2021 Shinnenkai Speakers
Updated: Feb 7
Meet the JET alumni speakers for our 2021 Virtual Shinnenkai celebration on Saturday, February 6th, 6:00 PM PST.
Barrett Balvanz (Fukuoka, 2006-2009)
Barrett lived as a child in Tottori Japan then went back as a CIR for several years in Kitakyushu. He used to perform taiko semi-professionally as part of a taiko-dan. He went on to become a college professor and write a series of textbooks and other Japanese learning materials.
Jenn Murawski (Wakayama, 2005-2007)
Jenn Murawski was an ALT in Tanabe, Wakayama, from 2005-2007. Since returning, she has worked in higher education focusing on public outreach for Asian languages and STEM. She is a past president of JETAANC and currently resides in northeast Pennsylvania.
Trella Davis (Saitama, 1995-1997)
Trella lived in Japan from 1995-2000; she lived in Saitama in Saitama City, formerly Omiya teaching English at the local Highschool Omiya Minami and then worked in corporate communications in Tokyo with Dentsu Inc. She has nearly 30 years of business, marketing, advertising, database/systems design and professional consulting experiences with a Bachelors of Arts in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and Masters of Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She is a personal coach and transformation expert as well as a certified Tea Sommelier and consults with the US's oldest specialty tea importer the GS Haly Co. She sells her tea creations with Trella's Healing Tea company. She has been a Minister since 2002 and graduated from the Church of Natural Grace seminary school.
Amelia Knight (Toyama, 2016-2020)
Amelia is originally from the East Coast (New York & Florida) and went to school in North Carolina at Wake Forest University, where she studied Japanese and Linguistics. After working in IT for 2 years, Amelia joined JET and was placed in the countryside because of her language skills. She was an ALT for 4 years in a sleepy seaside city called Himi, and then she moved to the Bay last summer to live with her now-fiancée. Amelia has been spending her time here making art and continuing her Japanese studies. She's been to many prefectures (30, for now) but looks forward to hearing about everyone else's today!
Amy Russo (Gunma, 2010-2015)
From 2010 to 2015, Amy Russo was a high school JET in Maebashi, Gunma. After JET, Amy got her Masters of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); she now works at San Jose State University as their Coordinator for Supporting Multilingual Writers. Since 2016, she has been active in the California JET alumni community, helped to launch the Monterey Subchapter, and later served as President of the JETAANC. For the last three years, Amy has worked closely with outbound JETS by conducting an all-day teacher training workshop for them. Her latest project is opening her own public speaking coaching business and she is looking forward to running workshops for the JETAANC alums in the coming year.
Alcide Guillory III "Three" (Hokkaido, 2007-2012)
Alcide Guillory III is originally from Louisiana and you can call him "Three". His 5 years on JET from 2007-2012 were spent in Hokkaido, in the tiny city of Utashinai (Japan's least populated city). Highlights of his time on JET include becoming police chief for a day, acting/narrating in the HAJET annual traveling musical, and welcoming new JETs to Hokkaido at Chitose Airport every year. After finishing an MA in International Education Management and a Master of Public Administration at the Middlebury Institute, he stuck around Monterey, California for non-profit work. Three works with Chamber Music Monterey Bay as Director of Operations, spends his summers leading groups of high school students on trips to Japan with the Student Diplomacy Corps, and helps local youth through volunteer work with United Way.