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.

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!

Olivia Hudgins

Olivia graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in Art Education. She currently lives in the NC Outer Banks. She has a huge passion for teaching, art, and animals! She loves to educate children about environmental and animal awareness through creativity and art. In her free time she loves to paint, hike, and take care of dogs. She is so excited to work with Fanimal!

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 40 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.

Emily Maranga

Emily Maranga (she/her) is the Direct Action Coordinator for Fanimal. She previously worked as an intern in the summer of 2020 and on the Advisory Council. During her internship, she was one of the students that founded the Fanimal Direct Action Program, so this position is especially meaningful to her. Throughout her time at Fanimal, she wrote blog posts, created infographics, and did research on various environmental science topics. She looks forward to continuing this work and focusing on activism. Emily is also a recent graduate from the University of Maryland where she studied Environmental Science and Policy and GIS. In her free time, she is an artist and even did a painting for a Fanimal auction.

Ryan Merritt

Ryan Merritt has assisted with many graphic design projects for Fanimal and enjoys sharing his design talents to support its mission. He is currently working in the parks and recreation industry. championing projects that support environmental education and helping communities understand their personal responsibility in creating a sustainable environment. In his spare time, he likes to fly fish, watch soccer and hike with his family!

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.

Aleighson Robertson

Aleighson Robertson is an Environmental Science major at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. She is passionate about animals, especially marine life. Her love for marine animals stems from going to the beach almost every year of her life and being allowed to explore the coast and water. She has had multiple pets throughout her lifetime, including dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, and turtles. She enjoys painting and needle felting in her free time. She was a Fanimal Spring 2022 intern and is so excited to continue her work with Fanimal in the future.

Dayna Rothenbucher

Dayna is a Senior at Northern Illinois University where she majors in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Biodiversity and  minors in Anthropology. She also obtained certificates in Sustainable Food Systems and basic Fire Training! Dayna was an intern at Fanimal during the  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.

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.

Adaia Valle

Adaia Valle is a senior at Meredith College. She will be graduating with a BS in Biology and Public Health. She has a great passion for Medicine and helping others. She joined the Fanimal family in 2020 by working on administrative tasks. In her free time, she enjoys exploring with her two dogs!

Jesarela Valle

Jesarela Valle graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Her passion is being an animal advocate between cultures. She is a native Honduran where she grew up with a different understanding of animals. She now resides in NC where she hopes to promote better treatment towards animals within her community. She loves all things animal.  Her love started when she was 5 and got her first bunny, continuing with multiple dogs, cats, birds, horses, cows and bulls throughout her life. She is now a proud mom of 2 loving Great Pyrenees pups, and she is thrilled to be part of the Fanimal family.

Gina Yum

Gina Yum is a first-year Gates Scholar at Pomona College majoring in Public Policy Analysis with a concentration in Environmental Analysis. She is involved with the Sunrise Movement and the Asian American Mentorship Program at her college. She grew up in Bakersfield, California where her passion for the environment was sparked after learning about local particulate pollution, which led to her commitment to animal advocacy. Gina is passionate about advocating for intersectional environmentalism to promote both human and animal welfare. Gina was also an intern with Fanimal for Spring 2022.