Gaelen grew up in a small town on Whidbey Island, in Washington State. She received her B.A. in International Relations and Public Policy from Western Washington University in 2010. From a young age, Gaelen aspired to be a positive influence in the lives of others. Throughout her life, this desire prompted extensive engagement with humanitarian causes, eventually leading her to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She obtained a M.A. in International Policy and Development from MIIS in 2015. After graduating from MIIS, Gaelen worked in Peru with the AASD for four years as a Director of Experiential Learning. Gaelen has now transitioned back to the states but serves as the President of the Board.