Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meet the Expedition Leaders

2009 Spain Expedition Leaders Megan McLaulin and Ben Schellpfeffer

People & Cultures

Megan McLaulin. The College of William and Mary, B.A.; Rutgers University, M.Ed. candidate. Megan graduated cum laude from William and Mary, where she majored in English Literature and minored in Spanish. She spent a summer studying at the University of Salamanca. She taught English and Spanish at two high schools in Virginia, coached girls’ volleyball and collegiate men’s crew, and served as a volunteer English as a Second Language educator for Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants. Megan spent two years living in Talavera de la Reina, Spain; she traveled to fifteen out of Spain’s seventeen autonomous communities, cycled the historic Camino de Santiago, and hiked throughout the Sierra de Gredos mountains. She was selected by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Sciences to serve as an English language conversation assistant, and collaborated with the faculty of the a primary school in Talavera de la Reina to implement a newly designed bilingual/bicultural curriculum. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Language Education at Rutgers, where she is an academic coach at the Rutger’s Learning Centers. Megan’s interests include hiking, camping, rowing, and triathlons. She is fluent in Spanish.


Ben Schellpfeffer. New York University, B.F.A.; School of Visual Arts, M.F.A. Ben is a New York-based photographer, filmmaker, and educator. He majored in Drama at N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, where he was an Aaron Siskind Fellow. Ben worked as a crew member for the Sea Education Association on a sailing expedition from Tahiti to Hawaii, conducting oceanographic research, making underwater videos, and shooting documentary photography. He was director/editor of The Amelia Project (www.theameliaproject.com), a documentary photography education program at an orphanage near Cape Town, South Africa, and spent six months in Rwanda making a feature documentary film, Terahamwe (Those Who Work Together), focusing on international development in the wake of genocide. He went on to make another film, Nje Ya Ndani (Outside of Inside), exploring the agrarian, local, nomadic and tourist cultures on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. He recently completed an eighty minute video projection to accompany an opera based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, conceived and directed by the artist Lesley Dill (www.dividelight.com). In addition to his freelance work, Ben is an adjunct professor of Film and Video production at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He has traveled widely and is proficient in Spanish. Ben’s video and photography work is available on-line at www.benschellpfeffer.com and http://web.mac.com/benschellpfeffer/iWeb/Portfolios/Welcome/html.