Erica Thomas graduated from American University (2015) with a double major in International Relations and Economics, and a minor in Spanish. Specializing in Latin American studies, she traveled to El Salvador in 2013 to study the impacts of international tourism projects on agricultural communities. Environmental issues, such as agricultural sustainability and water accessibility, were vital in her work and further fueled her passion for the environment (she spends most of her free time hiking, climbing, skiing and exploring the outdoors). While studying abroad in Chile, she worked for a youth environmental education program. This experience inspired her to create a similar program at Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an arts-based mentorship program for African-American males in Washington D.C, where she has volunteered for the past four years. The youth and staff at Life Pieces to Masterpieces have invaluably shaped her over the past years, and will continue to influence her as she begins her work with the Azuero Earth Project.