Team_Leader

2017 US-Brazil Team Leaders

Terry Cox

Porto Velho

Mr. 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 Macae do Rio, Basilia, 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

Where you are from?
I've moved roughly every 5 years of my life and though I was born in Newark, Delaware, it doesn't feel true to say I'm "from" there. After living in six states and two countries, I will say I'm half Carolinian and half Coloradan. Colorinian? Caroladan?
Why did you apply to be a Team Leader with the US-Brazil Connect Fellowship?
In 2014, my best friend and I set a joint goal challenging each other to learn new languages and travel together the rest of our lives. We decided to learn Portuguese first and travel to Brazil together. Initial travel plans fell through around the time I learned about US-Brazil Connect and met some past Fellows who told me about their incredible experiences. Additionally, I 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.
What are you most looking forward to with this experience?
I am first-most excited to see how I can leverage what I learned teaching in Spain to enhance the experience of the Fellows and ensure they have a positive, developmental journey. I am second-most excited to be out of my comfort zone and make incredible friendships spanning geography, language, and culture. And of course, I am third-most excited about eating Brazilian food! In my opinion, US-Brazil Connect displays the best of what it means to be American, and I feel very grateful to be part of this organization both as a Project Management Intern in 2016 and a Team Leader in 2017. We have the opportunity to create beautiful connections that will have ripple effects decades into the future for everyone who is involved!

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Kelly Stritzinger

Kelly Stritzinger

Porto Velho

Lauren Abuhadema

Campina Grande

My name is Lauren Abuhadema and I am a Colorado native, born and raised in Lakewood, Colorado. When I am not working as a Team Leader for US-Brazil Connect, I am working as a 6th grade science teacher in southwest Denver. In 2014, I was part of the Explorers Program with US-Brazil Connect and it was such a life changing experience. It solidified my decision to work in education but also grew my love for travel, Brazilian culture and new experiences. My time in Tres Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil is something I will always look back on and it is because of this that I wanted to return as a Team Leader this year to give others an amazing experience such as my own. After completing Phase I and building up the anticipation to arrive in Brazil, I look 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

Hello! My name is Laurie Poikey. I live in Michigan near the city of Hillsdale but in the country in the woods. I am a high school English teacher and a college adjunct professor of composition.

I applied to be a team leader because I wanted to work with Brazilian students. I wanted to discover what Brazil and its people were like. I really wanted to make friends with Brazilians and not only learn about their culture, but live it.

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

The ocean is beautiful and I love spending two months there, yet I look forward to seeing more of Brazil and seeing more of its terrain. I was apprehensive at first about not being a coach this year, yet I am looking forward to working with more adults. I know I will have contact with students and possibly stand in to teach once in a while.

I am an outgoing individual who loves sports, reading, cooking, and socializing. I love acquiring new friends, and I look forward to doing that this summer!

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Laurie Poikey

Laurie Poikey

Porto Velho

Elena Saenz

Macapá

What is you name?
My full name is Maria Elena Saenz but I go by Elena.
Where you are from?
I was born in El Paso, TX, raised in southern New Mexico and have lived in Aurora, CO for 27 years.
Why did you apply to be a Team Leader with the US-Brazil Connect Fellowship?
I was a team coordinator in the 2015 cohort and I enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to be part of this again.  US Brazil Connect and Conexao Mundo allowed me to grow in my leadership experience and I look forward to being able to learn more and continue to grow.  Meeting the beautiful people of Brazil and growing along with other US Leaders and Fellows is what has made me stronger.
What are you most looking forward to with this experience?
I look forward to meeting new people and learning about a new part of Brazil.  I look 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.
What else would you like to share? I am a strong believer in God and He is the One that opens doors and opportunities for me.  I believe He has opened another opportunity for me to grow and learn. My faith is central to who I am.

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Elena Saenz

Elena Saenz

Macapá