2023-2024 Fellows

Sophie Brown

BEAM Education Foundation – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sophie grew up outside Philadelphia and then attended university at Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in Anthropology and Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. She settled on these field in order to better understand the evolution of human behavior by coupling ordinarily separate biological and cultural perspectives. During this time, she worked at a medical clinic in Cusco, Peru helping to provide the local population with personalized, comprehensive, and quality care. She also spent a semester studying gender and sexuality in modern Greek culture in Athens, Greece. Through these experiences, she began to understand the power of cross-cultural relationships and connecting with individuals despite language or cultural barriers. This has motivated her to seek further global connections in Asia, where she is looking forward to working as a Program Associate at the BEAM Education Foundation so that she can gain a greater understanding of cultural identities in Thailand and beyond.

Sophie has also worked in healthcare in St. Louis, acting as an advocate for traditionally undeserved patients and is passionate about bettering the health and wellness of future generations through sustainable resources like education. She is excited to begin her work in Chiang Mai and build lasting connections with her students and coworkers. Sophie hopes her time in Thailand will better her cross-cultural communication skills in order to become a more compassionate healthcare professional.

Anny Lin

Parami University – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Raised in China during her early years, Anny Lin immigrated to a small town in Vermont at the age of five. There, she spent her adolescent years navigating through the intricacies of being a daughter of immigrants, an ESL student, and a Chinese-American girl living in predominantly white, English-speaking spaces. For Anny, these early experiences fostered her hopes for creating social change through cross-cultural learning and connection-building

In 2023, Anny received a BA in International Affairs with a concentration in International Development from George Washington University (GWU), becoming the first university graduate in her family. During her undergraduate career, Anny took a course on equitable development in Southeast Asia, which spurred her interest in the region, and most recently, led her to complete a senior thesis that focused on the wellbeing of Rohingya refugee teachers in Bangladesh.

At GWU, Anny was heavily involved with First Gen United, where she supported first-generation college students through mentorship and advocacy. Recently, Anny completed a fellowship with Global Campaign for Education-US, where she supported advocacy strategies, and partnerships with U.S. government agencies, congressional offices and civil society to bolster support for international basic education programs.

As a Program Progression Advisor at Parami University, Anny is excited to build meaningful connections with her students, and to support them in leveraging their liberal arts education to shape their learning during their time at Parami and beyond! Throughout her VIA Fellowship, she is looking forward to expanding her understanding of Burmese and Thai languages, histories, and cultures.

Brooke Taffler

Parami University – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Brooke grew up in Connecticut and received her Bachelors in Public Health from Syracuse University. Throughout her studies, she discovered her passion for improving global health and well-being. In Syracuse, she had the opportunity to work with local organizations that empower and engage with refugee communities. She deeply enjoyed learning about other people and cultures which inspired her to seek more international opportunities. Brooke was able to study in India, expanding on her global health knowledge with first-hand experiences in new social contexts.

She deeply values building connections and sharing experiences with others. She hopes to continue exploring outside of her comfort zone and seeks to understand and learn more about herself and others. In her free time, she also enjoys spending time with friends, being outdoors, trying new things, listening to music, and watching sunsets.

While at Parami, she is excited to learn from the community as well as share her own knowledge. She recognizes the importance of education in breaking generational cycles that are challenging to escape. Because of this, she is eager to empower students to explore their interests and acquire new skills to forge their own unique paths.