Road Scholar Field Staff
Bruce Banker, Instructional Specialist, Sr.
Bruce Banker is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where he studied natural sciences and geology. He lives in Flagstaff and has worked for the National Park Service as a naturalist on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Bruce also serves as an outdoor educator for the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Bruce has taken students to many of the far-flung corners of the Southwest and has a few good stories to share.
Jennifer Beltz, Assistant Director
Jennifer Beltz is a former interpretive park ranger at Phantom Ranch, located in Grand Canyon National Park. She has worked as a naturalist and national park ranger throughout the United States, was co-coordinator of a Road Scholar service program that built a health clinic in Brazil, and has worked on many intergenerational programs. Jennifer has lectured in the Department of Geography and Public Planning at Northern Arizona University and has led programs for Road Scholar since 1992.
David Best, Field Coordinator and Specialist
David Best was born in Cardiff, Wales, and immigrated to North Carolina with his parents in the late 1940s. He has been a geology department professor and administrator at Northern Arizona University for 30 years, and strives to enhance the learning process of non-science majors in general education science courses. In his spare time, David is currently working on two books and enjoys gourmet cooking, woodworking, traveling, and reading.
Dr. Stanley Beus, Field Coordinator and Specialist
From his early days growing up on a dairy farm in Idaho, Dr. Stanley Beus quickly became fascinated with nature. He earned a Ph.D. in geology from UCLA before beginning a career as an exploration geologist, and later became the first head of the Geology Department at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Beus has been both a field and class instructor for Road Scholar programs for over 20 years, and has enjoyed bringing geology to life for literally thousands of participants.
Carl Bowman, Field Coordinator
Carl Bowman worked for the National Park Service from 1974 through 2013. During his career he was a janitor, wildland fire fighter, archaeologist, ranger, and scientist. His first job at Grand Canyon was in 1980, and has lived here (this time) since 1991. For 17 years, he was the park’s air quality specialist. Carl finished his career as an exhibit specialist, where his projects included the Yavapai Geology Museum and Grand Canyon Visitor Center. A long-time student of Grand Canyon, Carl has shared its stories with park visitors, staff, university classes and tour groups, along the rim, on the trails, and down the River. With a bachelor’s degree in biology, and over 25 years of life on the South Rim, he knows the Canyon well, but Carl’s specialty is relating the Canyon’s varied and constantly evolving geologic stories.
Cheryl “Cherlita” Brenman, Field Coordinator and Specialist
A licensed massage therapist with over 25 years of experience, Cheryl Brenman is a certified Yoga and Nomadics teacher and a certified Jin Shin Jyutsu self help instructor. While managing a private massage practice, Cheryl also teaches Swedish massage at the Sedona School of Massage, as well as Yoga and Nomadics at Los Abrigados Health Spa. Cheryl works with the Sedona Artist in the Classroom program and has recently produced a Nomadics DVD specifically for her older students.
Marcia Burns, Field Coordinator and Specialist
As a naturalist and artist, Marcia Burns has been inspired by the canyons and deserts of Arizona and the Southwest for over 25 years. Marcia has a passion for the flora and fauna of the Southwest as well as the region’s interesting and quirky historic figures and their interesting stories. Marcia joined the Northern Arizona University Road Scholar team in 2004 and coordinates a variety of programs in the Flagstaff, Grand Canyon and Four Corners regions.
Ray Coin, Field Coordinator and Specialist
A member of the Hopi tribe, Ray Coin is from the Third Mesa village of Bacavi on the Hopi Reservation in northeast Arizona. His father worked at the Museum of Northern Arizona, and while growing up, Ray and his siblings rubbed elbows with the geologists, archaeologists, ecologists and palaeontologists doing field work at the museum during the summer months. Ray has been sharing his Hopi culture with Road Scholar participants since 1993.
Bob Doehnert, Field Coordinator
Bob grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ and earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. During his professional career Bob worked for several companies as a project engineer, in positions both in the U.S. and overseas and attained an International MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona.
In his ‘retirement’ Bob continues to pursue lifelong learning, especially with his passions for skiing, hiking, financial markets, worldly conversation and competitive bridge. He has participated as a group leader for Elderhostel/Road Scholar in the greater Phoenix area and enjoys sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for Arizona and the greater Valley of the Sun.
Dave Hall, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Dave Hall worked in the environmental geology field for 25 years as a geologist for the New Jersey Geological Survey. He taught geology and general science for 13 years as an Adjunct and Assistant Professor at the College of New Jersey. Dave has also worked as an Associate Naturalist at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. He has been retired for the last several years and currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Joanna Joseph, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Daughter of a Montana saddle maker, Joanna Joseph is an artist, musician and interpreter of natural and human history. At the University of Montana, she studied art, drama and classical Greek. Joanna was also program supervisor at Glen Canyon Dam, developing an appreciation for the importance of water in the Southwest. A resident of Big Water, Utah, she has worked with Road Scholar since 1994.
Bill Krieger, Field Coordinator
Bill Krieger is an educator, elementary through post-secondary, and has degrees from Northern Michigan University and from the University of Pittsburgh. His experiences range from teacher, counselor and administrator (directing one of the country’s first Elderhostel programs during the 1970’s), to being a teamster driving horses on Michigan’s Mackinac Island. In retirement, learning and sharing about the people and the geology of the Southwest have become his focus and his passion. His activity addictions include biking, hiking, camping, writing, sketching, singing and having conversations over a cup of coffee.
Karen Landis, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Karen Landis’ front door has opened up onto Route 66 for the past 38 years, giving her status as a Route 66 legend in the Seligman stretch of the road. Some 25 years ago, a customer at her convenience store mustered the gumption to ask her to marry him, and Karen and Mike Landis – a legend himself known as Arizona’s No. 1 cowboy – have been ranching together ever since. Karen’s independent spirit and ropin’ and ridin’ skills have opened a new world to Road Scholar adventurers year after year.
Stewart Lasseter, Field Coordinator and Specialist
After completing studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona, Stewart Lasseter studied as the protegé of a Native American healer, learning from her practices of wholeness, kinesiology, mind-body medicine and dyslexia correction. He has years of experience bringing groups in touch with the natural world, and has completed post-graduate studies in health sciences at Prescott College.
Azalia Lewis, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Azalia Lewis is descended from the Navajo, Hopi, and Laguna tribes. Currently residing near the mouth of Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Azalia is Kinyaa’aanii, (towering house clan), Kis’anni, (born for Hopi), Maii’ deeshgizhnii, (born into coyote pass clan), and Too’ lanii dinee’, (born into Laguna). She attended school in Chinle and is pursuing a career in the art of jewelry making. Azalia looks forward to meeting new people and sharing the beauty of her multicultural background.
Trina Lindig, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Trina Lindig grew up at Mesa Verde National Park as the daughter of a Park Ranger. She also became a Park Ranger and spent time at Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon, where her husband was a park administrator. Trina has been associated with Road Scholar for more than 20 years and has coordinated programs at both the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde.
Mike Masek, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Mike Masek is a wilderness skills instructor, herbalist and ethnobotanist living in Flagstaff, Ariz. In addition to his current work with Road Scholar, he is adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University where he teaches traditional uses of native plants and outdoor survival skills. He also teaches programs at the National Parks and Coconino Community College. He has spent a lifetime exploring the canyons and deserts of the American Southwest and loves to share these treasures with others.
Melissa Ruffner, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Melissa Ruffner is a member of an Arizona pioneer family who arrived in the Arizona Territory in 1867 and left a rich and colorful legacy. In 2003, Melissa received the Sharlot Hall Award for her contributions to the awareness of Arizona history, and was honored with the Arizona Culture Keeper designation. She has authored three books on Arizona history, and as official storyteller for the Arizona Jamboree and later the Arizona Revue, Melissa performed for over a decade at Prescott’s Elks Opera House.
Jerry Snow, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jerry Snow taught college classes for 25 years in the areas of biology, ecology and environmental health. He moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, with his wife, Juana, over a decade ago and worked part-time for the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Lab in entomology. Jerry has been a docent with the Museum of Northern Arizona since 1994, specializing in Navajo and Hopi Indian history and culture. His hobbies include model railroading and archeoastronomy.
Rich Stephens, Director
Rich Stephens has been director of Northern Arizona University’s highly popular Road Scholar programs since 2001. He previously spent many years in the field as a program coordinator and group leader, where he honed his skills and learned the importance of detailed, pre-trip planning. Before making his home in Arizona’s spectacular red-rock country, Rich spent 10 years in Yosemite National Park and the Santa Cruz mountains as an environmental educator.
Jeff Strang, Instructional Specialist, Sr.
Jeff Strang’s knowledge of the environment stems from over 35 years of hiking, paddling, and photography in the outdoors, his extensive experience as a naturalist, as well as from his education at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. In 1987, Jeff filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against Oregon polluters under the Clean Water Act. Jeff has been leading Road Scholar programs since 2002. In his free time, Jeff enjoys biking to work, hiking, kayaking, outdoor photography and studying geology.
Pat Talbott, Field Coordinator and Specialist
A resident of the Lake Powell region since 1997, Pat Talbott realized a lifelong dream when she became an Interpretive Park Ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. As a ranger, she conducted wildlife presentations at the Wahweap Campground Amphitheater, and volunteered in a project documenting the authenticity of a historical 1776 inscription in a remote side canyon. Pat is an avid watercolorist, photographer and wildlife watcher, and shares her experiences in a monthly newspaper column.
Matt Turner, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Matt Turner has lived in the Southwest since 1982 and currently resides in Prescott, Ariz. He has traveled extensively in the region and has done work in field ecology and cartography. In addition, Matt is an ecological consultant and a professional photographer.
Mike Young, Field Coordinator and Specialist
Mike Young has lived in Arizona for 40 years, and taught math and geology at Yavapai College prior to his work with Road Scholar. To convey the Arizona landscape, Mike uses a broad range of topics including botany, natural history and geomorphology. He has worked as a commercial boatman, designed and constructed his own home, and conducted field exercises throughout the intermountain west. He is an accomplished hike leader who challenges hikers of all skill levels.