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ISLE Alumni Newsletter October 2011

Story posted October 11, 2011

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Issue 13: Fall 2011

Oppadupa: ISLE Alumni Activities and News:

Ayubowan!  Fall has settled over the ISLE offices in Brunswick, and we are sure that many of you are feeling the seasons’ change as well.

The 2011 Fall program is advancing nicely, the details of which you can view at this page

Believe it or not, the Program will be thirty years old by 2012.  Two features will mark this year.  One is adding a spring semester program.  Precisely speaking, this is resuming the spring semester program that we ran on an experimental basis for two spring semesters in 2009 and 2010. The second feature, however, is more radical.  That is, the program is officially opening up to non-consortium members. As a first step towards this end, we have fixed a standard program fee.  This is considerably lower than the semester fee of any of our member colleges. For details you can check this link.

Because we have opened up the program to outside schools, we have decided to turn to our strong alumni base for some help. Here are the ways you can help us:

1. You can send us an inspirational piece preferably with visuals about yourself, how you chose the program, your experiences on the program and in what ways the program has been instrumental in your life.  We plan to post each month a piece by selecting an alumnus/alumna of the month. If you need some kind of direction, you can go to the guidelines. But we would prefer your piece to have a natural flow than that of Q&A format. It is essential to add visuals in the form of photos, video clips etc., to your piece.  Because you cannot send your videos and photos through Bowdoin email, pleasue use this service.  You create a user name to get into the site, and then click on the "upload document" tab on the right side of the page.  Follow the steps, and email us when it is complete. 

2. As a way to reach the prospective students, we have also joined twitter – follow us @ISLEprogram.  We will try to keep up with the students’ schedule, as well as any alumni updates and news from Sri Lanka.  Also, as we are looking to expand our social networking presence, look for an invitation to an ISLE group in the near future.

3. We will need volunteers in the cities of Boston, New York and Washington DC to meet prospective students over the winter break.  If you are living in these areas and are willing to help us, please let us know. Flynn Jebb will help to coordinate these events.

4. If you are a faculty or a staff member in a US educational institution with potential undergraduate students who may want to study on the program, do let us know so that we can send you program publicity materials.

If you are a recent alum/na and wish to go back to Sri Lanka as a program assistant for either semester of fall 2012 or spring 2013, you are invited to Click here to check out the specifics about how to apply.  Applications are being accepted through March of 2012 for the Fall semester, and October 2012 for the Spring term.

In one way or other we are looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks to those who got back to us, we are happy to share the following news with you.

Alumni updates:

Maggie Meyers (ISLE ‘04) is enjoying her time in Seattle, where she has been living for the last year. Currently she is getting her Masters of Teaching and K-8 teaching certificate while she finishes up a Master of Ed in Language, Literacy, and Culture, also at UW.  

Maggie is also the proud aunt of Bradford Christoforetti, who is the son of Elizabeth Meyers Christoforetti, (ISLE 1998-99) and brother-in-law Jeff Christoforetti (Boston College '98, Notre Dame Law, 2004).

Maggie is happy to report she still stays in close touch with her host family, and is looking forward to returning to Sri Lanka next summer for the first time since 2004.

Sarah Calhoun (ISLE ’99) has experienced a lot of change in the past few months!  After getting her first MA in Languages and Cultures of Asia from UW-Madison, she stuck around and started working as a temporary employee in the South Asia Bibliographer's office there. Realizing that she quite enjoyed the work, she decided to go back to school and get a second MA from the UW-Madison Library School.

She just graduated this past spring, and was incredibly lucky to have been offered a wonderful position as the Assistant Curator of the South Asia Collection at the Yale University Library in Connecticut. She is now entering month #2 of the job and am still feeling her way forward, helping to grow the collection. She started a Twitter account for the department (@YaleSouthAsia)--and yes, she is following @ISLEprogram! If any of you are in the Yale/New Haven area, do give her a holler (especially if you want to go dancing)!   

Elizabeth (Meyers) Christoforetti (ISLE ’98) and her husband welcomed their son Bradford Bowie into the world in 2010.  They are all happily living in Cambridge, MA.

Elizabeth is a designer at an architecture and planning firm called Utile, Inc.  Recent projects range in scale dramatically - a small interior renovation in Maine, a large mixed use and affordable housing proposal, the design of a 'shared street' in Salem.  She is also a lecturer in the architecture department at Northeastern University, teaching and coordinating a graduate and undergraduate studio focused on urban infill housing.

She thinks of the ISLE program often and wishes all alums well!

Leanne Sterio Walt (ISLE '05) graduated from Harvard Divinity School '09 and was ordained by the United Church of Christ in January 2011.  She is currently serving as Pastor of First Congregational Church of Braintree and lives in Braintree, MA with her husband, Bill and boxer, Dempsey.

Jennifer (Swenson) Nelson (ISLE '92, Prgm Asst. '95) is enjoying life living by lakes with no water monitors in Minneapolis, MN! Married with two boys, 8 & 6, who love tales of elephant parades and Sumanesena's fabulous Hill Country driving skills. She would love to hear from any '92 or '95'ers: calitexotan@yahoo.com

Laura Mitchell (ISLE ’97, Prgm Asst. ’99) is currently working as a social worker at YAI Network, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities, in NYC.  She often thinks of ISLE and her experiences in Sri Lanka and with the program but more recently had an unexpected reason to think about it. 

On her way to work, she noticed some fancy cars with the Sri Lankan flag in them parked outside her central office.  Even in NYC, it was a bit unusual.  She asked the driver and was informed the First Lady of Sri Lanka was visiting her organization that day.  She walked into work and inquired about the special visitor.  Laura ended up meeting her and her entourage - and used some of her rusty Sinhala for the first time in years!

Rafi Baeza (ISLE '89) has recently begun teaching a class on "Design Issues and History" at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He was fortunate enough to connect with Richard Lindemann at the Special Collections Department at the Bowdoin Library to show his class some 14th and 15th century manuscripts.

Paul Hastings (ISLE ’03) continues to work at the Japan ICU Foundation in New York City. Amongst other projects, he is currently working with the Aspen Institute’s Global Initiative on Culture and Society on the Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum to be held at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo in October 2012. ICU is one of Japan’s top universities and is a leader in international liberal arts. On the personal front, he and his wife, Debbie Wissel (Bowdoin ’03) are expecting their first child in February, 2012. They live in Brooklyn, NY.

Karly Ford (ISLE '01) is finishing up a PhD at New York University.  While doing some data mining in dusty basements at the University of Michigan last winter, she reunited with Alex Nosnik (ISLE ’01) who showed her how to have a good time in Ann Arbor and even made her a delicious meal of pol sambol and parippu. Karly will be reminiscing about her ISLE days as she heads to Swarthmore College as a visiting instructor this spring.

Carey (Hartin) Dukes (ISLE '96) has been living in Austin, Texas for the last 3 years where she teaches high school social studies, mainly World History.  She married John Dukes in October 2010.  Both of their parents are in Texas, and they plan to stay there for a while. 

She has tried to keep up her Sinhala through local Sri Lankan Buddhist temples.  For several years, she had weekly Sinhala language classes at the Washington Buddhist Vihara in D.C. as long as there was a monk who was willing and had time to meet with her.  Now she’s lucky enough to have two Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in Austin.  She does a Sinhala/English language exchange with a Sri Lankan monk at one temple, and teaches Buddhist Sunday School (Dhamma Classes) at the other temple.  One might say she has stayed connected to the Sri Lankan community wherever she has lived over the last 15 years or so. 

She also tries replicating her Amma's (Sunil De Silva's) amazing curries whenever she gets the chance.  If you are ever in Austin, look her up, and she’ll whip up something Sri Lankan for you.  She has even found string hoppers in Austin! You can reach her at cch73@yahoo.com. 


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Because we have opened up the program to outside schools, we have decided to turn to our strong alumni base for some help. There are ways you can help us...