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ISLE Alumni Newsletter April 2011

Story posted March 31, 2011

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Issue 12: Spring 2011

Welcome to the Spring 2011 issue of the ISLE Alumni Newsletter. This is a follow up to our Fall 2010 Issue.

Ayubowan!  Suba alut avurudda! Sri Lanka recently celebrated its new year! As it is the tradition in Sri Lanka to celebrate the New Year for days at a time, we do want to bring that spirit to all of you.

First, I would like to thank all of those who got back to me with the information about their Fulbrights and other awards.  Many of you also mentioned the names of your peers.  Thanks!  The minute after I hit the send button with my request, the responses started pouring in like the incessant rain in Kandy. Although I know a number of you went back to Sri Lanka on Fulbright and other grants, it is only after seeing the responses did I realize that what a huge number of ISLE alumni received awards and entered academia. This is a wonderful thing for you and a proud record for the Program.  As for this year’s Fulbrights, you can see in the alumni notes below that Bryanna Benedetti from 2009 Fall program, Whittier College '11, has been selected for the 2011-12 Fulbright program in Sri Lanka. You will also see that Carleton graduates, William Cole and Kathryn Sheriff of the 2007 Fall Program have been selected as Fulbright ETAs.

We have just admitted a small group of 10 students to participate in the fall 2011 program, but they are just as enthusiastic as past groups of students.  They will be receiving a pre-orientation in the next three months before they head to Sri Lanka towards the end of August.  Our Program Assistant for this group is Emily Heckel of 2009 spring program.  Emily graduated from Macalester in 2010. As you can see on our website, it is Professor David Campbell from Grinnell College who will be directing this program and who is volunteering to offer a botany course with the Peradeniya gardens as his venue.  Let us wish for this group a very productive and enjoyable experience.

I am sure many of you continue to follow the political news of Sri Lanka. For those who are looking for a good source to get their news, we recommend the following web sites:




Oppadupa: ISLE Alumni Activities and News:

Rafi Baeza, (ISLE '89, Bowdoin) writes, "I recently moved back to Maine with my family after having spent 15 years in San Francisco and 5 years in Miami. It has been great being back home. My kids experienced their first winter and loved it. I am currently the Creative Director at New Knowledge Design www.newknowledgedesign.com and would love to work with any ISLE members on future projects. Attached is a poster I was inspired to design for the Green Revolution in Iran. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Alison Ohman?  Also, I would like to give a shout out to Tom and Cricket!"

Rafi Baeza's Iran poster Rafi Baeza

Above left: Rafi Baeza's Iran poster, above right: Rafi Baeza at home in Maine.

Shaun Kadlec (ISLE '99, Carleton) writes, "I'm heading to Africa again in May to begin a documentary on innovative health care practices."

Emily (Dworkin) Whitcomb (ISLE '00, Carleton) writes, "My husband Travis and I had our first child -- Abigail Ruth, born January 5th, 2011.  She's doing great, and we are enjoying the fun and challenge of being new parents!"

Cynthia Davies (ISLE '02, Colby) writes, "I'm graduating from the University of New England's physician assistant program in May.  I'll be leading bicycle tours with Summer Feet Cycling out of Portland this summer, and I'm heading to Ladakh, in India, for a month-long medical trip in August.  It will be my second time there.  It's breathtaking, and I cannot wait to go back!"

Colin Dieck (ISLE '02, Bowdoin '04) writes, "I moved to Washington DC last June and am working in and designing for theater here, with upcoming lighting designs with Active Cultures Theatre, Washington Shakespeare Company, and the Capital Fringe Festival. A small group of us ISLE alums here in DC, Rory Stratton '03 (and Fulbright '05-6), Rebecca Ennen '02 (and Fulbright '04-05), Melanie Hirsch '00, and Matt Martin '07 met up to cook a big Sri Lankan meal back in October and are trying to schedule another get-together this spring. Any other alums living in the area are more than welcome to get in touch with me and join us. People are also welcome to get in touch with me if they're interested in seeing theater here.

Paul Hastings, (ISLE '03, Bowdoin) is Director of Advancement at the Japan ICU Foundation. He writes, "I recently had a chance to meet up with Kanchuka Dharmasiri and Jill Jarvis (ISLE ’98) in New York. Kanchuka was in town to present at an academic conference on Sri Lanka organized at the New School. We were able to catch up over some delicious Sri Lankan street food from a vendor on Washington Square Park. It was wonderful to catch up with Kanchuka and Jill."

Maggie Meyers (ISLE '04, Bowdoin '05) writes, "I am living in Seattle, where I am concurrently working on two masters degrees at the University of Washington.  They are: Master of Education specializing in Language, Literacy, and Culture and Master of Teaching (with K-8 teaching certification).  My plans are to teach at the elementary level upon completion of my MIT."

William Cole (ISLE '07, Carleton) writes, "Myself and Kathryn Sheriff (ISLE '07, Carleton) are both Fulbright ETAs this year."

Marjorie Corbman, (ISLE Spring '08, Holy Cross '09) writes, "I recently returned to New Jersey after spending a year and a half living and working at Su Casa Catholic Worker Community, a house of hospitality for homeless Latino families in Chicago. This September I will be heading to London to study at the School of Oriental and African Studies for the MA Religions degree. I plan to focus on the study of South Asian Islam."

Bryanna Benedetti (ISLE '09, Whittier '10) writes, "I have some exciting news to share! I will be coming back to Sri Lanka on a Fulbright research grant in 2011-2012 to build off of my research on Sri Lankan Youth Empowerment and Policy. I... thought I would share the news with the ISLE program, which led me to apply for a Fulbright in the first place. I will be graduating from Whittier College in May, coming to Sri Lanka in October, and plan to attend Boston University School of Theology beginning in Fall 2012 with a full merit scholarship for the MDiv program."


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