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2012 Fellows

Samieh Abutayeh




Samieh is from Covina, California. She attended California State University of Long Beach where she received her BA in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. As a Mexican-Arabic American, cross cultures exchanges have always captivated the young woman which inspired her to apply in the Peace Corps.  After a prolonged acceptance, she severed as a Youth Volunteer residing in a rural village of Dublanc, Dominica. Samieh collaborated with different counterparts implementing and organizing extracurricular activities in areas of sports & recreation, environmental protection, and leadership development. She also promoted the importance of literacy by co-teaching remedial reading and overseeing the Dublanc Primary School library reestablishment. Samieh intends to teach in Special Education with an emphasis in Intellectual Disabilities/Autism. She hopes to inspire her students that the sky is the limit no matter the barriers they may encounter.

Shanice Anderson




Shanice is originally from Chicago, IL. She is a graduate of the College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University. Shanice served in the Dominican Republic as a Community Economic Development volunteer, working with small businesses in the ecotourism industry.  Additionally, she created a female youth group named LAHIDES (Las Hijas Del Sol or The Daughters of the Sun) to assist in developing the reading, writing and oral skills of the young women at her project site.  Shanice has spent nearly seven years in Los Angeles working in the entertainment industry. She looks forward to starting her career in public service, working with children as well as living in New York City. Shanice will be teaching Bilingual/Bicultural Childhood Education.

Christie Carmichael





Christie is from the ‘mile high city’ of Denver, Colorado. She attended Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, where she received a BS in Special Education. Seeking adventure and cultural exchange during her final year at GSU, Christie applied to the Peace Corps. She served as a Special Education Trainer and Youth Development Volunteer in Peru from 2009 to 2011. While in Peru, Christie taught English classes, led workshops on healthy lifestyles, and worked very closely with a local special education school. Some of her most memorable projects included the creation of a student-run school café, a therapeutic horseback riding summer program, and several camps organized alongside fellow volunteers. As part of the 2012 cohort of Peace Corps Fellows, Christie looks forward to delving deeper into the study of special education and gaining valuable teaching experience in New York City schools. She dreams of someday running an Expeditionary Learning school where diverse learners are truly welcome.

Jane Clark



Jane is from Reading, Massachusetts and attended The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she studied International Relations and German.  In the Peace Corps, she served in the Republic of Macedonia from 2009 to 2011, primarily working with English teachers and students at a large multi-ethnic high school.  As a Peace Corps Fellow, she looks forward to teaching social studies at the secondary level.  Jane believes that a broad world view and deep understanding of the history, geography and cultures of all corners of the world are vital to understanding and appreciating one's own community and heritage, and hopes to inspire in her students a passion for the many elements of social studies.

Sarah Cosimano




Sarah hails from Endicott, a small town in Up-State New York. She moved to Brooklyn, New York to study at Pratt Institute, where she received a B.F.A. in Photography with a minor in Art History and a M.S. in Art and Design Education. While in the Peace Corps, she served in the southern African country of Lesotho, teaching middle and high school English Language and Literature. Sarah hopes to draw from her experiences as a photographer and teaching artist to implement different visual/auditory learning techniques in the upper elementary SpEd classroom.

Andrew Engel





Andrew grew up in the small farm town of Snohomish, WA, north of Seattle. After attending Santa Clara University in Northern California, he took his degree in biology to Mbeya Region, Tanzania as a secondary school biology teacher for Peace Corps and a private school just across the river from Malawi. In addition to teaching, he found great joy in secondary projects such as Girls Empowerment Conferences, installing water pipes and taps at a nearby school, and moderating English debate clubs. A travel and culture enthusiast, Andrew is excited to bring his passion for inspiring youth and desire to serve to the diverse and vibrant classrooms of New York City.

Kiera Foster



Kiera is from the South Bronx area of New York City. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo and a M.A. from Temple University. She has worked in various educational institutions that seek to combat educational inequality and expose students regardless of their financial status to quality education. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Kiera served as a Community Health/Youth Development Volunteer in Uganda (East Africa). She assisted her organization by conducting various capacity building workshops and created educational programs for a small rural community library. Kiera plans on teaching High School English in her hometown: the Bronx. She hopes to inspire her students to appreciate the power of literature and encourage them to become more invested in making positive contributions in their community.

Jordyn Ginnity



Jordyn was raised in a military family, and has moved around his entire life. He was born in Greece, but spent most of his childhood in upstate New York. He has also lived in Alabama, Virginia, Germany, Texas, Pennsylvania, and has now moved to NYC from Austin, Texas. He attended the University of Texas in Austin and studied Broadcast Journalism. Then served in Azerbaijan from 2008 to 2010 in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language program. He intends to teach middle school English through the Peace Corps Fellows program. His primary career goal is to empower youth to become more active and contributing citizens in their immediate and extended communities.

Megan Haggar




Megan comes all the way from East Glacier, a small reservation town on the border of the Blackfoot Nation and Glacier National Park in northern Montana. She attended the University of Montana and earned a B.A. in English, with a minor in Spanish. After graduating college, she moved to southern Spain to work as an English teacher in a Spanish primary school. Deciding that teaching and traveling was pretty cool, she applied to the Peace Corps and served two years in Tejen, Turkmenistan, where she taught English at two local schools and ran a free learning center for community members and teachers. After Peace Corps, she returned to Montana to earn her secondary teaching credentials in English and Spanish. In New York City, she looks forward to working in the classroom of a duel language or international school, as well as hopefully contribute to the development and progress of bilingual education in the U.S. public school system.

Patrick Hector





Patrick is from Sacramento, California and attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied photography, and the University of California, Davis, where he studied art history. In the Peace Corps, he assisted in the creation of a cultural art museum and taught English classes to artisans. He was also a health educator and photographer for Plan International. For the past two years, he has lived in Ossining, New York with his wife, Stella. Patrick plans to draw from his history, art, and museum background to teach secondary Social Studies.

Patrick Hunt




Patrick is from St. Louis, Missouri and attended University of Dayton and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Mongolia, teaching ESL in Uliastai, Zavkhan. He intends to teach secondary English and looks forward to continuing his teaching career in New York City.

Lori James




Lori is from Burlington Township, New Jersey. She graduated from Temple University with a BS in Education, Spanish. Immediately after, she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a TEFL Teacher Trainer in Nicaragua. Upon returning home she completed a MA in TESOL and began teaching Spanish in the School District of Philadelphia. The desire to promote multilingualism led her to study Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Teachers College.

Jennifer Kennedy




Jen hails from the great state of Vermont where we do not apologize for our cheese. Jen studied International Studies at Colby College with a minor in Mathematics which thankfully offered her the opportunity to serve as a Secondary School Mathematics Teacher in Malawi for two years with the Peace Corps. In addition to teaching Math, she also taught English and a little science, served as the matron of all things as the only female teacher in the school, started some clubs and built and supplied a science laboratory that now acts as a resource for the region. After Peace Corps she earned a Master’s in International Development from the University of Denver. From there Jen worked with an international education non-profit supporting projects throughout East Africa until being posted to a project back in Malawi supporting the new primary school curriculum. As a Peace Corps Fellow, she is excited to be back in the classroom working directly with students and sharing a love of learning to allow others the same opportunities to make the most of living in a global community.

Alisha Kennell





Alisha is from Pittsburgh, PA and she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in zoology and with minors in animal behavior and marine biology. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu as a business and community development advisor from 2009 to 2011. Alisha believes every child has the right to a good education; and she is excited to teach biology to students in NYC!

Nicacio Ledezma





Nicacio relocated to West Jefferson, North Carolina from Mexico at the age of 13. He graduated from Berea College in Kentucky with a B.A in Spanish and French. He served as a TEFL teacher in Cape Verde from 2009-2011. During his service as a PCV, he co-taught, taught English to elementary students, ran a life skills camp, and helped to establish an English Club. Nico plans to teach Bilingual Education at the Elementary level. Nico’s goals for all his students are to have access to equal education and to be exemplary citizens.

Benjamin Little






Ben hails from the great State of Montana, where he attended the university thereof to obtain his BA in biology and his initial teacher certification in 2006. The Peace Corps took him to the faraway land of Tanzania, where he taught biology and chemistry at a rural secondary school. His return to the US heralded a move to Boston, the expansion of his teaching certification to include general science, and the instruction of integrated science in a suburban middle school. He came to New York by way of South Africa, where he lived for a year while working at the American International Schools of Johannesburg and Pretoria and Premier Tutoring Services, a tutoring company of his own founding. Ben is excited at the prospect of teaching biology in the New York City public schools, and looks forward to sharing the experience with all of his peers in the Peace Corps Fellowship Program. His love of learning is infectious, and he styles himself as not just a biology teacher, but a mentor in the science of life.

Peder Olson




Peder was born and raised in Willmar, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He served in Peace Corps as a teacher trainer in Bayankhongor, Mongolia. He is looking forward to working as an Enlgish teacher in New York City.

Erica Rossi





Erica is the child of two military parents and as a result, has grown up around the world. She attended Elon University in North Carolina where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education. Shortly after graduation, she joined Peace Corps and served as a teacher trainer in the small country of Lesotho in southern Africa. As a Peace Corps Fellow, Erica looks forward to studying special education further with a focus on Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. It is Erica’s dream to foster a classroom where students feel empowered and free to explore their creativity and talents.

Leeza Salen




Leeza grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Kindergarten and Elementary Education. Leeza served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in the southern African nation of Lesotho, also known as The Mountain Kingdom. Her primary assignment was that of a resource teacher for pre-school and early primary educators. She also taught Life Skills to primary school students; which she sees as the most rewarding aspect of her service. Leeza believes that education has a unique power to create positive social change. She looks forward to teaching Social Studies in New York City where she hopes to empower diverse groups of students with the skills to become informed and compassionate citizens of this world.

Adam Santos




Adam grew up in the Chicago suburb of Palos Park and graduated from Tufts University where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. His Peace Corps service landed him in the small African country of Lesotho. He spent his two years teaching math, health, and baseball. Adam will teach high school math in New York City.

Michael Silver





Mike is from Denver, CO and graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics and Theatre from Grinnell College in Iowa. He served from ’09 to ’11 in Burkina Faso, where he taught math at a secondary school in a rural village. As a Peace Corps Fellow, he hopes to bring enthusiasm and compassion to the classroom to inspire his students to learn math, invest in their educations, and understand the larger world in which they live.

 

Karen Thompson




Karen grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. She studied International Studies and History at Kenyon College, a small, liberal arts college in Ohio. During her junior year in college, Karen took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Dakar, Senegal. It was in Senegal that she discovered her passion for traveling, learning languages, and studying culture and history. Upon graduation, she accepted the Peace Corps' invitation to serve in Togo as a Girls' Education and Empowerment Volunteer. Karen lived in a Konkomba village in northern Togo for two years during her Peace Corps service. While there, she enjoyed the time she spent in a classroom teaching English and as a result she decided to pursue education as a career. Karen looks forward to teaching social studies in a New York City classroom and to using her experiences to motivate and engage her students.

Miles Vidreiro