Our Staff

 
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Laurel Baltic -
Co-Founder

Laurel is a Fort Collins native, and has been collaborating with and mentoring high school students for the last 6 years. She is passionate about building strong community connections, especially among girls and women, and especially in mutual support of social and environmental justice. She has had endless adventures with special women in her life, including backpacking through Europe with a dear friend, cenote diving in Mexico, climbing Mt. Wilson with her older sister, and of course, Girls’ Rites desert road trips with her PIC, Cass Poncelow. When she’s not changing the world with teenagers, she’s cooking really delicious dinners or playing outside with her dogs, Zephyr and Shyla. Her favorite road trip snack is all the coffee in the world, and salt and vinegar chips, and the first song on her playlist is Wildflowers by Tom Petty.

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Cassie Poncelow -
Co-Founder

Cassie is a Fort Collins native who grew up spending her childhood exploring the mountains with her family and has spent much of her adulthood guiding trips into the hills for young adults and adventuring on her own. Powerful women have continued to shape her life in the form of family, colleagues, mentors, friends and often most prevalent and impactful - her students. As a Counselor at Poudre High School, Cass believes that connections matter and that authenticity wins AND believes the same about Girls Rites and our own work as humans. Looking for her beyond Poudre or Girls Rites? She's exploring - walking her silly pups in the neighborhood or hiking the foothills with a friend. Or she's exploring herself with a good book and some personal writing. And always cheering for the Colorado State Rams! Cassie's favorite road trip snack is beef jerky and road trip anthem is Feel it Still by Portugal, The Man.

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Devin McDonald -
Away Leader

Devin is a studio ceramic artist who is studying to receive her Masters degree from the University of Missouri. Originally hailing from Gloucester, Mass., she is a professional road-tripper, enjoying trips from the tip of Florida to the beaches of Northern Washington. She has called Fort Collins home for the last 3 summers, and brings a knack for encouraging creative self-expression to the Girls’ Rites team. In the car, you’ll catch Devin munching on hummus and veggies, and her road trip playlist is filled with Youth Lagoon and Juana Molina jams.

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Whitney Buckendorf -Outreach and Program Development Intern

Whitney participated in Girls Rites as a student in it's inaugural year where she fell in love with the program and will be continuing as an intern. Whitney is a senior in the IB program at Poudre High School. She is involved in Ambassadors and Unified Sports. Outside of school you will find Whit hanging out with friends and family, working on the board for a nonprofit based out of Ghana, going to CSU football games, or reading and writing. Inspired by the leaders of Girls Rites, Whitney is so excited to continue in the program in a new role and help her peers learn the importance of their story and voice. Her favorite road trip snack is iced coffee, and sour gummy candy, and favorite road trip song is Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron.