Faculty (Volume 3: Summer 2014)

Amgen EastAmgen Biotech Experience

In early February, HL and SL Biology classes at East and West conducted Amgen Biotech Experience labs through the support of the Amgen Foundation, Marine Biological Lab, and Life Sciences Outreach at Harvard University. The goal of the labs is to generate enthusiasm among students for careers in biotechnology and other STEM fields. The program emphasizes a hands-on approach and the laboratory techniques mirror those used in the biotechnology industry and research facilities. Diabetes and production of insulin provide the focus for the laboratory sequence.
Travis Andrade, Latin – West

Travis Andrade was selected to present his paper “The Battle of Chalons (Catalaunian Plain) Battle Analysis According to the Nine Principals of War as Defined by the United States Army” at the American Classical League’s Institute at William and Mary College June 26-28.

Cape Cod 5 Mini Grants 2013-14

Randy Carspecken, Tonya Weimer, Sheila Gilligan, Claire Shea and Diane Klaiber at Cape Cod 5 Reception

Randy Carspecken, Tonya Weimer, Sheila Gilligan, Claire Shea and Diane Klaiber at Cape Cod 5 Reception

Sturgis faculty at East and West received a total of six Cape Cod 5 Mini Grants in 2013-14 for a total contribution of $2,440 to Sturgis. Thank you Cape Cod 5!

Laura Carah, West – Humanitarian Studies and Peace and Conflict   $ 500

Randy Carspecken, East – Using Sextants for Applications in Trigonometry  $ 500

Sheila Gilligan, East – Sport and Knowledge   $ 215

Diane Klaiber and Kate Dunigan-AtLee , East – Holocaust Studies and Travels $ 489

Claire Shea, East – Writing to Spain: Creating Connections through Common Language $ 236

Tonya Weimar, Gina Kelly, Lindsay Scott, Dennis Pace and John Tecklenburg – West  Group IV Project  $ 500

Since introducing this program in 2000, the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Trust has awarded $248,034 to Cape and Islands teachers. This program is designed to enhance classroom learning while defraying the cost of materials and resources not normally available through regular channels of school funding.  This year, 126 teachers from 47 schools throughout the Cape & Islands are recipients of Mini-Grants. Collectively, these educators, as well as all who applied, have and will continue to make our community a better place to live, work and raise children. It gives us great pleasure to present these awards and we appreciate your role in making the program a success by promoting the program within your school.                           Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Trust

Mr. Massey Discusses Career in Law Enforcement

Mr. Massey Discusses Career in Law Enforcement

Career Expo Day was held the morning of April 18.  Thirty-three representatives from our greater Sturgis community  enthusiastically stepped-up to the plate to help our students understand their career journeys.   All students were polled and selected three different workshops according to their interests.  Speakers attending included: Architect, Geriatric Care Industry, Physician Assistant, Financial Analyst, Sports Journalist, Dentist, Nuclear Medicine, Educator, Graphic and Web Design, Musician, Service/Americorps, Forensic Scientist, Lawyer, Headhunter/Business Consultant, Filmmaking, Bio-Medicine, Law Enforcement, Fire Chief, FBI, Service/ National Guard/Military, Banking, Renewable Energy, Civil and Environmental Engineer, Speech Pathologist, Public Policy Analyst, Health Care Management, Science and Technology (Environmental) Investigations, Career, Fisheries, Director Non-Profit, Environmental Scientist, Theatre Director, and Therapist / Social Worker.  Career Expo Day was a great success and provided students with insight into a wide variety of careers. This year, 350 East students had an opportunity to attend three workshops during the morning – creating over 1,000 conversations in just 2 hours of time. We greatly appreciate Sturgis parents, alumni and community members taking time to share their career experiences with our students.

Visitors from the Chicago Public Schools  and University of Chicago

Visitors from the Chicago Public Schools
and University of Chicago


Chicago Public Schools and University of Chicago

On December 13, Sturgis hosted fifteen visitors from the Chicago Public Schools and University of Chicago who are interested in exploring “IB for All.” The Chicago teachers and researchers observed classes on both campuses. Their visit concluded in the afternoon with a Q & A session.

Happy 232nd Birthday Captain Sturgis!

Captain William Sturgis, for whom our school is named, was born February 25, 1782 in happy birthday captain 001Barnstable Village. He later donated his childhood home to become Sturgis Library, the oldest library building in the United States. When his father died in 1797, Sturgis went to sea at age 15 to support his family as an assistant trader on the ship Eliza. At that time, he decided to make education a priority by immersing himself in an intensive study of navigation, mathematics, language and world history. Four years later, he became the youngest shipmaster in the American merchant fleet. After circumnavigating the world four times, he settled in Boston and created a trading partnership with John Bryant. Bryant & Sturgis managed many of the vessels traveling to the Pacific in the first half of the nineteenth century. Later, Sturgis became a philanthropist and was elected as a longtime member of the Massachusetts House and Senate.

During Freshman orientation, students learn about the early life of William Sturgis which exemplifies how much can be accomplished by young people who set goals and work hard to achieve them. The curiosity, character and courage he cultivated in his youth produced the good judgment and generosity he demonstrated during his later years. His many endeavors – economic, political, cultural, and civic – resulted in lasting benefits to his birthplace and his nation.

Deeper Learning 013Harvard Researchers Present Findings about Sturgis

Sturgis hosted three researchers from Harvard University Graduate School of Education for a total of ten days during 2013-14.  Jal Mehta, Sarah Fine, and Maren Oberman visited a large number of U.S. high schools over the past few years as they explored their topic of “Deeper Learning” and how schools can expose all students to rigorous concepts and coursework.   The trio divided their time between both Sturgis East and Sturgis West as they observed classes and interviewed faculty and school leaders.  They shared their findings about Sturgis and “Deeper Learning” at a joint faculty meeting at Sturgis West on May 14.  To learn more about their project, see  In Search of Deeper Learning.

Three ElvesHyannis Main Street

On December 7, Sturgis Elves added holiday spirit to festivities at the Hyannis Village Christmas Stroll on Main Street & at the waterfront. Sturgis sponsored arts & crafts and face painting at Sturgis East Annex while Sturgis Singers caroled along Main Street. Sturgis Parents Association provided baked goods and treats. The annual Christmas Stroll is organized by Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District.

Spring on Main 151Spring on Main155In May, Sturgis parents, faculty and students assisted with the 1st Spring on Main Street Festival sponsored by Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District. The festival featured sidewalk chalk art, music, Cinderella carriage rides, World Tai Chi day, a yoga demonstration, golfing demos and more!

IB Americas Conference

IB Americas LogoEric Hieser, Jenn Kirk, Paul Marble and Keith Clarke, Chair of Sturgis Board of Trustees attended the IB Conference of the Americas in Washington, DC. The conference hosted 1,600 attendees from 30 countries. Eric Hieser and Paul Marble presented a  workshop entitled “IB for All: Creating and Supporting Inclusive Classrooms in the Diploma Programme.” The presentation focused on the support systems Sturgis employs to assist all students, including students with special needs, to achieve successful results in the rigorous IB Diploma Programme.  The PowerPoint of their presentation is available here:  IB for All – Creating and Supporting Inclusive Classrooms in the Diploma Programme

This year marks the ninth time that the IB has selected Sturgis to present at one of its conferences.

IB Assessment Results

On July 5th, The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) issued 2014 IB assessment results. Sturgis IB results demonstrate the remarkable growth and development of our students, our faculty, our two campuses, and our “IB for All” mission.

IB Award of ExcellenceIB Award of Excellence

On January 11, Sturgis was honored to receive an IB Award of Excellence at the Guild of IB Schools of the Northeast (GIBS) Annual Conference in Boston. The award was presented to Sturgis for providing “Exemplary International Baccalaureate Education.” GIBS is an Association of International Baccalaureate World Schools in North America representing schools in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Pictured are Sturgis East IB Coordinator Cindy Gallo and Executive Director Eric Hieser receiving the award from GIBS President Dr. Albert Penna.

IB Foreign Language Oral Exams

Spanish Orals 001In early March, Grade 12 foreign language students at Sturgis and IB schools around the world were taking individual oral exams. Each student meets individually with their teacher at an appointed time to describe an image and its cultural significance for 3-4 minutes. The selected image represents one of the IB Options covered over the course of two years that include Science and Technology, Health, Leisure, Cultural Diversity, and Traditions and Customs.

During the exam, students are given an image they have never seen before that is related to these options and have 15 minutes to take brief working notes. At the end of preparation, teachers record the student’s commentary about the image. After 3-4 minutes of uninterrupted commentary, there is a 5-6 minute period of discussion between the student and teacher. The individual orals are internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB. The following video recorded in March shows East Seniors Mitch Starr and Hannah Taylor practicing for their HL Spanish oral:   Sturgis East Seniors Practice for HL Oral Exam

International Student Assessment 

International ExamOn Friday, February 7, 85 Sturgis students took a test given by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Programme for International Student Assessment (OECD-PISA).The test is used to compare educational systems worldwide and rank countries on the knowledge and skills of 15 year-old students. The Sturgis students who are taking the test were randomly selected by OECD-PISA.

Due to our national recognition by U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post, Sturgis was been selected by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to be one of the 50 charter schools across the U.S. to have our students take the OECD-PISA test. .We look forward to receiving the detailed report of the results that our Sturgis students achieved in comparison to students around the world.

“Since the year 2000, every three years, fifteen-year-old students from randomly selected schools worldwide take tests in the key subjects: reading, mathematics and science, with a focus on one subject in each year of assessment. The students take a test that lasts 2 hours. The tests are a mixture of open-ended and multiple-choice questions that are organised in groups based on a passage setting out a real-life situation. A total of about 390 minutes of test items are covered.  Students take different combinations of different tests.

They and their school principals also answer questionnaires to provide information about the students’ backgrounds, schools and learning experiences and about the broader school system and learning environment.” About PISA

Divya Johar, Physics – East

Divya Johar,  Molly Brennan  Ralph Tolbert, Co-Chair of MIT Club of Cape Cod Education Committee.

Divya Johar, Molly Brennan Ralph Tolbert, Co-Chair of MIT Club of Cape Cod Education Committee.

Through the generous support of the MIT Club of Cape Cod, Divya Johar will attend a Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT) at MIT  June 22 – 28. Over the last 10 years, the MIT Club of Cape Cod has sponsored 16 teachers from Cape Cod and the Islands to attend SEPT.

The SEPT project has been engaging and enlightening teachers from around the world for 25 years. MIT researchers and professors present participants with the latest developments in science and engineering and provide them with the opportunity to drink from the MIT “fire hose” of current and emerging knowledge. SEPT focuses on a few themes of active MIT research each summer (e.g. climate change, traffic, disease), combining daily keynote lectures with opportunities to explore related phenomena using MIT created software and materials.  Daily hands-on experience involves studying, modifying and even building computer simulations of these phenomena in a way that is accessible to novices and experts alike.

One of the missions of the MIT/CC alumni club is to foster STEM education on the Cape and Islands and to celebrate students who excel in those disciplines.

On May 28, Divya Johar and Molly Brennan were invited to attend dinner with the MIT Club of Cape Cod. Molly will start her freshman year at MIT in the fall.

Lynn Kelley, ToK – West

Sturgis West hosted a class of students from Cape Cod Community College in April.  The students were members of the Foundations of Education class taught by Professor Walter Klar.  They requested to see an IB Theory of Knowledge class as they were quite interested in the unique themes and essential questions of the course.  Sturgis teacher, Lynn Kelley who is an IB Examiner for Theory of Knowledge, led the class and even included the college students into the discussion with our Sturgis students.


Gina Kelly, Deirdre A. Detjens and Andrea Higgins at NSTA Conference

Deirdre A. Detjens, Andrea Higgins
and Gina Kelly at NSTA Conference

Gina Kelly, Biology – West

Sturgis West’s collaboration with Mass Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary on the Ecosystem Project was chosen as one of the projects to be presented at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Boston April 3-6. Gina Kelly (Lead Science Teacher at West), Deirdre A. Detjens and Andrea Higgins (Naturalists at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid) were co-presenters of the NSTA presentation “How Did a New High School and a Young Wildlife Sanctuary Collaborate to Foster New Citizen Scientists?” They described how science students are working alongside and in collaboration with naturalists to conduct a multi-grade investigation of the ecosystems of Cape Cod. One goal of the Ecosystem Project is to promote both stewardship and scientific literacy.



McDowell TOK 3.11Christine McDowell, ToK – West

On March 11, Christine McDowell’s Junior Theory of Knowledge (ToK) classes at West attended Professor Jacob Oni’s Intro to Sociology class at Cape Cod Community College. The ToK classes are studying human sciences at the moment. Professor Oni discussed social roles, social groups and leadership styles. Our students participated a great deal during class and asked insightful questions in the 20 minute Q&A session that followed.


Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Grant

Eric receives Science GrantOn April 14, Eric Hieser attended an event at Cape Cod Community College to recognize eight schools in Southeast MA that received grants from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC). Senate President Therese Murray and MLSC President and CEO Susan Windham-Bannister congratulated recipients and spoke of the importance of building strong life science academic programs.

The $100,000 MLSC grant to Sturgis will equip labs on both campuses with biotech tools that parallel modern industry standards. Students will have an opportunity to develop practical lab and research skills that we hope will enable more of them to pursue further education and future career paths in STEM fields.

For more information, see:  Cape Cod Times  Science programs get financial boost 

Mystic Valley

Lunch with Mystic Valley students in East Theatre Room

Mystic Valley Regional High School Visit

On April 2, nineteen students and teachers from Mystic Valley Regional High School, an IB school in Malden, visited classes at Sturgis East. The following day, a group of 16 Sturgis East students and teachers spent the day at Mystic Valley. This is the third year Sturgis East Student Council has organized exchanges with other IB schools in MA. Previous exchanges included the International School of Boston in Cambridge (2013) and Snowden International School in Boston (2012). Participants enjoy having a chance to visit other schools and observe IB classes while shadowing host students for a day.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

On May 13-14, Nora Kern visited classes and interviewed groups of students, parents, faculty, trustees and school leaders about the “IB for All” program at Sturgis. Ms. Kern is the Senior Manager for Research and Analysis at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools She is writing a feature profile about our school for their publications. Photo shows her interviewing Sturgis parents yesterday.

french exchange 020Paula O’Keefe, French – East

In April, Sturgis East hosted fourteen exchange students from Le lycée Thérèse d’Avila in Lille, France. One goal of the exchange is for students to have the opportunity to participate in classes, be immersed in local culture and gain global experience. French students are paired with Sturgis host students and their families. On June 18, thirteen Sturgis students traveled to Lille to live with host families there. Thanks to Madame O’Keefe and all the students and families who have supported and participated in the exchange!

Portuguese Language and Culture

Arlette Falkowski and Eric Hieser (left) with Portuguese Language and Culture

Portuguese Language and Culture Program

After regular school hours, Sturgis hosts a Portuguese language and culture program as a service to the community. The program is offered every Saturday and Monday evening during the school year. The Cape Cod Times featured an article about the program entitled “Preserving Portuguese: Language program helps young students maintain fluency in native tongue.”

See Cape Cod Times:   Program helps young students maintain Portuguese fluency 

Rachel Ollagnon, Theater – East and West

These Shining Lives Cast and Crew-200res

WE DID IT! Sturgis East made it to the Semi-Finals of the MA High School Theatre Festival on March 15 with These Shining Lives! Bourne High School, Notre Dame High School and Sturgis East all won for their preliminary rounds from our area. Four of our actresses, Lily Paradise, Sophia Braddel, Angela Young and Czarina Shartle, received individual acting awards. Plus, Audrey Peterson received a special award for costume design. Our entire cast and crew (all 27 of them) did a fabulous job and I am so excited and proud of all of them. WOOHOO!



Elie Rabinowitz, Spanish – West

LeukemiaElie Rabinowitz led a group of students, parents and teachers on an 80 mile relay race across Cape Cod to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Participants biked, ran and longboarded their way from Woods Hole starting at 5:30 am and arriving in Wellfleet around 6:00 pm. This is the second year in a row that Mr. Rabinowitz has organized the relay to raise money in honor of a friend who passed away from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. This year, he’s on pace to raise over $4,000. Photo shows Junior Jack Perry who rode his bike the entire way to help participants with timing and route finding!  For more information, see:


Sturgis East West at CooperstownThanks to Sturgis West baseball coach Elie Rabinowitz for planning an unforgettable experience for Sturgis West and East baseball teams to tour the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and play an East vs. West game at historic Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY. Sturgis East won the game and qualified for the MIAA Tournament. To read more about the game, see:

Sturgis East Baseball Beats West at Cooperstown, Qualifies for State Tournament




Robin Singer, Math – West

Robin Singer's classIn early February, Robin Singer’s 9th grade math class at Sturgis West investigated the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance in electric circuits. Some students had circuits with a fixed voltage and they were looking at how current and resistance were changing. Others had circuits with fixed current, and they looked at the relationship between resistance and voltage.

Having studied direct and inverse proportionality, the students were deriving a basic law of electric circuits by fitting curves to their data on Geogebra. The equipment was purchased with the help of a Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank grant.

Music and Math 003Music is Math!”

Sturgis was visited by George Scharr, director of the Falmouth branch of the Cape Cod Conservatory, and trombonist with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, as he hosted a program for students about mathematics and music. Selected math and music classes heard about the relationships between music (defined as “organized sound”) and math topics like the golden ratio, trigonometry and pitch, and the mathematics of rhythm and harmony.  To learn more about the presentations, see the feature article Music Meets Mathematics at Sturgis.


Peter Steedman, Principal – West

Jenn and Pete

New Sturgis West Principal Jenn Kirk with Peter Steedman

Beyond the regular commitments of being Principal of Sturgis West,  Peter Steedman has certainly had a busy year. While  finishing up his doctoral degree at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, he accepted an offer to be the High School and Middle School principal at the American School of Campinas in Brazil.

On December 31, he wrote the following letter to the Sturgis West Community:

Dear Sturgis West Community,

I am writing to inform the Sturgis West community that I have recently accepted an offer to be the High School and Middle School principal at the American School of Campinas in Brazil.  I have mixed emotions as I am excited for this extraordinary opportunity for me and my family, but also saddened knowing that I am leaving behind a school experience that can be described as nothing short of remarkable.  At Sturgis, I have been given numerous opportunities to grow as a teacher, I.B. coordinator and principal.  I will be forever grateful to Eric Hieser for taking a chance on me and for putting me in positions where I could develop as a leader and learn from my mistakes.   Paul Marble, the East principal, also played a pivotal role in my growth as an educator and a person.

The primary reason that I am taking the position in Brazil is because there is no guarantee that my daughters would be chosen in the Sturgis lottery.  As I have been affiliated with the International Baccalaureate for 18 years, I always believed that my children should have the opportunity to access this amazing academic program.  The odds were too great for me to risk it.

I am leaving behind faculty who are dynamic, passionate and deeply committed to the education of children.  I will miss their professionalism and willingness to take on this grand experiment called Sturgis West.  I will also miss working with our Sturgis West students.  They exemplify every trait of the IB Learner Profile.  Some of the traits in fact best describe this group of pioneers.  They are open-minded, caring and reflective.  They are not just fabulous students.  They have built a community centered on trust, respect and forgiveness.  The halls at West are a great place to travel because of the compassion of our student body.

I want to thank the parents for their unwavering support these past three years.  I simply could not have done it without you.

My family and I will leave in July.  Until then, we have a great deal of work to do at West.  ArtsFest, dances, MCAS and IB Exams, athletic competitions and our first ever graduation in June are some of the many events I eagerly anticipate.  I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.

Warm Regards,

Pete Steedman

SPAauction2014 (1)

Sturgis Parents Association

On April 5th at SPAuction, we celebrated a fun and magical evening as we “Set Sail with Sturgis,” our Annual Sturgis Parent Association Auction and Dinner Event.  We would like to express gratitude to parents, sponsors, volunteers, contributors and guests for making this year’s event a record breaking success; raising just over $43,000!   For information on the projects SPA will support with the proceeds, see:  The Social Event of the Season: SPAuction 2014!

Supporting the Spread of IB:

On January 13, Eric Hieser and Paul Marble presented an IB Orientation Seminar at Brown University. Orientation Seminars are one-day overviews of the four programmes offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the process for becoming an IB World School.  The orientation seminars are designed for school officials and leaders who are investigating the feasibility of bringing IB programmes to their school or district.

Tower Foundation Awards Learning Disabilities Grant to Sturgis

In June, Sturgis received a 3-year $77,624 grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation for our 2014 Learning Disabilities Grant proposal: Increasing the Capacity for Cape Cod and Island Schools to Support Inclusive Classrooms for Students Who Learn Differently. The grant makes it possible for Sturgis to acquire iPad carts for East and West Special Education Departments; work with Special Ed Screening and Assessment Consultant from Landmark College; and  host a three year series of community based professional development workshops.. Although the workshops are open to Cape and Islands middle, high school and community college educators from all disciplines, they will be particularly valuable for Special Education and Technology teachers. Professional Development Certificates of Attendance will be provided.

August 2014 Workshops

Ubiquitous Technology FlyerUbiquitous Technology: Using Mainstream App Technology to Support Students who Learn Differently  (August 18, 2014)

The 21st Century Classroom: Tablet-based Pedagogical Practices for Supporting Diverse Learners (August 19, 2014 and August 2015)

21st Century Classroom FlyerAugust 2015 Workshops

The 21st Century Classroom: Tablet-based Pedagogical Practices for Supporting Diverse Learners

Supporting Struggling Students in Transition

August 2016 Workshops

Supporting Struggling Students in Transition

Future Technology/Pedagogy Workshop

(Due to the quickly changing developments in technology, the topic for the final workshop will be left open to allow for addressing new technological and pedagogical needs that may arise over the next three years.)

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation supports community programming that results in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. The Foundation is dedicated to societal impact through healthy communities and capacity building. The Foundation works diligently to foster a sense of empowerment and an environment of collaboration.

Ilan Vaisman: A First Person Account in History Class

Ilan Vaisman, Spanish West, shared his experiences as a member of the Israeli Defense Forces with Mr. Hillebrand’s IB HL History students during an hour long Q & A. The students were studying the Arab – Israeli conflict.

Jen Walts, CAS Coordinator – West

Habitat for HumanityTen Sturgis West juniors and seniors and  two faculty advisers participated in a Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge build in Battle Creek, Michigan during February vacation. They worked on a variety of construction projects as part of a voluntary service learning experience. First, they refurbished the local Habitat for Humanity office which had been damaged in a fire last November. Next, they worked alongside a future Habitat home-owner who suffers from severe brain trauma and loss of mobility after she was struck by a drunk driver. Students built a wheelchair ramp, deck, windows, and more as the future Habitat home-owner completed her sweat equity hours with Sturgis students. The last two days of service were spent building an ostrich pen at the local Binder Park Zoo. Students led valuable reflections each evening that focused on concepts such as team building, goal setting, sharing their experience and adopting service as a way of life. The team will host a presentation next Thursday during lunch in room 111 at Sturgis West. Students are already exploring ways to make more of an impact upon their return.


Washington PostOn April 7, The Washington Post released its annual ranking of high schools and once again recognizes Sturgis as the #1 school in MA, and also #4 in the Northeast, and # 84 in the U.S. based upon our student results last school year. This marks the 8th straight year Sturgis has been ranked one of the top schools in the U.S. by The Washington Post. Congratulations Sturgis students and faculty!


Alla Zbinovsky, English – West

In April, former Sturgis West English teacher Alla Zbinovsky visited Eric Hillebrand’s senior HL History class to share her experiences of living in the USSR and Russia during the post-Soviet transition. The class has been studying the USSR and Russia from 1924 – 2000. Through her stories and photographs, Ms. Zbinovsky provided great insight into political change and its effects on daily life. Her fascination with Russia originated with stories her parents told. During college, she attended a study abroad program in Leningrad in 1982 and later completed a Master’s degree in 19th Century Russian Literature. She returned with her husband and children to work in various capacities for a total of fifteen years: ABC News (1989-1993), translator and producer (1995-2000), and literary translator (2004-2010).



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