bring those experiences together as the Development Director for the Wayfinding Academy. Sarah is passionate about creating hands on learning experiences, equal access to reproductive health care, abolishing stigmas around both mental health and homelessness, and human development with an emphasis on trauma informed care.
Contact Sarah directly by clicking here!
is the creator and author of “The One Week Job Project,” an inspiring journey across North America in which he worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to find his passion. Aiken has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, and has appeared on CNN, 20/20, Good Morning America, and countless other media outlets around the world. He frequently speaks to students and companies about what he learned from his experience and has developed an international program to empower others to discover their passion by taking on a series of “one week jobs”.
Wayfinding Academy Course: Wayfinding
LL.M. in Law and Technology, Tilburg University
J.D., University of Oregon, School of Law
is active locally in Portland, Oregon policy-making, with a particular focus on environmental justice, sustainable cities, and issues pertaining to the commons. Formerly with “Our Children’s Trust,” Nick helped launch the Youth Climate Action Now (YouCAN) campaign. This campaign is a continuation of an effort that began with energetic youth in Eugene who organized to persuade the Eugene City Council to pass the country’s first binding climate recovery ordinance, committing city planning and policy to a science-based, community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal of 350 parts per million of CO2, the level deemed “safe” by climate scientists. In Fall of 2015, he was instrumental in crafting and helping to pass Portland's first-of-a-kind fossil fuel infrastructure policy. He also was a participant in the #ShellNo protests which took place at the St. Johns bridge in Portland in August 2015.
Wayfinding Academy Course: Science, Technology, and Society.
Ph.D. American Studies, Emory University
As a working class kid from Seattle, Richard Hill was blessed to receive permission from gifted teachers at Gonzaga University and Emory University to dream about life’s possibilities. His 40 year college teaching career is an attempt to “pay it forward,” to give others permission to dream and to act. In the last several years, his passion is to understand the historical and cultural systems that shape us to colonize each other—and to find alternatives, systemic and practical ways to participate in a world-wide “Continuing Revolution” to create a more socially just world by overcoming the fears that constrict us and making new institutions based on the ecological perception that we are “all in this together.”
PhD (in progress), Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning, Portland State University
Sarah is the Associate Director of First Stop Portland, a program she helped develop in 2008 while a doctoral student in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. First Stop hosts visiting delegations from around the world who travel to Portland to exchange policies and best practices with Portland's "Green Brain Trust.” Her areas of expertise include social equity, urban placemaking, smart cities, climate action planning, and sustainable development. Her doctoral research examines how cities & regions exchange ideas and practical wisdom to become more sustainable, more resilient places.
In addition to brokering knowledge exchanges between Portland and leader around the globe, she consults locally on political communications and internationally on sustainable urban planning and development efforts. She is a community activist and the owner of a neighborhood restaurant, the Arleta Library Cafe, promoting fair labor practices and urban agriculture.
Her favorite mode of travel is walking, which her dog adores but her teenager loathes.
Wayfinding Academy Courses: Futures and Citizenships
Ph.D. Organizational Psychology & Leadership, Claremont Graduate University
is a former traditional model college professor who is starting her own college, The Wayfinding Academy. Her 15 years teaching leadership and organizational behavior courses at colleges and universities across the country has prepared her well to re-imagine what higher education can be with this new endeavor. She is also drawing on her experience organizing events and communities with TEDxMtHood and the World Domination Summit and founding non-profit organizations such as SuperThank.
Wayfinding Academy Courses: Understanding Ourselves and Others
M.S. Conflict Resolution, Portland State University
M.A. International and Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco
is a Portland native. He earned graduate degrees in conflict resolution and human rights education at Portland State University and the University of San Francisco (respectively). Since 2008 he has taught interdisciplinary courses in the humanities and social sciences for the University of Louisville, Northwest Indian College and Concordia University, Portland. Right now Jesse is homesteading off-the-grid with his wife, Kristine. They are both interested in self-reliance and mutual aid.
Wayfinding Academy Courses: Understanding Our World and Communicating Effectively and Making Good Choices
B.A. Williams College (Physics)
B.A. Oxford University (Physics)
M.B.A Harvard Business School
has pursued a life of involvement with interesting things. His passion for education began with teaching physics and mountaineering in secondary schools; continued through eighteen years at NIKE, with a focus on management learning; and now finds expression in developing and teaching courses on HR, Business and Information. He has engaged deeply with competitive skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking and sea kayaking;and is a life-long woodworker. His wife and he operate a B&B on the edge of Portland’s Forest Park.
Wayfinding Academy Course: Engaging with Information
B.A. Liberal Arts, The Evergreen State College
M.A. Peace Education, The United Nations University for Peace
Ph.D Sustainability Education (in progress), Prescott College
is contagiously passionate about creating education programs that empower our youth to face the crises and opportunities of these times. She had the amazing opportunity to earn a M.A. in Peace Education at The U.N. University for Peace while researching the power and potential of youth to be engaged changemakers. Later, she found her life calling while teaching Peace Studies and Global Citizenship to teens at a farm school. Emily is now midway through a PhD in Sustainability Education. Since moving to Portland, she is immersed in building community and education projects around permaculture, climate action, social justice, nature connection, and rites of passage.
Wayfinding Academy Course: The Good Life
is a former 2nd grade teacher and small business owner. In 2014, she relocated to Portland in search of a more inspirational and welcoming environment for her progressive mindset. Melody is an educational entrepreneur with a passion for sharing new perspectives on the facilitation of learning through unique and creative mediums. She geeks out on creative connections, loves to see people empowered and advocates for simple systems. The Wayfinding Academy embodies the changes Melody wants to help cultivate across the educational landscape and she is exhilarated by opportunities to collaborate with them in reimagining education. She’s always up for a cup of coffee and a good alignment expedition!
Halfway through a rigorous Interior Design program at the #1 school in the nation--and following a life-changing study abroad in Australia--Gina realized that she didn't want to be an Interior Designer. She spent the rest of her time at college twisting and bending projects to fit her desire to become a student of culture and a creative problem solver (who more often than not, is working with her first love... food).
MS Experiential Education Minnesota State University, Mankato
Iggy helps individuals and groups function like champions. From working in the wilderness to working with gritty roller derby teams, Iggy brings calm and a sense of humor to helping individuals and groups function at their best. Iggy has worked for Outward Bound, several liberal arts colleges, and now through her own independent business to make the world a better place through thoughtful attention to human growth and team development.
is currently finishing her Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology, and recently completed a certificate in Ecopsychology, at Lewis and Clark. She transitioned to this career after teaching high school English, hoping to maximize her positive impact on students and schools. Mary is interested in how numbers can affect people's daily lives, sustainable systems, and building healthy learning communities. She lives in St. John's and enjoys hiking with her dog son.
is a nostalgic celluloid curmudgeon with a hint of curiosity. Sigfried started as a film projectionist, then ran and installed theatrical cinemas. He has had many years of stage production and work with IATSE doing camera and lighting for variety of film and commercial productions. Rabid traveling and espresso devouring churns his life. Currently he is laying groundwork for a non-profit professional film on-demand production and releasing company.
M.Ed. Higher Education, Loyola University Chicago
has spent the last fifteen years connecting ideas and people through a diverse set of experiences in public relations, higher education, corporate recruiting and international volunteer work. In higher education at places like the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley, Jill has worked in Admissions, Residence Life, Academic Affairs and Career Services. She finds the most joy in guiding and helping others discover their gifts. Jill is happiest when out enjoying nature or exploring a new place. A trip around the world in 2013 with her husband has been the best investment in her life thus far. Being dropped into a new city and immediately knowing her way around is her super power!
Ph.D. Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Angela Wheeler is an author, speaker, and facilitator who teaches women how to thrive and lead by becoming aware of their strengths, creating nourishing boundaries, and cultivating the courage to become their best selves in the world. Her research focuses on how women can grow and thrive through transitions rather than waiting on "the right time" for them to prioritize the work they're called to do. She's the co-founder of Productive Flourishing and co-host of the Productive Flourishing podcast. With a Ph.D. in sociology and her experience at PF, the best way to describe Angela is as a catalyst for positive change in life and business.