CIE Logo

The Center for International Education


Who We Are

Academic Programs





Off Campus

On Campus


Photo Gallery


CIE Merchandise - Check out the Mouse Pads!
Click Here

Return to CIE On Campus Activities & Biographies

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003
New CIE Center Members

Spring 2003

Frank McNerney

Hi. My background differs from most of the degree candidates in education since my experiences have been in the world of finance, banking and technology. Why the change? Well, I had two recent experiences that changed my outlook: both involved visits to countries that were attempting to change a small part of an education system using methods that were different than the standard classroom approach. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about alternative education forms, especially those that involved technology. I think I can add something to the ongoing conversation about this type of education given my "outside" experiences. So, the teacher came along when the pupil was ready; I met George Urch one day and the rest is history.

I'm very excited to be part of CIE; I only wonder why it took me so long to find out it was here in my own backyard. I have lived in Amherst for the last nine years during which I have been involved with a number of activities. Before coming to CIE I was part owner in a small software business. It was an interesting and challenging entrepreneurial experience that I would like to replicate in a developing country someday. I am also the current Chairperson for the Amherst Planning Board; a position that most people would say involves some interesting political challenges, given the nature of the town's residents. I like it though, the diversity of interests help make this town a vibrant community. I have two children in the Amherst school system: my daughter, Tara (age 15) and my son Eric (12), where I have also worked as a substitute teacher.

As for hobbies, I like to cycle in the summer and cross-country ski in the winter. And I have always enjoyed traveling, from my student days as a Russian major at the University of Leningrad (that dates me) to a trip last summer to northern India. In the previous year during my wife's sabbatical our family visited Australia for six months, where Tara and Eric went to school. I really enjoy the cultural experiences from visiting countries but now I would like to work in some of these places to deepen my understanding.

Fall 2002
A total of twelve new members were welcomed in September 2002 - ten Masters candidates and two Doctoral candidates. CIE's continuing participation in the Muskie Fellows program brings us six new students from Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Georgia. Other new members come from Bangladesh, Ghana, Peru, Uganda and the US.
New Students Fall 2002

Askarbek Mambetaliev

Tamari Nduaguibe

Greetings!! My name is Tamari Nduaguibe and I have come to the Center for International Education to earn my masters degree. I plan to work and live internationally, in developing countries, and am eager to prepare myself professionally through diverse learning experiences I expect to partake in here. I am particularly thankful for the rich diversity present in my fellow students, and the wealth of knowledge they also bring into the classroom.

My background is as an educator. I obtained my bachelors degree in early childhood education from Keene State College back in 1988. I then worked as a preschool teacher for 4 years in New Hampshire. In 1993 I joined the Peace Corps and served as a volunteer in Namibia, training lower primary teachers in a college of education. It was there that I met my husband, Henry, a Nigerian volunteer also stationed in Ongwediva. Following our marriage and volunteer commitments, we were both hired for five more years of work, I through the Peace Corps as a program assistant to support the initiatives of the Basic Education Support Project, and he as a lecturer with the Ministry of Agriculture and the University of Namibia. As we continued to work in Namibia we were blessed with two excellent children - Alex Ucheze (now aged 5), and Chikacha Daniel (now aged 3).

As a family, we desire to grow in the knowledge of God and pray that one day we will serve Him as full-time missionaries in many parts of the world. We also enjoy traveling, camping, hiking, yard-sailing, and just spending time together as a family. On a personal note, I thoroughly enjoy good coffee, and spending time at the beach, as well as growing as a mom!
top of page

Olga Okhlopkova

Hi, there! I'm from Russia, Siberia, the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). It is in the north-east of the Russian Federation. I have a big family -- my Mom, three elder brothers and one younger brother, two nephews and a niece. I have very good friends whom I can rely on for support.

Olga OkhlopkovaBack home, I worked for five years as an English teacher in the English Department of the Faculty of foreign languages at Yakutsk State University. I love teaching students. It is noble and demanding work and it keeps you young. After graduating from the University in 1989, I worked at a secondary school for a short time, and then worked for a youth social organization as a project coordinator. Subsequently, I worked as a translator for foreign construction companies with projects in the North. It was a good experience that gave me a perspective on multicultural business environments.

In the 2000 I started my post-graduate study in education. My thesis was "Paradigm of interdisciplinary approach to foreign language teaching in the context of multicultural education." Here at UMass, I would like to continue and extend my field of research in international and comparative education. I believe that my skills and new knowledge gained here will help my home university to become more involved with the world educational process. In my free time I love dancing, swimming, aqua aerobics classes, traveling, learning new things and foreign languages.

top of page

Jennifer W. Cannon

A local resident of the Pioneer Valley for the past twelve years, Jennifer has been a practitioner in the fields of primary school multicultural education, domestic violence/violence against women, and social justice in higher education. As former Director of the Amherst College Community Outreach Program, Jennifer created models for social justice organizing, strengthened and developed partnerships with community-based organizations in the Latino neighborhoods of South Holyoke, worked with Five-college faculty to develop community-based learning classes, and established a Cuba program to educate college students about the damaging effects of the US blockade. As a community organizer Jennifer has been involved with campaigns against the Gulf War and the occupation of Palestine, has led anti-racism and white privilege workshops, has organized with the Western Mass Global Action Coalition and has supported Latin American solidarity work through her involvement with Witness for Peace. Jennifer is deeply concerned about the impending war against Iraq and urges her colleagues to get involved with international peace and justice efforts.

She has worked internationally in Orissa, India; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Xela, Guatemala; Havana, Cuba. Her areas of professional interest include-popular education, social movement building, liberation education, Latin America, US cities, transnational linkages, grassroots community development, youth-centered political education.

Nino Chubinidze

Greetings! I am from Tbilisi, Georgia, one of the former Soviet countries in the Caucasus. I'm a first year master's student at CIE. This is my first visit in USA. I was selected as one of the 29 Muskie fellows from Georgia for 2002-2004 study program.

My participation in Muskie fellowship program, in the field of Education Policy, was motivated by my desire to apply my knowledge, skills and experience in one of the most important fields of education, and thus, make more effective input into the process of democratic development of my country.

My nine years of study at the faculty of Psychology in Tbilisi State University between 1983 and 1992 was very important in terms of my personal and professional development. After graduating, I worked in formal education for twelve years in Tbilisi State University. From 1994 to the present I've been teaching courses of practical psychology, experimental and general psychology at the Psychology Department of Tbilisi State University.

I've also been working in the field of non-formal education for five years in a Georgian non-governmental organization "International Center for Civic Culture". During the last five years I have participated in more than 20 educational projects in the non-governmental sector with representatives of almost all strata of Georgian society. This gave me the opportunity to analyze the process of implementation of democratic principles and values in the society. I think this experience was most productive for me as a person. I have also been collaborating with many national and international NGOs in Georgia n the field of Gender end Women's Rights.

Luis Martin Valdiviezo Arista

I was born in Lima, Capital of Peru, during the summer of 1965. My family belongs to the provincial middle class. Because of my father's job, we spent most of our school vacations in rural areas on Peruvian Coast, the Andes and sometimes the Peruvian Jungle. Making friends in different places, I discovered both multi-culturalism and the geographical and biological diversity of my country. As a teenager, I was shocked by the novels of Garcia Marquez and Hermann Hesse, and the poetry of Martin Adan and Jorge Luis Borges.

I studied philosophy at Universidad Catolica del Peru where I presented my thesis: "The World, treatise of light, a provisional physics based on a mathematical God" on 1995. As a university student, like millions of others, I was a witness to the Peruvian Civil war between 1980 and 1993.

During the last seven years, I have worked as a philosophy professor at Universidad Catolica del Peru and John XXIII Theological Institute. Also, I have taught philosophy at ImmaculateHigh School in the last two years. I am committed to promoting tolerance as a social and political virtue, and I dream of a peaceful and worthy world where my sons Luis, Rodrigo, and Adrain can grow up.

Svetlana Pivovar

Greetings! I'm a first year master's student at CIE. I come from the European part of Russia. My hometown Sosnovy Bor is situated on the beautiful coast of the Baltic Sea, not far from St. Petersburg.

Svetlana PivovarI've been working in the field of education for seven years now. First, as a teacher of the English language and American studies at a local high school in my hometown, and then after graduating from Leningrad Region State University, I started teaching English and linguistics courses to university students.

The decision to major in Education was to a large extent fostered by my first experience as an exchange student in an American high school. I earned two high school diplomas, a Russian one and an American one. But more than that, I got a unique chance to compare two different educational systems, to see their benefits and discrepancies. When working as a teacher in Russia, I always tried to implement those teaching methods and teaching ideas that I liked in my American high school. It wasn't an easy task to do!

We still need lots of changes in our educational system as well as in people's attitudes toward education. That was one of the main reasons why I decided to pursue my education in the USA. I think that people's attitudes can be changed through international exchange. I am interested in learning more about educational exchange management. My second sphere of interest is comparative education. I would like to know more about educational systems in different countries, so that I could help my country in building the best educational system ever. I hope that my studies as well as involvement in different projects in CIE will help me to pursue this goal.

top of page

Catherine Mukimba

I come from the volcanic fertile soils of Mbale District in eastern Uganda where I received my primary and part of my secondary education. I then moved to Kampala for my initial higher education, and later to University of Portland, Oregon for my Masters degree.

My Makerere University bachelor's degree directly led to several teaching positions in various urban and rural high schools in Uganda. From these experiences I came to understand the challenges of my country's inequitable school system that has inadequate administrators and instructors. I developed a special interest in studying administration, policy studies as well as preparing to work in teacher trainer in tertiary institutions so as to have a greater multiplier effect.

At various times my professional responsibilities included; Head of economics/business studies Department, student counseling and guidance, and acting as deputy Principal in charge of instruction and curriculum. What I enjoyed most in my experience was being able to guide/mentor students to discover who they were and where they were heading in terms of personal and career aspirations. My successful yet challenging administrative work made me aspire to further education in management and leadership skills.

I am currently pursuing a doctoral program at the Center for International education in the EPRA department. My keen interest is in preparing to work as a teacher trainer in tertiary education and in administration from the international development perspective. I feel UMass' School of Education has very relevant courses to meet my educational goals.

top of page

Tigran Tovmasyan

I come from Armenia where I was working as an advisor to the chairman of the Standing Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Youth Affairs of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. There I was engaged in analyzing and evaluating of the educational policy in the stage of implementation and drafting new educational laws. As a citizen of the country with only 11 years of Independence and lacking the behavior and traditions of a market related system, I wanted to use legislation to help the educational system more effective and to achieve higher internationally accepted standards. The job was fascinating and helpful for my professional carrier.

The idea of studying in the US first came to my mind when I attended some lectures at the University of California at Davis. At that time I was an exchange student of the "TBI-2000: Summer Environmental Exchange Program" organized by Tahoe-Baikal Institute. This program was focused on upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, as well as young professionals with environmental interests in ecology and limnology, environmental restoration and planning, cultural preservation, public policy, and resource economics at two of the world's most remarkable freshwater lakes --Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia and Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada.

For my studies at the University of Massachusetts I am interested in educational policy, leadership and as well as planning issues. I believe my studies in the Center for International Education will give me an opportunity to see the Armenian educational system through a new lens and will help me shape a fresh approach to curriculum organization, involvement of international experience, and planning and budgeting issues. As a member of CIE-family I encourage the communication between people from all over the under the CIE-UMASS umbrella.

top of page
Samuel Oduro-Sarpong

Samuel Oduro-Sarpong is a member of the Akan ethnic group which forms the largest tribe in Ghana. Over the last 12 years he has developed a career in both national and international development programs. His main field of experience has been in the Education and Health sectors particularly working with rural communities. His specialties include community mobilization, project design, management, monitoring and evaluation, participatory training and qualitative research methodologies.

After his bachelors in Sociology, he did two years of national service working on UNICEF Assisted projects mainly in water and sanitation in the Techiman district of Ghana. This initial experience generated his interest in rural development and communication. Consequently he pursued a graduate diploma program in Communication studies. He then became project coordinator with the Primary Health Care department of a Catholic hospital, where he designed and implemented health education programs with communities and herbal medicine health care providers.

Subsequently he joined a Community Water and Sanitation Project funded by Canadian International Development Agency in the northern part of the country. He started as Community Development Specialist/Hygiene and Sanitation officer and ended up as a Program Manager. From the CIDA project he joined CARE-International as a Program Coordinator for Health and Education projects when CARE started its programs in Ghana. As CARE expanded its programs in the country he became sub-office coordinator/project manager for a part of the country. Samuel is an advocate of 'community monitoring indicators', i.e allowing communities to set up their own indicators for monitoring projects.

Samuel has attended international workshops and conferences, some as a resource person and others as a participant. Besides his main qualifications from the University of Ghana, he also has certificates in Health education from the University of Science & Technology, Ghana and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

At CIE Sam wants to strengthen his skills in Planning (systems/programs/projects), evaluation and research, and develop the skills necessary to work as a consultant. He is married with three children.

top of page
Kunduz Maksutova

Hi, I am from Kyrgyzstan. I am in the Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program. I am doing my Master's degree in International Education. This will be my second M.Ed. degree. The first was in Teacher Education from the Institute for Educational Development at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan from 1997-1999.

I started my professional career as a secondary school teacher of ESL in a village. From 1992 I have been working at Osh State University (OSU) as a lecturer, senior lecturer, and recently as the Head of the International Relations Department of OSU. My last position was Chair of Oriental Studies and English Department of OSU. Also I was actively involved in the activities of the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) as a teacher-educator. In 2001 I worked as a TEFL Coordinator in pre-service training of Peace Corps/Kyrgyzstan.

Every person has dreams. My dream was to get a chance to study in a US university and it came true. It is a wonderful feeling to enter the next stage of life and go back to school. Nevertheless, before coming to US we were told about the cultural shock that foreigners experience upon entering a new culture. Although I've been in the US for the last 4 months, so far I haven't felt yet what cultural shock is. I am sure that it is due to the people, the people at the Center for International Education who have been friendly and helpful -- sharing their rich knowledge and expertise in International Education and advising on academic matters; ready to help in all social problems and many others.

My main purpose of study in this program is to deepen and enhance my understanding of teacher-education. I believe that increased theoretical knowledge and practical skills will enable me to contribute to the improvement and further development of the education system in my country.

top of page

I am (Mary) Monica Gomes My home is in Bangladesh, a country in South Asia. Although I have lived most of my life in the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong, my ancestral roots are in a small village in the southern district of Barisal, close to the Bay of Bengal. I am a Bengalee.

I was a student in Psychology at the University of Dhaka when the War of Independence (from Pakistan) took place in 1971, and it deeply affected the path I would take in my career. Trying to join efforts to rebuild the war torn country, I began working with war-uprooted women and children. Poverty and misery were all around me. It led me into the whole sphere of development work. I was initiated into programs of relief and rehabilitation, non-formal education, health and nutrition, skills training, savings and loans, group formation, income generating activities, and development education. I worked mostly with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) -- local, national and international -- helping to design and manage development projects.

Working in women's development also inspired me to join the women's movement in Bangladesh, in order to create a bigger impact in the work I was doing. I became an activist and learned the strategies and skills of the movement -- mobilizing, organizing, and leadership; advocacy; street protests and marches; holding press conferences; providing legal aid and solidarity to women/girls who were victims of violence.

I treasure the joys of my family. I enjoy gardening, cooking, watching movies, listening to music, and singing. Learning is also a lifelong joy!
top of page