Team_Leader

2017 US-Brazil Team Leaders

Terry Cox

Porto Velho

Terry Cox earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University, his M.S. in Systems Engineering from Wright State University and his MBA from the University of Michigan. He then held various engineering and business positions in the aerospace and automotive industries. He has traveled extensively internationally for business and pleasure and has worked and lived in Japan. He has begun a second career as a mathematics instructor at Jackson College in Michigan. This is his fifth year in partnership with US-Brazil Connect. He has been a team leader for teams in Mace do Rio, Brasilia, Salvador and Cacoal. This year he is leading a team to Porto Velho. He leads the program at Jackson College and is a member of the US-Brazil Connect alumni board.

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Terry Cox

Terry Cox

Porto Velho

Kelly Stritzinger

Porto Velho

Kelly Stritzinger was born in Newark, Delaware, but wouldn't say she's "from" there. After living in six states and two countries, Kelly is probably half Carolinian and Coloradan. Colorinian? Caroladan? Kelly applied to be a Team Leader after she and her best friend set a joint goal challenging each other to learn new languages and travel together the rest of their lives. They decided to learn Portuguese first and travel to Brazil together, however, travel plans fell through around the time Kelly learned about US-Brazil Connect. Additionally, she taught English in Getafe, Madrid for a year in 2013, and the Team Leader position seemed like a wonderful way to continue that kind of experience but from a new perspective and in a leadership role. j

Kelly is first-most excited to see how she can leverage what she learned teaching in Spain to enhance the experience of the Fellows and ensure they have a positive, developmental journey. She is second-most excited to be out of her comfort zone and make incredible friendships spanning geography, language, and culture. And she is third-most excited about eating Brazilian food! In Kelly's opinion, US-Brazil Connect displays the best of what it means to be American, and she is very grateful to be part of the organization both as a Project Management Intern in 2016 and a Team Leader in 2017. Kelly believes we have the opportunity to create beautiful connections that will have ripple effects decades into the future!

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Kelly Stritzinger

Kelly Stritzinger

Porto Velho

Lauren Abuhadema

Campina Grande

Lauren Abuhadema is a Colorado native, born and raised in Lakewood, Colorado. When she is not working as a Team Leader for US-Brazil Connect, she works as 6th grade science teacher in southwest Denver. In 2014, Lauren was part of the Explorers Program with US-Brazil Connect and it was such a life changing experience. It solidified her decision to work in education but also grew her love for travel, Brazilian culture and new experiences. Her time in Tres Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil is something she will always look back on, and it is becuase of this that she wanted to returen as a Team Leader this year to give others an amazing experience such as her own. After completing Phase I and building up the anticipation to arrive in Brazil, she looks forward to the first face-to-face meeting of the Brazilian students and coordinators. It will be a beautiful memory for everyone involved to remember always.

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Lauren Abuhadema

Lauren Abuhadema

Campina Grande

Laurie Poikey

Porto Velho

Laurie Poikey lives in Michigan near the city of Hillsdale, but in the country in the woods. She is a high school English teacher and college adjunct professor of composition. Laurie applied to be a team leader because she wanted to work with Brazilian students and discover what Brazil and its people were like. She also really wants to make friends with Brazilians and not only learn about their culture, but live it.

Laurie was fortunate to be a Team Leader in 2014 and got to take a team from Jackson College to Maceio. Again, in 2015 she took a team to Salvador. Through these experiences, she was revitalized as a teacher and was amazed at how friendly and motivated Brazilian students are. Consequently, Laurie is so eager to go again! She love the people of Brazil.

Laurie feels the ocean is beautiful and loved spending two months there, yet she looks forward to seeing more of Brazil and its terrain. She was apprehensive at first about not being a coach this year, yet is looking forward to working with more adults. She knows she will have contact with students and possibly stand in to teach once in awhile. Laurie is an outgoing individual who loves sports, reading, cooking, and socializing. She loves acquiring new friends, and looks forward to doing that this summer.

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Laurie Poikey

Laurie Poikey

Porto Velho

Elena Saenz

Macapá

Maria Elena Saenz goes by "Elena." She was born in El Paso, TX, raised in southern New Mexico, and has lived in Aurora, CO for 27 years. Elena was a team coordinator in the 2015 cohort and enjoyed the experience so much that she wanted to be part of the program again. US-Brazil Connect and Conexao Mundo allowed her to grow. Meeting the beautiful people of Brazil and growing along with other US leaders and Fellows is what has made her stronger.

Elena looks forward to meeting new people and learning about a new part of Brazil. She also looks forward to working with a team of people who will help the Brazilian students become stronger, not just in language skills but in global leadership aspects. She is a strong believer in God and He it the Once that opens doors and opportunities for her. She believes He has opened another opportunity for her to grow and learn. Elena's faith is central to who she is.

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Elena Saenz

Elena Saenz

Macapá