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Fitz Center for Leadership in Community


Stewards have been graduating from the program since 2009, and the impacts they’ve made post-graduation are incredible. Keeping track of these achievements has been a passion for many stews, with stewards Shannon Stanforth, Emily Johnson and Robin Lambert connecting with our alum and spotlight their work in the map below.

View the full-sized map here (www) >

Alumni interested in being added to the map or having their information updated should complete this form so we can learn all of the great work you’re doing.

Meet our past cohorts

River Stewards, 2024

Pictured (left to right): Gill Leone, Drew Kimes, Lily Pestorius, Alison Hardie, Allison Geogre, Katie Horgan, Elisabeth Arnold, Tessa O’Halloran and Anne Meyer.

2023 River Stewards

The 2023 cohort of the University of Dayton River Stewards partnered with Dakota Center; a community partner located in West Dayton. Capitalizing on an established relationship with the Dakota Center, the River Stewards began work toward revitalizing outdoor space at the Dakota Center, an under-utilized asset of the organization that could better serve the afterschool and the senior programs there. The senior cohort organized volunteers from other cohorts in various garden days at the center and successfully wintered the garden, improved the raised beds and prepared the garden for spring planting. In the off-season, the cohort developed a sustainability curriculum for the center’s afterschool program. The River Stewards hope that this project strengthens their partnership with the Dakota Center, that the curriculum enhances young people’s understanding and practice of sustainability, and that the garden days improve a space that inspires the joy of the outdoors in the greater Dayton community.

  • Emma Alington
  • Isabel Bartram
  • Lyuba Benin
  • Kathleen Dawson
  • Kerry Howard
  • Grace Jackson
  • Victoria Jacobs
  • Christopher Pirovanoc
  • Lauren Sapeinza
  • Kelsey Saylor
  • Kyle Torbic
  • Elizabeth Vear
  • Sarah Yaroma
  • Natalie Yersavich
  • Sean Zegarski

The 2022 Cohort examined past River Stewards projects in the Madden Hills, Linden Heights and Walnut Hills neighborhoods. The cohort collaborated with Linden Heights and Walnut Hills on their strategic plans and worked over a year and a half to support their park projects. During that time, the River Stewards coordinated meetings with the City of Dayton to address equitable park infrastructure in our urban and neighborhood parks. After several constructive conservations, the neighborhood anticipates drinking water fountains to be installed in the near future.

From left to right: Back: Andrew Weis, Ryan Moore, Emerson Phares, Daniel Friedhoff, Laura Wilker, Carter Creviston, Olivia Hendershott, Juliana Vollmer, Grace Oldfield; Front: Mackenzie Martin, Abigail Bruns, Vera Wall, Pepper Cantwell. not pictured: Keely Dryden and Sophia Doyle

The 2021 Cohort partnered with the City of Dayton Department of Water and University of Dayton Facilities to develop a wayfinding trail from campus to the river. The trail, which is a series of painted storm drains, aims to foster a deeper connection between UD and the community to the river, while also educating people on the importance of our local water resources and how to be good stewards. A GIS map of the trail be be found here

From left to right, Back: Drew Kluender, Cailyn Spedding, Maleia Hartman, Claire Sullivan, Melissa Padera, Samantha Berkely; Front: Michael Mueller, Victoria Jason, Emily Johnson, Gretchen Lozowski, Kayte Jackson, Jon Colwell, Shannon Stanforth Not pictured: Madeline Filatraut

The 2020 Cohort worked to co-create a socially inclusive children's book for their captain community project, as a way to foster pride in our local rivers and address the region's literacy challenges. Into the River can be downloaded, requested or purchased here.

  • Rachel Carr
  • Cassidy Count
  • Jack Hallagan
  • Kelly Hines
  • Baylor Johnson
  • Zach Jordan
  • Katherine Kirchner
  • Troy Lampenfield
  • Meaghan Lightfoot
  • Natalie Merline
  • Noel Michel
  • Samantha Miller
  • Claire Roberts
  • Carter Spires
  • Austin Williamson
  • Casey Willson

The 2019 Cohort partnered with the Madden Hills Neighborhood Association, Citywide, Montgomery County Solid Waste District and the City of Dayton to co-created a vision and plan for the neighborhood park.

  • Rachel Buzeta
  • Jesse Carbonaro
  • Joe Chandler
  • Ashley Clevenger
  • Ethan Elizondo
  • Anne Fitz
  • Tess Golonka
  • Celia Montemurri
  • Natalie Moore
  • Maddie Norman
  • Kevin O'Donnell
  • Sarah Richard
  • Alan Theisen
  • Katie Weitzel

The 2018 Cohort partnered with the Linden Heights Neighborhood Association and City of Dayton Planning and Public Works Department to activate, clean up and enhance Cleveland Park and the woods along it. The River Stewards spent almost two years attending neighborhood association meetings and developing a shared plan for the park with the community members. The overall project included planning several park clean ups sponsored by the Montgomery County Community Pride Trailer, developing and building a nature play, establishing a small native butterfly garden dedicated to Brother Don Geiger, designing and painting a mural on the park shelter with the support of Mural Machine, and installing interpretive signage for the new features with the support of the Miami Conservancy District.

  • Luke Bachmann
  • Maddie Beban
  • Cameron Cerbus
  • Alexandra D'Angelo       
  • Jason Demeter
  • Sarah Fieldhammer 
  • Julia Hall
  • Abigail Kowalczyk        
  • Corey Kuminecz
  • Meg Maloney
  • Emily McAleese
  • Christian Medina
  • Ana Ritz          
  • Katia Ritz
  • Justin Rodriguez
  • Cody Ruffing
  • Megdalene Stirn
  • Aaron Svidunovich
  • Lori Zagar

The 2017 Cohort partnered with Mission of Mary Farm (MOMF) to assist with their expansion to the Lincoln Hill Project. River Stewards volunteered over 600 throughout the year and a half partnership and assisted with all aspect of MOMF operations. However, the River Stewards were instrumental in building raised beds and hoop houses on the new Lincoln Hill Site. They also designed and installed a rain catchment system on the hoop houses, and celebrated the end of the year with a community-focused Farm Fest to the Twin Tower's neighbors, which included music, kids activities, crafts, food, music and education outreach including the RiverMobile.

  • Sarah Berger
  • David Cornet
  • Peter Evans
  • Brandi Gerschutz           
  • Jacob Glaser
  • Kathryn Hoeper
  • Wallace Huggett
  • Abbi Kuhn
  • Ray Mahar
  • Elise Moeller
  • George Moresea
  • Boyd Newman-Caro            
  • Nick Racchi
  • Sarah Renfrow
  • Kendal Schaetzle
  • Ellie Schuck
  • Charlotte Shade


2016 cohort

The 2016 Cohort partnered with Edison Elementary School, a Dayton Public School and Neighborhood School Center, which is located in a predominantly under-served and under-represented, low-income community on the West side of Dayton. The 2015 Cohort volunteered in the classroom to assist teacher for a year, while also offering special environmental and sustainability focused hands-on activities. The project culminated with a day-long environmental education fair, where students were able to tour several educational stations focused on different sustainability themes; energy, waste, water, food, community, and action. The goal was to inspire and engage the next generation to be stewards in their own communities.

  • Anna Adami
  • Steve Berlage
  • Alicia Dellazoppa
  • Lea Dolimier
  • Erin Fox
  • Caroline Glynn
  • Sebastian Kessler
  • Casey LeBrun
  • Matt Lickenbrock                
  • Eric Livingston
  • Tad Masthay
  • Lizzie Miller
  • Sam Palko
  • Danielle Patton
  • Nichole Reinhardt
  • Maggie Rohs
  • Dan Striebich
  • John Weniger
  • Bryan Westerlund

2015 cohort

The 2015 Cohort partnered with Adventure Central, which is located along the Wolf Creek and Wesleyan MetroPark in West Dayton. Adventure Central, a partnership between Five Rivers Metroparks, OSU Extension and 4-H, is an after-school and summer program with a focus on connecting urban youth to the outdoors. The focus of the project, "Going Nuts", was to work with the youth on an urban reforestation project along the woods along the creek to combat the blight from the emerald ash borer. The River Stewards volunteered at Adventure Central after-school providing tutoring and hands-on activities,while also collecting nuts and propagating them into saplings in the basement. As of Fall 2018, Adventure Central has grown over 6000 trees, 3000 of which have been planted in their woods and the other 3000 shipped out to other metropark locations. 

  • Rachel Bachmann            
  • Andrew Bolubasz
  • Jeanmarie Burdi
  • Megan Guy
  • Kyle Hill
  • Madison Irwin
  • Haily Kwon
  • Saehan Lenzen
  • Michele McDonald
  • Peter Ogoneck
  • Katelyn Rendulic
  • Abigail Spohn
  • Nick Vallo
  • Sara Vaughan
  • Kiera Wheeler

The 2014 Cohort developed the Outdoor Engagement Portal as their senior capstone service program. The 2014 Cohort partnered with UD's RecPlex and Outdoor Engagement Center (OEC) to develop the content and permanently administer the site, as part of their University-wide initiative to encourage students to find exciting and safe ways to get off campus.

Browse the OEC Portal >>

  • Angela Brancatelli
  • Adam Bynum
  • Stephanie Clafford              
  • Stephen Crum
  • Alexander Gaskins
  • James Kurzawa
  • Brian Lewis
  • Elizabeth Morrison
  • Ashley Niemeier
  • Flower Ortega
  • Allison Rakowski
  • Concette Reda
  • Joe Schmidt
  • Amy Schultz
  • Zach Valigosky
  • Anthony Whaley

The 2013 Cohort collaborated with the City of Dayton Department of Water and UD's New Student Orientation to educate the first year students about the region's amazing water resources and importance of drinking tap water. They provided an educational presentation and video, while distributing over 2,000 reusable waters bottles to the entire first year class. This project has continued in partnership with the City of Dayton and the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

  • Aaron Sprague
  • Nicole Goettemoeller
  • Kaitlin Kenny
  • Ryan Tuohy
  • Taylor Pair
  • Andrew Kowalksi
  • Milena Pisani
  • Jill Pajka
  • Emily Striebich
  • Sabhina Hahn
  • Amy Price
  • Tara Sulzerr
  • Elizabeth Wetzel
  • Ellen Comes
  • Lindsay Rynne

The 2012 Cohort partnered with Campus Recreation to envision, develop, and implement the RecBikes program. Through constructive dialogues and relationship building, the River Stewards were able to gain support and funding from the President's Office to make the dream a reality. RecBikes continues to be operated by Campus Recreation's Outdoor Education Program and allows members of the UD community to check out a bike for free and enjoy the 300+ miles of paved, connected bikeways, most of which are along our rivers. As of Fall 2018, the RecBikes have been checked out over 17,000 times. 

  • Paul Azzi
  • Gretchen Berkemeier
  • Jennifer Biette
  • Kristen Crum
  • Molly Daniels
  • Kristen Diddle
  • AJ Ferguson
  • Alex Galluzo
  • Tom Hanson
  • McLean Johnson
  • Sara McCrate
  • Laura Mustee
  • Bethany Renner
  • Patrick Rowe
  • Ann Wedell
  • Kelly Weisenborn

The 2011 Cohort project was series of events held throughout year, with campus partners, with the goal of getting students off campus to see and learn about the many assets in Dayton. The called the program Dayton Explorers and offered 11 events/tours overall. This inspired many other UD clubs and organizations, in the following years, to get students off campus and maximize the opportunities Dayton has to offer students.

  • Allie Frost
  • Grace John
  • Liz Marsh
  • Maggie McKenna
  • Dominic Miller
  • Nolan Nicaise
  • Sarah Peterson
  • Jason Roland
  • Tommy Schlather
  • Eric Schroeder
  • Leah Winnike

The 2010 Cohort collaborated with communities along the Great Miami River from Indian Lake to Dayton on a comprehensive 5 day paddling project which highlighted the power of the river, the history and future vision of the cities who live along it, and the overall quality of the river ecosystem and habitat. The project culminated the first ever River Stewards' three experience as the co-founders of the Rivers Institute and the River Summit, which brought people across our watershed together annually to envision the future of our shared river corridor. Their experience was captured in a video which can be seen here, and the River Summit's work has been carried on by the Great Miami Riverway.

  • Franz Berkemeier
  • Jessie Ciraldo
  • Sam Flavin
  • Tracey Horan
  • Karen Kopulos
  • Liz Markus
  • Drew Morrison
  • Katie Norris
  • Maggie Varga


The Rivers Institute

1401 S. Main Street Dayton
Dayton, Ohio 45409