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.
Azibuike Akaba, Launch Coordinator – San Francisco
Azibuike Akaba is currently managing an environmental consultancy with clients such the Public Health Institute, Enterprise Company, and the Moving Forward Network. He is a project coordinator for the University of California, San Francisco, human research division (Healthy Homes, Happy Children — green affordable housing study). Azibuike was a former policy analyst and project director of the Regional Asthma Management and Prevention — Land Use and Transportation planning program. He specializes in research and investigation of industrial pollution, public engagement, and policy development. His area of interest is the intersection between climate change and public health urban planning.
Vu Cong Nguyen MD, MPH, Country Coordinator, Vietnam
Nguyen is the deputy director of the Institute of Population Health and Development. He was previously a director of the Family Health Research Center, a lecturer at Hanoi Medical School, a program officer with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, and a program officer with Family Health International. Currently, Nguyen is leading several HIV/AIDS research and intervention projects in Vietnam that target most-at-risk populations. He and his staff are also implementing an HIV prevention project targeting young Vietnamese soldiers who are completing mandatory military service. Dr. Nguyen obtained his medical doctorate from Hanoi Medical School in 1993 and a master’s of public health at Brown University in 2005. His expertise includes health systems management, epidemiology, and biostatistics and their applications in public health research, with a special interest in HIV/AIDS. He is also a founder of the Vietnamese Society for HIV/AIDS Medicine and a member of the Vietnamese Public Health Association and American Public Health Association.
Jan G. Vermeulen, MComm, Country Coordinator, South Africa
Jan commenced his career as a human resources practitioner in the private sector and became a business consultant focusing on executive development, change management, mentorship, performance management, and productivity. Since the early nineties he has worked toward poverty alleviation. In 1993, he relocated to Bushbuckridge, where he assisted with the set-up of Pfunanane Co-operative and Credit Union. He established the Bushbuckridge Local Business Service Centre in Acornhoek and Central Business Service Centre (now LIBSA). Recently, he has been consulting as a development practitioner and has been involved with research in natural resource business opportunities, income generation for households headed by children because of AIDS, community leadership development, monitoring and evaluation of the transformation program at Wits University, and tourism-based LED at Greater Tzaneen and Letaba municipalities. Jan obtained an MComm at North-West University. He is registered as a practicing industrial psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Carolina Rovetta, MFA, Country Coordinator, Argentina
Carolina holds a five-year degree in arts from the University of Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in contemporary cinema and theater. She has been working in the field of international education for many years and designs several academic and immersion programs in Argentina for students and institutions from abroad. Her focus is on the interaction between academic content and cultural sensitivity. Ms. Rovetta has written several pedagogical guides on cultural activities in immersion. She also is very interested in arts and culture and works as a cultural facilitator for the city of Buenos Aires. She first began working with IHP in 2005 and helped establish the Cities in the 21st Century program in Buenos Aires. From there, she was asked to design the Health and Community program and has been running this program since 2008.
Alison Heller, PhD, Traveling Faculty
As a medical anthropologist and a West Africanist, Alison’s interests include global and reproductive health, chronic disease and infertility, sexuality and gender, and development and humanitarianism. Dr. Heller holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and has worked in West Africa for ten years on various projects in Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, and Niger. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Hays, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Ali’s research focuses on reproductive health in Niger. Specifically, Dr. Heller investigates the myriad consequences of and women’s strategies of coping with obstetric fistula, an injury sustained during childbirth that results in chronic incontinence. Her examination of the previously undocumented lives of women with fistula in Niger informs an emerging body of literature on global (particularly Western) representations of gendered suffering in the Global South through the analysis of lived experiences of women negotiating treatment seeking, social dynamics, and marital relationships. Additionally, Dr. Heller has experience as an ethnographic filmmaker, photographer, HIV/AIDS counselor, ESL instructor for immigrants and refugees, and popular press book researcher.
Tony Harris, Trustees’ Fellow
Tony is a native of Annapolis, Maryland. He holds an MA in conflict transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), a graduate program of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He also studied peace and conflict as an undergraduate student at Goucher College. During his time at CJP, Tony held a number of short-term positions related to community building, consultation, and conflict coaching. He worked as a lead researcher on local projects related to human rights, human dignity, and community health. As an undergraduate, Tony interned with a small private charity and helped its executive team design an integrated economic empowerment program. He also worked as a research associate and teaching assistant for Goucher’s peace studies department. Tony is an alumnus of the International Honors Program (IHP); he traveled to Brazil, Vietnam, and South Africa with the second health and community track in spring 2012. During the summer that followed, Tony interned at La Petite Fleur Montessori Academy (LPFA) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has also served as a program facilitator for World Learning’s summer youth programs. Tony is looking forward to working with the IHP team and the Health and Community student cohort.