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).
Wagaye Johannes, Director of Operations & Organizational Development
Wagaye Johannes is the Director of Operations and Organizational Development, where she oversees the infrastructure of the company and works closely with senior leaders to map out and implement Diversity Abroad’s five year strategic plan.
Born in Ethiopia and raised with a foot on either side of the Atlantic, Wagaye’s personal and academic background led her to the field of international education. In 2014, she launched the Institute of International Education (IIE)s national campaign “Generation Study Abroad” to increase and diversify study abroad participation, which now has grown to a global network of 800+ partners from higher education institutions, study abroad organizations, foreign governments and the private sector.
She began her career at IIE’s West Coast Center before becoming the Exchanges Advisor at California State University, East Bay where she expanded study abroad opportunities for nontraditional students and increased the number of applicants for prestigious awards including Fulbright and Rhodes. Prior to joining IIE’s headquarters in 2010, she served as Deputy Director at IIE’s European office in Budapest overseeing 20+ scholarship and leadership programs that supported first generation students. Wagaye has also worked at the German Academic Exchange Service in Bonn and as an educational advisor for the Fulbright Center in Amsterdam.
A thought leader on international education and access and diversity, Wagaye’s academic pursuits focused on comparative studies of citizenship and integration between the U.S. and the European Union. She has presented at several conferences on how to expand study abroad and diversity, including Diversity Abroad, Council for Opportunity in Education, Germany Academic Service Exchange, and Fulbright Colombia.
She holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam and a B.A. in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. She is fluent in German, speaks some French, and has a basic understanding of Dutch, Hungarian, and now is learning Arabic.
Lizzy Monroe, Associate Director, Learning & Development
Lizzy is the Associate Director for Learning and Development, overseeing the creation, maintenance, and assessment of Diversity Abroad’s learning and development activities.
Lizzy was initially drawn to the field of International Education through her undergraduate studies in Archaeology. While participating in overseas archaeological excavations in Italy, Mauritius, and Peru, she was confronted with evidence of power structures and inequality that shaped these research projects, local tourism, and the surrounding communities. Ultimately, she found herself more drawn to researching these power structures, their roots, and their persisting legacies than to the findings from the digs themselves. This led her to pursue a Master’s degree in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute.
Through this program and in the years since, she has worked to explore pedagogical approaches to addressing issues of domestic and global inequality and marginalization, using international education as a tool to confront these structural issues.
Before joining Diversity Abroad, Lizzy was the on-site Resident Assistant for Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town and later served as the Program Advisor for their programs in Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, and South Africa. She also worked at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business as their Assistant Director of Global Experiences, coaching student leadership teams in the design and delivery of international programming and creation of inclusive business communities.
Originally from Eugene, OR, she now lives in San Francisco, CA, with her fiancée and their very spoiled dog.
Suzanne Rommelfanger, Director of Partnerships and Outreach
As the Director of Partnerships and Outreach, Suzanne Rommelfanger is responsible for expanding Diversity Abroad’s global community through cultivating new relationships and engaging existing members.
Suzanne graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology. Her study abroad semester in Sydney was life changing. Her wanderlust has since taken her to more than 60 countries across 6 continents, which fuels her passion for learning about different cultures and global diversity.
Suzanne’s first job was facilitating peace and reconciliation programs in Northern Ireland, followed by a move back to Australia to direct a global fellowship program at Earthwatch Institute.
She has a decade of experience in higher education and international education working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, managing an international internship program at Council on International Educational Exchange, and creating customized study, internship or service learning abroad programs at CAPA The Global Education Network. Suzanne was particularly focused on promoting opportunities for underrepresented groups, including HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions and first generation college students.
Most recently, she designed educational travel programs for a broad demographic of lifelong learners at Road Scholar. She is a founding member of RISE Travel Institute, a nonprofit launched amid the pandemic, with a mission to inspire responsible, impactful, sustainable, and ethical travel through education. Suzanne was drawn to RISE because of its commitment to DEI and unique lens of anti-oppression in travel.
Suzanne believes that travel is transformative. Having benefited from an impactful study abroad experience, she is excited to support DEI in global education and help provide equitable access to students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. She shares Diversity Abroad’s vision, and is eager to communicate the organization’s mission, goals, and programs.
Ruby Shields, Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives
Ruby’s commitment to increasing access to global education began with her own experience as an undergraduate at the University of Portland (UP). With the help of a Gilman Scholarship and the support of a dedicated Office of Studies Abroad, Ruby spent a semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. During this time, Ruby advanced her Spanish skills and discovered a deep appreciation for experiential learning and passion for making these opportunities accessible to all students.
Ruby received her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from UP and went on to work for the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation where she managed operations for national conferences and supported a diverse member network. A desire to pursue a career in international education led her back to UP, where she earned a Masters in Higher Education & Student Affairs. During this time, Ruby interned in the Office of Studies Abroad and worked as an Assistant Residence Hall Director. She spent an inspiring summer leading a group of diverse high school students on a month-long trip to Spain with Student Diplomacy Corps. This experience solidified Ruby’s dedication to working towards increased access in the international education field.
Prior to joining Diversity Abroad, Ruby worked on the Faculty-led Program team at University of Washington Study Abroad (UWSA). While at UWSA, Ruby worked closely with faculty to plan, promote and support faculty-led programs and supported the peer mentor program. In her role at Diversity Abroad, Ruby manages student engagement initiatives such as the Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate, student webinars and content creation for student success resources.
Ruby is based in Portland, OR and enjoys spending time exploring the local food scene with her husband and hiking with their dog.