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CIE Retreat F2011

The Decade of the 2010s
[Updated January 24, 2016 ]

44th Annual CIE Retreat - Angels Rest - Fall 2011

Nigel Brissett
Konda Reddy Chavva
Lauren Clarke
Mindy Eichhorn
Hunter Gray
Darren Hertz

Judith Johannes
Mshauri Khamis
Mjege Kinyota
Valerie Kurka
Donna Lopp
Gopal Midha

Verity Norman
Judith Obiero

Stephen Richardson
Rebecca Paulson Stone

Habibullah Wajdi
Angela Yang-Handy

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Judith Obiero (Ed.D. 2014)

After graduating I worked as an academic coordinator for the Dept. of Labor Job Corps Program in Chicopee from 2014 till August this year. I was in charge of the literacy andJudith Obiero numeracy components of the technical education of the Job Corps program. This job presented an excellent opportunity for me to see how the US was trying to achieve EFA goals by reaching the marginalized and out of school population. I wouldn’t have had the knowledge and skill set to effectively carry out my duties were it not for the excellent all round education I received from CIE.

After working with the Job Corps I am now employed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. I co –teach with the School of Engineering faculty a required course in Leadership to students who work on engineering projects. I also coordinate a program called Professional Leadership Series at the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development for graduate Level students in engineering and science where they explore such topics as cross-cultural communication, ethical decision making, consensus building, conflict, management, negotiation, networking, effective presentation skills, and other core leadership skills.

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Konda Reddy Chavva (Ed.D. 2014)

Konda is a consultant with FAO India. He provides technical assistance in the design and implementation of Farmers Field Schools (FFS) Konda Reddy Chavvaon various projects in different Indian states to improve farmers’ adaptive capacity and strengthen their resilience to climate variability and change. His work involves working with minor and major irrigation departments in the states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal on improving water management, and increasing agricultural productivity.

Likewise, he is working with New Land Use Policy of Mizoram state on soil and water conservation, soil health issues, and improving farmers’ access to markets. Also, he is working on water governance in drought prone semi-arid regions of Andhra Pradesh for effective management of the resource, mitigating impacts of droughts and reducing farmers’ distress. Konda worked briefly with the South Asia Pro Poor Livestock Promotion Program to design FFS curriculum on Improved Goat Management Practices.

Additionally, he was part of the cross-continental team of FFS trainers and experts that drafted FFS Guidance Document, which provides insight into the salient aspects of FFS programming and implementation. Konda plans to continue working on issues of critical importance to farmers—soil and water conservation, soil health, water governance, livestock support systems, adaptation to climate change and marketing agriculture produce. [1-16]

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Mindy Eichhorn (Ed.D. 2014)

I am currently an assistant professor in the Education Department at Gordon College, where I teach undergraduate Mindy Eichhornand graduate-level courses in specialeducation, assessment, and early childhood / elementary math methods. At the moment,I am involved in a pilot study investigating the challenges out of school youth face in learning mathematics in Mumbai and Bangalore, India. These students face hardships at home – most of them live in extreme poverty, and encounter many environmental stressors, including trauma, which impact their learning in the classroom.

Additionally, in June and July 2015, I piloted a number-sense screener in Kolkata, India with 2nd and 5th grade students, as part of a pilot student to predict math difficulties in the early stages so that students can receive intervention as soon as possible. In the immediate future, I would like to conduct a comparative study with students in 2nd and 5th grade in Massachusetts, using the same screening tool.

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Hunter Gray (M.Ed. 2014)

Hunter writes from Bangkok where he is working on a second Master’s degree and is doing an internship in the summer of 2015.

Aside from this internship, I’m also keeping busy with my role as the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for my program which means that I help with internal/external communication strategies, production of promotional items, and forge partnerships with institutions and organizations in the region. I’ve finished my classes for the Master’s program, next step is the thesis proposal. I’m looking to conduct qualitative research that captures the narratives of transmen in Thailand to reveal, through their lived experiences, how they perceive and encounter trans-prejudice. Making use of narrative inquiry, I’ll analyze the Hunter Grayways in which some transmen may experience human rights violations (i.e.: violations to right to work, right to education, right to health) and then make recommendations on how to address these violations. I’m quite excited about this research as it builds off of my research from UMass while also add a new, richer dimension of narratives/lived experiences. 

I’m also currently working on a couple of projects with local activists. Both are just fledgling projects - one is a workshop which I am coordinating with artists and activists here in Thailand to bridge the ways the arts can be used as activism; the other project is a very long-term goal of coordinating a Pink Dot Bangkok event modeled after Pink Dot Singapore  The second project will be a huge undertaking and probably take 2-3 years to pull off, but it is exactly the reason why I moved here - to work with grassroots activists to address LGBT prejudice by way of positively changing public opinion of the LGBT community and to provide empowering and positive images of the LGBT community that enables greater acceptable, especially within the family. So far, I’ve got a small team of Thai activists that are really motivated to spear-head, contribute, and collaborate on this project.  [6-15]

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Donna Lopp (M.Ed. 2013)

Donna is the Program Coordinator for the International Education degree program at SIT Graduate Institute, a program of World Learning, a nonprofit organization located in Brattleboro, VT and Washington DC.  Donna provides academic support and advising for students in the IE program, and teaching and administrative support for IE faculty.  As both the IE on-campus and low-residency degree tracks incorporate a great deal of video-based information and instruction, Donna is in charge of recording, editing and producing such videos.  She also plans and facilitateDonna Lopps frequent video conferencing for participants in the field, and coordinates on-campus seminars, workshops, and IE field courses, which have recently taken place in South Africa, Costa Rica and Washington DC.  Further, Donna manages the design and creation of IE course sites in open source platform, manages IE social media sites, and works with Admissions and the Registrar on maintaining current information on SIT’s website.

Soon after Donna arrived at SIT, she began working directly with students with disabilities, advocating for and contributing to structural changes on campus for a more inclusive environment.  As Donna has become the point person in IE for these students, she manages their receiving academic materials in an accessible format, a process that varies from person to person, and works closely with Disability Services and instructional technologists to accommodate these students.  Donna considers her experiences working with and learning from these students to be some of the most valuable in her time at SIT, and notes that the courage, determination and resilience they exhibit in their work throughout the world is both inspiring and humbling. [3-15]

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Rebecca Paulson Stone (Ed.D. 2012)

Rebecca Paulson StoneRecent update on Becca's activity includes a video of her talking about AIR's early grade reading work and particularly a remedial reading program that we ran in Egypt. Check it out here. [2-15]

I graduated from CIE in May 2012 after 6 amazing years in the Masters and Doctoral programs. After graduation I was hired as a researcher and literacy specialist at AIR (The American Institutes for Research). Over the past couple of years at AIR I have worked on a range of programs at AIR. I provided technical assistance to a USAID funded Arabic remedial reading program in Egypt for upper grade students, worked with the ministries of education in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to set early grade reading standards, managed a UNICEF funded formative assessment project in Ethiopia and much more. Currently I am leading a systematic review of the evidence on early grade reading emerging from the LAC (Latin America and Carribean) region. I work remotely for AIR from my home in Western Massachusetts and travel internationally several times a year and to our headquarters in DC every couple of months. [2-15]

The experience I gained during my tenure at CIE was a huge benefit to me throughout this process and in helping me to secure this position. So now I am a literacy specialist at AIR and just recently got back from my first trip to start up a remedial reading program in Egypt. I will also be working on reading programming in Ghana and The Zambia. [10-12]

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Darren Hertz (M.Ed. 2009)

Darren Hertz & AshleyDarren Hertz and Ashley Clayton Hertz (Ed.D. candidate), now living in Sierra Leone, are contributing to the effort to halt the ebola epidemic and plan for the reopening of schools in that country.  Both work for the International Rescue Committee.  Darren has been working non-stop on ebola response since August, based out of the districts, as Senior Ebola Response Coordinator responsible for overseeing the set-up and management of IRC's Isolation Units (holding centers that care for patients with ebola-like symptoms awaiting their test results). He is also piloting a community-based surveillance system with over 800 individuals in one district looking for Ebola clues to limit its spread into their communities. Meanwhile, Ashley works in Freetown as a consultant for IRC, currently helping redesign their education program during the response to Ebola and for the recovery period. [12-14]

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Lauren Clarke (Ed.D. 2011)

Lauren ClarkeAfter graduation Lauren became Dean for Custom and Comparative Programs at SIT where she worked to integrate the comparative (multi-country) programs of IHP with SIT study abroad, as well as design immersive programs with specific curricular content for U.S. universities. At SIT she worked with CIE graduate Phil Mangis.

Recently, Laruen was appointed Dean for International Students and Global Engagement at Amherst College. Now that she is in Amherst, she visits CIE more regulalry and helped organize a presentation at a recent Tuesday dialogue. [11-14]

Stephen Richardson (M.Ed. 2014) | Twitter | Linkedin

After graduation I found myself quickly working with fellow CIE student, Ben Herson, as an Associate Producer on the second season of the MTV World documentary series entitled Rebel Music. The aim of the series is to educate the Western youth audience about musicians and activists creating awareness and driving social change in contexts of social and political conflicts. I applied various skills gleaned from my eStephen Richardsonxperience at CIE including a commitment to research rigor and critical theory with my non-formal education and project management background to this very challenging position. I learned more about the contemporary issues of Indigenous people in the U.S. and Canada as well as complex socio-political reality of Turkey. Working on the project also allowed me the opportunity to travel to Istanbul where I supported the production of the Rebel Music episode there.

I am now working as as a consultant for Save the Children Norway on project entitled Building Resilient Children & Schools in the Philippines. I am co-developing a teacher training package to be implemented at the school level to institutionalize on-going support for teachers through the activation of Teacher Learning Circles - locally referred to as Learning Action Cells. I am also co-writing a conceptual framework and curriculum around the intersection of Disaster Risk Reduction and Wellbeing informed some of my findings on Wellbeing/Psychosocial Support from my Master?s Project. The project is in collaboration with the Regional office of the Philippines Department of Education.

While I am based in the US, I will be traveling back and forth to the Philippines for the duration of the project which runs through May 2015. There are many competencies that I learned during my tenure at CIE and find myself actively applying them everyday in my work. 

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Gopal Midha (M.Ed. 2010)

Gopal MidhaGopal writes that he is keeping busy with the following activities:

StrengtheningTeacher Education- through a Research Facility to support the D.Ed, B.Ed and M.Ed programs and support professionals in India

Doing impact assessment of education programs through the lens of organizational strategy and educational leadership

Co-teaching a course on Educational Leadership and Management at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. and conducting workshops on Theatre in Education using techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre [8-14]

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Habibullah Wajdi (Ed.D. 2013)

Habibullah WajdiHabibullah Wajdi, a citizen of Afghanistan, is an educational development professional with over 16 years of experience in education development particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings. During his career he has worked nationally and internationally with governments; well reputed national and international organizations; civil society, and donors on various projects and programs.

Wajdi joined the Center for International Education (CIE) as a doctoral student in September 2007. Prior to coming to CIE, he worked as an Education Specialist with the World Bank in Kabul Afghanistan. He also worked as Technical Education Project Officer for UNICEF where he managed the implementation of educational programs in five southern provinces of Afghanistan. After completing his comprehensive exam, he spent the winter and summer breaks in Afghanistan working as a consultant on the WB's projects with Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Higher Education. In August 2010, he returned to Afghanistan to manage the World Bank’s Strengthening Higher Education Program (SHEP).

In September 2011, he became senior advisor to the Minister of Education (picture lefet) on literacy programs, and Program Coordinator for ELA (Enhancement of Literacy Afghanistan) program. Meanwhile he continued his dissertation work on the organizational settings of the Literacy Department of the Ministry of Education. In May 2012, Wajdi successfully defended his dissertation on "The Process of Organizational Capacity Development in Action in Post-conflict Setting of the Literacy Department of Afghanistan.” He officially graduated in February of 2013. After his graduation, Wajdi worked as Education Program Specialist with UNESCO in Kabul Afghanistan until January 2014. In February 2014 Wajdi joined USAID funded and UMASS/CIE managed USWDP program as Senior Manager for Graduate Education where he is reponsible for developing graduate programs at various universities in Afghanistan. [4-14]

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Mshauri Abdulla Khamis   (M.Ed. 2013)

Mshauri KhamisAfter getting my Master’s degree, I returned to Tanzania and  was posted to  the Department of Secondary Education as a head of Secondary Education Division in Zanzibar. Four months later I moved to Dar es Salaam after being selected to work with the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in the secretariat. Once again I left my family and worked on the mainland for 14 months.

The task was critical and very challenging though we succeeded in producing a second draft of the new Constitution of Tanzania.  On the 30th December, 2014 the draft was submitted to the President, the Honorable Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, (you can see me in the attached picture) After that assignment, I was released to go back to Zanzibar to work with the Ministry of Education, in the Department of Policy and Planning where I am now the Head of the Sectoral Planning and Development Division.

I really miss CIE and hope to come back in 2016 if I can manage to get scholarship.  I am looking forward to hearing from CIE friends. [2-14]

Angela Yang-Handy (Ed. D. 2013)

I have been living in the Philippines since 2009 with my husband and our two daughters.  In September 2013 I completed my doctorate, havAngela Yang-Handying produced a dissertation entitled, “Preparing Visually-Impaired People in the Philippines for Mainstream Employment: The Impact of ICT Accessibility.”  I am an active board member of the Manila-based ATRIEV Computer School for the Blind, and have been assisting with a range of education, fund-raising and administrative concerns. 

In addition, I have been working as the Managing Director of NumberWorks’nWords Philippines, a supplemental math and English education program for kids from kindergarten to high school.  I also just wrapped up an editorship for a book project, “Project Mom: Our Natural Approach to Motherhood,” which will be released this December in the Philippines.  Looking ahead, I want to present and publish my dissertation research, as I would like to continue contributing to the scholarship and program development in the field. [11-13]

Mjege Kinyota (M.Ed. 2013)

I am glad that I have had the opportunity to very quickly apply the knowledge and skills I acquired at CIE after graduation. After graduating, I returned to my positioMjege Kinyotan as an assistant lecturer at Dar es Salaam University College of Education. We are continuing to work on the mission and vision of the Faculty of Education - to prepare highly qualified teachers of the 21th century.

Currently I am in the northern part of Tanzania near Uganda where I am supervising student teachers who are doing their teaching practice in this region. Teaching practice is an important component for our pre-service teacher preparation programs and as a supervisor, I am here to observe their teaching as well as assessing their teaching portfolios. One key idea regarding this job that I came with from CIE is that supervision is not aimed at threatening teachers, but is rather a friendly activity where supervisor and students work together to improve the practice of both through mentoring
. [7-13]

Valerie Kurka (M.Ed.

Just after graduating with my Master's, I worked with Ash Hartwell and CIE students Jacob Carter and Milka Ndura on the Global Citizens' Initiative which brought 13 leaders from aValerie Kurkaround the world to Amherst for a 2-week course in Global Citizenship. I currently coordinate webinars for communication within that group while the participants implement small-scale projects in their home countries.

In April 2013 I accepted a job in my home state of Wisconsin at the Social Development Commission in Milwaukee where I manage a program that is designed to train refugees in financial literacy, business and entrepreneurship. In addition, the program provides training in child care practices in order to prepare them to receive family childcare center certification and open home-based child care centers that are eligible for a state-sponsored subsidy program. I also provide small-scale economic advocacy case management for the program participants. The program is funded by a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and is being implemented in communities across the country. [6-13]

Verity Norman (M.Ed. 2011)

Verity NormanFollowing graduation, Verity Norman started working as the Program Development Manager at Boston University's African Presidential Center. The Center was founded by former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, Charles R. Stith, and is a research and archive hub that tracks, documents, and supports democracy and development in 16 African countries, including Verity's home of South Africa. Amongst the various Center programs, most notable are (i) annual publication of the African Leaders State of Africa Report, which includes submissions from all current Presidents of the 16 countPresident Bandaries tracked by the Center, and (ii) the annual African Presidential Roundtable, a policy meeting of 200+ former heads of state, students, faculty, and public- and private-sector leaders. This year's Roundtable will be hosted in Johannesburg from May 23-25.

Another major program at the Center is the BU President-in-Residence. President Rupiah Banda, former president of Zambia, recently accepted this position for 2012 and will lecture at universities across the U.S. and Africa. On the left is a photo of Verity with President Banda on his first day in the U.S. Verity brought President Banda to UMass in early May where he made a public presentation and visited Jacqi Mosselson's Cultural Studies class at CIE. Please check out the African Presidential Center's Facebook page. [5-12]

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Judith Johanees (M.Ed. 2012)

After graduating from CIE in February 2012 I returned to my former position at the Office of the European Union Representative West Bank and Gaza Strip, where I am currently working on the design of a basic infrastructure and land Judith Johannesrehabilitation and development program. In this place on Earth development is inextricably interwoven with politics. This makes the work interesting but also very challenging.

I was thrilled to discover when I came back that there is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program offered in Jerusalem. I had focused my thesis on the use of contemplative techniques in education and was keen to learn and experience a set of different mindfulness practices. Contemplative education is a new field of research with a growing body of evidence that suggests that teaching contemplative practices in schools is an immensely valuable development for education. Those practices are improving learning by developing resilience to stress, enhancing attention and awareness, supporting emotional regulation and increasing wellbeing. The MBSR program proves to be very useful for my research interest and I am currently exploring the paths to become a Mindfulness trainer. [3-12]

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Nigel Brissett (Ed. D. 2010)

After completing my doctorate, I worked at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts as an adjunct faculty in the fall ofNigel Brissett 2010, teaching a graduate course in development theory. I continued at Clark in spring 2011 and facilitated a graduate seminar on project management for social change. During this time (spring) I also returned briefly to CIE for a second stint to work on an extension to the Afghanistan Higher Education project. For the academic year 2011/2012, I will be working full-time as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University. I often see David Bell who is now a faculty colleague at Clark. I continue my research interest in Caribbean development issues and recently published a paper on "Jamaica’s Policy Discourse in the Age of Globalization: Framing Education as (Private) Investment." [10-11]


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