ISLE Program

Meet the Students

Charlie CrossCharlie Cross (Carleton College) is a Religion major from Carleton College and San Antonio, Texas. He plays ultimate frisbee, is a fan of slam poetry, and thinks Buddhism and music are pretty cool. During the summer of 2012 he'll be teaching 8th grade Math in Santa Fe, New Mexico through the Breakthrough Collaborative program.


Sam KingSam King (Bowdoin College) is originally from Rye, NY, and is majoring in Religion and minoring in Environmental Studies.  He is particularly interested in Theravada Buddhism and South and Southeast Asian cultures, having taken classes in Theravada Buddhism and Religious Culture and Politics in Southeast Asia.  He is an avid member of the Bowdoin Men’s Tennis team, and is passionate about service and philanthropy.  He is also interested in sustainability, philosophy, nature, and the proposition of experiencing Sri Lankan wildlife.  Sam is excited to immerse himself in Sri Lankan culture and the potential for intellectual and personal growth it provides.


Maddie KlettMaddie Klett (College of the Holy Cross) is a history major and art minor. She is from Arlington, Virginia and enjoys photography, travel and good food. 


Sarah KoehlerEva Metz (Grinnell College) is from Baltimore, MD, and is an Anthropology major with a concentration in Global Development Studies. She attends Grinnell College, where she plays Ultimate Frisbee, keeps bees, and tries to play the banjo. She also enjoys camping and will be working at a camp in Colorado this summer. 


Amiya MorettaAmiya Moretta (Whittier College), comes from a big Italian family in Seal Beach, California. She is majoring in documentary film making and travel writing. She plays lacrosse and loves being active. She likes listening to music, writing, reading, eating (SPICY food!), and trying new things. She loves to joke around, has an affinity for the color green, and enjoys dancing.


Kallie NixonKallie Nixon (Bates College) is a Religious Studies major and Anthropology minor. She also really enjoys reading and writing and has a secondary concentration in English. Other interests she has include running, as she runs on the cross country and track teams at Bates. She also enjoys painting, creative writing, and being outside. She grew up in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. She has never been to Asia before and is really excited to go to Sri Lanka. 


Emma RapperportEmma Rapperport (Carleton College) is a junior history major and is really looking forward to going to Sri Lanka and living in a radically different culture for 4 months. She chose the ISLE program because she's interested in Buddhism and she thinks Sri Lanka looks like a really interesting, beautiful, traditional country. She has some experience with Zen Buddhism and Vipassana (Insight) Meditation, but has never visited a Buddhist country. She is looking forward to seeing how Sri Lankans practice Buddhism in their daily lives and seeing festivals and temples. In her free time she loves to dance (ballet, African, capoiera, contact improv) and during Minnesota winters she plays ice hockey and skis. She is looking forward to learning Kandyan dance and Sinhala, meeting her host family and exploring Kandy.

Sarah RobinsonSarah Robinson (Carleton College) is a Sociology/Anthropology major. She is from a small town near Portland, Maine where she loves spending time in or on the water, fishing lobster and exploring Casco Bay. At Carleton she plays on a competitive women's Ultimate Frisbee team and is a member of Food Truth, a student-run group interested in food system reform. 


Rachel SpenceRachel Spence (Bates College) is from Seattle, Washington and majoring in History with a minor in Anthropology.  Sher academic passion lies in the intersection of social history and cultural anthropology.  She is on the Bates Ballroom Team and loves all types of partner dancing from traditional Maine contra to Argentine Tango and Blues.  She also enjoys folk singing and plays the guitar.  At school, she works as a carpenter for the Bates Theater Department and enjoys all aspects of theater production.  When not curled up with a book or dancing, her favorite place to be is hiking in the great outdoors.  She loves to travel and explore new places and can’t wait for this next adventure to begin!


Angela St. PierreAngela St. Pierre (Whittier College) is a student from Vermont where she was raised on a dairy farm; milking cows and making maple syrup.  She was born and adopted from Kashmir, India and her ethnicity is Indian, Pakistani, and Egyptian. At Whittier College she is in the Whittier Scholar's Program where she is crafting a major focusing on children's advocacy in a globalized context. This major will emphasize global and cultural studies, religion, international relations, child development, and anthropology. What she is looking forward to the most are the relationships that will be gained with her host family, other study abroad students, Sri Lankan students and professors, and also, the ineffable relationship that she will make with Sri Lanka.

Alex SzwydAlex Szwyd (Bard College) is an 18 year old junior at Bard College with a major in Asian Studies and a concentration in religion. He started college while 16 at Bard College at Simon's Rock, where he spent two years receiving his A.A. and then transfered to the full Bard College campus. He is largely interested in Buddhist ethics, karma, and "social justice" and is excited to use my experiences and research in Sri Lanka as the groundwork for his senior thesis. He has also studied French for a few years and spent a month in France during the summer of 2011 with a home stay family. Apart from his studies he enjoys photography, making jewelry, reading, and tea drinking. 


Molly Work Molly Work (Carleton College) comes from Claremont, CA and is a sophomore English major. She is a member of Semaphore Repertory Dance company, staff writer for the Carletonian (the weekly student-run newspaper), and tutor for the AVID program (a college-preparatory program for low-income, motivated 8th graders). Molly is an active member of the Recess Club, and loves dancing, writing, biking, and movie nights. Her grandmother was born in Sri Lanka, so Molly is looking forward to seeing in person the beautiful landscape of Sri Lanka captured in her grandmother's many old slides and photographs.  She is also incredibly excited to experience the rich culture, and maybe meet an elephant.

Meet the Staff

Professor David Campbell and cat Nano Professor Jason Carbine of Whittier Collegehimself an ISLE alumnus, will direct the fall 2012 ISLE program.  After graduating from Bowdoin in 1993, he returned to Sri Lanka, with the support of a Junior Fulbright grant, for a year to conduct field research on ritual, dance, and healing among Sinhalese Buddhists. He then pursued a masters degree in method and theory in the study of religion, followed by a doctoral degree in the discipline of the History of Religions, both at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Professor Carbine’s research expertise focuses on the history and culture of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia. He teaches courses dealing with a variety of Asian religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Islam.   


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 Dunuwila is a native of Syracuse, NY. She graduated in May from Vassar College, having majored in Urban Studies iwth a special focus on youth empowerment and community development. She is of Sri Lankan decent and this will be her fourth visit to the country. 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.

Sri Lanka Staff at ISLE Center

ISLE staff

From left to right: Violet the ISLE Center cook, Maya the ISLE Center caretaker, Hewa Pattirama the ISLE Center Manager, Executive Director Padma Holt, Tilak the ISLE Center librarian, and Sanjeewa the ISLE Center driver.