SIT Study Abroad Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2021

A Note from Carla Lineback, Director of Alumni Engagement

As you may have read in President Sophia Howlett’s August update, there’s a lot going on despite all the disruptions caused by the pandemic. This summer, SIT was able to run several in-person programs abroad, and in August we were thrilled to be able to host an in-person commencement for our SIT Graduate Institute students.

While the Vermont campus has been without students over the past year, it wasn’t completely quiet. SIT remains an important southern Vermont community partner as a Vermont Foodbank distribution site; for BIPOC COVID-19 vaccination clinics; and as a contingency location if first responders need to quarantine in large numbers. 

SIT mourns the passing of Hubert Decleer, founding academic director and senior faculty advisor for the Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program. A beautiful in memoriam piece has been written about him by three Nepal program alumni: Benjamin Bogin, 1993; Andrew Quintman, 1988; and Dominique Townsend, 1997. Andrew also served with Hubert as co-academic director from 1993-1999, and a few years ago, he and Benjamin co-edited Himalayan Passages: Tibetan and Newar Studies in Honor of Hubert Decleer. A group of SIT colleagues and alumni are starting a fund in Hubert’s honor. For more information, please contact jane.yates@worldlearning.org.  

Please enjoy reading about fellow alumni, and I hope you’ll consider sending your own update for inclusion in a future newsletter to alumni@sit.edu

Alumni News

(Listed by year of participation)

Daphne Jochnick, India 1988, has lived in Japan and Tanzania, but is now settled in Somerville, Mass. She runs a community acupuncture clinic and has a 5-year-old son. Shaun Golding, IHP Global Ecology program 2000, is associate professor of sociology and environmental studies at Kenyon College. Shaun published Electric Mountains: Climate, Power, and Justice in an Energy Transition. Electric Mountains asks why environmentalists in a progressive region have been resistant to wind energy. Using lenses from environmental sociology, Electric Mountains encourages readers to demand a more democratic, transparent, and just approach to powering their lives.

Alisha Goldstein, Experiment Chile 2001 and SIT Panama 2005, says her Experiment summer was her first time abroad and, as for many, it germinated a seed in her. When selecting colleges, she chose only those that would allow her to study abroad as an engineering student, preferably to a non-English speaking country. She then participated in an SIT Study Abroad program in Panama. The experiences gave her the confidence and foundation to pursue research, travel alone, and handle uncertainty and uncomfortable situations. She spent time volunteering in Central America on a water project and lived on a permaculture farm and was able to study abroad again during graduate studies in engineering.  

Melanie Magidow, Morocco 2001, has published The Tale of Princess Fatima, Warrior Woman: The Arabic Epic of Dhat al-Himma. This book contains select episodes from the longest extant Arabic epic and the only one named for a woman. It recounts the thrilling adventures of a legendary medieval warrior universally known throughout the Middle East and long overdue to join world literature’s pantheon of female heroes. The book was translated and edited by Melanie.

Ariel Poster, Experiment Belize 2002 and SIT Nicaragua 2006, created All American Kids, a hybrid documentary and animated series that explores the lives of kids across the country and teaches a multicultural understanding of what it means to be American. All American Kids has been shown at several film festivals and has received several distinctions including the Peggy Charren Award of Excellence at the Boston International Kids Film Festival. 

Conor Floyd, Nepal 2014, was one of 20 young professionals named the 2021 Emerging Leaders of Southern Vermont. Individuals were nominated based on their work as community leaders and volunteers, and for their professional accomplishments and commitment to serving the region. Conor works at Food Connects, whose co-founders are Richard Berkfield and Katherine (Gillespie) Jandernoa, both SIT MA in Sustainable Development alumni. 

Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste, IHP Cities 2014, was unable to find healthy hair products so she started making her own, the way she had seen the women in her Senegalese host family do. She then founded KerlyGirl, which offers hair care products to a growing market of those who wear their coily hair naturally and prioritize hair health over performativity. Featured in The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Providence Business News and Rhode Island Inno, the company was named one of “10 startups to watch” in Rhode Island in 2021. You can hear Kerlyne speak as part of the Critical Conversation series on November 8. See below for more information.

Perry DeMarche, Morocco 2017, Experiment Group Leader France 2018 and Morocco 2019, moved to Tunisia, where she works with the North African Policy Initiative (NAPI), an NGO that seeks to strengthen participatory governance in North Africa and empower youth to conduct policy research on issues they care about. Before moving to Tunisia, Perry was living and working in southern Morocco with Dar Si Hmad, a small NGO focused on hands-on, cross-cultural education programs and local development initiatives. In a small-world experience, the spring 2020 cohort of SIT students visited the NGO while Perry was there.

Maya Sterling, IHP Social Entrepreneurship 2018, is living and working in Washington, DC, for the Pan American Development Foundation as a program associate focusing on climate change and the environment.

Gretta Marston-Lari, Peru 2019, wrote Como la Tierra, a musical that tackles hard truths—sexual assault, death, domestic violence, police and military violence, and exploitation of women—through a story that intertwines women’s resilience with the earth. The play is based on events that were happening during Gretta’s experience in Peru. Gretta was a Lin Manuel Miranda Family Fellow in 2020 and participated in a playwright’s intensive at the National Theatre Institute’s Summer Program. A New York City theater company has now picked up the script with plans to stage the musical next summer. Read more

Congratulations to the 2021 SIT photo contest winners! First Place winner: Isabella Mancini, SIT Morocco 2019, Second Place: Leslie Vergara, SIT Mexico 2019 and Chile 2021, and Third Place to Cassie Robbins, SIT Switzerland 2020. 

SIT was honored to be named finalist in two categories for the 2021 GoAbroad Innovation Awards. These awards honor institutions, organizations, and individuals within international education who are creating initiatives to move the field forward and commend leaders in the community for their efforts to go beyond the conventional. GoAbroad selected SIT Study Abroad’s Senegal: Hip-hop, African Diaspora & Decolonial Futures as a finalist for the Innovative New Program category. In addition, SIT Study Abroad’s 2019 video contest winner “SIT’s Morocco: Field Studies in Journalism and New Media Program” by Stephen Higgins, Morocco 2019, was selected as a finalist for the Innovative Student Video category.

Opportunities

SIT and World Learning is hiring! Among the open positions are:
• Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
• Senior Director of Global Education
• Operations Coordinator for Youth Programs.

There are positions for all levels of experience, and based in locations around the world, so please be sure to check out current openings on the employment page.

Interested in becoming a leader with Youth Exchange Programs for summer 2022? We are seeking experienced and inclusive educators to lead groups of high school students on cross-cultural exchanges! The Experiment leaders guide a group of 10 to 16 high school students on a journey abroad. Youth Program leaders facilitate an immersion exchange program in the US for 3 to 4 weeks with youth from Iraq, Canada, and Latin America. The application will be available soon. If you would like to receive more information and a notification when the application is open, email groupleaders@worldlearning.org.

The Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship supports alumni wishing to return to the country where they studied to pursue development projects that benefit human rights in that region. IHP alumni can choose any of the countries where they studied in during the program. Applications are accepted twice annually, with deadlines each year on March 1 and October 1.

The fall 2021 Critical Conversations webinar series has begun! The webinars come in a variety of formats and topics—learn to cook a Jordanian meal or participate in talks and Q&As with Dr. Homi K. Bhabha from Harvard and IHP alumna Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste, among many others. These webinars are designed to inspire community-wide dialogue on global, interdisciplinary issues.

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. Now accepting applications for summer 2022. Apply by Jan. 17, 2022, for priority admission. experiment.org

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.edu/sit-world-languages-center/

SIT Graduate Institute offers global, full-time, and part-time, hybrid master’s degrees, certificates, and professional development programs. SIT has also launched a hybrid Doctorate in Global Education (EdD) which combines rigorous online coursework with short residencies in Vermont to fit the needs of part- and full-time professionals seeking to rapidly accelerate their career while tackling highly relevant issues in global education, both locally and abroad. graduate.sit.edu

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. worldlearning.org

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.