Who We Are


Carolina Pfister

Executive Director

Carolina is a writer, multi-cultural media artist and non-profit director who has worked professionally with media and nonprofit management in both Brazil and the USA. Her nonprofit work has often focused on underserved youth through civic engagement, food security, and community media—with program development, storytelling, and capacity building at the core. Carolina has also worked with youth in art education, developing and implementing programming through museums and art organizations, as well as co-founder and Executive Director of an inner city cultural center to name a few. She came to the USA for an MFA and ended up an incidental immigrant. On the other end of things Carolina once received an Emerging Latina Filmmaker award from Women In Film and now makes audio stories weaving the threads that connect it all—it is her belief that to be curious and compassionate with our communities and the land that nourishes us, is at the heart of what it means to be home. There is more at carolinapfister.com 


Kay Alton


Kay is the Program Director for the year-long CultureSeed immersion and founder of our Community Program Bending The Bars. She has utilized her breadth of experience and education to provide trauma-informed curriculum oversight for all of CultureSeed’s programming. Kay has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley in Environmental Youth Therapy, a Master of Education with a focus on Youth Development Leadership from The University of Minnesota and a Master of Social Work from California State University.  She is a Certified Counselor in WA, a trained strategic facilitator in the Technology of Participation™ methods, and holds an 500 hour yoga teacher certification through Yoga Alliance. In the past Kay has developed, implemented and evaluated programs for underserved youth through after school programming in Oakland and Minneapolis. Kay has a pulse on the needs of our community through her past in home counseling and social work with English and Spanish speaking families in Klickitat and Skamania Counties. Kay is honored to be able to provide mental health counseling to youth at the White Salmon Academy. Kay lived abroad and communally for her first 14 years and the colorful complexity of that experience has permeated much of what she does. When she’s not working with adolescents she is splitting wood and gardening alongside her 2 year old son and partner on their ten acres, a fifteen minute walk from the CultureSeed office.


Kenji Stasiewicz


CultureSeed’s lead guide, Kenji Stasiewicz, has called the Columbia River Gorge home for the past 3 years.  Exposure to a vast array of experiences ranging from wilderness therapy to emergency medicine, adventure guiding to experiential education, has encouraged him to navigate these dimensions around group facilitation and awareness building in the community. The question of identity fascinates Kenji in a country with such diversity around individual and collective heritage and ancestry.  His direct life experiences as a person of mixed origins has fueled curious self reflection and outward exploration, weaving together a foundation that gently encourages others to do the same.
Wilderness EMT
River Rescue Certification - Professional
ACA Level IV Kayak Instructor
Heart of Facilitation by PYE Global
Trauma Informed Sanctuary Model
Youth Mental Health First Aid


Yesenia Castro 


Yesi was born and raised in Hood River, Oregon, she is a Public Health Practitioner and Certified Community Health Worker. Yesenia has extensive experience working with different sectors in the Mid-Columbia Region to ensure Latino inclusion and voice in community initiatives. In 2016 she helped pilot the LatinXplorers program in The Gorge, an initiative to get Latinx people outdoors. She is passionate about social justice, equity, and leveling the playing field for all POCs and marginalized communities. In June 2017 she was featured in the REI film titled “I am Here” a short film telling the story of her experience as a Latina in the outdoors. On her spare time she enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors. Yesenia studied Public Health and Merchandising Management at Oregon State University. 


Liz Oberhausen

Youth Empowerment Director

Liz has spent most of her life working with people, nature, and the relationships among them, including work in wilderness therapy, youth leadership development, mediation, collaborative facilitation, farming, zipline guiding, and backpacking instruction.  Her teaching and leadership style combine reciprocal learning, empowerment, challenge, coaching and support to help build skills, awareness and confidence in youth. She loves to try new things and learn from new perspectives. Liz recently completed a Masters in Public Administration with a focus in natural resources and collaborative governance, and has spent the past three years managing a regional collaborative focused on improving food access and justice in the Gorge.  She works with CultureSeed youth to equip and empower them professionally, and to help them create opportunities to shape the future of their communities.


Meet CultureSeed’s first INTERNS!

All of our interns have successfully completed one full year as Year-Round Outdoor & Community Engagement Youth.