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. From 2005 to 2012, SherriLynn conducted ethnographic research in New Orleans, Louisiana, on disaster recovery, nonprofits, urban traditions, and community-based social activities. Her extensive research drew together issues of globalization and race and health disparities. She also examined how environment, structural inequity, and local policy act as determinants of community well-being. Her research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Fellowship award for scholarly achievement and excellence in teaching. SherriLynn is passionate about learning, as well as teaching. Her intellectual interests rest at the nexus of holistic community well-being, ethnography, and ethical considerations of representation. She is currently drafting her research into a book.
SherriLynn has been with SIT since 2011; she has coordinated programs for both the Health and the Cities programs. 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.
Chris Westcott, MA, Program Manager
Chris is a social justice educator, and changemaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Chris’s professional background combines experience working with social change–oriented study abroad programs, along with on-the-ground experience with grassroots US-based and international NGOs. Before becoming program manager of the Human Rights and Climate Change programs, Chris was a traveling faculty member, then country coordinator with the Cities program. Additionally, Chris was a program facilitator for two years on CIEE Thailand’s study abroad program focusing on globalization and development. Through his work experience with NGOs, Chris has coordinated NYC-based campaigns for worker’s rights and the right to housing and international campaigns for trade justice and sustainable agriculture. For three years, Chris worked in San Francisco as a founding staff member of ENGAGE, a network that organizes returned study abroad students to effect local and global change. Chris has a BA in environmental studies from Bates College, and an MA in international educational development from Columbia University. While at Columbia, Chris was a teaching assistant for courses on social identity, social change, and human rights education.
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.
Brian Johnson, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Brian is a cultural medical anthropologist whose academic and professional specializations include critical perspectives on medicine and healing, global inequities and disparities, and the social determinants of disease, illness and health, and political and social movements. Dr. Johnson holds a PhD in sociomedical sciences and anthropology from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University; and master’s degrees in public health and Latin American Studies, both from UCLA. He has lived and worked for over 20 years in Latin America, primarily Bolivia. While there, he worked in primary healthcare and collaborated with national governments, nongovernmental organizations, and indigenous organizations in a number of countries. In the US, he has worked with community clinics and programs promoting healthcare access for underserved populations in Los Angeles and New York City. He has also worked as a professor at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) where he taught courses that examined medical anthropology, the political economy of health, and introductory classes of sociocultural anthropology.
Lindsey Gillies, Trustees Fellow
Lindsey is an alumna of SIT Study Abroad and is excited to be joining the Health and Communities team. Lindsey is a midwife and is passionate about the intersection of women’s reproductive health and international education. Lindsey graduated with honors from the University of Vermont with a BA in English and environmental studies and recently completed her academic and clinical training in midwifery at Maternidad La Luz, a busy freestanding birth center on the US/Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Lindsey has years of experience in youth leadership development, community building, mental health services, international education, and climate justice. She has worked in and traveled to many countries around the world where she has led workshops and worked alongside community organizations. She is thrilled to be working with such a wonderful group of students this coming spring.