Our Team

MVYLI’s Team 2015-2016

Gia Winsryg-Ulmer
MVYLI Project Coordinator

Gia Winsryg-Ulmer is an educator and writer with a Masters in Education from Bank Street College of Education.  She worked for 10 years with the Teachers and Writers Collaborative in New York City’s public schools.  She enjoys MVYLI’s collaborative approach and strongly believes in the power of collaborative teaching to enhance the education process for all students. 

Gia attended the 8th grade West Tisbury School and spent many summers on the Vineyard.  Her mother and stepfather, long time residents of West Tisbury, helped to found the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School.

Gia received a B.A. from Brown University in African American Studies, English and American Literature.  She spent a year studying at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.  It was the first of many sojourns into Africa to explore her roots.  A highlight of her work as a writer-in-residence was organizing a poetry exchange between students in Brooklyn, New York and students in Durban, South Africa, while attending the World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum.  As a classroom teacher at the Brooklyn Free School she organized and fundraised for a service-learning trip to Tanzania.    Gia met her husband Rachid while traveling in Morocco.  They now live in Katama with their three small children.  Gia’s writing is in From Medusa to the Sky, a collection of creative writing lessons, Yes! Magazine and CrossBronx Online Literary Journal. She is writing Afro-futuristic science fiction novel called Sunstone.

Elise Quebec MVYLI Ocean Sustainability Coordinator

Elise Quebec
MVYLI Ocean Sustainability Coordinator

Elise served as co-director of the Institute’s 2014 Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development. She developed our first presentation on local and global blue initiatives: Our Oceans.  At the 2015 Summit Elise assisted with the MVYLI Ocean Sustainability presentation and MVYLI’s Ocean Education video project.  In 2014 Elise served as MVYLI’s representative at Secretary Kerry’s Ocean Summit at the U.S. State Department.

A 2015 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Elise majored in environmental studies, with an emphasis on Marketing and Geography.  Elise hopes to encourage a paradigm shift toward sustainable business practices around the world.  Elise has been a seasonal resident of Martha’s Vineyard her whole life.   She taught sailing at Winds Up and at the East Chop Yacht Club where she developed her love for the ocean. 

For her sophomore year Elise studied at Sonoma State University and was hired by Kaleidoscope, a start up marketing company, customizing marketing tools for physicians.  For her junior year abroad, she interned in East Africa, first exploring field based research programs for wild life management and conservation in Tanzania and then implemented her research techniques to evaluate water management practices of the Kimana-Kikarankot river system at the Kenyan foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  

Chris Aring MVYLI Technology Project Intern

Chris Aring
MVYLI Technology Project Intern

Chris is a senior at the MVRHS. For his Senior Project, Chris is the champion of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute’s prototype for its Global Online Learning Platform.  Chris served as a youth delegate to the Institute’s 2015 Youth Leadership Summit where he began creating his 5-year plan.  Chris’ personal mission is to create new technologies and ideas that will benefit others.  Chris was the first MVRHS student selected to represent Massachusetts at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  He earned the prestigious 2015 Frederick P. Fish Patent Award, allowing him to patent his work. He received the 2015 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education” by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. He earned a “Youth Award for Energy Achievement” from the Cape Light Compact & The National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) for working to help make his high school the Massachusetts NEED State Senior School of the Year.  Chris serves as co-editor for the school’s student newspaper, helping lead a staff of 35 student journalists.  He is a College Board designated Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor. Chris has taken various online courses from edX and online sites.  During the summer, Chris taught LEGO Mindstorms Robotics camp courses for 6-16 year old students; programmed robots as an intern for two MIT engineering students; presented sessions at the Somerville Artisan’s Asylum.  Chris has learned that while considering the opinions and ideals of others is important, it is also important to push ahead, sometimes even against the prevailing views of others. Sometimes challenging the status quo and questioning received opinions–even in the face of overwhelming odds–is a prerequisite for innovation and discovery. In college he will study math, computer programming, and engineering.

Tatiana Cox

Tatiana Cox

Tatiana Cox is a graphic artist and web developer.

She volunteers in local Environmental Organizations. Being born in Vladivostok, Russia, she acquired her degree of Strategic Management in Far Eastern Federal University. Right after college she got hired by Cristal Water Company, where she took part in implementing business strategies for sustainable development of the company.  At the same time she was working at Pied’s Company as a Marketing Assistant. Being a part of the great team she learnt to plan and execute all website analytics tools, SEO, social media, and to display advertising campaigns

Tatiana moved to Martha’s Vineyard 4 years ago where she began to help her island friends to develop their new companies and discovered her love for web development and design.  For the past 3 years Tatiana has been working hard to improve her knowledge of web design and get the proper certification: jQuery for Web Designers, Building an Online Community, Analyzing Your Website to Improve SEO, Web Site Strategy and Planning, and more. She believes that the best web or print design combines beauty with strategy, is enjoyable to look at and fun to interact with.  Good design doesn’t keep people guessing, good design always makes perfect sense.



Claire Ganz
Special Projects Coordinator

Claire brings experience in the 1990’s with back of a paper napkin through IPO in medical management software and biotechnology. She nurtures and builds connections with individuals and organizations helping them define their goals, identify their strengths and engage the resources and areas of expertise necessary for them to reach their goals. She has returned to Martha’s Vineyard to write her first book “Sternum to the Sun”, a collection of photographs and essays that explore collective problem solving. Of special interest to Claire, is problems that engaging the creative, scientific, technological and stakeholder communities. Claire is excited to share her experience and talents with MVYLI and help MVYLI teach and share its skills and resources with more island youth, their families and community. She lives in Chilmark, Mass with her retired parents and 18-year old son.

Grace Burton-Sundman MVYLI Career Coach

Grace Burton-Sundman
MVYLI Career Coach

Grace serves as a MVYLI coach/workshop facilitator. She was a mentor to Kelsey Moreis for MVYLI’s 2015 Job Shadow Day.  Grace grew up on Martha’s Vineyard; graduated from MV Regional High School and received a scholarship for community service.  At St. Lawrence University she majored in industrial/organizational psychology. Grace first utilized her industrial and organizational psychology background to help restructure a local advertising agency in Rwanda. She facilitated workshops, introduced effective forms of communication, and fostered creativity among all departments.  Grace was then named Project Manager for Visa, with an international financial literacy campaign in Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa and the launch of Visa’s mobile money, mVisa in Rwanda.  Grace then worked with local designers and partnered with a New York-based company to produce Kigali Fashion Week in November 2013.  With the team she taught skills from proper finishing techniques to tailoring and sourcing quality materials, then effective social marketing, strong business plans and official “look books.”  Kigali Fashion Week became the largest privately held function in Kigali, hosting over 700 spectators and reporters from CNN, BBC and The Guardian.  While in Rwanda Grace her love for industrial and organizational psychology and helping others discover their passions, their talents and their ability to achieve their dreams.  A sentiment she credits to the encouraging, compassionate community she grew up on Martha’s Vineyard.  In the summer of 2014 Grace returned to to the Island to prepare for grad school, where she plans to complete her MBA and continue on her path to becoming an executive and career coach.

Marianne Larned

Marianne Larned

 Marianne is the Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative and the Stone Soup Leadership Institute.  She is the author of educational series, Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes.  Alumni of Boston University’s MBA Organizational Development, she consulted to companies, Chambers of Commerce, education, government, civic and community leaders to develop public-private education and economic development partnerships.

Robin Harper Webmaster

Robin Harper

Robin is the Webmaster of mvyli.org since 2011. A University of Maryland, College Park graduate she’s lived on the Vineyard since 1997. She began her career working for an Internet bookstore in Vineyard Haven, then SEO/web marketing firm in 2007.  She lives in Edgartown with her husband and two daughters. 

Sam Nathans Designer Online Learning Platform

Sam Nathans
Designer Online Learning Platform

Sam serves on the Institute’s Technology Team and assists with design of the Institute’s Online Action Learning Platform.  An avid online education learner, Sam has contributed design and logistical direction to various open source software projects.  Sam has experience in both consumer and food science technologies.  Having studied at both public and private schools and colleges, he finds online education beneficial for different learning styles.  Sam serves on the non-profit board of director for Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard where he provides advice and consultation for technology’s role in each organization’s development, and works to facilitates their implementation to assist the purposes and goals as directed by board consensus.



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