SIT Graduate Institute Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2022

Group of diverse adult students in Africa

A Note from Carla Lineback, Director of Alumni Engagement

As you may have read in President Sophia Howlett’s January update, SIT continues to be busy! There are currently five global MA programs in progress as well as strong participation in seven part-time hybrid master’s programs, one certificate program, and our very popular new EdD in Global Education. And while most are still working remotely, some staff have returned to their offices in Vermont, and many are involved in welcoming almost 100 individuals from Afghanistan that are arriving to settle in this area.

Joe Wiah, CONTACT 2009 and PIM 71 2012; Nbras Elrebate, CONTACT 2015; Dora Urujeni, CONTACT 2007 and PIM 77 Conflict Transformation 2017; and Alex Beck, Experiment Ecuador 2006 and PIM 72 2012, are among those leading these resettlement efforts at partner organizations. Joe, a refugee from Liberia, is the inaugural director of the Ethiopian Community Development Council office in Brattleboro and is joined by Nbras serving as a case manager at ECDC. Dora, a former member of the Rwanda parliament is a case manager with the Community Asylum Seekers Project, which is also helping integrate Afghan and other refugees in the community. And Alex has been spearheading the Welcoming Communities project at the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, which is also providing workforce development support.

With graduate students and World Learning youth and leadership groups expected on campus starting in May, the housing we provide is a transitional but critical component in the resettlement process, giving our new neighbors a foothold in the United States as they seek to rebuild their lives.

Leslie Turpin, MAT 14 1983 and SIT TESOL program chair, Marti Anderson, MAT 19 1988, Susan Barduhn, MAT 8 1977, Karen Blanchard, ICT 10 1972, Bea Fantini, MAT 6 1975, Elizabeth Tannenbaum, MAT 4 1973, and Bill Conley, MAT 14 1983, form a volunteer team who are developing course materials and implementing a three-month ESL curriculum for the adult newcomers. Jennifer Course, MAT 32 2000, has a central role in welcoming the new school children in the local schools as the English-language learner coordinator for the district. We want to acknowledge that there are many other SIT and World Learning staff and alumni that have also been closely involved in the resettlement efforts. Keep your eyes open for updates! If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to support these efforts, please write to [email protected].

Please enjoy reading about fellow alumni, and I hope you’ll consider sending your own update for inclusion in a future newsletter to [email protected]. I’d especially like to hear from some WIPs!

Alumni News

(Listed by year of program start)

Alcy Frelick, Experiment Germany 1964 and MAT 6 1975, sent in materials (below) that were developed by several SIT graduates for use in the refugee camps in Indonesia in 1980. The SIT project was a collaboration with Save the Children and provided English language training to adults that were to be resettled in English-speaking countries. The work there began in the late 1970s and continued for nearly two decades. It was part of the largest refugee resettlement program in history.

Michelle Smallcombe-HadjSalem, ICT 19 1976, retired as a French and Spanish teacher in the Stafford Public Schools in Connecticut.

Linda Sukarat, MAT 19 1988, was named College ESL Instructor of the Year 2021 at the annual New York State TESOL conference in November. After attending SIT, Linda taught in Mexico, and conducted research in Indonesia before returning to Thailand, where she had previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer. She has been teaching at Binghamton University in New York since 2009 and is currently director of the English Language Institute (ELI), a support program for matriculated students under the provost’s office.

Susan Gibson, PIM 49 1992, has been in the NGO world for more than 35 years. She has served on the board of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the International Rescue Committee, and remains involved in refugee issues. She was vice chair of the Cater Center UK board and co-chair of the Human Rights Watch London Committee. She has just returned to the U.S. after 20 years in the United Kingdom with her husband and son. She recently published How to Be an Amazing Volunteer Overseas: Rules of the Road, Stories from the Field, which discusses how to travel and make a positive impact on the world through volunteerism.

Ivanna (Mann Thrower) Anderson, SMAT 11 1993, has been transforming lives from the pre-K classroom through the offices of corporate presidents in the U.S., Korea, and China. She is past-president of the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators and is a State ESL/Title III Consultant. Her work as an education coach is featured in the Pearson publication Implementing the SIOP Model through Effective Professional Development and Coaching. In 2020, she founded Luminary Insights, an intuitive life coaching business, and in August 2021 she became an international best-selling author in Women Who Shine.

Matt Brown, PIM 55 1995, TESOL Certificate, is based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has worked for World Learning for more than 20 years, currently overseeing a portfolio of government-funded international exchange and capacity-building programs in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Matt recently began occasional consulting as a training facilitator with Wayfinding Partners, an anti-racism firm that is launching exciting new programs for executives and practitioners of color. He serves on two nonprofit boards in Montgomery County, Maryland: The Civic Circle, which brings civic learning alive for young children with music and drama; and Leadership Montgomery, which educates, inspires, convenes, and connects leaders to advance Montgomery County.

Michelle Bos-Lun, PIM 63 International Education 2003, was elected to the Vermont Legislature as a state representative in November 2020, representing the towns of Westminster, Putney and Dummerston. She serves on the House Corrections and Institutions Committee. Michelle submitted a bill on bail reform in her first legislative session. She is active in the Social Equity Caucus, Women’s Caucus, Climate Solutions Caucus, and Rural Development Caucuses of the legislature. She was recently accepted at Vermont Law School and awarded a Public Interest Scholarship to pursue a certificate in restorative justice. Her first legislative session was held entirely on Zoom. Michelle said she was looking forward to being in the Statehouse in Montpelier for the second session of her first biennium term but, unfortunately, the session had to begin virtually in January.

Tait (Davidson) Flint, SIT Study Abroad France 2000 and PIM 64 ISLM 2004, has started a new role with Metro Nashville Public Schools as a family outreach translator in Swahili. She said she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to use her Swahili and intercultural skills with the Congolese population in Nashville. When not working she is busy with three daughters, ages 4, 7 and 9!

Leah Hamilton, MAT 37 2005, teaches Spanish and English and incorporates a lot of music into her classes. She was recently spotlighted by Vox Femina Los Angeles, a group with whom she sings. She shares that she was drawn to teaching because it reminds her of the beauty of being human. “I feel grounded and happy when working with people, understanding others, collaborating with colleagues, listening to and empathizing with my students, helping them find their strengths, and ultimately finding joy in always creating and learning together. It’s always in flux and never boring!” she says.

Jeffrey Puccini, TESOL Cert 2006 and SMAT 27 2008, is executive director of INTERLINK International Institutes, an organization dedicated to intensive English language training, academic preparation, cross-cultural orientation, and professional training. When the COVID-19 pandemic upended the way many of us live and work, and teachers no longer were able to relax and exchange ideas in a lounge, Jeff decided to launch the Online Teachers’ Lounge where teachers can connect with new people and reconnect with peers. An unexpected benefit of the online lounge has been connecting with English teachers, native and non-native English speakers, from different countries. Read more.

Brandon Lee, Experiment Spain 1996 and MAT 41 2009, has published Community Conscious Policing: A Guide for People’s Justice and Law Enforcement Solutions. The book is a public health response model intended to end unnecessary law enforcement violence. It shares examples of how to navigate real-life police stops and reveals holistic ways to heal from racial profiling and the trauma of police brutality based on indigenous wisdom. Watch a brief TMZ interview with Brandon.

Justice Shorter, SIT Study Abroad Uganda 2012 and DC 4 Sustainable Development 2014, was featured in a Mobility International USA article where she addresses what it is like to study abroad as a woman with a disability. She offers advice for travelers with disabilities and shares the following on identity, “Yes, I am someone who is blind, but I’m also someone who is black, a woman, a lesbian. All of these aspects are as much a part of my identity, and I am proud of them, but none of them individually solely represent me. If you can find ways to be who you are, even when it’s difficult or not accessible, people will remember you as a whole person.”

Fardous Rahmani, CONTACT 2014, is an international development expert in project management, strategic communications and public relations focusing on sustainable peace and development. He is currently working as strategic planning and communications officer in the Department of Peacekeeping at United Nations headquarters. Previously, he worked on social inclusion and youth empowerment, education, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, fragility, and conflict resolution with major stakeholder, including the World Bank, the U.S. government (USAID, Department of State, Department of Labor), UN agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOSOC), and the Afghan government. Fardous is a Fulbright scholar & has a master’s degree in development practice from the University of Arizona and a BA in education from Herat University. (Photo below)

young adult male wearing a suit and tie inside the United Nations conference hall

Hadiel Mohamed, PIM 75 2015 and CONTACT 2016, has launched her own anti-oppression facilitation consulting business. After her time at SIT, during which she worked with World Learning’s Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, she went on to work with young adults impacted by the punitive criminal system. She has spent the past several years working on projects related to equity, education justice, identity, privilege, and school-to-prison pipeline. Her new business offers customizable equity interventions for transformation.

Stephanie McCreary, PIM 76 International Education 2016, was featured in a Limelight Interview with the Global Leadership League. In the interview, Stephanie shares valuable lessons she learned as an international educator in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Stephanie Clement, Climate Change & Global Sustainability 2019, was the lead author for the Human Health chapter of the sweeping new Vermont Climate Assessment. This important analysis, the most comprehensive climate assessment done in the state, finds that Vermont is becoming warmer and wetter due to climate change, with serious implications for key economic drivers including farming and winter sports. As such, this assessment is seen as a critical tool for the state’s climate planning decisions. She works as program manager for the nongovernmental organization One Tree Planted.

In addition to the volunteer team developing and implementing the course curriculum for our new Afghan neighbors, the following alumni are volunteering as co-teachers of the classes: Arthur “Andy” Burrows, MAT 3 1972; Ray Clark, MAT Professor Emeritus; Janie Duncan, MAT 9 1978; Jaime Durham, MAT 44 2012; Jonathan Julian, MAT 11 1980; Jeryl Julian Cisse, MAT 22 1991; Jesse Kiendl, SMAT 28 2009; Bonnie Mennell, MAT 6 1975 and CONTACT 2009; and Lani Wright, MAT 8 1977.

Faculty News

Are you wondering what plurilingual means or how to use it in a sentence? Read our latest blog post—an interview with TESOL Professor Elka Todeva and Professor Emerita Diane Larsen-Freeman—about their contribution to a new textbook and what plurilingual pedagogy looks like in the classroom.

Leslie Turpin, MAT 14 1983 and SIT TESOL Program Chair, Marti Anderson, MAT 19 1988, and Sean Conley, MAT 25 1983, are editors of Inside & Between: Reflections on 50 Years of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at the School for International Training, which is a collection of reflections on 50 years of the MAT program at SIT. The collection is now available on Amazon and $10 from each book will go toward a scholarship fund for refugees and displaced persons in the MAT program.


SIT and World Learning are hiring! There are nearly 40 positions requiring various levels of experience and based in locations around the world. Please be sure to check out current openings on the employment page.

Happy 90th Anniversary Year! This year we’ll be celebrating the 90th anniversary of The Experiment in International Living—the program that launched SIT and World Learning—with events, apparel, and stories. Be on the lookout for more information about ways that you can get involved. We look forward to celebrating 90 years with you!

Calling all artists! We want to celebrate and promote your work by including it as part of a Virtual Alumni Art Auction to be held in April. All proceeds will go to support World Learning’s 90th Anniversary Fund. Artists will receive in-kind donation receipts for the fair market value of their piece and all shipping costs from the artist to the donor will be covered by World Learning. Submit your art piece by March 20th. For more information, contact [email protected].

We are pleased to announce the launch of online stores for The Experiment, SIT Study Abroad, SIT Graduate Institute, and World Learning! Represent your place in our global community with various apparel items including t-shirts, hoodies, and hats. More items coming soon!

About the Organization

Scholarships for Experiment and SIT programs may be available to Experiment or SIT alumni and their family members.

The Experiment in International Living provides immersive summer programs abroad and online for high school students. Intercultural connections between young people are now more important than ever. The world is ready to recover and rise to new challenges, and The Experiment is committed to working together across cultures. Accepting applications for summer 2022.

The SIT World Languages Center is committed to promoting and preserving indigenous and less commonly taught languages while also providing critical, specialized courses in widely studied languages. Online and in-person language courses for college credit are open to high school, undergraduate and graduate students, and adult learners.

SIT Study Abroad provides academically rich undergraduate semester and summer programs, most with field research or internships, and International Honors Program comparative study. Now accepting applications for summer and fall 2022 programs.

World Learning’s Global Programs work to create a more peaceful and just world through education, sustainable development, and exchange. Our programs advance leadership in more than 150 countries.

Let’s Be Social!

World Learning Inc., the nonprofit parent organization of School for International Training and The Experiment in International Living, offers high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. World Learning Inc.’s summer programs (through The Experiment in International Living) help high school students experience another culture. SIT Study Abroad offers semester- and summer-long undergraduate programs that address critical global issues on all seven continents and includes the International Honors Program comparative studies. SIT Graduate Institute offers graduate degrees in low-residency and global formats. World Learning is working to create a more peaceful and just world through education, sustainable development, and exchange. Founded in 1932 as The Experiment in International Living, the organization that has become World Learning, Inc. was inspired by Dr. Donald Watt’s innovative idea to improve understanding across cultures and nations by sending U.S. students abroad to live with families to expand their worldviews.