Connie first visited South India as an undergraduate study abroad student in 2000. Since then, Madurai has become a second home. Visits are full of long conversations with friends, research, language study, shopping trips for clothes, pothus, and bangles, multiple meals at Murugan Idli, trips to see Tamil films with Ms. Nirmala, ridiculously hot treadmill running, and bowling at the local mall. Connie earned a PhD in Anthropology from Syracuse University, with Certificates of Advanced Study in South Asian Studies and Women’s Studies. Before joining South India Term Abroad as executive director in 2010, she had the opportunity to teach courses for 2nd semester academic year program students in Madurai. (SITA’s academic year program is an opportunity for extended cultural immersion, independent research, and international living experience she hopes more students take advantage of in the future!) Connie continues to be excited about providing opportunities for students to immerse themselves within a culture and among communities in Madurai that have been such an integral part of her own personal and intellectual development.
Connie is currently based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Apart from a couple trips each year to south India, she enjoys road and mountain biking (including road cycling tours in Iowa, the puget sound, through the Pyrenees, Scotland, and Iceland), snowboarding, running road and trail RAGNAR relays, marathons, camping, spending time with border collies Col and Ely, and occasionally teaching courses in Honors, Justice Studies, and Anthropology at Westminster College. Although working with SITA is a perfect job in many ways, her favorite job ever was working as a canoe guide for high school students in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.