I was born on the east coast of the USA, Camden county New Jersey, into a first generation immigrant family. The eldest of six children, one sister and four brothers, our family moved 13 times before I was 11 years old due to my father's work. When I was 11 years old our family moved to Texas.
After winning USA national competitions in debate and speech while I attended public high school, I earned scholarships and graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. As a student at GU, I was chosen for a number of special programs including being the first undergraduate and female in their initial field course in Psycho cybernetics. I was the first female to win the Circumnavigator's travel grant, the first female to be on the debate team and part of the Philodemic society and one of only two females on the Judo team. Prior to graduation I gained my PADI Scuba diving certification and was awarded an AUIE fellowship for Tropical Terrestrial and Marine Biology field research and study in Central America. As part of the GU student government, I created,designed and garnered funding to launch the GUTS bus system providing free public transport for students, staff and faculty in surrounding areas and states. The Georgetown University Transportation System (GUTS) has expanded and is still operating today.
While working and travelling, I earned my Third Class Radio engineering license and a Diploma of Performing Arts from Circle-in-the-Square Theater School in New York City. I was an AFTRA, SAG, AEA, BTA Union member, on the faculty of the National Shakespeare Conservatory and a member of the Michael Howard Studios, NYC.
In 1986, after returning from work in Australia, I was hired to work for San Jose Rep Theatre and San Jose/Cleveland ballet. In California I met Martin Walter Schmidt, aka Marty, who was in the United States Air Force as a PJ at the time. We later married in Australia and our son Denali Martin Waldemar Schmidt was born in Macksville, NSW in 1988; and our daughter, Sequoia Patti Karanema Schmidt was born in Napier, New Zealand on January 1,1991.
Marty and I started his guiding business together officially in 1988. Marty guided the seven summits in various parts of the world and coordinated all the gear and logistics. The administrative work for MSIG was my responsibility while working part time teaching, taking care of our children and our households; some of which were in rural areas off the grid.
In 1989, I met the Maori elder, Anglican minister and former chaplain for the 28th Maori Battalion - Te Mate - Wiremu Te Tau Huata and his wife Ybel-Te Mate-Ringahora Heni Ngakai Ybel Tomoana . They invited me to meet and then work for their son-Te Mate-Tama Huata at the Kahurangi National Maori Dance Theater based in Hastings, New Zealand. As a result of my work, our family was granted New Zealand citizenship in 1994. In addition, I made a commitment to dance as a Sundancer (WiWang Wacipi) and pipe carrier on Lakota and Menominee reservations in the United States. I was part of these ceremonies for over a decade. I learned certain acupuncture protocols on Rosebud reservation, South Dakota from "Doc" Ron Rosen starting in 1995, then in 1998 Doc Rosen and his son Ari Rosen came over to Australia to teach Aboriginal elders and health practitioners auricular acupuncture for post trauma reactions and de-tox. Together we traveled to missions in New South Wales treating and training using this cost effective TCM protocol. As a family we lived in both the north and south islands of New Zealand then moved back to Australia, where I continued work with the Aboriginal communities and in the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) system in the region concurrently with Link-UpNSW, Aboriginal Corporation-throughout intervening moves back to Texas, Colorado and New Zealand. Marty continued with his own guiding throughout these years. We divorced in 2000 in Texas, USA. In August 2001, I returned with our children to New Zealand.
In 2002, I received a scholarship to Massey university for my graduate degree in Education then continued with my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine under the direction of AM Olatunji at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and TCM in Wellington. I was invited to design courses and teach Auricular Acupuncture on the faculty after doing specialized clinical rotations and training in hospitals using auricular acupuncture for post trauma, integrated stress management and addictions at: Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, New York, Ballymena clinic in Northern Ireland and a Tel Aviv hospital, Beer Ya'akov. In Wellington, New Zealand I introduced a special clinical treatment program for refugees who came from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia and other countries in conflict, at the NZTCM campus clinic starting in 2005.
Over the years I taught in public and Waldorf schools, served as Head of Special Needs departments, a High School Principal, Head of Department at university level, visiting professor, curriculum designer, Program Coordinator, Team Leader, Training Specialist, Project Director, Adviser to Ministries of Education and contractor to the US Department of State, Department of Defense, USAID, IREX, American Centers, UN agencies, British Council and NGOs such as: Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council and Physicians for Human Rights.
Since the end of 2006, I have worked in a number of countries in the fields of education, health, monitoring, evaluation, research and training. My work has taken me to: Armenia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Russia,Turkey,Qatar, Malaysia, Ascension Island, Italy, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Egypt, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Afghanistan and now Kurdistan, Iraq.
My daughter Sequoia Schmidt, started her own publishing company based in Texas,- Di Angelo Publications-in 2009. She is the author of two award winning adventure travel books. Her website is: www.sequoiaschmidt. com Sequoia is an adept entrepreneur and athlete. When our schedules permit we travel together. Tragically, my son Denali Schmidt was killed in the mountains of Pakistan while working with his father Marty Schmidt, who was attempting to summit K2 for the third time in July 2013. Denali had just graduated at the top of his class in May 2013, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Design from California College of the Arts. Their bodies have not yet been found. I still enjoy hiking, playing my flute, swimming, gigong practice, taking care of children and animals, learning new languages, reading as well as writing in different genres. "Getting Off the X" is the first in a three part series of non-fiction books. "Kismet" is my first published volume of poetry.
In 2014, I took Denali's writings on "Zen and the Art of Skiing" and with my mother Theresa Grasso Munisteri, an independent editor; we compiled a book form, which was printed and published with my daughter Sequoia's company-Di Angelo Publications. "Zen and the Art of Skiing" is a three generation tribute from Denali's maternal side of the family to his emerging work as a writer and an athlete.
Di Angelo Publications also published my father, Joseph G. Munisteri's non-fiction book, "Born in Rome" in September 2018, and will publish best selling author, JockoWillink's third children's book, "Mikey and the Dragons" in November 2018.
Thank you for taking the time to read this text. Photos in the slide show below present a visual glimpse of some times, places and important people in my life. These are shared in the spirit of connection and respect for those still living and those who have crossed the threshold.
Please feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts, suggestions and/or questions about my work. "To All My Relations". In Lakota... Hau Mitakuye Oyasin
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