PiA Fellow Facebook

2007-2008

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Naomi Sleeper

Bangkok, Thailand

Naomi grew a fondness for elephants as a Jumbo at Tufts, where she majored in philosophy and environmental studies and wrote her senior thesis on environmental refugees. During her tenure there, she also spent time eating pastries in France and critiquing gelato in Italy. In between years of teaching in California and writing textbooks in New York, she traveled to Ecuador, where she discovered that guinea pig (cuy) can also make a tasty treat. After befriending sea turtles in the Galapagos, she decided that it was time to return to her college roots by acquainting herself with the elephant on a more personal level. Naomi looks forward to hiking, biking, climbing, and, of course, tasting her way through Asia with other PiAers.

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Marianne Smallwood

Hanoi, Vietnam

After spending two years in a corporate cubicle honing her Excel skills while dreaming of 24-hour pho, Marianne departed for Hanoi in June of 2006 to work with Child Fund in Vietnam. She quickly set a precedent as being one of the city’s only nutty foreigners to insist on bicycling throughout Hanoi’s sweaty summers, much to the chagrin of her coworkers. At Child Fund, Marianne works on both internal policy writing and program software and evaluation, putting her corporate skills to good use in an NGO environment. After hours, Marianne volunteers with a local microfinance organization, searches for the best coffee in Hanoi (40 cafes down, 3,242,435 to go…), and learns Vietnamese with her teacher who considers Marianne’s half-Vietnamese heritage a birthright to perfect pronunciation. For occasional updates on Vietnam, check out her blog at http://phofromhome.blogspot.com.

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Ali Smith

Manila, Philippines

Ali Smith is originally from Bozeman, Montana. She graduated from Princeton in 2006 where she was a Religious Studies major, although her childhood dream was to become a newscaster. For the past year Ali has been living in Manila as a “foreign correspondant” at ABS-CBN, the largest news network in the Philippines. She has reported on a wide variety of things, from food festivals to election coverage. She has also landed an achoring spot on one of the local news casts. Aside from work, Ali devotes her time to learning Tagalog, volunteering with street kids, and hanging out with her Filipino friends.

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Helen Smith

Manila, Philippines

Helen Smith graduated from the University of Georgia in 2007 with a degree in international affairs and a penchant for wearing tutus to class. During her four years there, Helen spent a summer in Morocco learning what 40¡C felt like and a semester in Egypt ranking falafel from street vendors. Internships with worldchanging.com and the Carter Center were also highlights of her university career and furthered Helen’s interest in sustainable development and ability to answer Carter-era Trivial Pursuit questions. From her time as a DJ for WUOG 90.5fm, “Hot Skillet” Helen knows how to start a dance party and is looking forward to taking on the Philippines. Though not exactly a Southern belle, Helen will never give up grits or the efficient and fantastic “y’all.”

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James Smrikarov

Almaty, Kazakhstan

James was selected for PiA due to his enthusiasm for the Russian language and Central Asian culture, but not necessarily for his ability to write a blurb.

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Danny Snelson

Tokyo, Japan

At Princeton, Danny has been cast variously as Radio DJ, Cinephilic Miscreant, Gleeful RA, and The Author of the first two hypertextual romps on record at the Comp Lit Department: one on The Scream, another on Radical Poetry Zines. After a last summer in Salt Lake City, Utah, nestled in his Mormon Mother’s loving arms, he will ship out to the Mega Metropolis—Tokyo-to Herself—to face hordes of adorable Waka-Waka Wunderkinds and the joys of Temple Living. Eager to learn Japanese, decipher the TRTA and leap into Full Media Saturation, Danny’s sole remaining doubt consists in which Short Protectors he ought to purchase for the imminent dangers of the workplace.

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Ho-Ming So

Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho-Ming So came to the United States for college and could not believe what passed for pad thai in this part of the world. In an attempt to understand, she majored in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and got sidetracked by a concentration in Chinese Politics. Upon graduation she emerged from the cushy folds of Barnard College to dabble as a research assistant after a stint as an English teacher in China. She has also become increasingly enamored of rock climbing and nurtures the development of new calluses with the same passion and commitment she has for international development. She looks forward to further developing both these interests in Vietnam.

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Thomas Talhelm

Guangzhou, China

Thomas Talhelm is going to teach in Guangzhou, far from his birthplace of East Lansing, Michigan. Thomas plans to throw himself head on into learning Cantonese and also hopes to put exactly half of his majors (Spanish and psychology) to use by being the first Westerner to discover what makes the Chinese tick and why cultural relativism extends even to squatty potties. PiA has assured him that this insight will ensure instant tenure at a university of his choice, as well as book deals from major publishers.

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Jack Thirlof

Rach Gia, Vietnam

A product of the mean streets of Rockville, MD, Jack battled his way through loosely-defined genre requirements and mandatory existential angst to earn a degree in Comparative Literature from Princeton in June 2006. Cofounder of both the Annual Civil War Spring Break Battlefield Bike Tour and the Thirolf-White Aerospace Consortium, Jack is excited to finally turn all of his misdirected and confused creative energies towards something useful: teaching another year in Rach Gia. Jack hopes to rock the classroom by somehow leveraging his PiA teacher training with his freakish height and love of school.

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Andrew Turco

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Andrew Turco graduated from Princeton University this year with a major in the Woodrow Wilson School and a certificate in Visual Arts. After being a PiA Summer of Service intern in China this past summer, Andrew’s excited to try another new adventure, this time in Cambodia. He hopes to photograph often, to enjoy lots of outdoors activities, play soccer, learn Khmer, figure out where all of the “h”s go in Phnom Penh, travel with PiA friends from “neighboring” countries, get to know a relatively unknown place, and enjoy having year-round warm weather. Most importantly, though, Andrew is happy to have written this blurb so that Anastasia and Leslie don’t get to write made-up or embarrassing stories about him in this space instead.

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