Get to know our team!
Eiswerth, a resident of Tucson since 1992, worked as a research geologist specializing in GeoSpatial Information Technologies with the US Geological Survey. After ten years working extensively with technology transfer in Latin America, she pursued a career as an environmental scientist working at the Office of Arid Lands, Arizona Remote Sensing Center. Her work included projects in East and West Africa. In 2003, after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, Eiswerth founded a community based organization, which soon focused on UN refugees. The programs have evolved from harvesting a few thousand pounds of fruit to an annual harvest of over 50 tons of fruit, nuts, and vegetables from backyards, local farms and orchards. Barbara serves on the state Linking Edible Arizona Forests (LEAF) steering committee, heads the UALEAF project, and is an adjunct at the University of Arizona in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Harvesting & Volunteer Coordinator
Micah Hadley has aspired to his current position since the first of three stints with Iskashitaa in 2014. He has worked at the intersection of food security, environmental/economic sustainability, and creative social justice for more than seven years, focusing on partnerships in long-term, community-directed projects. From 2012-14 Hadley was a researcher with Buddhism for Social Development Action (Kampong Cham, Cambodia) in an ongoing project to build sustainable sources of income for community members living with HIV; he interned onsite in 2013. In 2014 he worked with Vida y Esperanza in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to design a hydroponic horse-feeding system for their urban equine therapy program for at-risk youth. Hadley received his BA in Sociology-Anthropology and Spanish in 2015. Outside of Iskashitaa he enjoys performing music, creating socially engaged sculpture, and long walks on the Rillito.
Jack Speelman is a student at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College, studying Mechanical Engineering and CNC Machining, with a Minor in Spanish Language. He has been with Iskashitaa for over a year, leading harvests, events, and more. Jack is now working with UA interns on community outreach and organization efficiency. He is particularly interested in the complete cycle of produce, from growing to harvest to processing to disposal, and ultimately to growing again.
Food Preservation Chef
Chef Tom Kresler is a classically trained chef with 15 years of experience. Chef Kresler spent 30 years in industry prior to venturing into the culinary world. Strengths include purchasing, cost control, and Italian cuisine.
Chef Kresler has had experience as Executive Chef at a ski resort and a boutique hotel in Colorado.
He has certificates in “The Evolution of Italian Cuisine”, “Artisan Italian Cheese Making”, “Traditional Italian Charcuterie”, and “The Foundation of Italian Cuisine: Curing, Pickling, and Sun Drying” as well as “Artisan Bread Making”.
Chef also holds a diploma “Slow Food-Master Italian Cooking” from The Instituto Superiore De Gastronomia in Jessi, Italy.
He has spent 5 years in the field of Culinary Arts Education.
Food Preservation Workshops Intern
Leah is a recent transplant to Tucson and is enjoying learning about all the Sonoran Desert has to offer, including new recipes for the edible plants and fruits harvested by Iskashitaa! She is coordinating the Food Preservation Classes with Tom Kresler, in addition to other educational outreach activities. She found her passion for working in the intersection of food, health, community-building and the environment through her travels, working on farms and teaching English in Ecuador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Turkey, and Cambodia. She is currently completing her practicum in Community Nutrition Education as part of her Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health. In addition to learning about her new desert environs, she enjoys cooking, painting, and exploring the surrounding mountains here in Tucson.
Marco is a computer science student who started volunteering at Iskashitaa in the spring of 2016, soon after he moved to Tucson from his native country of Spain. He was introduced to the awesome world of fruit trees at a young age by his plant nerd parents.
Project and Intern Coordinator
Cristina Moraga is a twenty-year-old sophomore student at the University of Arizona, majoring in Nutritional Sciences and minoring in Spanish. Having moved from Chile at a young age, Cristina has lived in Arizona for the last 12 years, and in Tucson for almost 6. She is excited about all that Tucson has to offer, especially at the UA, including internship opportunities, clubs, intermural sports and other activities. Through her school and major she was able to intern for Iskashitaa in the spring of 2017 and she stayed on as the Food Workshop Coordinator for the duration of that summer. She is now coming back to Iskashitaa through a different role, this time under the UA overseeing a group of new interns to implement new goals and ideas. She is thrilled about this opportunity to do amazing things with people she is lucky to call her friends.
15 year Tucson resident, born in California, raised in Los Angeles. Connected via Casa Grande. Former cook, current juicing enthusiast, potter, player of instruments out of tune and out of key. Found Iskashitaa through a traffic ticket! – came for community service, stayed for the cause! My dogs know Miley Cyrus! Plan to continue to encourage leadership to invest time and resources in the Statements of Net Assets and the Statement of Activity. Just recently Mr. Bradwell was quoted saying "the best thing that ever happened to me was that traffic ticket."
And holds the following certification and education: Bachelors of Business Admin, Accounting – University of Arizona – 2004. Associate of Applied Sciences, Accounting – Central Arizona College, Honors, 2001, Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor
Came to Tucson in 1953 at 13 years old. Worked at UCLA and University of Arizona for 30 years in cancer biology as a research specialist where I worked with many foreign students and post docs. Using early DNA Engineering techniques as tools, I studied oncogenes, authored technical papers, managed and taught others. With my husband, we raised three children, now scattered. I have been working with Iskashitaa for about 10 years.
It gives me great satisfaction to see food and produce in large quantities going to good use. I enjoy working with folks from all backgrounds. I like the idea of using my volunteering so that others can volunteer. Iskashitaa offers variety in people to know and work to do.
Nutritional Science Intern
I'm from Phoenix, Arizona and I came to the UofA to study Nutritional Sciences. I've recently decided that I don't want to pursue a career in science or nutrition and I'm still trying to decide what I want to do. I have an interest in music, helping others in whatever way I can and giving opportunities to others.
My goal while working at Iskashitaa is to find out what it is like to really help people out in a tangible way. I would like to see what it's like working with an organization that's dedicated to helping others.
Refugee Education Intern
Sarah was raised in the small town of Benson, AZ and moved to Tucson in 2014 after receiving a scholarship from the University of Arizona. Her major is Care, Health, and Society with a minor in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. She's interested in the issues and rights of refugees and hopes to make a lasting impact in the Tucson refugee community. Her goals while working with Iskashitaa are to lessen the gender gap in navigation and transportation faced by Tucson refugee women, as well as getting the community more aware of refugee statistics and struggles. When she's not at work or studying, Sarah enjoys reading comic books and listening to music.
Kim is 20 years old and originally from New Jersey. She is excited to be living in Tucson for her undergrad. She is a current sophomore at the UA. She is studying Nutritional sciences to become a registered dietician. She recently told us that she "has always had a huge interest in food and how our body processes it and I am excited to see what opportunities come my way." Kim is also a competitive cheerleading team for the U of A and does a lot of traveling for it. When asked about her goals while working at Iskashitaa she told us that she wants to help educate people on ways to lessen food waste in Southern Arizona, while giving back to a specific community.
Grant Writing and Funding
I used to work for a Dutch catholic charity focusing on improving people’s lives and contributing to equality. When I arrived in Tucson I wanted to continue working towards these goals and found a perfect volunteer opportunity for Iskashitaa. I contribute to the organization with my grant writing skills and together we already have successfully received some new grants this year!
I hope to contribute to the number of grants that Iskashitaa will receive this year, so that they can continue to do all the important work in the Tucson communities. I also hope to leave behind some more knowledge and skills with the staff of Iskashitaa, so that after I leave they can continue with the successful grant writing!
My name is Kiran Rana. I am 22 years old. I was born in Pakistan and moved to America in 2008. I have my degree in Associates in Science and I am perusing my bachelors degree in Nutritional Science focusing on Dietetics from University of Arizona. My goal while at Iskashitaa is to learn about edible trees around the community and spread more knowledge to people about the right kind of trees to eat or not in Tucson.
Sophomore at the University of Arizona majoring in Nutritional Sciences
After she finishes her undergrad, she wants to continue her education with a dual degree- a Doctoral in Physical Therapy and a Master’s in Athletic Training. Once her education is finished, she wants to get involved with Médicos Sin Fronteras (Doctors Without Border) and provide physical therapy care to underdeveloped countries and rehabilitate for post-surgery and other injury patients. She is currently an intern at ATI Physical Therapy and volunteers at the Mckale Center at the UofA athletic training department.
While working at Iskashitaa, she hope to continue developing and expanding the organization. She is passionate about this organization and want to see it grow. Most importantly, she wants to impact the refugees, and wants to make their transition to Tucson an easy and happy one!
Social Media Intern
Undergraduate studies in History & Political Science
Alfonso is currently a student at the university of Arizona. He is finishing up his undergraduate studies with bachelors in both Political Science and History. He was born in California where he lived until he was 13. His family then moved to Texas and graduated from MCH University of Texas in Austin: University Charter School. He loves longboarding and is largely involved in his community.
He is currently interning for Iskashitaa Refugee Network as their Social Media Intern. He is also the Community Relations Board Member for Camp Wildcat and helps to promote a healthy relationship with the neighborhoods Camp Wildcat serves. Additionally, he spends two Wednesday evenings of the month to counsel teens for the Community Justice Board to keep them out of the juvenile corrections system.
As the Social Media Intern, he wants to make sure the projects that Iskashitaa is currently working on gets the exposure necessary. There is plenty of work that Iskashitaa does and he believes that work needs to be demonstrated to the community. His goals for Iskashitaa are to continue promoting the Iskashitaa mission to educate about reducing food waste and raising refugee assistance in the community.