Team Bios

Trip Start Feb 25, 2011
Trip End Mar 29, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, February 12, 2011

Camille Hernandez
Camille Hernandez was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1959. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Brown University in 1980 and awarded the Rotary Ambassador Graduate Scholarship in 1983 where she studied at the Monash Medical School in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine in Melbourne, Australia. In 1987, Ms Hernandez received a Masters Degree in Public Health from Yale University with a concentration on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention/Health Services Administration.
Ms Hernandez worked for several years in the health care industry, focused primarily on health promotion and disease prevention activities as a wellness coordinator and in health care marketing. In 2006, Ms Hernandez was elected as a Commissioner for the City of Dade City and reelected for a second term in 2010 for another four year term until 2014. In 2007, Ms Hernandez became a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club in Dade City and active on the GSE and Services Committee. She is currently President-Elect for the 2011-2012 for the Sunrise Rotary Club.
Currently, Ms Hernandez serves as the Executive Director of the Dade City Center for the Arts, Inc, a non for profit organization whose mission is to support established and aspiring artists in the community through art venues, community art education classes and other venues in the community. In addition to a gallery which houses juried art, the center has a retail shop and studio for the learning of art as part of the center.
Ms Hernandez is married with four children, serves on several community boards and active at her church as a lector. Her hobbies include traveling, boating, gourmet cooking and spending time with family and friends.

James McConnell
James McConnell was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 18th, 1981 and spent his first eight years growing up thinking being a cowboy was the only way of life. A lifelong love for fishing and the outdoors comes from spending lots of time on the lakes and rivers near his home. His move to St. Petersburg , FL in 1989 made it easy to leave the cold winters of Oklahoma behind where he quickly adapted to life on the beach and developed a love for all of the outdoor activities that life along the Gulf of Mexico has to offer.

A part time restaurant job in middle school blossomed into a love for the culinary arts and has been James’s full time career since high school. James has been fortunate to train with the best Chefs in the area and has moved through all aspects of kitchen work until his first position as Head Chef and Kitchen Manager several years ago. He has served in that position in one of the area’s finest steak houses which featured exotic meats, moving to manage the kitchen for a restaurant that has long been a St. Petersburg tradition and features Spanish cuisine. During this time he consulted with startup restaurants to help them develop their menus. James was recently given complete creative control to develop the menu for a new, upscale sports bar theme restaurant that focuses on combining a causal bar menu but focuses on fine dining. He has assumed the position of Head Chef and Kitchen Manager for this new venture.

His love for the outdoors and time with his two dogs, a 120 lb. Mastiff and a 60 lb. Lab, fill his “spare time”. Life in St. Petersburg, FL provides lots of opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s finest beaches, championship baseball and other outdoor activities with his close nit family, who all live nearby.

John Korycki
Born in Pasco County in 1983, I have the distinction of being a native Floridian. I spent most of my childhood in rural Citrus County and I enjoyed a life of showing horses, gardening, and raising poultry and other small animals. I also became the youngest Florida Master Gardener, at the age of 13. Upon high school graduation in 2000, I channeled my interest in Florida plants and wildlife into earning an AS degree in Horticulture Technology form the College of Central Florida. Upon graduation, I was hired with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where I worked in the area of natural areas conservation and visitor interaction with public lands.
In 2005, I was hired as the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program Coordinator with the University of Florida/ IFAS Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service. This position has allowed me to instruct Hernando County residents in the principles of Florida-friendly landscaping. The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program focuses on storm water runoff prevention, and water conservation. I enjoy sharing the information with the public, to help ensure a better future for Florida’s environment.
My hobbies include boating, hiking and enjoying Florida nature.

Natalie White
Twenty-five years old and a native resident of St.Petersburg, FL,  I have two siblings; a younger sister Dori who is 22 years old, and an older brother Ole who passed away in 2002. Amazingly enough I still live in the same house that I grew up in with my sister and my parents, Donald and Samantha White.

Four years ago I was hired as a part-time cashier clerk, but I have morphed into the role of the Assistant Event Coordinator. My job is very flexible and because I work with the City of St. Petersburg in the Downtown Enterprise Facilities Department, I am able to work at different city venues when needed. I love the opportunity to meet new people and try new things. In the past I have had the pleasure of working as a bartender at the Coliseum as well as being a member of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Street. In addition, I helped host an event at Sunken Gardens for Mayor Onishi of Takamatsu Japan; St. Petersburg’s sister city.

I went to Boca Ciega High School and was enrolled in JROTC for all four years. Upon graduation from high school  I left the program as a 2nd Lieutenant and member of the Battalion Staff in the position of the S-4; The Logistics Officer.  Shortly after enrolling in St. Petersburg College I was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honors Society for two-year colleges.  In December of 2007 I graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree. I transferred to the University of South Florida in 2008 and just recently graduated in December 2010 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management.

My hobbies include spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, hunting fossilized sharks teeth, and kayaking.

Rachel Williams
Rachel is a 31 year old who was born in Wisconsin but grew up in Stockton/Winona, Minnesota. She attended Rochester Community Technical College and received her Associate of Applied Science Degree as a Certified Veterinary Technician. After graduation in 2005 she moved to Clearwater, Florida. Her professional memberships include American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians, Florida Veterinary Medical Association and Florida Veterinary Technician Association.

Rachel’s parents, Ronald and Mary, still reside in Minnesota. Interestingly, Rachel and her younger brother Michael share the same birth date but are separated in age by exactly 9 years.
Upon marrying her wonderful husband Art in 2008, she also added two step sons to her family. Rachel is proud that the twins Tyler and Bradley have accepted her whole heartedly as their “Mom”. Bruiser, a Staffordshire bull terrier and Cricket the cat complete their family.

Rachel is employed full time at East Bay Animal Hospital where she expresses her passion for helping animals and people daily. In her free time she likes to be outdoors doing activities such as boating, rollerblading and walking. Rachel enjoys life most when it includes spending time with her family, friends and her pets.

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artjwiii on

I should have commented on this entry along time ago. All of your profile pictures look good and ready. It looks like you all are in great hands with Camille as group leader. I've only met her briefly but she seems like a good leader from what I was told prior to your adventure. Hang in there everyone, I'm sure all your families miss you all and are so excited for such a great experience and anticipate all the stories you'll have to tell. Rachel, my wife, I love you with all my heart and will miss you dearly. I can't wait for your return home. In the meantime, keep on smiling because you are so beautiful and everyone should be inspired by your heart. I love you Rachel.
Your husband,

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