Adam Sewall has found a cutting-edge way to teach.
The 1999 Orono High School graduate has enjoyed his role as a travel presenter for Project Explorer.
Founded by Jenny M. Buccos in 2003, the nonprofit organization, based at ProjectExplorer.org, produces free, online global educational series which combine minidocumentaries with other teaching materials for all ages.
Sewall fits the well-rounded profile needed to be a travel presenter, who hosts the minidocumentaries. He majored in Spanish and geography at Middlebury College in Vermont before going on to earn his master’s degree in international relations at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
The 28-year-old Sewall learned about Project Explorer from a classmate at Tufts.
“I e-mailed Jenny, and met her a few times,” he recalled from his residence in Washington, D.C. “Things just kind of progressed.”
The position is a good fit for Sewall.
“I’ve always been interested in the media,” he said. “I like meeting and communicating with people, traveling and learning about new cultures.”
Sewall hooked up with Project Explorer just in time to head to
Jordan with Buccos, fellow travel presenter Ilana Fayerman and the crew for a month last September, the first week and a half of which was during the Muslim holy days of Ramadan.
Among the topics covered in the Jordan series are archaeology, religion, cuisine, government and politics, chemistry and physics, and arts and culture.
This meant that one day, Sewall could be dining with Beduoins, the next be riding a camel and another be trying out his skills as a Roman centurion.
With such a range of topics, filming had to be flexible.
“You can’t plan everything,” Sewall said. “We would decide that this deserved to be covered, while that isn’t as interesting. Things change when you’re on the ground. You want to control the process, but not too much.”
Only so much control was possible during the shoot.
“Some pieces were easier than others,” Sewell recalled. “Some you have more time on, while some are dicier than others.”
Sewall’s biggest surprise while in Jordan was “the warmth with which we were received by everyone we met. People go out of their way to help you out. People think of the Middle East as a no-go zone, but it’s very different on a person-to-person level.”
While Sewall feels fairly comfortable on camera, “I have a lot to learn about the education side of things, and the production side.”
The Jordan series went online in February, and Sewall said the early feedback has been very positive. Next up is a trip to Malaysia, if enough funds are raised, and he hopes to be part of that.
Sewall feels that Project Explorer is a valuable resource because “kids should be encouraged to look farther over the horizon. We live in a world that’s so connected economically and politically that we should connect person to person. Distances have been compressed, so it’s important that we adjust and learn about the larger world.”
For more information, visit www.projectexplorer.org.