Winning the school Geography Bee in 6th grade spurred Melissa’s love for all things social studies. (She still has the trophy if you want to see it.) Originally from Upstate New York, Melissa moved across the United States to attend Seattle University to study political science & photography. Following graduation, she served two terms with AmeriCorps, teaching and working with environmental and humanitarian non-profit organizations. AmeriCorps led Melissa to her position as the Camp Program Director at Outdoor Journeys in Big Bear, California. After 3 years in Southern California, she set off for Peace Corps Lesotho in Southern Africa. While there, she supported small business development and taught life skills to youth, adults, and the elderly. As a Peace Corps Fellow, Melissa uses her love of social studies to connect students to their community and the world.
Mike is from Short Hills, New Jersey, and attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he earned a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. After graduating, Mike joined Peace Corps Lesotho, teaching English and life skills to students in grades 4-6 at Matholeng Primary School. In addition to his classroom teaching, Mike and his counterpart Shakhane Thamae co-facilitated interventions of Grassroot Soccer, a program that uses soccer-based drills and activities to educate students about HIV/AIDS. After Peace Corps, Mike moved to New York City to try out standup comedy, where he wowed (read: was present in front of) audiences with jokes that required intimate knowledge of the Kennedy administration. Mike is looking forward to finding out what his students are passionate about and sharing his joy for reading!
David was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in English, Spanish, and classics, and minoring in history. After college, he served in the Peace Corps in Micronesia as a Youth & Community Development Volunteer. His main projects in that role were teaching English, teacher training, and library development. After returning to the States, David taught bilingual education in Galveston, did a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad on math and science education in India, did a Fulbright Memorial Fellowship studying education in Japan, and earned his Cambridge CELTA certificate in ESL. He earned his MA in English at Princeton and will soon defend his dissertation and complete his PhD, focusing on medieval English and Arabic literature. In addition to Micronesia, he has taught in Japan and Korea, and he has studied in Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. David is very pleased to join Teachers College and the Peace Corps Fellows Program. He looks forward to teaching English at the high school level, helping students to reach their full potential through the incredible power of language, literature, and creative expression.
Amanda Asuncion Marzan was born and raised in New York City. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from The College of New Rochelle. Amanda served in a small town in the Eastern Mongolia as a TEFL and Community Development Volunteer. She encouraged and supported a group of five teachers to expand their skill set and develop their methodologies in a small school community of 500 students. In cooperation with the province's Education Director, Amanda conducted workshops for over forty English teachers to share diverse methods of teaching and improve their English. She hosted TEDx events as we;; as lighthearted English competitions with four local schools. Amanda is continuing to give back to the community from which she came by teaching social studies and encouraging her students to continue to pay it forward.
Anderson Bridgemohan is a New York City native from The Bronx. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history and minored in African Studies and Spanish at Fordham University. Anderson lived and worked as a Community Health Educator in a remote and rural community near the Haitian border in the culturally vibrant and diverse, province of San Juan, in the Dominican Republic. Collaboratively with community members, Anderson worked to empower students and adults to make healthy life decisions through a comprehensive health curriculum taught in and out of schools reaching over 200 students. In solidarity with the community, Anderson led the successful construction of a basketball court, 50 improved cookstoves, and a telecommunication antenna bringing improved health outcomes for residents. Anderson is a social studies educator and hopes to inspire youth from his community to become global citizens and agents of transformation in their local and global communities.
Clara was born and raised in a small town in northern Kentucky. She attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree, majoring in Occupational Safety with a minor in Environmental Management. She joined the Peace Corps in Fiji as a Community Youth Development volunteer. Clara worked in a primary and secondary school, teaching sex education and tutoring reading and English skills. She had no prior plans to teach, but she quickly fell in love with education and building relationships with her students. In Fiji, she helped form and coach the first girls’ soccer team at her school. She plans on teaching English at the high school level in New York City. Clara is passionate about getting to know her students; for her education is about the connection between educator, student, and community. As a Peace Corps Fellow at Teachers College Clara’s purpose is to foster this connection in her classroom.
Dichaba is from Syracuse, New York. She studied social anthropology and public health at Harvard University and joined the Peace Corps shortly after graduating. As a Healthy Schools volunteer in the Ixil region of Guatemala from 2015 - 2017, she worked with the education community to increase health education and gender empowerment in schools. While working with teachers, she realized she herself wanted to be in the classroom. Currently, Dichaba is working towards her Master's degree in bilingual/bicultural education at Teacher's College and is very excited to be an elementary teacher in a bilingual school!
Andy’s story starts with him winning the fourth grade mancala tournament at his suburban Chicago school. Not wanting too peak too early, he laid low for a few years, figuring out middle and high school, and planning his college years at the University of Puget Sound. After double majoring in biology and religious studies, he took off to Ghana where he served as an education volunteer, teaching math, science, and computer classes. Andy enjoyed working with students in and out of the classroom, helping facilitate a girls' athletics club and developing the first Student Friendly Schools conference targeted to Counterparts. He spent a third year helping other volunteers with their projects, developed literacy and classroom management trainings for new volunteers, and established the first annual Drop Everything And Read Day in Ghana. Andy found that he missed being in the classroom teaching science. He also discovered he wanted to focus on high school students. Andy believes that social justice begins in education, and there’s no reason that learning can’t be fun. He’s really excited to continue his professional development at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Sarah was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Human Development from Seattle Pacific University. She served as an English Education Volunteer in East Java, Indonesia, from April 2012 to June 2014. Highlights during her service include bringing the first Camp GLOW to her region, and partnering with her school’s English teachers to implement creative, student-centered curriculum. After Indonesia, Sarah worked in an administrative role in the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College and coached a high school swim team. Sarah is passionate about discovering students’ strengths and helping them set and achieve goals. Sarah is teaching social studies and is excited to share stories from history that often go untold. She hopes that social studies will broaden students’ worldview and shape them into critical thinkers who are active and engaged citizens.
Jenesis is from Los Angeles, California and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in American Studies with a Minor in Education. From 2014 – 2016, Jenesis served with the Peace Corps as a Youth in Development volunteer in Aldea Vásquez, Totonicapán, Guatemala. During her service she focused on promoting leadership skills, developing sexual health knowledge, and preventing substance abuse in the local middle-school aged youth population. In order to ensure that these lessons were being reinforced at home, Jenesis also implemented a 7-month family communication workshop with local parent groups. During this time, she also developed an innovative teaching curriculum for use by instructors. In addition to this grassroots work, Jenesis partnered with the Ministry of Education to train 50 rural teachers from across the region in dynamic pedagogical methodologies. Jenesis is pursuing a Masters in Bilingual/Bicultural Education in hopes of closing the achievement gap with immigrant students from Latin America.
Russel Ferguson was born in Minneapolis. He studied English and Spanish at Minnesota State University Moorhead. While there, Russel began to view his life as an opportunity to grow through helping others. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Russel taught English as a Foreign Language to Indonesian high school students. He also coordinated weekly lesson planning meetings with fellow English teachers, founded and coached a competitive debate team, and provided English lessons for all ages in his host community. At Teachers College, Russel is working to hone his teaching skills to better serve his community in New York. He currently teaches 8th grade English Language Arts in a middle school in the Bronx. He has also started an after-school program that aims to improve literacy skills through strategic games like Magic: The Gathering.
Josh is originally from Maria Stein, Ohio. He studied special education at Bowling Green State University and completed a year of student teaching in Houston, Texas. After graduating, Josh joined the Peace Corps and served as a TEFL volunteer in East Java, Indonesia from March 2014 until June 2016. In Indonesia, he co-taught English classes for grades 10-12 at a Vocational High School. He also helped organize extracurricular activities such as an English Club and Hiking Club for both the Vocational High School and the local middle school. In New York City, Josh teaches high school social studies in Brooklyn. He strongly believes that the classroom can be transformed into a place of community and operate as a platform for both personal growth and the fight for greater social justice. He is incredibly grateful for this opportunity.
Sarah Lovejoy is from Tacoma, Washington but has yet to live any place for more than four years. She has used her travels to spread a love of Bananagrams across multiple regions and countries. Sarah attended the University of Notre Dame, where she studied Western philosophy and literature. She cultivated a passion for social justice in education by working with advocacy groups and teaching in diverse settings. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania 2014-16, she taught English in a rural secondary school, collaborated to found an annual Regional Spelling Bee, and worked with fellow teachers to promote empowerment and healthy choices among their students. After Peace Corps, she worked for the Tacoma Public School District where she realized that middle schoolers rock. She enjoys learning with her fellow Peace Corps Fellows at Teachers College and teaches middle school language arts in the Bronx!
Yin grew up playing on a small farm in the deep valleys of Southern China. She came to the US with her family in her late childhood where she discovered a special appreciation for education. As a TEFL and Community Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia, she worked on a wide range of projects including community English clubs, peer mentoring clubs, youth empowerment camps, advocacy initiatives for individuals with disabilities and more. Serving in Mongolia helped Yin expand her horizons of world culture and deepened her appreciation for her own heritage. As an RPCV and Peace Corps Fellow, Yin is pursuing her M.A. in Bilingual and Bicultural Education at Teachers College. Yin is integrating her experiences abroad into the NYC public school classrooms and is motivating her students to discover and share both their own heritage and culture as well as those of people around them.
Alton is from Fort Myers, Florida. He moved to Tampa to attend college at the University of South Florida. He participated in a study abroad learning service trip to Ghana and became inspired to teach English in Africa. Upon completing his degree in history, Alton was invited to serve as a TEFL teacher in Madagascar. During his time as a Peace Corps English Teacher in Madagascar, Alton created two Girls Leading Our World camps and opened an English club at his local school. Alton also worked alongside the top English teachers in Madagascar to help restructure the English curriculum. His strong desire for teaching led him to apply to Teachers College. Alton holds an unbreakable passion towards creating social justice, and believes that education is a viable tool for success that each child is entitled to. He is teaching social studies at a high school in Harlem.
Iriss Clymer hails from the small town of McKinleyville nestled in the Northern California redwoods. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a major in English Education, Iriss felt inspired by her time volunteering in various San Francisco public schools in preparing students with real life skills pitted against social injustices. After receiving her TEFL certification, she served for three years in the Philippines as a TEFL volunteer for elementary, high school, college, and out-of-school youth. Following in the social justice practices, Iriss helped organize community gender health camps, teacher and school-head trainings, teacher licensure exam reviews, and diversity workshops that focused on indigenous peoples’ education and multi-ethnic classes. As a Peace Corps Fellow, Iriss shares her commitment and enthusiasm for social change with her high school English students in the Bronx.
Laura grew up in Helena, Montana. She attended Reed College, where she majored in cultural anthropology. After finishing school, she worked in Los Angeles before traveling to Morocco, where she served as a Youth Development Peace Corps volunteer for three years. Her projects focused on the rights and empowerment of youth with special needs, women's health, and ESL education. After she completed her service, she remained in Morocco to teach English at a private school. Laura teaches special education in Brooklyn.
Julia is originally from Texas but spent her childhood moving from London to Karachi to Jakarta, then back to Texas. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2007, having double-majored in Global Studies and Comparative Literature. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she went on a journey that ranged from teaching “Super Beginner” English to Tibetan refugees in India to volunteering on an organic olive farm in Southern France. She served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer from 2011-2013 in the Philippines. During her service, she taught English and Creative Writing at a public high school. As a student at Teachers College, Julia is pursuing her M.A. in the Teaching of English. She currently teaches ELA and Creative Writing in the South Bronx.
Sarah Hinton hails from Tacoma, Washington and graduated from Western Washington University with a major in linguistics and minors in teaching ESL and Spanish. She first served as an English teacher in Nicaragua from 2011-13,and then served again in Colombia as a Small Business and Youth Development volunteer from 2014-15. Additionally, she taught job acquisition and university prep skills to at-risk, high school youth in Portland, Oregon. Her teaching and general life philosophy is to be kind to all; everyone is facing a difficult battle you may know nothing about. She is excited to instill a love of learning in Spanish and English in her students in early elementary grades and to create an inviting bilingual space in her classroom. Sarah is currently a second grade teacher in a dual language program in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She is pursuing a master’s in bilingual/ bicultural education.
Tara Lesser is from Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She served as a primary school English teacher in Struga, Macedonia. Outside of school, Tara was the Project Manager for Macedonia National Spelling Bee and a Mentor for United States Agency for International Development’s (US AID) Small Project Assistance Program. Alongside her counterpart, a local special education teacher, Tara developed and implemented programming and curriculum for a program called “Together for Struga.” This program supported the integration of students with disabilities with Turkish, Albanian, and Macedonian students through monthly team building activities. As a student at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Tara is working towards a master's degree in intellectual disability and autism.
Amit was born in India but has spent the majority of his life in the Lone Star State. From 2011-2013 he was an education volunteer in Ghana, where he taught middle school math. Now, he is teaching high school Statistics in the Bronx. He likes teaching because he gets to work with a variety of people and gain new perspectives. Math is an especially exciting subject to teach because its applications are universal. His goal as a teacher is to sharpen the minds of his students as well as his own to aid in the creation of a society of critical thinkers.
Maria is from the Bay Area of Northern California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in International Development Studies and shortly after she joined the Peace Corps as a Youth Developer from 2012-2015 in the Eastern Caribbean. On the island nation of Saint Lucia, Maria worked with the National Youth Council to develop leadership skills among secondary school students throughout the entire country. Maria employed history in her training sessions and realized then she had found a passion. Currently, Maria is enjoying teaching 10th graders global history at a high school in Brooklyn. She loves working with a diverse set of students who teach her new things every day!
After graduating Williams College in Massachusetts, Michele St John served as a Health Education volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Returning to New York, she worked in arts, media and marketing for over a decade before turning to teaching.
She test-drove teaching by working as a substitute teacher for a year in East Harlem, New York before entering the Peace Corps Fellows program at Teachers College. As a high school English teacher, she has taught in the Bronx and Manhattan and has a passion for delivering creative and innovative lessons combining her experience in the arts, media, and global travel. Through teaching, she aims to develop the critical and interdisciplinary thinking skills students need for the next century by developing teaching curricula balancing a rigorous, aesthetic educational approach incorporating the visual and performing arts with the the global perspectives that Peace Corps service cultivates.
Originally from Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, James studied English and Secondary Education as an undergraduate at Villanova University where he “caught sense” while volunteering, tutoring, and student teaching at a public high school in West Philadelphia. From there, James joined the Peace Corps and served in Indonesia as an English teacher in a small town called Ngronggot, the name of which only the locals could pronounce correctly. Now he lives and teaches in the central Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant at a small public school. With his 9th graders, James is working to create an ELA classroom space that is both safe and brave, where he and his students can step into their true selves while working hard to develop the skills and understandings necessary to navigate and push back against an often dehumanizing and unjust society. It’s a work in progress.
Rebecca grew up in Leavenworth, WA and attended Western Washington University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and social studies. During and after college, she directed youth leadership camps, worked as an AmeriCorps tutor, and volunteered with community outreach groups . From 2012-2014, Rebecca served with the Peace Corps as a Community Health volunteer in Morrope, Peru. During her service, she focused on training teen health promoters in sexual health and positive decision making and organizing a healthy homes network of young mothers. Additionally, she co-designed and implemented a female empowerment camp and participated in an English Teaching Committee. Rebecca is teaching high school social studies and hopes to inspire her students to understand the world from a variety of different perspectives.
Alex is from Long Island, New York and graduated from St. Joseph's College. He served as a secondary mathematics teacher and basketball coach from 2011-2014 in Liberia. Alex plans on teaching Mathematics and coaching basketball at the high school grade level in New York City. He believes that education and a worldly view are the essential tools that foster the path and passion for each individual's life.
Meredith grew up in Westchester, New York. She attended Duke University and majored in her favorite subject, mathematics. After college, she traveled to Mali, West Africa with the Peace Corps, where her main projects focused on women and girl's empowerment. Meredith has taught in many countries, including Turkey, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Most recently, she taught at an all-girls high school that focuses on outdoor education and traveling. As a student at Columbia's Teachers College, Meredith is studying for a masters in mathematics education.
Kelly grew up in Damascus, Maryland and attended McDaniel College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. For three years she worked at a Maryland high school as a secretary and program development coordinator. She also volunteered with two organizations which serve at-risk youth in her community. From 2012-2014 she served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in northern Burkina Faso. During her service, Kelly worked with community partners to open a preschool and develop the first early childhood education program in her village. She also published culturally appropriate children's books, hosted anti-violence and student rights workshops, and tutored primary and secondary school students.
Ronja is a New Yorker who has been working in education and the arts for the past ten years. After graduating from Brooklyn College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education and a minor in Fine Arts, she served with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Ronja taught middle school English, developed an anti-violence teacher-training workshop, and led weekly girls empowerment clubs. Upon returning to the States, Ronja worked as a Child Development Specialist providing parenting workshops to mothers affected by HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. While studying at Teachers College, Ronja will be working as an elementary school teacher focusing on Intellectual Disabilities and Autism.
A rural Minnesota native, Kateri has worked in diverse education contexts. While earning her B.A. in English from Cornell University, she guided youth canoe trips in Canada and taught in various outdoor education programs. She then went to Mexico, first as a Curriculum Development and Outreach Intern for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and later as a TEFL-certified teen mentor and English teacher for Casa Franciscana. Kateri later joined Peace Corps China where she served as a University English Teacher for two years, teaching American Literature and English Teaching Methodologies to first-generation college students in Guizhou Province. She began her career in urban education as an Associate Educator for Minneapolis Public Schools before joining the 2015 Peace Corps Fellows cohort at Teachers College.
Amy is originally from Horsham, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Gwynedd-Mercy University with degrees in Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education. Throughout college Amy worked with children with special needs as an assistant applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist and tutor. After graduation she taught 1st and 8th grade at a private school for children with learning disabilities. From 2011-2014 Amy worked as an English co-teacher in a small village in the Republic of Macedonia as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was selected to be a teacher trainer to help prepare new Peace Corps volunteers to work in Macedonian schools. Additionally, she served as the communication coordinator for GLOW, a girl’s leadership camp, provided homework assistance and led other various after school activities. Working with children with special needs, especially children with intellectual disabilities and autism, has always been a passion for Amy. She is excited to have the opportunity to study and teach as a Peace Corps Fellow in New York City.
Caitlin is from upstate New York and holds a degree in Art education from Georgia State University. She served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa from 2011-2014, where she taught vocational art at schools for the deaf. At the schools, Caitlin trained teachers in sign language, cultivated a farm, generated student led health clubs, and renovated libraries. She collaborated with a group of deaf teachers to produce a 1500 word Ghanaian Sign Language Dictionary. Caitlin worked with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education to develop a health curriculum and HIV/AIDS manual, which is used nationally in schools for the deaf. She facilitated a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp and designed a leadership camp for deaf students. After her return from Ghana, Caitlin worked for Youth Advocacy Program by promoting self-advocacy and support systems for children with Autism. She looks forward to working in a New York City elementary school in correlation to being a fellow in the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism program at Columbia's Teachers College.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Olivia attended the University of Wisconsin -- Eau Claire and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Secondary English Education. She served with the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan in 2013 & 2014. While in Azerbaijan, Olivia worked with the regional Ministry of Education as a teacher trainer, leading bi-monthly trainings for area English educators and co-teaching English courses in various grade levels. Outside of school hours, Olivia facilitated advanced English language courses for area professionals and students pursuing education abroad, while also working as an editor for PCAZ's official blog. As a Peace Corps Fellows, Olivia intends to teach middle school English and continue her commitment to encouraging and inspiring all students to reach and live at their highest, full potential.
Nathan calls Florida home, where he has spent most of his life and academic career, including graduating from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy as well as a minor in Spanish Language. He was granted the 2011 John and Dorothy Iorio Award for Outstanding English Undergraduate upon completion of his English Honors Thesis. Afterward, he gained a wealth of international and cultural experience studying in southern Spain, traveling through Europe and West Africa; during his Peace Corps service in Sierra Leone, he taught English Language Arts at junior and senior secondary Schools. As a Language Arts teacher in rural Sierra Leone, Nathan committed himself to many community projects, which included a malaria awareness campaign, a girl's leadership conference, and literacy programs culminating in the creation of a new school library. Nathan expects to complete his Master of Arts in Secondary English Education by 2017 as part of the current Peace Corps Fellows Cohort at Columbia's Teachers College.
Bryan is a native of Washington State; he has been working in education and youth development since 2007. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English with Creative Writing Emphasis from the University of Washington in 2007. After working as both a museum guide and community college writing center tutor for several years, Bryan joined the Peace Corps and served as both an English Teacher and Teacher Trainer for two years in Cambodia. He extended his service for one further year to work as a Curriculum Development Advisor, serving as the liaison between Peace Corps Cambodia and the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport. Bryan is a member of the 2015 Peace Corps Fellows cohort and will be graduating with his M.A. in the Teaching of English in the spring of 2017.
Brian grew up on Long Island, NY in a town called Bayport. He attended Bayport-Blue Point High School and Binghamton University, where he received a B.S. in Chemistry and then went to Georgia Tech for a Masters degree (also in Chemistry). After completing graduate school, he joined the Peace Corps where he served as a Chemistry & Math teacher at a collge in Guinea, in a petite village called Kokoulo. Brian also co-led the first national science camp in Guinea prior to being evacuated due to Ebola in 2014. He plans to teach high school chemistry where he hopes to spark a love of science and develop a sense of inquisitiveness in his students.
Julie hails from Massachusetts and graduated from Suffolk University in Boston 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. After graduation, Julie served as a full time AmeriCorps volunteer in the St. Louis Public School system as an education volunteer. During her service, Julie and her AmeriCorps teammates oversaw the organization and implementation of the school’s first field day activities for the students, as well as two book fairs giving every student in the school at least two books to own. After her service with AmeriCorps Julie joined the Peace Corps and saw herself placed as a literacy tutor in a rural Jamaican school. Upon completion of her two years of service, Julie saw over 1,000 books added to her school library, the creation of a literacy center for the school teachers, the creation of both a book club and arts club, and grew the school’s volleyball program to a parish championship in 2014.
A Connecticut native, Gabrielle graduated from Emerson College in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in Print and Multimedia Journalism. She received her TEFL certification following graduation; shortly after, she moved to Madagascar to serve as a TEFL Volunteer with the Peace Corps. While in Madagascar, Gabrielle taught 6th and 11thgrade English in urban public schools as well as weekly English courses for employees of two local NGOs. She also facilitated conversation classes, film screenings, and children's programs at a local English resource facility. In her second year of service, Gabrielle co-designed and led a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp for young women in her region that focused on reproductive health and female empowerment. As a result of her experiences in Madagascar, Gabrielle decided to pursue a degree in education. Currently, she is working towards a M.A. in Intellectual Disability and Autism Education at Teachers College.
Having been born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Kimberle attended Temple University, where she encountered a professor who served in Peace Corps Afghanistan. He introduced her to the limitless possibilities of service. Their subsequent conversations became the catalyst for her own Peace Corps Morocco Adventure. Having always had a passion for technology, philosophy, and the essence of human communication, Kimberle grew to immensely enjoy teaching English, among other things, to the Moroccan youth of my local Dar Chabab (youth center). It was there in that tiny town, so far from home, that she developed what could be called her more expanded world view. Kimberle observed the education systems, both at home and abroad. She can remember scanning the small, smiling faces of her students and thinking simply, we can do better. As a result of these experiences, she is very excited to have been granted the opportunity to teach English to middle school children here in the United States, while learning all she can in Teachers College at Columbia University.
Hannah is from Columbia, Maryland and attended St. Mary's College of Maryland, a small liberal arts school, from 2006-2010. She graduated with a degree in Political Science with a concentration in African Studies and a minor in Theater Studies. She served with the Peace Corps in South Africa from 2011-2013, where she taught 7th grade Mathematics and co-taught English and Social Studies classes throughout the elementary and middle school level. Hannah also developed extracurricular activities for children, organizing dance, music, and art lessons. She also designed a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) program for young women targeting HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the community, developing leadership skills and addressing career development. While studying at Teachers College, Hannah is currently teaching at Robert F. Wagner Middle School in Manhattan while pursuing her Master's degree in Intellectual Disabilties and Autism.
Kevin DeNunzio was born and raised in the New York metropolitan area and received his B.A. in Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University's Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process in 2010. Thereafter, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania where he taught English at all academic levels and managed social justice projects for Roma youth. Since returning to the United States, Kevin has remained in contact with Romanian educators, sharing best practices and methodologies in English education. Currently, Kevin is a Peace Corps Fellow at Teachers College and a 10th-grade English teacher at Pelham Preparatory Academy in the Bronx.
Liam Flaherty is from New York City and has been teaching English Language Arts for four years. After graduating from Hunter College with a BA in Creative Writing and a minor in History, Liam joined the Peace Corps, where he served in Sierra Leone. For two years he taught English and Math at a Girls Junior and a Boys Senior Secondary School in a small, rural community. Along with his teaching duties, he wrote grants and raised money, partnering with WorldVision to create a computer class using the internet and build toilets for his schools. He extended his service for a third year after being selected to be the first "Stomping out Malaria in Africa" coordinator for Sierra Leone. Returning to America in 2013, Liam became a member of the January cohort for the Peace Corps Fellows program, completing the SIT certification program in August 2014. Liam is currently teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at MS 343 in the South Bronx, where he teaches Humanities, focusing on writing skills, as well as current and social studies.
Abbey Kornhauser is from the Chicago area and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 2011-2013 as an Eduation and Youth Development volunteer. She is a member of the 2014 cohort of the Peace Corps Fellows program. She is currently teaching Global History and Health in an Integrated Co-Teaching classroom at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn.
Christina Martin is from Southern California. Christina attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Environmental Conservation. She graduated with her B.S. degree, with high honors, in 2004. Upon graduating, Christina began her Peace Corps service in Guatemala where she specialized in environmental programs which included environmental education and eco-tourism facilitation. Christina moved to New York to commence her Peace Corps Fellowship in May of 2014. She is in the process of completing her M.A. in Intellectual Disabilities and Autism at Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently teaches as a fifth grade special education teacher at PS90 in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Szasha is from Petrolia, a rural town nestled along the Lost Coast of Northern California. She earned her B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley where tutoring, developing after-school programs for at-risk middle school students, and volunteering as a summer English teacher in Nepal led her to her passion of education as a means to social equality and justice. After spending her final semester of college studying abroad in Ireland, Szasha served as a 6th-10th grade English teacher in both Cape Verde and Mozambique. Aside from teaching, Szasha spearheaded several youth and community development projects including youth leadership and life-skills camps, girls empowerment groups, an English Theater Club, a Malaria outreach campaign, an HIV/AIDS peer education group, and an HIV/AIDS Sports Education program which included the construction of a community basketball court and mural. Now, Szasha is looking forward to revisiting her love for History and jumping back into the classroom as a high school Social Studies teacher. She is passionate about providing a high quality education for all students and is looking forwards to continuing to change the world one young empowered mind at a time.
Michael Skvarch is a Florida native who moved to upstate New York, where he attended high school in a small town outside of Syracuse and university at SUNY Buffalo. He graduated from SUNY Buffalo in 2011 with a B.S. in Physics and B.A. double major in Mathematics and Spanish. Michael was involved in a variety of activities throughout his undergraduate career. His activities included: tutoring, first-year orientation leader, and research in Computational Mathematics. Michael studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain his junior year of college which sparked his interest in both languages and travel. After graduating from college, Michael joined the Peace Corps where he served for two years in Mozambique and taught English and Computer Science at the secondary level. While in Mozambique, Michael organized science fairs at both the local and provincial levels, managed the building of a local community center, as well as facilitated, organized, and managed workshops at the local, provincial, and national levels around topics of women's empowerment. Michael currently teaches Physics to seniors at the Brooklyn International High School.
Craig Smith, an Oregon native, has been an educator since 2005. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with High Honors in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and Spanish, Craig was named the First Year Teacher of the Year at Garinger High School in Charlotte, NC. In 2007, Craig worked to found an international development non-profit in Ecuador. He went on to teach middle school Spanish in Oakland, CA prior to serving in the Peace Corps as a co-English teacher in the Kingdom of Jordan. In his career, Craig has taught all grades between 2nd and 12th and now works as a 3rd grade bilingual educator in Brooklyn, New York.
Matt Thornton hails from Massachusetts, where he received his B.A. in English Literature from UMass Amherst in 2009. He has worked with adolescents in every facet from summer camps to after-school enrichment programs. Upon graduating, he spent three months volunteering at the Early Intervention Program in Namibia, which sparked his interest in youth development and education. After the invaluable experience of teaching English in rural Azerbaijan from 2010 to 2012, he is devoted to applying his holistic educational philosophy in the diverse communities of New York City. Prior to attending Teachers College, he was teaching ESL at Kaplan International College in Boston.
DeLana DuBois grew up in Walton Hills, Ohio just 15 miles southeast of Cleveland. She graduated from Miami University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. For one year she worked as a substitute teacher primarily with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In 2011 she accepted an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa. As a volunteer in the Northern Cape province in the Kalahari Desert, she taught basic computer literacy and reading classes to primary school learners. DeLana helped organize over 1,000+ donated books into a functional library, and also encouraged geographical exploration with a World Map project. Currently, DeLana is teaching 4th grade at P.S. 396 in the Bronx, a school that is a part of the NYC Nest program, which offers a supportive, inclusive environment for students with high-functioning ASD.
After finishing high school in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lauren received her B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia College. While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, Lauren taught English to local middle school students, collaborated with a women's group to start a soap-making business, conducted elementary school girls through a life-skills program, and spent a lot of time drinking tea with her hilarious host dad Nfablen. Immediately after the Peace Corps, Lauren worked for Eye to Eye, a national nonprofit that empowers youth with learning disabilities and ADHD by pairing them with successful college student mentors who also have LD/ADHD. As a PC Fellow who seeks to become a secondary school English teacher, Lauren's goal is to inspire her students to become critical thinkers capable challenging Steve Jobs in a creativity contest.
After finishing high school in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lauren received her B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia College. While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, Lauren taught English to local middle school students, collaborated with a women's group to start a soap-making business, conducted elementary school girls through a life-skills program, and spent a lot of time drinking tea with her hilarious host dad Nfablen. Immediately after the Peace Corps, Lauren worked for Eye to Eye, a national nonprofit that empowers youth with learning disabilities and ADHD by pairing them with successful college student mentors who also have LD/ADHD. As a PC Fellow who seeks to become a secondary school English teacher, Lauren's goal is to inspire her students to become critical thinkers capable challenging Steve Jobs in a creativity contest.
Trevor was born into a family of restaurateurs in a small Ohio town, where he has left behind the pots and pans to pursue a life of teaching. Graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in Philosophy and German, Trevor then taught ESL to Austrian students in the mountains of Tirol. He then taught ESL and developed curriculum with the Peace Corps in Cambodia from 2010 to 2012. While there he learned valuable lessons in cultural exchange and how to make fermented tropical fish paste palatable. After a year substituting in American schools, Trevor is on bees knees looking forward to teaching Social Studies at a New York City secondary school.
Jonathon is from Owensboro, Kentucky and received a B.S. and M.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching high school mathematics in Mozambique (2010-2012). While in Africa, Jonathon organized an English Theater troupe, started an Ultimate Frisbee squad, and led a Math & Science club as extracurricular opportunities. He is ready for the exciting transition from rural Mozambique to urban education in NYC. Jonathon looks forward to utilizing his cross-cultural skills and passion for social justice to ignite enthusiasm for science in his future students. He plans on teaching high school chemistry.
David is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando in December 2008 with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing. From March 2009- June 2011, David served as a Youth Development Volunteer in Eastern Ukraine where he lived and worked alongside 13-18 year-old students in a rural boarding school. After leaving Peace Corps, David worked on staff for two years at the national non-profit City Year in Miami, Florida, where he leads teams of AmeriCorps volunteers through a year of in-school service providing targeted, small-group instruction and intervention to Miami's most under-resourced schools. David is excited to carry on his family's legacy of a strong commitment to civil service and public education.
Martin was born in Los Angeles, California on October 9th, 1982. His parents, Martin Sr. and Maria Consuelo, immigrated from Mexico right before he was born. He spent the first years of his life living in Compton, California, before moving to South Los Angeles when he was in the fourth grade. It was here where he encountered one of the teachers which first greatly influenced his life, Mr. Cooke, and began showing him that a teacher must be a moral leader as well as an educator. Martin later attended the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, a magnet high school created for students who strived towards higher education. While in his junior year, he met Michael Denman, a superb history teacher who changed Martin’s life. Through his lessons and constant push to put students first, Mr. Denman demonstrated that an educator had the power not only to improve students’ grades, but also their lives and future. He was the reason that Martin Castro chose a career in education, and Mr. Denman continues to be a source of support and inspiration. After graduating high school, Martin attended El Camino College and later transferred to California State University, Long Beach, majoring in American Studies. After receiving his degree, he joined the thousands of other proudly-serving Americans and became a part of the Peace Corps. He served as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Ukraine for three years, educating primary, high school, and university students on a myriad of topics and lessons. After returning home, Martin most recently worked as a substitute teacher before being accepted into the Peace Corps Fellows Program. He now plans to earn his master’s degree in the teaching of Social Studies while educating students in the urban environment of New York.
Jillian, Washington State native, is a graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. After earning her BA in Classics, Jillian worked as an English tutor at a community college and in area middle schools with after-school and at-risk youth programs. After the realization that she actually really liked working with middle schoolers, Jillian joined the Peace Corps. She served for two years in Zachepylivka, Ukraine, teaching English in a secondary school and working with such organizations as the Red Cross, US Department of State, and the Ministry of Immigration. Her experiences in Peace Corps cemented her love of teaching. Jillian believes education extends far beyond the classroom walls and looks forward to becoming an active member of the New York City community.
Heather is from the small town of Grass Lake, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University, where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in both mathematics and history. In 2010, she joined Peace Corps as a Math Education Volunteer, serving in the East African country of Rwanda. As a volunteer, Heather taught mathematics, history, and English, as well as advised the student Language Club and coached volleyball. As a Peace Corps Fellow, she hopes to create a learning environment that inspires critical analysis and civic mindedness while teaching social studies in New York Public Schools.
Dennis grew up in Southern California, and graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a B.A. in English and History. He also earned a California Single Subject Teaching Credential and Master of Education Degree from the same school. He worked as a substitute teacher and volunteer coordinator before serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Albania. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Dennis taught English language and American culture classes at the university, secondary school, and primary school level. He also assisted with English teacher trainings, youth leadership camps, extracurricular English courses, and the creation of school libraries. Dennis hopes to empower learners in New York City as a teacher for students with disabilities as the childhood level.
John is from Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. After receiving his B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Southern California, John volunteered full time for the Schuler Scholar Program, a Chicago based organization that helps high achieving students at disadvantaged high school's attend the nation's top universities. Following this, John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Burkina Faso as a secondary math and computer teacher. John has a passion for math and education, and believes he can make mathematics an exciting and fun subject for any student.
Whitney grew up in Sebastopol, a small town in Northern California. She attended the University of Rochester in upstate New York and received degrees in English and American Sign Language. During Whitney's Peace Corps service in Kenya she taught at an elementary school for the Deaf where some of the cutest kids in the world live and play. In addition to teaching, she helped plan and install a water well, led staff and parent education programs, and learned to laugh at herself more than she ever thought possible. After completing her service in late 2011, Whitney lived in Oregon and worked as a nanny, spending her days with more incredibly adorable children. She hopes to create a classroom community in New York City where students develop an appreciation for literature, as well as each other and the world around them.
Steve is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated in 2007 with a BA in English Literature from DePaul University. Prior to his service, Steve worked as a youth care worker at a group home for adjudicated youth and youth in care and protection. During his service, he served as a Youth Development Volunteer on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia from 2011-2013, where he worked to develop a life skills curriculum for primary school students around the island. Outside of his primary assignment, Steve designed and implemented service learning activities, helped to develop a borrowing library, and facilitated a chess club at the Babonneau Primary School. Steve also assisted in implementing Summer camps for youth with developmental disabilities (Camp Lajwa), camps for youth with Diabetes (Camp D’ Life), and two sports camps for disadvantaged youth. As a Peace Corps Fellow, Steve is excited about the opportunity of teaching in New York City, and hopes to be able connect with his students and encourage them to think critically about the world.
Katie is from Naples, Florida and attended Providence College in Rhode Island. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in Elementary/Special Education and shortly thereafter left for Peace Corps Nicaragua. There, she served as an Environmental Educator working primarily in the local elementary schools, though her favorite activity was her all-female volleyball league. She looks forward to teaching Bilingual Education at the elementary level this coming fall.
Starlight is from Deadwood, Oregon. It’s a very small town out in the coastal mountains. I went to school at Lewis & Clark in Portland Oregon and served in Mongolia with the Peace Corps for two years afterwards. I would like to teach High School Social Studies. I believe learning about other cultures and people is one of the most important things in life. It will help us understand that in essence we are all the same.
A California native, Tiffany is excited to join the 2013 cohort of Peace Corps Fellows as a Masters Candidate in the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism program. Since earning her bachelor degrees in Psychology and Drama from the University of California, Irvine, Tiffany has spent the majority of her time in the field of International Development beginning with three years of service with the Peace Corps in Mozambique. While in Mozambique, she co-founded a non-profit learning center that used the creative arts to teach vulnerable children about HIV care, prevention, and stigma. Post Peace Corps service, she worked at an NGO in Washington DC as a Program Manager focusing on youth projects in Mozambique and Kenya. Tiffany is passionate about issues affecting access to education, therefore working with both inner-city youth with special needs is a two-fold intervention that inspires her.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Anthony grew up in the Hudson Valley near New Paltz, NY. He attended SUNY Purchase College, double majoring in History and Political Science. Serving as a Community Health Volunteer in the southern African nation of Mozambique from 2008-2010, he focused on developing small group lessons for elementary aged students. He will begin studying to teach Social Studies at the secondary level, believing that an engaged citizen is not only a more intelligent one, but a contributor to the evolution and growth of social change
Dylan is from Dows, Iowa and attended Iowa State University. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years in Mongolia. Dylan was a teacher trainer for two years in Uliastai, Mongolia, and a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader for one year in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He intends to teach secondary English and looks forward to continuing his teaching career in New York City.
Joseph Donnelly is from the small town of Bellefontaine, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in History and a minor in Philosophy. Josef served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years on a tiny sun-drenched coral atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia. His primary assignment was to teach English, but he also worked diligently to help encourage youth and community development. Josef believes earnestly in education's ability to engender social equity and allow individuals from all backgrounds to achieve their dreams. After teaching and living an idyllic life on a small tropical island Josef is looking forward to teaching social studies in New York City.
Michelle is from Hicksville, New York, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Elementary Education. In the Peace Corps, she served as an English Teacher Trainer in Thailand. Along with co-teaching, she started an English Club, Theatre Club, Adult Education English class, and completed after school projects. Michelle plans to teach Special Education, with a focus on Intellectual Disability/Autism at the Elementary level. It is her goal to inspire all of her students to dream big, never settle, and achieve greatness.
Eddie was born in Okemos, Michigan and attended The University of Michigan where he majored in Mathematics and French and minored in Music. After graduating, he served in the Peace Corps as a secondary mathematics teacher at an all-boys government secondary school in rural Tanzania. There he fell in love with teaching and saw first hand what an essential and powerful tool education is in helping others improve their lives. Outside of the classroom he was active in youth development work that focused on teaching life skills, HIV/AIDS awareness, community development, and academic and cultural exploration. As a Peace Corps Fellow, Eddie is excited to continue developing the skills he needs to be an effective educator while making a difference in New York City's vibrant communities as a high school math teacher.
Melissa Glick grew up in Bethesda MD, just outside of DC before heading off to snowy Chicago in 2004 to attend Northwestern University. At Northwestern Melissa majored in Human Development and Psychological Services in the School of Education and Social Policy and minored in Spanish. Throughout college Melissa became interested in experiencing and studying world cultures and understanding how societal factors interact to affect students' social and cognitive development. In order to further explore these interests and continue her passion of working with students she joined the Peace Corps immediately after graduating and became a Youth Development Volunteer in Honduras. Returning to the U.S. in 2010 she looks forward to teaching middle school Social Studies in New York City and educating and inspiring her students. She believes that education creates opportunities and cannot wait to make an impact!
Daniel Golub is from Cleveland, Ohio, and studied economics and Latin-American studies at Williams College in Massachusetts. He served for two and a half years in the Dominican Republic, working mostly in youth development initiatives (science, engineering and boys clubs, HIV/AIDS and early pregnancy prevention, business development). His interests and passion for teaching have led him to teach in a bilingual classroom.
Javier Gomez was born in Mexico and raised in a small, rural town in California's San Joaquin Valley. He learned the importance of an education at a young age and thus, became the first family member to attend college. In 2005, he graduated from California State University, Fresno with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. He later joined the Peace Corps in 2007 to encourage youth development and assist small business owners in Northern Peru. It was in the Peace Corps where he discovered his passion for teaching. Now his goal is to become a social studies high school teacher to teach individuals about the world that we live in and learn to appreciate other people's differences.
Joel is from the south suburban town of Chicago called Tinley Park. He went to school at the St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA, where he studied English and Philosophy. He taught English in Gazanjyk, Turkmenistan while serving in the Peace Corps. Joel feels that everyone should be in constant awareness of how fast time passes so that we may live every day with a little more zeal.
Gwen Kehr hails from the Philadelphia suburbs. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh where she studied biological sciences and English writing. While in the Peace Corps she called the southern African country of Lesotho her home and taught high school science and English. Gwen believes in a holistic approach towards education and is excited to teach high school biology in New York City.
Andrea was born in NYC, but eventually moved to Edison, New Jersey. After graduating from Caltech, she worked for a couple of years before joining the Peace Corps. She was originally nominated to be a science teacher, but ended up invited and serving primarily as a math teacher in Burkina Faso. Andrea enjoyed teaching math so much that she stayed for a third year! She hopes to continue helping students learn and appreciate math.
As the daughter of Italian immigrants settled in Akron, Ohio, Cristina has always valued the importance of education, opportunity, and cultural traditions. These values led her to apply to the US Peace Corps and eventually serve as a Health Education Volunteer in the southern highlands of Tanzania. During her service, she realized the fulfillment of teaching and the impact of mindful education. She holds a BFA from Kent State University in Visual Communication Design and plans to continue research of visual learning techniques and implement these in the primary school setting for students with special needs, focusing on Intellectual Disabilities/Autism.
Elaine Law is from Columbus, Ohio and attended Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. She served in Peace Corps as an Education volunteer in Sukhbaatar Soum, Mongolia. She intends to teach Secondary school Social Studies and looks forward to teaching in New York City.
Mary Manouchehri, of Riverside, California, attended California State University Long Beach where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies with emphasis work on Language & Literacy as well as a multiple-subject K-8 teaching credential for the state of California. Following graduation, Mary went on to serve as an Education volunteer with Peace Corps in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Mary is excited to be studying and teaching young students with Intellectual Disabilities/Autism (K-6). If there is one thing the world has taught her it is that every human being - of every gender, race, creed, status, and circumstance - has the ability to learn and the right to receive a quality education.
Liliana Richter is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She studied English Language & Literture at the University of Michigan, and served three years in El Salvador (two years youth development, one year regional coordinator). Liliana intends to teach English to seventh and eight graders.
Benjamin Siegel grew up in Bronx, New York and attended college at SUNY University at Buffalo. Having graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in economics, he began his Peace Corps service in Vanuatu as a vocational school teacher. As a Peace Corps Fellow, he hopes to begin teaching high school mathematics. Ben hopes to one day create a new model of education that shifts the national paradigm into a new realm of practical holistic life preparation. If he is unable to do that, he hopes to teach a bunch of kids some math.
Sarah Suwalsky served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Altiplano of Guatemala. Being a volunteer has given her a unique take on Bilingual Education, observing and participating in classes taught jointly in Spanish and Maya Kiche. She was born and grew up in San Francisco and attended college at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She plans to teach an 4th to 6th grade as a Bilingual Ed teacher.
Andrew grew up in Los Angeles, where his Jesuit education and participation in Boy Scouts formed his desire to serve the community. He studied Environmental Science at Berkeley, where he met his wife, Nicole. They joined Peace Corps soon after graduating. Andrew served in Mali, West Africa, from 2007 to 2009. While there, he helped in a number of ways, including teaching biology at the middle school, helping women better produce and market shea butter and garden vegetables, and starting a library. After Peace Corps, he and his wife spent two years teaching ESL in France and China. Andrew hopes to put his multicultural and environmental background to good use teaching biology in New York.
Lindsay Williamson is from Oceanside, NY and graduated from Boston College with a BA in Secondary Education and History and an MA in Applied Educational and Developmental Psychology. She taught history for three years at the Heritage School in NY, NY before joining the Peace Corps. She was a Teacher Trainer with the Peace Corps and worked at the Universidade de Cabo Verde in Mindelo, Sao Vicente.
Josue Daniel Bojorquez was born in a small border town in northern Mexico. He moved to Gary, Indiana with his family when he was 7. He graduated from Purdue University and joined the Peace Corps as a Rural Community Development Volunteer in Sarapiqui, Cosa Rica. While teaching high school Social Studies, he hopes to provide his students with the opportunity to change their lives through education.
From Fishkill, New York, Sally Briggs studied childhood education/ special education and Spanish at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Following graduation, she served as a teacher trainer in Samoa and worked on various village projects pertaining to literacy, environmental education, and health education. In New York City, Sally hopes to teach primary special education in a dual language school. A solid cross-cultural education, she believes, is essential in order to foster the development of compassion, empathy, and awareness, thus increasing the potential for cultural harmony.
Linsey is from Chesapeake, Virginia and attended Randolph-Macon College, a small school outside of Richmond. She believes that education is the starting point and the tipping point in our development as a society and a nation, and is even more convinced of this after her Peace Corps service in a small village in El Salvador. These experiences in the Salvadoran school system have shown her the importance of learning and teaching. Starting in the fall, she will be teaching Bilingual Education in an elementary school setting.
Adam Johnson grew up in the vibrant south side of Minneapolis. His fondness of cultural diversity and equality led him to study Governance, Peace and Justice in Latin America at the University of Minnesota. Adam spent his four years of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica (2005-2007) and Guinea (2007-2009), where he carried out life-skills activities for children living in two protective shelters and taught French, math and science to 28 third graders. Adam looks forward to getting to know his students, their families and their community as a bilingual education teacher. His experiences in service have taught him that patience and an open mind can help one to help others.
Adam Grant Kelley hails from Madison, WI, where he studied Elementary Education, Afro-American Studies, and GLBT Studies through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He looks forward to the transition from working in the rural schools of Uganda as a Peace Corps Volunteer to teaching Social Studies in New York City's diverse community as a Peace Corps Fellow. Adam believes education must relate curriculum to the experience and culture of learners, fostering individuality and helping learners realize the possibility for greatness is endless. He continues to work towards the achievement of this realization through developing a pedagogy based on dedication, reflection, and activism.
Dave Lance is originally from Chicago. He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1992 with a degree in journalism. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Maevatanana, Madagascar, he taught English as a Second Language. He is looking forward to building on his teaching experience as a high school English teacher in New York City. Langston Hughes' quote "Dig and be dug" best expresses Dave's world view.
Jennifer McSorley graduated from Wittenberg University in 2005 with a double major in Early Childhood Education and Spanish. After graduating, she moved to Florida, where she taught second grade for two years before joining the Peace Corps with her husband in 2007. They both served as education volunteers in Guyana, South America. Jennifer worked with both students and teachers in three primary schools and one secondary school as a literacy advisor. After leaving Guyana in 2009, she took a position with the United Nations Development Program in Chile as an English teacher for students in grades 3-8. Before moving to New York City to begin the Peace Corps Fellows Program, she worked as an elementary school Spanish teacher and a reading and math tutor in Ohio.
Quinn Riddle is from the sun and palm tree drenched city of Los Angeles, California. Formally, she received her education from West Los Angeles College, Santa Monica College, and the University of California, Davis, where she obtained a B.A. degree in International Relations. Romania was the home of her Peace Corps service from 2006 to 2008 and that experience now travels with her wherever she goes. She is excited to be teaching Social Studies to some of New York's finest 8th graders. Her worldview includes all ideas and actions that create less fear, more love, and inspire dreams.
Kristen grew up in Northern Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia in 2006 with a B.A. in History and East Asian Studies. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, she lived in Northwestern China and taught English language and literature at Lanzhou University of Technology. Now, Kristen is excited to live in NYC, where she can keep exploring communities and eating good Chinese food while pursuing her MA in Secondary Education and serving as a Language Arts educator. She believes that skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing are vital for individuals to grow and effect change in their communities; Kristen is proud to become a part of that process for her students.
Rachel Alis Sharpstein is from Orlando, Florida. She received her Bachelors Degree in Studio Art with a minor in Latin American Studies from Appalachian State University. In the Peace Corps, she served as a Youth and Families Volunteer in the city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Her goal is to teach second grade in a dual language school. She believes that we are all artists in our own way, and that there is nothing more evocative than creative expression.
Michael Simpson grew up in the Caribbean and South Florida, but has lived in Oregon for the past 35 years. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he received his B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Oregon in Eugene. He taught at a high school in Oregon for 3 years prior to enjoying a 25 plus year career in architectural woodworking and custom furniture building and design. He served as an Education Volunteer in Peace Corps Ghana, teaching chemistry and biology at the high school level. He also served as PCVL at Ghana's Kumasi sub office. As a Fellow, Michael will be teaching high school chemistry. He is looking forward to the challenges of teaching in an underserved inner-city school and attending graduate school, while being able to draw on the vast resources of the other RPCVs in his cohort. Since he is pursuing teaching as a second career, fulfilling a life-long dream, he is anxious to add to his knowledge of the education process and to build on the classroom skills that he has developed during his 5 years of teaching in West Africa. He is excited to have the opportunity to teach and to be able to pursue a career, which can have such an impact on the lives of so many young people. He believes that the complex global climate that surrounds us all as we move into the 21st century, challenges teachers to seize the opportunity to nurture and support each student's strengths, diversities, and creative energies. Michael wants to promote a diverse learning environment that taps into every student's unique potential. As we face an increasingly complex new world vision, he will strive to create a learning environment which gives each student the opportunity to contribute and make a difference, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of everyone on the planet.
Jennifer Warren was born and raised in New Jersey and has spent time abroad on 5 different continents. She attended Seton Hall University for undergraduate studies and received a B.A. in Broadcasting Communications while DJing for a popular radio station. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Lesotho, a small land-locked country in South Africa. Some of the projects she worked on during her time in Lesotho involved HIV/AIDS education, training youth groups, developing a life skills curriculum, and building 2 libraries amongst other things. Jennifer plans to teach Special Education with a focus on Intellectual Disability/Autism. She believes that everyone is entitled to a quality education, no matter their socioeconomic background or their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom.
Andrea is from Holbrook, New York. She received a BA in Anthropology and International Affairs with a concentration in International Development from The George Washington University. During her time as an undergraduate student, she had the opportunity to teach in Washington D.C. and in Santiago, Chile. After graduation, she served with the Peace Corps inMozambique from 2007-2009 as an ESL Teacher at the Agricultural Institute of Chokwe. HerPeace Corps service, along with her studies and travels, have shown her that regardless of background, a quality education can help people unleash their potential and strive for a better tomorrow. As a Peace Corps Fellow, she will be studying Bilingual/Bicultural Education.
Marie was born in California and grew up in Virginia. She is proud to have attended the University of Mary Washington, George Mason University and the Northern Virginia Community College. While serving in Morocco from 2006 to 2008, Marie fell in love with teaching and is now going to fulfill her dream of becoming a high school English teacher. Marie agrees with the author Nadeem Aslam when he said, "The point of art and literature is to reduce the distance between two human beings." The same way she uses literature to connect to others, Marie hopes to use literature to bring her students closer together and closer to the world around them.
Samantha Adams was born and raised in Kansas, and received her Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University in 2004. She joined the Peace Corps in 2006, serving as a Community HIV/AIDS Educator in Swaziland. Samantha plans to teach high school level Earth Science. She believes her view of the world is best summarized in the words of Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
My name is Alexis or Ali Austin. I lived in Bellingham, Washington from the age of 10 until I left for college in Walla Walla Washington at Whitman College (lots of Ws!) where I majored in Psychology, went abroad to Spain, and was a varsity swimmer. After school I took some time to drive around the country, drive around New Zealand, live in Alaska and Honduras, and work with ELL youth in Bellingham. I served as a youth and families volunteer in a small town on the northern coast of Ecuador from June '06 till February '09. I plan to teach 3rd through 5th grade bilingual education. I believe in six degrees of separation between all people on earth, and that life is a series of circles.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Amber served in the Peace Corps from 2006-2008 teaching secondary education biology in Tanzania. She will be teaching the same subject in New York. Her personal philosophy has been shaped by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
David is originally from the state of Maine. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies at Saint Michael’s College, located just outside of Burlington, Vermont. He served in Peace Corps El Salvador from 2006 – 2008. He will be teaching Social Studies in grades 9-12. He believes education is fundamental to the empowerment of all people whether in rural El Salvador or inner city New York.
Joey is from Northern California. Upon graduating from San Francisco State, he served for 2 ½ years in Albania. As a Peace Corps Fellow at Teachers College, he will be teaching middle school English. Having experienced life in various situations, he has come to believe that although the circumstances into which one is born are arbitrary, the dedication and generosity of educators, individuals and communities can bring about change.
Sargeant grew up in New Hampshire and Boston, and graduated from Williams College in 1999. For the next five years, she lived and worked in New York City, Boston, and Providence. She served as a rural economic development volunteer in central Paraguay from 2005 – 2007. She spent this past year as a teaching assistant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and plans to teach high school mathematics in New York. Her Peace Corps experience taught her to take a long-term approach to working for social change. She envisions her role as a teacher as working with students, parents, and the community in a movement toward social justice.
Mark is from Detroit, and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004. Upon completing his undergraduate work, he left for Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer and completed his service in 2006. He was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2007 to work at San Ildefonso, a bilingual elementary school in Madrid. In New York, he will be teaching at a dual language elementary school and working toward an MA in bilingual/bicultural education. He loves teaching because he feels he learns something new about the world, his students, and himself every day.
After returning from his Peace Corps service in Ukraine, Kolter began teaching GED and ESOL classes at Project Learn of Summit County. His experiences there, as well as those in Ukraine, opened his eyes to the social inequities which exist in the United States and abroad, and led him to the believe that local, radical pedagogy can have a significant impact on the lives of students and individuals world wide. He plans to teach high school English, and is looking forward to a career in New York City schools.
Heath grew up in a small town in Tennessee, but knew many experiences and challenges existed for him outside of his hometown. In 2006, having finished his undergraduate work in International Relations at Boston University, he joined the Peace Corps to teach English in Northern Mozambique. When his service ended, he was eager to return to the classroom, and jumped at an opportunity to work with special needs children at a primary school in Toronto. He feels he has been educated and humbled by his travel and teaching experiences. He is looking forward to teaching high school level Social Studies in New York, with the goal of passing on a sense of history, an appreciation for geography, and stories of individuals who have made a difference in the world.
Adam was born and raised in Central Ohio in the small town of Granville. He attended Otterbein College, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. He served as a Student Conservation volunteer in Environmental Education in Senegal on the coast of West Africa. He is looking forward to teaching Biology in grades 7-12. His experiences in service reflect his view of the world, have shaped his outlook, and have taught him the importance of working toward equality in education.
Upon graduating from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor's degree in English, Gregory worked for a year as a full time substitute teacher in northern Vermont. Because he missed his hometown, Greg returned to Washington, D.C. in 2001 to work as part of the communications team at the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program. While in DC, he volunteered as a teacher at the Washington Literacy Council. In 2005, he joined the Peace Corps and served as a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Systems program in Panama, where he worked with indigenous coffee producers. Extending his service for a third year, Greg coordinated the coffee program, synchronizing the efforts of Panamanian governmental agencies, members of the for-profit coffee industry, and Peace Corps volunteers. He will work as a bilingual educator with elementary school students. He looks forward to teaching in the New York City school system, and to continuing in the spirit of service which marked his Peace Corps experience.
Jennifer is originally from Austin, Texas. She attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts before beginning her Peace Corps service in Kazakhstan. As a Peace Corps Fellow, she’ll be teaching Social Studies at the secondary level. Through the experiences of Peace Corps service, study, travel, and a diverse upbringing, she has come to understand the importance of devoting herself to social change in a world full of poverty, racism, and disadvantage.
Heather grew up in the very green and beautiful Eugene, Oregon, and went to college in Portland. Her Peace Corps service was as an English Teacher from 2006-2007 in Madagascar, where swaying palm trees and lapping water was the view from her classroom. In New York City, she’s looking forward to teaching 7th-12th grade English. She’s excited about New York’s diverse student body, and is looking forward to working with children from so many different cultures. Her goal is to use literature to teach her students about the world.
Dayla grew up in the Detroit area, and spent her senior year of high school as an exchange student in Turkey. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2006 with a degree in History and Political Science with a focus on the Modern Mid-East. After graduation, she served as an ESL Peace Corps volunteer in the Western Mongolian city of Hovd. She looks forward to teaching high school history, civics, economics, and geography. Her philosophy on life is to treat each experience as an adventure.
As the son of a military officer, Nathan moved frequently, but came to consider New Baltimore, Michigan, a small suburb of Detroit, his home. He attended Grand Valley State University in Michigan, graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor's degree in History. The following year, he began his service in the United States Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco. In New York, he will be teaching high school social studies, and working toward the goal of fostering positive social change through education.
Sandy Spaziani is from the Southern Tier part of New York. For 2 ½ years, she served in Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean where she worked in a local school training teachers and students in inclusive special education practices. Her teaching certificates are from Buffalo State College, and she is anxious to teach English in New York City. She believes everyone, given the chance, can accomplish whatever s/he wants. Universal education is very important to her, and she does not believe that disability, income, race, or religion should prohibit anyone from receiving the best possible education.
Taina grew up in a small town in Georgia. While studying at the University of Nevada in Reno for her undergraduate degree, she worked with a charter high school mentoring and teaching. Upon graduation, her original plan to study law was overshadowed by the interest she’d developed for education. After serving as an educator with the Peace Corps in Ukraine from 2005-2007, she continued her work in education managing a literacy program for immigrants in Chicago. These experiences fueled her interest, changed her perspective, and reinforced her determination to provide equitable education to underserved populations. Her Peace Corps and Chicago experiences were the primary influences in deciding to further her education as a Peace Corps Fellow. She will be teaching English to secondary school students in New York City while pursuing an M.A. in the teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University. She looks forward to continuing to learn as both a student and teacher, and to helping to inspire her students to seek social justice through education.
Amanda Gardner is from Anchorage, Alaska. She served as an Education volunteer in Mozambique, teaching English as a Foreign Language at Tete Secondary School from 2005-2007. She currently teaches ESL at the High School of World Cultures in the Bronx, where her [mostly] newly-arrived immigrant students keep her on her toes. Amanda loves exploring the richness of linguistic and cultural diversity of her students' own lived experiences, as well as NYC and the world at large, in her teaching.
Megan is from sunny Miami, FL. She served as a TEFL volunteer working with kids in grades 3-12 in a small village in Moldova. Currently, she’s teaching in an elementary school in the Bronx working with ESL children in grades K-2. Megan has found that while living and working in the City is not always easy, it is always intriguing and exhilarating.
MLE Davis is originally from Bernardston, Massachusetts. After finishing an undergrad degree in American Studies, she decided it was important to leave America and explore something completely new. MLE was looking to explore both a culture distant & different from her own, and to use that difference to reflect back upon her own culture. She spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and an English teacher in Athieme, Benin. Afterwards, MLE spent a year teaching in South Korea but missed the aspect of teaching as a form of development, so she returned to the developing world and spent two years teaching ESL in Yemen. After these five years of teaching and living abroad, MLE wanted to return to America and bring this energy of education for empowerment and whole-student development into an American classroom. She now works at Horizon Academy; a GED program for incarcerated young men on Rikers Island. While the challenges are daunting and sometimes threaten to overwhelm, they remain the thing that gets her out of bed in the morning. Children around the world 's students in Benin, Korea, Yemen, and New York – have a similar need for teachers who care about them as whole people, and can help them find the confidence and means of expression to go forward in the world to be active, empowered citizens.
Elizabeth Hundley is from Richmond, Virginia. She served in Gunichas, Namibia as an English teacher at Johannes Dohren High School from November 2005 to December 2007. She is enrolled in the Teaching of English program at Teachers College and currently teaches Humanities at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, New York. Elizabeth finds teaching in New York City challenging and rewarding. She works with seventh graders and feels responsible for playing the role of counselor, big sister, parent, disciplinarian and entertainer, as well as teacher. This year, she’s noticed that once a connection has been formed with learners, then learning can take place. Before that connection, real sharing of knowledge can’t happen. There’s a sign outside a building in the Village that reads “If we all do one random act of kindness each day, then we might be able to turn the world in the right direction”— Elizabeth agrees.
Jen Kim joined Peace Corps Madagascar as an Education volunteer a month after graduating with a BA in International Affairs and a minor in Studio Art. Her time with her students in Madagascar fueled her interests to pursue a Masters in TESOL. Currently, Jen is a half-time graduate student through the Peace Corps Fellows program at Teachers College while full time teaching ESL and English Literature in Queens, NYC. Jen incorporates cultural understanding, respect, and social equality in her teachings. She considers herself very fortunate to have students who challenge, inspire, and make her laugh every day.
Kristi Ley is from Madison, Wisconsin. After spending two years as a Rural Community Development Volunteer in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Kristi realized that she still didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up, so went to Shenyang, China to teach English for a year. Kristi returned in search of a livelihood that would allow her to continue developing meaningful relationships on a daily basis while deepening her understanding of the world and those in it. Currently, she is a student of Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Columbia Teachers College and a teacher at Amistad Dual Language School in Inwood, where her First Graders’ curiosity and zeal for life is unavoidably contagious.
Steve Lynch grew up in the rural suburbs of both Wisconsin and Ohio, serving in Turkmenistan as a TEFL teacher with the Peace Corps between '04 and '06. While he was an English teacher in name, most of his time was spent playing ultimate frisbee with his kids and teaching them American and British indie rock songs in their music club, for which they produced three concerts and a recorded album. He currently teaches 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts in Brooklyn and spends a good amount of time each day figuring out how to properly use the phrase "mad tight" in a sentence. Any success he might ever have in the classroom or in life can be credited to his two touchstones: the Schmutz Methodology and Supernanny.
Amanda is from Southern Maine. She completed her Peace Corps service as an English Education/Gender & Development volunteer in the enchanting Sahara Desert (RPCV Mauritania, 2005-2007), and is currently a member of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Program (TESOL) at Teachers College, where she is a high school English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher by day and graduate student by night. Amanda feels fortunate to teach students in Manhattan who share some of the same qualities that her Mauritanian students had, including a diverse yet common West African heritage, and a zest for self-discovery. Amanda is unsure if, without her Peace Corps experience, she would have the confidence or direction that characterizes her teaching now. Because of that experience, she can say that she knows where her kids have been, or at least that she is ready to understand them. This effort to connect with kids informs Amanda’s teaching. They say good learners make good teachers, and she couldn’t agree more.
Jessica is originally from Newark, Delaware. She served in Sokal, Ukraine from September 2004 until November 2006. Jessica is currently earning a Masters in Teaching of English at Columbia University Teachers College, and teaching 9th and 10th grade English at the Secondary School for Law in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Kelly is from the golden state of California. From 2004-2006, she served as a Public Health Peace Corps volunteer in the Meru region of Kenya teaching HIV prevention and education. From there, she taught English as a foreign language in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Currently, she's a Peace Corps fellow in the TESOL program at Teachers College, Columbia. Kelly works at PS 153, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Elementary in Harlem as a self-contained classroom teacher for fifth grade ESL students. She wants to teach her students to take pride in their own culture and language, and develop an appreciation for others as well. Kelly believes human beings through out the world should have the right and ability to expand their minds and brighten their future through education.
Maggie is a citizen of the world, but when people ask her where she’s from, she usually says New Jersey. Maggie is of mostly Domincan and Peruvian descent. From 2005-2007 she served as a Peace Corps math teacher in Mozambique, and currently continues to teach math as a Peace Corps Fellow at Landmark High School, an empowerment school in Chelsea. She thinks of our program as Peace Corps NYC and, just as in Mozambique, that being a NYC teacher is also "the toughest job she'll ever love." Maggie thinks that Aristotle said it best - "the roots of education may be bitter but the fruit is sweet." This was the idea she tried to spread in Mozambique, and one she continues to spread today. Education is such a powerful tool, and Maggie hopes that students and parents can see this, especially in the places that we, PCF's and PCV's, go – places that the world often forgets.
Catherine Wiseman is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Small Business Development Sector for Peace Corps Nicaragua in the Department of Masaya from May 2000 through August 2002. She also served as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer as an ESL Specialist in Morazan, El Salvador from September 2007 to March 2008. In 2005, she received her California State teaching Credential and worked two years as a transitional bilingual teacher in San Jose, California. She joined the Peace Corps Fellows program in May of 2008 and is currently completing course work to receive a MA in Bilingual, Bicultural Education.