Team Bios

Ashlei is a is a co-founder and director of Rē. Ashlei’s background is in art & design, conservation, community development, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and sustainable food systems. She completed her MA in Applied Community-Based Conservation at Future Generations University in 2014, where she was a Peace Corps Coverdell Scholar. She also holds a BA in Studio Art-Ceramics & Education from the University of New Hampshire, a degree in Interior Design from Wentworth Institute of Technology, and a Teacher Certification from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education. From 2010-2012, Ashlei was a Peace Corps volunteer based Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, where she focused on educational development, teachers' leadership and women's empowerment activities. Ashlei has teaching, facilitation and research experience in the US, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and South Asia. In addition to her mother tongue of English, Ashlei is proficient in Italian, Bulgarian and Spanish.






Ashlei Laing
Director/Co-Founder
Bethany Garretson is an agent of community change and believes in grassroots organization. She lives in the Adirondacks, a six-million-acre state park in upstate New York, the largest state park in the United States. After graduating from Paul Smith’s in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree in Nature and Culture, she worked for Adirondack Leadership Expeditions for nearly four years as a wilderness therapy field instructor. In 2014, she earned a master’s degree in conservation and community development from Future Generations University. Upon graduating, she entered the world of academia as an Instructor of Environmental Studies and Recreation, teaching for Paul Smith’s College and Clarkson University in upstate New York. She developed a place-based living experience on the shores of Osgood Pond, where students lived in Yurts and cultivated the land of an old homestead site. Bethany has a background in fundraising and storytelling projects. Today, she is an Assistant Program Manager at a Therapeutic Boarding School for adolescent boys. She is a passionate mountain athlete and accomplished writer, and has been published in Outside, Alpinist, and Trail Runner Magazine. She is a Brand Ambassador for SheJumps, a non-profit that advocates for women and girls to get outside and recreate. .


Bethany Garretson
Fundraising Manager
Adar is the Development and Communications Manager at Rē. Her background is in research, sustainability, and community engagement. Adar completed her BS in Marine Biology at Northeastern University in 2019 with minors in Environmental Studies, Global Social Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Business Practices. Passionate about science literacy and communication, she is currently pursuing a MA in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Adar has research experience in the US, Western Europe, Central America, South America and South Asia. In addition to English, she is fluent in Spanish, Science, and proficient in French.








Adar Laia Thau
Development and Communications Manager

Course Facilitators

Maya Galimidi is the founder of Empower with Nature, a transdisciplinary education and project management NGO. She is an International Ambassador for the Global Ecovillage Network. Maya is studying for an MA in Ecology and Spirituality at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. She took a double major in Public Relations and Management of Performing Arts at Istanbul Bilgi University. After graduating, Maya worked in London, New York City, Istanbul, and the Negev Desert. For the last fifteen years, she has designed and produced international conferences in thirty different countries for the Wall Street Capital Markets, Healthcare, Human Resources, Marketing, Digitalisation, Copper and Government sectors; worked with politicians such as George W. Bush and Collin Powell. Maya obtained her Permaculture Design Certificate at Kibbutz Lotan. She worked as the Global Business Developer for Kibbutz Lotan Center for Creative Ecology and created eco-tourism, eco-peacebuilding and eco-school projects in the Middle East and Brazil. She is a climate action mentor at Techcamp under the US Department of States. Her teaching experience about ecology and purpose, connecting with nature and observing the relationship between people and nature inspired her to establish Empower with Nature.
Maya Galimidi
Founder - Empower With Nature
David Ufuk Ogur is the founder and general manager of Ufuk Ogur Education and Tutoring Center. He has expertise in managing educational businesses, international education, student placement, teacher recruiting and selection, student coaching and tutoring. He founded an education and tutoring company early in his career, which continues today as online education. He has worked in Cagla High school as a partner, general coordinator and education director. Tutored students in Turkey's top 100 and students accepted to MIT, Yale, NYU, Kings College London, Munich Technical, Sorbonne University, etc... Worked with students from the USA, Canada, Germany, Belgium, England, Spain and Turkey. Created alternative teaching methods to train teachers and students, connecting science knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge and curriculum development. He has volunteered to teach orphan students at Nesin Vakfi and professional athletes at ES Volleyball.
David Ufuk Ogur
Founder - Ufuk Ogur Education and Tutoring Center
Reverend Sara Jolena Wolcott, M.Div, builds people's capacity to collectively reMember our ecological familial, national and global origin stories to enable more harmonious futures. An ecotheologian and unconventional minister, she is the founder of Sequoia Samanvaya, a healer, a ceremonialist, and a Legacy Advisor with Innovation 4.4. She is primarily interested in the work of ReMembering and ReEnchanting our world. Born and raised on the historical Ohlone lands in the California Bay Area into a Quaker family, her quest to understand how we might navigate through the current social and ecological crises took her on a global odyssey. Her wide and wild range of experience, all of which brings depth to her ministry, includes : co-leading the 33-country multi-disciplinary ReImagining Development Program at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), consulting for the World Bank, living as a traveling singer in India, serving as a community minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, working as a prison chaplain on Rikers Island Correctional Facility in NYC and working as a Fellow in Spirituality and Climate Change at the Institute of the Advancement of Science and Society in Germany. Her formal education includes a CMT from the McKinnon Institute of Massage Therapy in Oakland, CA; a BA from Haverford College in Anthropology, an MA in international development from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK; and a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) at Union Theological Seminary.
Sara Jolena Walcott
Founder - Sequoia Samanvaya

Past Collaborators

Felix is a co-founder and collaborator of Rē. His professional background is in rural community development, political organizing, service-learning in higher education, university teaching, community university partnerships, monitoring & evaluation, and participatory research and facilitation. Felix completed his PhD in International Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies in 2011. He also holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. From 2011-2012, he served as Acting Assistant Dean of Students at the University of the South. In 2014, he served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the Future Generations Graduate School. Felix has research, teaching and facilitation experience in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Central America, South Asia and East Asia.





Felix M. Bivens
Collaborator/Co-Founder
Stephen L. Garrett is the Communications Consultant at Rē. He began his filmmaking career in Madagascar as a third year Peace Corps environment volunteer in 2007. This work led him to produce work for various organizations across the US and in 17 countries for clients such as the Ford Foundation, USAID, and the US Institute of Peace. Stephen has a self-designed BA in Conservation Studies from the University of the South. Stephen documents and communicates about Rē's work throughout the world. 










    
Stephen L. Garrett
Communications Consultant
Watson leads the development of Rē's virtual reality (VR)-supported learning platforms. Watson is a self-taught virtual reality developer, having spent the first years of his professional life as a cultural anthropologist conducting ethnography on violence, participatory design research on sanitation, and documenting underground Hip Hop culture across Central America. As a member of the Fulbright Association, the International Development Innovation Network, and the Community Development Society, Watson's research and development proclivities have been tuned towards the common purposes of empowerment and liberation. His interest in virtual reality draws from nearly a decade of experience facilitating, teaching, and promoting STEAM learning in schools, community centers, and museums. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in human computer interaction with a primary research interest based in growing virtual reality literacy across various sectors of society, asking, "how might existing communities of practice co-create virtual environments suited to their own unique needs?"  
Watson Hartsoe
VR-Supported Learning Architect