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Fellows Today, Leaders Tomorrow: El Pomar Says Farewell to the Fellowship Class of 2011


Last week, we said goodbye to our class of 2011 fellows. Though we are excited to see where these bright young individuals will go next, we are sad to see them go. Before we say goodbye, we thought we’d take a moment to share where these young leaders are headed.




Melanie DeHerrera

Melanie came to El Pomar after graduating from Colorado State University, Fort Collins with a degree in family and consumer sciences. While at El Pomar, Melanie worked closely with the Nonprofit Executive Leadership programs and directed the internship program.  Following the fellowship program, Melanie will be working with the CU School of Medicine as the Coordinator for the Rural Track program.

Noel Gugliotta

After graduating from Colorado College with a degree in political science, Noel joined the El Pomar Family in 2011. Noel worked primarily on the Regional Partnerships Program. Noel will remain at El Pomar as a Senior Program Associate and assist with El Pomar’s Youth Development Project.


Maggie Hanna

Maggie’s appreciation for the agricultural landscape of northeast Colorado remains steadfast as she joins the Colorado’s Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust as a Stewardship Intern. Maggie came to El Pomar shortly after receiving a degree in history and urban studies from Trinity University. While at El Pomar, Maggie assisted with Awards for Excellence and El Pomar’s annual Rocky Mountain Tax Seminar.

Jeff Hopfenbeck

Jeff left the fellowship earlier this year to assist with the implementation of a new regional startup incubator at the Telluride Venture Accelerator. Before coming to El Pomar, Jeff studied at Whitman College where he received a bachelor of arts in politics. Jeff served a critical role with El Pomar’s Communications Office and worked with the Southwest and Metro Regional Councils.


Benjamin Jourdan

A native to Colorado Springs and a proud graduate of UCCS with a degree in international business and finance, Ben is traveling across the world as part of a Rotary Scholarship. Ben will study international economic development at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Ben directed the Student Leadership Experience and coordinated the Central Peaks Regional Council.


Aubrey McCoy

Perhaps it was her time as Co-Director of the 2012 Empty Stocking Fund Campaign that piqued Aubrey’s interest in events, as now she is excited to join the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation as an Event Coordinator.  Aubrey first came to El Pomar as part of the summer internship program, but joined the fellowship program after graduating from University of Wyoming with a bachelor of science in marketing. While at El Pomar, Aubrey also worked extensively with the Pikes Peak College Readiness program.

Chris Myers

Having grown up North Carolina and attending Elon University, Chris returned to the south and is now working Sparks Grove in Georgia as an Associate. Chris studied business administration, marketing, and political science before coming to El Pomar. At El Pomar, Chris worked on the Wildland Fire Fund and worked on the Regional Partnerships program with Noel.


Emily Orbanek

As a graduate of Santa Clara University with degrees in economics and environmental studies, Emily came to El Pomar with a great love of the outdoors. She is now a Piety Conservation Fellow at the Colorado Mountain Club. Emily co-led the 2012 annual Empty Stocking Fund campaign with Aubrey and worked with the Northwest Regional Council.


Sabrina Ragaller

Sabrina’s avid interest in international affairs and politics will serve her well as she enters a masters program at University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies. Sabrina graduated from the University of Georgia in Athens with degrees in international affairs and economics. While at El Pomar, Sabrina directed the Forum for Civic Advancement and led multiple ACYPL delegations.


Obura Tongoi

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Obura served as the deputy director of the Air Force Academy Foundation and worked with the San Juan Regional Council. Obura left earlier this spring to work full-time as a Major Gift Officer at the US Air Force Academy Endowment. Obura also founded an international nonprofit organization called Africa Redefined and spoke at TedxMileHigh.

On July 15, we will welcome the fellowship class of 2013 to El Pomar. Check back regularly to find out more about our fellows and the fellowship program.

Interested in the fellowship program? Contact Fellowship Recruiting directors, Ryan Patterson ( and Devanie Helman ( to schedule an informational interview.