The Experimenter: Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2023
A Note from Carla Lineback, Director of Alumni Engagement
It’s been more than 30 years since my own Experiment experience to Italy, and like many of you share, it is a time that I still think about fondly and reflect upon often.
One Experimenter has written, “The Experiment changed me in ways that are not visible to the eye. I have more confidence, knowledge, and worldly experience than I would have had I not done The Experiment.”
When I read quotes like this one, I wonder if it was written 50 years ago or five years ago. It’s amazing to me that alumni of every decade continue to have experiences that are wildly different yet fundamentally the same.
Through the years, The Experiment has sent students abroad and hosted students from all around the world. For one special account, please enjoy reading For one family The Experiment in International Living was also The Experiment in International Loving.
I would also like to share that last fall, World Learning welcomed three new board members. I encourage you to read about these dynamic additions to the board of trustees.
Experiment Alumni News
(Listed by year of participation)
John Willenbecher, France 1954, recently reconnected with his group member Virginia (Stein) Greene. They had a great conversation remembering meals where they realized they might have eaten horse meat as opposed to beef steaks. John would love to reconnect with other group members (please email [email protected]). John also sent this picture of himself with his host sister in the vineyard at Volnay.
Mary “Maisie” (Goodale) Crowther, France 1956, recalls that after her older brother Robert Goodale’s, France 1949, experience in Bordeaux, her own family hosted a student from Germany. Influenced by these experiences, Maisie embarked on her own adventure to Lyon with group leader Robert Kline, Mexico 1949, Colombia 1950, France 1953, Group Leader France 1956. After her homestay with the Richardot family, the group traveled by bicycle along the Rhone River where they enjoyed Roman ruins and camping. Taking their bicycles onto a ferry to Corsica, they continued from Bastia to Ajaccio. Maisie continued to stay in touch with her host family. “We all seemed to have matured with the decades, had families, and yet, that early experience was the golden thread still braiding us together.”
Steven Drysdale, Mexico 1960, has actively convened reunions of his group. He happily reports that all 12 and his group leader Kelso Wessel are in touch and doing well.
Eve (Odiorne) Sullivan, Switzerland 1960, was so energized by her Experiment experience that she became co-organizer for a French group visiting her hometown the following summer. In 1991, Eve founded Parents Forum to “pay forward” the help she received in raising her own three children. Parents Forum is an award-winning non-profit and community-based organization that offers workshops teaching emotional awareness to help participants improve their communication skills. Last fall, Eve traveled to Paris to attend a meeting of the International Federation for Parent Education. She was able to meet Parents Form team members that she had only previously met on Zoom and WhatsApp.
Sarabeth Friedman, Norway 1964, was a nurse-midwife for more than 45 years. She is now working in global health, going to low-resource countries and teaching local midwives how to save babies and mothers’ lives through simple interventions. She writes, “The Experiment started me off on my traveling, and I am forever grateful to have had that experience as a teenager!”
Lenneal Henderson, Italy 1965, says he was deeply influenced by his Experiment experience. After earning several degrees in political science, he joined the faculty of Howard University. He became involved with a U.S. Department of State speaker series program and traveled around the world to speak about federalism. He taught at the University of Baltimore for 25 years and today is adjunct professor at William & Mary and a senior fellow and eminent scholar at Virginia State University. For several decades, Lenneal has done briefings on federalism for World Learning’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Read The Experiment Launches a global career that connects World Learning’s IVLP to HBCUs for more about Lenneal’s fascinating story. He is still in touch with his Italian host family.
Danette (Brady) Jolly, Sweden 1967, reports that after her experience, her Swedish host sister spent the summer with her in California. Danette studied Swedish in college, and she and her husband later hosted three sets of exchange students. Danette has reunited with her host sister multiple times and is currently planning a visit with her this spring in Spain.
Rich Kurtzman, Group Leader Spain 1999 and 2001, has started his own study abroad company in Barcelona and published a book for students studying abroad. He acknowledges and thanks The Experiment for what he learned during the leader training workshops in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Ashley Townes, Experiment Group Leader Japan 2010 and SIT MA in International Education 2011, is the 2022-2023 Washington Sea Grant Keystone Fellow. She is spending the year working with the maritime habitat team at the Port of Seattle, advancing the development and implementation of innovative habitat restoration projects including kelp research, floating wetland islands, and blue carbon monitoring. Additionally, she will investigate ways to strengthen the linkage between habitat restoration, stewardship, community engagement, and equity. She is completing her doctorate in fisheries ecology at University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. She continues to design and implement high-impact community-based environmental projects and best cross-cultural practices in natural resource management, especially as related to Black and Indigenous populations, people of color, and ethnic minority groups.
Adem Oumedour, The Experiment Digital 2020, is a second-year student at Higher School of Management and Digital Economy and brand designer at Geometric Algeria where he oversees brand creation and development for clients. Prior, he was a freelance graphic designer and worked with national brands and small businesses. Adem is one of 14 recipients of the inaugural Stevens Initiative Alumni Fellowship which helps alumni develop as global leaders, intercultural communicators, and cross-cultural collaborators while forming long-lasting relationships with their peers.
In Memoriam (listed by program year)
The Experiment mourns the loss of members of our alumni community. We are now offering a space to remember and honor alumni who have recently passed away. Please note, this information comes from many sources, including family members, other alumni, and newspaper obituaries. If you wish to submit information on someone who has passed, please email [email protected].
Rebekah (Nicholson) Malkemes, France 1951
Stanford Hall, Austria 1955
Marc Posner, France 1966
Jeanne (Knight) Wentling, Austria and Czechoslovakia 1967
Sigurd Hanson, Group Leader Norway 1975 and SIT MA 1977
Elizabeth Berneike, Great Britain 1978
Sarah Katz, Leadership Institute India 2018
SIT and World Learning are hiring! There is a range of positions based around the world, requiring various levels of experience. Please be sure to check out current openings on the employment page.
Scholarships for The Experiment and SIT programs may be available to Experiment or SIT alumni and their family members.
SIT Study Abroad provides academically rich undergraduate semester and summer programs, most with field research or internships, and International Honors Program comparative study. Now accepting applications for summer and fall 2023 programs. studyabroad.sit.edu
SIT Graduate Institute offers global, full-time, and part-time hybrid master’s degrees, certificates, and professional development programs. SIT Graduate Institute also offers a hybrid doctorate in Global Education which combines rigorous online coursework with short residencies in Vermont to fit the needs of part- and full-time professionals seeking to rapidly accelerate their careers while tackling highly relevant issues in global education. graduate.sit.edu
The SIT World Languages Center is committed to promoting and preserving Indigenous and less commonly taught languages while also providing critical, specialized courses in widely studied languages. Online and in-person language courses for college credit are open to high school, undergraduate, graduate, and adult students. sit.edu/sit-world-languages-center
World Learning’s Global Programs work to create a more peaceful and just world through education, sustainable development, and exchange. Our programs advance leadership in more than 150 countries. worldlearning.org
World Learning Inc., the nonprofit parent organization of School for International Training and The Experiment in International Living, offers high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. World Learning Inc.’s summer programs (through The Experiment in International Living) help high school students experience another culture. SIT Study Abroad offers semester- and summer-long undergraduate programs that address critical global issues on all seven continents and includes the International Honors Program comparative studies. SIT Graduate Institute offers graduate degrees in hybrid and global formats. World Learning is working to create a more peaceful and just world through education, sustainable development, and exchange. Founded in 1932 by Dr. Donald Watt as The Experiment in International Living, the organization that has become World Learning Inc. was inspired by the innovative idea to improve understanding across cultures and nations by sending students abroad to live with homestay families.