SIT welcomes five new academic directors

Announcement Date: September 10, 2019

Three women scientists bring expertise in fire management, fishing, frogs

SIT Study Abroad is pleased to welcome five new academic directors on programs in our 2019-20 portfolio. These outstanding leaders in their fields include four women—three scientists and a historian who focuses on gender and sexuality—and a journalist and researcher with deep experience in North Africa.

Dan Lynx Bernard

Daniel Lynx Bernard
Morocco: Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

Dan is a former newspaper reporter and online news editor who has worked in the Middle East and North Africa since 2001 as a consultant to projects strengthening media and civil society. He served as Egypt country director for the International Center for Journalists, overseeing training and exchange programs in the MENA region emphasizing the use of digital tools for public service journalism. Dan has an MP from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a BS in communications and news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has taught news and feature journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Based in Morocco since 2017, Dan has researched the role of civil society in local governance and social issues.

Dr Jana Byars

Dr. Jana Byars
Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

Jana holds a PhD in history from Penn State University. She is the author of Informal Marriage in Early Modern Venice (Routledge, 2018), the editor of Monsters and Borders in the Early Modern Imagination (Routledge, 2018), and the translator of Girolamo Benzoni’s 1565 travel narrative History of the New World (Penn State Press, 2017). She has also written reviews and articles about sexuality and gender in Europe. She comes to SIT after 20 years in American higher education, teaching at Iowa State, Whitman College, Marquette, Penn State, and Western Michigan. Her current research centers on sex work, rape, and questions of consent in a modern European and American context. Jana is a native Michigander happily living in Amsterdam.

Dr. Mari Gowland

Dr. María Gowland
Argentina: People, Environment, and Climate Change in Patagonia and Antarctica

Born and raised in Ushuaia, Argentina, María holds a PhD in biological sciences from the University of Buenos Aires. She studied for her undergraduate degree in the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn and returned to Ushuaia to carry out her PhD research on fishery and the reproductive biology of the Beagle Channel King Crab. María has been a member of the Marine Crustaceans Laboratory of the Austral Center for Scientific Research since 2010. María’s research interests include the perspectives, knowledge, and needs of the fishing sector and other stakeholders in a fundamental partnership for real success in natural resource management. Since 2012, María has been a math, ecology, conservation, and science professor at the National University of Tierra de Fuego and supervised students in field and laboratory internships.

Dr. Oliver Nyakunga

Dr. Oliver Nyakunga
Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology

Oliver holds a doctorate in fire and grazing effects on vegetation from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venezia in Italy; a master’s degree in environmental science from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands; and a master for education for sustainability from the London South Bank University United Kingdom. Her research interests center around wildlife ecology, wildlife management, water resources and invasive species, and she has published articles on various conservation issues. Oliver has more than 17 years of teaching experience in the discipline of wildlife management and conservation. For more than six years, she has worked within the wildlife sector in Tanzania. Prior to serving as academic director with SIT, she led field training trips to protected areas in Tanzania for students from College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka; Manchester Metropolitan University (UK); and Oshkosh Wisconsin University (USA).

Dr. Andolalao "Ando" Rakotoarison

Dr. Andolalao Rakotoarison
Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Ando completed her master’s degree in biology in 2011 at the University of Antananarivo. She received her PhD in 2017 at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, with a specialization in taxonomy revision of the microhylid cophyline frogs from Madagascar. In 2018, she became a lecturer at an affiliate institution of the University of Antananarivo at Soavinandriana, Itasy, Madagascar. The same year, she was appointed co-chair of the Amphibian Specialist Group Madagascar, a network of national and international research specialists representing the Malagasy government, universities, and NGOs. For the past eight years, Ando’s research has focused on the resolution of the enormous taxonomy gap within the Malagasy cophyline subfamily by maximizing taxonomy revision. This revision will contribute to the establishment of a conservation strategy for each nominal species.