Meet the Instructors

SCHUYLER HEDSTROM | Director; Japanese Cuisine & Culture
Dartmouth College, B.A., English

While at Dartmouth, Schuyler studied Spanish art history in Barcelona and theatre with coaches from the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. Now in his 16th year in Madrid, Schuyler teaches English and runs a bilingual theatre company. A Vermont native, Schuyler enjoys cooking, swimming, and yoga. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Central America. Schuyler first traveled to Japan in college on a study abroad program. This is Schuyler’s 20th summer with Putney Student Travel. He has led Cultural Exploration Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji; Cultural Exploration Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland; and Community Service Hawaii. He has directed Middle School Costa Rica for three summers, Putney’s programs in Madrid and Barcelona for 12 summers, and taught Japanese Cuisine and Technology & Innovation on Pre-College Tokyo in 2018. Schuyler is fluent in Spanish and Italian and proficient in Japanese.

VERONICA HANSEN | Photography; Film & Video
University of Texas Austin, B.A., History, B.A., Photojournalism

While at the University of Texas, Veronica focused on studying photojournalism in the classroom and also working as a freelance photographer for local newspapers and magazines. While there she built a photojournalism portfolio specializing in portraiture and storytelling. Veronica has traveled and lived in Asia, South America, and Europe, while working as a photographer for over 10 years. Veronica’s own photography work has been published in international magazines and news outlets. Veronica now lives and works as a photographer in Barcelona, where she also runs a business teaching artists the business and marketing skills they need to succeed. She has twice taught photography on Putney Pre-College in Spain and also taught photography to underprivileged youth through NGOs based in Cambodia and Peru. Veronica is fluent in English, Spanish, and Catalán, and is proficient in Japanese. This fall, Veronica will be launching a new business venture in Barcelona and the U.S.

ROBERT DAHLBERG-SEARS | Technology & Innovation; Japanese Cuisine & Culture
The Ohio State University, Ph.D., Musicology (Ethnomusicology & Folklore), in progress
University of Missouri-Saint Louis, M.A., History
University of Missouri-Saint Louis, B.A., Japanese, B.A., History

While at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, Robert studied Japanese language and culture, and completed a master’s degree focusing on social history. He was able to take several study abroad trips to Japan, which let him explore the Tokyo and Kyoto areas. Robert then spent a year living in Yokohama, Japan, studying at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies. In Yokohama, Robert loved discovering the best local foods he could find, taking the train out to find photogenic spots around Kanagawa prefecture, and taking breaks from studying to go to punk rock shows. While applying to PhD programs, he worked as a substitute teacher in Columbus City Schools with a prominent focus on teaching Japanese, and music. Robert now works as a graduate student associated with the School of Music, the Center for Folklore Studies, and the Institute for Japanese Studies at The Ohio State University, where he studies the popular music and folklore of Japan. He has taught courses on world music cultures in addition to the ever-popular history of rock ‘n roll. Robert is proficient in Japanese and has recently been teaching himself Swedish. This fall, Robert will continue his research at Ohio State, investigating links and histories between popular music, language, resistance, and society.

JULIENNE ALEXANDER | Anime & Illustration; Japanese Cuisine & Culture
Davidson College, B.A., Literature

Julienne attended Davidson College in her home state of North Carolina, where she discovered, while working for a series of campus publications, that her knack for art and design could be quite useful. Upon graduating she began putting these skills to work for a long list of magazines, fashion companies, creative firms, and political campaigns. After some years living in Oregon and Washington, D.C., Julienne’s home base is back in North Carolina, where she lives and works as a graphic designer, muralist, and artist in Durham. When she’s not at home, she’s traveling as often as she can for work and for pleasure. This is Julienne’s fifth summer teaching for Putney Pre-College. In the past, she has taught studio art, illustration, fashion, and graphic design courses on Pre-College at Amherst College and Pre-College Tokyo.

HANNAH DAHLBERG-DODD | Japanese Language; Survival Japanese
The Ohio State University, Ph.D., Japanese Linguistics (candidate)
The Ohio State University, M.A., Japanese Linguistics
University of Georgia, B.A., Linguistics, Honors Interdisciplinary Studies (East Asian Languages)

Hannah has studied Japanese since high school, and while a student at the University of Georgia she spent a year as an exchange student at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. There, in addition to studying The Tale of Genji, the Ainu language, and modern Japanese literature, she fell in love with the city and its history. After graduation, she entered her master’s program at The Ohio State University, where she began teaching Japanese, including taking courses in language instruction and pedagogical methods. Also during this time, she returned to Japan to spend a year at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, where she developed her research abilities with other graduate students and was able to further explore the greater Tokyo area. As a researcher, Hannah focuses on the kind of language styles that are used in popular media like anime, manga, and pop music, and how the relationship between people and the media they consume affects their perception of language overall. Other than Japanese, Hannah has also studied Chinese, and she’s currently working on Korean. After finishing her dissertation in the fall, Hannah will return to Tokyo in October to work as a research fellow at Hosei University.

BRIAN DUKIE | International Business & Marketing; Program Assistant
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, B.A., Journalism & Media Studies

While studying at UNLV, Brian also took Japanese classes and visited Japan soon after he graduated. After that trip, he decided that he wanted to spend more time in the Land of the Rising Sun and has been living there since, teaching Japanese high school and college students for the past six years. In his free time he has been able to pursue his passion for snowboarding and recently spent the winter season as a translator and guide in the Alps of Japan. Now, based in Tokyo, he teaches at a tourism college and also trains engineers for overseas work relocations. As he enters the entrepreneurship field, he is currently honing his skills in digital marketing and is planning a small media company launch in the new field of virtual reality. Last year he taught marketing and advertising on Pre-College Tokyo.

JUSTIN CAJANDING | Fashion Design & History; Program Assistant
Stanford University, B.A., Comparative Literature and Japanese

While at Stanford, Justin studied the various international cultural exchanges that led to the development of street styles and streetwear around the world—from his home in Los Angeles to the backstreets of Tokyo. Looking for ways to broaden his grasp of the fashion world, Justin started his own fashion brand with clientele both domestic and abroad, spent time traveling between Tokyo and Los Angeles to conduct his own firsthand trend research, and worked to bridge innovations in technology to the fashion industry. While in Japan, as a result of this background, Justin worked with acclaimed designers to understand the ties between traditional aesthetic values and practice in Japan and the Japanese brands we know today. Outside of his work in fashion, he spent time working in various educational settings, engaging high school students with public service and activism. Justin is fluent in English and Japanese and proficient in Tagalog and French. This fall, Justin will continue his work within the Japanese fashion industry.

JESSIE MERRIAM Anime & Illustration; Japanese Cuisine & Culture
University of Georgia, B.A., English, concentration in creative writing and printmaking

Jessie became involved in printmaking and bookmaking through the poetry department at the University of Virginia. While there, she interned at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center and began exhibiting her art in group shows. Jessie then relocated to Georgia to begin studies at the University of Georgia, where she received an English degree and continued visual art coursework. Her work in drawing, etching, traditional Japanese woodblock printing (mokuhanga), papermaking, writing, and bookbinding were complimented by literature studies on ekphrasis and the interplay between visual and verbal arts. She also helped run a film club that explored Japanese film from the Golden Age to anime. After graduating, she moved to Alaska, where she worked for four winters in rural villages surveying residents about wild food harvests and sharing traditions for the anthropological division of the Department of Fish and Game. During the summers in Anchorage she organized art shows for emerging artists and held pop-up printmaking workshops to introduce simple, accessible home printmaking techniques. Jessie now lives in Minneapolis, where she works at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts letterpress studio, and teaches woodblock printing workshops for the public at the Women’s Woodshop. Jessie has traveled in France and Morocco and is proficient in French, and is excited about practicing Japanese for future printmaking studies in Japan. This fall, Jessie will return to gardening work, publish a children’s book she illustrated, and expand her teaching practice to include multi-generational groups creating narrative art together.