We are so pleased to introduce you to a stellar group of individuals who are guiding their students to academic and extracurricular excellence while learning together about life in Central America!
Jasmine Roberts - Program Admnistrator, Kindergarten Teacher
Jasmine graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in May 2004 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Peace Studies. In addition to her semester abroad in Spain, and a long list of volunteer activities involving disadvantaged children and families, Jasmine has truly demonstrated amazing leadership and creativity during this year. As Director of The East 10th Children and Youth Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jasmine supervised a staff of 25, served as principal for the Center and handled significant administrative and programmatic responsibilities - a tremendous accomplishment for someone who just graduated from college. In her cover letter, Jasmine wrote "I have spent many hours of my life in classrooms and lecture halls, reading and learning about social, environmental, economic, and political issues. Since my graduation from Notre Dame, I have been determined to apply this knowledge and concern to the 'real world,' to use this education and experience in a productive and beneficial manner to society. Eventually I would like to work in the field of international peace studies and social justice. I hope to attend graduate school for international affairs or peace studies, concentrating on the region of Latin America." We are glad that Jasmine has chosen to further her experience and confirm her commitment through service with BECA.
Laurence H. Birdsey - Kindergarten/Resource Teacher
We were delighted to welcome another new BECA team member who is also an alumnus of St. Andrew’s School in Delaware. Laurence graduated from Davidson College in 2004 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Spanish. While at Davidson, Laurence studied in Spain and spent over a month participating in service work in Guatemala. He also served as an ESL teacher and, using his classical music training, taught piano lessons to children. Immediately after graduating from Davidson, Laurence joined the staff of an alternative investments firm in New York City as a legal analyst. While we're certain that his colleagues miss him terribly, we're selfishly delighted that Laurence decided to embark upon such a radically different adventure managing a "learning portfolio" of 48 eager Honduran four and five year olds!
Anna Hickman - 1st Grade Teacher
Originally from Maryland , Anna graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina this year with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She spent a year studying in Seville, Spain. During this past academic year, Anna served as a Spanish teacher for a classroom of 4th graders – with responsibility for lesson-planning and keeping a teaching journal. During the last few years, Anna has served as an English teacher for Mexican migrants; worked as a child development aide, using Montessori methods to teaching reading and math skills to 3 and 4 year olds; mentored Hispanic children at a local YMCA; served as a third grade homework tutor; taught science and art to 3rd, 5th and 8th grade classrooms in a local camp; coached a children's lacrosse team; organized an 8-week art camp for first – fourth graders; and the list goes on!
Sarah Shubitowski - 2nd Grade Teacher
Sarah received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Spanish (K-8) this year from Calvin College in Michigan. Sarah also completed the requirements for her Michigan State teaching certificate after finishing her student teaching requirement with a class of 5th graders and passing all of the required tests. As part of her work with her 5th grade students, Sarah designed and taught an integrated unit on Latin America . We're certain she drew on her travel experience in Latin America, which includes visits to Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and Jamaica. Perhaps most relevantly, Sarah spent a semester studying abroad in Honduras where she volunteered at a bilingual school (teaching language arts) and completed an ethnographic study on Hondurans' perceptions of bilingual education. Sarah has also served as a camp counselor at a camp for inner city kids, a resident assistant, a tutor for ESL students and a translator for doctors serving Spanish-speaking patients.
Marilyn Markman - 3rd Grade Teacher
Marilyn has lived all over the world -- Venezuela (elementary school), the US (middle school), Puerto Rico (high school) and France (during college). Marilyn graduated from Brown University this year with a BA in Development Studies with regional specializations in Latin America and Africa. While a high school student in Puerto Rico, Marilyn worked with middle school students from low-income backgrounds, helping them improve their English language and math skills. She enjoyed the innovative nature of teaching and took the time to get to know her students as individuals and get to know their families. Bilingual, bicultural and well traveled, Marilyn brings many strengths to the BECA team.
Lisa Parsell - 4th Grade Teacher
Originally from New Hampshire , Lisa graduated from Northland College in 2001 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Environmental Education. She has a teaching certificate for grades 1-8. Lisa spent three years in the Peace Corps in Panama doing everything from teaching English to first through sixth graders, conducting environmental education sessions, and working with girls and young women around self esteem issues. She then served as an Americorps volunteer in rural Georgia where she worked with adjudicated teens. During that experience, Lisa was responsible for tutoring the teens and engaging them in service learning projects in order to facilitate team/relationship building. She also supervised a team of three other volunteers. Lisa's next adventure led her to quite literally stumble across BECA's program in Honduras. While leading a LeapNow Central America Semester, Lisa brought a group of 11 college freshman to volunteer at SJBS. We are so pleased she chose to return to Cofradia for the second half of the 05-06 school year to serve as our 3rd grade teacher and that she has now chosen to return for a second year!
Emily Morgan - 5th Grade Teacher
Emily graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts this year with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, with a self-designed concentration on sustainable development. Emily spent a semester studying sustainable development issues at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica. She also spent a summer in Spain working on her Spanish language skills and another summer in Mexico where she worked on a National Science Foundation project examining Globalization and Sustainable Development in Latin America. During this academic year, Emily served as a Teaching Assistant for a Mount Holyoke Environmental Science class. Additionally, Emily worked with students at a local high school. Specifically, she developed a program to educate 9th graders in an Environmental Science class about the linkages between food, health, and the environment. Emily has also served as a figure skating coach and instructor for the last six years, as well as tutoring youth and interning at the Seattle Emergency Housing Services where she designed lesson plans for 10-20 elementary age children from homeless families and tutored several students studying EFL.
Jon Barber - 6th Grade Teacher
Jon has worked in the field of computer training for the last nine years. Currently working with the Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority, Jon designed a number of courses for the library system as well as the accompanying courseware. Some of Jon's other professional and personal experiences have included managing departments where he was responsible for growing his department staff; designing curriculum, training materials and evaluation tools for large-scale public training programs; coaching soccer and serving as a camp counselor. Jon has also worked as a Software Instructor, a Training Center Business Manager, a Support Counselor at a public high school, and the list goes on. Jon completed a B.A. in Religion and Psychology in 1979 and a Master's of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling in 1986. His experiences over the subsequent 20 years have included extensive travel to places such as Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nicaragua – often on service trips.
Bridget Kelly - 7th/8th & 9th Grade English, Social Studies Teacher
Originally from New York, Bridget graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Writing. Bridget is currently serving as a Press Officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office (in NYC). During this year she has also worked with Literacy Partners in New York where she was responsible for a weekly Adult Education class that helps adults who read at a 2nd-grade level improve their literacy skills. Bridget designed lessons around everything from phonics and mechanics instruction, and assisted her students with creative and personal narrative writing. While at Yale, in addition to the enormous task of serving as Yale Daily News editor, Bridget served as a 3rd grade creative writing teacher at a school in inner city New Haven where a majority of her students were native Spanish speakers. She also tutored students, spent several summers as a camp counselor, and promoted social justice issues as the St. Thomas More Undergraduate Council Social Justice Chair.
Hilary Hammell - 7th/8th & 9th Grade Math, Science Teacher
Hilary graduated from Yale in 2004 with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Psychology. While at Yale, she spent a semester studying in Chile . She also taught creative writing to a class of 3rd graders and served as a community health educator (educating high school students about reproductive health and creating a new curriculum related to relationship abuse). Hilary also served as a teacher for a program called MAAX. She taught large classes of disadvantaged 7th and 8th graders everything from reading, creative writing, history and career decision-making. She was also responsible for mentoring students outside of class as well as assisting with curriculum development. After graduating in 2004, Hilary worked with the League of Conservation Voters in the time leading up to the 2004 presidential election. She taught campaign communication skills to large groups of adult volunteers and supervised over 280 adult volunteers working with the campaign. During this past year, Hilary worked with the Rockridge Foundation in Berkeley as a program assistant responsible for training volunteers, assisting senior researchers with cognitive linguistic research, and editing and writing papers for publication.