Gina, a Khmu American, just graduated from De Anza High School this June and will be attending Berkeley City College for two years before transferring to a UC or CSU school, where she will be study sociology with a minor in communications. It’s a passion of her to help others, especially the ones in need. Gina’s dream is to travel the world and Laos is a great start, a country where her parents are from. Gina used to perform traditional Lao dances at Lao New Year celebrations or model for fashion shows, representing the Khmu ethnic group, when she was younger. Gina is interested in learning more about different ethnic groups of Laos and hopes that the SAIL program will serve as a good foundation.
Gina considers her upbringing to be very Americanized. After her grandparents passed away, she felt disconnected to her roots. She believes that the SAIL program will give her the opportunity to reconnect to her heritage and to maintain her cultural connections to Laos.
Jocelyn lives in upstate Rochester, NY, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in secondary science education from the University of Rochester. She currently teaches biology at a charter school in the city where she works with 9thgrade students. Jocelyn is passionate about learning, sharing new experiences, and taking the time to invest in others. She is interested in learning the Lao language, history, and culture, and she is very proud of her Lao heritage. Her father and grandparents on her father’s side are from Laos, and she has Lao family members in both the United States and Laos. Jocelyn grew up with particular aspects of Lao language and culture such as food, baci ceremonies, and going to the Wat, and she hopes to focus her study to build language proficiency by participating in the SAIL program. Her hobbies include baking, enjoying nature, and fencing.
Lotus is a second year student at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science Engineering. She plans to complete a Master’s degree within the field of engineering, but unsure about the exact concentration as of now. Her career goal is to shatter the glass ceiling within a corporation. Her mother was born in Laos and came to the US as a refugee. She grew up with an insurmountable language barrier between her and her grandparents. By learning Lao through SAIL, she hopes to be able to have a conversation with her grandfather for the first time. Lotus is also especially excited about seeing land she had only heard about in retellings of her mother’s childhood memories.
In her free time, Lotus loves playing computer games and painting with gouache.
Maddy will be a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College this coming Fall double majoring in Public Health and Psychology. Maddy passionate about learning about and immersing myself in different cultures, open air markets, trying new food, and hiking. Her interest in studying in Laos stems from her heritage. Her grandparents are Lao and growing up, she was fortunate to have been exposed to Lao culture and language. Now that her Grandfather has passed away, she has realized that her connection to her Lao roots is something that she does not want to fade away. For this reason, she is excited by the prospect of learning Lao and being able to speak with her grandmother in her native language. Maddy’s Lao heritage is something she is very proud of, and would love the opportunity to devote her sole attention to learning Lao language and immersing herself in the culture. Having been to Laos with her family for only a short time in the past, Maddy has always wanted to be able to go back and spend more time in such a beautiful and culturally rich place, and now she gets to do so with her sister, Jocelyn!
Siv is a Lao American. Born in Pakse Laos, Siv and his family relocated to Ithaca, NY (home of Cornell University) in 1980. While he’s been back to visit on a number of occasions, they were short term visits of 3-4 days. Siv is looking forward to re-immersing himself in present day Laos. Learning to read and write Lao has been a lifelong desire, and at age 48, he is finally taking the plunge. There’s never a good time but making a commitment and the conviction to learn now will ensure that he can communicate with his parents and extended family members more effectively across all medium of communications and across the world.
Siv completed his BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo, MS from Cornell University, and completed his Ph.D coursework at Syracuse University. He hopes to parlay his Lao language literacy into educational research and work, as he is an educational consultant with expertise in enhancing educational mobility for students seeking a postsecondary education in the U.S.
Mr. Kalathone was born in a village of Hinboun district, central Khammouane province. For the year 2016 I am very excited to be the program leader.
Mr. Kalathone has Bachelor degree in English teaching from the National University of Laos (1976-1980). Since 1981 to 2012 working with many projects such as Nam Ngum fisheries project, Lao news agency, American embassy, UNDP, ILO, FAO, World Bank project at the Ministry of Finance and others. From 2013 until now worked as freelance interpreter/translator.
Mr. Kalathone was SAIL program leader in 2016, and he is very exited in working with SAIL again this year.