Meet the Leaders

Wildlife & Conservation


Education: University of British Columbia, B.S.

Thomas is a widely traveled naturalist and photographer. He studied Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of British Columbia, and spent a semester abroad at the University of Queensland, Australia. He worked as a research diver and naturalist at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center, and was a Scuba instructor in Bali and Honduras. Thomas has conducted research on sea turtles in Costa Rica, whales in Canada, and dolphins in New Zealand. As an experienced international tour leader, he’s led small-group adventure tours to over thirty countries. He has won the Vancouver Tourism Award as a whale watching naturalist and drives student tours throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is a certified commercial scuba diver and conducts underwater fisheries surveys and stock assessment with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As Mr. Gay Canada 2012, Thomas placed 6th in the Mr. Gay World competition in South Africa and is also an advocate for queer rights. He is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Swiss German. He led National Geographic Student Expeditions programs in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands in 2010 and 2011.



Education: University of Arizona, B.A; Academy of Art University, MFA.

Jill majored in Psychology at the University of Arizona and received her MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. For her master’s thesis she spent nine months documenting Himalayan life in Nepal, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhutan and Tibet. Following graduation Jill fine-tuned her visual storytelling abilities at the Missouri Photo Workshop. She later returned to Asia to work for Azamara Club Cruises taking travel photos for marketing and advertising campaigns in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong. Jill traveled to Manila to work on an independent documentary project about families living in cemeteries due to the dense urban population. She worked as a photography instructor and travel guide for Rustic Pathways in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In San Francisco, Jill currently works as a freelance photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle. After winning a National Geographic photography contest in 2009, she was offered representation by the National Geographic Image Collection. In February of 2012 the National Geographic Book division contracted Jill to shoot the new National Geographic Traveler Sydney Guidebook.


Education: University of Missouri, B.A., B.J.

Kit is an award-winning photojournalist based in Columbia, Missouri. He graduated from Mizzou, where he worked as a peer advisor, with a double-major in Spanish and Photojournalism. He studied for a year in Santiago, Chile, and has traveled extensively in Latin America. Kit worked as a river guide for Oregon River Experiences in Portland, Oregon before returning to Missouri to work as a reporter, photographer, and photo editor for the Columbia Missourian. He also served as a staff photographer and photo editor for the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau. Kit currently works as the Photo Editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune newspaper in Columbia. His photographs have garnered awards from the Associated Press, Suburban Newspapers of America, and the Missouri Press Foundation. Kit is fluent in Spanish. When he can find the time, his hobbies include music, traveling and enjoying the outdoors.