SIT Study Abroad Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2022

Group of 20 young adult students practicing tai chi with an instructor in China

A Note from Carla Lineback, Director of Alumni Engagement

As you may have read in President Sophia Howlett’s January update, SIT Study Abroad had a very successful return to immersive global programming in the fall 2021 semester with 28 programs in the field.

For the current semester, spring 2022, three of our multi-country International Honors Programs return to in-field programming and six IHP programs are slated to resume a full four-continent schedule in the fall.

We also are continuing to offer virtual internships and language courses this year. As Tiffany Padilla, a virtual Nepali language learner told SIT, “There is immense value in experiencing a study abroad of any kind—even online—if one simply takes the time to pay attention and take the leap.” And Erica O’Sullivan, alumna of the SIT Cameroon Virtual Internship, said, “I had to think deeply about how I approached people and presented materials so that it made sense in their cultural context. It was an experience that was very rewarding and eye-opening for me.” Read more about how the program impacted Erica’s perspective and career goals.

In case you missed the announcement, we are excited to have Wagaye Johannes join us as Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Wagaye comes to us from Diversity Abroad, where she served as director of operations and organizational development. Importantly, she led an assessment of World Learning and School for International Training in 2020–21, so she joins us with a strong understanding of our roles and responsibilities. You’ll likely be hearing much more about Wagaye after she steps into her new position in late February.

SIT and the larger organization of World Learning have always prepared people to live and work in new environments. It was a former Experimenter, Sargent Shriver, who, as the first director of the Peace Corps, relied on The Experiment to train the first Peace Corps volunteers here in Vermont—an initiative that led to the establishment of SIT. Today, World Learning and SIT are supporting 100 Afghan refugees who are resettling in southern Vermont by providing short-term housing, cultural orientation training, and English language instruction. Many staff, faculty, and alumni are a part of this important effort on our campus. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to support these efforts, please write to alumni@sit.edu.

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)

Policy research by Deborah Stone, IHP 1967, is referenced in the book Resisting Garbage written by Lily Baum Pollans, IHP Cities faculty 2009 and 2010. The book presents a new approach to understanding practices of waste removal and recycling in U.S. cities, highlighted by a comparison of Boston and Seattle. Lily is an assistant professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College in New York.

Tait (Davidson) Flint, France 2000 and SIT Graduate Institute 2004, recently started a new role with Metro Nashville Public Schools as a family outreach translator in Swahili. She says 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 her three daughters, ages 4, 7 and 9!

Enuma Menkiti, IHP 2000, is director of College at the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, a K–12 college preparatory community where teachers prepare students to have a positive impact on society. Enuma is also involved with the Emengini Institute founded by her late father to address global challenges from perspectives that take seriously the contributions of Africa and other neglected voices.

Kristina Powell, Nepal 2004, has dedicated her career to community building at Maine-based nonprofits. For seven years she worked in admissions and enrollment at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), building relationships with colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, and later co-managed the study abroad advising department. At Bates College, she served as associate director, developing and implementing new programs for underrepresented alumni, students, and their families. Kristina later managed the development team at the Center for Grieving Children, based in Portland. In June 2021, she received her MBA while serving as director of the Berwick Fund at Berwick Academy, a Pre-K through grade 12 independent school in South Berwick. She is now executive director of The Telling Room, a literary arts education organization whose mission is to empower youth through writing and share their voices with the world.

María Lis Baiocchi, Croatia 2006, published an article, “The Essential Activism of Migrant Women Household Workers’ Rights Advocates,” in Exertions, the short-form web publication of the Society for the Anthropology of Work. The article documents migrant women’s labor activism during the pandemic. María Lis was also a contributing editor for the Association for Feminist Anthropology column in the magazine Anthropology News.

Tamara Knox, IHP Cities 2009, has a master’s degree in city planning and a master of science in real estate development from MIT. She is a developer who uses a holistic, urban planning mindset to navigate complex challenges while preserving the character of neighborhoods and limiting displacement. She is interested in rethinking funding and ownership structures for development projects and how to encourage social interactions through the physical and financial design of her projects. With a background in urban economics, affordable housing policy, and development, Tamara is CEO and co-founder of Frolic, which aims to add density to cities in need of quality housing that is community-oriented, affordable over time, and that helps more people build wealth.

Justice Shorter, Uganda 2012 and SIT Graduate Institute 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.”

Janie Kaiser, Experiment Morocco 2010 and Nepal 2014, studied child development in college. As part of her research project during her semester with SIT, she saw gaps in the education system in the remote area where she was located. Upon sharing her findings, her local partner suggested they start their own program, which is now known as the Education Concern Center Nepal. Read more about Janie and the program.

Peter Gorman, Switzerland 2017, is a regional clinic operations manager for a health care management company overseeing 11 medical practices in the Chicago area. During his experience studying on the SIT Global Health and Development Policy program, he had a short-term internship with the World Health Organization and United Nations Library of Science and conducted independent research that was later published.

Keaton Belbas, Ghana 2018, has been living in Portland, Ore., where she thoroughly enjoys her job as director of an after-school enrichment program for elementary school-aged children. She spends her free time exploring the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and learning to love the rain.

Zane Libke, Ecuador 2019, returned to the field and, together with local organizations, started the first field genomics lab in Ecuador. He performs the entire process of DNA extraction, amplification, visualization, and sequencing without ever leaving the field. He has been generating sequence data for 149 species of reptiles and amphibians registered at the Sumak Kawsay In Situ field station. In January and February 2022, Zane has been working with Instituto Nacional De Biodiversidad to sequence museum samples of frogs, reptiles, mammals, insects, plants, and fungi, and train laboratory technicians in nanopore sequencing. Read more about Zane’s work.

Amara Evering, Cameroon 2019, has been named SIT’s most recent Alice Rowan Swanson Fellow. Amara graduated from Emory University and will carry out her fellowship project in Namibia, where she will draw on her Cameroonian experiences and independent research to produce a series of 10 radio stories of women’s empowerment in collaboration with the NGO Sister Namibia.

SIT was honored to be named a 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.

Announcements

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 jane.yates@worldlearning.org.

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 apparel including t-shirts, hoodies, and hats. More items coming soon!

The Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship supports SIT Study Abroad 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 during the program. Applications are accepted twice annually, with deadlines each year on March 1 and October 1.

Applications are open for all 2022 Professional Engagement Programs. All interested faculty and study abroad professionals are welcome to apply.

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 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. 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.