Team

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Tracy Baynes, Ph.D., Founder & President

Tracy founded STEP in 2002 and is the President. She brings 25 years of teaching and expedition leadership experience to the organization. Tracy obtained her doctorate in oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1993. Since then she has dedicated her career to teaching and leading expedition-based programs designed to increase students’ self-confidence, enhance their ability to meet unfamiliar challenges, and widen their view of what’s possible for the future. She has done so as a faculty member with a variety of institutions including Sea Education Association, Columbia University, Long Island University, and the University of Pittsburgh and now dedicates her full attention to STEP.


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Trevi Grant, MSW, JD, CEO

Trevi became CEO of STEP in July 2016. Previously, she had been a partner in the law firm of Grant Creighton & Grant PLC, Phoenix, Arizona since 2008. In addition to a law degree, Trevi has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. Trevi’s large blended family includes seven children, four of which currently attend high school or college. As such, Trevi has a great fondness for teenagers and an equally great appreciation for the work it takes to transition from high school to college. Trevi loves seeing STEP change the trajectory of its students’ lives by empowering them to attend college.


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Eileen McLeod, Program Director

Eileen joined the STEP team in 2011 and brought years of experience in the experiential education world as well as with the public education system in Arizona. She also brought a passion for working with youth and helping them to reach their full potential. Prior to working for STEP, Eileen led wilderness expeditions throughout the southwest for Outward Bound. She also served as a full time substitute teacher for various high schools throughout southern Arizona. Eileen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College in Ohio and currently spends every moment that she isn’t working with her two amazing kids (and her husband and dogs).


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Yesenia Pedro Vicente, Phoenix Program Manager

Yesenia joined the STEP team in 2016 after serving three years as a high school teacher in Phoenix. She is a first-generation college graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Robertson Scholar and Gates Millennium Scholar. Yesenia first moved to Phoenix in 2013 as a Teach for America corps member. Since then she has earned her teaching certificate to teach secondary English and Spanish. Currently Yesenia is working on earning her Master’s in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Arizona State University. Yesenia has a passion for improving the educational attainment of traditionally underrepresented populations, both at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

“STEP made college a reality for my daughter. I always encouraged her to work hard in school, but past that I had no idea. Ashley became much more independent after the STEP workshops because she had all the information. They really really break it down. She was empowered to take the steps she needed to get in to college.”
— Patti Parrra, STEP Parent

Board of Directors

Tracy Baynes (ex-officio): Founder and President, STEP: Student Expedition Program, Inc.

Joan Lowell, Co-Chair: Former Executive Director, Hospice of the Valley. Former Vice President/Senior Advancement Officer for Donor Services for the Arizona Community Foundation. Current counselor in business and NGO development in Arizona, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Morris Scott, Co-Chair: Founder, DMD Systems Recovery, Inc., a secure IT asset disposal service.

Christine Burton: Chair, Burton Family Foundation Board. Member, The Aspen Institute Society of Fellows, Women in Philanthropy, ASU Presidents Club and Social Venture Partners.

David Diggs: Chief Executive Officer, DMD Systems Recovery, Inc.

Susan Erler: Educator. Former Coordinator of the Doctor of Audiology Program at Northwestern University.

Charles Layne: President, Signature Technology Group, a tech data corporation.

Luz Osuna: Strategic Capacity Industrial Engineer at Intel Corporation.

Andrew White: Vice president, Treasury Management services, Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Development Committee

Charles Layne (chair): President, Signature Technology Group, a tech data corporation.

David Diggs: Chief Executive Officer, DMD Systems Recovery, Inc.

Morris Scott, Co-Chair: Founder, DMD Systems Recovery, Inc., a secure IT asset disposal service.

Andrew White: Vice president, Treasury Management services, Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Doug Diehl: Vice President, Wealth Strategies Group at Northern Trust Company

Adam Draizin: Co-founder, American Traffic Solutions


Advisory Council

Armando Contreras: CEO, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona (UCP).

Luis De La Cruz: Global Transfer Pricing Consultant, Deloitte & Touche.

Ruben Gallego: Congressman, United States House of Representatives.

Derrick Hall: President & CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks.

Courtney Johnson: Board President, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Tucson.

Carol G. Peck: Former President and CEO, Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona.

Jonathan Rothschild: Mayor, City of Tucson.

Andy Shirk: Founder, True Roots Development.

Karen Sinchak Higby: Partner, Sinchak & Associates.

Greg Stanton: Mayor, City of Phoenix.

Richard Strobridge: Vice President, Healthcare of CRF Health Inc.

Corey Woods: Chief Operating Officer, Phoenix Urban League.

“The STEP staff are awesome individuals. They know what they are doing. They know what advice to offer individuals. They help prepare us to leave everything we know to go to a new environment.”
— Octavio Orozco Ibarra, STEP Alum, Bowdoin College