Benin, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Paraguay, Swaziland, Thailand, Ukraine
By JoAnna Haugen on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Monique Schmidt accepted a position as the director of the Akilah Institute for Women in Rwanda last November, and the school has been open since February 2010. The school is free of charge for young women who are accepted into the program. The school was founded to give Rwandan women orphaned by the genocide a chance to receive an education and learn skills needed in Rwanda’s growing tourism industry. It offers a two-year-degree program that teaches English, hospitality skills, leadership and empowerment. As director, Schmidt essentially built the school from nothing; even so, the Akilah Institute for Women is already proving to be a success. Prior to this position, Schmidt was an adjunct professor at Topkins Cortland Community College. She is the author of Last Moon Dancing, which was published in 2005.
Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec (94-95) is currently the product unit manager for internet information services at Microsoft, where she runs a team of 50 engineers who work across test, development and program management. She earned her degree from the University of California at San Diego.
Within a month of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in early 2010, Rodney McDonald (02-04) was in the country and ready to help provide relief. For eight days in February, he helped distribute water-purification devices and trained people how to use them under the auspices of Emergency Response Services for Latin America (ERSLA). While in Haiti, McDonald sought out remote places the bulk of donated supplies and doctors were not reaching.
The School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) has selected Ruth G. King, the principal of the Homer Elementary School, as the 2010 New York State Elementary School Principal of the Year. She has been an elementary-level administrator for 20 years, 18 of which have been in her current position. King is an active member of SAANYS and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. She is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Seven Valleys Reading Council. King received her bachelor’s degree from Kean University and a master’s degree and certificate of advanced study from SUNY Cortland.
Shannon Honeybloom, a blogger and actress, recently authored a book called Making a Family Home. The book is a guide for families on how to create a conscious-rich existence focused on basic things like being together, paying attention and staying attuned to the needs of loved ones. In the book, Honeybloom also shares her story on how her family was introduced to slow living. The book grew out of her master’s thesis in early childhood education from Sunbridge College in Chestnut Ridge, NY. She also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a master’s degree from New York University.
Julie Connor (91-93) is the program director for Groundwork Denver, a nonprofit organization that provides sustained improvement of the physical environment and promotes health and well-being through community-based partnerships and action. It is currently focused on green jobs for youth, lead-based paint poisoning prevention and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Conner trains volunteers to go door-to-door, educating residents on the things they can do to retrofit their older homes for energy conservation.
Steve Kallaugher helped organize and will be driving the support vehicle for a 200-mile bike trek fundraiser across Swaziland. The fundraiser is for Young Heroes Foundation, an organization Kallaugher founded four years ago to help children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Swaziland. He hopes the trip, which will take place from May 3-May 10, will raise $10,000 in sponsorships.
Bekah Douglass recently returned from her Peace Corps service, where she worked as an English teacher. The experience was so meaningful to her she plans to return to Thailand and continue teaching English for up to four more years. She is also working on creating a nonprofit organization, which would help Thai students afford a college education.
Heather Sarkissian (99-00) is the CEO of mp3Car.com, a mobile computing technology company. She also co-organizes Ignite Baltimore, which lets a variety of speakers share their creative passions, and is the founder of BmoreSmart, which brings together Baltimore social entrepreneurs to discuss potential growth in the city and collaborative program ideas.