Meet Our Leaders

Get to know our amazing Summer 2013 Leaders.

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Adam Cogbill

  • Education: Franklin and Marshall College, B.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, M.F.A.

Adam Cogbill has taught composition and literature courses at several institutions. He is currently working on his PhD, where his research interests include student access to texts and public scholarship. He is also a fiction writer and essayist, and his … Continue reading

Adam Cogbill has taught composition and literature courses at several institutions. He is currently working on his PhD, where his research interests include student access to texts and public scholarship. He is also a fiction writer and essayist, and his writing has appeared in several publications, including The Kenyon Review, Slow Trains, and Amherst College’s own The Common. He was once described as a hybrid jock-nerd; while he is an avid hiker, biker, and a novice rock climber, he also loves board games, books, and trivia. He has worked on the Pre-College program at Amherst College for three summers.

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Alena Kuczynski

  • Education: Stanford University, B.S., Science, Technology, & Society; Concentration: Biology.

Raised in New York, Alena moved west for college. During her undergraduate career, she seized every opportunity to travel, teaching in China and Vietnam. She also spent three months studying at the marine biology center of Stanford in Monterey, CA … Continue reading

Raised in New York, Alena moved west for college. During her undergraduate career, she seized every opportunity to travel, teaching in China and Vietnam. She also spent three months studying at the marine biology center of Stanford in Monterey, CA and another three months in Madrid, Spain, where taking a Spanish-only pledge allowed her to hone her language skills. After graduation, Alena worked with Volunteers in Asia, mentoring Japanese and Taiwanese college students at Stanford before returning to Madrid to work in a neuroendocrinology lab. She has lived in Buenos Aires, where she taught English and practiced tela (aerial fabric arts). Back in New York, she is currently facilitating a multimedia storytelling workshop for high school students through the city’s public radio station.   In her free time, Alena loves riding bicycles, and completed a cross-country bike trip in the summer of 2009. She has taught on our Pre College summer programs in Spain.

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Alex Ossola

  • Education: Hamilton College, B.A., Comparative Literature with honors, minor in Geosciences.

During her semester studying in Lima, Peru, Alex’s interest in Latin America grew into a deep passion. She spent her last semester at Hamilton College translating the short stories of Peruvian writer Julio Ramón Ribeyro and wading through Proust’s monumental … Continue reading

During her semester studying in Lima, Peru, Alex’s interest in Latin America grew into a deep passion. She spent her last semester at Hamilton College translating the short stories of Peruvian writer Julio Ramón Ribeyro and wading through Proust’s monumental novel In Search of Lost Time. Her work with the Peruvian non-profit Flora Tristán organization piqued her interest in activism and education.  She spent the 2010-2011 school year serving as a tutor, mentor, and role model for elementary school students in Southeast D.C. through City Year and feels that, during the experience, she learned even more than she taught. Her City Year service ingrained in her the value of education and cultural exchange. When she is not traveling, Alex likes to play music, read books and magazines, hike, and do yoga. She is fluent in Spanish. She has led high school community service programs in Peru and Ecuador, and most recently led our summer language immersion program in Costa Rica.

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Alison Sever

  • Education: University of Vermont, B.A., Linguistics.

Alison is a  Massachusetts native and graduated from college with an honors degree in linguistics. She is an outdoor and travel enthusiast, and has lived with host families in Europe, East Africa, and Latin America. Alison has been an educator … Continue reading

Alison is a  Massachusetts native and graduated from college with an honors degree in linguistics. She is an outdoor and travel enthusiast, and has lived with host families in Europe, East Africa, and Latin America. Alison has been an educator in rural Tanzania, trekked through Patagonia, explored European cities, and studied indigenous relations in Peru. Her leadership positions in college included leading peers on backcountry ski trips and on spring break service adventure programs.  She enjoys working with youth and has sponsored a Tanzanian high school student since 2008. When she’s not traveling, Alison loves to make music, camp in the snow, and read Latin American poetry. Alison is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Swahili and Quechua. She has led our summer community service trip to Peru.

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Alli Diehlmann

  • Education: St. Lawrence University, B.A., Global Studies.

Alli is a proud Vermont native whose strong passion for community service work was born in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.  Since that time, she has spent the majority of her high school and college spring breaks assisting … Continue reading

Alli is a proud Vermont native whose strong passion for community service work was born in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.  Since that time, she has spent the majority of her high school and college spring breaks assisting in community reconstruction efforts. Alli’s interest in U.S. foreign aid to Africa brought her to Uganda in the spring of her junior year as a volunteer for Soft Power Education. During her six months abroad, Alli’s fascination with the night sky led her to apply for and receive a travel enrichment grant to conduct a cross-cultural analysis of Northern New York and East African skies and stargazing traditions. Alli loves travel and outdoor adventure and has backpacked through Peru, hiked in the Adirondacks, and explored Georgia’s Cumberland Island.  After graduating, Alli moved to Portland, Maine, where she has enjoyed her first city-living experience. She is a member of Portland’s ultimate frisbee team and ran her third half-marathon this past spring. Alli is proficient in Swahili and Spanish. 2013 was her third summer leading Putney’s summer community service program in Tanzania.

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Allison Astuno

  • Education: Boston College, B.A., French; The University of Notre Dame, M.Ed.; Columbia University, M.A., Global Studies.

Although she is a proud Colorado native, Allison has always had a genuine affection for both the French language and all Francophone cultures.  While at Boston College she studied the language in Strasbourg and again in Paris through Columbia University … Continue reading

Although she is a proud Colorado native, Allison has always had a genuine affection for both the French language and all Francophone cultures.  While at Boston College she studied the language in Strasbourg and again in Paris through Columbia University while earning her Master’s. She participated in a volunteer teaching program through the University of Notre Dame after college and taught French and English in Pensacola, Florida. While earning her M.A. in Global Studies from Columbia, she enthusiastically researched the future of rural French villages given modern economic and population trends. Allison’s research took her around rural France, allowing her to immerse herself in the French culture.  Most recently, Allison’s love of France inspired a summer stint working on an organic fruit farm in the Southwest of the country. Allison was also selected by the French consulate to study foreign language pedagogy in Vichy, France, giving her an opportunity to enhance her French teaching methodology.  Allison is fluent in French and has led our high school summer language program in France.

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Allyson Feierberg

  • Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., French with Teaching Certification, minor in Spanish.

Brought up in a bilingual (Italian and English) household, Allyson has always had a passion for culture, travel, and languages. In college she majored in French, minored in Spanish, and studied abroad in both Barcelona and Paris. In Paris, Allyson … Continue reading

Brought up in a bilingual (Italian and English) household, Allyson has always had a passion for culture, travel, and languages. In college she majored in French, minored in Spanish, and studied abroad in both Barcelona and Paris. In Paris, Allyson attended l’Université de la Sorbonne – Paris IV and l’Institut Catholique, focusing her studies on French literature. The summer before her senior year she helped organize and design the 2009 Italian Style Expo at the Navy Pier of Chicago. Since 2009 Allyson has formed as part of Proyecto Ayudando Latinos a Aprender Ingles, teaching ESL skills to individuals with Spanish as their native language. Allyson has also traveled to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean islands, and Costa Rica. During the summer of 2012, Allyson spent four weeks traveling throughout Spain and Italy. She currently teaches high school French and Spanish in the suburbs of Chicago and will be working to add an Italian curriculum in 2014.  During her free time she enjoys travel, reading, playing golf and tennis, running, and yoga. Allyson is fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian. She has led our summer language trip to France, our language program in Spain for high school students, and our high school volunteer trip to Costa Rica.

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Amelia Nebenzahl

  • Education: Colby College, B.A., International Studies.

Amelia spent most of the last ten years abroad.  During college she studied at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France, where she focused on French language, Contemporary French Society, and French History.  She traveled to Kalimpong, India, where she … Continue reading

Amelia spent most of the last ten years abroad.  During college she studied at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France, where she focused on French language, Contemporary French Society, and French History.  She traveled to Kalimpong, India, where she worked at the Gandhi Ashram School creating lesson plans and teaching English, music, environmental awareness, and basic math to Indian students. Amelia then went on to study at the CIEE Study Center at Suffolk University in Dakar, Senegal, where she concentrated on Development in Africa, including Environmental Policy, Economics, Public Health, and International Crisis Management.  While in Senegal, Amelia worked at Pouponniere de Medina, where she gave basic care to young orphans.  She has also taught musical theatre at the Looking Glass Theatre Company in Providence, Rhode Island, for kids ages 8-16, and can be found humming a tune at almost any point in the day. Amelia currently lives in Costa Rica, where she is completing her masters in Peace Education.  Amelia has led our summer community service programs in Senegal, Ghana, and Rwanda. She is fluent in French and proficient in Wolof and Spanish.

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Anaar Desai-Stephens

  • Education: Manhattan School of Music, B.M.; Boston University, M.M., Ethnomusicology; Cornell University, Ph.D., Ethnomusicology (Candidate).

After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Anaar spent a year in Mumbai, where she taught western classical violin and studied Hindustani violin with Kala Ramnath, accompanying her teacher on trips throughout India. She then returned to the United … Continue reading

After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Anaar spent a year in Mumbai, where she taught western classical violin and studied Hindustani violin with Kala Ramnath, accompanying her teacher on trips throughout India. She then returned to the United States and began studying ethnomusicology at Boston University, where she wrote her Master’s thesis on the social history of female instrumentalists in North Indian classical music. While pursuing her Ph.D. at Cornell, Anaar has taught music courses on jazz, Hindustani music, the African diaspora, and Americana in the 1960s. She has also been active with environmental and social justice groups in Ithaca, and has played violin with a local gypsy-rock band.  Anaar was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship in 2010, allowing her to spend ten weeks studying Hindi in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Currently, she lives in Mumbai, where she is honing her Indian cooking skills while pursuing dissertation research on Indian music television competition shows. Anaar speaks Hindi, Gujarati, and Italian. She has led our Community Service program in India.

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Andre Elias

  • Education: Pomona College, B.A., Psychology, Linguistics; University of California – San Diego, M.A., History, Composition, Musicology; University of Washington, M.A., International Studies; University of Washington, Ph.D., Anthropology and Musicology.

Growing up between California and Chile, Andre has spent much of his life traveling and exploring other cultures. He is an avid composer and performer of a variety of guitar styles (flamenco, classical, metal), of Indian Classical music (tabla, sitar, … Continue reading

Growing up between California and Chile, Andre has spent much of his life traveling and exploring other cultures. He is an avid composer and performer of a variety of guitar styles (flamenco, classical, metal), of Indian Classical music (tabla, sitar, sarod, nagara), and of percussion from West-Africa, Cuba, and the Middle East. Currently, at the University of Washington, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology and concurrently completing an MA in the Jackson School of International Studies’ South Asia program. His interests range from popular to classical music in India, Spain, and the Americas.  Having spent numerous summers in India through the American Institute of Indian Studies, he now speaks Hindi and Bengali and actively works with artists and producers on collaborative musical and educational projects. Andre loves teaching about music and working with youth.  After this summer he will spend extended time in Kolkata and Jaipur to do dissertation research on the history and performance of a variety of Indian slide-guitar traditions.  Andre is Fluent in Spanish, Hindi, and Bengali.  He led our summer volunteer program in India for high schoolers in 2013.

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Anna Kayes

  • Education: The College of William and Mary, B.A., Anthropology and Environmental Policy.

While at William and Mary Anna studied Mayan Archaeology and played on the Varsity soccer team. After graduation she worked in the archaeology department at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as a research and curatorial assistant before moving to … Continue reading

While at William and Mary Anna studied Mayan Archaeology and played on the Varsity soccer team. After graduation she worked in the archaeology department at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as a research and curatorial assistant before moving to India and Thailand for a year to teach English.  While working in India, Anna lived in a Tibetan Buddhist children’s community where she ran a youth soccer program and engaged community members to build a field in the local village.  She also began a girls’ soccer team at her high school in Thailand, coaching the girls team through the school’s first tournament in a decade. Anna now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area and is pursuing a career in cultural preservation and environmental conservation.  She enjoys working with students from the US in cross-cultural service projects, and playing soccer every chance she gets. Anna has led our community service program in Dominica.

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Ansley Rubinstein

  • Education: Harvard University, B.A., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Arabic Literature

While at Harvard Ansley focused on modern Arabic literature and spent time in Jordan and Egypt. She spent three consecutive summers writing for the internationally-published travel guide, Let’s Go, traveling to Australia, Greece, Austria, and Germany to explore both cosmopolitan … Continue reading

While at Harvard Ansley focused on modern Arabic literature and spent time in Jordan and Egypt. She spent three consecutive summers writing for the internationally-published travel guide, Let’s Go, traveling to Australia, Greece, Austria, and Germany to explore both cosmopolitan cities and remote islands. While in Australia she explored Sydney and had the opportunity to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.  Besides research-writing for Let’s Go, Ansley has spent time in India, South Africa, and Argentina studying urban issues around the world.  She also taught dance classes at an orphanage in Peru and performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Presently, she is an academic advisor for an educational company based in China.  She previously led programs for high school students in the UK. Besides travel, film, and education, Ansley loves the performing arts and makes it her mission to take a dance class in every country she visits. Ansley has led our high school summer travel program in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

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Anthony Poullard

  • Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Education, Spanish, with honors; Dallas Baptist University, M.B.A. and M.Ed, Business Administration and Educational Leadership (candidate).

Anthony’s interest in Spanish began as a young child, and led him to study abroad at La Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina, where he focused on Argentine literature and Hispanic linguistics.  Infatuated with these cultural experiences and the kindness … Continue reading

Anthony’s interest in Spanish began as a young child, and led him to study abroad at La Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina, where he focused on Argentine literature and Hispanic linguistics.  Infatuated with these cultural experiences and the kindness of the Argentine people, he traveled back to Argentina the following year as an intern and taught at La Escuela Superior de Comercio Manuel Belgrano in Córdoba, while also taking time to travel extensively throughout the country.  During college, Anthony tutored and mentored at-risk middle and high school students and served as the University of Texas at Austin mascot.  Currently, he teaches middle school Spanish in Dallas, Texas, at Coppell Middle School West.  He is a sponsor of their Spanish Club and leads a mentoring service project.  Anthony is completing a dual master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Business Administration. In addition to his sojourns in South America, Anthony has traveled throughout Central America, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. He has led a summer community service program in Argentina, a high school community service summer trip to Peru, and summer language immersion program in Costa Rica. Anthony is fluent in Spanish.

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Avi Kline

  • Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., Literature and Philosophy; Columbia University, M.A. in Education; University of Massachusetts, M.F.A.

Avi Kline is from Brooklyn. He teaches at a public high school and co-curates Readings at Milk and Roses, a monthly poetry event in Greenpoint. He has also taught at New York University, Pace University, and at the University of … Continue reading

Avi Kline is from Brooklyn. He teaches at a public high school and co-curates Readings at Milk and Roses, a monthly poetry event in Greenpoint. He has also taught at New York University, Pace University, and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is pursuing an MFA in poetry. His poems and fiction can be found in Fence, Transom Journal, The Common, Juked, Softblow, Prick of the Spindle, Action Yes, and Jellyfish Magazine. His chapbook “City” will be released by Permafrost in the fall of 2013. Avi recently discovered basketball and now he owns a fabulous pair of Rondos. He has taught for ten summers on our Pre College programs for high school students.

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Ayala Ben-Chaim

  • Education: Mount Holyoke, B.A., Environmental Studies

During her Junior year at MHC, Ayala spent her fall semester in Woods Hole, MA, at the Marine Biological Laboratory in the Semester in Environmental Science, a program run by Brown University.  There she conducted a semester-long project on the … Continue reading

During her Junior year at MHC, Ayala spent her fall semester in Woods Hole, MA, at the Marine Biological Laboratory in the Semester in Environmental Science, a program run by Brown University.  There she conducted a semester-long project on the impact of soil fertilization on greenhouse gas emissions from plants.  That spring, Ayala tapped into her love of travel and spent a semester in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where she conducted a final project on the sustainability of the zipline industry.  After graduation, her interest in soil science, food, and community led her to an agricultural community—a kibbutz—in Israel where she worked in farming produce and with the dairy goats, as well as in dairy and fruit processing factories.  She has taught on our Pre-College program at Amherst College for two summers.

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Ben Goddard

  • Education: Bard College, B.A., Photography

Education: Bard College, B.A., Photography.  Born and raised in the Boston area, Ben grew up playing guitar in local rock bands and saxophone in his high school jazz band. Ben discovered his love for photography when he took his first … Continue reading

Education: Bard College, B.A., Photography.  Born and raised in the Boston area, Ben grew up playing guitar in local rock bands and saxophone in his high school jazz band. Ben discovered his love for photography when he took his first black & white film class in high school. He went on to study photography at Bard College, where he spent most of his time either in the darkroom or out exploring the world taking pictures. While at Bard, Ben studied with artists Stephen Shore, Larry Fink, and Tim Davis. During his summers in college, Ben traveled with artist Abelardo Morell to Italy, assisting him in producing his camera obscura photographs. Inspired by his passion for adventure and desire to photograph, Ben took a road trip to Austin, TX, upon graduating from Bard. After a brief stint in Austin, Ben continued his trip across-country to Los Angeles, which he now calls home. Since moving to L.A., Ben continues to make art, play music, and assist other artists for a living. His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including  VOX VII,  an  exhibition of emerging artists  at  Vox Populi in Philadelphia, and  The Best  Emerging Photographers at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn .  He has taught on our summer Pre-College program at Amherst College for two summers.

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Ben Yarbrough

  • Education: Pomona College, B.A., International Relations and Chinese.

After studying abroad on Middlebury College’s Hangzhou program in his junior year, Ben returned to China following graduation as a grantee of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship in Xi’an. After completing this program, he remained in China for … Continue reading

After studying abroad on Middlebury College’s Hangzhou program in his junior year, Ben returned to China following graduation as a grantee of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship in Xi’an. After completing this program, he remained in China for nine more months, teaching English and Chinese, doing contract work for an educational consulting company, and traveling to some of the most remote regions in the country. Ben also traveled to Beijing during his senior year to interview musicians for his undergraduate thesis about women in Beijing’s underground rock music industry. He is currently studying music at the Taipei National University of the Arts under the auspices of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. Ben is fluent in Chinese and has led our summer language program in China for high school students.

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Brenna Casey

  • Education: Boston College, B.A., University of Notre Dame, M.F.A., Duke University, Ph.D., English (student).

Brenna is a Ph.D. student in English and Women’s  Studies at Duke University.  Her research focuses on 19th century TransAmerican literature.  Brenna was the Sparks Fellow at the University of Notre Dame where she completed an M.F.A. in Creative Writing … Continue reading

Brenna is a Ph.D. student in English and Women’s  Studies at Duke University.  Her research focuses on 19th century TransAmerican literature.  Brenna was the Sparks Fellow at the University of Notre Dame where she completed an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a collection of essays based on her travels throughout Latin America and the U.S.  While in South Bend, Brenna also founded a weekly writing group for adults at South Bend’s Center for the Homeless, was recognized by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) for outstanding non-fiction writing, and received the university’s Distinguished Graduate Student Award, in part for her teaching excellence.  Her essays and reviews have been published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Post Road, and Make Magazine, among others.  She has managed communications for non-profit organizations in Seattle and Washington, D.C., and worked in the Putney Student Travel office where she specialized in new media outreach and Latin American programming.  Brenna is a product of the Irish diaspora, and has traveled widely throughout the island. She worked previously as a leader of high school summer programs abroad in Ecuador, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Ireland.  She taught Creative Writing for National Geographic Student Expeditions in Peru and Spain.  Brenna is fluent in Spanish.

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Brian Bender

  • Education: New England Conservatory of Music, B.A. 

A versatile professional musician based in the Pioneer Valley, Brian studied at U.C. Berkeley before graduating from the New England Conservatory in 1993 with a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. Brian has taught Jazz Ensemble, World Music Appreciation, and Music Theory … Continue reading

A versatile professional musician based in the Pioneer Valley, Brian studied at U.C. Berkeley before graduating from the New England Conservatory in 1993 with a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. Brian has taught Jazz Ensemble, World Music Appreciation, and Music Theory at Suffield Academy, the Williston-Northampton School, the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School, the Berkshire Hills Music Academy, and elsewhere. As a performing and recording artist for a range of groups—the Wholesale Klezmer Band, Black Rebels (African Reggae), the Pangeans (World Music), the World Beatniks (World Music), Little Shop of Horas (Klezmer-World Fusion), Fiddle Hill (Celtic), Big Bandemonium (Celtic), MarkaMusic (Latin-Andean fusion), the Brian Bender Quartet (Jazz), the Gumbo Jumbo Dixieland Band, and a long list of other groups (Afrobeat, Funk, R&B, etc.)—Brian has performed in venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton, Israel, Alaska, the Cape Verde Islands (West Africa), France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland, the United Kingdom, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Brian has taught music on our pre-college enrichment programs for ten summers.

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Brian Hoyer

  • Education: Middlebury College, B.A., International Studies, African Studies, and Anthropology; Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, MPH; Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs.

During his time at the Mailman School of Public Health, Brian received the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for Kiswahili and African Studies.  Brian also earned his Diploma in International Humanitarian Assistance from the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs. … Continue reading

During his time at the Mailman School of Public Health, Brian received the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for Kiswahili and African Studies.  Brian also earned his Diploma in International Humanitarian Assistance from the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs. His honors undergraduate thesis and undergraduate research award was written about his time spent in East Africa.  During the past several years, Brian has traveled the world with global health and disaster relief organizations.  He managed relief operations to assist survivors of some of the world’s worst natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina and major earthquakes in Haiti, Pakistan, and China, and assisted with recovery projects in places such as Liberia and Ghana.  For the past 3.5 years Brian has served as Country Director for an international health organization in Haiti, responsible for projects and aid, much of which went towards efforts to fight the recent cholera epidemic. Brian has also led his organization to initiate several long-term locally sustainable health projects aimed at strengthening the health system in Haiti.  Brian is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Kiswahili and Haitian Creole.  He has led our summer public health program in Rwanda.

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Bridget Lanigan

  • Education: State University of New York at New Paltz, B.F.A, summa cum laude, Photography; San Francisco Art Institute, M.F.A, Photography.

Bridget is a recipient of the 2006-2008 San Francisco Art Institute M.F.A. Fellowship Award, and studied with renowned artists Doug Hall, John Priola and Tony Labat.  In 2008 she was awarded first place for color photography in the Paul Sack … Continue reading

Bridget is a recipient of the 2006-2008 San Francisco Art Institute M.F.A. Fellowship Award, and studied with renowned artists Doug Hall, John Priola and Tony Labat.  In 2008 she was awarded first place for color photography in the Paul Sack Photography Competition.  In June of 2010 she was included in the 16th Annual Juried Exhibition curated by Joerg Colberg at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts.  Additional exhibitions have included: The One, an online exhibition curated by Peter Max Lawrence; The Photo Review 2009, an online exhibition; Vernissage – SFAI Graduating MFA Exhibition at Herbst Pavillion, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA; Spring Show 2008, Still Lights Gallery, San Francisco, CA; The Big Tiny, Red Ink Studios, San Francisco, CA; Girls, Trees, Teeth, Meat and Strangers, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Evocation, Gallery 4222, Port Jefferson, New York; The Token Women Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA; America, Walt Whitman Birthplace, Huntington, New York; Portrait of my Mother . . . Things Left Unsaid, Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA.  She has lectured about her work at SUNY New Paltz and the Fine Arts Academy at Missouri State University.  Her affinity for the fine arts also led to work as studio manager and photographer with Spinnato Art Gallery and photography studio and assistant photographer with both Macy’s Photography Studio and the photographic artist Will Faller.  Bridget has taught on our summer pre-college enrichment program at Amherst College for three summers and on one of our pre-college enrichment programs in Europe for two summers.

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Brock Schardin

  • Education: The University of South Dakota, B.A. Spanish, minor in Biology, magna cum laude. The University of South Dakota, M.A. Spanish Education.

During his undergraduate studies, Brock lived and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain, at La Universidad Internacional de Menendez-Pelayo, where he developed a passion for Spanish culture and language.  On campus, Brock was the Spanish Club president for three years and … Continue reading

During his undergraduate studies, Brock lived and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain, at La Universidad Internacional de Menendez-Pelayo, where he developed a passion for Spanish culture and language.  On campus, Brock was the Spanish Club president for three years and was deeply involved with service learning projects, including time spent as a volunteer teaching weekly Spanish lessons to local elementary students. He also led student volunteer trips to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, Memphis, Tennessee, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. Brock spent 2011 with AmeriCorps, teaching under-served youth in Houston, TX. Brock is currently teaching English through the Fulbright Program in Madrid, Spain. He enjoys playing music, running, snowboarding, and cycling.  Brock has spent three summers leading our summer language immersion program in Spain for high school students.

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Calista Macharrie

  • Education: Temple, B.M., Music Education and Spanish.

While in school Calista satiated her travel bug by spending a month in Guatemala studying Spanish and volunteering with Quetzaltrekkers as well as a summer abroad in Oviedo, Spain studying Spanish literature. After graduation she ran a private piano studio … Continue reading

While in school Calista satiated her travel bug by spending a month in Guatemala studying Spanish and volunteering with Quetzaltrekkers as well as a summer abroad in Oviedo, Spain studying Spanish literature. After graduation she ran a private piano studio and taught elementary school choral music in North Philadelphia. The teaching job left her summers free to lead students on community service trips in Hawaii, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.  She volunteers with numerous arts nonprofits in Philadelphia including the Walnut Street Theatre, Koresh Dance Company, and the Walking Fish Theatre, and is passionate about music and arts education. In her free and not so free time she loves dancing, surfing, rock climbing, and cooking. Calista is proficient in Spanish. She has led Community Service Ecuador.

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Carina Schorske

  • Education: Yale University, B.A.; University of Chicago, M.A.

Carina graduated from Yale with honors in both Literature and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. Among her many academic awards was the Academy of American Poets Prize. She was the literary editor of the Yale Literary Magazine, a columnist for the … Continue reading

Carina graduated from Yale with honors in both Literature and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. Among her many academic awards was the Academy of American Poets Prize. She was the literary editor of the Yale Literary Magazine, a columnist for the Yale Daily News, and a founding performer in OYE, a Latino spoken word group. Carina has traveled extensively in Latin America, studying in Argentina for a semester and conducting a research and translation project in Mexico City.  She conducted workshops on poetry and hip-hop culture in California and served for two years as the Associate Editor at Transition, a magazine of the African diaspora published by Henry Louis Gates at Harvard University. Carina spent the 2012-2013 academic year at the University of Chicago writing her first manuscript of poems, entitled “The Answer Again Is No.” She also currently serves as the guest editor of a special selection of essays on psychology and race for Transition, to be published in the fall of 2013. She looks forward to reentering the magazine world upon graduating from her Master’s program in June.  Carina has led our Writing in Ireland program. She is fluent in Spanish.

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Carter Carter

  • Education: New York University, B.A, Cultural Anthropology & Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; Simmons Graduate School of Social Work, MSW, Clinical Social Work (candidate).

Carter is a psychotherapist in practice at the Brookline Community Mental Health Center in his hometown of Brookline, MA.  He practices individual and group psychotherapy with children and adolescents and specializes in the treatment of major mental illness, trauma, and … Continue reading

Carter is a psychotherapist in practice at the Brookline Community Mental Health Center in his hometown of Brookline, MA.  He practices individual and group psychotherapy with children and adolescents and specializes in the treatment of major mental illness, trauma, and autism-spectrum disorders.  Prior to his engagement with BCMHC Carter trained on the Inpatient Psychiatry service of MetroWest Medical Center in Natick, MA. Carter is a member of the Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps, volunteering his services as a therapist and social worker to victims and emergency services personnel following disasters and accidents.  Before entering graduate school Carter worked in a residential mental health treatment facility for adolescent girls.  Prior to embarking on his career in mental health Carter studied cultural anthropology and Islamic studies at New York University.  As an undergraduate he spent a year studying in Indonesia, India (where he lived with the personal chef to H.H the Dalai Lama!), and Nepal, focusing on social justice issues related to tourism.  Carter has participated in numerous Putney programs, both as a leader and as a student.  He has led a summer community service program in Nusa Penida and has taught on our Pre-College summer program at Amherst College.  He is highly proficient in French and Bahasa Indonesia.

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Catherine Rand

  • Education: Rutgers University, B.A. Visual Arts & Art History

Catherine is an illustrator and artist.  She most recently illustrated and edited a textbook on classroom management, entitled The Positive Classroom: Creating an Effective Learning Community for Young Children.  She graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University. Cat works at … Continue reading

Catherine is an illustrator and artist.  She most recently illustrated and edited a textbook on classroom management, entitled The Positive Classroom: Creating an Effective Learning Community for Young Children.  She graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University. Cat works at Rutgers Preparatory High School in New Jersey, and works as a costumer for the West-Windsor Plainsboro High School North’s theater department.  She has also worked as an editor on several federal and state grants for higher education and STEM education, and as a research assistant, studying the professional development of cooperating teachers working with student teachers.  Cat has lived abroad in both Paris and Dublin and has studied Spanish, French, Italian, and Irish Gaelic. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Catherine is currently in the process of illustrating several children’s books, and will return to school in Los Angeles in the fall, where she will work towards an MFA in Filmmaking.  She is an alumna of Putney’s Pre-College summer program in Spain program, and has worked on the staff of our Pre-College summer program at Amherst College.

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Celine Hein

  • Education: Concordia College, B.A.; Université de Paris V Descartes Sorbonne, M.A., International Cooperation in Education and Training.

Celine graduated magna cum laude in Global Studies and Communications from Concordia College in Moorhead MN. She got the chance to study abroad in Bangalore, India, and worked during the summers in the Northern woods as a counselor at Concordia … Continue reading

Celine graduated magna cum laude in Global Studies and Communications from Concordia College in Moorhead MN. She got the chance to study abroad in Bangalore, India, and worked during the summers in the Northern woods as a counselor at Concordia Language Village’s French immersion camp, Lac du Bois.  After college, she served for 2 years as an AmeriCorps member at a Minneapolis high school, helping 35 low-income students gain college access. The transformative power of education moved her to become a certified TEFL instructor, which took her to Santiago, Chile for nearly 3 years. She taught English to a wide variety of students; her last position involved developing the e-learning and in-class curriculum for a Chilean high school. Apart from becoming an English grammar enthusiast, her time in Chile also allowed her to travel extensively throughout South America.  Celine then decided to move back to her native country, France, after nearly 10 years away. While she grew up in Marseille, she is now calling Paris home. In addition to getting her master’s degree, Celine now works as a business English trainer and volunteers with local youth.  Celine is French/English bilingual, fluent in Spanish and proficient in Italian. She has led our high school summer travel program in Europe.

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Claire Allen-Platt

  • Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A., Anthropology, History, Religious Studies; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.M., International Education Policy.

Claire’s interests in education, poverty alleviation, and community development have led her to work with schools, students, and nonprofits in the United States and abroad. For the past two years she has managed data-driven instruction and special education at a … Continue reading

Claire’s interests in education, poverty alleviation, and community development have led her to work with schools, students, and nonprofits in the United States and abroad. For the past two years she has managed data-driven instruction and special education at a charter school in Harlem. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Claire spent ten months in India, first as a student of Anthropology and Urdu language, and later on a research grant to study NGOs’ role in building schools for ethnic and religious minorities. After graduation, Claire spent two years in AmeriCorps, coordinating youth development projects and teaching in Washington, D.C., public schools. In 2011 she completed a Master’s degree in International Education Policy at Harvard, focusing on schooling for marginalized youth and leading projects with Innovations for Poverty Action – Ghana, Save the Children, and Teach for All. Claire is often found with knitting needles, riding a bicycle, or practicing yoga. She is proficient in Urdu and Hindi, and she has led summer community service and development programs for teens in India and Ghana.

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Conor Peterson

  • Education: St. Lawrence University, B.S., Biology, Chemistry and African Studies Minors.

Conor is a born-and-raised Vermonter who grew up skiing the Green Mountains during the winter and paddling the Northern rivers and lakes of Ontario, Canada, in summer. Conor first found practical application for his leadership skills when he became a … Continue reading

Conor is a born-and-raised Vermonter who grew up skiing the Green Mountains during the winter and paddling the Northern rivers and lakes of Ontario, Canada, in summer. Conor first found practical application for his leadership skills when he became a professional canoe guide for Camp Pathfinder, leading teenage boys through the pristine lakes and raging rivers of Northern Canada for up to 25 days at a time. He also worked as a junior ski patroller and a ski instructor at Jay Peak Ski Resort as the captain of his high school Alpine Ski Team. At St. Lawrence University, Conor developed his interest in the sciences while continuing his passion for outdoor leadership. He spent a semester of his junior year in Kenya, where he applied his ecological studies to ethical problems surrounding nature reserves in East Africa. He continued this work when he arrived back at St. Lawrence, earning a minor in African Studies. Conor enjoys guiding backcountry telemark ski trips, shooting local Class IV whitewater kayak runs, and playing saxophone in his house band. He is proficient in Swahili. Conor led our summer community service program in Tanzania in 2012 and 2013.

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Damen Scranton

  • Education: University of California at San Diego, B.A., Theatre, Creative Writing; University of California at San Diego, M.F.A., Acting.

Damen was one of two U.S. recipients of a Princess Grace Award for Acting in 1996. Since 1997, he has worked as an actor and teacher for the Irondale Ensemble Project – an improvisation-based, political theatre company in its 28th … Continue reading

Damen was one of two U.S. recipients of a Princess Grace Award for Acting in 1996. Since 1997, he has worked as an actor and teacher for the Irondale Ensemble Project – an improvisation-based, political theatre company in its 28th season in NYC. He is also a company member with Blessed Unrest (an award-winning NYC theatre ensemble), and is a core member of Strike Anywhere (an NYC-based, improvisational jazz performance ensemble). As an actor, he has performed at the Lincoln Center Theater, the La Jolla Playhouse, and the Granary and Firken Crane Theatres in Cork, the Republic of Ireland, among others. Notably, Damen played Creon in Antigone (directed by Athol Fugard) at the Firken Crane Theatre in Cork. As a playwright, Damen has had four plays produced in the U.S., Ireland, and Northern Ireland (including The Death of Cabaret, 2001 Dublin Fringe Festival). As a director his plays have won numerous awards and honors, including Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project (winner of the 2008 NY Innovative Theater Award for Best Production of a Play). He has taught courses in Shakespeare, acting, and creative writing at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, UC San Diego, Manhattanville College, Marymount College in Manhattan, numerous NYC public high schools, the Riker’s Island juvenile detention facility, and the Port Stewart Community Center in Port Stewart, Northern Ireland. Damen was born and raised in Pasadena, California. He has taught on Putney Pre College summer programs for 11 years.

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Danielle Lambert

  • Education: Old Dominion University B.S. Occupational and Technical Studies, minor in Human Service Counseling, magna cum laude.

After graduating from college, Danielle spent a year and a half living in Costa Rica and working as an adventure photographer at a local nature park.  Danielle is also a proud Americorps National Civilian Community Corps alumna.  In Americorps Danielle … Continue reading

After graduating from college, Danielle spent a year and a half living in Costa Rica and working as an adventure photographer at a local nature park.  Danielle is also a proud Americorps National Civilian Community Corps alumna.  In Americorps Danielle combined her passion for travel with her interest in community service.  Through this experience she was able to complete varied service projects across the country in locations including New Orleans, Baltimore, Rhode Island, and New York.  She currently works as an ESL tutor and ropes course facilitator in Richmond, VA.  She is fluent in Spanish. 2013 was Danielle’s third summer leading the community service portion of our middle school summer program in Costa Rica.

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David Eisnitz

  • Education: Earlham College, B.A., Economics (College & Departmental Honors, Phi Beta Kappa; Minor: History, English); UC Santa Cruz, M.A., Education; UMass Amherst, Ph.D., Economics (candidate).

Originally from California, David has slowly migrated eastward for years. He is now a doctoral student at UMass, Amherst, where he studies economic history, institutional economics, and a wide variety of other topics, including some that aren’t even economics. He … Continue reading

Originally from California, David has slowly migrated eastward for years. He is now a doctoral student at UMass, Amherst, where he studies economic history, institutional economics, and a wide variety of other topics, including some that aren’t even economics. He thinks teaching and learning are a lot of fun—he teaches undergraduate classes at UMass, which are always the highlight of his week. He is also a staff economist at the Center for Popular Economics, and taught a course on the US economy at their 2012 Summer Institute. Prior to starting graduate studies at UMass, David worked as a book editor, media researcher, and high school teacher. He enjoys bicycling, hiking, and other outdoor activities on, around, and under the ocean. He likes cooking, eating, music, reading and writing, ’80s dance parties, and learning he was wrong about something. In an alternate life, he would be either a baker or a field biologist. David has taught on our Pre College summer program at Amherst College.

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David Martinez

  • Education: Occidental College, B.A., American Studies, University of San Francisco, M.A. (candidate).

Born and raised in the Bronx, David grew up in a Puerto Rican household, absorbing the rich culture and language of the island from his family and community. Beyond his frequent trips back to Puerto Rico, David experienced his first … Continue reading

Born and raised in the Bronx, David grew up in a Puerto Rican household, absorbing the rich culture and language of the island from his family and community. Beyond his frequent trips back to Puerto Rico, David experienced his first taste of international travel as a participant in Putney’s summer Pre-College enrichment program in Spain in 2005. During his undergraduate studies at Occidental College, David spent a semester abroad in Spain, where he enrolled at the Universidad de Granada. During this time he also worked at the university library, translating their webpage to English.  In the last couple of years David has acquired his K-8 Multiple Subjects Credential and is currently enrolled at the University of San Francisco acquiring his M.A. in Education with a focus on Digital Media and Learning.  He also enjoys the multiple “hats” he wears at a new Spanish-Infusion elementary school. David has led our Pre-College summer program in Madrid and our Pre-College summer program in Barcelona.

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Edward Narea

  • Education: Cornell University, B.A., English and Spanish.

Post-undergrad, Edward traveled across Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador.  After returning to the States, he moved to Portland, OR, where he managed a budding restaurant chain for three years, but could not manage to shake his travel bug.  So, in … Continue reading

Post-undergrad, Edward traveled across Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador.  After returning to the States, he moved to Portland, OR, where he managed a budding restaurant chain for three years, but could not manage to shake his travel bug.  So, in the summer of 2012 with his Ecuadorian roots calling him, he led a service-learning trip for high school students throughout Ecuador.  Carrying that momentum from the summer, he returned to Portland, and began working for the International Carpe Diem Foundation, where he helped prepare an at-risk youth cohort for international travel and eventual college enrollment.  Edward now works as a member of Janus Youth Programs, assisting in shelters and transitional facilities for homeless youth.  In the spring, he completed his first 200-hr yoga teacher certification.  Edward is fluent in Spanish. He has led our summer community service program in Ecuador.

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Eli S. Evans

  • Education: University of Wisconsin, B.A.; University of Arizona, M.F.A.; Art Center College of Design, M.A.

Eli S. Evans has published literary and critical work in magazines such as n+1, The American Reader, Quimera, Glimmer Train, and Berfrois, and has translations of a selection of poems from Jaime Rodríguez Z.’s 2011 Canción de Vic Morrow forthcoming … Continue reading

Eli S. Evans has published literary and critical work in magazines such as n+1, The American Reader, Quimera, Glimmer Train, and Berfrois, and has translations of a selection of poems from Jaime Rodríguez Z.’s 2011 Canción de Vic Morrow forthcoming in the literary magazine Mandorla. In addition to his dissertation, he is currently at work on a collection of sentimental poems composed at odd hours and a novel that will contain at least one reference to Picacho Peak, site of the westernmost battle of the American Civil War. He has taught as an Associate faculty member at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Northern Iowa, and has taught on Putney Pre-College summer programs for high school students for 12 years.

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Emily Tissot

  • Education: Oakland University, B.A., Anthropology, Spanish Language and Literature. Certification in TESL. Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master’s (candidate).

Upon graduating from Oakland University, Emily moved to New Orleans to pursue her passion of creating public health programs in developing countries. Through her program, Master’s International, she is scheduled to leave for the Peace Corps in January. Her goals … Continue reading

Upon graduating from Oakland University, Emily moved to New Orleans to pursue her passion of creating public health programs in developing countries. Through her program, Master’s International, she is scheduled to leave for the Peace Corps in January. Her goals are to work in refugee health, management, and development in conflict zones. Emily discovered her love for developing countries and the Spanish language when she moved to the Dominican Republic shortly after graduating high school. Spending a year learning Spanish, teaching English, and serving in underprivileged communities helped influence her love for Latin culture. Every summer during her undergraduate years she chose to travel, leading student trips in Peru and Mexico. She also worked as an Archeologist in Israel. She loves music, talking about health, and being outside. She led Putney’s community service program in the Dominican Republic in 2012 and Costa Rica in 2013. Emily is fluent in Spanish.

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Erika Prahl

  • Education: Kenyon College, B.A., Spanish and Italian.

Erika was a member of the Kenyon College Chamber Singers and lettered in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse. Erika has worked as the Director of Diversity at the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where she is currently Assistant Director of … Continue reading

Erika was a member of the Kenyon College Chamber Singers and lettered in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse. Erika has worked as the Director of Diversity at the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where she is currently Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Financial Aid. She coaches lacrosse, sings karaoke whenever she gets the chance, and consumes sushi frequently and voraciously. Erika has traveled extensively in Italy and Spain and is fluent in Italian. Erika has worked for 11 years on Putney Pre College summer programs for high school students.

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Erika Skogg

  • Education: Montana State University, B.A., Film & Photography

Erika majored in Film and Photography at Montana State, where she received the Babcock Scholarship.  Her adventure guiding experience started on the white waters of Colorado as a river guide, and over the winters as a ski instructor at Moonlight … Continue reading

Erika majored in Film and Photography at Montana State, where she received the Babcock Scholarship.  Her adventure guiding experience started on the white waters of Colorado as a river guide, and over the winters as a ski instructor at Moonlight Basin, Montana.  She studied photography in Perugia, Italy.  Erika served as a photography intern at the Patrick McMullan Company in New York City and worked as a photo instructor for the New York Institute of Photography and for Chicago Photo Safaris.  She has taught math, English, science, reading, and art in Taipei, Taiwan, and planned community service programs for high school students in Thailand and Cambodia.  Sponsored by Canon, Erika has led hundreds of digital photography workshops through many of America’s iconic National Parks, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, and Acadia.  Erika is based out of Bogotá, Colombia, where she works as a media producer in film and photography.  She is fluent in Spanish.  Erika has led summer programs abroad for high school students in Tuscany (2011), Yellowstone & Montana (2011 and 2012) and Ecuador and the Galápagos (2012).

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Evan Coleman

  • Education: Brown University, B.A., English.

Evan graduated with honors from Brown where he studied literary nonfiction and travel writing. During his junior year, Evan spent five months in South America, training with a professional soccer team in Argentina, working at an orphanage in Bolivia, and … Continue reading

Evan graduated with honors from Brown where he studied literary nonfiction and travel writing. During his junior year, Evan spent five months in South America, training with a professional soccer team in Argentina, working at an orphanage in Bolivia, and collecting notes and interviews from his travels that would later evolve into a literary nonfiction thesis. As a C.V. Starr Fellow at Brown University, Evan implemented an education-based exchange program between the U.S. and Chile which focused on providing students with the tools they needed to create change in their own communities. He now lives in Bath, Maine, where he teaches 10th Grade English and coaches soccer at The Hyde School. Evan is fluent in Spanish and has led our summer community service trip to Costa Rica.

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Geoff Levy

  • Education: University of Central Florida, B.F.A., Film Production.

Geoff is a conceptual photographer and filmmaker whose passion lies in the experience of cinema and visual mediums.  He discovered his love of capturing light while attending the conservatory at UNC School of the Arts, where he focused his studies … Continue reading

Geoff is a conceptual photographer and filmmaker whose passion lies in the experience of cinema and visual mediums.  He discovered his love of capturing light while attending the conservatory at UNC School of the Arts, where he focused his studies on cinematography.  He continued his undergraduate career at University of Central Florida, where he worked freelance as an assistant to photographers Jon Paul Douglass and John Deeb. Geoff’s work, primarily showcasing his travels to Israel and Iceland, has been shown in several southeastern regional art shows as well as in international publications.  He has worked with clients such as Redbull and the National Basketball Association.  Geoff continues to work as a photographer and filmmaker both nationally and regionally. He has taught on our Pre College summer program at Amherst College.

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Griffin Weigel

  • Education: University of Connecticut, B.S., Molecular Cell Biology and Chemistry.

While in school Griffin focused his studies on microorganisms that thrive in extreme environments.  After graduation, he moved to Taveuni, Fiji to work in his own extreme environment – under water – as a dive master. Griffin has been very … Continue reading

While in school Griffin focused his studies on microorganisms that thrive in extreme environments.  After graduation, he moved to Taveuni, Fiji to work in his own extreme environment – under water – as a dive master. Griffin has been very active with the Taveuni Rotary club and has spent the last three years working on a large clean water project for the island. He has a long history of doing community service around Fiji working with both NGOs and the Fijian government. The most ambitious project was a public health initiative that treated 16,000 people across Taveuni.  Griffin now works as a research associate in Cambridge, MA, helping to identify the human oral microbiome. On weekends he volunteers in the education department at the New England Aquarium, where he educates visitors about conservation. This fall, Griffin will be going back to school for a Master’s in Education. He has led our Community Service Fiji program.

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Haley Peterson

  • Education: Hamilton College, B.A., World Politics and English.

Haley grew up in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains and spent every moment of vacation canoeing or skiing the lakes of Vermont and Ontario. Her appreciation for the outdoors led her to become a wilderness canoe trip counselor and … Continue reading

Haley grew up in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains and spent every moment of vacation canoeing or skiing the lakes of Vermont and Ontario. Her appreciation for the outdoors led her to become a wilderness canoe trip counselor and guide at Camp Northway Lodge. During her time at Hamilton, Haley spent several months studying abroad in Kenya and Tanzania where she worked for the Colobus Conservation, an organization fighting to reconcile protection of the unique coastal ecosystem and its vulnerable species with a booming tourism industry. She completed her senior thesis on community-based tourism initiatives in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. Haley led Hamilton’s pre-orientation trips for freshman in the Adirondacks, worked as a peer counselor at Hamilton’s Career Center, and served as a resident advisor. She also taught English at a local refugee center. Haley has spent the last two years working in press and communications for Vermont Congressman Peter Welch in Washington, D.C. Haley is proficient in Swhaili and French. This fall, Haley will pursue a J.D. in environmental law at University of Maryland in Baltimore. She has led our high school summer community service program in Tanzania.

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Hanna M. Owens

  • Education: Towson University, B.A., French and Fine Arts, summa cum laude

Hanna’s artwork explores language and its purposes, such as the documentation of memory or an attempt at connection. She has performed and exhibited her work at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as at other spaces in Baltimore, Chicago, … Continue reading

Hanna’s artwork explores language and its purposes, such as the documentation of memory or an attempt at connection. She has performed and exhibited her work at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as at other spaces in Baltimore, Chicago, and York, PA. Her work is featured on the cover of The Institute for International Education’s 2011 annual publication Open Doors. In 2009, she received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study French and Wolof in Dakar, Senegal. While living and studying in Baltimore, she worked for a stained glass artist and at her university’s Study Abroad Office. Hannah taught English in two middle schools in Calais, France. She just wrapped up the first year of her M.F.A. in Studio Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spent this past January documenting travel and learning Turkish in Turkey. She is fluent in French. Hanna has taught for two summer on our summer Pre College programs for high school students.

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Hannah Gilkenson

  • Education: University of Michigan, B.S.

Hannah graduated with honors in Anthropology-Zoology from the University of Michigan, where she studied chimpanzee behavior and vocalizations. She worked with bats at the University of Maryland and at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. before moving to Costa Rica … Continue reading

Hannah graduated with honors in Anthropology-Zoology from the University of Michigan, where she studied chimpanzee behavior and vocalizations. She worked with bats at the University of Maryland and at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. before moving to Costa Rica to study the social behavior of the white-faced capuchin monkey. Hannah remained in Costa Rica for six years serving as the field station manager for the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In Costa Rica she worked closely with the community where she lived, and succeeded in bringing conservation education to local school children. Hannah now works as an Associate Director at Putney, helping to coordinate high school summer programs abroad in Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand, and overseeing staffing for Putney’s Pre College summer programs for teens. Hannah is fluent in Spanish and proficient in German. She has led for seven summers, including programs in Fiji, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galápagos, Peru, and Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. She has also directed the Foundations program in Costa Rica and the Pre College program at Amherst College.

Hannah Palmer will lead our Australia program this summer.

Hannah Palmer

  • Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.S., Marine Biology and Spanish.

As a Marine Biology major at University of California, Los Angeles, Hannah pursued underwater research in her own field study in Moorea, French Polynesia, giving her hard skills as a scientific diver, a deep knowledge of the world of the … Continue reading

As a Marine Biology major at University of California, Los Angeles, Hannah pursued underwater research in her own field study in Moorea, French Polynesia, giving her hard skills as a scientific diver, a deep knowledge of the world of the ocean, and a strong foundation as a scientist.  Her work as an outdoor guide while at UCLA allowed her to lead fellow students on adventures all over the western United States, from Zion to Yosemite to Big Sur to the Grand Canyon.  Hannah’s study abroad in Merida, Mexico, during her sophomore year of college allowed her to hone her Spanish skills and develop a love of travel and life in foreign environments.  Hannah is proficient in Spanish and enjoys rock climbing, cooking, back handsprings, soccer, and anything underwater. She has led our summer program in Costa Rica for middle school students.

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Hao Nguyen

  • Education: Texas A&M University, B.A., Political Science and Sociology

Hao studied socioeconomic mobility in relation to race and ethnicity while participating in rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He has also worked with a non-profit organization in the central region of Vietnam to enact a system of … Continue reading

Hao studied socioeconomic mobility in relation to race and ethnicity while participating in rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He has also worked with a non-profit organization in the central region of Vietnam to enact a system of portable mobile libraries and to plan rural housing and microfinance projects through exploratory field research conducted with Singaporean service learning student groups. Hao went on to coordinate an after school program for inner city youth in Chicago, before relocating to Malaysia to intern for an organization working on human trafficking issues. Hao has previously studied abroad in Vietnam where he investigated the living and working conditions of the city’s waste collection workers while volunteering for an organization empowering street children. Hao is fluent in Vietnamese and has recently returned to school to pursue a Master of Arts in Environment and Community. He has led our summer community service program in Vietnam.

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Henk Rossouw

  • Education: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, B.A., Journalism; University of Massachusetts Amherst, MFA; University of Houston, PhD in Creative Writing (candidate).

A poet, Henk Rossouw grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Transom, The Boston Review, and the Paris Review. During the academic year, he teaches writing at the University … Continue reading

A poet, Henk Rossouw grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Transom, The Boston Review, and the Paris Review. During the academic year, he teaches writing at the University of Houston. At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Henk won the Poetry Society of America’s Bright Lights Big Verse contest, judged by the former poetry editor of the New Yorker, and read his winning poem at a public event on Times Square. He has given readings for Stanza, the Scottish International Poetry Festival, and at the Emily Dickinson Museum. In 2006 and 2008, Henk attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, in Middlebury, Vermont. As a Sauve Scholar at McGill University, in Montreal, Henk was given a sabbatical to write, and published a personal essay in The Threepenny Review, an interview with Nadine Gordimer in The Virginia Quarterly Review, and a short story in Tin House, which won a Summer Literary Seminars first prize.  Henk gave lectures across Canada on the HIV/Aids epidemic in rural South Africa.   From 2001 to 2005, he traveled to Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, and Congo, as the Africa correspondent for Washington D.C.’s The Chronicle of Higher Education. His reporting on former child soldier Grace Akallo led to her becoming a spokesperson on Capitol Hill about the conflict in northern Uganda, and eventually completing a Masters degree in the US. Henk also wrote on the arts and covered Zimbabwe for Newsweek. Henk has been both a teacher and director on our Pre-College summer program at Amherst College.

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Holly Beatrice

  • Education: University of Rhode Island, B.A., Art History; Middlebury College, M.A., Italian Language and Cultural Studies.

After being inspired by Italian Renaissance painting during her undergraduate study abroad, Holly enrolled in a master’s program for Italian studies and moved to Florence.  For the five years she lived in Tuscany, Holly worked as a tour guide and … Continue reading

After being inspired by Italian Renaissance painting during her undergraduate study abroad, Holly enrolled in a master’s program for Italian studies and moved to Florence.  For the five years she lived in Tuscany, Holly worked as a tour guide and as the Resident Director for Vanderbilt University’s Art History in Florence program where she helped develop seminars and educational activities focusing on cultural studies and art.  More recently Holly managed the Italian office for a tour operator, working directly with locals to create authentic cultural experiences for travelers across Italy.  Holly currently teaches Italian in Waltham, MA, where she shares her love of the Italian language and culture with her students through a variety of dynamic and interdisciplinary lessons. She has worked on our Pre College summer programs in Oxford and Tuscany.

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Jake Elliott

  • Education: University of Denver, B.A., International Business.

During Jake’s first year in Denver he participated in a month-long course in Costa Rica studying Central American culture and politics, which sparked an intense interest in the entire Latin American region. During his senior year he studied in Sevilla, … Continue reading

During Jake’s first year in Denver he participated in a month-long course in Costa Rica studying Central American culture and politics, which sparked an intense interest in the entire Latin American region. During his senior year he studied in Sevilla, Spain, for six months and then, following graduation, Jake entered the Peace Corps and was assigned to Sierpe, a small town in southern Costa Rica. As a volunteer, he worked with micro-entrepreneurs to establish a new, community-based, micro-credit cooperative. Following his Peace Corps service, he decided to stay in the country for an additional 16 months to manage a local family’s eco-lodge in a nearby village. While in Costa Rica, Jake developed a great passion in permaculture, sustainable living and ecological responsibility.  In addition to his love of travel and Latin American culture, Jake enjoys back country snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. He led a summer community service program in Costa Rica in 2012 and Ecuador in 2013.  Jake is fluent in Spanish.

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Jake Heaton

  • Education: University of Florida, B.A., Spanish, Latin American Studies.

Jake graduated with honors in Spanish, and also completed a certificate in Latin American Studies and studied abroad in Brazil.  After graduating from UF, he taught English for two years in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Tarragona, Spain. While there, … Continue reading

Jake graduated with honors in Spanish, and also completed a certificate in Latin American Studies and studied abroad in Brazil.  After graduating from UF, he taught English for two years in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Tarragona, Spain. While there, Jake was able to travel extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Jake now works as a high school Spanish teacher, helping to increase his students’ confidence in speaking Spanish and their cultural awareness of the Spanish speaking world. One of Jake’s most rewarding teaching experiences was hand-delivering school supplies, purchased by his students in Florida, to poverty-stricken children in the Andean city of Huancayo, Perú. Jake is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in Catalan.  He has led our summer language program in Spain for high school students.

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Jarell Skinner-Roy

  • Education: University of Wisconsin Madison, B.A., French and Legal Studies.

During his junior year of college, Jarell spent a semester studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France where he was able to increase his French language skills by living with a host family and attending the local French university.  He took advantage … Continue reading

During his junior year of college, Jarell spent a semester studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France where he was able to increase his French language skills by living with a host family and attending the local French university.  He took advantage of opportunities to travel throughout Europe visiting many countries including Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Holland and Spain. After college, Jarell left the U.S. to teach English in the West African country of Benin.  He quickly became a successful English teacher; his students improved their language skills and became well prepared to study abroad in an English speaking country. Jarell is currently an active volunteer with the AmeriCorps Schools of Hope Project in Madison, Wisconsin. He tutors and works one-on-one with elementary school students who are struggling with reading or math. Jarell has a strong passion for traveling. In addition to many countries in Europe, he has also been to Egypt, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago, where he has family. Jarell is fluent in French and has led our high school language program in Switzerland, Italy, France and Holland.

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Javier Mercado

  • Education: University of Puerto Rico, B.A., Social Studies.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Javier attended the University of Puerto Rico. During his time at the University he performed for Lyric Theater as a tenor. After college he moved to Washington, D.C., where he had the privilege of … Continue reading

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Javier attended the University of Puerto Rico. During his time at the University he performed for Lyric Theater as a tenor. After college he moved to Washington, D.C., where he had the privilege of teaching Spanish, his native language. His love of history and storytelling led him to attend the Creative Freedom Arts Studio in D.C., where he received formal acting training, something he has integrated into his classroom. He has collaborated with Teatro de la Luna (Moon’s Theater Poetry Marathon) in Washington and has done work associated with education research at the George Washington University. As a teacher he has had the opportunity to lead and coordinate trips to Puerto Rico for his bilingual students in 2010 and 2011. Soon after, he went to Nepal to serve the Tibetan and Nepali communities living in Boudha. There he had the opportunity to teach a diverse body of students that included Tibetan refugees and Himalayan Sherpas from throughout Nepal, Tibet, and India.  Javier is fluent in Spanish. He has led our summer language immersion program in Costa Rica.

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Jen Lagedrost

  • Education: University of San Diego, B.A., English; San Diego State University, MFA Creative Writing, Poetry.

Jen is a poet, runner, writing teacher, and yoga instructor. While attending the University of San Diego, she tutored in the Writing Center and studied abroad in Central Mexico, Southern France, and Northern India. Following graduation, Jen traveled to Wyoming … Continue reading

Jen is a poet, runner, writing teacher, and yoga instructor. While attending the University of San Diego, she tutored in the Writing Center and studied abroad in Central Mexico, Southern France, and Northern India. Following graduation, Jen traveled to Wyoming to work summers at a dude ranch in the Big Horn Mountains riding horses, followed by winters in Jackson Hole coordinating employee hiring for a local ski resort. Before beginning her MFA in Poetry at SDSU, Jen traveled to New Zealand on a work visa where she lived in Queenstown, and hiked, ran, and explored the many fjords, tracks, glaciers, sounds, and natural wonders of the North and South Islands. While down under, she also explored the Eastern coast of Australia, sailed to the Whitsunday Islands, and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. Jen’s passion for cultural exposure, physical activity in the great outdoors, and the wonders of the natural world fuel her writing as well as her teaching. She has taught Creative Writing and Literature at SDSU and USD, English & American Cultural Studies for international high school students, and works as the Graduate Assistant of the Writing Center.  She is a founding editor of HINGED: Journal of Converging Arts and a contributing editor with Poetry International. Jen will complete her MFA this spring. She has led the high school summer travel program to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

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Jenn Brown

  • Education: Wesleyan University, B.A., East Asian Studies, Government

Jenn spent 6 months during her junior year in Beijing and Hangzhou, China, where she studied Chinese language and conducted undergraduate thesis research on the effects of economic development on rural to urban migration patterns. After graduation, she spent time … Continue reading

Jenn spent 6 months during her junior year in Beijing and Hangzhou, China, where she studied Chinese language and conducted undergraduate thesis research on the effects of economic development on rural to urban migration patterns. After graduation, she spent time in Washington, D.C. doing foreign policy research before deciding to head back to Asia. She returned to Beijing as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow with WildChina, a boutique adventure travel specialist. Since then, she has spent a number of years working in tourism throughout China and Southeast Asia, in addition to spending four months volunteering at a microfinance institution in rural Sichuan province. Most recently, she has worked in Laos, setting up and overseeing the joint-venture branch office for Jetset Travelworld Group, a global travel services company. Jenn is fluent in Chinese, proficient in Spanish, and can speak conversational Lao & Thai.  Jenn has lead Putney’s summer pre college program and high school summer language program in China, as well as our summer development program in Cambodia.

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Jessi Duston

  • Education: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, B.A., Politics through Theatre and Film

Jessi graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a self-designed BA called Politics through Theater and Film.  She studied abroad in England and Spain, and also lived and worked in Ireland after graduating.  Jessi moved to California … Continue reading

Jessi graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a self-designed BA called Politics through Theater and Film.  She studied abroad in England and Spain, and also lived and worked in Ireland after graduating.  Jessi moved to California in 2008, and has been working in the Study Abroad office at the University of Southern California for almost 3 years.  In her spare time she photographs local musicians and bands, and has had her photography shown in several galleries in Los Angeles.  Jessi is a regular volunteer for Tree People, an organization that plants trees around Los Angeles, and is currently planning to get an MA in Sustainability and Environmental Management.  Jessi has worked on our Pre College program at Amherst College.

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Jessica Batten

  • Education: SUNY Purchase, B.F.A., Dance

Jessica Batten trained with New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble under Nancy Turano and graduated cum Laude in 2005 from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance. She has danced professionally with: NJDTE, Cedar Lake II, Connecticut Ballet, Bradley Shelver Contemporary … Continue reading

Jessica Batten trained with New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble under Nancy Turano and graduated cum Laude in 2005 from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance. She has danced professionally with: NJDTE, Cedar Lake II, Connecticut Ballet, Bradley Shelver Contemporary Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico of NY, and most currently at the Metropolitan Opera and with Nimbus Dance Works, among many other companies and choreographers. Jessica was invited to perform in Cali, Colombia, in the Fifth Annual International Dance Festival 2011, representing the USA with Earl Mosely’s Diversity of Dance, and has traveled the world performing and teaching.  She has also performed with the Kirov Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. In 2008, she appeared on the AMICI Television show in Rome, Italy, as a Guest Profesionista, in addition to several more recent TV appearances, such as Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Jessica enjoys teaching and choreographing in addition to her performance career.  She is on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet School, NJ Dance Theater Ensemble, Columbus Pre-School, and The School of Nimbus Dance Works. She has taught at our pre-college summer program at Amherst College for two summers.

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Jesús Ruiz

  • Education: St. Lawrence University, B.A., Spanish with honors, minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies, University of Buffalo, M.A., Caribbean Cultural Studies (candidate).

While at St. Lawrence, Jesús studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, and San José, Costa Rica. At the State University of New York at Buffalo, Jesús was awarded a fellowship to undertake a Master’s degree in Caribbean Cultural Studies. He spent … Continue reading

While at St. Lawrence, Jesús studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, and San José, Costa Rica. At the State University of New York at Buffalo, Jesús was awarded a fellowship to undertake a Master’s degree in Caribbean Cultural Studies. He spent a semester in the Yucatan, taking part in an underwater archeology course, with frequent dives into the ancient Mayan underworld of the cenotes. He also spent time in Spain, moving between the National Historical Archive in Madrid and the General Archive of the Indies in Seville as he researched his master’s thesis. His best travel memories include hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, riding camels by the Pyramids of Giza, seeing the Mayan ruins of Tikal, hiking a volcano in Lombok, Indonesia, crawling through Vietcong tunnels in Vietnam, diving in the Galapagos Islands, and visiting Havana and Santa Clara, Cuba. Jesus was recently awarded a fellowship at Tulane University in New Orleans to begin a Ph.D. program in Latin American Studies. He led high school language program in Costa Rica in 2009, our summer volunteer trip for teens to Costa Rica in 2010, the Dominican Republic summer community service program in 2011, and the Ecuador and the Galapagos teen summer travel program in 2012. He most recently led our summer travel program for teens to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Jesús is fluent in Spanish.

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Jill Santopietro

  • Education: Middlebury College, B.A., Political Science; Boston University, MLA, Gastronomy (candidate).

Jill is a food writer, cooking instructor, recipe tester, and developer. These days she can be found teaching classes to adults and children at Bi-Rite’s 18 Reasons and the San Francisco Cooking School. Some of her recent clients include Roberta’s … Continue reading

Jill is a food writer, cooking instructor, recipe tester, and developer. These days she can be found teaching classes to adults and children at Bi-Rite’s 18 Reasons and the San Francisco Cooking School. Some of her recent clients include Roberta’s April Bloomfield, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Michael Pollan.  She moved to San Francisco in 2010 to work as the food editor of CHOW.com. Prior to CHOW, she worked as a recipe writer and tester, food stylist, and journalist at The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Boston Globe.  While at the Times, she co-created and hosted a cooking show, “Kitchen 4B” (formerly “Tiny Kitchen”). Her work has also been published in The New York Times ‘Travel’ and ‘Dining In/Dining Out’ sections.  Jill started her career in food as a server in Boston, worked in the offices at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and eventually moved into the kitchen, where she worked at Max Ultimate Food, Icarus, and Ten Tables, all in Boston. She tested recipes for Cooks Illustrated magazine, cooked for the Emmy-nominated PBS cooking show, “Simply Ming”, and taught classes to both children and adults. As an undergraduate at Middlebury, she spent her junior year in Florence, where she caught the cooking (and travel) bug. Looking for a stove to cook on when she got back to campus, she founded and managed a student-run restaurant Dolci, which is still in operation today. She travels often to research food — two months picking olives in Sicily and two weeks fishing for anchovies in Campania. Jill is proficient in Italian. She has led Farm to Table in Italy.

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Joe Belmonte

  • Education: University of Illinois, B.S., Marketing and Business Administration; Northwestern University, M.S., Advertising.

Joe studied the business of marketing and communications and moved on to a full-time career as a real live “Mad Man,” first in Chicago, then in New York. Joe’s advertising agency experience has been with some of the world’s most … Continue reading

Joe studied the business of marketing and communications and moved on to a full-time career as a real live “Mad Man,” first in Chicago, then in New York. Joe’s advertising agency experience has been with some of the world’s most notable global agency networks including JWT, McCann Erickson, Saatchi and Saatchi and DDB.  He has worked on a multitude of clients, brands, and categories including Aunt Jemima, General Mills, Yoplait, Dial soap, Brawny paper towels, Frito Lay snacks, Bud Light, Sephora, and numerous others. Joe volunteers as a Volunteer Educator at the Dr. Eugene A. Lawson Jr. Learning Institute, where he teaches World History, English, and Grammar, and where he was named Teacher of the Year last year. Joe has taught on the Pre-College summer program at Amherst College.

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Jonathan McCarthy

  • Education: University of Vermont, B.A., History, minor in Business Administration.

After graduating from the University of Vermont, Jonathan spent several years exploring his inner culinary artist and gaining restaurant management experience as Executive Sous Chef with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurants in Delaware and New Jersey. While experiencing professional successes, … Continue reading

After graduating from the University of Vermont, Jonathan spent several years exploring his inner culinary artist and gaining restaurant management experience as Executive Sous Chef with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurants in Delaware and New Jersey. While experiencing professional successes, his contemplative and inquisitive nature fueled a desire for international travel and continued personal growth that he could not help but satisfy. After renouncing his chefdom in August 2010, Jonathan spent the following eighteen months traveling Latin America and Israel. Jonathan worked in a supervisory role as a Restaurant Consultant and Chef in Leon, Nicaragua and Mancora, Peru. While in northern Peru, Jonathan worked to recruit and lead volunteers and raise funds for construction projects at the Mama Cocha Orphanage.  In Israel, Jonathan volunteered with Sar-El and the Israeli Defense Forces to oversee the repair and maintenance of equipment and troubleshoot logistical issues. Jonathan’s infatuation with Latin American history and culture keep him coming back for more. If he’s not busy sesame crusting Tuna loins or pounding cobblestone streets abroad, you can find Jonathan exploring photography, creative writing, or playing Jenga. Jonathan is fluent in Spanish. He has led our middle school summer program in Costa Rica.

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Jonathan Platt

  • Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A., Anthropology; Columbia University, MPH, Epidemiology; Columbia University, PhD, Epidemiology (candidate).

After finishing his undergraduate studies in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jonathan spent two years in Malawi with the Peace Corps, where he observed the complex social, environmental, and bio-medical factors that contribute to individual and community health. With … Continue reading

After finishing his undergraduate studies in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jonathan spent two years in Malawi with the Peace Corps, where he observed the complex social, environmental, and bio-medical factors that contribute to individual and community health. With a district clinical team, he implemented a study to understand the effects of Traditional African Medicine use among HIV-positive patients. After returning from Malawi, Jonathan worked in Washington, D.C., developing and implementing tools to improve routine patient data collection. This project took him back to Africa several times, where he worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Malawi. Jonathan spent a summer working at the World Health Organization in Geneva.  Jonathan will begin a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology, studying the long-term effects of chronic trauma, at Columbia University in the fall. He speaks French and Portuguese, and has led our high school summer community service program in Ghana.

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Jorge Gaviria

  • Education: New York University, B.A., Media, Culture, and Communication with honors.

Although Jorge’s interest in food has always played a prominent role in shaping his life, it was not until he moved to Italy that he realized this passion could be channeled into a successful career. Part farming internship, part gastronomical … Continue reading

Although Jorge’s interest in food has always played a prominent role in shaping his life, it was not until he moved to Italy that he realized this passion could be channeled into a successful career. Part farming internship, part gastronomical tour of Tuscany, Jorge’s experience at the non-profit Spannocchia Foundation in Siena, Italy, revealed a world of culinary possibilities. From harvesting grapes to herding pigs, curing prosciutto to regularly cooking for a community of food-discerning Italians, Jorge participated first hand in the farm-to-table process and immersed himself in the rich traditions of Italian food culture. After learning the tenets of sustainable farming and later apprenticing for Spannocchia’s artisanal Salumi program, Jorge parlayed his knowledge of Italian gastronomy into a kitchen position at Danny Meyer’s famous Roman trattoria, Maialino, in Manhattan. He has quickly risen through the ranks to become chef de partie and continues to expand his appreciation for rustic, ingredient-driven cooking. Prior to cooking, Jorge spent two years as an AmeriCorps teaching fellow with Citizen Schools in Brooklyn, New York. Jorge is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Italian. He has led Putney’s community service program in Argentina and Farm to Table program in Italy.

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José Esteban Ruiz

  • Education: Arizona State University, B.A., Spanish Literature.

While at Arizona State University, José took every travel opportunity possible to augment his studies as a Spanish Literature major.  After his freshman year he spent half the summer in Mérida, Mexico, visiting many Mayan sites in the peninsula, including … Continue reading

While at Arizona State University, José took every travel opportunity possible to augment his studies as a Spanish Literature major.  After his freshman year he spent half the summer in Mérida, Mexico, visiting many Mayan sites in the peninsula, including Uxmal, Tulum, and Chichen Itza.  Climbing the Mayan pyramids proved good practice for his next hiking endeavor, trekking for four days and three nights to successfully complete the Inca Trail at Machu Picchu – an adventure which he undertook while spending a semester studying at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires.  After exploring much of Latin America, José decided to venture east and spent time volunteering in South Korea as an English teacher.  His “relaxing” break between teaching sessions, though enlightening, involved a stay at a Buddhist temple where he lived the austere life of a monk, beginning each day at 3 a.m. for morning prayer, doing physical labor around the monastery, and eating ritual vegetarian meals. José led a high school community service trip to Costa Rica in 2012 and a summer community service program in Peru in 2013. He is fluent in Spanish.

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Julia Drake

  • Education: Williams College, B.A., Spanish, Columbia University, M.F.A in Fiction.

During Julia’s time at Williams she worked as a tutor for the Spanish department and spent a summer in Mazatlan, Mexico, where she helped the children of a local orphanage put on a play. She studied abroad in Spain at … Continue reading

During Julia’s time at Williams she worked as a tutor for the Spanish department and spent a summer in Mazatlan, Mexico, where she helped the children of a local orphanage put on a play. She studied abroad in Spain at the Universidad de Sevilla, where she fell in love with the history of Spain and Andalusian culture.  After college, Julia decided to pursue her passion for creative writing and love of language. She is currently working towards a master’s degree in fine arts from Columbia University, where she studies fiction writing and literary translation. This past year, she was thrilled to teach creative writing classes to middle schoolers in Harlem and to work for the fiction department at The New Yorker magazine. This fall, she will continue writing and translating, and she will teach University Writing to first-year students at Columbia. Julia is fluent in Spanish and most recently led our summer language program in Spain for high school students.

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Julia Tadlock

  • Education: Bard College, B.A., Theater.

After four years at Bard College, where she trained as an actor, Julia returned to her hometown of Putney, Vermont, and began directing plays at The Putney School.  Julia worked with The Blue Raincoat Theatre Company in Sligo, Ireland.  She … Continue reading

After four years at Bard College, where she trained as an actor, Julia returned to her hometown of Putney, Vermont, and began directing plays at The Putney School.  Julia worked with The Blue Raincoat Theatre Company in Sligo, Ireland.  She joined them on their national tour throughout Ireland, where they performed their original play At Swim Two Birds, adapted by Jocelyn Clarke from the novel by Flann O’Brien. Most recently, Julia’s travels took her to Spring Green, Wisconsin, where she trained with The International School of Corporeal Mime and performed in an original piece with the company members of the Theatre L’Ange Fou, based in London. Julia is entering her third year as the Artistic Director of the Performing Arts Department at Vermont Academy, where she teaches all levels of theater students in acting, directing, and playwriting. She also directs the large-scale productions staged throughout the year and oversees student written and directed shows. When she is not in the theater, Julia enjoys playing music with friends and travels widely with her band, Happy Jawbone Family Band, in which she sings backup and plays a variety of small instruments. She spends time hiking, practicing yoga, and making art. Julia has taught on our Pre College program at Amherst College.

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Justine Abou-Heif

  • Education: Ryerson University, B.C.; University of Ontario Institute of Technology, B.Ed.

After finishing both of her degrees Justine caught the travel bug while teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) for six weeks to elementary students in Istanbul, Turkey.  She then spent nine months traveling throughout Europe and Africa. During her … Continue reading

After finishing both of her degrees Justine caught the travel bug while teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) for six weeks to elementary students in Istanbul, Turkey.  She then spent nine months traveling throughout Europe and Africa. During her travels she had the opportunity to volunteer in Ghana, at Osu’s Children’s Home, an orphanage for underprivileged youth. Justine also spent many months working in Nice, France, where she immersed herself in the French language and culture. Recently Justine was a summer coordinator of the “Life Readiness” program at Participation House in Oshawa, Ontario, helping young adults with intellectual disabilities.  Currently Justine is a Grade 7/8 French Immersion Teacher at an elementary school in Ontario. In this position, she shares her love of culture, travel, and the French language with her intermediate students. She returns to Nice, France each summer to continue her own immersion in French culture. Justine has led our summer language program in France.

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Karan Mahna

  • Education: University of Washington, B.A.; Master’s in Secondary Teaching in Mathematics.

Karan got both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Washington, where, in addition to training to become a high school Math teacher, he studied academic achievement gaps between different racial and socio-economic groups. While working as a … Continue reading

Karan got both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Washington, where, in addition to training to become a high school Math teacher, he studied academic achievement gaps between different racial and socio-economic groups. While working as a high school teacher in the U.S., he also travelled and worked with schools in Peru and India. Karan spends his summers working with students in the picturesque region of Ladakh, India.  Besides teaching math, Karan is the advisor of his school’s International Key Club, a community service organization for students. He also works with the local Ronald McDonald House.  Karan is proficient in Hindi and Punjabi. He has led our summer education and development program in India.

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Kate J. Miller

  • Education: Messiah College, B.A., Art History, Anthropology, and Studio Art.

Over the past few years, Kate has deepened her passion for photography and love of art history while spending extensive time in Italy and in France. These trips gave her time to live and research among some of the most … Continue reading

Over the past few years, Kate has deepened her passion for photography and love of art history while spending extensive time in Italy and in France. These trips gave her time to live and research among some of the most captivating works of art in the world. During Kate’s first stay in Italy, she read Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. It completely changed the way she travels and experiences new cities. Kate has worked as a freelance photographer around the US, as an installation artist in Seattle, and as a wedding photographer in Philadelphia. Most recently, her photographic journey has led to experimentation with medium and large format film cameras, and into the world of historical alternative printing processes- an experience which has helped her remember why she loves digital photography so much. Kate taught on our Oxford-Tuscany pre-college enrichment programs abroad in 2012 and on our Pre-College programs in Spain in 2013.

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Kate Reigeluth

  • Education: Hamilton College, B.A., magna cum laude, Hispanic Studies with Honors; Middlebury College School in Spain, M.A., Spanish

At Hamilton, Kate was a tutor at the Writing Center, director of Hamilton’s community service organization, and captain of the women’s varsity crew team.  She wrote her senior thesis on the creation of a feminine space in the culture and … Continue reading

At Hamilton, Kate was a tutor at the Writing Center, director of Hamilton’s community service organization, and captain of the women’s varsity crew team.  She wrote her senior thesis on the creation of a feminine space in the culture and politics of Spain after the death of Dictator Francisco Franco.  She spent a summer in León, Spain, living with a family and studying at the Universidad de León.  She returned to Madrid to complete her Master’s degree in Spanish.  Outside of her classes, she lived with a Spanish family and competed as a member of Madrid’s rowing club.  In her free time, she got to know all corners of Spain and traveled throughout Europe.  Since finishing her Master’s degree, Kate has dedicated herself to sharing her two loves with students: rowing and Spanish.  She directed and coached the Old Lyme Rowing Association’s summer rowing programs in Connecticut, and she taught Spanish at the Fairfield Country Day School for three years.  While there, she founded and directed an exchange program for her students in Zaragoza, Spain.  Her students lived with families and attended classes at Colegio Sagrado Corazón.  Kate currently teaches Spanish at Kingswood Oxford School and she is leading a group of students to Belize as part of their June Term program.  Kate was recently awarded a fellowship to attend the Klingenstein Summer Institute at Columbia University.  She has led our high school summer language immersion program in Spain three times, and also spent one summer leading our summer community service program in India. Kate is fluent in Spanish.

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Katharina McCarthy

  • Education: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, B.A., Political Science and Latin American Studies; SIT Graduate Institute, M.S., International Development.

Katharina was raised in Vermont, and spent much of her childhood living in the Caribbean and traveling throughout Central and South America. She studied abroad in Argentina as an undergraduate and returned to Buenos Aires for a year after graduation … Continue reading

Katharina was raised in Vermont, and spent much of her childhood living in the Caribbean and traveling throughout Central and South America. She studied abroad in Argentina as an undergraduate and returned to Buenos Aires for a year after graduation to teach English and to work with children at a community center in one of the most marginalized barrios in the city.  Katharina recently completed her Master’s degree in International Development with a focus on Human Rights and Social Justice. She has since returned to Argentina to film a documentary about the world-renowned human rights activists, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires. The following year she led a group of high school students on a month-long service program in the Andes of Northern Argentina. She currently resides in Southern California where she works for a sustainable design company turning abandoned urban lots into community gardens.  She is fluent in Spanish and is learning Portuguese. Katharina has led Community Service Costa Rica.

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Kelly Thomas

  • Education: Reed College, B.A., English Literature

Kelly stayed in her home state of Oregon for college, where she studied English literature and creative writing.  Since graduation, Kelly has lived in La Manzanilla, Mexico, La Rochelle, France, and San Francisco.  In rural Mexico, Kelly interned with an … Continue reading

Kelly stayed in her home state of Oregon for college, where she studied English literature and creative writing.  Since graduation, Kelly has lived in La Manzanilla, Mexico, La Rochelle, France, and San Francisco.  In rural Mexico, Kelly interned with an educational non-profit, teaching English to local people of all ages, holding a summer camp for kids, swimming in the Pacific every day, and learning Spanish. She then moved to France, where she taught English in a public high school and middle school. This year, she taught afterschool enrichment classes to San Francisco middle schoolers, most of whom speak English as a second language.  She loves working with children, writing fiction, riding her bike, and traveling.  She has taught ESL for two summers on our summer pre-college program at Amherst College.

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Kristen Rojas

  • Education: Illinois State University, B.A., Psychology and Spanish; University of Chicago, A.M./MSW.

Kristen graduated with honors from Illinois State University where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Taxco, Mexico. This trip ignited Kristen’s passion for travel and a desire to learn more about the Latin American community. After beginning graduate … Continue reading

Kristen graduated with honors from Illinois State University where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Taxco, Mexico. This trip ignited Kristen’s passion for travel and a desire to learn more about the Latin American community. After beginning graduate school at the University of Chicago, she took a leave of absence to live in an orphanage in Honduras called Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, serving children with behavioral challenges and learning difficulties. After she completed her year of service, she resumed her graduate studies in Chicago and simultaneously worked full time at a public high school, facilitating international service trips to NPH orphanages for the high school students with whom she worked.  Kristen has facilitated ten different service trips since 2009 including two trips to Honduras, four trips to Peru, three trips to the Dominican Republic, and one trip to Ecuador. She has independently returned to Honduras five times, and also spent the summer of 2010 living in Kenya, Africa, volunteering with Action for Children in Conflict, a rehabilitation center for street boys. Kristen currently works as a high school social worker, coaches softball, volunteers regularly with her local homeless shelter and as a juvenile court-appointed special advocate, and runs a high school youth group at her church. She was recently nominated for Compassion Foundation’s Community Champion Award. Kristen is fluent in Spanish and has led our Community Service Ecuador program.

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Kristin Westby

  • Education: Luther College, B.A., Spanish; Certification in Spanish and English Language Learning (ELL) Education (candidate).

Kristin hails from the small town of Erhard, Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. She currently teaches Spanish in the Twin Cities. While in college, Kristin spent four months studying in Lima, Peru, at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. … Continue reading

Kristin hails from the small town of Erhard, Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. She currently teaches Spanish in the Twin Cities. While in college, Kristin spent four months studying in Lima, Peru, at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. Kristin loves to take pictures, listen to and make music, run, and produce videos.  She is fluent in Spanish and has led the summer community service program in Peru and our summer community service program in Costa Rica. She also spent several months working at the Putney Barn, coordinating programs in South America and working in admissions.

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Lily Frusciante

  • Education: New York University, B.A., Spanish. Northwestern University, Ph.D, Spanish Literature and Culture (student)

Lily graduated magna cum laude from New York University, where she received high honors in her Spanish major. While at NYU, she mentored disadvantaged youth and spent her entire junior year abroad in Argentina.  There she studied at NYU in … Continue reading

Lily graduated magna cum laude from New York University, where she received high honors in her Spanish major. While at NYU, she mentored disadvantaged youth and spent her entire junior year abroad in Argentina.  There she studied at NYU in Buenos Aires, made local friends, traveled throughout the country, and helped revamp a volunteer program for abused teenage girls living in Buenos Aires. Upon returning from Argentina, Lily went on to write her senior thesis, which won NYU’s award for Distinction in the Honors Thesis. For the last two years, Lily has served as a Teach for America corps member and currently teaches middle school Reading and Art in Miami-Dade County. She won Madison Middle School’s award for Rookie Teacher of the Year and was also nominated for Rookie Teacher of the Year in Miami-Dade. Lily is fluent in Spanish and attends Northwestern University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature and Culture. She has led our high school summer language immersion program in Argentina.

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Lisa Hornak

  • Education: Boston University, B.A., English and Photojournalism.

Lisa is a Hawaii-based photojournalist and freelance photographer.  While at B.U. she was a choreographer and member of the Dance Theater Group, and served as a teaching assistant for photography and photojournalism courses. Lisa spent a semester abroad at Stellenbosch … Continue reading

Lisa is a Hawaii-based photojournalist and freelance photographer.  While at B.U. she was a choreographer and member of the Dance Theater Group, and served as a teaching assistant for photography and photojournalism courses. Lisa spent a semester abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She volunteered for the Kayamandi Project, tutoring underprivileged primary students in English grammar and reading comprehension, and for Cheetah Outreach; educating visitors about cheetahs, and accompanying and photographing their interactions with the wild cats. Upon graduation from B.U., Lisa took a job as a photojournalist’s assistant, then worked as a freelance photojournalist for newspapers and agencies, and later became a staff photographer for the Boston Herald. Her photos have won numerous prizes, including first place honors for the New England Associated Press News Association and the Boston Press Photographers Association. Lisa’s photographs have appeared in USA TodayThe New York TimesThe Washington PostTime, Le FigaroThe Boston GlobeBoston Herald, and many other publications. She has traveled and photographed widely in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Europe, and many parts of the U.S. Lisa led National Geographic Student Expeditions in Costa Rica, Tanzania, Maine, and Alaska. She most recently led Putney’s high school summer program in Cambodia.

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Lou Canelli

  • Education: Boston College, B.A. English, Italian Minor; The University of Pennsylvania, M.S.Ed. Secondary English.

While at Boston College, Lou spent a semester abroad in Parma, Italy, and high jumped for the track team. Since graduating, Lou has devoted his life to education. Only a month after graduating, he started his Masters in Education program … Continue reading

While at Boston College, Lou spent a semester abroad in Parma, Italy, and high jumped for the track team. Since graduating, Lou has devoted his life to education. Only a month after graduating, he started his Masters in Education program at the University of Pennsylvania and student-taught for a year at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. After that, he spent four years living, teaching, and coaching at Saint James School, a coed Episcopalian boarding school in western Maryland. He is now at The Putney School, a progressive boarding school in Vermont, where he continues to coach soccer and basketball and teaches Existentialism and Creative Writing. He is deeply committed to education as self-discovery, and he challenges his students to develop a mature skepticism that fosters greater opportunity for enlightened and compassionate understanding. Although he can be labeled an English teacher, he strives to merge horizons among varied disciplines so that in a single discussion, for instance, students may be invited to think about the intersections of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, and literature, all in an effort to illuminate their own lives. He has a passion for learning and for pushing the boundaries of what the mind and body can do. Lou has taught on our summer Pre-College program at Amherst College.

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Lucia Donatelli

  • Education: Brown University, B.A., Hispanic Literature and Culture; University of Massachusetts at Amherst, M.A., Hispanic Linguistics (candidate).

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lucia spent her summers at Brown teaching Science and English to bilingual middle school students with Breakthrough Collaborative, Santa Fe.  She first traveled to Spain during her junior year in college to study at … Continue reading

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lucia spent her summers at Brown teaching Science and English to bilingual middle school students with Breakthrough Collaborative, Santa Fe.  She first traveled to Spain during her junior year in college to study at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. There she fell in love with Madrid’s vibrant cultural scene, and she returned to the city to work for Boston University’s study abroad program after graduating in 2009.  For the past two years, Lucia has taught second grade at the Benjamin Frankin International School in Barcelona.  This has afforded her the opportunity to learn Catalan and French, and spend her days playing dress up and soccer with her young students. Lucia is an avid swimmer, beach-anything player, and singer.  Lucia is working toward her M.A./Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at UMass Amherst. Lucia is fluent in Spanish and has led our summer language program in Spain for high school students.

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Mac Woods

  • Education: Kenyon College, B.A., Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies; Fordham University, M.S.T., Adolescent Science Education.

While at Kenyon, Mac played varsity soccer, worked on an organic farm, and volunteered with local students in the Knox County community. He spent a semester abroad in Ecuador with the School for International Training, studying ecology and field biology … Continue reading

While at Kenyon, Mac played varsity soccer, worked on an organic farm, and volunteered with local students in the Knox County community. He spent a semester abroad in Ecuador with the School for International Training, studying ecology and field biology in Quito and the Galápagos Islands.  After Kenyon, he spent two years teaching high school science in New York City as a Teach for America corps member, simultaneously earning his masters in teaching from Fordham University. Mac Woods is a teacher, farmer, rock-climber, outdoorsman, and avid traveler.  He has spent the last 6 months traveling around New Zealand and Central America. Mac has led the community service portion of our middle school summer program in Costa Rica. He is proficient in Spanish.

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Maggie Strassman

  • Education: University of Wisconsin, B.S., Geography with honors, International Studies.

Maggie studied abroad in Austria during college and has had the travel bug ever since. After graduation, she moved to the Czech Republic before working at National Geographic as an intern in the Education department. She has led summer community Continue reading

Maggie studied abroad in Austria during college and has had the travel bug ever since. After graduation, she moved to the Czech Republic before working at National Geographic as an intern in the Education department. She has led summer community service programs in Dominica and Fiji, and was a staff member on our summer pre-college enrichment program at Amherst College. Maggie coordinates Putney programs in India, the West Indies, Thailand, and Massachusetts.  She enjoys trivia, riding her bike, playing frisbee, and exclaiming over delicious food.

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Matt Piercy

  • Education: Oregon State University, B.S.; University of Colorado - Boulder, M.A., Education.

Matt studied abroad in Australia while earning his undergraduate degree. After graduation he decided to continue his schooling and obtained a Master’s degree in bilingual education from the University of Colorado.  While in Boulder, he had the opportunity to hone … Continue reading

Matt studied abroad in Australia while earning his undergraduate degree. After graduation he decided to continue his schooling and obtained a Master’s degree in bilingual education from the University of Colorado.  While in Boulder, he had the opportunity to hone his teaching skills in diverse inner-city public school settings.  Matt lived and taught in Quito, Ecuador, for five years where he studied Spanish intensively.  Matt traveled through Mexico and all of Central America, learning about ancient civilizations while exploring places like Machu Picchu in Peru.  Matt has ridden his bicycle around Cuba as well as through many legendary stages of the Tour de France.  He has experience teaching every grade from third to twelfth and has led student groups to New Zealand, Australia, and Ecuador.  A recent summer in Nepal gave him the opportunity to help improve the lives of children and adults at several schools, orphanages, and health centers.  Matt currently teaches middle school social studies.  He is fluent in Spanish. Matt has led our high school summer trip to Cambodia in 2013.

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Megan Barry

  • Education: University of Denver, B.A., International Studies; University of California at San Francisco, M. of Sci., Global Health Sciences

After finishing undergraduate studies, Megan began work in Eastern South Africa, working with rural communities in health care and development. Her work also involved managing college interns from American Universities who spent the summer developing community programs, practicing community leadership, … Continue reading

After finishing undergraduate studies, Megan began work in Eastern South Africa, working with rural communities in health care and development. Her work also involved managing college interns from American Universities who spent the summer developing community programs, practicing community leadership, and implementing various entrepreneurial projects.  Over three years, Megan rose to the position of South Africa Country Director, overseeing all in-country staff and students. She returned to UCSF to complete a Master’s of Science in Global Health, completing her thesis research in Gender Transformative Interventions and HIV prevention.  She is conversational in the South African language of Xitsonga. Megan has led our summer development and leadership program in South Africa for high school students.

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Melissa Yang

  • Education: Mount Holyoke College, B.A., Anthropology and English

Melissa graduated with honors and poetry prizes from Mount Holyoke College in 2011, where she cultivated a passion for interdisciplinary research in anthropology, literature, and visual culture. She discovered her love for writing pedagogy while leading revision workshops as the … Continue reading

Melissa graduated with honors and poetry prizes from Mount Holyoke College in 2011, where she cultivated a passion for interdisciplinary research in anthropology, literature, and visual culture. She discovered her love for writing pedagogy while leading revision workshops as the arts editor for her high school newspaper. In college, she peer mentored for Mount Holyoke’s Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program. Melissa delights in writing education in all its forms, and has spent summers teaching ESOL in South Korea and world literature in her home state of New Hampshire. After college, Melissa moved to San Francisco to work as a school publications and communications specialist, and continued freelancing as a writing consultant after switching careers to art university admissions. She will begin her doctoral studies in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Pittsburgh this fall. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys exploring nature, practicing yoga, visiting museums, and dabbling in the arts – she has studied everything from literati painting in Taiwan to bookmaking in Italy. She has taught on our Pre-College program at Amherst College.

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Michael Leigh Hoyer

  • Education: Middlebury College, B.A., English and Studio Art; Dartmouth College, M.A., Comparative Literature; Stanford University, Ph.D., Comparative Literature.

Michael specializes in 20th- and 21st-century novels in French, English, and Spanish. She also speaks Swedish, and understands and makes herself generally understood in Italian and Norwegian. Michael’s dissertation, “Project Fiction, A User’s Manual,” rereads a set of celebrated 20th-century … Continue reading

Michael specializes in 20th- and 21st-century novels in French, English, and Spanish. She also speaks Swedish, and understands and makes herself generally understood in Italian and Norwegian. Michael’s dissertation, “Project Fiction, A User’s Manual,” rereads a set of celebrated 20th-century novels that actively engage philosophical questions and ask their readers to do the same. Her analysis of these philosophically-oriented French and American texts reveals that, regardless of their specific linguistic, cultural, and historical contexts, these narratives share a foundational premise — namely, that much can be learned from attending to and valuing the journey, rather than focusing on and rushing to its endpoint. Michael’s broader research and teaching interests include creative writing and rhetoric, philosophy and literature, cultural studies, French language, and film.  Between college and graduate school, Michael lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she worked for Outside Magazine; she taught reading, writing, and art in a variety of settings, including on our Pre College programs for high school students in 2000 and 2001; and she traveled extensively — once crossing below the Equator and above the Arctic Circle in the span of two weeks. When Michael isn’t writing, teaching, or traveling, she’s practicing yoga, making jewelry, cooking, running on trails, or riding her Bianchi cross-bike in the hills of San Francisco.

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Michele Hernandez

  • Education: California Lutheran University, B.A., French, Spanish, International Studies; University of California in Los Angeles, MSW, Social Welfare (candidate).

Michele graduated from California Lutheran University as a triple major in Spanish, French, and International Studies, studying the effects of immigration on cultural development and personal identity. Michele then joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in Mauritania, West Africa. … Continue reading

Michele graduated from California Lutheran University as a triple major in Spanish, French, and International Studies, studying the effects of immigration on cultural development and personal identity. Michele then joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in Mauritania, West Africa. There, she worked closely with a rural women’s cooperative focusing on increasing crop production as a means of improving village health, particularly for malnourished children.  She then elected to continue her service in Rwanda where she taught English to high school students in the rural town of Bungwe, one hour from the Ugandan border. Michele promoted literacy through English classes for teachers, English Club with students, and establishing the district’s first library. In her third and fourth years as a Peace Corps Volunteer Michele moved to the capital city of Kigali where she worked at Global Communities. On their Health and Social Services Team, she promoted the USAID/Higa Ubeho program in holistic development. Michele now works as a substitute teacher in California, sharing her stories from Africa with hundreds of youth on a daily basis. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Pulaar, and Kinyarwanda. She has led our high school public health program in Rwanda.

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Mike Kautz

  • Education: Middlebury College, B.A., English and Environmental Studies; University of Montana, M.F.A.

While at Middlebury, Mike spent a semester at Lund University in Sweden and a winter term in the Dominican Republic on a traveling writing workshop with the author Julia Alvarez. After graduating he completed a semester program in documentary photography … Continue reading

While at Middlebury, Mike spent a semester at Lund University in Sweden and a winter term in the Dominican Republic on a traveling writing workshop with the author Julia Alvarez. After graduating he completed a semester program in documentary photography at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, where his subjects included moose hunters, French-Canadian musicians, and volunteer firefighters. He served as huts manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where he oversaw one hundred seasonal employees and managed the AMC’s High Mountain Search and Rescue operations. Mike received an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Montana in Missoula.  His thesis included chapters about the motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel, deer hunting, and working on the docks in South Boston.  Mike led National Geographic Student Expeditions to Tanzania in 2008 and 2009, Bar Harbor in 2009, and Tuscany in 2010. He most recently led Putney’s Writing in Ireland program in 2013.

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Nikolas Sparks

  • Education: University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A., with Highest Honors; Columbia University, M.A.; Duke University, Ph.D. (in progress).

Nik was born and raised in San Francisco, and has long had a passion for exploring the intersections of art and politics.  Earning his B.A. at UC Santa Cruz, he majored in both Literature and American Studies.  While at Santa … Continue reading

Nik was born and raised in San Francisco, and has long had a passion for exploring the intersections of art and politics.  Earning his B.A. at UC Santa Cruz, he majored in both Literature and American Studies.  While at Santa Cruz, Nik taught a variety of community classes around the prison system and political organizing.  In addition to his interest in politics, Nik has extensive experience in the world of publishing, working in the editorial departments of City Lights Bookstore and Publishing, Grove/Atlantic Press, and Souls Journal.  After leaving San Francisco, Nik spent two years earning his master’s degree in African American Studies at Columbia University in New York.  Since completing his degree at Columbia, Nik has begun work on his doctorate in the English department at Duke University.  Nik has taught for two summers at our Pre-College summer program at Amherst College.

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Peter Myers

  • Education: Western Washington University, B.A., Psychology; Mills College, M.Ed.

Peter has worked with young people in a variety of capacities over the past 17 years. He started as a drug and alcohol counselor, then worked in a teen psychiatric hospital, and spent the past eleven years as a high … Continue reading

Peter has worked with young people in a variety of capacities over the past 17 years. He started as a drug and alcohol counselor, then worked in a teen psychiatric hospital, and spent the past eleven years as a high school teacher. Peter taught in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, and was a founding member of the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he lived for two years.  During the summers, Peter has led community service programs in Rwanda, Brazil, and Ghana, and leadership programs in South Africa, Kenya, New York City, and Washington, D.C.  Currently, Peter is a high school social studies teacher in Portland, OR. In his spare time, he is heavily involved with sports, especially basketball. Peter also runs marathons and recently competed in the Hood to Coast Relay. Peter led our community service program in Rwanda and our high school leadership and development program in South Africa.

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Rob Miller

  • Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., University of Southern California School of Cinema/Television, M.F.A.

Rob is a screenwriter and Los Angeles native, although travel keeps him away from Hollywood for months at a time. As an undergraduate art history major, he was assistant arts editor for the Daily Bruin and worked kitchen prep in … Continue reading

Rob is a screenwriter and Los Angeles native, although travel keeps him away from Hollywood for months at a time. As an undergraduate art history major, he was assistant arts editor for the Daily Bruin and worked kitchen prep in his dorm cafeteria (an illuminating, yet ultimately harrowing experience). In film school, he worked such disparate jobs as phlebotomist, middle school English teacher, and realtor. Currently, he has a feature length script in development (The Unprofessionals) and is shopping a tv pilot (Parachute) and another feature length script (Recoil). If he hadn’t pursued a writing career, his second choice would have been chef. He is a charter member of Slow Food and once had to move because his library of cookbooks had outgrown his apartment. 2013 was his 17th summer as a staff member on a Putney summer Pre-College program for high school students.

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Robin Darrow

  • Education: University of Vermont, B.A., European History, Spanish

Robin’s interest in Spanish and travel started when she took a trip to Cartago, Costa Rica, in high school, where she lived with a family and followed her host siblings to school. She also hiked the volcano Arenal and explored … Continue reading

Robin’s interest in Spanish and travel started when she took a trip to Cartago, Costa Rica, in high school, where she lived with a family and followed her host siblings to school. She also hiked the volcano Arenal and explored the rain forest. Robin also participated in Putney Student Travel’s community service program in Ecuador and fell in love with the mountains and culture there. In the fall of her junior year at UVM she traveled to Spain for a semester abroad, studying Spanish history and literature in Salamanca. She has traveled extensively throughout Spain.  She was on the Varsity Track and Field team at UVM and loves to play other sports such as soccer, basketball, and tennis. Robin grew up on an apple orchard in Vermont and has worked there almost every summer and fall for many years. She has led our summer program in Costa Rica for middle school students.

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Ross Johnson

  • Education: University of Michigan, B.A., Honors French and Political Science; Sciences Po Paris, International Program Diploma.

Ross developed an avid interest for French in high school with the extraordinary support and encouragement from his high school teacher. Returning from a month-long excursion in France exploring Paris and the Loire Valley, he was determined to make French … Continue reading

Ross developed an avid interest for French in high school with the extraordinary support and encouragement from his high school teacher. Returning from a month-long excursion in France exploring Paris and the Loire Valley, he was determined to make French the centerpiece of his education and career.  He spent his junior year in college studying abroad in Paris at Sciences Po, and went on to graduate magna cum laude with a double major in French and Political Science.  He was given the Romance Languages and Literature Donald Hirsch Award for top academic performance as well as the Outstanding Senior Thesis Award.  After graduation, he took a position as project manager at a French business consulting firm in New York and subsequently helped build a successful independent foreign language learning center in Brooklyn as operations officer and teacher.  Ross is fluent in French and most recently led our high school summer language program in France.

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Russell Mayhew

  • Education: Indiana University, B.A., Cognitive Science, minor in Psychology, Northwestern University, M.S., Secondary Mathematics Education.

Hailing from Michigan, Russell has enjoyed acclimating to life in Vermont.  For the past several years Russell has been teaching high school in Southern Vermont and traveling during the summers.  He now teaches Pre-Calculus and Calculus at the Vermont Academy, … Continue reading

Hailing from Michigan, Russell has enjoyed acclimating to life in Vermont.  For the past several years Russell has been teaching high school in Southern Vermont and traveling during the summers.  He now teaches Pre-Calculus and Calculus at the Vermont Academy, a boarding school just up the road from Putney in Saxton’s River.  He is also a dorm parent and coach of basketball and track and field.  In his free time, he keeps himself busy playing music, hiking in the campus Arboretum with his wife and dog, playing basketball, throwing the Frisbee around, and traveling. 2013 was Russell’s fifth summer with Putney. He has led our high school summer community service program in Dominica (three times), our summer cultural exploration program in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and our high school community service program in Fiji.

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Ryan Schroth

  • Education: Bowling Green State University, B.S., Education & French, M.A. in French; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., French Literature (candidate).

Ryan is currently a French Instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is finishing his dissertation on Francophone Literature. His passion for travel and languages grew out of his undergraduate year abroad in France and his subsequent year spent … Continue reading

Ryan is currently a French Instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is finishing his dissertation on Francophone Literature. His passion for travel and languages grew out of his undergraduate year abroad in France and his subsequent year spent as a Master’s student at the Université François Rabelais in Tours, France. He has traveled extensively in the Francophone world, living and studying French in exciting places like Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Chicoutimi, Quebec. Last summer, as a Mellon-Wisconsin Fellow, Ryan traveled to Rabat, Morocco, where he studied Arabic and Moroccan culture, after which he lived in Spain for part of the year. In 2009, Ryan moved to Paris, France, and spent a year teaching English as a lecteur de langues in the French university system. Ryan is fluent in French and has led our summer program in France for high school students.

 

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Sahil Segal

  • Education: University of Texas at Austin, BA, BBA, Spanish and Finance.

While in school Sahil focused his studies on how geographic borders make languages evolve over time.  After graduation he spent time traveling in India, and worked on an elephant sanctuary in the northern part of the country rehabilitating elephant calves … Continue reading

While in school Sahil focused his studies on how geographic borders make languages evolve over time.  After graduation he spent time traveling in India, and worked on an elephant sanctuary in the northern part of the country rehabilitating elephant calves for reintroduction into the Kaziranga Jungle.  More recently Sahil founded a global nonprofit program called Blending Borders, which teaches elementary and middle school students the fundamentals of recycling.  His program has connected over 60 students worldwide.  Sahil studied abroad in Argentina while he was in college and quickly connected with his host family.  He directly enrolled in the University, took classes with locals, and explored many regions of the country.  Sahil currently works as a business consultant, helping companies use technology to help run their businesses more efficiently.  He has his Leadership Essentials Certification from Harvard University.  Sahil is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Hindi.  He began business school in 2013. Sahil has led our high school summer language program in Argentina.

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Sammy Feldblum

  • Education: Brown University, B.A., Psychology and Philosophy.

While pursuing his degree at Brown, Sammy studied the philosophy behind how we try to find meaning in the lives we lead.  He spent a summer in Nicaragua improving his Spanish and teaching local youth through soccer.  He founded the … Continue reading

While pursuing his degree at Brown, Sammy studied the philosophy behind how we try to find meaning in the lives we lead.  He spent a summer in Nicaragua improving his Spanish and teaching local youth through soccer.  He founded the Brown hip-hop club, and has participated in events up and down the east coast.  Sammy now works as a teacher, educating young scientists and mathematicians, as well as sharing his love of hip-hop music. Sammy is fluent in Spanish.  This fall, Sammy will teach creative writing and critical thinking in Hong Kong. He has led our summer community service program in Costa Rica.

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Sarah Messner

  • Education: Dartmouth College, B.A., Creative Writing; School for International Training, Graduate Certificate, Conflict Transformation Across Cultures; Princeton Seminary, Master of Divinity.

At Dartmouth, Sarah studied Creative Writing with an emphasis on environmental nonfiction. She helped manage the Dartmouth Organic Farm, studied at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and lived for a term in Tegúcigalpa, Honduras. After graduation, Sarah received a fellowship … Continue reading

At Dartmouth, Sarah studied Creative Writing with an emphasis on environmental nonfiction. She helped manage the Dartmouth Organic Farm, studied at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and lived for a term in Tegúcigalpa, Honduras. After graduation, Sarah received a fellowship to study sustainable agriculture and social justice in rural communities. She worked as a campus minister at Dartmouth, and an environmental educator at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, Vermont.  In 2007, she moved to Rwinkwavu, Rwanda, to work with Partners in Health (PIH), where she helped develop an agricultural training center and assistance program to address systemic malnutrition. Sarah is currently completing a Master’s of Divinity at Princeton Seminary, where she is studying the intersection of religious cosmologies, environmental issues, and health. Last summer, she received a fellowship to research agriculture and food justice issues in Ladakh and Dehradun, India. A Kripalu-certified yoga instructor, Sarah enjoys teaching yoga and long-distance backpacking. Sarah led our high school summer public health program in Rwanda in 2011 and our high school summer education and development program in India in 2013.

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Sarah Simon

  • Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst B.A., Spanish and Secondary Education; University of Massachusetts Boston M.Ed., Foreign Language Teaching; Lesley University M.Ed., TESOL.

While a student at Umass Amherst Sarah spent a semester living with a host family and studying Spanish and art history at the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.  During her time in Spain she fell in love with travel and was … Continue reading

While a student at Umass Amherst Sarah spent a semester living with a host family and studying Spanish and art history at the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.  During her time in Spain she fell in love with travel and was able to explore many parts of Europe.  Sarah has worked as a 6th, 7th and 8th grade Spanish teacher at a middle school in Massachusetts for almost ten years.  She has volunteered in Colombia, Venezuela, and Argentina.  She has taken graduate courses in Alicante, Spain, during her summers.  Sarah’s travel experiences are an integral part of her teaching.  She has taken her students to Europe, Canada, and New York City.  Sarah’s interests include running, cooking, and gardening.  She is fluent in Spanish. Sarah has led our middle school summer programs to Costa Rica and Spain.

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Sasha Milonova

  • Education: Chapman University, B.A., Economics and Peace Studies.

Sasha graduated cum laude and received the top departmental honor in Peace Studies for academic excellence, and was also recognized with the Paul Delp Award for outstanding service to the community. As the founder of the first Californian campus chapter … Continue reading

Sasha graduated cum laude and received the top departmental honor in Peace Studies for academic excellence, and was also recognized with the Paul Delp Award for outstanding service to the community. As the founder of the first Californian campus chapter of Oxfam America, an international organization committed to ending global poverty, Sasha organized college students around issues of agricultural and trade reform, transparency in mining contracts, and effective foreign aid policy. Sasha went on to do field work in South East Asia, first as a film maker, documenting and promoting the work of various organizations working with street kids in Cambodia, and then as a business consultant for a social enterprise which trained and employed Cambodian women and produced fair trade eco-friendly clothing as an alternative to sweatshops. Sasha then moved to South Korea, where she taught English and also accompanied the Oxfam on Aid Effectiveness, facilitating coordination in overseas development efforts between Korea, Japan, and the US. Sasha is fluent in Spanish and Russian. She currently works for the Colorado State legislature while preparing for graduate school. Sash led our summer community service trip to Vietnam in 2013.

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Schuyler Hedstrom

  • Education: Dartmouth College, B.A., English

While at Dartmouth, Schuyler spent two semesters abroad, studying Spanish art history in Barcelona and drama with coaches from the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. After performing and teaching theatre in San Francisco for two years, he moved to Madrid … Continue reading

While at Dartmouth, Schuyler spent two semesters abroad, studying Spanish art history in Barcelona and drama with coaches from the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. After performing and teaching theatre in San Francisco for two years, he moved to Madrid to teach English and acting to Spaniards. Now in his ninth year in Madrid, Schuyler still teaches, but also runs a bilingual theatre company he founded.  A Vermont native, Schuyler enjoys hiking, swimming, and yoga. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Central America.  This is Schuyler’s fourteenth summer with Putney; his trips include Cultural Exploration Australia, New Zealand, FijiCultural Exploration Switzerland, Italy, France, Holland, Community Service Hawaii, three summers directing Foundations Costa Rica, and seven summers on our Pre-College Programs in Spain. He is fluent in Spanish and Italian.

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Shane Scott

  • Education: Cal Poly State University, B.A., Psychology; Columbia University, M.A., Conflict Management.

Shane earned his Master’s degree in Psychology and Conflict Management from Columbia University. After graduation, he moved to the Netherlands for a year to work with GCX Corporation. While there, he took the opportunity to celebrate holidays all over Europe: … Continue reading

Shane earned his Master’s degree in Psychology and Conflict Management from Columbia University. After graduation, he moved to the Netherlands for a year to work with GCX Corporation. While there, he took the opportunity to celebrate holidays all over Europe: Easter in Athens, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Koninginnedag in Amsterdam, and Bastille Day in Paris. In addition, he hiked through Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest to visit one of the few remaining families of mountain gorillas. Most recently, Shane sailed, hitchhiked, and backpacked to Ecuador from his home state of California. Most striking to him were the hospitality of Mexicans, the howler monkeys in Costa Rica, the bustle of Panama City, the dramatic topography of Colombia, and the Quechua sense of community. Shane has worked with teenagers for years, including several summers teaching about the flora and fauna of redwood forests. Currently, he tutors students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shane has led Community Service Dominica and Cultural Exploration Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

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Soumi Chatterjee

  • Education: Trinity College, B.A., American Studies; Syracuse University—Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, M.A., International Relations; Syracuse University— S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, M.S., Public Relations; University of California—Los Angeles, PhD student, Political Science.

Soumi is an avid traveler and an aspiring scholar of international relations.  Prior to entering the UCLA’s doctoral program in political science, he completed Syracuse University’s dual-masters degree program in Public Diplomacy. Some of his previous jobs include researcher at … Continue reading

Soumi is an avid traveler and an aspiring scholar of international relations.  Prior to entering the UCLA’s doctoral program in political science, he completed Syracuse University’s dual-masters degree program in Public Diplomacy. Some of his previous jobs include researcher at the Brookings Institution, high school history teacher and basketball coach at an international school in Rome, Italy, programming intern at ESPN, and short order cook on a gourmet grilled cheese food truck. He speaks Italian and can function deceptively well in Spanish, French and Hindi. Soumi has held numerous positions at our summer pre-college enrichment program at Amherst College. Soumi has taught on our Pre College summer programs for eight years.

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Tavia Lee-Goldstein

  • Education: University of New Hampshire, B.A., summa cum laude, Communication, minor in Theatre, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, M.B.A.

Tavia is a teacher and a film and video production specialist. She specializes in editing short-form documentaries for non-profit organizations. Her film work also includes several personal projects for which she has been involved in writing, directing, filming, and editing. … Continue reading

Tavia is a teacher and a film and video production specialist. She specializes in editing short-form documentaries for non-profit organizations. Her film work also includes several personal projects for which she has been involved in writing, directing, filming, and editing. She has done editing work for the nationally distributed, award-winning documentary Out of Balance, and is a Director of Photography for its upcoming sequel At Any Cost. She is a 2008 Undergraduate Research Conference Award of Excellence winner for a rhetorical criticism of film research project, and a 2007 Undergraduate Research Conference Honorable Mention for a short-form documentary. She is also the 2008 Wilburn Sims Memorial Award recipient; the highest honor awarded by the University of New Hampshire Department of Communication. Tavia is actively involved in theatre and her acting resume ranges from Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) to modern theatre (How I Learned to Drive). She most recently studied voice for actors at the Berkeley Reparatory School of Theatre in Berkeley, California, and performed in the original cast of a local production. She is currently an Academic Instructor at the Lenôtre Culinary Institute. Tavia has taught for four summers on our Pre-College program at Amherst College.

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Ted Samuel

  • Education: Kenyon College, B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Departmental High Honors in International Studies, Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, American University, Ph.D, Anthropology (candidate)

After graduating from Kenyon College, Ted served as a Fulbright Scholar in South India. There, he researched the social movement of the Aravani community, focusing on the ability of community leaders and activists to utilize creative technology and event programming … Continue reading

After graduating from Kenyon College, Ted served as a Fulbright Scholar in South India. There, he researched the social movement of the Aravani community, focusing on the ability of community leaders and activists to utilize creative technology and event programming to promote their agenda to the public. During his tenure as a Fulbright fellow, Ted had the opportunity to present his research and also perform Karagattam, a South Indian folk dance, at various conferences and Fulbright alumni association events in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.  After returning to the United States and spending a year as a Marketing Associate at the Corporate Executive Board in Washington, D.C., Ted was named a Peace Fellow by The Advocacy Project. In this position, Ted spent six months working with the Jagaran Media Center, a Dalit rights advocate in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he helped revitalize their print media division and led creative projects profiling the arts of lower caste communities. Ted is currently a fifth year doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C.  Ted has led Putney high school community service programs in Asia  (India, Vietnam, and Cambodia) and teen summer volunteer and development programs in Africa (Rwanda).

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Tobey Ward

  • Education: Brandeis University, B.A., Creative Writing; University of Oregon, M.F.A., Creative Writing.

Originally from Western Massachusetts, Tobey has traveled extensively in Central and South America, including a summer co-leading Putney’s Community Service program in Costa Rica. In pursuit of her lifelong dream to be a writer, she received her B.A. in Creative … Continue reading

Originally from Western Massachusetts, Tobey has traveled extensively in Central and South America, including a summer co-leading Putney’s Community Service program in Costa Rica. In pursuit of her lifelong dream to be a writer, she received her B.A. in Creative Writing from Brandeis University in 2004 and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon in 2008, where she also taught undergraduate fiction and composition classes. Her story “Suicide Baby” was awarded the Logsden Fiction Prize and published in Red Rock Review, and her fiction and style writing have also appeared in Omphalos, Complex, DC Magazine, and South Park. She currently works as a freelance lifestyle writer and as brand manager for the Washington, DC, clothing line Nana, which allows her to indulge her other obsession: fashion! Tobey is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor. She is proficient in Spanish. She has taught for two summers on our summer Pre College programs for high school students.

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Tom Kane

  • Education: Northwestern University, B.S., American Conservatory Theater, M.F.A.

Tom is an educator and theatre professional with extensive educational leadership experience. For over twenty years he has worked with teenage actors at the Storm King School in New York, the American Conservatory Theater and the Hamlin School in San … Continue reading

Tom is an educator and theatre professional with extensive educational leadership experience. For over twenty years he has worked with teenage actors at the Storm King School in New York, the American Conservatory Theater and the Hamlin School in San Francisco, Camp Laurel in Maine, and the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. Tom has been directing the pre-college enrichment program in Oxford and Tuscany since 2000; previously he co-directed the theater program at Excel at Williams College. Tom is currently the Head of the Theater Department at the Middlesex School, where he lives with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Zoe. Tom has worked on summer Pre College programs with Putney for 16 years.

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Tom Zook

  • Education: Southern California Institute of Architecture, B.Arch., Yale University School of Architecture, M.Arch

Tom’s career in architecture has always held fascination for merging spectacular landscapes with built form. He has designed and built residential and commercial projects in varied cultures and climates in Mexico and Costa Rica, throughout India in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune … Continue reading

Tom’s career in architecture has always held fascination for merging spectacular landscapes with built form. He has designed and built residential and commercial projects in varied cultures and climates in Mexico and Costa Rica, throughout India in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and Pondicherry, and in New York, Florida, California, and Ohio. Tom’s residential projects include both historical townhouses in Manhattan and modern homes just outside New York City. His current project in NYC is a complete restoration and transformation of a landmarked brownstone townhouse built in 1890. Tom has taught architecture at Tulane University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and has been on the faculty of the Yale University School of Architecture for ten years, teaching the Yale senior design studio each year for the past seven.  Tom will teach a graduate studio at Yale this fall and take the class to Mumbai to study the architecture of the ancient Indian Step Wells and their relevance to modern day life. Tom designed a legal aid clinic in Haiti with support from The Yale Law School. The team is pursuing a donation from the United Nations Mission in Haiti of unassembled prefabricated building components. Tom will be seeking volunteers to help construct the clinic and would welcome any interest from Amherst Excel students!!  Early in his career Tom worked in Los Angeles for Frank Gehry on the Disney Concert Hall and later for Richard Meier on the Getty Center Museum.  Tom has been principal of his own firm in New York City since 2008.  He has taught on Putney’s Pre-College summer program at Amherst College for two summers.

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Troy Shaheen

  • Education: Kenyon College, B.A., English, Spanish.

Born and raised in Kerhonkson, New York, Troy’s interest in the Spanish-speaking world first took flight on a solo backpacking trip through Chile in high school. He went on to double major in English Literature and Spanish at Kenyon College, … Continue reading

Born and raised in Kerhonkson, New York, Troy’s interest in the Spanish-speaking world first took flight on a solo backpacking trip through Chile in high school. He went on to double major in English Literature and Spanish at Kenyon College, where he played on the varsity soccer team and volunteered as a mentor and tutor in Knox County, Ohio. Troy has since worked as a guidebook writer and editor in Quito, Ecuador, and a staff writer for a Spanish language newspaper in Poughkeepsie, New York. Troy spent a semester in Spain during college, studying at La Universidad de Granada. He returned to Spain following his graduation to teach English at a high school in Jerez de la Frontera. He currently works year-round at the Putney barn in Vermont, managing our online outreach and coordinating programs in Latin America and Spain. Troy has led a  high school language program in Spain, a summer community service trip to Peru, and  summer programs for middle school students in Costa Rica and in Spain.

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Zufan Hagos

  • Education: University of Vermont, B.S., Secondary Education, Spanish; SIT Graduate Institute, M.A., International Education (candidate).

Zufan caught the travel bug in high school, while participating on an exchange program to Costa Rica and a service-learning trip to Honduras.  During college she studied abroad in Granada, Spain, and traveled extensively in Europe.  After graduating, she moved … Continue reading

Zufan caught the travel bug in high school, while participating on an exchange program to Costa Rica and a service-learning trip to Honduras.  During college she studied abroad in Granada, Spain, and traveled extensively in Europe.  After graduating, she moved to Prague, Czech Republic, and taught English for two years.  Upon return to the States she fed her creativity, working in design and marketing for a handbag company.  She is now pursuing her Masters degree in International Education, allowing her to combine her love of teaching and learning with international and intercultural experiences.  Most recently, she traveled to Turkey for a field course in Advanced Intercultural Communication.  Native to Vermont, Zufan loves skiing, hiking, food (growing, cooking, and eating), and has most recently taken up Flamenco dancing.  She has taught Spanish at Putney’s Pre-College summer program in Spain and directed our middle school summer program in Costa Rica. Zufan works full time at Putney Student Travel.  She is fluent in Spanish.

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