ISLE Program

Meet the Students

Mimi AmelangMimi Amelang (Macalester College) is majoring in Anthropology, with a concentration in Community and Global Health, and a minor in Religious Studies. Mimi is passionate about women's health and reproductive rights, and works as a patient educator and a sexual health clinic. She also describes herself as a bit of a film geek, and loves to cook, read, practice yoga, and dance.


Emma CutlerEmma Cutler (Bowdoin College) comes from Northampton, MA, and is majoring in Math and Environmental Studies. Emma loves being outside, running, hiking, biking, walking, swimming, paddling, and being in the woods. At school, she leads trips for the Bowdoin Outing Club, works on the tech crew for the theater department, and plays the flute in various musical groups. She also enjoys cooking and yoga, and she is very passionate about the environment. Emma looks forward to immersing herself in and learning about Sri Lankan culture.


Chelesea JenkinsChelesea Jenkins (College of the Holy Cross) studies Studio Art and Asian Studies. She loves to draw, paint and take pictures, write poetry, read and dance in her free time, and she is particularly fascinated with sculpture and digital alteration of images. She also recently began taking classes on Hindu and Buddhist thought in South East Asia, so Sri Lanka ties in naturally with her academic interests.


Sarah KoehlerSarah Koehler (Macalester College) originally from Ames, Iowa, is majoring in anthropology, with a minor in statistics. She is particularly interested in cultural anthropology, playing the piano, books, food, and dancing. Sarah trained in classical ballet for 15 years and has worked as a professional ballet dancer.  She is now working on a contemporary dance piece, and she also enjoys breakdancing. Sarah also works as a math tutor for K-12 kids.


Malik NealMalik Neal (College of the Holy Cross), originally from Philadelphia, PA, is majoring in History with a minor in Asian Studies. He is also interested in philosophy, literature, music, religion, politics, etc., and enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with friends. Malik has three younger sisters, so he is not worried about being the only guy in the current ISLE group.


Meg OkaMeg Oka (Whittier College) is originally from San Diego, CA. She has two majors: Religious Studies and a self-designed Gender & Women's Studies major. She also plays rugby and describes herself as a tech nerd. Meg loves traveling and trying new foods and is looking forward to traveling to Sri Lanka.


Alex ReganAlex Regan (College of the Holy Cross) comes from Medford, Massachusetts, a small city near Boston. At Holy Cross, Alex studies Psychology and European Modernism. She enjoys meeting new people and exploring new places and cultures, as well as being outside, dancing, writing, and talking. She also loves working with children, and volunteers as a tutor for a local elementary school in Worcester, Massachusetts.


Kelsi SullivanKelsi Sullivan (College of the Holy Cross) comes from Mexico City. She is a Religious Studies major with a concentration in Asian Studies. She is also a French language enthusiast, and enjoys learning all languages. Kelsi enjoys traveling, trying new foods, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. She also loves the ocean, being outside and warm weather.


Erica SwanErica Swan (Bowdoin College) is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She plans on majoring in Sociology and is still thinking about declaring a minor. Erica plays Ultimate Frisbee at Bowdoin, and she is also involved with an art program for kids. Erica has never been to Asia, so she is very excited to experience Sri Lanka.


Lily VivipemLily Khin Vivipem (Middlebury College) is from Chennai, India but grew up in Yangon, Myanmar. At Middlebury Lily is majoring in International Studies. She is passionate about community service and development initiatives, and cites teaching English and Math in a rural Indian high school as one of her most meaningful experiences. Lily is also passionate about dance, and enjoys hip hop dance at Middlebury. She is excited about learning Sri Lankan dances and maybe even how to cook Sri Lankan food.


Meet the Staff

Professor David Campbell and cat Nano Professor David Campbell directs the program in Fall 2011. He has been a professor of biology and Henry R. Luce Professor of Nations and the Global Environment at Grinnell College since 1991. His research is in the historical ecology of tropical and subtropical forests. As such, he has explored the Brazilian Amazon from the foothills of the Andes to the Atlantic; he also has forty-three study-permanent sites in Belize and two on Hainan Island in southern China. He has led hundreds of Grinnell students on teaching and research expeditions to the tropics. In addition to numerous scientific publications, Professor Campbell is author of four books of literary non-fiction, which have won the Burroughs Medal, the PEN Martha Albrand Award, and the Lannan Prize.


Sree Padma HoltISLE Executive Director, Dr. Sree Padma Holt, works with ISLE faculty and administrators to plan for courses and set up the program calendar for the semester. Dr. Holt also facilitates the orientation and preparation for each group of students, making sure that students follow the steps necessary to address tasks such as acquiring immunizations and passports. She is always available for questions from parents and students. The Administrative Director also acquires the necessary resident visas for students through the Sri Lankan embassy before the group's departure, makes group travel plans, and holds numerous meetings with ISLE students and staff as they prepare for the coming semester.


Emily HeckelEmily Heckel first came to Sri Lanka as an ISLE student in the spring of 2009. She graduated from Macalester College in spring 2010 with majors in Anthropology and Philosophy. Emily describes her experiences of studying and living in Sri Lanka as among the most challenging and rewarding experiences in her life, both personally and academically. Upon returning to Macalester, she focused her studies on various aspects of Sri Lankan culture, particularly Buddhist identity and historical representation. Since graduating from Macalester, Emily spent a year working as a research assistant in a cognitive psychology lab at the University of New Hampshire, as well as for a nonpartisan advocacy organization during the November elections. She is thrilled to be returning as ISLE Program Assistant. Emily is available all summer to answer students' questions as they prepare for their semester in Sri Lanka. She will accompany the group to Sri Lanka and will be available to help with all aspects of the program throughout the coming semester.