NCTA Alumni News

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Christianna Berg (Elizabethtown 2013) was hired as a full-time 7th grade Life Science teacher at the Universal Institute Charter School in Philadelphia. This summer, she was part of a very small team that rewrote the Science curriculum for the Universal Family of Schools (7 in Philadelphia and 1 in Milwaukee). Congratulations Christianna on your new position.


Joe Brogan (Elizabethtown 2013) spent two weeks in Ecuador studying the Spanish language for 6 hours a day in Quito. He notes that this intensive program will come in handy since "each year we have more Spanish speaking students." Joe sent this photo of the equator as demarcated in Ecuador.

The Equator in Ecuador.


During her school's Spring Break Sarah Cannady (Baltimore 2013-14) took 10 South Hagerstown High School students (and a parent) to China with EF Tours. Over 9 days, they traveled to Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai. The students dined on local cuisine, had a blast bartering in the markets, loved the rickshaw ride and explored the aisles of grocery stores. Some of the highlights for the students were the night market in Beijing, the bike ride on the city wall of Xi'an, visiting a school in Beijing, and the boat ride along the Huangpu in Shanghai. Sarah glowingly reports that this trip gave students an opportunity to explore a land and a culture very different than their own and that they "walked away from this trip as different people."

Sarah and her students in Shanghai.


Jermaine Ellerbe (Maryland 2002) will receive his PhD this December from the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Language, Literacy, and Culture Program on the topic: "From Program Preparation to Professional Practice: A Case Study Assessing First Year Metropolitan Teacher Evaluation." When not working on his dissertation, Jermaine has also been active in promoting Korean literature. In 2011 he went on a study tour to Korea with the Korea Foundation, and he has recently received a grant from the Korea Foundation and the Korea International Trade Association to work on a project "TLC (Teaching and Learning Culture) Korea Book Project: Promoting Cultural Awareness into the Lives of Young Readers." In April he presented at the Maryland Multicultural Coalition on the "Korean Cultural Conversations and Connections through Children's Literature." Jermaine currently serves on the following state boards: Maryland Council for Social Studies, Maryland Multicultural Coalition, and Maryland Association for Teacher Educators.



Elisabeth Gambino (UMBC 2013) writes that this past summer she was at the "East Coast Artist Residency in Kuantan, Malaysia (as well as Kuala Lumpur) completing an artist's residency and researching the Wayang Kulit puppetry tradition." She has maintained contacts with Eddin Khoo of Pusaka cultural preservation organization and she hopes to continue collaborating with him as he prepares to tour the States in the spring. Currently, Elisabeth is fundraising to publish a curriculum on conflict resolution using puppetry and stop motion animation.

Elisabeth in Malaysia



Karen Gaul (Pittsburgh 2008) recently travelled to Beijing, China with a delegation from Winchester Thurston School (WT) to visit Peking University Elementary School (PUES). While there, the WT group met with teachers and administrators, observed in classrooms, and signed a sister school agreement that promises continued collaboration between the two schools. Karen has played a leadership role in developing the relationship between the two schools, which started with a visit to WT by PUES administrators in the spring of 2012. At that time, the two schools agreed to initiate an annual school visit program in which 30-40 fifth graders from PUES are immersed in WT classrooms for two weeks in September and October. The third annual PUES visit to WT wrapped up this past October 3. Karen is currently exploring the possibility of taking a group of WT students to visit PUES in Beijing.


Karen and Yin Chao, the head principal of Peking University Elementary School.



David Krupski (Baltimore 2011) has been doing a good bit of globe-trotting the past few summers. In the summer of 2013 he led a 13 day Education First Study Tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France. This past summer he was in Rome for a two week course learning Italian. Next summer David will put his language skills to good use as he is leading another Study Tour to Italy, Greece, and Turkey.


Elizabethtown alumna (2009) Kachina Martin has been busy during the past year. Last February she went to Oaxaca, Mexico where she taught an intensive three-day hands-on workshop on the Japanese art of Shibori at Museo Textil de Oaxaca. Kachina, a fiber artist who teaches studio art and art history at Muhlenberg High School in Laureldale, PA, has studied Shibori techniques for over ten years. She credits her trip with NCTA to Japan in 2010 with solidifying her interest in the history of this ancient art form. She notes that being able to see for herself the "beautiful designs master Shibori artisans created [and to] learn about the history of Japanese art from Dr. Brenda Jordan really encouraged me to study the history of this art form, and it is something that I enjoying teaching to students of all ages." This past summer, Kachina also travelled to Spain to walk 72 miles of the Camino de Santiago--a Medieval-era pilgrimage route. Kachina's pilgrimage, however, was done in a gingham dress as a fundraiser for the "Do It In A Dress" campaign, which raises money for girls in Sierra Leone to go to school.

Kachina and two other teachers on the Camino de Santiago, Spain


Pittsburgh Alumni Cindy McNulty and Matthew Sudnik were in Colorado in July for a week-long summer institute organized by the University of Colorado's NCTA and Program for Teaching East Asia. This institute, "Reading" Japan: Modern Japanese History, Informational Texts, and Common Core Standards, combined advance online video lectures and onsite lectures with small group and individual work in resource exploration, analysis, and lesson development. The workshop will produce a set of lessons that integrate art, primary sources, secondary informational sources, memoir, fiction to teach Japanese history using pedagogical approaches and materials that address Common Core standards.


Wendy Moore (Pittsburgh 2013) attended the 18th Annual World Affairs Council Summer Teacher Institute sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.The focus of this year's workshop included rising powers, regional studies, as well as transnational threats such as global warming.


Last February NCTA Bucknell seminar leader Mimi Rice took 12 Japanese university students to South Williamsport High School to share Japanese culture with Joann Kennedy's (Bucknell 2012) social studies classes. Incorporating the Japanese students' visit into her instructional unit on Japan, Joann's students learned about kamishibai, karate, calligraphy and origami.

Joann's class showing off their calligraphy


Last April, alumna Phyllis Scherer (Pittsburgh 2008) presented "Bringing Korea out of the Shadows and Into the Light" at the annual conference of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS.)


Over the summer Julia Schultze (Georgetown 2013) had a "trip of a lifetime" in Africa. She took a jeep and boat safari in Botswana. In Zimbabwe she explored Victoria Falls, visited a local school, and enjoyed a traditional meal during a home visit. In South Africa she explored Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela's home (and also his prison cell on Robben Island). During her time in the Winelands, she enjoyed tours and tastings including ostrich, and was awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of Cape Town and the Cape. She writes that she "learned much about the radical change occurring in these countries as a result of racial freedom gained."

Julia in Africa


Hanadi Shatara (Philadelphia 2011) is currently enrolled as a doctoral student in Social Studies Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Victor Shin (Maryland 2005) received a study fellowship from the Transatlantic Outreach Program which he used to travel to Germany this summer to learn about German education, intercultural dialogue, and German current events. Victor was also recently named as the new Upper School Head at Maryvale Preparatory School in Lutherville, MD. Congratulations Victor!

Victor in the Bavarian Landtag


Victoria Stetts (Bucknell 2007) was awarded a fellowship to the Korea Academy For Educators (KAFE) where she spent a week in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles. Not only was Victoria exposed to all-things Korean, but she also met other teachers from across the United States who have an interest in learning about Korea. Highlights of the program were sessions on sijo poetry, drumming, pop culture and cinema, paper folding, minhwa (folk painting), taekwondo, and visits to the LACMA museum, a Korean restaurant and a Buddhist temple. Victoria also attended a welcome reception at the home of author (and director of KAFE) Helie Lee.

Victoria in a traditional Korean Hanbok.


Matthew Sudnik (Pittsburgh 2010) participated in the highly-selective institute "Mozart's Worlds" in Vienna, Austria, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Along with 24 other NEH Summer Scholars, Sudnik spent three weeks studying Mozart's operas-- The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni-- as well as the history, literature, and politics of the Enlightenment. Sudnik already has plans to teach a unit to his sophomores on The Marriage of Figaro in preparation for taking them to the Met Live in HD broadcast of the opera here in Pittsburgh. He is also developing a Humanities/Theater elective course to offer in 2015-16, which would survey great works of world literature that are also being staged in Pittsburgh during the academic year.

Matthew with the maestro in Vienna
















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