Sasha Neumann is making SNC proud. Sasha graduated from Sierra Nevada College’s Teacher Education program in 1997. Currently a doctoral candidate at UC Davis in Educational Leadership and Change in the pre-K-16 Education Systems, Sasha is also the lead consultant for the 26 Russian universities responsible for recruiting and training the 25,000+ local volunteers needed to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  Below, she shares her reflections about attending the first meeting of the Olympic Organizing Committee in Moscow last week.

“Wow! Yesterday was my official meeting with Prime Minister Putin. It was an intimate audience of less than 150 people and many attendees said they felt a different ‘down to earth’ relaxed energy from Putin.  He was there to help inaugurate the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games’ (OCOG) Education and Volunteer movements. I will be training a team of key people in an instructional strategy known as service-learning which will be used to recruit, train and motivate the 25,000 volunteers needed for the games.

“I met the Ministers of Sports and Education as well as the President of the OCOG. We spoke about service-learning methodology, youth development, and at-risk behaviors among youth. He’d like me to schedule another trip, this time to meet with Russian K-16 teachers who wish to learn more about innovative teaching strategies. My presentation went over very well with both the Head of Volunteer Division and Head of Workforce supporting my work. Together, we generated a great amount of energy and laughter among the audience.

“That night several University student volunteers invited me to join them on a night walk to Red Square and we ended up in an epic snowball fight in front of the Bolshoi Theatre House. We topped the night off with a Starbuck's!

“I am all fired up for today's presentations, where we expect about 80 participants, and I will connect with my Russian father, Boris and a cherished friend, Natalia for dinner. With 28 hours still to go in Moscow, this trip provided all that I imagined!”

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