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Diversity Abroad Focuses on Supporting Incoming International Students

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 6, 2017

Diversity Abroad is excited to introduce members of our International Student & Scholar Services Working Group. This group -- comprised of eight global education professionals with experience supporting inbound international students -- has committed to working together this fall to guide Diversity Abroad in developing resources to assist International Student Services Professionals facilitate meaningful global exchanges across the full range of diverse perspectives represented on our campuses in the US and abroad.
 

Working Group Members

Jacquis Watters (Co-Chair) 
Diversity Educator - Stevens Institute of Technology

Jacquis Watters (she, her, hers) currently serves as the Diversity Educator in the Division of Student Affairs at Stevens Institute of Technology. As a Higher Education practitioner, she’s blended discussions on the intersectionality of social identities such as race, gender, and sexuality into international education through her involvement in Diversity Abroad Network and Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Conference on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Education; as well as, through national and international conference presentations.

 

Monica J. Bryant, Ph.D.
International Student Career Development Specialist - Rutgers University

As a career development specialist and liaison to international students at Rutgers University, I provide counseling services and programming to all students; however, my primary focus is to develop programs and services to address the needs of international students, particularly those with interests in the Arts & Communication; Business, Financial Services, and Logistics; and Education and Public & Human Services career clusters.

My work is informed by more than 25 years of experience in the field of career planning and development in higher education. Thus, my experiences have enabled me to understand the career needs and challenges of a diverse student body. I also have worked in government, human services, and business. I hold a doctorate in organizational systems (focusing on behavior, development, and learning), a master's degree in human development, and bachelor's in psychology. I have a strong interest in experiential education, particularly in the context for cultural understanding, leadership development for civic and community building, and program assessment and evaluation using ROI Methodology. When I am not working as a career counselor, I serve as an adjunct instructor and continue my study and practice in Reiki healing—Western Usui and Jikiden Reiki styles. 

 
 
Duwon Clark
Dean of Global Initiatives - Fisk University

Duwon Clark is the Dean of Global Initiatives at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he manages study abroad and international student services. Duwon previously served as the coordinator for international student services at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO. He earned a BS in political science with a concentration in international relations from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, FL. He is now pursuing a master’s in public administration at the University of Missouri. Clark has studied in Ghana and traveled as a research and immersion scholar to several other countries, including China and Brazil by way of FAMU’s Center for Global Security and International Affairs (CGSIA). Duwon is a former Charles B. Rangel scholar and advocate for comprehensive internationalization at historically black colleges and universities.

 

Elizabeth Coder
International Student Services Coordinator - Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar

Elizabeth Coder is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from Auburn University in the great state of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. (Go Tigers!) She went on to receive her Master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. After completing her Master's, she served three terms with AmeriCorps, where she developed a love of experiential learning, social justice, and service-learning. After AmeriCorps, Elizabeth began her international education career, working on Semester at Sea and in first-year study abroad programs at Northeastern University and Elon University, working with 300 first-year students in five different countries. She currently serves as the International Student Services Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University's campus in Doha, Qatar where she oversees international student services, study abroad, and campus exchange. She is also currently a doctoral student in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota where she is planning to research the intersection between the intercultural learning that happens internationally in study abroad programs and the intercultural learning that happens domestically in diversity education centers on college campuses.

 

Barbara Kappler, Ph.D
Assistant Dean and Director of International Student and Scholar Services - Univ of MN

Barbara Kappler, Ph.D., is Assistant Dean and Director of International Student and Scholar Services with Global Programs and Strategy Alliance and a member of the Graduate Faculty with the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.  Barbara has 25 years of experience in facilitating and teaching  in intercultural communication, leading and managing programs, and conducting research. She enjoys writing and is co-editor of NAFSA’s 2017 3rd edition of Learning Across Cultures and co-author of three guides for students, staff, and language instructors on Maximizing Study Abroad, as well as a book on communication styles. Her career at the University has been an exciting blend of program and leadership experiences, curriculum development, intercultural communication research, teaching, and working with international students.

 

Lee Seedorff
Assistant Provost for International Programs - University of Iowa

Reporting to the Assistant Provost for International Programs, Lee has day-to-day administrative oversight of ISSS.  She sets advising policies and procedures, interprets and applies federal regulations and other immigration guidelines, oversees the ISSS budget, and works closely with University of Iowa administration and other programs regarding internationalization issues.  Lee has considerable experience providing intercultural training and programming for students, staff, and faculty including use of the Intercultural Development Inventory.  A member of ISSS since 1999, she served as Regulatory Ombudsperson for Region IV of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, liaising with schools in the region and the Department of Homeland Security/Department of State.  She was also involved with NAFSA for a number of years providing training for advisors new to the field, and currently serves as the Region IV International Education Leadership Rep.  As a result of her long-term expertise in F and J regulations, she has provided expert witness opinions in legal cases and published an article on international student employment co-authored with Amanda McFadden from the Pomerantz Career Center in New Directions for Student Services in 2017.  Lee has a B.A. with double majors in Anthropology and South Asian Religions, a minor in Sanskrit Language and Literature, and a Master of Social Work, all from the University of Iowa.  She has studied in India and St. Lucia, and spent time in Mexico, Canada, Thailand, and Singapore.  She has studied the Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit languages, and made less successful attempts to learn Chinese (Mandarin) and German.

 

Carrie Trimble, Ph.D.
A
ssociate Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Center for International Education - Millikin University

Carrie Trimble is an Associate Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Center for International Education at Millikin University with graduate degrees in Communication (M.A. From University of Illinois Springfield) and Mass Media (Ph.D. from Michigan State University) and a graduate certificate in International Marketing (Boston University). She joined the Millikin University faculty in 2011. Her area of expertise is consumer response to marketing communications like cause-related marketing campaigns and branded social media efforts. She’s a grammando who keeps her class presentations full of contemporary examples and energy. She advises International students who study at Millikin and U.S. students preparing to study abroad as well as teaching Marketing and International Business courses. She’s taught travel courses in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Viet Nam, China, Italy, and Walt Disney World. Fascinated by digital media and media technologies, she can’t wait to see how the future of communication unfolds.

 

Claire Witko
Director of Programs - Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities (AGB)

Claire Witko is the Director of Programs at AGB, where she is responsible for the association’s national programs, seminars, and other programmatic initiatives for governing boards and institutional leaders.  Most recently, she was the Director of Summer and Non-Degree Programs at The George Washington University, managing over 600 international and domestic high school, undergraduate and adult students each summer. Prior to her work at GW, Claire was the Executive Director of the South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP), a non-profit that brings together diverse university students from South Africa for leadership development and peace building. Originally a native of Chicago, Claire graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Cultural Studies, received an MA in International Education from American University and has also completed her MBA at Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. Previously, Claire has run international student programs at the UNCF Special Programs Corporation and the American University, Washington College of Law, and was the Assistant Manager of Development for the National Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband love working on their house and cuddling with their adorable pup, Hubert. 

 

Tags:  International Exchange  International Students 

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Meet Darin Smith-Gaddis: Diversity Abroad Community Highlight

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 6, 2017

Darin Smith-Gaddis
Manager, Institutional Relations
CAPA The Global Education Network

Level of Experience: 4-10 years

What does diversity & inclusive excellence mean to you in the context of your work?

Creating diverse and inclusive excellence in my work is a charge to make sure that global opportunities are accessible to everyone. A diversity of thought, education, and background allows for a healthy and necessary debate of ideas. We must think critically about the barriers to global opportunities and purposely act to build more robust pipelines of diverse participants. Doing so means all students can strengthen their academic, personal, and professional skillsets, and that is my goal . I work with advisors, faculty, and administrators to deliver global academic programming that any student can believe is for them.    

Please describe the factors that led you to pursue your current career track?

I was lucky enough to have a mother with a strong belief in sharing diverse perspectives at a young age. I participated in my first study abroad program in high school, and continued with multiple international experiences in undergrad. Through my life I have always been fascinated by the idea of the “other” and learning about communities different from my own. I knew early on that my passion for travel would have to be incorporated into my profession. Being presented with opportunities to travel at a young age turned into a deep desire to make sure other people have the same opportunity.

What aspects of your work are you most excited about?

Any and every opportunity to rethink business as usual with the goal of increasing access to an international experience. Of course, I can’t do this alone. Creating communities of colleagues to help develop what could be, instead of our current system, gets me out of bed every day. Oh, and the travel!

Please describe any challenges you've encountered in relationship to your current role? What strategies have you employed to overcome them?

The current regulatory and financial environment makes it dangerous to dream. Changing the status quo, which can be on a shaky foundation as is, can be a hard argument to accept, even if it is the right argument. Building coalitions of the willing across the educational spectrum helps broaden the boundaries possibility. Additionally, we work in a research and data driven field. The use of analytics can help the decision makers feel comfortable making tough decisions about our finite resources. Finally, storytelling is a key component to building buy-in and increases the chances for success.   

As you reflect on different aspects of your career, what are you most proud of?

Building systems that level the playing field for historically underrepresented students in academic or experiential learning abroad. Designing programs and recruiting structures for diverse communities that will far outlast me.  

Do you have any heroes? Who are they and why?

Those that never lose hope, and fight for equity and accessibility for all. Especially for those that are the most vulnerable and can’t fight for themselves.

What do you work toward in your free time?

I am involved in issues of educational access and food security. It seems odd that as one of the richest nations in the world, many people in our own communities are unsure of where their next meal will come from. Additionally, there are purposely complex barriers to high quality education in this country. We know education is the silver bullet for so many other societal challenges and yet it has a complicated history in the American experience.

Recent Engagement with Diversity Abroad

Planning Committee Member: 2017 Global Student Leadership Summit 
Presenter: 2017 Global Student Leadership Summit 
Member: 2016-2017 & 2017-2018 High School Task Force 

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Disability Studies Abroad

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 22, 2017
By: Julia Karpicz, MA
PhD Student in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA


How is disability constructed across cultures? How do these constructions shape the lives, cultures, histories, and politics of disabled and non-disabled communities around the world?

As an interdisciplinary academic field, Disability Studies “examines the concept of disability as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon” (University of Utah). Over the past two decades, more than forty North American colleges and universities have created Disability Studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In recent years, several universities have also begun offering study abroad programs with a comparative focus on disability, access, and culture. For students with an interest in Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, and/or Disability Culture, this blog post will introduce a few opportunities to explore disability-related themes in a global context. Please note the list below is not exhaustive and study abroad offerings can change throughout the year.

China: Disability in a Global Context
New York University, Summer 2018, Graduate-level
“This course explores the implications of disability in global contexts with varying levels of industrialization. It examines how local public and private sectors, including schools, hospitals, markets, or transportation systems, affect the lives of people with disabilities in Shanghai, China.”
 
Tanzania: Disability & Culture in Tanzania
Georgia College, Summer 2018, Undergraduate-level
“Explore the geography and culture of one of Africa’s most stable and culturally diverse nations through the lens of disability. Observe and volunteer at local schools and community centers serving individuals with disabilities. Experience life with the Maasai as you learn about their cultural understanding of disabilities.”

Japan: Studying Disability in Japan and the U.S.: A Comparative Approach to Laws, Policies, and Perspectives
Syracuse University, Summer 2018, Undergraduate-level
“Travel to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima to compare Japan and the United States under a disability studies lens. You will draw on a number of disciplines, including policy, law, and education, for a close-up look at policies and practices in Japan.”

Note: At the time of writing, the following programs have been offered for at least two consecutive years, but do not yet have available information for 2018 offerings.

Ireland: Culture and Disability
Penn State University, Summer 2017, Undergraduate-level (PSU-Only)
“Throughout the program students will be comparing attitudes and stigma toward people with disabilities as well as policies, services and resources that exist in the U.S. and Ireland.” Recipient of the GoAbroad – Innovative New Program Award in 2016.

India: Disability in Limited Resource Settings (Exploration Seminar)
University of Washington, Fall 2017, Undergraduate-level
“This study abroad program addresses disability within low and middle income countries. Using India as a cultural, political and socioeconomic context, students will explore a wide range of issues related to disability including prevalence and demographics, measurement, access and barriers to health care and rehabilitation, availability of assistance and support, accessibility of built environments and information technologies, and access and barriers to education and employment.”

Sign Language and Deaf Culture


Deaf culture can be defined as “a set of learned behaviors of a group of people who are deaf and who have their own language (ASL), values, rules, and traditions” (Gallaudet University). Students who are interested in comparative sign language and Deaf culture studies, are encouraged to explore the programs included below. For more information about organizations, schools, and programs that are involved with the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, please see the Mobility International USA article, “Deaf International Exchange Opportunities.”

United Kingdom: Comparative Sign Language

University of Pittsburgh, Summer 2018, Undergraduate-level
“This four week, six credit program, based in the heart of London, will give you the opportunity to examine the differences in British and American Sign Languages as well as British and American Deaf Culture. Designed for students who have completed at least ASL 0002 (by the start of the program), you'll have the opportunity to practice your ASL skills both in and out of the classroom - the program is ‘voice off.’”

Deaf Culture, History, and Sign Language in France
University of Rochester, Summer 2018, Undergraduate-level
“The American Sign Language (ASL) Program at the University of Rochester offers a unique study abroad experience in France during the summer for Deaf and hearing college-level ASL students and professionals. This two-week program gives ASL users an opportunity to learn French Sign Language and French Deaf culture in a formal setting and further their understanding of the international Deaf world.”

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Meet Kristin Labs: Diversity Abroad Community Highlight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kristin Labs photoKristin Labs
Field Director, South/Southwest U.S.
Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University

Level of Experience: 10+ years

What does diversity & inclusive excellence mean to you in the context of your work?

To me, it means giving a voice to every perspective, every identity, every opinion. It means challenging ourselves to acknowledge our own prejudices, to recognize and challenge social constructs that negatively impact others, to actively listen to others, and to seek understanding.     

Please describe the factors that led you to pursue your current career track?

I studied International Relations as an undergraduate, and always imagined that I would end up working in International Development with an NGO, maybe in Sub Saharan Africa. But after college, and after living and working abroad for a year, I came back to the states and fell into an opportunity to live in rural Appalachia in southeastern Kentucky to start a non-profit and do community development work. I did that for three years. And through that experience, which included some college counseling with the local high school students, I realized I wanted to mix my two interests of education and international relations. Little did I know, until I did some research, that there were actually graduate programs in International Education, which is when I found the SIT Graduate Institute and thus began my pursuit of a career in IE.

What aspects of your work are you most excited about?

I love advising students. I also love seeing them through the entire process of pursuing an international experience, and discovering how they've transformed from the experience upon returning. I also love working on issues of access, whether it be first generation college students, high school students from rural or high poverty areas, or high financial need students. 

Please describe any challenges you've encountered in relationship to your current role? What strategies have you employed to overcome them?

I've faced challenges with micromanagement from leadership in the past. I find that focusing on the small accomplishments can really help my morale and finding allies across campus or within an organization can also be extremely motivating and helpful in pushing initiatives forward.   

As you reflect on different aspects of your career, what are you most proud of?

I'm actually most proud of the individual students I've advised over the years, and the paths that many of them have taken since then. Now and then I will cross paths with former students and it warms my heart to hear them remember the many advising sessions we had or the support they received that helped them get a scholarship, and to thank me for that years later. I was recently in touch with a former student who is now in the Foreign Service (never would have imagined that path for him 10 years ago!) and his next assignment will place him in Chengdu, China - the location of a study abroad program he helped me advise students on as a peer advisor. A full circle of sorts for him!   

Do you have any heroes? Who are they and why?

I would say that one of my heroes near the top of the list is Desmond Tutu, primarily for his work with South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

What do you work toward in your free time?

Having as many adventures with my kids and my partner as possible, and sharing them with friends and family. Sometimes that's visits to national parks like a recent trip to Carlsbad Caverns and sometimes it's dance parties on Wii in the living room (pretty regular occurrence).

Recent Engagement with Diversity Abroad

Co-Chair: 2017-2018 High School Task Force
Member: 2016-2017 High School Task Force
Presenter: 5th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference

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Meet Ahmad Refky: Diversity Abroad Community Highlight

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 8, 2017

Ahmad Refky
Director of Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
CEA Study Abroad

Level of Experience: 10+ years

What does diversity & inclusive excellence mean to you in the context of your work?

For me, and I know this to be true for CEA as an organization, diversity and inclusive excellence means creating feasible opportunities for students from all walks of life and backgrounds to expand their horizons, and explore life and culture abroad. This includes not just developing a wide array of academically rich programs, but also having a strong network that support these students on their journey, and provides them with the tools they need to achieve their goals.   

Please describe the factors that led you to pursue your current career track?

 My career in study abroad is a cumulative product of my life experiences to date. My first experience living abroad was when I came to the United States as a high school exchange student for my senior year. It was the first time away from my family and support network, which challenged and propelled me on a journey of self-discovery. 

When I returned to Egypt I chose to pursue an education at a liberal arts American university specifically so I can have an environment that not just supports, but also challenges students. I came out during college, and when Egypt proved to be an unsafe place to live, my family from my high school exchange year opened their home and hosted me again in the US. I applied and was granted political asylum as a gay man, and my experience in exile shaped my views about the importance of cross cultural understanding and communication in shaping a more inclusive world. My short-term study abroad experience in The Netherlands with students from across Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia during grad school also cemented my views about the importance of studying abroad and being exposed to other ideas and cultures. 

So with all these experiences, working in higher education in general, and in study abroad in particular seemed like a natural progression of my life’s journey. I started my career at The Rotary Foundation working to send groups of professionals abroad to experience how their vocations are practiced in other countries. I then worked with a Chicago-based non-profit bringing high school exchange students to study in the United States, and from there made the jump to higher education focusing on faculty-led programs, first at IES Abroad, and then at CEA Study Abroad. Looking back at my life over the past 20 years, this career—which sort of chose me, makes perfect sense, and allows me to apply my personal and professional experience to benefit a greater cause.

 What aspects of your work are you most excited about?

 Every day I use the experience I gained on my personal and professional journey to create new opportunities for students to explore life outside their local bubble, push their boundaries, and hopefully become more globally engaged citizens. 

In addition, at CEA I have the wonderful opportunity to put together a diverse team of talented, creative, and strong women that not only push and challenge boundaries and the status-quo, but also make me a better person and stronger team leader. 

Please describe any challenges you've encountered in relationship to your current role? What strategies have you employed to overcome them?

 I think the most challenging aspect of my current role is channeling the creativity and energy of my colleagues. I work with a very motivated group of strong individuals, and unfortunately the reality of any organization is that not all great ideas make the cut or come to fruition. This can be frustrating, especially for team members who are just starting their careers in study abroad or higher education. 

I have found that the most effective strategy is to not lead from the top down. I strive to create opportunities for my team members to impact strategy, set high level goals, hold themselves accountable, and become invested in the success of the initiatives they helped shape. By helping set goals and shape strategy, everyone is invested and the entire team works in unison to achieve outcomes, meet targets and milestones, and celebrate individual and collective successes along the way.  

As you reflect on different aspects of your career, what are you most proud of?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. Seventeen years ago I immigrated to the United States with no real plan or direction. I had a degree from the top private universities in Egypt, and my first job was as a nigh clerk in a 7-11 mopping floors and stocking fridges. So I am proud of my journey and accomplishments to date, and “pulling myself up by my bootstraps” to make it to where I am today. 

That said, a simpler answer would be that every day I am incredibly proud of the Custom Programs team at CEA. I could not be more proud to work with such a diverse, creative, and strong team of women who bring their a-game to work every day. They put me through my paces, challenge me to be a better colleague and leader, and as a team we help bring to fruition wonderful opportunities for students to study abroad every day.

What do you work toward in your free time?

I recently bought a house, so I spend most of my free time making it into a home with my husband and our ever growing pack of dogs (we're currently up to 4 rescue dogs ranging from Chihuahuas to Pit-Bulls)

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Pink! Almost every other color goes well with pink, which makes it a nice addition to any palette. Pink adds vibrancy and energy to any drawing, but can also be toned down if needed. I am not a wall flower, but I don't crave attention either. I like to let me work speak for itself, so pink seems like the best fit.

Recent Engagement with Diversity Abroad

Co-Chair: 2017-2018 LGBTQI+ Task Force
Member: 2016-2017 LGBTQI+ Task Force
Presenter: 5th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference

 

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