Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship

Anatoli Rapoport

Dr. Anatoli Rapoport – Program Director

Anatoli Rapoport is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University College of Education. Before he received Ph. D. in Social Studies Education, he had worked as classroom teacher and school administrator. Since 2003, Anatoli has been active in international educational programs. He organized and coordinated programs for teachers (Partners in Education, Civic Mosaics, Teachers to Teachers, Teaching Excellence and Achievement) and students (Educational Maymester in Russia, Educational Maymester in Northern Europe). He was Program Director of Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship at Purdue University (BFTF-Purdue) in 2013-2015.

Dr. Jeff Spanke – Program Administrator

“Hello! My name is Jeff Spanke, and I am thrilled to return to BFTF this summer. For the last three years, I have worked as an assistant professor of English Education at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, but before that, my family and I lived in West Lafayette for nearly 14 years. Having earned three degrees from Purdue University, I think it’s safe to say that I am very much a Boilermaker at heart. Since graduating fifth grade, I’ve also worked as an English teacher, athletic mentor, fitness instructor, parking garage attendant, semi-professional lawn mower, and totally underpaid baby-sitter. Oh, and I do theatre, too! I’m an avid lover of reading, writing, exercise, movies, Netflix, and listening to podcasts during my 100-mile daily commute. I’m looking forward to working with all of you soon; welcome and congratulations!”

Jeremy with his family and BFTF Fellows

Jeremy Bloyd – Homestay Coordinator

Jeremy Bloyd is a Tippecanoe County, Indiana native who began his career in education after graduating from Purdue University in 1999.  Jeremy has worked in various teaching positions for the Tippecanoe School Corporation but has been the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at McCutcheon High School for the last 16 years.  Jeremy and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, and all have enjoyed participating in homestay experiences with the BFTF program.  Beginning with the 2022 BFTF program, Jeremy trained with the previous homestay coordinator, his colleague, mentor, and friend, Sarah Powley.

(In the photo – Jeremy with his family and BFTF Fellows)

Sarah Powley – Homestay Coordinator

Sarah Powley is an Instructional Coach with the Tippecanoe School Corporation. Formerly the English Department Chair at McCutcheon High School, Sarah was the founder and co-sponsor of the International Club, an extra-curricular organization that provides high school students with opportunities to learn about other countries and cultures and to carry out international service projects. For three years, Sarah led a student exchange program with a secondary school in Russia and has served frequently as the public school liaison for international educator exchanges at Purdue. She has traveled in Africa and Europe.

Dr. Asta Balkute – Administrator/Mentor

Dr. Balkute has been part of BFTF family since 2013. Born and raised in Lithuania, she is currently residing in Vilnius (Lithuania) and is the Head of Youth Services and Affairs Division at Vilnius City Administration and part-time associate professor in Vilnius University. She is interested in civic education, youth empowerment and development of teacher knowledge development. Dr. Balkute is a former elementary school teacher with strong emphasis on social justice and education for democratic citizenship. Dr. Balkute earned her Ph.D in social studies education at Purdue University in 2011 and served as Assistant Director at James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship (Purdue University) until 2015. While at Purdue University, Dr. Balkute taught undergraduate courses in social studies methods and introductory course in education. She has been involved in different international exchange programs at Purdue University and Europe and provided numerous professional development workshops on civic education. Prior to her Purdue experiences, she worked with teachers on civic education in Finland, Slovenia, Latvia and other European countries. Today, she develops and implements public policies for youth empowerment, youth engagement and works with over 200 youth organizations in Lithuania and the around the world. Her research interests include construction of civic identity, youth active participation and needs of marginalized youth population. Fun fact about Dr. Balkute – she loves children‘s literature and has published a children‘s book and consulted publishing company on publishing other 4 children‘s books.

Sam Al-Nimri

Sam Al-Nimri – Mentor

Sam is an Academic Advisor at the University of Arizona W.A. Franke Honors College.  His door is always open to talk about academics, interests, experiences, and all the highs and lows of navigating college and life. Originally from Chicago, Sam joined the US Army after high school, attended community college, then transferred to Purdue University and studied Social Studies Education & Global Studies.  Thanks to grants on grants on grants, he was able to study abroad in Russia, the Netherlands, and Slovakia.  Before academic advising, he taught in Memphis, Tennessee through Teach For America and in Palestine as a Fulbrighter. 

Sam does have long-term intentions of working, serving, and growing in the education field, but there is also no telling if he will someday return to his first passion – making pizza (he worked at the HotBox Pizza on Purdue’s campus while an undergrad).  He also enjoys playing music, Dungeons & Dragons, street photography, birdwatching, and just sitting.  Most of all, he is excited to spend the summer with you at BFTF!

Kat Mueller

Kat Mueller – Mentor

Kat Mueller is a senior at Purdue University majoring in Social Studies Education and minoring in both History and Spanish.  She is originally from Batavia, Illinois and is a member of the Purdue Women’s Swim and Dive Team.  After her graduation in December 2023, Kat hopes to teach abroad in a Spanish-speaking nation before continuing her studies and earning a master of education degree.  Ultimately, she hopes to teach history or economics in a diverse community in the Chicagoland area.  In her free time, Kat teaches swim lessons at West Lafayette Junior Senior High School and loves to bake.  This is her first year with BFTF and she is incredibly excited to serve as a mentor.    

Sarah Ryan

Sarah Ryan – Mentor

Sarah is a senior at Purdue University pursuing a degree in Social Studies Education. She is originally from Monticello, Indiana. This is her first year with BFTF, but she has a great deal of experience working with high school students. Regardless, she is very excited for the entire experience! In her free time she likes to read, play cards, and watch any show that will make her laugh. 

Contact the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship
(765) 496-3029 or
Beering Hall of Liberal Arts and Education
100 N. University Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098
Room 4176