OUR TEAM

Our Team

Thinking Beyond Borders' team is comprised of exceptional educators who are deeply committed to providing transformational learning and growth through our gap year programs and impact fellowships. Collectively, we are determined not just to help each of our students find the purpose and direction they need to build a fulfilling life, but also to help them understand how they can create meaningful impact on critical global and local issues.

US Staff

Thinking Beyond Borders is fortunate to have a talented and committed USA staff to offer support to students, family, and the Program Leaders. Their tireless work helps to ensure the program safety, quality, and success for TBB’s gap year students.

Robin Pendoley, Founder & CEO

All roads in Robin’s life lead to co-founding Thinking Beyond Borders. Born and raised near San Francisco, he discovered at an early age that youth can affect the disparities and challenges of our world. Robin also learned the need to truly understand a problem and oneself before proactive changes can be made. He sees Thinking Beyond Borders as the actualization of those lessons.

Robin equipped himself by earning a B.A. in International Development Studies from UCLA and a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has lived and worked abroad extensively, both as a student and educator. Robin committed eight years to public schools in Los Angeles and Boston. He served as a teacher, administrator, coach, and college access program administrator.

Robin's blog posts on education and social change have been featured on Forbes, Ashoka, and Innovation Excellence. He also served for three years as the Co-Director of the Colloquium for the Common Good at Opportunity Collaboration, a global poverty conference for sector leaders. Today, he helps shape the US gap year market as both the Co-Director of the USA Gap Year Fairs and as a Board Member for the American Gap Association.

Stephen Barnes, Program Director

Working for TBB is the perfect combination is Stephen’s academic, professional and personal interests. Having graduated from the University of Warwick in 2005 with a degree in Politics and International Studies, he spent 6 months volunteering in rural Nicaragua. There he discovered his passion for learning about other cultures and whet his appetite for discovering more about international development. Leaving Nicaragua almost fluent in la lengua española, he returned to London where he graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a Masters degree in Development Studies in 2007.

Stephen worked for Fundación Yanapuma - one of TBB’s partner organizations in Ecuador - first as a leader of volunteer groups in remote communities across the country, and then overseeing the foundation’s volunteer and internship programs out of their Quito office. His time in Ecuador grounded him with a wealth of experience in designing programs to best utilize the skills of student volunteer groups and building partnerships with local communities.

Having seen many aspects of community development in Ecuador - from placing trainee midwives in hospitals on the coast to helping build chicken coops in the Amazon - Stephen set off as a Program Leader for TBB’s 2009-10 Global Gap Year Program, both teaching and learning about international development in equal measure. After a brief stint back in the UK working for the international arm of one of the UK’s most prominent climate change campaigns, Stephen returned to TBB in spring 2011 to work as Director of Programming, overseeing the development and implementation of TBB’s gap year and semester programs.

Scott Ingram, Recruitment Director

Traveling around Southeast Asia during and after university, Scott saw a world vastly different from the Colorado town he called home. He followed his interest in cross-cultural experiences to a semester at the University of Vietnam-Hanoi, and a BA in Japanese and Asian Studies in 2004 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He immediately jumped headlong into a teaching position with the JET Program where he taught at a high school in Nagasaki, Japan for three years where he discovered a passion for teaching.

In 2008, Scott pursued his interest in international development by entering Tokyo’s Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies. There he had the opportunity to study with a broad multi-cultural student body and obtain his MA in International Relations with a focus on Development Anthropology. His thesis examined how international NGOs can better apply local cultural values and norms in the Philippines to improve the outcomes of environmental conservation projects for all parties.

Working with Thinking Beyond Borders, Scott combines his interests in teaching, travel, and development to aid students in becoming agents of positive change. He served for two years as a Program Leader for the Global Gap Year program before joining the US staff as the Recruitment Director.

Nora Falvey, Program Manager

Nora studied in France twice while in college and then moved there to teach upon graduating. It was then that she first discovered her love of teaching. She soon, however, put teaching aside as a hobby and pursued a career in international business, the area of her collegiate studies. She continues to pull useful insight from her experience working in large multi-national corporations but left the field to pursue a MA degree in Education from The University of Puerto Rico.

She has since worked for a few international education programs, taught in the Philadelphia public school system, and worked in healthcare reform education. Nora was a program leader for TBB for two global gap years and the Asia semester. She credits TBB with, among many other things, making her a better person. She is ecstatic to be working for the organization in a new capacity.

After living most of her life on the beach, Nora still never takes a day by the ocean for granted. She loves being outdoors, spending uninterrupted time ruminating ways in which we might better care for one another and our environment.

Julia Jones, Recruitment Manager

California’s central coast will always be home for Julia, where she was raised on a farm in the rural Santa Ynez Valley. Julia sought out opportunities for international travel and cultural immersion after graduating high school, becoming part of TBB’s Global Gap Year class of 2012. Julia received her Bachelor of Arts in international relations and entrepreneurship & emerging enterprises from Syracuse University, in Upstate New York. While at Syracuse, Julia participated in several clubs and organizations, held two internships focused on international education and local refugee communities, and worked at a local coffee shop.

After her first year at Syracuse, she participated in a social entrepreneurship program in Rwanda with ThinkImpact Institute. She spent an independent semester traveling through Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Guatemala, as well as a semester studying in Rio de Janeiro. While in Rio, Julia taught English and worked for a community reporting non-profit focused on bringing visibility to favela community voices in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. She profiled community organizers, evictions, police violence, and human rights violations. This experience in Rio prompted her senior thesis focused on the sustainable aspects of self-built, informal favelas--and how similar informal environments can in fact offer solutions to rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, resource depletion and lack of affordable housing.

Julia is honored and excited to join TBB as an Alumni Fellow this year. She is thrilled to continue her exploration of social justice, global issues, and deeper cultural understanding alongside students.

Gary Robinson, Psychological Consultant

Gary has dedicated himself for over 30 years to helping college-aged students to maximize their potential and overcome barriers to learning. His clinical specialties have included stress management, mood and anxiety disorders and life coaching/mentoring. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

After completing his graduate work in Counseling Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, Gary was hired to work for the Semester at Sea program, mentoring students as they visited eleven countries on this around-the- world shipboard voyage of discovery. For Gary, Semester at Sea cemented his interest in intercultural learning and he found applications for this interest in his subsequent positions including a stint as a Foreign Student Advisor at Keystone College in Pennsylvania.

Gary has served in a variety of professional counseling roles in several university and college settings and currently holds the post of Director of Counseling at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. At Hartwick, he helps students during study abroad experiences to negotiate the numerous challenges they face as they confront cultural environments different than their own. He is licensed as a mental health counselor in two states and is board certified nationally. In 2016 he was appointed for a 3-year term to the International Committee of the American Counseling Association.

Gary finds his consulting work with TBB to be a perfect environment to ply his skills by training, advising, and supporting TBB’s Program Leaders in their work with students. As an advocate for cultural immersion and a true believer in the life-changing impact overseas travel and education can have on young adults, Gary has found no better program than TBB for gap year students. Strongly influenced by his work with TBB, Gary recently joined with two other licensed therapists to form P3 Mental Health Advisors. “P3” now assists a growing list of Gap Year and Experiential Education programs both domestically and abroad.

Program Leaders

Thinking Beyond Borders' Program Leaders bring an outstanding array of skills, knowledge, and experience to their work educating TBB students. Strong program management skills, diverse educational backgrounds, impressive teaching experiences, and extensive international travel make each of these individuals a powerful addition to our programs for gap year students.

Global Gap Year North

Patrick McMurdo, Program Leader

A Pacific Northwest native, Patrick grew up daydreaming and building forts. After being dared to study abroad, he spent his senior year of high school living in Costa Rica, and then three years later he spent another academic year in Spain. An alumnus from the University of Oregon, Patrick played collegiate lacrosse and studied Spanish and Psychology.

In 2010, he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Ukraine, where he learned Russian, taught high school English, and collaborated with locals to create projects focused on healthy lifestyles, anti-human trafficking, and young/outdoor leadership. Post Peace Corps, Patrick worked for two years in youth development at an at-risk elementary school where he taught classes, coordinated after school and summer school programs, and managed multiple non-profit partnerships with the school.

He holds a Master's in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies. Patrick speaks Spanish and Russian, is WFR certified, and is an avid backpacker and acroyogi. His personal mission is to challenge students to get out, and learn more about themselves, and the world, than they could have ever thought possible.

Peter Seilheimer, Program Leader

Peter’s wanderlust and interest in international education stems directly (according to his mother at least) from a desire to satisfy his “utter loquaciousness”. Inquisitive, affable, and collaborative from a young age, Peter found the English language and its 400 million native speakers far too small a pool of potential conversationalists. So, he began studying German at the age of 12. Language, and the connections it enables one to make with others, was the catalyst that propelled Peter to leave Houston, Texas in search of other horizons, perspectives, and syntax structures.

Peter’s first abroad experience was actually in the Northern Woods of Minnesota at Waldsee, an immersive German-language summer camp run by Concordia Language Villages, where he later became a counselor and teacher. Later, while studying at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Peter had the privilege of living and learning for an academic year in Munich, Germany. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in German, Russian, and Gender Studies, Peter taught English with the Fulbright Commission in rural Austria, where he reveled in the subtle nuances of the many regional dialects.

Peter returned to Portland to teach pre/k and elementary-aged learners at the German International School for three years before pursuing his Master’s degree at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. Peter graduated from the International Education Management program with a concentration in Teaching Foreign Languages. He is grateful for the opportunity to be a TBB Global Gap Year Program Leader and to learn with and from the students, program leaders, and international community partners.

Jaci Wamberg, Program Leader

A Midwestern at heart, Jaci has also found homes in Vermont, the Philippines and New York. Growing up as a middle child in a family of 7 children, Jaci soon realized her role as a listener, peace maker and negotiator. Naturally drawn to the teaching profession, Jaci studied elementary education and anthropology in her undergraduate studies. Weaving these two disciplines together, Jaci spent a semester in Kenya and summer in South Africa studying, exploring, and forming questions about educational practices, systems, and theories on a global level. It was through these influential study aboard experiences that Jaci was exposed and completely immersed in an experiential learning environment. She continues to believe that these critical experiences have and continue to shape her personal and professional life.

Post undergrad and in determination to continue to teach and broaden her understanding and knowledge of education in an international context, Jaci joined the Peace Corps and soon found herself teaching English at a tertiary institution in the Philippines. The relationships formed, experiences had and mutual knowledge shared in the Philippines continued to expand Jaci's belief that education and access to quality education is fundamental in the development of any society. Soon after the Peace Corps, Jaci continued exploring the dynamic relationship that education plays in the field of development at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studied International Educational Development. During this time she continued to expand her educational teaching methodologies in an early childhood environment, in addition to working at the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, a humanitarian non-profit focused on protecting the right to education for all children.

Most recently, Jaci explored the field of local agriculture in upstate New York, where she worked and lived on a produce farm. She finds her happiness in family, friends, cooking and yoga. Jaci is thrilled to be joining the TBB team and to be a part of providing a space for students to critically analyze and challenge the complex nature of global issues.

Global Gap Year South

Amanda Blewitt, Program Leader

A lifelong educator, Amanda is committed to fostering more equitable learning opportunities across the globe. After studying literature and African cultures at Franklin & Marshall College, she worked for several years supporting writing instruction and academic administration at her alma mater. In 2010, she moved to Ecuador to teach English as a Foreign Language, offer pedagogical training to instructors at rural public university campuses, and volunteer for a variety of ecological organizations. In 2013, she returned to the U.S. to begin a master’s program in International Education Policy and Management at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, in which she explored strategies for improving educational opportunities in rural regions of the developing world, both through her coursework and internships in Colombia at the National Ministry of Education as well as a progressive agricultural university called Utopía. After finishing her studies in 2015, Amanda moved to the Cangrejal Valley of northern Honduras to lead a grassroots community development nonprofit called Un Mundo, which utilizes participatory facilitation and organizing techniques to enable people of very low economic resources to improve their quality of life. In this role, she collaborated with a team of Honduran staff and volunteers to find ever more effective means of collecting feedback from local community members and constructing programs around their priorities and needs.

As a leader, educator, volunteer, and citizen of the world, Amanda is particularly interested in promoting equity, inclusion, and true multicultural tolerance. She is honored to join the Thinking Beyond Borders team in cultivating open-mindedness and critical consciousness — with the steadfast conviction that, together, we can create more just societies.

Chris Bolduc, Program Leader

Born and raised in a diverse neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, Chris learned from a young age the importance of cultural sensitivity and acceptance. In attempts to quench his insatiable curiosity, Chris double majored in Spanish and Psycholinguistics while attending University of Connecticut and was able to study abroad for a semester at the Universidad de Granada in Spain.

Upon graduation, Chris began teaching Spanish at Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School (KHELS) in Brooklyn, NY. Being that KHELS was an Outward Bound school, Chris had the opportunity of integrating outdoor education into his daily practice as a teacher. During his time at Millennium High School (MHS) in Lower Manhattan, he was awarded a Fund for Teacher’s grant to travel to Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru to interview indigenous people about political representation, access to education, and race as part of a case study regarding socialist revolutions in Latin America.

Currently, Chris is an international Director for Global Leadership Adventures. Working in Los Santos Region of Costa Rica, he is working with several groups of students on an initiative to convert conventional coffee farms into organic ones. He is super excited to lead the Global Gap Year program to continue his love of teaching and learning about international development.

Jessica Fox, Program Leader

Growing up in a family of educators, Jessica learned early on the importance of serving her community. These interests led her to study social work as an undergraduate student at Humboldt State University. There, where the Redwood forest meets the Pacific Ocean, she discovered the power of what it means to listen, her love of working directly with community members, and her passion for empowering others to know and own their strength.

Jessica has most recently been living in her adopted city of Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her Master's degree in Social Work with a focus on clinical health. For the past three years she has been working as an oncology social worker at a cancer center in a small community hospital in the city. Here she balances her role of supporting patients and families as they deal with the emotional toll of cancer, while also connecting them with needed resources.

With her love of travel, Jessica looks forward to this next life adventure with the Thinking Beyond Borders team, and is eager to support students as they push themselves out of their comfort zones in this program. She hopes to learn alongside students as everyone develops a deeper understanding of self and communities around our world.

Latin America Gap Semester

Heidi Bohn, Program Leader

Heidi’s love affair with culture and language began quietly while learning French in Montessori school at aged four and listening as a child to stories of her own mother’s post-collegiate, heritage-seeking travels to Germany. Born just outside of Boston, Heidi grew up hearing her genealogy on both sides (third generation German and Norwegian and a direct descendant of the Mayflower) - knowing where one came from always played an important part of identity and understanding oneself and others.

Heidi’s passion truly took hold in college after studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador as part of her undergraduate degree in Spanish. Nearly twenty years later in graduate school, Heidi returned to live with an indigenous family and work in rural northern Ecuador for nearly a year to support a small, community-based foundation in the Andes where her heart still partially remains.

Aside from living in Ecuador and Spain, Heidi’s travels have taken her to Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Peru, and Turkey. An artist and writer with an ardent love for playing basketball and a new found adoration for running; Heidi is also fluent in Spanish, studied Turkish, and continues to dig out her French during frequent visits to Quebec.

After a career in social work and another in marketing she has found her home in the field of International Education, a spectacular blend of them all (and then some!). Heidi holds a BA in Sociology and Spanish from Keene State College and a MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute.

Suzannah Crandall Gap Year Program Leader Thinking Beyond Borders

Suzannah Crandall, Program Leader

Suzannah grew up eating cheese and playing outside in northern Wisconsin. Her love for exploring nature and traveling began at a young age during family trips to remote parts of Mexico and a solo stint in Germany at the age of 10. Suzannah pursued her love for the environment and travel studying abroad in Costa Rica while obtaining her degree in biology from Beloit College.

After college, she was able to combine her desire to fully immerse herself in another culture and pass on her appreciation for the environment as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. She spent two years in Paraguay working with schools and her community on environmental education projects. Her most memorable experiences include drinking mate with her neighbors, enduring the Paraguayan heat, and laughing through the language snafus.

Her desire to work in the environment with students pushed Suzannah to pursue teaching environmental education in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and later in Wisconsin running an outdoor skill development program for high school youth.

Most recently, she has had the pleasure of traveling and working in Central and South America with student summer and semester long programs. Suzannah is excited to be part of the Thinking Beyond Borders team and be part of the lifechanging experience that is travel with TBB students.

Founders

As a team, the founders of Thinking Beyond Borders endeavored to create educational programs for gap year students that would develop the skills and capacities shared by great agents of social change. Their combined experience and expertise made it possible to launch ambitious programs and build an independent non-profit organization.

Robin Pendoley, Founder & CEO

All roads in Robin’s life lead to co-founding Thinking Beyond Borders. Born and raised near San Francisco, he discovered at an early age that youth can affect the disparities and challenges of our world. Robin also learned the need to truly understand a problem and oneself before proactive changes can be made. He sees Thinking Beyond Borders as the actualization of those lessons.

Robin equipped himself by earning a B.A. in International Development Studies from UCLA and a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has lived and worked abroad extensively, both as a student and educator. Robin committed eight years to public schools in Los Angeles and Boston. He served as a teacher, administrator, coach, and college access program administrator.

Robin's blog posts on education and social change have been featured on Forbes, Ashoka, and Innovation Excellence. He also served for three years as the Co-Director of the Colloquium for the Common Good at Opportunity Collaboration, a global poverty conference for sector leaders. Today, he helps shape the US gap year market as both the Co-Director of the USA Gap Year Fairs and as a Board Member for the American Gap Association.

Chris Stakich, Founder

Chris has lived with a passion for community service and international travel almost his entire life. While growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Chris was the president of his high school community service organization, worked for the United Way, and traveled to the Dominican Republic during his senior year to help build a hospital. During his four years at Harvard University, Chris grasped the importance of perspective and dedicated valuable time to experiencing the world. He studied abroad in Australia and traveled throughout Europe while earning an economics degree, playing on the Crimson varsity football team, and holding a part time job. After graduating college, Chris accepted a position as the Business Development Director for Rustic Pathways, an international education, community service, and adventure travel company. In 2007 Chris co-founded Thinking Beyond Borders with Robin Pendoley and Sandy Cooper. Thinking Beyond Borders is a cultivated dream for Chris, integrating education and international travel, providing service to communities in need, and mindfully developing future leaders who embody broad perspective and global compassion. Currently, Chris serves as the Chairman of the Board for Thinking Beyond Borders and also as the President of Operations for Rustic Pathways.

Sandy Cooper, Founder

Sandy's deep determination to contribute proactively to society began in middle school. After volunteering at a nursing home in her hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts, she worked with the YMCA through high school and college to develop children’s self-esteem and social skills. While earning an honors degree from Skidmore College, Sandy studied abroad and taught conversational English at La Universidad Autonoma in Madrid, Spain.

Following her growing passion for educating and traveling, Sandy spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati. As a teacher, Sandy designed culturally appropriate curriculum to teach language and math skills to junior secondary school students. Her students’ performances on national exams surpassed all previous classes.

With new understanding for the needs of developing communities and the importance of informed leadership, Sandy became a Team Leader for AmeriCorps*NCCC upon her return to the US. Through her diligent and creative guidance, Sandy’s team of 9 Corps Members completed various service projects, including the supervision of 1500 volunteers in gutting the homes of hundreds of Hurricane Katrina victims.

Managing her team challenged Sandy to hone her conflict resolution and business organization skills. She also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management through American Humanics. These many years of volunteerism, community service leadership, and formal study both abroad and within the United States endow Sandy with a focused and powerful vision for Thinking Beyond Borders.

Partners

Thinking Beyond Borders works with a wide array of partners abroad. These incredible organizations are crucial to ensuring the quality, educational outreach, and recruitment of exceptional students for TBB's gap year programs.

Cross-Cultural Solutions has has placed over 35,000 volunteers in its sites around the world over the last two decades. CCS believes that through meaningful volunteer service we can build relationships and connections that are essential components to increased tolerance and global awareness.

The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI) began as an initiative of the Center for International Programs at Kalamazoo College. The Institute exists to help develop experiential educational programs with other schools, organizations or groups. In addition to our core semester length program, People Environment and Development, we also host a number of short term (multi-week) study-abroad, service-learning and related programs.

The Experiment in International Living (EIL Ecuador) is a non-profit organization established in Ecuador in 1977 to encourage intercultural exchange among persons of different cultures, religions and ages. By making it possible for persons of different nationalities to live and learn together, we contribute to mutual understanding, respect and peace among peoples of the world.

Sustainable Bolivia is a non-profit community of 36 partner organizations in Cochabamba, Bolivia. SB's primary objective is to procure much needed human and financial resources for our partners, while providing international students and professionals access to global educational opportunities and practical work experience.

Advisors

The Thinking Beyond Borders gap year curriculum for all of its programs has been developed and refined with the support of a highly qualified group of advisors. With broad ranging expertise, these individuals have brought insight with regard to curricular content, delivery, and assessment. Their work in collaboration with the Thinking Beyond Borders staff ensures that each student has a powerful learning experience during the course of the program.

Eleanor Duckworth, Curriculum Advisor

Eleanor Duckworth is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the author of several books including The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning and “Tell Me More”: Listening to Learners Explain. A former student and translator of Jean Piaget, she grounds her work in Piaget and Inhelder’s insights into the nature and development of understanding and in their research method, which she has developed as a teaching/research approach, Critical Exploration in the Classroom. She seeks to bring a Freirean approach to any classroom, valuing the learners’ experience and insights. Her interest is in the experiences of teaching and learning of people of all ages, both in and out of schools. Duckworth is a former elementary school teacher and has worked in curriculum development, teacher education, and program evaluation in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and her native Canada. She is a coordinator for Cambridge United for Justice with Peace, and is a performing modern dancer.

Amanda Frost, Curriculum Advisor

Once Mandy Frost’s children were raised, which she realizes now is never a completed job, she needed to make full use of the dynamic changes happening in South Africa after years of feeling powerless. Her experience in various bookkeeping and labour management jobs gave her the admin skills needed to develop an NGO. Her passion for human rights and human development, defined by the Montessori education method, gave her the faith and sensitivity needed to work in a highly politicized milieu.

Mandy was appointed, in 2003, as coordinator of what was intended to be a planning body monitoring local HIV & AIDS projects and identifying needs. Three months of local networking revealed that there were no projects to monitor, but the needs were clear. She got clearance from the NGO governing body and started initiating and implementing projects that were in line with the national strategic plan for HIV in South Africa. Two of their biggest projects, Bitou Community Home-based Care/Hospice and Invicta House Womens’ Shelter, are firmly established and integrated with other services. The Plettaid Foundation employs 35 people, has achieved membership of Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA and has a dream to build and run a grassroots hospice to support home-based care.

Sam Mitchell, Curriculum Advisor

Sam Mitchell passed away in the Fall of 2011. His belief in, contributions to, and support of TBB were fundamental to the formation of our programs. He was truly a friend. In celebration of his life and work, Thinking Beyond Borders created the Sam Mitchell Scholarship, awarded to a deserving TBB student each year.

Sam Mitchell received his PhD in Asian History at the University of Hawaii, where he was an East-West Center fellow. While undertaking language training in Hindi, Urdu, and Nepali, he lived in Pakistan for one year, Nepal for three and India for four. Sam lived in Yunnan Province, China for 16 years. Dr. Mitchell served as Academic Director of the School for International Training Nepal program from 1990-93 and was a visiting assistant professor of East Asian History at Western Washington University during the 2001-2002 academic year. He helped to curate an exhibition of his photographs, as well as clothing, cultural artifacts, and music from the ethnic minority groups of Northwest Yunnan entitled, “Yunnan: Enchanting Region of Ethnic Diversity” on display at the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii during February and March of 2004. Sam and his wife, Lu Yuan, created and initiated the Chinese Culture and Ethnic Minorities Program for what is now SIT Study Abroad, based in Brattleboro Vermont, in 1994. They resided in Kunming ever since.

Under the auspices of the Center for Cultural Learning and Development Sam facilitated cultural and Traditional Chinese Medicine programs for various universities, colleges from throughout the United States, including the gap year program, Thinking Beyond Borders. He was an avid hiker, snorkeler and photographer.

Joshua Muldavin, Curriculum Advisor

Dr. Joshua Muldavin has a long and distinguished record as a researcher and teacher concerning his interests in globalization, China, Japan, and Asia, policy analysis, rural development, international aid, agriculture and food, climate change, political economy, and political ecology. He has completed thirty years of field research, primarily in rural China, as well as in Japan, Nepal, India, Russia, Hungary, northern Europe, Cuba, and Mexico.

He was Chair and Director of International Development Studies at UCLA from 1994-2001. He was a Resident Research Fellow with the East West Center's Program on Environment in 2003, Visiting Scientist at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Research and Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu from 2006-2008, Visiting Professor at China Agricultural University from 2007-2008, Visiting Scholar at Sophia University in Tokyo 2006-2010, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, as well as the Executive Director of the Action 2030 Institute, a small policy think tank.

While at UCLA he won the Distinguished Teaching Award, and was also given the Eby Award as the best teacher of the year. He is a frequent contributor to international news reporting on China and Asia, including for the BBC, International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. At the annual meetings of the AAG in Washington, D.C., he was given the Award for Media Achievement of the Association of American Geographers for 2010 for his long-term efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and public awareness on key contemporary global issues. He is currently Professor of Geography at Sarah Lawrence College.

Manda Parikh, Curriculum Advisor

Dr. Manda Parikh earned a Masters in Economics at Gujarat University and a Ph.D. in Economics at M.S. University, Baroda. Her career pursuits reflect her deep commitment to the people and communities in and around the city of Ahmedabad, India. Currently, Dr. Parikh is the Director of the Rural Development and Management Institute at Ahmedabad, specializing in rural area research, training, and extension; the Director of Pranava Industrial Services Pvt. Ltd., a professional consultancy firm specializing in market, financial, and pre-investment studies with international operations; and the Director of International Programs for the Indian Association of Experiment in International Living. Additionally, she serves as a Trustee of the Indian Society For Population Education, the Indian Society for Community Education, Yuvak Vikas Trust, and Green Serve India Ltd. Through these diverse professional opportunities, Dr. Parikh works to empower urban and rural communities with education, sound and just economic practice, and conscious engagement. She draws inspiration from the work and writing of Mohandas K. Gandhi and his vision of a diverse, peaceful, and sustainable India.

Sherman Teichman, Curriculum Advisor

Sherman Teichman is the inaugural Executive Director of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. The programs under his direction include Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC), a rigorous interdisciplinary program for analysis of global issues and active citizenship; the Tufts Initiative for Leadership and International Perspective centered in Hong Kong and Beijing; [EXPOSURE], a photojournalism, documentary studies and human rights initiative and a range of global immersive education student initiated research projects.

A lecturer in the arts and social sciences at Tufts since 1984, Mr. Teichman was a former fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Politics, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a faculty member at Boston University and Emerson College. As a journalist, he was a Peabody Award-winning foreign policy analyst for National Public Radio, WBUR, in Boston and a social science editor of the Boston Review. An adviser on counterterrorism and long-range strategic planning for the Israeli government, Mr. Teichman was also active with Amnesty International in the former Soviet Union and Central America. He was educated at the United States Naval Academy, The Johns Hopkins University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Chicago's Committees on International Relations and Social Thought.

An Olympic saber fencer, Mr. Teichman is currently the Tufts University saber fencing coach. He previously coached fencing at Boston University, the University of Chicago and Harvard University. TBB is fortunate to work with Mr. Teichman and the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. With similar core values and program goals, it is an organizational relationship with great potential for future developments.

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