Current VISTAs


Sarah Smith
AmericorpsVISTA Leader, December 2014 – December 2015
Americorps VISTA, Fairbanks Youth Advocates, November 2011 – November 2014

Sarah is an Army Brat who moved to Fairbanks from Tampa Bay, Florida, where she attended University of South Florida and graduated with a degree in History. Sarah then served for three years (2011-2014) as a VISTA Volunteer with Fairbanks Youth Advocates, establishing a youth shelter for homeless teens in Fairbanks. In December of 2014, she transitioned to serving as a VISTA Leader for Arctic VISTAs, and hopes to provide support for VISTAs that will enable them to feel welcome, and to succeed in their goals. In her free time, Sarah enjoys biking, hiking, and brazillian jiujitsu.

Alex Bengel
4H Fairbanks, Financial Literacy Program
February 2015 – February 2016

Alex was born and raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He received a B.A. in History and Anthropology from the University of Oregon in Eugene. Alex greatly enjoys film, and was taught from an early age to appreciate superior filmmaking. Alex now serves with The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension and Alaska 4-H, creating a financial literacy program for youth in Fairbanks. In his free time, Alex loves hiking and exploring Alaska.

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Karla Anderson
Access Alaska, Youth in Transition Program, Fairbanks
March 2015 – March 2016

Karla earned a BA from The Evergreen State College. Originally from California, she’s lived-in Washington State for the last 20 years. Her interest in becoming a VISTA member for Access Alaska is personal: as a person with Dyslexia and with a family member on the Autism Spectrum, she is committed to supporting people with various disabilities. Her past advocacy experience includes IEP negotiation, Para Educator and Tutor. Her research portfolio focuses on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Ethno Botany. She is excited to serve as a VISTA in a support capacity at Access Alaska! Karla has two wonderful daughters and assorted animals – she is happy to bring her family to Fairbanks.


Aubree Pierce
Stone Soup Cafe, Social Enterprise Project, Fairbanks
May 2015 – May 2016

Aubrey graduated from UNC Asheville this past December with a Masters in Liberal Arts and Sciences, focussing on public health, food systems, and environmental agriculture. Her thesis was titled, “Harvesting a Brighter Future: Improving Human and Environmental Health Through Farm to School Programs.” She is very excited to be a part of a project working towards improving food access in Fairbanks. Aubrey will be working with Bread Line Stone Soup’s soup kitchen in Fairbanks, AK. She will work with the program to develop a social enterprise that involves our students in the Stone’s Throw program, a culinary job skills training program for those that have faced barriers to job skills through life. The aim of this program would be to target at least one unmet food need in the community and provide additional monetary support for the soup kitchen. Aubrey loves travel and the outdoors, and is excited to see what adventures Alaska holds!


David Carlisle
Interior Gas Utility Conversions Program
May 2015 – May 2016

David comes from from western Michigan originally, and is extremely excited to begin working as a VISTA! He holds bachelor degrees in political science and religious studies from Michigan State University (go green!) and has worked in conservation, higher education policy and international education. David is a travel junkie, a book worm, a political fanatic and an outdoor lover. He’s always looking for a new experience and new faces to share them with. David loves to work and is looking forward to his year of service. He will be working with Interior Gas Utility to develop and expand options for income-restricted residents to convert to natural gas.


Chanelle Whitehurst
Access Alaska Transportation Project
July 2015 – July 2016

Chanelle loves to fish and go out exploring in this amazing state. She’s lived in Fairbanks for about five years, and even with the freezing winters, absolutely loves it. Chanelle became a Vista volunteer because she wanted the opportunity to give back and to help people in some way. She loves living in Alaska and being able to make a change that improves the community. Chanelle’s favorite hobbies involve food – she loves to cook and to experience new cuisines. She also loves to read and write fiction. Chanelle will be working with Access Alaska to expand public transportation options in the area.


One thought on “Current VISTAs

  1. Pingback: Welcome to ARCTIC VISTA! | Arctic VISTA

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