The Danish – American Experience Speaker Series

Date: Friday April 19th, 2019
Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Location: 1441 Broadway 6th floor New York NY, 10018

Introduction: The Danish – American Speaker series is aimed to help visiting Danish gymnasium students explore the realities of the American experience for youth through the lens of education and industry. This speaker series brings together representatives from New York and international organizations to speak on topics ranging from the New York and U.S. education system to
how the United Nations seeks to support the global health of citizens around the world. The speakers will also help students understand how the presence of the United Nations headquarters in New York affects the city and lives of its citizens.

Speaker Topics Include:
-Discussion of NYC’s education system and the realities of the American public education system. What is working well, what needs improvement, and what are some of the new educational initiatives in New York and the U.S. that our speakers are most excited about?
-Challenges American students and families of lower socioeconomic status face in New York and the nation more broadly. How does lack of opportunity affect upward mobility and the ability to move across income levels?
-How does the United Nations affect global change? How do current and former UN diplomats find life in New York and the current situation in the United States?

Danish Teacher led Discussion Topics for students and teachers:
-Tell us about the education system in Denmark and how it’s similar and different to the system in NYC and the United States.
-How well does the Danish educational system prepare students for the real world and careers. What are the trade-offs of specializing early in a subject area?
-Does the educational system work and what are your perceptions of the systems strengths and weaknesses?
-What role does a small but influential country like Denmark play in the United Nations? How does its role as a role and longtime U.S. ally play in the United Nations. Where do their interests and values align and where do they differ? When should it support the U.S. and when should it seek its own direction?

Guest Host
Nathan Leitner, MPA
Current – Level Hospitality & LV Real Estate Holdings
Former – United Nations

Nathan is currently a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Level Hospitality and LV Real Estate Holdings based in Toronto. Nathan’s background is in Operations and Program Management. His previous experience includes working for Explore Schools, The Boeing Company, TED, and New York University. Nathan also brings international experience from roles held with The Clinton Foundation, The United Nations, and Indigo Africa along with studying in Milan and Barcelona. Nathan holds a master’s degree in International Management & Policy from NYU, a BA in Business Administration from the University Puget Sound, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Guest Speakers
John Shea
Current – CEO New York City Department of Education
John T. Shea has been the CEO of the New York City Department of Education, Division of School Facilities since August, 2008. The New York City Department of Education is the largest K-12 school district in the United States, with 1.1 million students, and a portfolio of 1350 buildings with a total of 130M square feet of managed space.

Before the DOE John spent twelve years as the Executive Director of Facilities for the Nassau County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), the largest regional school district in New York State. Prior to BOCES, he was a Technical Manager for the Aramark Corporation in their Educational Services division. John started his career in the maritime industry as an engineer, supervising ship repair and construction both domestically and internationally. He has a BS in Marine Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, from where he graduated in 1989, and is a former officer in the United States Naval Reserve.

Eric Basson, MPA
Current – NYC Department of Education
Eric Basson (Special Assistant to the Executive Director, School Facilities)- Oversees citywide initiatives and projects for the Division of School Facilities. This includes acting as the liaison between various city agencies and communicating with school based staff and community members. Eric has been with the Department of Education (DOE) since 2013 in various roles, which has allowed him to gain a unique perspective on how the DOE serves its diverse communities. He has a master’s in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, which was received in 2011.

Kiran Chadalawada, MPA
Current – Deloitte
Former – United Nations
Kiran is currently a Senior Consultant at Deloitte’s New York practice with previous consulting roles at PwC, IBM, and DataGlance. He previously worked at the NYC Economic Development Corporation as Assistance Vice President. As a graduate student at NYU he worked with the United Nations and European Commission and also was a Research Assistant at the NYU Gov Lab. Kiran’s background is in risk assurance, information technology, social and technological mobilization, and economic development both in the public and private sector. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Wagner School at NYU, a MS in Information Systems and Services from George Mason University, and a Bachelor’s of Technology from Acharya Nagarjuna University.

Danish Education Representative
Gitte Cannon
Current – International Director
Tradium Business College – Randers, Denmark


San Francisco (UESF) Teacher Development Conference

Experience America is proud to be the only student travel organization to take part in the United Educators for San Francisco (UESF) Teacher Development Conference held on April 6, 2019.

Experience America’s co-founder, Olen Anderson, and UESF Representative Van Cedric Williams, collaborated to provide conference attendees the opportunity to participate in workshops showcasing the impact experiential learning has on students’ lives, and how to encourage more educators to bring these types of learning opportunities to their schools.



Underlying Problems Facing Teachers
• How can educators faced with limited resources create learning opportunities that combine with classroom learning to inspire student learning and growth?
• How can educators take the next step to create impactful experiential learning opportunities while also ensuring student safety and security?
• How can schools prepare students with learning that engages and challenges students on an individual level?


Experiential Learning Workshop Description:
Experiential learning is a proven method for enhancing student engagement and skills development. Providing a bridge between theory and practice, experiential learning helps students to hone important critical thinking and problem solving skills as they learn by doing. Experience America is an international education provider that has spearheaded the application of experiential learning for study tours and summer programs for secondary school students. In this presentation, Experience America’s co-founder, Olen Anderson, uses examples from the company’s student STEAM programs in Los Angeles at the USC campus and in Seattle at the UW campus in partnership with Microsoft and Boeing to demonstrate how experiential learning can be successfully implemented across a variety of subjects and learning contexts to promote student learning and engagement.


Group Project Workshop
In keeping with the experiential learning approach, attending educators were organized into teams for a project-based activity. With guidance from Experience America team members, teachers learned to conceptualize and formulate an experiential learning experience, leaving the session with a concept outline and sample lesson plan to implement in their classrooms.