SIT Study Abroad Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2022

A Note from Carla Lineback, Director of Alumni Engagement

Last month, we experienced a wonderful day of celebration on the beautiful campus in Brattleboro. Following an SIT commencement ceremony for 54 newly minted changemakers was an equally inspirational Commemorative Marker Dedication honoring the deep and long partnership between World Learning, SIT, The Experiment, and the Peace Corps.

During the commencement, Dominique Ciavattone, SIT Study Abroad Kenya 2012, Experiment Group Leader South Africa 2019, and SIT MA Climate Change and Global Sustainability 2021, gave a moving and inspiring speech to her fellow graduates. Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn not only spoke at commencement but also at the commemorative marker celebration, along with U.S. Representative Peter Welch and Katherine Long from U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. We also were humbled by the words of Timothy Shriver, Sargent Shriver’s son, that were read aloud by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Javonni McGlaurin, SIT PIM 76 International Education 2016, from a letter he sent for the occasion.

“No alliance of organizations or people have done more to break down the walls of misunderstanding and fear that have divided culture from culture, religion from religion, country from country, people from people. And furthermore, no group of organizations or team of individuals have done more to stay the course in these days of increased division and polarization.”

Read more about both events here: Shared History of World Learning, SIT, and Peace Corps focus of events.

I’d like to extend special congratulations to Dr. Orli Fridman, academic director for the Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans program, for her publication “Memory Activism and Digital Practices after Conflict. Unwanted Memories.” The book investigates the study of memory activism and memory of activism, emerging after conflict, as a political civic action.

Alumni News

(Listed by year of participation)

Curtis “Curt” Borden, Nepal 1980, joined the Peace Corps upon graduating college which led to a 25-year career in international development. He is now semi-retired and hoping to reconnect with his SIT groupmates. He recalls trekking in the Himalayas during his program with great fondness. Please write to [email protected].

Rhonda Broussard, Cameroon 1996, has published “One Good Question: How Countries Prepare Youth to Lead.” Based on a blog interview series, Rhonda uses conversations with education leaders from 11 countries to try to answer her one good question. She is founder and CEO of Beloved Community, a national nonprofit committed to sustainable economic equity in schools, workforce, and housing. (Photo below)

Renee Leduc, Botswana 1997, says her work in environmental policy was inspired by her experiences in Botswana. She is founder and principal of Narayan Strategy. She has been working in weather, water, and climate policy for more than 20 years and was awarded the American Meteorological Society’s annual Kenneth Spengler Award for “longstanding efforts and outstanding leadership connecting the weather enterprise, AMS membership, international community, and policymakers, and enhancing awareness of radio spectrum management issues.”

Yvonne Ochilo, Jamaica 2004, published “Red Letter,” a collection of thought-provoking poems which elaborate on the themes of social justice, history, leadership, the role of women, love, conflict, and war. Yvonne’s twitter handle is @ochilolaw.

Emily Kwong, South Africa 2011, is the co-host and reporter for NPR’s daily science podcast, “Short Wave,” which explores new discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines. Prior to NPR, Emily was a reporter and host for a community radio station in Alaska. Her work earned multiple awards from the Alaska Press Club and Alaska Broadcasters Association. She also won the “Best new Artist” award in 2013 from the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition for a story about a Maine journalist learning to speak with an electrolarynx. (Photo below)

Annika Erickson-Pearson, Switzerland 2013, returned to Switzerland to pursue a master’s at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. She now works as community management lead for the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Annika worked on a white paper on the “Future of Environmental Peacebuilding” and was assisted by Peter Wetherbee, Switzerland 2019, who also returned to Geneva to study at the Graduate Institute and has published “Why International Geneva’s ‘human dimension’ bodes well for environmental peacebuilding.”

Alison Smith, Tunisia 2016, graduated from law school and began her career as a law clerk for the Office of Administrative Judges, U.S. Department of Labor, in Washington, DC In this capacity, she has garnered experience assisting the administrative law judge at hearings and drafting decisions for black lung and various immigration and whistleblower protection statute cases. While she was pursuing her law degree she served as the managing editor of The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. In 2021, she was recognized with a third place award by the Northwest regional chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing’s music theater competition.

Charlotte Majercik , Vietnam 2018, reflects fondly of her time in Vietnam and often speaks with students interested in studying abroad. She is still in touch with her host family and hopes to visit them in the future. Charlotte lives in Colorado and works for Child Protective Services, work that she enjoys and finds rewarding.

Quentin Bernhard, Argentina 2019, is currently in Senegal serving as a Young Adult in Global Mission for the 2022–2023 year. Previously, he focused on projects related to the environment, climate change, and clean energy working for The Outreach Team, an organization that works on issue advocacy, political campaigns, and community organizing efforts all around the country.

Christine Slover, Australia 2019, completed her degree in environmental studies and spent time in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru exploring history in Latin America and Afro-Caribbean culture, linguistics, contact zones, and environmental journalism. Christine is training as a doula. She says that her SIT semester was a “transformative experience and one of the best decisions of [her] life.”

Nicholas “Nico” Briggs, Australia 2018, and Nathaniel “Nate” Hess, Australia 2019, returned to Cairns to attend the Australian Marine Sciences Association conference. Nico is completing his master’s work at James Cook University, Townsville and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. He presented a poster “Bleaching severity and coral fecundity: Implications for reef recovery potential.” Nate has recently completed his honours dissertation at the University of Sydney entitled “linking temporal and spatial changes in water quality to oyster aquaculture using novel remote sensing approaches” and presented his work at this conference. They had the opportunity to catch up with their academic director Tony Cummings. (Photo below)

Skyler Heller, Nepal 2019, traveled in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India after the program ended. He worked on a small farm in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, and stayed in the area for several months during the lockdown taking an online environmental ethics course. Upon returning to the U.S., Skyler began working on homesteads in Vermont, Virginia, and southern California through the WWOOFing network. Now in Massachusetts, he is working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school.

Jonathan “Jonny” Vo, Vietnam 2020, works as an auditor in a global trust bank and practices fencing in his free time. He hopes to return to Vietnam one day.

Congratulations to Sean Massa, IHP Health and Community 2014, and Lauren Newman, Jordan 2018, who were named 2022 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellows! This prestigious fellowship funded by the U.S. Department of State puts them on track to join the U.S. Foreign Service. Sean credits his passion for diplomacy to his experiences studying abroad in Vietnam, South Africa, and Brazil—the three countries included in his IHP program. Read more about Sean here: Preparing for a career ‘even before I knew’. Lauren will explore the relationship between climate change and democratization. Learn more about how SIT helped set her on her career path here: SIT alumni will study climate change-democracy links through Foreign Service fellowship. (Photo below)

Congratulations also to Connie Chao, South Africa, 2019, who has started a Thomas Watson Fellowship. This one-year grant supports her independent study project called “Bridging Gaps: An Exploration of Community Health Workers” where she aims to understand the roles, experiences, and contributions of community health workers in connecting their communities to appropriate and accessible health systems and resources. She is currently in Australia working alongside the National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners.

Congratulations to Isabelle Cole, Morocco 2022, who is part of the inaugural cohort of the Voyager Scholarship, a new program created by the Obama Foundation and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, aimed at inspiring students to pursue public service to “bridge divides and help solve our biggest challenges together.” According to the announcement, Isabelle is interested in international immigration policies that support the integration and protection of migrants. In addition to Isabelle, two other students with connections to SIT and two Experiment alumni were awarded this honor. Read more about the students and the scholarship: 5 SIT, Experiment students win Obama Foundation-Airbnb scholarships.

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

Interested in becoming a leader with Youth Exchange Programs for summer 2023? 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 10–16 high school students on a journey abroad. Youth Program leaders facilitate an immersion exchange program in the U.S. for 3–4 weeks with youth from Iraq, Canada, and Latin America. If you would like to receive more information and a notification when the application opens this fall, email [email protected].

SIT and The Forum on Education Abroad offer joint credentialing for The Forum’s Professional Certification in Education Abroad program. This program is intended for students and professionals who want to certify their knowledge and expertise in the practice of education abroad. The program is structured around The Forum’s Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad.

Join more than 20,000 SIT Alumni @ School for International Training’s LinkedIn! Is School for International Training listed in the education section of your LinkedIn profile? If not, add it (or change it*) today so you can begin networking with alumni of both SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute programs. LinkedIn’s Alumni tab makes it easy to see who else is in your metro area, find fellow alums that work at companies or organizations you may be interested in working for, and so much more. *If you currently have ‘SIT Graduate Institute’ listed in your LinkedIn profile you are absolutely welcome to leave that, but you will find many more alumni in tab on the School for International Training page.

SIT’s Critical Conversations Webinar series received a top award for Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media from The award recognizes creative, visionary approaches and original ideas in marketing, advertising, and digital media. It was presented on June 2 during the NAFSA conference in Denver, Colorado. SIT launched the Critical Conversations Webinar Series in fall 2020, at the height of the pandemic. It allowed SIT to maintain a presence in the global education community during a prolonged shutdown when study abroad programs were canceled and students and faculty were not in classrooms. Look for information this spring!

Want a t-shirt or a hoodie? Something with an SIT logo? Check out the online stores for The Experiment, SIT Study Abroad, SIT Graduate Institute, and World Learning!

Program Opportunities

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 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 2023 this fall.

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 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. Browse the 2022-2023 Viewbook.

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.