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Monterey Institute students from the International Education Management, Public Administration, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Teaching a Foreign Language, and Translation and Interpretation degree programs are participating in a new course this semester, learning about program design while working with seven local organizations on projects that further each of their missions.

The new course, “Service-Learning: International and Domestic Community Partnerships,” was developed and taught by Professor Netta Avineri, who is passionate about civic engagement and prioritizes real world applications of her in-class lessons. The organizations are: Big Sur Charter School, Community Assessment of Monterey County, Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands, International School of Monterey, Lyceum, National Steinbeck Center, and the YMCA. Student projects include website design, parent handbook and training development, educational video creation, leadership curriculum research, service-learning program development, grant writing, outreach, and tutor training handbook creation.

Alexandra (Ali) Philbrick (MAIEM ’14) and Kathryn Lattman (MAIEM ’15) have been working with the Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands initiative this semester. Every year girls in Monterey County organize a summit with peer-taught sessions, which Ali and Kathryn attended and assisted with. They are working on a video to help the next group of girl organizers and also helping out with curriculum design, activities, and lessons, and doing research for a report.

“It could not be more perfect for me,” shares Ali, who will build on her experience working with local girls when she heads off to Peru for the practicum portion of her degree in the fall. In Peru, she will be working with the nonprofit organization GirlSportWorks whose mission is to teach life skills to young women through athletics. “This is exactly what I want to be doing in the future,” she says. “Netta put a lot of thought into this,” says Kathryn appreciatively of the course, and adds that “you can’t beat the opportunity to learn by doing and do good at the same time by helping others.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir