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Feel free to reach out to any staff member with questions. 

Patricia Preston headshot
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. 
James Gunger headshot
James Gunger, Program Associate
802.861.2343 X222
Born in Syracuse, New York, James moved to Burlington four years ago.  James recently earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Economics and Spanish, and a minor in Community and International Development from the University of Vermont.  James’ focus at UVM was economic development of Latin American.  While a student, James conducted research in Cusco, Peru and organized a volunteer trip to St. Roch, Haiti. James’ passion for all things international began at a young age when his family moved to Saltillo, Mexico. While visiting Saltillo, James frequently works with high school students from Liceo Alberto del Canto. James is fluent in Spanish and enjoys guitar playing, hiking and snowboarding.

Zach Johns, Intern, [email protected]

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. 

Aafereen-Khan headshot

Aafereen Khan, Intern
[email protected]

Originally from New Jersey, Aafereen is a senior at the University of Vermont studying anthropology and global health as well as minoring in community and international development and middle eastern studies. During her time at UVM, she has enjoyed learning how to situate socio-cultural factors within the exploration of health and illness experiences. Aafereen also spent her last semester studying and volunteering in Amman, Jordan. While there, she found that her passions really align with health development and refugee issues in Middle Eastern contexts. She values cultural exchange and appreciates how interning with VCWA gives her the opportunity to work in world affairs in an environment that allows her to interact with people of all different backgrounds. Aafereen is also an environmental advocate and enjoys hiking and traveling.