Rotary Vocational Study Exchange (VSE)
What is Vocational Study Exchange?
The Vocational Study Exchange (VSE) Program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity between District 6080 in Missouri and a partner district in another country. Based on available funding, a District Governor may recruit a partner district, set mutual parameters for an exchange, and implement a VSE.
The purpose of the Vocational Study Exchange (VSE) is to establish goodwill and understanding among team members and Rotarians in both districts while developing and formulating the necessary skills in one’s profession to implement a service project in one of their communities within the district that has a great need. The service project must align with one of Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus.
1. Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
2. Disease prevention and treatment
3. Water and sanitation
4. Maternal and child health
5. Basic education and literacy
6. Economic and community development
The VSE supports and enhances the implementation of a project and emphasizes vocational training and study. The team represents leadership hand occupations that relates to and meets the project’s overall goal. Each country’s district aligns the team’s schedule to meet the needs of the project and the training and study needs of the team members.
Literacy Mission to Chile
Purpose: The purpose of the Vocational Study Exchange (VSE) is to establish good will and understanding among team members and Rotarians in both districts while developing and formulating the necessary skills in one’s profession to implement a literacy service project in communities within D-4355 in southern Chile.
Brief description of Project: D-4355 conducted a community needs assessment and found out that community school districts shared a universal need in a focus area of literacy. According to the Major of Schools, the overall literacy rate was within norms but literacy, in terms of reading comprehension in Spanish and English, were significantly below norms and therefore was a hindrance to learning.
Leaders of the VSE project from both districts developed an overall goal; To improve outcomes of reading comprehension scores of children through focused curriculum study and instruction, and through motivational teaching methods and strategies. It was found that schools have minimal or no computer access and software, such as, interactive software that can help motivate children with the desire to read. The DGE of D-4355 has set a priority in the use of DDF and matching club funds to purchase computers and software in identified schools in need that wish to participate in the project.
D-6080 will host the VSE team of D-4355 with the goal of helping team members develop the knowledge and skills necessary to develop curriculum and teaching strategies to improve reading comprehension. The team develop a recommended list of interactive software that motivates children with the desire to read. D-6080 will provide learning experiences from experts and mentors in the field, including but not limited to those in libraries, education institutions, boards of education, curriculum and instruction departments, drama/theater, and education suppliers.
D-4355 will host the VSE team of D-6080 with the goal of supporting and providing train the trainer classes in participating schools in need throughout the district. In the process both teams will work in collaboration with the local schools to meet the students’ individual needs. The team will also provide computer and software instruction as needed. It is the intent that members of D-4355 team will participate with D-6080 team members in the train the trainer programs, considering where they live and travel distances. D-4355’s district conference will be held from May 15 to May 17, 2020 and it is anticipated the both teams will present a joint program during the conference.
Rotary District 6080 Team Members
D-6080 VSE Team Lead, West Plains Rotary Club
Bronwen Madden has over 20 years of international trade and business development experience. She previously worked as an executive in both non-profit and state organizations managing operations and strategy, directing projects/grants, and implementing service delivery on an international scale. She has taught international trade courses at the university level and has served on numerous state and community-based organizations to advance business development initiatives. Bronwen has previous appointments by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the District Export Council of Southern California and by two previous Missouri Governors to serve as an ex-officio member on the Missouri Hispanic Business, Trade and Culture Commission. She is a fellowship recipient of the Rotary International, Group Study Exchange Program and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Partners of the Americas Business Exchange Program.
Bronwen earned an Executive Master’s degree in International Business from the Boeing Institute of International Business, Saint Louis University and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on International Relations, Economics and Peace Studies; Minor in Spanish. Bronwen currently works as the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Officer for West Plains Bank and Trust Company and has a boutique consulting business for international trade clientele serving the Pacific Rim.
Erin Graham Bates
D-6080 VSE Team Member, Jefferson City Rotary Club
Erin Bates is a General Dentist with a passion for serving families in her community. Her love for cultural immersion deepened during several service trips to Honduras and a semester abroad at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Following her undergraduate studies, she continued her professional education, receiving a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Dentistry and a General Practice Residency certificate from the University of Colorado – Denver School of Dental Medicine. She was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society upon completion of dental school and received the Dr. Paul W. Bottone Special Patient Care Award following residency. During her dental school studies, Erin partnered with a Kansas City-based organization, Mission Adelante, to provide English instruction to Bhutanese and Spanish-speaking immigrants. She also served as a Teaching Assistant for three dental school courses and held positions on the Inter-professional Education Committee and Academic Review Committee to enhance curriculum and communication between students and faculty. Previously in private practice for four years in mid-Missouri, Erin currently serves as a General Dentist on Fort Lee Army Base outside of Richmond, Virginia. She recently led two teams to provide dental, medical, and optical care in the interest of meeting the immediate needs in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and surrounding communities. Outside of dentistry, Erin enjoys running, traveling, and singing.
D-6080 VSE Team Member
Amanda Carr is an international education professional with over ten years of experience. Currently, she is the Head of Curriculum and Program Development at the University of Missouri Asian Affairs Center where she manages a team of 20 instructors. Her love for international education and cultural studies began in university with her own study abroad experiences in Australia, France, and Japan. After college, Amanda spent three years working in Japan as an English instructor and curriculum developer for Nagano Prefecture. She speaks Japanese fluently. At the Asian Affairs Center, Amanda develops curriculum focused on global leadership, communication, and English language development for visiting international students and scholars. Amanda also manages university partnerships with Japan and is heavily involved with maintaining sister city and sister state relationships. Amanda has a Master’s degree in Applied Sociology and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on diversity and inclusion in higher education. In her free time, Amanda enjoys being outdoors, traveling, cooking, and singing in the local choir.
D-6080 VSE Team Member
Rachel Love is passionate about language, literacy, and multi-cultural understanding and has traveled widely, visiting many countries over five continents and holding teaching engagements in four countries (South Korea, Hungary, Colombia, and Kenya). She holds a Master of Education degree from Drury University in Instructional Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evangel University in English Education and TESOL; minor in French. She previously worked as both an English Language Specialist and English literature teacher, first in the U.S. public school system, where she also filled the role of Immigrant Family Liaison to help those families new to the U.S., and then in a private international school in Budapest, Hungary, where she also taught Advanced placement English Literature before becoming the ELL Coordinator. In both the U.S. schools and in Europe, Rachel took on leadership roles to create new English language teaching programs, initiate new learning standards adoptions, and strengthen community interactions for non-English speaking families. Rachel currently serves as a Teaching Training Specialist as member of the English Language Institute and International Leadership and Training Center at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. In this position, she creates specialized professional education and leadership programs for various groups of international teachers and often teaches classes on English language, U.S. school systems, education theory, and instructional leadership.
Rotary District 4355 Team Members
Jose Pedro Ureta
D-4355 VSE Team Lead
Juan Carlos Figueroa Venegas
D-4355 VSE Team Member
D-4355 VSE Team Member
Christopher Erffil Weisser Caniumil
D-4355 VSE Team Member
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