We know that educators and youth organizers are looking for innovative learning opportunities that allow young people to expand their worldview and develop social emotional skills, including curiosity, empathy, and a sense of wellbeing. This webinar will highlight three new Stevens Initiative-funded virtual exchange programs reaching middle and high school students in the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa, both in and out of the classroom. Hear from exchange program leaders about how their programs give young people opportunities to connect, learn, and form friendships through virtual exchange.
Melissa Collins (@collinsnbct) has been an elementary school teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis, TN for 22 years, where she is constantly amazed by her students’ curiosity about the world around them. She is an expert in teacher leadership and voice, and she is an advocate for global learning, STEM education, and high standards. Melissa is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the 2020 National Teacher Hall of Fame Inductee, Sanford Teacher Award, National Board Fellowship Program, Global Teacher Prize Finalist (Top 50), the Queen Smith Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the National Science Teaching Association Sylvia Shugrue Award, and the West Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She is a proud National Board-Certified Teacher in the area of Early Childhood Education. Currently, she sits on the National Board Professional Standards Boards.
Elizabeth Black (@GlobalTiesUS) is Senior Program Manager, Virtual Exchange at Global Ties U.S. where she designs and implements the virtual components of a variety of exchange programs and supports organization-wide training activities. Prior to her current role, she coordinated teacher professional development and online learning programs for a national education non-profit and taught a variety of subjects at schools in the U.S. and China. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish from American University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Christian Brothers University. She speaks English, Spanish, and is learning Bangla.
Travis Hardy (@THardy929 and @EmpaticoOrg) is Director of Programs & Partnerships at Empatico, a free digital platform that connects classrooms around the world to foster empathy among the future generation. He joined Empatico in 2017 after working for 5 years in the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, where he most recently served as Acting Executive Director for NYC Global Partners, a City-affiliated non-profit organization. In this role he led program and curriculum development for Global Partners Junior, a virtual exchange program for 9-13 year-olds, and co-created the City’s NYC Junior Ambassadors program to better leverage the United Nations as a resource for NYC youth. Travis earned his M.A. in International Education from New York University, and his B.A. English Language & Literature from the University of South Carolina.
Megan Lavery (@EngrWorldHealth) is the Institute Manager for Engineering World Health. Megan joined Engineering World Health in December 2018 after participating in the 2016 Summer Institute in Rwanda. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017 with an interdisciplinary degree focused in biomedical engineering and international studies before working as a biomedical equipment technician in Virginia. Megan has traveled extensively with Engineering World Health, working with engineering students and overseeing their Institute programs in Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Megan’s work aims to better equip the engineering community to address healthcare challenges in low-resource areas. In her spare time, Megan enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, and generally being outdoors.
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