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Ahlan wa Salan Friends!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Cate, and I’m thrilled to be joining Elley and Mr. Emmott on the Milton Instructor team this March.  Here’s a bit of background about me:

I currently live in Amman, Jordan and work with Mercy Corps, a large INGO that provides emergency relief and livelihoods development in ‘fragile states’ around the world. In Jordan, our portfolio serves recently displaced Syrian refugees, but we also focus on renewable energy development, inclusive education and water management. As an advisor on Mercy Corps’ Performance and Quality Team, I’m responsible for collecting evidence on ‘what worked’ in previous  programs to help our teams design smarter programming for the future. This cycle of reflection –> action makes me feel like a student again, and I love that. I can’t wait to unpack some of the complex issues related to international development and human migration with all of you this March. Jordan is changing rapidly, and I think the energy is contagious: my advice is to sleep well before you arrive, because I suspect that your brains will be buzzing once you arrive.

Zooming out, I grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire and went on to study Political Science at Middlebury College. Throughout school, I was extremely interested in the relationships between power, politics and resource management, and those interests eventually led me to the Middle East, where those pressures seem most acute. In 2011, I studied at The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a small school in southern Israel that uses shared environmental interests to initiate dialogue among Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and American fellows. While I was sitting in class in Israel, students were taking to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, and the region started to shift: It felt like my own generation was finding its voice, and I wanted to be a part of the story. More on that when you arrive–

After graduation, I returned to the States and connected with Dragons. My time in Israel had reaffirmed my belief that experiential education is one of the most powerful ways to connect disparate groups of people, and that’s all I wanted to do: guiding for Dragons was a dream job. I worked with Dragons full-time between 2013-2016, leading student groups in Cambodia, India and Jordan, and supporting our Admin Team with Admissions and Communications. Time and again, I watched students board a plane and come back bigger than they thought they could be: in their minds, in their hearts, and in their dreams. I watched them endure true discomfort, sardined on overnight trains. I watched them stumble through sentences, pairing unfamiliar Arabic words with emphatic hand gestures. I watched them feel humbled, by the unexpected generosity of their home-stay families. Every trip felt so raw and so human. I think that’s why I keep coming back.

So please come to Jordan with shoes that are two sizes too big, and questions that will make us all grow.  I can’t promise what we’ll discover this March, but I can promise that it will be an adventure. My Jordanian neighbors are some of the most big-hearted, welcoming people I’ve ever encountered and I am so excited to share this special place with all of you.

Elley and I will be sharing a preliminary itinerary with you in the coming weeks, and I’m more than happy to answer questions about the trip or your preparations at any time. The best way to reach me is at [email protected]  — please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I hope your semester is going well, and I look forward to meeting you all soon!

Ma’ salaama,