Director of Takoda GED
I’m currently Director of the GED program however; I was once a young single mom looking for a training that led me to a career. I found AIOIC and attended 1 year of training in 1994 while my child attended childcare onsite. Employment services helped introduce me to employers once I earned my certificate. I left for employment and returned to AIOIC years later when a layoff occurred. My experience at AIOIC made me want to give back to others in the same way. I have been employed at AIOIC since 1999 in a various number of roles including payroll and benefits, employing youth in a summer program, empowering ex offender women to heal their families and maintain sobriety while building careers, Registrar of Takoda Institute and since then my current role as GED Director.
Throughout my years since attending school at AIOIC I have attended University of Phoenix in pursuit of a BA in Criminal Justice, completed several Human Resource classes at Carlson School of Business, and completed a year of training at St Thomas for Executive Director Leadership training. I believe that education is one of the keys to getting out of the cycle of poverty and that Takoda Institute is a great starting point to do so.
Sára Kaiser, Ph.D.
AmeriCorps Education & Employment Opportunity Navigator
I am Dr. Sára Kaiser (MacArthur Scholar). I received my PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Minnesota but I obtained my MAs in English & ESL and BA in American Studies from the University of Szeged, Hungary. My dissertation focused on the dialectical relationship between the House and Market Economy in rural Hungary after the Fall of Communism. I carried out a two-year ethnographic field research in post-socialist Balástya, Hungary, where I collected data to elicit information about how ordinary people tested and contested the political and economic changes after 1989—in micro-politics of everyday life. My anthropologically-informed work argues that the transformation from Market-Socialism to Market-Capitalism was filled and paved with anxiety and fear in the Hungarian countryside.
Research, teaching, and advising occupy a central role in my professional life. I have been working in Higher Education for over twenty years both in Europe and the US. I have been teaching at the U of M, Metro State University, and the Art Institutes International. Currently, I am serving as an Employment & Education Navigator at the American Indian OIC’s ABE program—with Opportunity Corps.
Elizabeth Bennett is a graduate of the College of Wooster (BA, French) and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (MA, Educational Studies). She holds Minnesota teaching licenses in K-6 elementary education and K-12 ESL, as well as a certificate in adult ESL from Hamline University. Before joining the Takoda GED team, she worked as an elementary Spanish teacher, reading interventionist, general education teacher, and ESL teacher.