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Miriam Volat

Co-Director

M.S. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems and Soil Microbiology

I love being with Riverstyx. Every day in our work I am drawing on different, varied threads from throughout my personal and professional life, and fulfilling longtime dreams. As a home-schooled, semi-feral child, I was fortunate to be shaped by my love and commitment to our local creek and mountain. As a catholic high-school student, I had elaborate plots to dose nuns and politicians with psychedelics. In my my early twenties, I had the honor of being brought into medicine ceremonies with native leaders. All this led to graduate school in soil micro-biology and a career facilitating complex issues in agriculture and natural resources. 

My life’s work at Riverstyx now includes supporting psilocybin and MDMA research including those involving religious clergy, deep eco-ministry for direct-experience religious transformation, composting toilets and human bodies, and indigenous medicine, land, and cultural conservation, supporting balanced relationships between humans and our ecosystem. Our work is both deeply strategic and deeply personal. We do a kind of engaged philanthropy which allows for deep dives into uncharted territories, relationships, and structural change efforts. As a Mom, I’m fortunate my daughter, Cora, also supports our work and participates passionately on our many adventures. 

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T. Cody Swift

Co-Director 

AMFT, M.A. Existential-Phenomenological Counseling Psychology

Early in life, I already had a tendency to question convention and was especially drawn to the “abnormal". In 4th grade I refused to participate in D.A.R.E 's hypocrisy labeling some drugs as bad and others good; at 13, my father gave me Krishnamurti’s “Freedom from the Known” and Becker’s “Denial of Death”; and at 16 I developed an intellectual fascination for psychedelics, tools for augmenting and understanding consciousness. Since 2008, I have been directing the Riverstyx Foundation and working as a psychotherapist, both venues to support others in discovering what gems may been lying in the shadows of life- the places rich in potential for healing and compassion. 

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Kevin Bayuk 

Impact Investment Advisor

Designer of Business Ecologies

Kevin Bayuk works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets next economy organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is a co-founder and  partner with LIFT Economy, the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown and a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco.  Kevin co-founded a software company and successfully raised millions of dollars in venture investment, built large teams and managed every aspect of a growing business before developing a deep understanding of the environmental and social circumstance of our time.

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Rachael Petersen

Psychedelics and Religion Program Director 

Rachael is grateful to serve as the Psychedelics and Religion Program Director at Riverstyx, where she builds programming to support clergy interested in psychedelic exploration and conducts qualitative research for the NYU/Johns Hopkins Religious Professionals Psilocybin Study. Rachael came to psychedelics after participating in a clinical trial for depression, prompted by her career fighting climate change and environmental destruction. Her psychedelic experiences have reignited Rachael’s interest in transcendence and transformation, and inspired her to seek to build bridges between the religious and psychedelic communities. She is the founder of Earthrise, a consultancy serving nonprofits, think tanks, and philanthropists working to transform our world. She has held senior positions at World Resources Institute, National Geographic Society, and advised multi-billion-dollar foundations on climate change. She is visiting fellow at Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions. A published poetry and nonfiction writer, her work explores themes of despair, personal and planetary crises, and conversion. She has a degree in anthropology and environmental policy at Rice University. 

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Will Barone

Riverstyx Qualitative Research Coordinator 

M.A., Psy.D

Will Barone is a Clinical Psychologist and Qualitative Researcher who joined RiverStyx Foundation to provide support in employing qualitative research projects that strive to further understand novel approaches to treating illness and improving quality of life, including modalities of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Will has been investigating psychedelics and altered states as a means for personal growth and treatment for more than a decade, and is passionate about understanding the experiences people have in clinical and ceremonial contexts with psychedelics. Will has experience leading multiple qualitative research projects in the psychedelic sciences, including investigations into MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy as a treatment for PTSD and anxiety associated with terminal illness. Will also brings his extensive clinical experience into this work. He has years of experience working with psychedelic and altered-state experiences, as well as organic breaks of reality, as a supervisor in the Zendo Project psychedelic harm reduction center, as the Clinical Director of a psychiatric crisis facility, and in a range of other programs and spaces.

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Julie Megler

Program Director - Femtheogen

MSN, NP-BC

Julie D. Megler, MSN, NP-BC is a licensed family medicine and psychiatric nurse practitioner. Julie is co-founder of Sage Integrative Health, a multidisciplinary health and wellness clinic in Berkeley, California. Julie is on the board of directors of ERIE (Entheogenic Research, Integration, & Education), a non-profit established in 2011, with a focus on entheogenic integration, peer support, and education in the Bay Area. Julie’s dedication to entheogens has been inspired by her own first-hand experience of healing and creative inspiration. Julie has discovered that plant medicine is best practiced when appropriately supported, and it has become part of her path to give back to the community by sharing and expanding on the guidance she has been lucky enough to receive along the way. Learn more about Julie at: sageintegrativehealth.org & erievision.org

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VWC Management 

Foundation Accounting Firm 

VWC Management has been serving Riverstyx Foundation since its inception, providing invaluable accounting, grant management, and budgeting support, keeping everything flowing smoothly on the River Styx, and in compliance with IRS regulations. We are deeply grateful for Don, Katie, and Jeff for their steady guidance and wisdom. We also would like to thank Barwick and Partners for their invaluable, long-time financial management and guidance.