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ISLE Program

ISLE Alumni Newsletter October 2012

Story posted October 25, 2012



Ayubowan!  As this greeting says, we hope this finds you all in good spirits and sound health. 

You will be happy to know our program is widening its network by recruiting students beyond our consortium of schools. Students from Amherst, Bard, Middlebury and Vassar were admitted for the 2011 and 2012 fall programs.  You have received the news of Flynn Jebb’s departure as Communications and Enrollment manager, and of Craig Hardt filling her position.  Flynn last year, and Craig this year, are on the road making connections with non-consortium schools.  But our alumni are also helping us in various ways: Alex Nosnik '02 and Kathryn Dearing '06 represented ISLE at the study abroad fair at Olin College.  Olin itself has Caitrin Lynch, an ISLE alumni as a faculty member. Katy Connors '10 helped promote the program at Whittier this fall. Phil Friedrich '04 represented us for the third time at the Swarthmore study abroad fair. We extend a special thanks to these individuals. We are also pleased to introduce Phil, who is completing his PhD at UPenn and doing his fieldwork in Sri Lanka, as our Spring 2014 ISLE Program Director. As evidenced by these significant contributions, our alumni are our greatest resource. If you have any ideas or suggestions for recruiting future ISLE students, please contact us.  

The students on the fall 2012 program are enjoying their time with the learning partners, host parents, ISLE staff, faculty and other friends they’ve made.  They are documenting their experiences in tumblr as well as in separate blogs.  In addition to these, you can also check the photos and news diligently collected by our wonderful program assistant, Emily Dunuwila, on the fall 2012 program web page.

We have just admitted eight students for the Spring 2013 program.  These students are coming from Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Grinnell and Macalester.  I am also pleased to announce that Katie Seward, a 2006 fall program participant and Bates graduate, will be accompanying them as the program assistant.  Katie went back to Sri Lanka twice to work with non-profit organizations only to acquire more appreciation for Sri Lanka. She is excited to return and to facilitate memorable experiences for students.  As I announced in my last letter, the resident faculty director for this program is Cricket Keating, an ISLE alumna and at present a faculty member at Ohio State. Professor Mat Schmalz of Holy Cross will be directing the Fall 2013 program.

Below is what we heard from some of you.

 News from the Alumni

Updates! I figure now that I'm out of Bowdoin I should probably start sending updates. So I'm back in Asia (wahoo!!) - through Princeton in Asia, I am working as a teacher in Bangsak, Thailand (a little town in southern Thailand). I've been here almost four months already and I have to say that I absolutely love it here. Bangsak is incredible, though so different from Sri Lanka (which I am returning to after my year here to spend a month or so with my host family!). The school I work for is across the street from the beach (and very near the market and a shop with the best coffee ever) so the location pretty much rocks. And my students are some of the craziest, most unruly, and most lovable kids I've ever worked with. I have ISLE to thank for getting my feet wet with travel and giving me the confidence I needed to start adventuring on my own! Yayy ISLE! Yayyy Asia!!! Hope all is going well! And you should let the current Isle students know that if they want to come to Thailand after their semester, there's an open invitation to stay with me at my school!

 All best,

Chantal Croteau ISLE ’10


I just headed back to Sri Lanka for three weeks this summer with my girlfriend and had a great time catching up with my Lanka family.  I was even lucky enough to run into Prof. Holt while he was staying at the ISLE center.  I put together a 150 word Sinhala crash course so my girlfriend could learn a bit before heading over, so let me know if anyone's interested in taking a look for similar trips.  Also, the chief monk from the village where I stayed for my independent study is planning to visit DC for 3 months next spring, so let me know if you live on the East Coast and might be interested in hosting him for a day or two.

Take care,

Matt Martin '05


I attended the ISLE Program in the fall of 2008 as a Holy Cross student.  I started my MA program in Food Studies at NYU this fall, through the department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. My academic interest in the culture and political economy of food definitely started at my amma's dining room table in Sri Lanka! :)


Maria de la Motte ’08


I am pursuing a JD degree at South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX.


Ben Schlitt Ritz ’98


 I moved from the Philippines to Vermont this past summer with my husband and one year old daughter. I am teaching economics and history at the local high school. We are enjoying the natural beauty of Vermont and being near family. 


-Heather McLane ('98)


Hello, ISLE program. This is my first communication with all of you, I think, but surely better late than never!  

Since my time with ISLE (fall 1987!) I feel I've lived many lives.  I completed a Master of Public Health program at Boston University in 1991, and then worked from 1992-1994 with a Peace Corps/USAID maternal and child health project in Cameroon, Central Africa.  When I arrived home, I found that health care for underserved US populations captivated me as much as health care overseas had, and over the next six years, I worked in New York City on primary care and public health programs; in northern and eastern Maine on rural health systems development; and in Boston on a chronic illness care state demonstration program.  I fulfilled a longstanding wish in 2000 and attended nursing school at USM in Portland, and received my RN in 2002.

Since 2005, I've worked with the City of Portland Public Health Division, MaineHealth, and as of this August, Martin's Point Health Care on various population health projects.  My 9-year old daughter Charlotte now keeps me happily grounded, but I'd love to bring my health care work overseas again some day.  Many thanks to the ISLE program for all it gave to me!  I look forward to hearing others' news.

Ruby Spicer, ISLE '87


I am currently on a Fulbright grant to Turkey, living in the town of Afyonkarahisar and teaching English at Afyon Kocatepe University. 

Justin Wedell '10


I'm still designing lights for theatre in Washington DC, but also looking into new career options, especially if they offer more frequent travel.  Also, there's going to be a Sri Lankan food potluck for ISLE alums in DC in mid-November.  If you're in the area and would like to join, please get in touch by contacting isle@bowdoin.edu!

Colin Dieck '02


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