Thank you to everyone who cast their vote! The election results are now in.
The positions that were up for election this term were Vice-President, Secretary, and Webmaster. For more information about the responsibilities of these positions, please visit this link.
We’d like to welcome our new officers, Jennifer Hwang as Vice-President, Autumn Widdoes as Secretary, and Lauren Sorondo as Webmaster. We have no doubt they will do a wonderful job in the coming year.
We’d also like to thank our outgoing officers. Allan Mortdetsky did a wonderful job as Vice-President, assisting at multiple events with the consulate, representing Florida JETAA at the JETAA USA national and regional conferences, and reaching out to the JBA. Thank you for your hard work.
Adriana Jenkins, our Keys Region Rep, stepped in as interim Secretary when our last secretary moved. Thank you for doing such a stellar job filling in.
Last, but not least, thank you to our outgoing Webmaster, David Shaw, for everything you’ve done.
Over the course of the next month, the outgoing and incoming officers will transition, with the new officers fully taking on their responsibilities on June 1st.
Read on for the bios of our new officers.
Originally from Southern California with an MA in Linguistics from San Jose State University, I was a JET in Shizuoka prefecture from 2008 to 2012. My first two years were spent as an ALT at a small, low academic level high school in rural Kawanehon-cho. I was later transferred to a high academic level high school in Yaizu City where over 90% of the students went on to universities. In my final year as an ALT, I was invited to transfer to the Prefrectural Education Center where I planned and facilitated several training workshops including Orientation for new JETs, Mid-Year Seminar for ALTs and JTEs, as well as mandatory refresher training for Japanese teachers only. I also helped piloted the Elementary School Foreign Language (ESFL) Program which was nationally institutionalized in 2011.
Since returning to the United States, I have taught English for Academic Purposes at Hillsborough Community College and am now an academic advisor for international students at INTO USF. In the past couple of years, I have declined recommendations to join the Florida JETAA board. However, now that I have become more familiar with Florida’s relationship with Japan–through attending Tampa’s Tsudoi and Natsumatsuri, participating in the 2013 JET PDO, volunteering with the Japan-America Society of Tampa Bay (JASTB), as well as meeting with the Deputy Consul General and attending the Networking Meeting for Sister City Representatives–I feel that I can make a productive contribution to our association as Vice-President. I am eager to support the President in bringing alumni across the state together as well as providing more support for JET at both the national and local level. I know that Japan holds a special place in all of hearts and I would love to help people maintain their relationship with the country.
I was born and raised in Florida and currently call Tampa my hometown. I’ve lived in Germany, Vietnam, England, and Japan. I completed my BA at the Wilkes Honors College of FAU and my MA in Performance Studies at Tisch/NYU. I spent 4 years on JET in Okinawa from 2010-2014, where I lived in both Ishigaki and Naha. While in Japan, I helped organize Tohoku relief efforts via the SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan fundraiser and we raised more than 70000 yen in one afternoon of live performance presented in both English and Japanese. I also founded a bilingual performance collective called TASK 沖縄 after teaching several performance/dance theater making classes at ひやみかち学校 culture school in Naha, Okinawa. Since returning to Florida, I have been actively involved in the JETAA community in the Tampa Bay region, speaking at JET recruitment events at Eckerd College and helping organize the Tampa screening of LIVE YOUR DREAM: The Taylor Anderson Story. My long term goals are to promote Japanese performance/arts in the US and to bring more Japanese and Japan-related arts, film, and performance to the Tampa region. I look forward to working with the JETAA communities throughout Florida to instill a sense of importance in maintaining our connection to Japan via JET.
Hello! My name is Lauren Sorondo, and I’m a Miami native. In September 2014, I returned from 2 years in Kumamoto with JET. Since then, I’ve been participated in FL JETAA events, such as the Bounenkai and the recent film screening for the Taylor Anderson Story down in Miami. I’ve also stated hosting “Coffee 会話,” a conversation circle in South Florida. While I don’t have prior experience as a webmaster, I am passionate about JETAA and supporting the new and old alumni. In a state as large as Florida, I believe the best way is through communication of events. I hope to be able to continue improving the website that our previous officers have worked hard to create. 🙂