Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2021

’ ‘95 ANNIE SCHLEICHER Annie Schleicher eanred a philosopyhdegree at Pitt in 1993 and then an English etdiounca degreeat Mercyhursitn 1995.Shewenton toteachEnglishatErie ' s VillaMariaAcademy for three years. Though sh e' d always been attracted to the Peace Corps, she w asn t sure her backrgound made her a good candteida . “I thougththat ’ ’ ” they wanted engineers and fmarers and individuals with meoterchnicalxeperience than I ha,dshe said . “I wasn t sure what I had to ofer. ’ ” But she nkew she wanted the adevnture of traveling ot a newocuntry and experiencing new peoples and cueltsu, rand sheeflt a strong obligtaion ot give back, so she applied anyway. From 1999ot 2001, sheowrked as aTEFL T(eaching English asoareFign Language)etacher in Dkahr an, the seocnd largest ciyt in Notrhern Mongolia. She tautgh students from kindegr arten to grade 12, who appreciated having a ntaive speakerotteach them English. ” help them imopvre their own English and pedagoigcal skills, and iteflt like something that could be sustainedtearfI letf. She added thtaworking with heroMngolian counterparts who taugthRussian and English was especially fulflling. “It allowed meot

’ Annie ' s had a number of different jobs since returning form the ePace Corps, each of them related to eductaion. She was an edoitr on the studetnwebsite for the PBS NeswHou,r then taught for six years at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High SchooTlo. day she ' s Director of Enrollment and Accounts a t Washington Yu Ying, a public charter schooWlainshington D.C. It 's a Mandarin Immersion International ’ ’ ’ Baccalaureate PrimaYreyars Program. Annie ' s husband, Matt Fabian, is also a Returned Peace Cor ps Volunteer, having served in Armenia, but theoucple met - during Bluergass Night at a bar back in the states . Their 7y- ear old daugther, Jane, is a student at WashingotnYuYing . The family also includes El,aar hound they adoepdtjust “ about the time thoerocnavirus pandemic forced them all to work and study from home. The universe must have known that we would need a newecatrure to love during this car zy time!s”he said.



Karl Gustasfon had lievd and worked aborad before enrolling in Merc yhurst ’ s graduate program in applied itnelligenec in 2011. iHs goal was to combine hisvoerseas experience and a Mercyhurst education ot work with the.US. State Department. Instead, he shipped out with theeacPe Corps just a month after completing his mast er ’ s degree. After two months of intensive Chinese language training, he was assigned to teach college-level classes in English anmd eArican cultuerat a university in Sichuan opvrince, China. His university sat on the outsirkts of Chengd, ua city of some 15 million peoplet htheadescibr ed as “ not optimal ” due to noise, air pollution and constant construtcion. His experience at the university was great, though. Dioscvering that his students were fascintaed by the lievs of American college studetns andWestern popular culteu,rhe incorporated American flms andVTshows into his lesson.sHe even ogr anized oudt oor flm nigtsh at which he screened “ the great American classics of the‘90s – basically yatnhing starirng Adam Sandle,rChris Farley or JimaCrrey. ” During beraks, Karl relished the opptournity to travel. Karl said skills developed in his mast er ’ s program – designed to help people doisvcer solutions and adaptot fuid ocnditions – easilyantrslated to working aborad in a new andxteremely diefrent environment. Since returning ot America in 2015, he ’ s worked with the oCnsumeriFnancial rPotection Buerau, frst in Chicago and me orercently in Washingotn, D.C. As part of the iFeld Litiga tion Team, he collects, reviews and analyezs evidenecto be used in poetntial consumer portection litigtaion. “Basically just a longaywof saying thtaI try to make lief difcultofr bad bank, hs e added ” . Karl ’ s Peace Corps experiences also porvidedarw material for a book he published in 2020. Fast Train Home , written under the pen name GaurslsKon, is descirbed as “ part memo,irpart philosophical

t extra snowy night. There was a slam poetry competition at the student union and I decided to sign up last minute. I didn’t tell any of my friends, just did it. And I won! Peace Corps was kind of like that. I just went for it. And I went in thinking I might have a chance o make an impact on the world, or someone, or something. But the truth is, it made a bigger impact on me than anything else I’ve gone on to do. I still can’t believe that somewhere in my brain s a language with another alphabet. Fifteen years later, it still feels like home.” “ i Nadia now lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband, Joe Husty, and their beloved French Bulldog, Hank. She works as Mid- Atlantic Marketing Director for a large commercial real estate frm.


Studying aborad in oLndon as a eMrcyhurst student gave Nadia oPwell her frst taestof living oversea.sAs she neaerd graduation with a dergee in communictaion, she decided she wanted to see more of the world before settling into an office job. “Ialsoloved the idea of a big challen, gimemersing ymself in a new culteu,rand possibly miankg a eral diference ,” she explained. When her assnigment to Bulgaira arived, she hadot turn to an atlas to discover just wheer she was heade.dShe disocvered she’d live and work in Rousse, a smallotwn on the banks of the DanuibverRat the far northeasetrn tip of the Balnk nation. From 2003 ot 2005, she taugt Ehnglish inrgades 7-11 duirng the schooel ayr and atrclassesta a girls ’ orphanage in the summer mthos.n Refecting on her decisioonjtoin theePace Corps, Nadiaercalled , “I remember one

rumination on the meaning and imtapnocer of travel and theavlue of starnge experiences. available iniKndle and papbearck of rmats at .

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