Meet the Staff

Steve Schnarr


Steve Schnarr lives in Columbia, Mo. His love for the river developed from years of exploring its waters by canoe. He was drawn to Missouri River Relief as a volunteer at local clean-ups, later serving as an event coordinator, MegaScout coordinator, MRR board member and for many years as Program Manager. He continues to help direct the organization and assist in planning several events.

Lisa Cole

Development Director

Lisa first became inspired by Missouri River Relief’s mission through her son’s participation in numerous summers at the Missouri River Academy.  She has spent much of her career working in higher education at the University of Missouri – Columbia, Westminster College and William Woods University as well as Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia.  Lisa joins the team to lead our fundraising efforts and support the impact the organization can have on the river and in our community.

Melanie Cheney

Office Manager

Melanie has been a volunteer crewmember with Missouri River Relief since 2002, working on clean-ups, special projects, and educational events.  Hired as an Americorps Stream Team Assistant in 2007, she networked with Stream Teams in the area, developed education programs and helped coordinate events. She now manages the MRR office full time to keep the organization legal and flowing seamlessly.

Kristen Schulte

Education Director

Kristen Schulte has a Master’s of Science in Natural Science Education and Environmental and Natural Resources and has been working in environmental education since 2006. Her passion for environmental education was first ignited during a trail crew in the North Cascades, WA.  Ever since this experience, she has felt a drive to connect people to the environment, while promoting stewardship.  In her role at MRR, she works to advance our mission of connecting people to the Missouri River with an emphasis on education.

Kevin Tosie

Operations Manager

Kevin Tosie first became interested in the Missouri River in 2015 after helping organize a clean-up with Missouri River Relief and two student organizations, Sustain Mizzou and the Student Environment Coalition of UMKC. Since then, he has been addicted to the Missouri River and all its beauty. After graduating from the University of Missouri - Columbia with a degree in forestry, he became MRR's full-time event coordinator, organizing clean-up events throughout the Lower Missouri River Region.

Christina Ruiz

Race & Event Manager

Christina Ruiz has raced five times in the Missouri American Water MR340, including the very first race in 2006. She has directed several races on the Kansas River, served on the Board of Friends of the Kaw, and did a stint in the Reaper safety boat for the MR340. She has worked for many years in higher education finance. Her love for river adventures and skill at managing events and data make her an ideal manager to lead the next stage of the MR340.

Dave Combs

Fleet Manager

Dave has always loved spending time outdoors. This love led him to the fisheries and wildlife program at Mizzou. After graduating he embarked on a 15-year adventure as a biologist on the Missouri River. During that time, he spent countless hours tracking the endangered Pallid Sturgeon on the Missouri River from Yankton, SD to St. Louis, MO and even on the Yellowstone River in Montana. When not tracking in the field he was busy maintaining the fleet of research vessels, designing and building scientific equipment and conducting boat operator and water safety training. When he is not working you can find him kayaking and cycling with his wife and two boys.

Katy Miller


Katy Miller participated in her first river clean up over 10 years ago and is committed to getting junk out of the river! When she’s not busy homeschooling, homesteading, and catching babies as a local homebirth midwife, she helps keep the River Relief office running smoothly managing paperwork and organizing financial information.

Alyssa Marie Thomas

AmeriCorps Stewardship & Outreach Assistant

Alyssa is a graduate from Central Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. She loves scuba diving, exercising, and enjoying various recreational activities. Beyond her hobbies, she has a passion for the environment and helping others. As someone who has lived in many places while growing up in a multicultural household, she seeks new experiences while learning more about our world and its people!

Claire Jackson

AmeriCorps Education Assistant

Claire is from Saint Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Xavier University with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture in 2021. After college, she began working for the Department of Natural Resources in Missouri State Parks. She has completed the MR340 three times and hopes to do so again this coming summer. She was also able to bike the full length of the Katy trail solo in 2021. She is excited to connect more with the river towns she has traveled through so often. Claire is also an alumnus of our “Missouri River Academy” summer camp program.

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
© 2023 Missouri River Relief | Website development and design by Pixel Jam Digital
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