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Trixie Cordova, Associate Director
As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, sparking what would become a lifelong passion for international travel, global education, and cross-cultural exchange. After receiving her BA in Sociology and American Studies in 2005, she continued working in and around San Francisco before moving to Japan to teach English as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Trixie lived in rural Japan for 2 years, during which she traveled extensively throughout Japan and Southeast Asia.
In 2009, she moved to New York City to earn her MA in International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her thesis, "Critical Study Abroad", advocated for increased international educational opportunities for underserved youth, specifically at the high school level. She is interested in intersecting education abroad with social justice and peace education to promote more critical learning spaces while traveling and experiencing new cultures.
Since moving to New York City, Trixie has worked with organizations that recognize and promote global education. She served as Education Director for World Up, a non-profit music education program in Brooklyn that uses global hip-hop to education youth about issues affecting their communities. She has also worked with Peace Boat US, the stateside partner of Peace Boat in Tokyo, Japan that travels around the world promoting human rights and peace education. Before joining Diversity Abroad in the summer of 2014, Trixie worked at the Office of Global Programs at Columbia University supporting program staff as a Graduate Assistant.
She is a Bay Area native and grew up learning her parents' native Tagalog, and speaks conversational Japanese. She is excited to promote the broad range of support and services that Diversity Abroad offers to students around the country on the Go Global Campus Tour this fall.
Andrew Gordon, CEO & Founder
Andrew Gordon is a social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Diversity Abroad. As an international education expert, he has written and spoken extensively on topics pertaining to access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in international education. With a passion for international education Andrew founded Diversity Abroad in 2006 with a simple vision, that the next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds be equipped with the skills and experience to compete in the 21st century global marketplace. Currently Andrew is responsible for the daily operations at Diversity Abroad and serves as the chief national advocate for promoting diversity and inclusive excellence within international education.
A native of San Diego, CA, Andrew is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and studied and interned abroad in Mexico and Spain. He is fluent in Spanish, proficient in French and Portuguese and has traveled throughout Europe, South America, and parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Based on his extensive experience abroad Andrew fully appreciates the value of international education and the power it has to prepare young people for leadership in an increasingly interconnected world.
Andrew has consulted higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies on developing strategies for increasing access to international education for diverse, first generation and high financial need students. He is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, AIEA, EAIE, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). Andrew is an alumnus of INROADS and Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce (AIESEC).
Erica Ledesma, Associate Director
As the Associate Director of the Diversity Abroad Network, Erica is responsible for managing Diversity Abroad’s professional development offerings, overseeing the member consortium, and leading the Diversity in Global Education task force initiative. Throughout her career, Erica has been committed to educational initiatives that promote success & inclusion for students of all backgrounds and is a champion of global learning, with over a decade of experience in international education. She holds a Masters degree from the University of MN in Education Policy & Administration with a focus on International Education. Her culminating research examined how a cross-cultural experience abroad can impact the intercultural competence of pre-service teachers, a topic of great importance given the changing demographics in today’s public schools. Erica has studied in Guatemala, Cuba, Jordan, Israel, and Argentina, where she completed an internship for her graduate studies.
Christopher LeGrant, Manager of Operations
Christopher is a professional with over 8 years of experience in international education. He completed his last year of undergraduate education in London, England and soon after returning to the United States he began working for the volunteer and teach abroad organization, GeoVisions, helping to build the outbound division of that organization from scratch. During his six years with GeoVisions, he traveled to 17 countries on five continents, creating and sustaining partnerships to create an influential and growing organization. As Director of Recruitment, he was personally responsible for 40 percent of all annual enrollments, which allowed him to speak with thousands of people about the rewards and challenges associated with living, teaching and working in another country.
These experiences (especially in the Global South) lead to his Masters degree in International Studies from the University of San Francisco, instilling a deep understanding and appreciation of global issues, cultures and theories. His education was heightened by living on a farming cooperative in rural Nicaragua, during which he worked with the cooperative members and conducted over two months of sociological fieldwork. This life changing period reinforced the passion for social justice and equity that underlies all of his work.
Before coming to Diversity Abroad, Christopher worked as the Learning Center Manager for Berlitz San Francisco, which also serves as one of the largest study abroad locations for that company in North America. During this time, he managed the daily operations of the school, including the supervision of roughly 25 employees and instructors, setting performance goals, and managing the school’s monthly and yearly financials.
Christopher is passionate about international education and its role in developing the leadership skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century. He believes deeply that these experiences be made accessible and relevant to all people, and is excited to use his global mindset, critical thinking skills and managerial experience to increase the accessibility of international education for underserved populations.
Christopher grew up in Colorado and New England and has lived in the Bay Area for six years. He speaks conversational Spanish and remains active in promoting the importance of social science in creating a globally minded and active citizenry.
Ariana Peña, Marketing Coordinator
As the Marketing Coordinator at Diversity Abroad, Ariana manages the editorial and promotional content for the diversityabroad.com and diversitynetwork.org social, web, and print audiences. A first-generation college student, Ariana recently graduated Cum Laude from Saint Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Media Studies, Journalism, & Digital Arts with a Minor in Business Administration. Ariana was the recipient of her undergraduate program's departmental honors award.
After a life-changing study abroad experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the Spring of 2015, Ariana spent her final year at Saint Michael's College promoting study abroad culture on her campus through API's Global Student Leadership Academy. Her senior thesis "Underrepresented Overseas," analyzed discrepancies in access to study abroad for ethnic-minority and first-generation college students.