Each year ESSYI hires six HWS student staff members who make everything work during the two-week program. They function as teaching assistants, residence hall assistants, mentors and help to shepherd the students throughout the program.


Jeff Rizza

I’m from New Paltz, NY, a small town in the Hudson Valley known for the athletic and outdoorsy character of its residents. I just graduated from the Masters in the Arts of Teaching Program at HWS! As far back as I can remember, I would take every opportunity to be outside. I’m an intensely curious person, and I have always been especially curious about the natural world. I grew up hiking, camping, biking, rock climbing, running, and skiing. All things I still love to do!




AnnA Hartnett

I just graduated from HWS with a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies; as well as minoring in History, Geoscience, and Sustainable Community Development. In addition, I am enrolled in the Masters in the Arts of Teaching Program at HWS where I am working toward becoming a certified adolescent social studies teacher.




Ren Workman

Hi there! I’m a senior from a small town called Hammond in the Thousand Islands Region of NY and am studying Environmental Studies and Cultural Anthropology at HWS. Growing up, I was constantly outside adventuring around, and because of this have a strong connection to nature. My outdoor interests include hiking, kayaking, skiing, backpacking, and much more!




Tori Malamas

Hello all! I am a sophomore from North Tonawanda, New York a suburb of Buffalo. Here at HWS, I am majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainable Community Development and am also a member of the William Smith Crew team. I am very passionate about the outdoors, as these activities have greatly shaped my life, especially rowing, sailing, running, hiking, kayaking, biking, and skiing. 


Lauren Downes

I’m a sophomore double majoring in Architecture and Spanish with a minor in Sustainable Community Development. I live in a small town in Western Massachusetts called Shelburne Falls where I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers. Before I could even walk my parents toted me around on hikes, and hiking has continued to be a passion of mine along with just about every other outdoor activity as well as a deep passion for environmental conservation.