Meet the staff and interns who have helped contribute to the Valpo Surf Project’s success and growth!

VSP Global Staff

Wiley Todd – Founder & Co-CEO

WRT Photo
Wiley Todd has spent his entire life around the water. He spent over ten years teaching sailing on the coast of Maine, and launched a high school sailing team and after school sailing program for local children. A graduate of Bates College, Todd spent his junior year studying in Valparaiso and surfing the Chilean coast. He and his family split their time between Chile and the United States.

Jon Steuber – Founder & Co-CEO

Steuber_biopic
Jon Steuber is a founder and co-CEO of the Valpo Surf Project. He grew up skateboarding and surfing in New Jersey, but established a strong connection to the ocean while attending Bates College in Maine. Steuber was given the 2014 Acción Joven award for his social entrepreneurship work with VSP. He divides his time between the United States and Chile.

VSP Chile Staff

Claudio Vilches – Country Director

ClaudioVilches
Claudio Vilches was born in Sweden. At age 11 years he moved with his family to Valparaiso, Chile where he has been living since.
After graduating with a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. Claudio has been a volunteer with the VSP since 2012 and is now the Chilean Country Director. He has served on the Chilean board of directors since 2013.

Claudio Cabrera – Mentor/Surf Instructor

ClaudioCabrera
Claudio was the first student to join the VSP in 2009. He spent 5 years in the VSP before graduating in 2013. Claudio is currently studying engineering at the Universidad Valparaíso. He lives in Valparaiso, Chile with his son Tommy.

Martha Rigby – Fellow

Martha Rigby
Etna, NH
VSP Intern from January to December 2014 – Current Fellow

martha-vsp-photo 2

Martha grew up in Etna, NH and in college found a new home in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. She graduated in 2013 from Macalester College with a degree in anthropology, which she believes should be required subject matter for all children. She loves trying new things and is excited to tap into the pulse of Valpo. She has studied abroad in Spain and Russia and has also lived briefly in England and Switzerland. This is her first time in the southern hemisphere, and she is beyond thrilled to have escaped from the siberian tundra of Minnesota to warmer climes. She feels the stoke of the surf and can’t wait to get barreled.

Martha is an explorer and language lover who asks lots of questions. She believes that the world is her oyster.

Chelsea Ernst – Fellow

Chelsea Ernst

Chelsea attended the University of Oregon where she studied Psychology and International Studies. She also spent six months studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, learning about the vibrant culture of Latin America. Because of her love of traveling, passion for youth empowerment, and enthusiasm for the outdoors, VSP perfectly blends all of Chelsea’s personal and professional interests. Chelsea brings a unique set of experiences to VSP as she has worked with various group homes, residential mental health facilities, and an after-school program for youth and young adults in Oregon, California, and Argentina.

Kelly Bruett – Fellow

KellyBruett
An adventurer by nature, Kelly has spent much of her life traveling, from living on the coast of New Jersey and attending university in Boston to studying with kangaroos in Australia and experiencing la pura vida working with a non-profit in Costa Rica. Kelly brings a unique set of skills to the VSP table, as she studied both math and environmental studies during her time in college. Kelly appreciates this opportunity to be a part of VSP and to do some her favorite things: work with kids, expand her Spanish skills, share her love for the ocean and learn about the local music culture.

Andres Ponce – Founder

Andres Ponce
Andres Ponce was born and raised in Valparaíso and is a founding partner of the Valpo Surf Project. He graduated from the Universidad de Valparaíso with a degree in Public Administration in 2009. Ponce currently works in Santiago, Chile at the Contraloría General del Estado and dedicates his free time to surfing the Chilean coast.

Meet the Interns

Eve Gutman – Intern

Eve graduated from Haverford College in 2015 with a degree in anthropology. While in college, she participated in environmental justice and feminist campaigns, and was trained in campaign organizing and anti-racism. In 2014 she spent a semester abroad in Chile, studying social work at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso. After graduating from college, she helped found a sexual consent organization with her best friends and then moved back to Valparaíso to join the VSP team. Eve has worked with young people of all ages as a camp counselor, a Hebrew School teacher’s aide, a college-level teaching assistant, and a mentor for first year college students.

Sadie Townsend – Intern

Sadie grew up in Washington state and began her bilingual education in kindergarten. Although she is the youngest VSP intern to date, she took college classes her last two years of high school, enabling her to receive a 2-year college degree upon graduation. She has always loved traveling, being outdoors, working with kids, discovering new cultures and speaking Spanish. She’s so excited to be living in Valparaíso and working for VSP.

Abby McLagan – Intern

Abby graduated from Colorado College in 2016 where she studied Economics and Spanish. She fell in love with Valparaíso and the ocean during an exchange semester at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in 2015. During that semester she also had the opportunity to volunteer with VSP. Almost 2 years later, she is thrilled to be back in Valpo and working with the VSP team. Growing up in Colorado, being outside has always been an important and empowering part of Abby’s life. She is excited to work for an organization that combines a love for the outdoors with youth mentorship.

Charlotte Beever – Intern

Charlotte graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 with a double major in Psychology and Global Health. During her time at Dartmouth she worked as a research intern at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, where she became interested in studying ways to improve equitable access to medical and psychological care across various levels of patient socioeconomic status, cultural and racial background, and educational attainment. Charlotte is passionate about finding ways to improve the mental health of high-risk youths who have the least access to quality care. Her previous experiences include working at Project HSF (a health clinic and after school enrichment program in rural Alabama), Duke psychiatry’s ATLAS lab, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. In her free time, Charlotte enjoys volunteering, and has spent time as a youth mentor and outdoor leadership guide in the Upper Valley, NH. She also loves cooking, hiking, farming, traveling/exploring, reading, picnicking, and spending time with friends. She is excited to be working for Project VSP, an organization whose mission closely mirrors her own professional and personal aspirations, and she is eager to improve her Spanish speaking skills (which are currently pretty bad)!

Hillary Goldfine – Intern

After growing up close to the beach in New Jersey for most of her life, Hillary attended Boston College and became involved in social justice programs there. After finishing her undergrad degree in 2014, Hillary went on to receive her master’s degree in philosophy and work for an education non-profit in Boston for the past two years. Hillary is excited to work with the VSP, which allows her to combine some of her favorite things: working with youth, learning about new cultures, and exploring new beaches.

Mitch Stent – Intern

Mitch is an International Studies student from Cairns, Australia that focuses much of his professional and personal attention on working with and empowering young people. He made the great migration from the wilds of Australia to Chile at the beginning of 2016 to complete a semester of exchange at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and joined the VSP. Despite looking like a quintessential Australian surfer dude he grew up surrounded by rainforest but has equal love for the the ocean. Mitch is inspired by the universal natures of young people across geographical and cultural divides.

Meet intern alumni who have contributed to the Valpo Surf Project’s success and growth by clicking here.