Current Engaging Eurasia Teacher Fellows

Meet our fellows for the 2022-2023 school year.

Amy Palo has taught for 15 years at Cornell High School in Coraopolis, PA and is a graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield (M.A. Political Science) and Penn State University (B.A. Secondary Education- Social Studies). She is Pennsylvania’s 2018 James Madison Fellow, a 2017 Barringer Fellow, a 2017 Fund For Teachers awardee, a World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh George C. Oehmler awardee, and a member of the iCivics and National Constitution Center educator networks. At Cornell Amy teaches AP US History, US History, and World History to 10th and 11th grade students. She is the Student Council sponsor at Cornell and Union President. Outside of school she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband Jon, dog Fin, and twin boys Theodore and Lincoln.

Marian Smith is an Upper School History Teacher and academic advisor at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA, an all-girls school for grades pre-Kindergarten through 12, where she has been teaching since 2020. Marian teaches 9th grade Modern World History and an interdisciplinary course on animal fables in world history and literature, and will teach electives on the Soviet Union and the Holocaust in the fall 2022 and spring 2023, respectively. In addition to teaching history and serving as the advisor to 12 amazing juniors, Marian also serves as a faculty advisor to Baldwin’s Model UN and Linguistics Olympiad clubs. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from Harvard, and pursued a PhD in Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan, where she specialized in the history and culture of early modern Iran and Central Asia. At Michigan, she was the graduate student instructor for a History of Modern Central Asia course in 2018 and 2020, an experience that ignited her passion for teaching about the region’s history. Her graduate studies afforded her many opportunities to live, study, research, and travel throughout Eurasia, including in Russia, Turkey, Tajikistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and India. She is passionate about incorporating these global experiences into her teaching, and introducing her students to peoples and places not commonly found in high school history curricula.

George Dalbo currently teaches high school social studies in Clinton, Wisconsin. Previously, George has taught social studies in every grade from 5th through 12th in public, charter, and private schools in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as two years in Vienna, Austria. George is also a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction and Social Studies Education at the University of Minnesota. His research interests center broadly on Holocaust, genocide, and human rights education in middle and secondary social studies curricula and classrooms. George earned an M.Ed. in Social Studies Education from the College of St. Scholastica, spent two years studying East European History at the University of Vienna as a Fulbright scholar, and completed a B.A. in History and German from the University of Buffalo.

Born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Southern Europe, Maria Blake earned her B.A. in English from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, and an M.A. in English from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ. Currently, she teaches Sophomore English/World Literature, and Cultural Relevant Literature at Cholla IB High School.  She also works part-time as an Instructor of Modern Greek at the University of Arizona. Over the years, her educational paths have taken her to numerous conferences, seminars, and institutes on a variety of subjects ranging from Asian, Asian-American literature and cultural studies, Holocaust and WWII studies, history, media  and film studies, ethnic studies, second language learning and teaching, to religion, art,  and pedagogy. In the summer of 2019, she visited China on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship with the University of Arizona.

As a First Generation American, a singular thread in Katherine Bielawa-Stamper's career has been advocacy. She attributes this to her working-class roots and gratitude to those who helped her find her way educationally and professionally. With a BA in History, a Study Abroad Scholarship in Eastern Europe, and an MPA, she has worked as a civil rights investigator, legislative liaison, consumer advocate, prison educator, college instructor, newspaper columnist, and nonprofit development & communications director. She hosts a local radio show in Burlington, Vermont—Present Time—on WBTV LP, 99.3 FM in which she strives to bring the voices of those less represented in our culture to the airwaves.  Teaching at the Community College of Vermont and writing creative nonfiction represent her deepest passions.

Kenneth J. Yin is a full-time faculty member in modern languages, literatures, and linguistics at the City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College. His scholarly work focuses on the oral and written literature of the Dungans, the Sino-Muslims of Central Asia, and the literatures of the indigenous peoples of Russia, in particular the Tungus peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Russian Far East. He has received fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the City University of New York, and the Research Foundation of The City University of New York. His publications include Dungan Folktales and Legends (Peter Lang, 2021) and Mystical Forest: Collected Poems and Short Stories of Dungan Ethnographer Ali Dzhon (Peter Lang, in press). He holds degrees from Cornell University and Georgetown University.

Brett Vance has been interested in Eurasian history and culture since his time as an exchange student in the former Soviet Union. He stayed active throughout the 1990’s by engaging naturalized American citizens from the former Soviet Union and by participating in forums held by the Russia Society of New Hampshire. Brett has been able to apply his passion for the history and culture of this region by designing and co-teaching curriculum, including a Russian Studies program, for students at Alvirne High School.  Prior to arriving at Alvirne in 2008, Brett taught AP European History and Twentieth Century World History at Merrimack High School. Since 2017, Brett has been sharing his experiences and curriculum with fellow educators in the state of New Hampshire.  Brett currently organizes professional development conferences as Vice-President (2021) and now President-Elect of the New Hampshire Council for the Social Studies.

Brenda Boehler currently serves as Social Studies Department Chair for Cholla High School in Tucson, Arizona, where she teaches IB Theory of Knowledge, GATE Western Civilization and World History. She has taught for more than two decades in diverse settings. Throughout the years, she has shared her passion for civil discourse, civic engagement and travel. She has taught in Brighton, England, Ukraine and Russia.  Brenda encourages students to interact with the world beyond their community.  Beyond teaching, Brenda enjoys reading, hiking, helping animals and practicing mindfulness.  Most recently, she participated in a pilgrimage in the Sacred Forest of northern Italy.

Brian Goeselt is a twenty-year teacher of history and economics at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts. Currently he is teaching Modern World and AP US History to sophomores and juniors. His special teaching interests involve integrating economic concepts and themes, as well as the use of period music, art, poetry and primary sources of all types into his courses. He's especially interested in filling the gaps in his professional knowledge, including Russian and Soviet culture and history. Brian came to teaching after two decades in the private sector in a variety of positions in consumer brand management. He holds a BA in history from Dartmouth College, an MBA and MAT from Boston College and is a US Army veteran, stationed in West Germany with the First Infantry Division during the 1980's.

Rabiah Khalil has been an educator for over 15 years.  She has worked at various independent schools in the DC Metropolitan area as an educator and administrator.  She earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Johns Hopkins University, a Master’s in Linguistics at Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s in English at the University of Maryland.  She is currently seeking a Master’s in English at Middlebury College.  She is a lifelong learner who enjoys experiences that pique curiosity, catalyze the imagination, expand schema, connect cultures, and elicit self-reflection.  

Alexander Uryga graduated summa cum laude from Valparaiso University with a BA in political science and history. Before graduating from Valpo he was an intern on Capitol Hill for a United States Senator, and after graduating worked at a public affairs and government relations firm and at a global, social justice, not-for-profit organization, and served at a community learning center through AmeriCorps. Alexander earned his MA in teaching and curriculum from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and now teaches history at the Cambridge Matignon School in Cambridge, MA. In 2019 he made the Michiana (southern Michigan and northern Indiana) Forty Under 40 list and was named a Distinguished Teacher from Michigan City Area Schools. In 2021 he was awarded the Carolyn & Peter Lynch Award for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Lynch Foundation; and in 2022 won the Richard Aieta Promising Teacher Award from the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies.