(From left to right: Jacob Phillips, Tiffany Brown, Kayla Lemus, Camille Fontenelle, Erica Thomas).
Jacob Phillips graduated from Macalester College (2016) with majors in International Studies and Hispanic Studies (Spanish and Portuguese), and a concentration in Human Rights. From Jamaica, Jacob’s interest in Caribbean development led him to join Yspaniola in the Dominican Republic. Before joining Yspaniola, Jacob interned at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington DC where he worked with both the Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States and the Department of Bilateral Relations (Jamaica-US). In addition, Jacob has worked periodically as an English teacher and translator at the Latin America-Caribbean Centre at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. While at Yspaniola, Jacob is excited to broaden his knowledge and experience in education and the administration of a non-profit organization. He also hopes to gain deeper insight into the realities of Batey residents, Dominican society and Pan-Caribbean identity.
Tiffany Brown graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Spanish (2014). While there, she also studied education methodology and pedagogy with an emphasis in World Language Education. Before moving to the Dominican Republic to join Yspaniola, Tiffany lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she worked at an international school and researched the Afro-Argentine consciousness movement. She subsequently spent two years teaching English first as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and later as an independent English teacher in Medellin, Colombia. Tiffany is excited to use this opportunity with Yspaniola to deepen her interests in Latin America, community education, and family literacy.
Kayla Lemus graduated from Scripps college with a BA in Spanish and French (2016). As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant in the U.S., Kayla’s experience gave her an interest in education and foreign language learning as a means of promoting equality and intercultural understanding. Kayla has previously interned as a foreign language teacher, translator, and grant writer for several non-profits including Libraries without Borders in France, l’AMSAT and Feminin Pluriel in Morocco, and Claremont Heritage in Claremont, California. The intercultural exchanges she has had and the relationships she has developed within these communities have inspired her to continue working in the nonprofit sector. During her fellowship at Yspaniola, Kayla hopes to broaden her experience in the education and nonprofit fields, learn Haitian Creole, and deepen her understanding of issues of race, citizenship, and access to education in the Dominican Republic.
Camille Fontenelle graduated from the University of Delaware (UD, 2016) with a BS in Elementary Teacher Education and a concentration in Middle School Science.While at university, Camille worked in various education settings including as a Senior Summer Camp Counsellor for the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware. She also served in various roles on the eboard of the student chapter of the International Literacy Association at UD for 3 years. Having visited Batey Libertad twice before through Service-Learning trips with her university, she recently decided to pursue a year-long internship with Yspaniola where she will work primarily with the younger Class 1 and Pre-K students, as well as help to restructure the library. Of St. Lucian descent, Camille looks forward to deepening her knowledge and experience in education as well as learn Haitian Creole and Spanish over the next year.
Erica Thomas graduated from American University (2015) with a double major in International Relations and Economics, and a minor in Spanish. Erica brings a lot of experience working in Latin America to the Yspaniola team. Prior to moving to the Dominican Republic, Erica studied the impact of globalization, US foreign policy and tourism on farming communities and labour unions in Nicaragua and El Salvador. She has also volunteered with an environmental education organization in Chile, which inspired her to create a similar program for a Washington, D.C. arts-based mentorship program for African American males called Life Pieces to Masterpieces. Erica is excited and honored to focus on community development and youth education at Yspaniola.