The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD, Program Director
SherriLynn Colby-Bottel received her doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Virginia in 2012. She also completed a BA in anthropology (1998) and an MA in music (2001), with distinction, at California State University, Fresno. From 2005 to 2012, Dr. Colby-Bottel conducted ethnographic research in New Orleans, Louisiana, on disaster recovery, nonprofits, urban traditions, and community-based social activities. Her extensive research drew together many of the issues highlighted by disaster and recovery: how racial inequities align with health disparities, the impact of globalization on everyday life, the ethical considerations of representation and rebuilding, how environment and social policy act as determinants of community health, and the vital role of community in one’s ability to achieve personal health and well-being. The National Science Foundation and the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Fellowship award for scholarly achievement and excellence in teaching supported her longitudinal research.
SherriLynn is passionate about teaching, learning, and collaborative intellectual projects. She has worked and volunteered for several nonprofit organizations in the last decade while also researching how nonprofit organizations retain and reward labor. Her current intellectual interests are focused on holistic community well-being, ethnography, and the ethical considerations of representation. SherriLynn has been with SIT since 2011; she has coordinated programs for both the Health and the Cities programs in addition to serving as director for the Health and Community program. She has worked in higher education for more than a dozen years as both teacher and administrator at California State University, Fresno; the University of New Orleans; and the University of Virginia.
Anna Gail Caunca, MA, Program Manager
Anna Gail's previous work experience has focused on the areas of youth and young adult leadership development, community-building, residential life and student welfare, international education, and human rights education. Building on her graduate studies in social justice and international education, Anna Gail worked with World Learning’s Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding Programs, facilitating workshops with the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on current issues and youth activism and traveling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years. In 2013, she traveled as the IHP Trustees’ Fellow for the inaugural year of the Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy program. After four adventurous years living in Wellington, New Zealand, she is excited for a new chapter as the IHP program manager in 2015.
Anna Gail earned her BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management and received her educator’s licensure in secondary education in social studies, incorporating social justice in the classroom. She is a vegetarian, photographer-in-the-making, and running enthusiast with a hearty laugh.
Susan Sakash, Program Assistant
Susan Sakash lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her master’s degree in social innovation and sustainability through Goddard College, a low-residency, self-directed learning program based in Vermont. Her graduate research is focused on strengthening solidarity and cooperative economies. More specifically, she has been looking at how these frameworks and strategies inform the myriad local food system efforts both within the city of New Orleans and across the Deep South.
While in high school at Phillips Exeter Academy, Susan lived with a homestay family in Cuernavaca, Mexico, for two months. In college, she did a Spanish-immersion study abroad program in Madrid, Spain. Susan received her BA from Wesleyan University in 2000.
For the past fifteen years, Susan has explored questions of how people and communities grow stronger through mutual aid and collective action. Her approaches to this inquiry have run the gamut — from curating socially engaged public art projects in Dublin, Ireland, to living in intentional communities in Costa Rica, to organizing activist street band festivals in Providence, Rhode Island. She spent the better part of the last decade working as a fund development professional for community-based nonprofits such as Raw Art Works in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, Rhode Island, before relocating to New Orleans. Susan's free time is consumed by playing the trombone, roasting her own coffee, growing food, and maintaining an active compost pile at her neighborhood community garden.
Lindsey Gillies, Launch Coordinator, Washington, DC
Lindsey is an alumna of the International Honors Program and is excited to be joining the Health and Community team as the Washington, DC, launch coordinator. Lindsey is a Vermont licensed midwife (LM) and a certified professional midwife (CPM) since 2014. She has a passion for fertility work, nutrition, and herbal wellness, and brings with her years of work in the areas of female empowerment and reproductive justice. She has served the Vermont community as both a birth doula and childbirth educator. Additionally, she has worked in mental health services with survivors of sexual abuse and trauma.
Her background includes a comprehensive academic and clinical training at Maternidad La Luz, a high-volume freestanding birth center on the border in El Paso, Texas. Additionally, she successfully completed an intensive academic midwifery program with Mercy in Action in Boise, Idaho. Lindsey holds a BA in English and environmental studies from the University of Vermont.
Gillies is one of the founding members of Rising Tide Vermont. With Rising Tide Vermont, she has organized numerous direct action trainings and events across the northeast, and is currently working on the campaign to stop the fracked gas pipeline. She also serves on the board of directors of the Global Justice Ecology Project.
Lindsey studied on an IHP program in 2008–2009 as an ungraduated. In the spring of 2015, she served as a Trustees’ Fellow with Health and Community. She is excited to return to work with IHP.
Abid Siraj, Country Coordinator, India
Abid has been working with SIT Study Abroad as an academic coordinator for the India: Health and Human Rights program since January 2011. He holds a master's degree in social work, with a specialization in reproductive and child health. Abid has over 12 years of experience in the public health field in India. Previously, he worked for a USAID-funded project on the role of local self-government in the promotion of reproductive and child health. He also served as project coordinator of the USAID-funded Community-Based Distribution Project of Family Planning Methods. He was part of a pioneering team that implemented a flagship public health program for the government of India's National Rural Health Mission in Rajasthan. Abid was also involved with one of UNICEF's largest communication and social mobilization initiatives, the intensive immunization of pulse polio in Uttar Pradesh. He was a visiting faculty for SIT Study Abroad before joining SIT full-time in India.
Rose Blake, Country Coordinator, South Africa
Rose Blake is currently writing a PhD dissertation in social anthropology. The research for her PhD was conducted in the township of Zwelethemba and focuses on the tensions leading to intergenerational conflict between close female kin (grandmothers, mothers, and granddaughters) around care and domesticity. It focuses in particular on the impacts of HIV/AIDS, the social grant system, and widespread unemployment on these relationships. Rose holds a master’s degree in medical anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and in the past has conducted research into the experiences of children receiving in-patient chemotherapy at a large provincial children’s hospital in South Africa. She has been involved in coordinating the Cape Town portion of spring and fall Health and Community programs since 2010, and she served as program manager for the IHP Health and Community program in 2012–13.
Glenda de la Fuente, MA, Country Coordinator, Brazil
Glenda de la Fuente holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and a postgraduate degree from King’s College, University of London, in applied linguistics and English language teaching. She was a professor for and coordinator of the extracurricular English program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she was in charge of teacher training courses. Since 1987, she has been a member of the Humanist Movement, an international volunteer organization engaged in the promotion of equity and human rights worldwide; through this work, she has served as a lecturer and promoter of grassroots groups committed to the principles of nonviolence and nondiscrimination in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil. Born in Argentina, for the last nine years she has lived in São Paulo, where she currently works as a freelance conference interpreter and translator. She also promotes humanist education programs with community-based groups. She has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad / IHP Cities program since 2008, and since 2010 she has also coordinated the SIT Study Abroad / IHP Health and Community program in São Paulo.
Joshua Cohen, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Joshua Cohen is an anthropologist whose interests include a passion for teaching and learning with students; the interrogation of global systems and regimes of power and knowledge; and relationships between human well-being, environment and political economy. He recently submitted his PhD thesis in social anthropology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). His doctoral work followed disparate practices of knowledge production, centering on plants used for healing, in rural areas in Namaqualand, South Africa. He followed local kruiedokters (herb doctors) and molecular biologists as they each made sense of, and attempted to tap, the healing potential of plants growing in the rocky Namaqualand landscape. His master’s studies, also in social anthropology and based at UCT, explored relationships between political-economic realities, landscapes, plants, and well-being in the Klein Karoo region of South Africa.
Jillian Blouin, Trustees’ Fellow
Jillian is an alumna of the Health and Community program (2012) and is incredibly enthusiastic to take on a new role in the program as the Trustees’ Fellow. She has worked in outdoor education, grassroots movements, and mental health services and with a national research study. Since graduating from Colby College in 2013 with a BA in biology and environmental studies, Jillian has dedicated herself to learning about the health of her community in Maine. She first worked at a peer support and recovery center for adults living with severe and persistent mental health illness. She then provided operational support for the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Jillian has a background as a Wilderness First Responder and an outdoor trip leader. She has traveled with student groups of varied ages across California and New England. Community building has been at the center of her past experiences, and she plans to bring this strength to the traveling team. Jillian is an outdoor enthusiast, an avid taster of world cuisines, and an aspiring healthcare professional.