CorpsTHAT came from the intersection of our two cultures:
The English term corps means a group of persons acting together, or a body of people engaged in a common-interest activity. In English phrasing, CorpsTHAT is also a corps that values inclusivity.
When we sign CorpsTHAT, the word corps becomes the C handshape which represents the crews, the groups, and the teamwork that is valued when working outdoors and in conservation corps. In ASL the expression, ‘that!‘ is an idiom for ‘you hit the nail on the head’
CorpsTHAT was founded by Sachiko Flores and Emma Bixler who are dedicated to the conservation corps experience and expanding the horizons of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and American Sign Language Community in the outdoors. Sachiko and Emma met while working for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa’s Summer Youth Program in 2011. They both continued to explore their interests nationally and internationally in facilitating experiential learning opportunities for youth and young adults. After working for multiple conservation corps, they saw the need within those programs for more support to understand the complexity of social inclusion in the outdoors. This lead to the founding of CorpsTHAT in the fall of 2016.
Board President and Co-founder
Sachiko Flores studied Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Texas A&M University and went on to get her Masters in International Development from Gallaudet University. Her studies have taken her all over the world where she has invested in the local cultures and customs as well as the environment. After working in Thailand in disability rights, Sachiko came back to the states eager to get back into conservation leading her to set up CorpsTHAT.
Program Director and Co-founder
Emma Bixler attended California State University Northridge earning her degree in Deaf Studies and Child and Adolescent Development. Emma has worked in Deaf Education, Conservation Corps and at Gallaudet University. Combining all of her passions: Deaf education, youth development and conserving the outdoors has lead her to set up CorpsTHAT.
Field and Logistics Director
Sam Bragg obtained her BA degree in International Studies from Gallaudet University, and then went on to get her Master’s in Outdoor Leadership from Saybrook University and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Sam has always been passionate about the outdoors since a young age, especially coming from a family with strong roots in agriculture and the outdoors in the great woods of Maine. Sam has discovered many ways to continue her passion and love for the outdoors by working at different local farms, Green Mountain Lions Camp, Aspen Camp, Camp Mark Seven, and the Conservation Corps. Sam is eager to continue participating in the current dialogue on how to create a diverse and inclusive environment for outdoor and environmental education and conservation programs throughout the nation.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator / AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Raised in Puyallup, Washington, Sam Forshay likes the smell of rain and pine sap! Many of her summers growing up were spent in the forests and lakes in her home state. Sam graduated from Gallaudet University in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics. She also is an alumni of CorpsTHAT’s 2021 crew, which first introduced her to the CorpsTHAT Team. The month-long conservation corps crew experience inspired her to look for jobs in the forest services and non-profit organizations. Sam is excited to start a new chapter in her life working to improve access to training and education for deaf people to outdoor recreation and careers.
Shirley Ann raised and resides in a tropical island of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Graduated at Gallaudet University in 2017 in Communication Studies. Enjoy the adventures, meeting new people and love teaching Sign Language for a more inclusive environment in any field for the deaf community.