US Team

Nilson DaSilva

Nilson is a Phd candidate, also holds a Master's in Education, Teaching English as a Second Language; an MBA in Strategic Marketing; and a Bachelors in Portuguese and English. He is a former Fulbright Scholar for the Brazilian English Teachers Program. Before coming to America, he was a teacher and High School Principal in Brazil, awarded Best Practices for Leadership Education in Brazil by the Office of Global Educational Programs (part of the US Department of Education in Washington, D.C.). Nilson is now a World Language teacher at Charles E. Shea High School where he hopes to expand the minds and cultural fluency of high school students.

Joseph Reek

Joseph is a native from Cumberland, Rhode Island. He has worked in the catering business for more than 15 years. He has hosted students from different states in the U.S and from several countries. Joseph is used to preparing special dinners for events in Rhode Island as well as ceremonies. For many years, he also managed businesses in the food, cleaning, and interior design industries. In addition, Joseph has been a Licensed Certified Massage Therapist for over 20 in his own studio. Joseph is the host for the Homestay English Immersion Program.

Janet Bowab

Janet has a Masters in Library and Information Science and is a School Library Media Specialist, certified for K-12. She has a Bachelors in Speech Communication as well as a certification in teaching English as a Second Language. Like Nilson, Janet is a Former Fulbright Scholar to Japan for the Memorial Fund Teacher Program. She participated in RI Seminar grant from Five College Center for East Asian Studies in Amherst and Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education at Stanford to study the art, literature, history, geography and politics of China, Japan, and Korea. Janet’s career history includes being an Executive Assistant at Brown University in multiple administrative and academic departments.

Janice Howell

During her early career, Janice spent many years as a substitute teacher for 6th-12th graders and as PTO chairman and Bible School Director. As a Psychology major, she believes that this invaluable knowledge helped and guided her approach when interacting and building relationships with children, parents and other adults. She considers her own education and her former positions to be essential stepping stones in her training to work with parents, giving her a better understanding of their expectations for their children’s well-being in education and, naturally as a parent herself, a constant consideration for their safety.

Robin Deviney

Robin acts as both the Homestay English Immersion Program’s housemother and day-to-day Operations Manager. As the housemother, she ensures participants are comfortable and satisfied with their accommodations during the program. Her career history lies heavily in sales and admin/operations settings. These positions have allowed her to build exceptional people and organizational skills, proving her role with the program a natural placement. Robin is also a native of Rhode Island and is happily married with a wonderful son.

Jazmin Allen-Collins

Jaz is the Marketing Manager and Web Developer/Designer for the Homestay English Immersion Program. She currently holds a project management position with the Frontend Development and UX Design teams at Analog Devices while running her own small business. Prior to this, Jaz held Marketing & Communications roles at various companies before she started her own business in 2015. She has a Bachelors degree in the fields of English and Communication Studies which she obtained at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Jaz enjoys marketing and design projects as well as movies, good food, and traveling.

Our Educators

Taylor Clark, MAT

Taylor has a Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education with a concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language in addition to a Bachelors degree in Psychology. She currently works for the East Providence School Department as an elementary and ESL teacher. Throughout her college career she has worked at various schools in Providence, Pawtucket, and Lincoln, RI. Taylor has interned at The Caroline House in Bridgeport, Connecticut working to provide children with positive learning experiences in their language and literacy development. She is currently learning Spanish and enjoys traveling to other countries to meet new people.

Marilyn Petrarca, M.S.

Marilyn has been a licensed speech-language pathologist for over 35 years. She is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston and the University of RI, where she earned her Masters degree in Speech Pathology. She is a former member of both the American Speech & Hearing Association and the Rhode Island Speech Association. Her varied populations have included preschool, elementary, and secondary students diagnosed with mild to severe speech-language delays, dysfluency, and voice disorders. While working in the public schools, she co-developed a unique preschool speech/language program which addressed mild to moderate developmental articulation and language delays.

Barbara Canning

Barbara is a local artist who will be leading the art appreciate workshop for our Middle School and High School programs. For her, being outdoors with her paints and finding a spot that connects her to nature is very exciting. Taking in the sights and sounds of wild nature allow her to enjoy my love of creating art in a beautiful natural environment. Barbara has attended the University of Rhode Island (URI), the Rhode School of Design (RISD), and Rhode Island College (RIC), where she received her Masters of Arts degree.

Sergio Ifa, Ph.D.

Sérgio Ifa has a Master’s degree and Doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. He is an Associate Professor in the English-Language program and is a member of the Applied Linguistics group of the Graduate Program in Letters and Linguistics at the Federal University of Alagoas. He is the general coordinator of the Project of Extension Houses of Culture on campus. Sérgio is also the leader of the research group "Literacy, Education and Transculturality" (PPGLL / UFAL) and a researcher in the group "New Literacy, Multi-learning and Foreign Language Teaching (University of Sao Paulo). Currently, Sérgio coordinates the Languages Without Borders program at UFAL in Maceio, Alagoas, Brazil.

J. Andrés Ramírez, Ed.D.

J. Ramírez is an assistant professor in the Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry Department at Florida Atlantic University. He has taught ESL and teacher education courses both in his native Colombia and in the U.S. His scholarly work specializes on the exploration of economic, cultural, and linguistic issues constraining and enabling the academic literacy achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse students in the US. While his previous work focused on exploring these issues and their classroom implications at the tertiary level, his current focus has been on U.S. public schools serving large population of minority, low-income students in urban areas and their academic literacy achievement.

Our Global Representatives

Mónica Scarafia

Monica is the South America Coordinator for HEIP and also our representative in Argentina and Uruguay. She is Titular vice-head- mistress at IPET N 49 Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Titular Spanish Language teacher in 6th year at IPET N 49 Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and Titular Professor in the Institute of Rosario “Profesorado Gabriela Mistral” in the following subjects: Literary Theory, Literature and its Teaching, and Teaching Practicum. She is also an Assistant professor of Grammar at the University of Villa Maria, Argentina. She represented Argentina in Washington, DC, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She is a Former Fulbright Scholar for the United States Principal Exchange Program and participated in the Educational Seminars for Certificate of Achievement 2010-2011 in Washington, D.C.

Patrícia Mehedin

Patrícia Mehedin has been teaching English as a Foreign Language since 2012. She returned to Brazil after living in the USA for more than 12 years. Patricia holds an Executive Secretary degree and she also has taken advanced ESL classes at Bristol Community College (USA). She achieved the globally recognized teaching certificates CELTA and the TKT, both from Cambridge University. Nowadays, she works in São Paulo as an education representative teaching one-on-one classes and groups settings.

Pedro Grande

Pedro has had extensive experience working in customer service, giving the ability to work with many different types of people and culture. Pedro is an English Teacher with TEFL certification, from Cambridge University in England. He is a certified regional, national, and international tour guide and earned his degree in Tourism in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He now owns an English School in Bananal, São Paulo. Pedro represents the HEIP in Bananal and is concentrating on bringing groups of high school and college students to the United States for English immersion.

Jack Yin

Jack Yin is a graduate of the University of Liverpool, with a Masters in Management. He has been doing cultural exchange between America and China for many years, helping hundreds of American young people come to China each year and providing later assistance for their life and work in China. He works with Chinese schools and educational institutions, keeping good relationship with the local educational bureaus. He is qualified to represent cultural experiences to students helping them to adapt to an unfamiliar environment.

Neha Khajuria

Neha earned her MBA degree from the prestigious Johnson and Wales University in our very own gorgeous Edgewood neighborhood in Cranston, RI. After completing a Masters from India and her MBA in Rhode Island, Neha went on to work in the fashion industry in Manhattan, New York City. Neha currently runs a successful art fund in her hometown of New Delhi. She appreciates her invaluable experiences of work and life in general in the U.S. and encourages young people wanting to experience the great American culture.

Jeanne Morais

Jeanne has been teaching English as a Foreign Language since 1992. She graduated from the University of Ceará in Fortaleza. She is also specialized in Linguistics Studies at FA7 University. She holds a degree in Tourism, an area that gives her the ability to prepare and coordinate groups of local English immersion with teens. She holds the TKT certificate from Cambridge and two TESOL certificates both from the USA. She teaches English in a public school and also in a Language school. She is a Former Fulbright Scholar for the Brazilian English Teachers Program, Miami, FL.

Rodrigo Curty

Rodrigo is a Radio Announcer with experience in Radio Stations in Brazil, United States, and Portugal. He earned his Business Administration degree in Brazil and now lives and works in Mato Grosso, Brazil. He represents the HEIP program in Brazil and he plans to help business people who want to practice English and learn about American business structure and culture. However, Rodrigo is open to other group types and looks forward working with anyone interested.

Ygor Gabriel

Ygor is a freshman at the Business school of the UNIT in Maceio, Alagoas, Brazil. Before attending university, he developed leadership and management skills working in health & wellness as well as retail settings. He studied English in a private language school for 3 years after which he visited the United States in summer 2015. As the Alagoas representative, Ygor works with teenagers and college students interested to visit the United States

Sunith Kumar

Sunith had been working as Asst. Professor in Nehru Colleges in South India from 2010 to 2016 before he took a break to submit his Ph.D thesis to Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. During his professional life he has handled classes for Bachelor of Engineering and M.B.A in various colleges under Nehru Group and in Dire Dawa University, Ethiopia (2009 to 2010). He received many awards for teaching excellence. Many of his articles were published in national and international journals. He has presented papers in national and international seminars. His poems, a novel, and another prose work are waiting for publication.

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