Team Fanimal

RJ Bergman

RJ Bergman is a musician, writer, and hospitality professional currently residing in Melbourne, Australia. RJ joined Fanimal in 2018 to help write content and has since helped launch Fanimal’s Contests. RJ has a strong passion for music, politics, and tourism, and he hopes to shape his conversations about animals in this light.

Makenzie Cash

Makenzie Cash is an aspiring field biologist who specializes in primates, but adores all animals. She has a degree in biological anthropology with a minor in Primatology and evolutionary anthropology, and in college people called her the monkey girl! In 2019 she studied howler monkeys in Costa Rica, and in 2022 she’ll return to study capuchins and spider monkeys. In her free time, she loves gardening, spending time with her dog, vegan cooking, and learning about botany and mycology.

Fabiola Clermont

Fabiola a.k.a Fabie is originally from Brooklyn, NY and attended the University of Georgia to major in Wildlife studies and minor in Biology and Portuguese. She is currently the Special Events Coordinator at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell Georgia. She loves working at the nature center and getting a chance to educate people in her community about environmental issues and while simultaneously helping connect people with nature. Once a week you can find her hiking the Chattahoochee trails looking at birds, trees, various wildlife and mushrooms or just napping in her hammock!

Carol Kline

Carol Kline is the founder and Managing Director of Fanimal. Through working as a tourism professor in North Carolina, U.S., Carol had the privilege of collaborating with many farming families who wish to develop tourism on their farm as a means to provide extra income and to convey the importance of food production and rural lifestyles. Today she teaches a course on Animals, Tourism, & Sustainability and her research agenda is focused entirely on animals, which intersects with tourism and hospitality quite naturally. She launched Fanimal in 2018 to further satisfy her thirst for animal-related knowledge, her desire to network with animal- and environmentally-focused people, her wish help others find satisfaction by bringing animals into their life and careers, but most of all to be a part of something bigger for the betterment of animal lives.

Naomi Lichtenstein

Naomi Lichtenstein (she/her) is the current Internship Coordinator for Fanimal this upcoming Spring and Summer. Naomi interned for Fanimal Summer 2020 and has been on the Advisory Council ever since. Naomi graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy. During her time at Maryland, Naomi also interned for a student activist group working on Climate Action and for the State Department in the Office of Environmental Science researching Environmental Defenders. Naomi now works for the National Park Service at the White House Visitor Center on environmental education efforts and updates, as well as environmental justice research.

Nora Livingstone

Nora Livingstone is a co-founder of Animal Experience International, a B Corp that helps people travel around the world and volunteer with animals. Through her work as a volunteer coordinator at a wildlife centre in Canada, Nora came to understand the great need for animal loving people around the world to help animals around the world. Since the founding of AEI in 2011 she has visited more than 30 countries to help make safe, ethical and authentic international volunteering a possibility. She believes locally lead community conservation and animal welfare programs will not only help animals, they will help humanity.

Ryan Merritt

Ryan Merritt designed the Big Cat infograph series and is a fellow fan of animals. Growing up in the Midwest along the Mississippi, he was always intrigued with native species, especially aquatic life. Ryan is now working in the park and recreation industry on environmental education initiatives to help communities understand their personal responsibility in creating a sustainable environment. He is looking forward to future contributions to the Fanimal mission!

Matthew Raynor

Matt Raynor is a contributor through graphics, research, and written works. He has always had a love for learning about all animals though cats have an extra special place in his heart. Matt is a graduate of Appalachian State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program and currently works in the hospitality industry. His future plans include obtaining a Master’s degree in Business Administration and adopting a cat which he will name Storm.

Dayna Rothenbucher

Dayna attended Northern Illinois University where she majored in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Biodiversity; she minored in Anthropology. She also obtained a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems. Dayna was an intern during Summer of 2021 and continued working with Fanimal then on as a consultant for website content creation and management. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and tending to her numerous houseplants. Upon her graduation from college, She hopes to one day find a career in which she can express her passion for wildlife in addition to its conservation with hands-on field work.

Heather Rubright

Heather Rubright has had a love for animals since she was a kid, having grown up with a variety of pets, from hamsters and guinea pigs to dogs and cats. She loves working behind the scenes with Fanimal by assisting with the Advisory Council correspondence, and editing and uploading website content. She received Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology and Masters degrees in Business and Sustainable Tourism. She enjoys spending time with her kids and enjoying nature while camping, hiking, mountain biking, and running.

AJ Samsel

AJ Samsel is a graphic design major at Coastal Carolina University. Since a young age, AJ has been fascinated by sea animals, especially squids, and even was nicknamed “Squid Man.” He hopes to use his artistic abilities to bring a new perspective to animal activism. He is always looking for new ways to spread knowledge about conservation and protection. AJ has enjoyed joining the Fanimal family and working with such an incredible group of people.

Jenna Samsel

Jenna is a graduate of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Appalachian State University. Her love for animals began at a young age when she started volunteering with a dog rescue in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jenna began her career working with sea turtles and teaching educational programs to children at a state park nature center on the coast of South Carolina. She later moved to a ranger position and now teaches young humans in her preschool class. She enjoys building a foundation of animal advocacy for her students through animal-related discussions and activities.

Laura-Lee Williams

Laura-Lee Williams spent the majority of their childhood on the small and beautiful island of Antigua; this upbringing brought forth a love for the natural world at a very young age. In undergrad, Laura-Lee completed an interdisciplinary degree in Gender and Women’s Studies, which led to a deep appreciation for ecofeminism, with a transnational focus on examining the relationship between feminism and environmental studies, and a keen awareness on the interconnectedness between womxn and non-human animals. Holding a love for justice, theory, and practice, Laura-Lee will be pursuing a Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies this fall, to further their research and knowledge on environmental ethics and how it relates to gender disparities, with hope to promote a more equitable world.