Kristin Van Busum
Founder & CEO
Kristin has over ten years of experience as a scholar and an advocate for resilient communities. She has worked in New York City on public health initiatives to prevent obesity, helped families in need in Mexico secure stable housing, and provided counseling to incarcerated women in Indiana. Prior to founding Project Alianza, she served as Manager of Health Advisory Services at RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank. Kristin has earned degrees from Butler University and New York University, and is a Fulbright Scholar.
Amalia Castellanos AltamiranoNicaraguan Country Director
Born in a remote community in Nueva Segovia and as a long-term resident of Matagalpa, Amalia knows the realities of farm life and rural educational structures in the coffeelands. Amalia brings a strong vision for promoting social mobility through action: she believes that real progress will be achieved by opening doors to economic and educational opportunities to the most vulnerable populations in Nicaragua, mainly women and children. Amalia has dedicated her life to being part of this change as a manager, educator, advocate and campaigner in social impact organizations, including Fundación Mujer y Desarrollo Económico Comunitario (FUMDEC) and Grupo Venancia. Amalia has degrees in Sociology and Business Administration, from Universidad del Norte de Nicaragua and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, respectively.
Amalia leads the actions, programs and operations in Nicaragua to bring the vision of Project Alianza to life. She works to develop strategies and build relationships with farmers, families and children to do what she does best -- promote social change through educational opportunities.
Analy CastilloHead of Technology and Educators Network
Analy feels strongly that education is the most effective way to break social barries. Born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, she has resided in Ciudad Dario since 2015. Analy earned a BA in Social Work and Development Management at UCA Central American University of Nicaragua (Managua campus) while working at "Hogar Mother Abertina" a center dedicated to the protection of children at risk located in the colonial city of Granada. Analy has worked on the Departmental Advisory Council in the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and is currently a professor of Social Work at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, where she conveys to students the importance of making profound changes in education if we wish a brighter future for Nicaragua.
Analy leads Project Alianza's Literacy through Technology and the Rural Educators Network to help teachers re-imagine the classroom with alternative teaching methods and materials to create learning opportunities in low-resource rural communities.
Elizabeth Perezlead teacher
Elizabeth is our team's lead teacher who works (and lives) on the front lines with kids living on coffee farms. She joined our team during summer 'harvest' camp in 2015, and through her overt passion and dedication quickly became a student favorite! Elizabeth creatively manages a one-room classroom by helping students develop problem-solving skills, compassion, respect for the environment and independence. Elizabeth is originally from a rural community in Matagalpa, and the second youngest in a family of six. Most of her siblings and friends did not go to school, so she understands the importance of a strong support network to make education accessible for kids in rural contexts. Elizabeth credits her siblings, especially one of her older brothers, as her main influence to work towards a career in education. She took a leap to pursue her dreams and in 2016, completed her teaching degree at Escuela Normal in Matagalpa.
Elizabeth's is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in Language and Literature on Saturdays. She believes that having an education is the most fundamental part in a human’s development, especially when it helps define the destiny of her beloved home country, Nicaragua.
Camila De La VegaProject Alianza Princeton in Latin America Fellow
Growing up in Bolivia made Camila keenly aware of the deep educational disadvantage at-risk children face, and sparked a passion for education that has been growing with every experience she pursued to expand her knowledge on what interventions are the most effective. Camila interned and taught at a Ugandan NGO that contributes to the rebuilding the war-torn country by providing quality education to hundreds of orphaned children. Through her research in Peru, Camila learned about the crucial role of education in areas of high risk, where access to schools could keep boys from having to work in the illicit gold mining sector or dramatically reduce the risk of sexual abuse for young girls. She graduated from Carleton College with a degree in International Relations/Political Science (2016). After college, Camila served as an Americorps volunteer at an elementary school dedicated to underserved communities in Boston. She enjoyed learning more about the hands-on aspect of education, and being challenged by her students to become a better communicator, instructor, and mentor.
Camila is very grateful for the opportunity to join the team at Project Alianza, and hopes to further the organization’s goals by partnering with the teachers and communities, gathering support through social media and communications, and continuing to develop a system to monitor and evaluate the programs.