Please welcome to Oberlin Dr. Mercy Packiam, Associate Professor of History at Lady Doak College in Madurai India. She specializes in the promotion and protection of children’s rights in India. For the past fifteen years she has taught courses in Indian history, world history, and the Indian constitution. She also teaches courses on international relations, women studies, and human rights. Here at Oberlin, Dr. Packiam is participating in a seminar titled “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Icon and Archive,” co-taught by history professor, Carol Lasser and English professor, Sandra Zagarell. She’s also taking a Jewish history course and a Native American history course. Later this September, Dr. Packiam will attend a National Conference of Historians Against Slavery in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is geared toward bringing historical context to the modern-day antislavery movement. She expects that her experiences this fall at Oberlin College will encourage her to utilize more experimental teaching methods when she returns to Lady Doak College.
Oberlin Shansi welcomes Harri Santoso, lecturer in the Department of Psychology in Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Universitas Medan Area and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Sultan Idris Education University in Malaysia. Though he grew up in Medan, located in the North Sumatera province, he moved to Banda Aceh, one of the areas most affected by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, to assist those in need. He worked as a volunteer in the Welfare and Justice Party Respond Team and at many NGOs including the International Medical Corps and Australian Red Cross until 2009. While he’s here in Oberlin, Mr. Santoso will spend time auditing a developmental psychology class, researching autism in the neuroscience department and improving his English through an ESL class. Mr. Santoso will also explore the greater Oberlin community, observing how the campus and the town are equipped for individuals with disabilities. Santoso is very excited to travel in the U.S. and plans to visit Washington DC, and New York City as well as participate in a psychology and education workshop and conference. He is married and has two children, 1 and 4 years old. When he returns to Banda Aceh, he plans to begin a PhD in Special Education.
Mengmeng Yu is this year’s visiting instructor from Beijing Normal University (BNU). As part of the three-way agreement between Oberlin College, Shansi and BNU she will be a visiting instructor in Chinese for the East Asian Studies Department under the guidance and mentoring of Chinese Language faculty members Qiusha Ma, Fang Liu and Kai Li. Mengmeng Yu’s hometown is in China’s Zhejiang province, but she grew up on the other side of the country in northwestern Xinjiang province. She received her BA in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL) from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, a major that attracted her because of its potential for rich cultural exchange. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Oberlin Shansi’s partner school, Beijing Normal University. Ms. Yu is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her culture with Oberlin Students and immerse herself in Oberlin’s unique student community. She hopes that her optimism and enthusiasm for teaching brings new energy and cultural perspective to Oberlin Shansi and the East Asian Studies department.
Shansi welcomed Nurjannah (like many Indonesians, she has just one name) to snowy Oberlin last weekend. A lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Syiah Kuala University, Nurjannah earned an MD from Syiah Kuala University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. In addition to teaching, Nurjannah also works with a public health agency in Aceh. Her interests focus on epidemiology, health behavior and education. With her educational background and working experience, Nurjannah hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in public health, focusing on community health sciences and believes that this semester at Oberlin will benefit her in pursuing her study and improving her teaching skills. Nurjannah also plans to learn how health systems work in educational institutions such as schools and colleges. Later this spring, Nurjannah will attend the Global Health & Innovation Conference (GHIC) in Connecticut where she will meet participants from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship. On a more local note, Nurjannah has already begun to plan her “Guest Chef” appearance at the Asian Cuisine Exco taking place in the Shansi House kitchen this semester, and has tested out some recipes on Mona Yu (see below), returned fellow Ricardo Barrios, and campus coordinator Sophie Grimes. The response has been very positive.
Renjuan Wei is beginning the third year of her studies in Hydrology and Water Resources at Sichuan University in China, and will be spending the next few months pursuing her research in Oberlin College’s geology department. Ms. Wei is here as a partner of the American National Science Foundation Program that works to decipher connections among land management, soil erosion, and sediment yields in large river basins. She is looking forward to participating in the Geological Society of America conference in Denver this fall, and plans to contribute what she learned there and at Oberlin to more effectively conserve China’s river basin environments.