Linnea Chruscielski was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. She moved to Denver in the summer of 2013 after graduating from the College of Saint Benedict with a degree in Peace Studies. She has participated in the Conexao Mundo program twice before; in 2015 she led an American team to Joao Pessoa, Paraiba and in 2016, led a team to Porto Velho, Rondonia. After her time as a Team Leader in 2015, Linnea was hired onto the "Mothership" (US-Brazil Connect Central Staff) as an Administrative Assistant. She is now the Operations Manager and helps to run the organization. Linnea enjoys playing hockey, hiking, and spending time with her cat, Pippin.
Cris Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil and after living in Brazil, the United States and Mexico, Cris is happy to call the world home. A Brazilian-American, she currently lives and works as a translator and interpreter in Alexandria, Virginia (close to our capital, Washington, D.C.). Cris first applied to be an Educational Facilitation Specialist after working as an interpreter for US-Brazil Connect in 2013, because she fell immediately in love with the concept of a leadership and cultural exchange program. A forever student, she is grateful to have been with Conexão Mundo for 4 years.
Cris is first-most excited to be able to visit Piauí, the birth state of her father and to make a difference in a place that's so dear to her. She is also excited to draw upon her experiences in language and to leverage what she has learned as a coach, teacher, translator, and interpreter. Cris strongly believes that what happens in Paranaíba in July of 2018 will make both the US-Brazil Connect and SESI/SENAI communities stronger for many years to come!
Lauren Abuhadema is a Colorado native, born and raised in Lakewood, Colorado. When she is not working as a Team Leader for US-Brazil Connect, she works as a Dean of Students in southwest Denver. In 2014, Lauren was part of the Explorers Program with US-Brazil Connect and it was such a life changing experience. It solidified her decision to work in education but also grew her love for travel, Brazilian culture and new experiences. Her time in Tres Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil is something she will always look back on, and it is because of this that she wanted to return as a Team Leader this year (for the second time) to give others an amazing experience such as her own. In 2017 she led a team through the program in Campina Grande. and this year she will be leading a team to Porto Velho. Lauren has heard such amazing things about Porto Velho, and cannot wait for this experience. After completing Phase I and building up the anticipation to arrive in Brazil, she looks forward to the first face-to-face meeting of the Brazilian students and coordinators. It will be a beautiful memory for everyone involved to remember always.