Patricia Preston, Executive Director
802.861.2343 X4


A Vermont native, Patricia is a graduate of UVM with a degree in Secondary Education and holds a Master's degree in International Education from NYU. She studied abroad in England and has traveled extensively around the world, including work as a teacher and curriculum developer in Tanzania. Patricia worked for both the United Nations on women's issues and the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Food Security. She is also President and Founder of a non-profit that provides nutrition and hygiene education to children in rural Guatemala. When not working, Patricia enjoys skiing, bouldering, hiking with her dog, and playing the ukulele. She is an advocate for environmental conservation and has a strong passion for human rights and empowerment of women and girls.

Vinson Pierce, Manager of Global Engagement
802.861.2343 X3
Born and raised in Virginia, Vinson has lived in Vermont since the summer of 2011, when he moved to Burlington for graduate school. He earned a Master of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, where he studied issues related to the management of American wilderness and public land. Before moving to Vermont, Vinson attended the University of South Carolina, where he earned a B.A. with a major in Geography and a minor in Political Science.  Prior to joining the VCWA, Vinson managed social science research projects on federally administered public land across the United States, including Olympic National Park in Northwestern Washington and Acadia National Park in Maine.  Outside of the office, Vinson enjoys mountain biking and skiing and volunteers on a local goat farm. He has traveled to more than fifteen countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas and looks forwards to adding more to the list.

Hannah Vona, Intern

Originally from Merrimac, Massachusetts, Hannah is a rising senior at the University of Vermont. She is a History and Global Studies double major with a minor in French. She recently just came back from studying abroad in Paris, France and traveled to over 10 different countries during her four months abroad. Her interest in global studies and international relations came about after taking Anthropology and Global Studies classes. Hannah has also done service learning trips within the United States, and has experience working with Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, and the Girl Scouts of America.

James Gunger, Intern

Born in Syracuse, New York, James moved to Burlington four years ago and is now a senior at the University of Vermont.  James is majoring in Economics and Spanish with a minor in Community and International Development.  He makes frequent trips to Saltillo, Mexico to visit family.  He has conducted research in Cusco, Peru, volunteered in Haiti and works with high school students in Saltillo.  James is passionate about guitar playing, hiking and snowboarding. 


Natalie Varney, Intern

Natalie is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in Global Studies and Spanish with a minor in Linguistics. She completed a year abroad in Barcelona, Spain where she directly enrolled in the Universitat de Barcelona with local students. She loves to travel near and far, and hopes to visit all fifty states before she turns fifty. She also enjoys dancing for fun and is the Captain of the Catamount Dance Crew at UVM.


Zach Johns, Intern

Zach Johns is a sophomore at the University of Vermont double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Hailing from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Zach is an avid skier and musician who takes advantage of all the cultural and natural assets that Burlington has to offer. Zach has experience working as an outdoor educator back in his hometown, and is interested in the intersection of environmental issues and policy. Zach has also developed a fascination with international affairs through his coursework at the UVM and plans on studying abroad in Italy for the fall semester of 2018.

Kathryn-Ashley McNeish, Blogger

Kathryn-Ashley McNeish is student at the University of Vermont majoring in Global Studies and minoring in History. She is passionate about expanding her knowledge in foreign cultures and travel around the world. She has done humanitarian work in Rwanda and South Africa, and havs experience traveling in Canada, France and Spain. Ashely loves working for VCWA because of the exposure to many different people and cultures, as well as learning about the fascinating work VCWA Board Members do around the world. Read her blog here: 








Coco Cione, Intern

Coco Cione is a senior at the University of Vermont where she specializes in Global and Regional Studies, Spanish and Music. She studied Spanish Literature and taught English in Granada, Spain for five months and wishes to pursue her TESOL Certification in Spain. Originally from Red Bank, New Jersey, she previously studied Linguistics and Italian at the University of California at Santa Cruz and is currently learning French on the side. She loves to cook, read, travel and meet new people (and their dogs.)

To reach all interns, contact