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updated March 21, 2007


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Fall 2006 - Spring 2007

Spring 2007

New Degree Candidates for Spring '07

February brought three new students to CIE - from Australia, Colombia and the U.S. Two of them are Masters candidates and one is a Doctoral candidate. They bring a wide range of experience in the Southeast Asia, Central America and Latin America.

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Ricardo Gomez-Yepes

Ricardo received a Bachelor of Education degree from La Salle University and Master of Education from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Ricardo has been a full-time lecturer and researcher at University of Antioquia Colombia since 2003. His research interests span educational policy analysis, assessment and evaluation, and curriculum design and implementation. He is particularly interested in identifying key education policies and practice that support teachers in helping low-income youth succeed academically.

In addition to his research and teaching, Ricardo has designed and implemented successful educational interventions and programs for low-income inner-city youth and children of Colombia. These programs and interventions have been carried out collaboratively with specialists from Colombia’s Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and United Way.

His international experience includes internships, courses, and seminars in the US, Holland, Japan, Egypt and several countries in Latin America. He is also active in several organizations supporting the welfare and social productivity of young people.

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Amber Martin

It’s hard to say where my path to CIE actually started, but I guess you could say that it has to do with deciding that you want to leave the world just a little better than you found it. I started out wanting to be an English major in college, but soon meandered into other departments such as Sociology, Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, African American Studies, and others. When it was time to declare a major I declared an independent one: Social Justice, the one common theme that ran through all of my coursework.

Luckily I was surrounded by people who believe in theory and practice! Soon I was a budding campus activist, active on issues such as anti-sweatshop campaigns, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and anti-globalization. I worked and interned with labor unions throughout my college years, and got a good foundation in organizing, but I soon learned that the best organizer is also an educator. I learned about popular education, and how it can be used as a powerful tool to help oppressed people become conscious of their reality and the root causes of their problems, then work together, democratically, to transform that reality for the better.

After college I moved to Guatemala, where I worked for a popular education NGO for two and a half years as a community educator in rural, indigenous areas teaching about citizen participation in government. The experience was humbling and completely life changing, and I was hooked. I took a job in El Salvador with another non-profit, where I facilitated relationships between U.S. based organizations and their counterpart communities in El Salvador in which they supported grassroots community development projects.

I am thrilled to now be at CIE to take time to reflect, study, and analyze my experiences in a theoretical framework amongst such an amazing and diverse group of students and faculty! I hope that through my time at CIE I can prepare myself to achieve my goal of working as an adult educator for social justice in both the U.S. and Central American contexts, using popular education as a methodology and anti-oppression (oppression based on race, sex, class, sexual orientation, religion, able bodiedness, etc.) as a principle and practice.

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Farida Fleming

I always wanted to be a teacher. I love learning - that feeling of   potential and change. So I tried it out: teaching children after-school, teaching migrants English, teaching students English in Japan, preparing Youth Ambassadors before their postings. I remember these students, both adults and children, and the moments when we learned something together.

Growing up between cultures developed into a love of sharing different worlds as an adult. Being able to work in a range of countries has been a joy. Most recently with the international arm of the Department of Education and Training (NSW) I have worked and traveled through the South-East Asian and Pacific regions. I have been lucky enough to work on adult learning (public sector reform) projects in PNG, teaching improvement programs in Indonesia, and skills training programs in the Pacific.

I am so glad to have this chance to be at CIE. I am looking forward to reflecting on what I have learned, learning more, and sharing with my teachers and colleagues.

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Fall 2006

New Students Join CIE

In September CIE welcomed twelve new students from Haiti, Kenya, Palestine, Tajikistan and U.S. They bring a wide diversity of experience as educators who have worked in Afghanistan, Philippines, Guatemala, India, Togo, Nepal, Niger and Southern Sudan, as well as their home countries. There are four Master's candidates and eight Doctoral candidates. Their enthusiasm and experience will enrich the learning community for all at CIE.

Amina Davlatshoeva, Angela Yang Handy, Ashley Clayton, Vanessa Merine, Kimberly Parekh

Rebecca Paulson

My focus on International Education all started when I studied my first foreign language in middle school. When I started learning Spanish I felt like I knew this secret language that not everyone could speak but that opened my world up to a whole new group of people. I quickly became addicted and soon started learning French which I also loved.

During my undergraduate study I majored in Spanish and French and spent a semester in Rennes, France and another in Santiago, Chile. These two amazing experiences and my desire to work in the field of education, led me to consider joining the Peace Corps. It was a chance for a new adventure, travel to a new part of the world, the learning of a new language and meaningful work promoting education. Soon after graduation I left for Niger, Africa where I spent the next 2 ½ years as a Community and Youth Education volunteer. After intense language and culture training in the capital city of Niamey I was posted to Dakoro, a remote village on the edge of the Sahara. During my time in Niger I led educational campaigns to promote girls’ education, developed educational materials and taught computer literacy. This was one of the most enriching experiences of my life and what ultimately led me to decide to continue my studies in International Education at CIE.

One of the issues I would like to focus on is improving girls’ access to education in the developing world. As a means to accomplish this during my Master's program, I am very interested in non-formal education, teacher training and curriculum development. There is such a wealth of experience at the Center between the students and the faculty and I am truly excited to soak it all up.

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Never too old to learn! Salam everyone. I was born in Kuwait and I finished my elementary school there. I then moved to Palestine/West Bank where I finished my high school. I took my B.A. in Science & its Methods of teaching from Educational Sciences Faculty in Ramallah. I finished my M.A. in Methods of Teaching Science from Al Quds University. More recently, I was awarded a doctoral scholarship by thePalestinian Faculty Development Program - sponsored by AMIDEAST and Funded by USAID, OSI (Open Society Institute) and UMASS.

Since 1997, I have worked as science teacher with UNRWA in Palestinian refugee camps; I also worked as a lecturer at Al Quds Open University Teaching Educational Psychology, Creative Thinking and Coexisting with Technology courses. In addition I worked as an educational researcher with the private sector where I had the opportunity to train teachers in the use technology in teaching.

My goal as a first year doctoral student in the Center for International Education (CIE) is to benefit from all the opportunities which this unique center offers through the experience of its professors and the great diversity of its students so I can help in the educational reform and development in Palestine.

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Angela Yang Handy

While I have been a permanent resident of the United States for the past six years, I am from the Philippines.  So, I am an example of that which I have come here to study: the migration patterns and purposes of Filipinos and the domestic and international policies which enable this process. For instance, the relationship between labor practices in the global economy and national education programs in the Philippines is most apparent in the growth of migrant medical providers.

Education was what initially brought me to the U.S.  After completing high school at the International School of Manila, I attended Clark University ( Worcester, MA) for both my B.A. (International Development and Social Change, with concentrations in Women’s Studies and Communications) and my M.A. (International Development and Social Change, with emphasis on Gender and Development).  My research focus has always been inward and outward, for both scholarly and personal reasons.

Education itself, both as personal process and as infrastructural programs, is the glue that held my extended work experience together.  In recent years, I have worked at institutions of higher education in the U.S.  My professional life in the U.S. began as an academic advisor/tutor/resident dean at Landmark College ( Putney, VT), and then continued in positions at Keene State College ( Keene, NH).  At Keene State, my own international experiences were truly enabled and enriched.  I was most recently the Assistant Director of the International/National Exchange office there, where I was challenged with the programmatic and systematic tasks of both entreating students to study abroad and welcoming visiting scholars and students to the campus.  In addition to these recent work experiences, I have worked in the U.S. and the Philippines with education programs related to the areas of international migration, violence against women, social and environmental justice, militarization, HIV/AIDS, cultural diversity, learning disabilities and international education.

This doctoral program represents a bridging of my interests in international development and education, for which CIE and UMass are uniquely equipped to incubate for me.  I am looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from other students, colleagues and faculty as I move through the program

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Bonjour! My name is Vanessa and I am so excited to introduce myself as a new student at CIE this year! I am originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea. Though it was not always easy, I love the fact that I got the chance to grow and learn in my home country. My culture is such a big part of who I am today and I am very thankful for that.

When I set off to college, all I knew for sure is that I wanted work to help improve living standards in underdeveloped countries. I realized that in order to accomplish this goal, I needed more than just an undergraduate degree, so I enrolled in a Master's program in International Business Administration at Nova Southeastern University. During my studies, I took an interest in sub-Saharan Africa and focused my research efforts on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its effects on the economy of those countries. During my research, I found that education was not always considered a priority in the humanitarian efforts to rebuild nations devastated by war and/or HIV/AIDS, resulting in millions of displaced children with no hope for reestablishing some type of normalcy in their lives.

From that point on, I knew that my journey was just beginning for I had discovered my true passion in education. Therefore, during that time I worked in the higher education field for more than four years and got involved with some great community-based organizations such as Women of Tomorrow and the Upward Bound Program, which focus on providing scholarships, mentors and various resources to the at-risk youth in the urban areas.

Now I am at CIE in order to fully accomplish this life mission of mine to use education as a conduit to development and reconstruction in the underdeveloped world. During my time at CIE, I would like to focus my studies on the various policies that affect the educational systems of underdeveloped countries, particularly in times of emergencies. Again, I am just truly thankful and thrilled to be part of this very vibrant community so let the learning begin!!

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Sarah Katherine Wangari Kahando

Hamjamboni. Jina langu ni Sarah. I am from Kenya, born and raised in Nairobi, the capital city with customary annual visits to the rural areas to visit my grandparents and to acquire the Kikuyu culture that my mother felt was not in the city. The village life was always an adventure and so different from what I knew. There were fewer classes and books and my cousins had to walk long distances to school and rely on handed down textbooks. I sometimes wonder whether that or often being made to repeat classes was a reason for so many did not finish school.

As I grew up I wanted to become many things, from a teacher, to an engineer, to a pilot and even a doctor. I ended up graduated with a B.ED in education, English and literature. After college, I knew I didn’t want to go back and teach in the city, I wanted to have an adventure away from the city. I wanted to experience how it was learning with few resources and how this can be made better.

I started off as a student advisor and volunteer counselor for college students in a small town in Eldoret and later went to Norway for a cross-cultural experience. This finally led me to the Kakuma refugee camp where I taught English as a second language to women from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Congo and Burundi. Kakuma was my first school in International Education and I knew I was hooked. It was there that I learned that teaching was more than just standing in front of a class, setting and marking papers or finishing the set syllabus. From Kakuma, I was called to go work in Southern Sudan as an adult literacy teacher for women with Save the Children UK. This was my first experience in a conflict situation and in a real hardship area. After the program I worked with UMass in the Sudan Basic Education program (SBEP), a USAID-funded program. In SBEP, I worked as a trainer developing English language programs and training NFE teachers.

Over the years, I have developed an interest in the role education plays in development of people’s lives. I am interested in nonformal education and having systems that not only work but also are meaningful to people. Am really excited to be at CIE as it offers me not only the opportunity to pursue my graduate degree in International Education but also the chance to meet, interact and learn from others who are from diverse nations and bring a whole range of enriching experience. It’s just humbling and I look forward to the rest of my stay here. Asanteni Sana.
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I’ve come to CIE as a doctoral student from the Holy Land - Palestine, one of 24 participants in the Palestinian Faculty Development Program which brings university faculty to study in doctoral programs in the U.S

I took my first degree in Math, and my Masters in Math Education. I worked for 7 years in Ministry of Education and Higher Education. During my work I served as a coordinator for National Teams whose mission was to conduct National Achievement Tests in Mathematics. I also was the National Research Coordinator for TIMSS 2003 study in Palestine (Trends in International Mathematics & Science Study). All these studies indicate that the level of Palestinian students achievement in Math is low in comparable with other students on regional or international levels. Also, last year I worked as a teacher in Education Department in Birzeit University, one of our Palestinian Universities. The students in one of my classes were either going to be Math teachers or already were Math teachers. One of the difficulties that I faced was to convince them about the importance of the teaching method that they used in teaching in improving students’ capabilities even in poor physical contexts like ours

I’m interested in learning from the experience of other countries in Education in general and in Math Education in particular. I hope to have experiences that will show me how to improve student achievement and attitudes toward Mathematics through Teacher Education.

Finally, I’m sure that I will have many useful experiences while I’m here in CIE, and I consider myself lucky since I have the opportunity to meet all these wonderful people: Faculty, staff & students.

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Martina Achieng Ochiel

I was born in rural Kenya, along the shores of Lake Victoria. As a child, I walked several miles to attend a dilapidated primary school which boasted nothing in terms of physical facilities [many times we had to endure the hot tropical sun to take classes under trees] but was bursting with hope and pride and joy. Our teachers worked tirelessly to ensure that we scored the best grades in national exams, often competing with students from better equipped and better staffed urban schools. It was at this stage that I became intensely interested in Education with the aim of providing equal educational opportunities to all children. Hence I started my journey in Education, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Nairobi majoring in African languages. Upon graduation I proceeded to teach Swahili at secondary school level and was actively involved in the promotion of African Languages through the use of Drama, music and dance.

I ventured into academia once again to undertake studies leading to a masters degree in Education with a concentration in Administration, Planning and curriculum Development. I also did a short stint working for The American Educational Advising Center in Nairobi as an Educational Advisor. Over the past year I have worked as a teacher in New Hampshire where I served as a resource person giving talks to staff and students on the education experience in Kenya.

I am mainly interested in improvement of the capacity of education institutions in Africa to address matters of access, quality and gender. I am also interested in transforming education policy to better address community challenges like HIV AIDS, poverty, conflict and environmental degradation. It is my belief that that the rich academic and cultural composition of CIE will enable me to gain more insight into these issues.

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Ashley Clayton

I always knew I would be an educator since the summer days of college directing Adventure camps for at-risk youth for a local YMCA. But I never imagined after completing my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from the University of North Carolina that I would travel all around the world working with so many different populations of learners. It truly has been a challenging, yet exciting journey.

I began my professional career as a teacher in Guatemala at a bi-lingual American School and later at the International School of Guatemala teaching 6 th grade Language Arts and 8 th Grade Writing Workshop. While teaching full-time, I completed a Masters in Education through Framingham State College’s overseas program for international school teachers. This allowed me use action research in the classroom and focus on authentic assessments and Multiple Intelligence theory. During this time period, I took a short sabbatical to the Czech Republic and obtained a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and taught beginning, intermediate, and advanced English to adult Czech learners.

Six years of living in Guatemala prompted me to join Peace Corps and apply my skills as an educator to local communities in need. I accepted a post in Nepal as a teacher trainer where I worked in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Peace Corps designing a curriculum for a nationwide pilot teacher training project. I implemented district training for teachers from 19 schools in the Bhaktapur district and monitored and assessed the project’s progress. My most recent professional experience was working as a literacy consultant for a research project addressing the significant adult literacy challenges in the Greater New Orleans area.

As a first year Doctoral student, I plan to explore educational strategies targeting populations affected by conflict and natural disasters. I am looking forward to the meaningful dialogue and reflection with my CIE colleagues on how we can better increase access to education for all populations.

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Kimberly Parekh

Hi everyone. I’m joining CIE as a first-year doctoral candidate. Although I am of Indian descent, I was born and raised in the U.S., particularly in the suburbs of Houston and Washington D.C. For the past 8 years, I’ve been working in the field of education. After completing my studies at the University of Virginia, I began working as a teacher in rural Japan. Learning new ways to think and understand and watching others learn, that too in a ‘foreign’ environment was exciting! This experience led me to begin graduate studies in International Education at New York University.

After graduation, I aspired to work in India, a familiar place where I could speak two of the local languages. Working for 3 different national NGOs, I started out as a teacher trainer/coordinator and worked up to managing NGO activities. All of these experiences focused in community-based, non-formal education programming for impoverished rural and urban children. During this time, my most memorable experiences involved working closely with the teachers. Whether it was creating ways to set up child-friendly classrooms or discussing integration of student curriculum, I was humbled to be a part of dynamic changes in the classroom. Wrapping up India followed by a year-long break in Washington D.C. consulting for several education “beltway bandits”, I left for the field again and this time, I landed in Afghanistan! Working for an international NGO, I managed one of the largest basic education programs in Afghanistan. The program evolved in unique ways as we worked to facilitate the integration of community-based education into formal education. I also worked as an interim technical advisor for the USAID basic education contract in Afghanistan.

So, here I am in Amherst! During my time here, I’d like to focus on the intersection of community-based/non formal and formal basic education, with an emphasis in teaching and learning. I’m so happy to reflect my past experiences; share and learn from others; and think about new ideas. From my past week here, I think many of my peers have similar ideas as well. It’s wonderful to be a part of this community; CIE, thanks for the opportunity to be here!

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Halona Agouda

International education is a second career for me. I started out some years ago in a freelance career in video production at CBS News and a host of other independent documentary film companies in New York City. I loved the craft of making documentaries as I saw it as an opportunity to make people aware about issues of social injustice in the U.S. and across the globe. However, I quickly grew weary of compromising quality stories for the commercial market and I was in search of an international adventure. I joined the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa for two years to do agricultural education, promotion of girls’ education, and HIV/AIDS education through theater.

Upon return to the U.S., I landed in Washington, DC not sure of how to use my new French language skills and the myriad of other technical skills I gained living and working in Togo. I started to volunteer in various areas of education like teaching theater to youth with mental disabilities and teaching basic literacy to adults. I enrolled in a Graduate Certificate Program in Adult Education at the University of the District of Columbia. It is this program that validated my belief that education should be enjoyable and relevant to learners. The program led me to paid work as an Adult Literacy Instructor and later as a Technology Education Coordinator at a grassroots nonprofit organization that taught technology skills to low-income adults.

Now, I look forward to completing my graduate degree at CIE in the company of many other interesting individuals from around the world. My research interests include the study of women’s experiences in literacy and livelihood programs in developing countries and the affects of African language policies on student success.

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Amina Davlatshoeva

Greetings and Salam! I was born in Pamir, which is famous for its name “The Roof of the World”. Pamir is centered in the Tajikistan region of Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast. My background is diverse. I earned my Nursing degree and then worked in a cardiology hospital as a nurse. I then applied for Medical Biology degree in Khorog State University in Tajikistan. My Bachelor's degree in Medical Biology helped me to understand the whole world of science and biology in high mountainous areas. My interest did not stop at that level and I traveled to Canada, to improve my English skills and also to learn business administrations skills..

Working and witnessing a reforming education system in Tajikistan, I developed a profound interest in innovative educational methods and scientific research approaches applied to teaching methodologies. I then applied to do a masters degree in Education at The Aga Khan University - Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED). In recognition of my previous work in Central Asia, I was awarded an AKU-IED studentship to do my degree in Pakistan. During my years of study and afterwards my key areas of interest were the role of projects in educational growth, planning and policy development forAmina Davlatshoeva educational institutions and governments, and the management and growth of educational institutions. During my studies, I undertook major projects addressing the challenges confronted by the developing educational systems in Asian-subcontinent.

After graduation, I found work in Afghanistan. From 2004 I worked with The Aga Khan Education Services, Afghanistan (AKES, A) as an Education Programme Coordinator for Tutorial Assistance Program which helped children needing tutorial assistance to improve their subject knowledge of class 1-IX in three regions of Afghanistan. In 2005 I joined “Learning for life” project, Kabul, Afghanistan as Technical Advisor to Bridging program in the Instructional design department. The project was overall administered by CIE/UMass. ” Learning for life” was a health focused, accelerated adult literacy project that prepared women and older girls in rural areas of 12 provinces.

Having studied and worked in Tajikistan, Pakistan, Canada and enormous and unforgettable experience in Afghanistan and presently moved to study at CIE, I find myself in a unique position to contribute to the future of my country and the whole Central Asian region. My career goal is to become an internationally recognized resource person on International Education with specificalization in policy development, and monitoring and evaluation who can contribute the development of education sectors in the Central Asian and Sub-Asian region.

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Hello to you all! I am from Haiti, the place once called la Perle des Antilles. I became interested in education about fifteen ago when I was selected to become a monitor during a literacy campaign under the United Nations in a shantytown in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the campaign I became familiar with the work of the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. I have to say, learning about Freire helped me to view education from a different perspective. I learned that education could be meaningful only if people can use it to change their lives.

When I came United States in 1994, I worked for different non-profit organizations in Boston. I worked as a housing advocate for homeless and at-risk clients to obtain and maintain permanent housing, conduct mediation and negotiation counseling services between tenants and property owners, and perform home visits to assess client’s housing needs. I also worked in several adult ESL programs in the Boston area.

Now, I have entered a doctoral program in International Education at CIE. I want to continue working in the area of literacy development in the countries of south. Because I remember what it was like during the literacy campaign in Haiti when people got to the point where they could write and read their names. They felt they had power over something they could not possible imagine before. So, after getting my degree I will go back to Haiti or another developing country to work in the literacy development program where dialogue can be transformed into praxis
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