October 24, 2010 connie

SITA Center & Staff

Located in a residential area, the SITA Center offers students a comfortable home-base and access to the cultural and academic resources of Madurai. It is adjacent to Lady Doak College (a women’s college) and a short bicycle ride to American College (co-ed). Students can visit both campuses to attend events, use libraries, and meet with faculty and students. However, all SITA courses take place in the SITA Center. In addition to classrooms, the two-building center houses our staff offices, a state-of-the-art library, a computer center, and social gathering spaces for students. Host families live an easy walk, bicycle, or bus ride from the Center. It is a 10 minute bus ride from the center of the city.

The U.S.-based Director, Connie M. Etter, is responsible for overall program operations, manages the admission and pre-departure process, and oversees staff and faculty in Madurai. Connie is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Syracuse University. Her dissertation research explores themes of belonging and community in a Christian, short-term social rehabilitation shelter for women outside of patriarchal family structures in Madurai. She has spent three years studying, learning Tamil, and conducting research in South India, including a two-year residence in Madurai from June 2007-August 2009.

The Resident Director, Trudy Delong, manages program operations in India, teaches the Directed Field Research course and supervises students’ field research projects, advises students on cultural adjustment, and assists students in integrating their personal experiences into an academic framework. Trudy is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at Syracuse University.

The Program Assistant, John Spangler, imparts pre-departure cultural information and advice, helps students deal with cultural issues in India, and facilitates the well-being of students throughout the program. John was a SITA student in ________ and graduated from ________ in ____. Program Assistants are recently-graduated SITA alumni. Their personal experiences on the SITA Program make them particularly conscious of and well-suited to address the sorts of issues and challenges that SITA students face. John Spangler

Recently-graduated SITA alumni serve as Program Assistants, imparting pre-departure cultural information and advice, helping students deal with cultural issues in India, and facilitating the well-being of the students throughout the program. Assistants’ personal experiences on the SITA Program make them particularly conscious of and well-suited to address the sorts of issues and challenges that SITA students face.

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