Cultural Vistas Alumni Happenings: December 2015

For some people, work slows down in December, but not for our alumni–we could barely keep up! They’re an impressive bunch, if I must say so myself. Here’s a list of updates on what some of our Cultural Vistas alumni have been up to in the past month.

1. Ukrainian Alumni Speak on Youth Activism

Anya Suprunenko (IVLP) and Liza Shchepetylnykova (Muskie) participated in our first Alumni Discussion Series event focused on Youth Activism and Leadership in Ukraine. Liza shared her personal experience participating in the Euromaiden protests and in the overall youth movement. Anya discussed the bipartisan work of the European Youth Parliament and how they work together with other youth groups to bring about more awareness and social change.

L to R: Anya Suprunenko (IVLP), Liza Liza Shchepetylnykova (Muskie), Elizabeth Bortkiewicz (Accounting Manager, Accounts Receivable at Cultural Vistas), and Yelena Khotsevitch (Assistant Program Officer for Muskie at Cultural Vistas). Both Elizabeth and Yelena are of Ukrainian descent, with Yelena also having spent time in Ukraine with Peace Corps Response.

2. Alumni Gather for New York City Reception

Just because your international experience has ended doesn’t mean our relationship has. On November 12, our alumni, staff, and board members gathered in New York City to share the impact of their experiences and learn about our newly-launched alumni relations offerings. We were happy to have over 30 alumni attend this event.

Check out the many of faces of the Cultural Vistas family!

Ms. Maia Gelashvili and Ms. Anna Siprikova, alumni of the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program, with Vice President of Professional Exchange Programs, Elizabeth Chaulk.

3. Over 50 Korea WEST Alumni Meet in Seoul

Last week more than 50 Korea WEST alumni and officers of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul gathered together for the 2015 WEST Alumni Night and Career Mentoring event.

“It was really nice to see them again in Korea as many of them have finished school and are either job searching or now have jobs. I was so proud to see many of them coming up to me to say hello and give me their business cards.”

– Angela Baek, Director of the Korea WEST program at Cultural Vistas

Korea WEST alumni gather at event in Seoul, Korea.

4. Linda Sarsour Calls Out Anti-Muslim Bigotry on MSNBC

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and an alumna of IntegrationXchange, a U.S. Department of State funded project we administered in 2008, has been pushing back against Islamophobia. In a recent interview on MSNBC which has been widely circulated in recent weeks, Linda says “our Statue of Liberty continues to be a symbol of welcoming immigrants,” and goes on to discuss her views on U.S. political responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.

She was also recently profiled in the New York Times for her advocacy efforts.

5. Weihnachtsmarkt-themed Holiday Reception

On December 2, 30+ Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) and Bosch alumni gathered in Washington, D.C. for a Weihnachtsmarkt-themed Holiday Reception. With a mutual love for all things German, it was a wonderful evening of networking, drinking glühwein, and nibbling on five types of stollen.

L to R: Franz Wayne Rivera (CBYX), Patrick Von Suskil (CBYX), Mackenzie Nelson (CBYX), Alexandra Magaard, and Jennifer Huffman (CBYX).

 6. Collette Mazzucelli and Markos Kounalakis Weigh in on Refugee Crisis

Collette Mazzucelli and Markos Kounalakis, both alumni of the Robert Bosch Fellowship,  have individually written about the refugee crisis this month.

In Colette’s article for Women Across Frontiers she co-writes a feminist critique of the refugee crisis. Markos urges readers of the Sacramento Bee to Give Middle East Refugees a Fighting Chance.

7. From Silicon Valley to Truffle Farming 

Ever thought about changing careers? Many people do it, and often more than once. Read this NBC News article on how Robert Chang, Bosch Alumnus, went from Silicon Valley to Truffle Farming. Robert is also featured in a Stanford Alumni spotlight titled Fungus Among Us.

8. German Embassy Profiles CBYX Alumni

Throughout the month of November, the Germany Embassy in Washington, D.C. shared stories of various CBYX alumni in effort to promote the program. One post profiles Cody Myers, a CBYX alumnus from Perry, Iowa who participated in the program during 2006-2007.  Cody spent his CBYX experience in Cologne, Hamburg, and Kiel, and is now, eight years later, an active alumnus in the Washington, D.C. chapter of CBYX alumni.

9. Bosch Alumni Speak about Fellowship Experience

We recently put together five Bosch alumni videos on our YouTube Channel. Check out the one below of Christina Tsafoulias and then head over to hear from Adam Hunter, Gale Mattox, Yolanda McGill, and Sarah Hale on all things Bosch.

10. Mare Stewart to Teach at Singapore American School

Come July 2016, Mare Stewart will be transplanting to Singapore to teach at the Singapore American School–one of the top international high schools in the world. Mare is an aluma of the American Youth Leadership Program. We are excited for her new opportunity and hope to see many more photos as she embarks on this new adventure.


Its Official! We will be moving to Singapore in late July! I will have the opportunity to return to teaching high school Geography–where my heart and passion in teaching is. It is very exciting because this has been my dream location for my career. But it is also bittersweet to be thinking about saying goodbye at the end of this school year to such a great community of students, colleagues, families and friends here at Chadwick International in Korea. I put my dreams out there into the Universe and the Universe–along with many of you reading this, conspired to make it happen! Thank you to everyone who has played a hand in helping me fulfill my dreams! My family and I are very lucky and blessed! My soul is so happy! #pursueyourpassion

A photo posted by Mare Stewart (@whereismare) on

11. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Publishes Multiple Articles on Refugee Crisis, Defense Issues

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, accomplished author and Robert Bosch Fellowship alumna, was recently published on Fox News, Defense One, and Goop, providing her insight on modern defense issues.

Enjoy Gayle’s work? Watch her 2011 talk on the global economy of investing in women.

12. Liudmila Dedushkina Receives 2015 ASPA Founders’ Fellowship

Through a competitive review process, Northern Illinois University Department of Public Administration announced on Thursday, December 17 that Liudmila Dedushkina, an alumna of the Muskie Internship Program has been named one of the 2016 ASPA Founders’ Fellows. This means Liudmila will receive “substantial professional development and networking opportunities and will be paired with a seasons scholar or practitioner” as her mentor for the fellowship year.

Richard Bobo

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