PiA Fellow Facebook


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Frances Symes

Chiang Rai, Thailand

A Princeton Religion major who focused on Christianity and politics, Frances Symes feels slightly overwhelmed at the thought of traveling halfway across the world to teach in Northern Thailand next year. She is sad to leave her family and friends and sure that she will be quite a spectacle in Chiang Rai with her height and blond hair. Originally from the Washington, DC area, Frances hopes something in her experience of singing, traveling, and entertaining children of all ages will help her convey at least some English to her Thai students. Most of all, she is looking forward to a year of adventure, a change of pace, and the many challenges and surprises of living a world away. Come visit!

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Sonya Tat

Bangkok, Thailand

(Editor’s Note)

Sonya was excited to connect with her Vietnamese roots, so PiA is sending her to Thailand. Comfort zones are over-rated. Public health is not. Sonya will be putting her public health background and well-honed research skills to good use at PSI in Bangkok.

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Jack Thirolf

Rach Gia, Thailand

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 next 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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Sally Torbert

Dili, Timor-Leste

PiA second year Sally Torbert was a Politics major at Princeton, writing her thesis on an obscure clause of the U.S. Constitution, but now wishes she had instead written it on a manifesto on Machiavelli.  She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, dotes on her pet fish Jiyu, and her family now resides in New Hampshire with their dog Admiral Maximus.  She is working with a media development NGO in East Timor and has learned enough Tetum to outclass the PiA Director in Dili (editiors note).

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Elona Toska

Fellow of the Fortnight

Vientiane, Laos

PiA second year, Elona Toska, has lived most of her "adult" life trying her hand at legal immigration.  After two years in rainy Wales, she got deported to high pollen New Jersey despite having learned how to say schedule (shed-yule) and vitamins (vee-tuh-meens).  Having missed the most "exciting" years of communism in Albania (her theoretical home), she was looking for a country that would complement her practical expertise on making communism collapse with first-hand knowledge on how to start a revolution. Since arriving to Laos, she has become an avid reader of the Vientiane Times, an expert at watching sunsets over the Mekong drinking Beer Lao, and spends some of her free time arguing the finer points of "benevolent dictatorship" theory.  A year working with PSI in Laos succeded in defying many of her expectations: when she is not writing reports to donors, she can be found making inappropriate jokes in her inadequate Lao with peer educators who have allowed her to join them in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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Stacey Tsibulsky

Penang, Malaysia

After her undergraduate years as a history of art major and Asian studies minor at the University of Michigan, tucked away in bucolic Ann Arbor, Stacey is ready for the livelier pace of Penang. She is excited about being in a city where it does not snow six months out of the year, and is looking forward to eating the delicious food, lounging on the beaches, traveling, teaching, reading for pleasure, and of course visiting the snake temple. All are welcome to come visit and join in on the Malaysian adventures!

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Mark Turner

Jishou, China

Mark Turner graduated from Yale University this past year. He went to high school just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but when asked where he’s from, he will say he grew up in Massachusetts. He’s counting on his bizarre knack for being invited to do random things with people to continue while in China. He is looking forward to exploring his new home on foot, both by running and hiking. Having taught first graders about science, he feels ready for the challenge of teaching English to non-native speakers.

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Nell Van Amerogen

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’m from New York City and am looking forward to breaking out of the tri-state area at long last. I can’t wait to wander Chang Mai, travel as much as I can, and learn to cook Thai-style. In between, I’ll be teaching at Payap U. and making good use out of BRT’s (inherited) bicycle. I’ll be putting my time as an English major to good use while teaching next year and embarking on adventures in between…

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Rachel Wasser

Beijing, China

After two years of teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and enjoying life in China’s favorite Special Administrative Region, Rachel Wasser is ready to move on up to the mainland. She is psyched about her impending immigration to the North: snow, a bicycle commute, lung-strengthening air, and all. Rachel graduated from Yale University in 2004 with a degree in Environmental Studies, and while she has spent the last semester relying on enotes.com and informal interviews with British expatriates to inform her British literature and culture lesson planning, she is looking forward to a return to her "area of expertise" at IUCN. Rachel is interested in culinary exploration, back alleys, and learning how to declare love and loss in Mandarin through the diligent study of Mandopop. She can’t make it to the big orientation this May, and hopes to prevail upon you to let her stay on your couch, anyway -- hers will always be open!

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