Dex Kotze
(Youth 4 African Wildlife Founder)

Dex Kotze, a South African conservationist and businessman, started Youth 4 African Wildlife in 2013 out of concern for endangered wildlife and recognition that youths have potential to bring about great change. Dex is a leader in the field of environmental conservation education in South Africa and highly involved in the promotion of saving African wildlife and habitats through bush tours, pro-bono photo journalism, and social media awareness. He also co-founded the Now or Never African Wildlife Trust, and contributed to the Global March For Elephants Rhinos & Lions as a strategist from 2014 to 2016.

Twitter: @DexKotze

Fortunate M. Phaka
(Y4AW Board Member & Former Y4AW Intern)

Fortunate was raised in the rural parts of the Limpopo province, South Africa. He has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Management, and an honours degree in Environmental Sciences. He is currently Y4AW’s project director and is studying towards a masters degree in Environmental Sciences. Fortunate’s academic research mainly focuses on South African amphibians and this makes him a member of the African Amphibian  Conservation Research Group (AACRG). He is also a wildlife filmmaking and photography enthusiast. 

Growing up in a mountainous, rural area afforded him a chance to regularly play with different animals, especially insects, frogs, and smaller reptiles. The childhood fascination with animals spilled over into his high school years. By the time he got to university level, scientific curiosity had enhanced his old fascination. Now conservation and the study of animals is all he wants to spend his life doing.

Twitter: @fortunatephaka
Instagram: @fortunate_phaka

Luly Alvarez
(Y4AW 2017 Intern)

Luly Alvarez was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico and is currently studying at the Centre of Design in Mexico City. Just as she is passionate about her marketing and advertising career, she has always loved the environment and wildlife. Luly became part of Y4AW to learn how to better protect what she loves and also experience African safaris for the first time in her life.

Jai Golchha
(Y4AW 2017 Intern)

Jai Golchha is from Kathmandu, Nepal. He is studying Business and Technology Management at New York University. Having marvelled at the beauty of the Bengal Tiger, the one horned Rhinoceros and Asian Elephant as a boy on Safaris in Nepal and India he was always interested in the preservation of flora and fauna whose numbers are dwindling. The internship provided him with the rare opportunity of learning what sort of work goes into stopping poaching and hopefully apply the knowledge back home some time in the future.

Maite Lazaro
(Y4AW 2017 Intern)

Born and raised in Mexico, Maite holds an undergraduate degree in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations. In addition to being a passionate publicist, Maite has also dedicated her time to various NGOs. Youth 4 African Wildlife is the first wildlife-oriented NGO that she has joined. She is madly in love with lions and explains her Y4AW experience as a life-changing one where she felt free and connected to nature. Maite plans to continue with conservation and find a way to keep helping throughout her studies and professional career and, obviously, coming back to South Africa with bigger plans in the future.

Darian Hall
(Y4AW 2016 Intern)

Darian Hall is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he studies environmental sciences at the University of Waterloo. During his post secondary studies he has developed a passion for ecology and conservation work. Having heard about the Y4AW internship he jumped at the opportunity to work abroad hoping to be able to expand his personal knowledge while also making a difference when it comes to conservation. His goal in the internship was to learn proper principles of ecology and conservation and take them home to apply in his home country of Canada where much work is also needs to be done.

Maddy Alexander
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Maddy Alexander is from Bakersfield, California and is studying Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi. Maddy has been interested in Conservation from a young age, and was thrilled at the opportunity to raise global awareness on the importance of putting an end to elephant and rhino poaching, and canned lion hunting. She believes that her generation has the ability to make a change, and she wants to be part of that change.

Dalia Alireza
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Dalia is a postgraduate student from Saudi Arabia that has just completed her second Master’s degree in Media, Power and Public Affairs at Royal Holloway University. Her previous universities include the University of Edinburgh and School of Oriental and African Studies. Apart from academia, film and conservation work has always been a field that she was hoping to dive into. She found the perfect balance of that with the internship offered by Youth 4 African Wildlife. Writing articles, scripts, working with film equipment and interacting with the animals has proven to be equally challenging and rewarding for her and hopes to spread awareness of the plight of our wild animals in more creative ways.

Isabel Baer

(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Victoria Baldwin
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Victoria, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is an aspiring writer looking to get involved with the environmental and travel world of research, education and entertainment. She is in her last year as an undergraduate at Knox College, studying Creative Writing and Modern Languages. What free time she has she spends traveling, reading, cooking and exploring the outdoors. Victoria has fallen in love with Africa and hopes to return someday. She plans to continue working to combat the human mistakes of our world through her writing and education outreach.

Suzanna Bradley
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Suzanna from Honolulu, Hawaii, is an Environmental science student at the University of Oregon. Having been brought up in a place with an outdoor oriented lifestyle led her to develop a connection with nature that many do not have. This connection is the main reason for her interest in environmental sciences and why she wants to be a global conservation ambassador.
Suzanna’s mantra: “Malama o ka aina, malama o ka lewa, malama o ka kai.” (Translation: Respect the land, respect the air, respect the sea.)

Miranda Gali
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Miranda is entering her second year at the University of Virginia where she plans to pursue a degree in English. She is a burgeoning writer and hopes to further her analytical and research writing skills while interning for Y4AW. She has always had an interest in conservation work and hopes with the knowledge gained from her work in South Africa she can help educate those on the importance of protecting our environment.

Joanna Gazzaz
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Joanna Gazzaz from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has graduated with an LLB Law degree from the University of Surrey in 2013. She is currently an HR executive that focuses on employee competence development and performance management strategies. She is actively involved in philanthropy in her home country and some war-torn countries.  Joanna has always been passionate about animals and through the Y4AW internship she hopes to understand the importance of wildlife conservation and how to tackle the threats that endangered animals are facing.

Olivia Goldring
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Olivia Goldring is a rising sophomore at Cornell university from New York City. She’s currently studying psychology and biology. She’s always been extremely passionate about wildlife conservation and hands on learning. She has a lot of experience working with different non-profit organizations and is hoping that her Y4AW experience will give her new insights into the situation surrounding endangered wildlife in Southern Africa and will allow her to use her love of service learning to promote awareness and make changes from her home community.

George Herrmann
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

George is a Journalism student at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He joined the internship with the intention of becoming a proponent of global change while working and living in some of the most beautiful places Mother Earth has to offer. The Y4AW internships is a way for George to develop his photo-journalism skills while contributing to global change.

Mira Nabulsi
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Mira Nabulsi is an undergraduate Communication student at York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved with various NGOs that help local communities but has always been interested in the conservation world. Being a Communication student participating in a social media based internship has been very educational towards her possible career interests. She hopes to keep aspiring those around her, keeping them aware of the human disturbances affecting our environment.

Instagram: miranabulsi

Ana (Anilu) Nagel
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Ana is from Caracas, Venezuela, and she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from the University of Rhode Island (USA). Since graduating in 2014 she has been working at a small veterinary clinic in Caracas. She has always felt a deep passion for wildlife conservation and rehabilitation which led her to work with animals. Ana is an avid traveller as she gets to explore different cultures and make connections around the globe. She plans to study further as she believes that life revolves around learning and one can never learn too much.


Instagram: @anilu_incredible

Andrea Mendez
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Andrea Méndez De Angulo comes from Bogotá, Colombia. She recently graduated with a Bachelor´s Degree in Fine Arts from the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Through her extensive travels, she has developed a keen eye for photography and capturing the beauty in everyday life. She´s always had a love for animals of all kinds and hopes to marry her passion for photography and her love for animals with the Youth 4 African Wildlife internship.

Erica Taylor
(Y4AW July 2015 Intern)

Erica was born in raised in Pittsburgh, PA and has always had a great interest in conservation. She recently graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources. After the internship she will be attending Imperial College London for a Master of Science in Environmental Technology. Erica hopes to make a difference in the world by changing the way we view natural resources.

Jamie Joseph
(Y4AW January Internship Contributor)

Jamie Joseph is the founder of and is a writer, strategist and activist working full time on Africa’s poaching crisis. She regularly interviews global thought leaders engaged in the war on poaching, navigating the battlefield of supply and demand, greed and exploitation. She moves around various locations across Africa, reporting from the frontline and sharing ‘stories from the trenches.’ She is currently on location with the Y4AW intern as contributor.
Twitter: @savingthewild_

Billy Challenger
(Y4AW 2015 January Intern)

Billy from the city of Chicago, fell in love with the wilderness while on his safari in the summer of 2014. He is now fully committed to the fight against environmental injustices and does as much as he can to promote the well-being of our precious wildlife. Back in his home country he is an aspiring music producer who wishes to raise awareness of the plight of Africa’s endangered wildlife through his music.

Mary Obeyd
(Y4AW 2015 January Intern)

Mary is a psychology graduate, having received a M.A. in Couple and Family Therapy and B.S. in Human Services with a minor in Psychology at California State University Fullerton. Much of her experience stems from research within the mental health field, where she has helped create award-winning research at Columbia University in New York. Her goal for the internship is to delve into the psychology of wildlife, focusing on the attachment trauma of separating infants from their mothers due to poaching.

Clara Bowe

(Y4AW 2014 Intern)

Clara is a teacher, or student (and sometimes both) but prefers to avoid classrooms if possible. Having graduated from Franklin College Switzerland in 2012 with a major in History and a minor in Environmental Science, she promptly found employment in the environmental field, first in microfinance in Mexico and then teaching Environmental Ethics at a bilingual school in Spain. In spite of her travels, she remains deeply attached to the country side in her home state of Maryland, where she spent her childhood climbing trees and exploring the Chesapeake Bay. Although she did not always understand the value of such unique ecosystems, she has since committed to a career in sustainability, and is truly ecstatic to start her Masters in Environmental Conservation Education at NYU Steinhardt this fall!

Twitter: @nomadiCKMB

Kate Bowen
(Y4AW 2014 Intern)

Kate is an actress, filmmaker and animal conservationist from Los Angeles. Although she majored in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs and minored in English from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, she would rather spend her time “feeling” in front of a camera and getting down and dirty with animals. Kate’s goal is to spread awareness of animal poaching and to debate the notion of, “What is murder?” You can reach her at:

Twitter: @KateBowen_As_Is
Instagram: Kate_as_is

Sarah Doody
(Y4AW 2014 Intern) 

Sarah is a filmmaker, writer, and performer. She’s currently a student at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study concentrating in Personal Stories in Film & Theater, a fancy way of saying she’s interested in how artists’ lives influence their art and the ways in which they portray reality. Her love of documentary film was first cultivated when she became part of the selection committee and later interned at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Since then Sarah has directed a short documentary project on female war photographers Kate Brooks & Gerda Taro, entitled Herstory. She has also written and directed several narrative shorts. Most recently, she worked as the art director on Karkass Karts, a short independent “dramedy” to be released in August. This internship marks many firsts for Sarah— her first game drive, her first time seeing many of these big 5 animals in the wild, and her first time in Africa. She’d love to thank everyone who has encouraged and supported her to go on this adventure. Thank you so much! Email:

Kennedy Holland
(Y4AW 2014 Intern)

Kennedy just finished her first year as a student at Claremont McKenna College in California, where she is majoring in Biology. Growing up in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada, wildlife and conservation have always been passions of hers. Kennedy knows she wants to work in nature, and this documentary internship will provide insight into which area of conservation she wants to focus on in the future. During these six weeks, there is a lot to learn and even more to see, and Kennedy could not be more excited to be a part of this opportunity.

Twitter: @kennedyholland
Instagram: kennedyaholland

Liana Nixon
(Y4AW 2014 Intern)

–  Originally from Chicago, Liana is a student at University of Colorado at Boulder. She is currently double majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Photography and is a midshipman in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Her love for nature, service, animals and photography is a constant influence in her aspiration to get involved in opportunities that help her community and environment. Her goal throughout the internship is to gain better insight on conservation, film production, and photography and to take part in this amazing opportunity to raise global awareness. Let the adventure begin!    


The Y4AW 2013 Group

Vanina Harel

Amanda Levine

Natalie Lapides

Taz Watson

Steven Kiley


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