Astrid Vargas grew up in Port Chester, New York. She graduated second in her class in high school and she also received a grant to kickstart a swim team at PCHS and attend Union College. This would not have been possible without Dr. Durney's mentorship and assistance. At Union, she majored in Anthropology and French and studied abroad in China and France. She also did a community service mini-term in New Orleans rebuilding homes post Katrina. After her undergraduate studies, she moved to Rennes, France and taught at the University of Rennes 1 for a year. She taught English and Spanish to college students. Astrid also served as corps member for Teach for America (TFA) in Miami-Dade County as a Chemistry teacher in Liberty City. After her two year commitment to TFA she moved to Europe to finish a Master of Arts in Advanced European & International Studies- Trillingual Studies. The program was taught in French, English and German and throughout the year she lived and studied in Nice, France, Canterbury, England and Berlin, Germany. Currently, she is working toward completing her second master's degree at Johns Hopkins University studying Global Risk, while also working at STEER to serve as a resource for students at her alma mater.