Spotlights

 

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: May 2017

Meet Shelby Carvalho!

WorldTeach Costa Rica ’10

On most afternoons, I could be seen riding an old horse, often bareback, through the dirt roads of Alto Varas on my way to the soccer field with groups of students trailing behind me.
- Shelby Carvalho

Where are you now?

Since completing my WorldTeach service, I’ve worked as a social studies teacher in a dropout recovery high school in Dallas, spent a year as a Fulbright grantee in Bulgaria, and completed a Master’s in Global Policy focused on education and international development at UT Austin. I’m currently a research consultant for the World Bank and the Education Commission on issues relating to education and skill development and am between Sub-Saharan Africa and Washington, DC. This year I had the privilege of working with international leaders on a global report of the state of education today and opportunities for ambitious improvement efforts in places it’s needed most that was presented at UN General Assembly in September. I’ll be starting my PhD focused on education and economics at Harvard in the Fall.

Pull for some new WorldTeach locations: Through my work with the World Bank, I’ve spent a lot of time working in the field in Southern Africa. I HIGHLY recommend Namibia and South Africa for prospective volunteers. I loved Costa Rica, but if I were choosing a placement today, I would go with Namibia. It’s an underrated, but absolutely amazing place to spend a few months!

Favorite story from your time as a WorldTeach teacher?

As a WorldTeach volunteer I lived with a host family in the 150-person mountainside town of Alto Varas. I taught English to all grades in the primary school (there were only 2 kids in the 3rd grade!) and I started teaching PE classes during the lunch break as well. My students loved learning English and playing PE games at the same time and wanted to continue after school. But instead of just asking me if we could continue after school, because they knew I was busy helping my host dad milk his cows in the lecheria, a group of students devised a very creative plan to lure me to the soccer field where most of my students would already be lined up ready for a game. This plan consisted of standing outside my bedroom window at my host family’s house, with a horse, drawing out the words “Teachhhhher horssssse”, in English, until I came outside to see why my students were outside my bedroom and why they were shouting about a horse. As it turns out, they thought I’d like to go horseback riding and if they could get me to ride to the soccer field then surely I would also play PE games… Fast forward through my time in Alto Varas and on most afternoons, I could be seen riding an old horse, often bareback, through the dirt roads of Alto Varas on my way to the soccer field with groups of students trailing behind me. It was a great bonding experience with my students and I’m sure at least a little entertaining for the rest of the town. 

Fun Fact about yourself

I’ve run 5 full marathons in 5 different countries starting with “the original” from Marathon to Athens in Greece.

Meet Stephanie McCutcheon

April 2017 Spotlight | WorldTeach Marshall Islands ’10

Something special happens when living with a host family. It is an invaluable experience that no amount of world travel can replace.
- Stephanie McCutcheon

Cross-Cultural Interactions

Stephanie’s placement in the Marshall Islands resided near a US Army installation: The Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. With the help of American fire fighters, the Marshallese faculty and principal, volunteer parents, and special permission from the Colonel a visit to the Fire Station on base was organized for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on Enniburr Island. Students tried on gear, ran the siren from the front seat of the truck, gave orders over the speaker, shot water from a hose, asked about what it would take to become a fire fighter, were taught about other jobs available on base, and learned about educational opportunities in their home country beyond 8th grade (highest level available on island), as well as educational opportunities available through the Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Where Is She Now?

Stephanie is completing her Ph.D. in Education at Kansas State University. Her dissertation is based on her experience in the Marshall Islands and the relationship she has maintained with one student who has since moved to the US to attend high school. She is studying student and national identity development in transnational spaces.

Fun Fact

Stephanie helped to deliver her host mother’s baby.

Meet Robert Myres!

March 2017 Spotlight | WorldTeach Namibia ’03

A strong basic education is the most effective way of mitigating the effects of poverty.
- Robert Myres

An Epic Road Trip

photo16bThe 2003 WorldTeach Namibia group took a world class road trip the length of the country, ending at the Angola border. Volunteers each originated at their respective villages and met at various points along the way. They traveled hard, camping along the way, and finally set up their group campsite on a hill overlooking Epupa Falls. They visited all of the next day and then re-traced their routes back home in time for school. It was epic.

Where Is He Now?

Robert divides his time between Victor, ID and Columbus, OH and works in technology. He oversees Mondesa Youth Opportunities as Board Chairperson. They are now finishing their 13th year of operation and provide intensive academic and life-skills education to 150 children every day. MYO is a direct outcome of his time in Namibia as a volunteer teacher and is now widely regarded as the premier youth development program in Namibia.

Fun Fact

Robert published a book about his year in Namibia called “Silicon Valley to Southern Africa.”

We want to feature you! WorldTeach is interested in what our alumni are up to after their experience teaching abroad. Whether you are working nationally, internationally, in the education field, or involved with something completely different, share your story. Email us your answers to the above questions at [email protected].