Belize, Benin, The Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Kenya, Madagascar, Micronesia, Peru, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Yemen
By JoAnna Haugen on Thursday, October 7th, 2010
George LeBard (81-86, staff 86-92) recently had his book A School for Others published. The story chronicles the history of how the Belize High School of Agriculture came to be. LeBard is the executive director for a hunger relief organization. He is also the author of Small Projects Assistance over Ten Years in Peace Corps Belize and Project MANA’s High Altitude Gardening Manual. LeBard has been recognized as Partner of the Year by a regional collaboration, awarded the Collaborator of the Decade by the Parasol Community Foundation and named by a local newspaper as one of the top ten who makes a difference in the community.
Christoph Herby (08-10) is about to embark on a project with the Fulani that will take him across West Africa. The Pulaku Project is an initiative to document the changing lifestyles of the nomadic Fulani throughout that part of the continent.
Anne W. Smallidge has published her second book, Up North. Set in a small town in northern Maine, the story tells of the residents’ struggle to retain a sense of place. The book will be featured at this year’s Frankfurt International Book Fair in Germany. Smallidge is a nurse by profession.
Michelle Rush was hired as St. Peter’s Hospital’s new patient safety/risk officer. Prior to this position, Rush was the human resource manager for Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry and Hoven in Helena. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Managers. Rush has her bachelor’s degree from Carroll College and her master’s degree from the University of Montana.
The A.D. Makepeace Company has hired Timothy Crawford (87-89) as the new senior vice president of agricultural business. He has managed large fruit, cut flower, ornamental plant and hybrid flower seed operations and cooperatives in Guatemala and Costa Rica for the last 14 years. Crawford has master’s degrees from Universidad del Valle/Texas A&M and Ohio University.
Dr. Jeff Thoenes (86-88) became the new principal at Williamston High School this year. Prior to this position, he was the principal at Mt. Pleasant High School for the past five years. He also worked at schools in Arizona, Ohio and Michigan, including four years as a junior high school principal in Bowling Green and an assistant middle school principal in Bridgeport. Thoenes received his doctorate degree from Central Michigan University.
Vu Dang has been named the new service officer in Baltimore. The grant-funded position is part of the Cities of Service project, an organization founded last year in New York City. Dang’s career has included work as the executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Washington, DC, and for an initiative of President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and Harvard University.
Diane Saenz recently began her new job as a nutrition and food safety educator in the Carbon County office of the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. She is based in Rawlins, Wyo., but will serve Carbon, Albany, Goshen, Laramie and Platte counties. Saenz has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University.
Tori Wolan recently took over the position of executive director for the Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity. She previously served as chief operating officer for the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and in directorial roles with the Ethiopian Community Development Council. Wolan holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Brett Beach (99-01) and Tim McCollum (99-01) started Madécasse, a Brooklyn-based chocolate company four years ago. Joe Salvatore has since joined the team. The company only works with farmers in Madagascar to harvest cacao, and the whole chocolate production process takes place in the country as well. This provides locals with jobs and fosters growth in local communities.
Kathy Elsaesser is the first female lieutenant for the Lakeland Fire Department. Now stationed at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Elsaesser has worked on and off at Lakeland Fire Department since 2001. Her public service earned her the title of Firefighter of the Year for the department in 2005 and this past year. Elsaesser is a graduate of Barry University.
Former USAID administrator M. Peter McPherson was recently honored with one of the 2010 annual IFES Charles T. Manatt Democracy Awards, which recognize extraordinary efforts to advance electoral participation and democratic values. McPherson served as special assistant to President Gerald Ford, was head of USAID under Ronald Reagan, worked as president of Michigan State University from 1993 to 2004 and is currently the president of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.
Adios, Nirvana, written by Conrad Wesselhoeft, is about life, death and coming of age in West Seattle. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the book is classified as young adult fiction. It is a first-person confessional by Jonathan, a writer, guitar player and high school junior who appears to have all the makings of a successful teenager, except for the fact that he’s close to self-destruction. Wesselhoeft is a former New York Times editorial staffer, Cisco Systems senior editor and World Vision senior writer.
David Conner is a new faculty member at the University of Vermont this year. He is an assistant professor in the community development and applied economics department. Conner has his master’s degree from the University of Vermont and his doctorate degree from Cornell. He most recently spent six years as a research assistant professor with the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University.
Wayne R. Nilsestuen has been sworn in as the director for USAID’s mission in Bolivia. He has more than 30 years in development experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The first two decades of his career were spent working as an agricultural development officer in Pakistan, El Salvador and Senegal and at USAID headquarters in Washington, DC. Nilsestuen then served as USAID mission director in Paraguay and deputy mission director in Honduras and Bolivia. His most recent post was as the mission director in Guatemala. He holds two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
New Mexico State University professor Everett Egginton is in Colombia for six weeks as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program. While there, he will focus on providing assistance to six universities in Medellin to internationalize their campuses and academic programs, establish ties with universities in the United States and develop long-term plans for internationalization.
Jack Dibenedetto (88-90) recently donated a copy of the Koran in English and Arabic to the Fellowship Library at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth, Mass. The book was given to him when he served as a Peace Corps volunteer.