An estimated 300 people gathered at the Monterey Institute this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, sharing stories, paying tribute to the lasting legacy of volunteers at home and abroad, and savoring food and music from the countries served by MIIS students.
September 2, 2012
Program: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Undergrad: University of California (Linguistics and Psychology)
Fast Fact: Heidi and three of her colleagues were published in the CATESOL 2011 journal.
"I was really drawn to the rare opportunity of living in such a small and diverse linguistic and cultural community."
During her undergraduate career, Heidi volunteered at the UCSD International Center working as a literacy teacher's assistant in a primarily Spanish-speaking high school. This opportunity sparked an interest to spend a year in Mexico honing her Spanish skills.
"During my year abroad in Mexico, I connected with Spanish language educators and imagined myself doing the same, but in my own culture back home," Heidi said.
Heidi decided to pursue her graduate studies at MIIS for a number of reasons.
"I was first drawn to the many opportunities for TESOL graduate students at MIIS. Further, I was really drawn to the rare opportunity of living in such a small and diverse linguistic and cultural community. All in beautiful Monterey - it seemed too good to be true! I also really admired the profiles of the professors in the program, all of whom seemed to be amazing applied linguistics and educators."
She goes on to say, "When I reflect on my time here, I think about the extreme amount of room I was given to grow and develop myself as a professional. The professors have always been supportive and flexible of my academic and professional experiences."
Heidi has been heavily involved with the Peace Resource Center, a project of the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, since January 2011. She has worked in some capacity as a teacher, curriculum developer, graduate student writer, program coordinator, and now serves on their board of directors.
"Things kind of naturally fell into place in terms of my involvement as the needs of the program grew over time," she said. "Aside from classes, we have expanded the program to offer one-on-one tutoring, weekend events, bilingual movies and potlucks, and we are trying to fundraise through a biyearly benefit concert."
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The Peace Corps’ latest rankings place the Monterey Institute in a tie for third in the nation in terms of the number of students enrolled through the Peace Corps Master’s International program.