2023 Forum Council Candidates Announced

The Nominations Committee of The Forum Council is pleased to announce the following slate of candidates for the open positions in this year’s election:

  • Mark Barneche, Pepperdine University, Associate Director of Lausanne Program
  • Emily Gorlewski, Wesleyan University, Director Office of International Studies
  • Hannah Kilgore, Trinity College Dublin, CASA Programme & Study Abroad Manager
  • Karen Miller, Johnson County Community College, Director of International Education
  • Vanessa Nichol-Peters, Marist College, Director of Marist Italy
  • David Puente, WorldStrides, Associate Vice President of Academics
  • Kyle Rausch, University of Illinois at Chicago, Executive Director, Study Abroad Office
  • Angela Schaffer, Fund for Education Abroad, Executive Director

Institutional Representatives from Forum member institutions and organizations will receive an email with voting information on Wednesday, April 26 (please check your spam/junk folders!). If you are an Institutional Representative and you do not receive the email ballot, please contact us at

The deadline to vote in this year’s Forum Council election is 5 p.m. EDT on May 12, 2023.

Click here to learn more about Mark Barneche

Mark Barneche, Pepperdine University, Associate Director of Lausanne Program

For the last 10 years, I have served as the Associate Director of Pepperdine University’s study abroad program in French-speaking Switzerland with previous/concurrent experience leading international educational programming in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. I am a doctoral student in Global Education at the School of International Training (SIT), I serve as the President of the American Association of Universities and Colleges in Switzerland (AAUCS), and I am the Treasurer of the European Association of Study Abroad (EUASA). I have extensive experience in cross-cultural organizational leadership, student affairs and development, program management, communication strategy, crisis response, and I am committed to inclusive, student-centered approaches to global education.

Throughout my professional experience in Switzerland and beyond, interactions with Forum staff and professional development resources have given me a deep appreciation for the Forum’s mission and its critical contributions to cross-cultural educational work around the world. I participated in the Forum’s professional certification training, served on the Milan conference planning committee, and facilitated conference sessions. Currently, I am planning new initiatives with Forum administrators and staff in Europe (European Institute 2023 and European faculty development) which seek to radically enhance the Forum’s collaborative engagement with European educators. As the education sector recovers from the impact of COVID-19 and faces new challenges of global instability, the impact of AI on education, and questions of cost vs. value in the educational marketplace, the Forum’s intellectual leadership and advocacy will be critical for the success of global education in the years to come.

I am motivated to be elected to the Council because my rich experience with the Forum has highlighted areas of growth and potential that, with some creativity and effort, could provide new energy and audiences for the Forum’s work. As a mid- career, international education professional based in Europe and connected to a broader US-based network of faith-based colleges and universities, I am all too aware that representatives from these demographics are often missing from Forum dialogues and leadership. By joining the council, I would like to help diversify the Council and align the Forum’s work with the “on the ground” challenges facing international educators, mid-career professionals, and faith-affliated institutions outside of the United States. My current work to develop on-site pedagogical development for faculty working with US students, powered by the Forum’s expertise and facilitators, is just one example of how the Forum could bridge cross-cultural gaps and provide direct support to international educators abroad. If elected, I would be delighted to support the Forum’s best practices, advocate for the needs and concerns of educators across the world, and to work towards a more equitable and accessible Forum community for all members.

Click here to learn more about Emily Gorlewski

Emily Gorlewski, Director of Study Abroad, Wesleyan University

Emily Gorlewski, Ed.D., is the Director of Study Abroad at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Emily is a current Council member seeking re-election. As a member of a two-person office, she enjoys interacting with colleagues from other organizations and having space to reflect on trends and best practices in the field. She has done this as a leader in the state, regional, and national NAFSA organizations, as Chair of The Forum’s Standards Update Working Group, and most recently on the Forum Council and Research Advisory Group. She has been in the field for eighteen years and earned a Master of Science and Doctor of Education degree along the way, as well as becoming a Forum Certified

Emily has valued and hopes to continue her work on the Research Advisory Group, helping to bring research to the practitioners who can benefit from it, and a practitioner perspective to those engaged in research. She has been named the Chair of the 2024 Annual Conference in Boston, and will be consulting on planned updates to the Professional Certification program. She works closely with Council
colleagues and Forum staff.

Emily brings diverse experience, which helps her to understand and identify with many different Forum constituents. She knows what it is like to work at a small, private, liberal-arts university, as well as a regional state university and an R2 doctoral university. This brings different perspectives on financial aid, athletics, housing, campus culture, equity and inclusion, etc., all of which are germane to education abroad. She has also worked, studied, and/or lived in the Midwest, West, and Northeast, as well as in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the U.S. One of Emily’s research interests has been the intersection between multicultural and intercultural education. For her dissertation, she interviewed multicultural student affairs professionals about their engagement in internationalization. Since equity, diversity, and inclusion and internationalization are values which, according to their proponents, should be infused throughout an institution, it is useful for The Forum to think about ways to internationalize multicultural education and build equity, diversity, and inclusion into international education. Emily looks forward to helping to continue this work.

Click here to learn more about Hannah Kilgore

Hannah Hopkins Kilgore, CASA-Trinity Programme Director & Study Abroad Manager, Trinity College Dublin

It has been a privilege to contribute to the Forum’s vital work throughout my first three-year term on the Council, and hope to be able to support the work for a further and final term. I am proud of everything that the Council has achieved over the last three years, especially at such a pivotal and challenging time for the field. The Forum has been a crucial advocate for all of us, and it is a pleasure to give back to the organisation. My work for the Forum has been engaging and wide-ranging, and I have been a Council representative on many working groups, including the Mid-Career and first-ever EMEA Conference groups, as well as the Chair of working groups such as the Outcomes Assessment group (before joining Council) and this year’s Expanding Education Abroad Access for Non-Traditional Learners group, which we plan to continue next year. I have also participated in this year’s Forum Certification Programme with my team at Trinity and have collaborated closely with the Forum team throughout this year’s new SIT model pilot. This has further strengthened my engagement with the Forum and its Standards, Resources and Tools.  

My experience working in the field from multiple perspectives has enabled me to act as an advocate for on-site staff and universities based outside of the US while on the Council. I have worked in the field for over 14 years, first from a US perspective for six years at Harvard’s Office of International Education, and now from a non-US perspective for the last eight years at Trinity College Dublin, where I work as the Study Abroad Manager and Director of the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad Programme at Trinity. As part of my work, I engage closely with partners and organisations across the globe and in Ireland, including serving on the Committee of Ireland’s study abroad organisation, ASAPI, and engaging with EUASA, Europe’s wider study abroad organisation. I also serve as a volunteer reviewer for the Fund for Education Abroad and on the Board of the Harvard Club of Ireland as a former President.  

I am immensely proud of the work of the Forum Council and am grateful to serve alongside such dedicated thought leaders in the field. It would be a privilege to continue my work serving the Council and advocating for all of us in the field for a further term. Thank you.

Click here to learn more about Karen Miller

Karen Miller, Johnson County Community College, Director of International Education

Growing up in a small town in Texas, I was a first generation college student who never studied abroad because it was an experience that was just out of my reach. I am happy to now serve Johnson County Community College as Director of International Education and I strive to create programs and policy that help make sure students have access to international experiences.

Now in my 13th year of working in international education, I’ve held various positions at a variety of institutions and organizations – from Harvard University to the New England Board of Higher Education to Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, Boston College, Sam Houston State University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College in New York. I studied my master’s in International Higher Education from Boston College and was very fortunate to work under leaders in internationalization. Each one of those contexts provided unique insights and I truly value all the perspectives they have allowed me. My thesis focused on the nature of internationalization of American community colleges, and I conducted a research project for the American Council on Education on the same topic.

As someone with a background in research, instruction, curriculum design, program development and implementation, inbound and outbound student mobility, as well as an in-depth knowledge of practices, initiatives, and challenges within higher education spaces and systems around the world, I truly do believe I represent an intersection of a variety of voices and contexts that have given me a comprehensive view as a data driven scholar-practitioner. I’ve led innovative dual degree programs between a community college and foreign universities, created articulation agreements, and enhanced institutional partners to be truly mutually beneficial as a senior international officer while putting student success at the forefront and maintaining transparency and a commitment to excellence.

Understanding the benefits, the gaps, the needs, and the challenges is just one side of this complicated move towards progress. Being able to work with a diverse group of minds in order to address those challenges at every type of institution, representing the vast variety of students, in order to create guidance and recommendations that are usable across the board is difficult but not impossible. I find that often we can be so focused on our own context that we forget about the variety of contexts that exist in higher education. Policy cannot be one size fits all, but we do have to make sure that we agree on the standards and quality, and that those expectations are realistic and comprehensively explained.

I am prepared to represent many of those voices, contexts, and perspectives and would feel privileged to do so for as a Council member.

Click here to learn more about Vanessa Nichol-Peters

Vanessa Nichol-Peters, Marist College, Director of Marist Italy

I have worked in Education Abroad since 2000, and for the last 10 years, I have been the Director of Marist College’s branch campus in Florence, Italy.

Born and educated in Zimbabwe, with further education in South Africa and the USA, I have spent most of my professional life working outside the USA. I began working in Education Abroad in Zimbabwe in 2000 with the School for International Training (SIT) and moved to South Africa with SIT – running and supervising programs in Durban and Cape Town. I also spent three years on the SIT campus in Vermont, working on business and legal compliance in a portfolio of countries, including Tanzania (and Zanzibar), Kenya, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Bolivia and Panama. I have been Director of Marist College’s branch campus in Italy, since 2012, overseeing all aspects – academic, administrative, student life and residence life – of a branch campus with 10 undergraduate degrees and 1 MA degree program, a vibrant first-year abroad program, traditional junior semester abroad programs and innovative summer student and faculty programs.

Being based in the field, FORUM conferences in the US, have not been accessible, but I have, however, been fortunate to attend Forum EMEA conferences in Barcelona, Athens and, most recently, Milan. The Forum Standards of Good Practice have been a constant guide in my work, helping to ensure we are running sound, ethical, innovative programs. Working in the field can sometimes be professionally ‘lonely’, and these conferences and virtual events have helped to bridge a gap with globally dispersed practitioners. I would be honored to engage deeply as a member of the Forum Council and contribute to engaging the critical issues affecting Education Abroad, and to continue to bring the work of the Forum to members across the globe while also working to bring the voices of our colleagues based around the world to the discussion.

Should I be elected to the Council, I look forward to being part of these crucial conversations and contributing to the continued development of our field. I believe I am well-placed to contribute in a number of areas, including:

  • Field operations
  • Branch Campus operations
  • Partner relations
  • Program design and curricular development
  • Student services
  • Support for international students, first-year students, graduate students, and other non-traditional learners
  • Health, safety and risk management
  • Management of a globally-dispersed team

I feel very fortunate to work in Education Abroad, helping to shape the lives and outlooks of young people at very critical moments in their lives. How we structure our work has far-reaching impact, and the Forum is fundamental in these discussions. If elected to the Forum Council, it would be a privilege to serve the Education Abroad community and the membership of the Forum in this important work.

Click here to learn more about David Puente

David Puente, WorldStrides, Associate Vice President of Academics

For 20 years I have dedicated my professional energies to creating impactful intercultural learning and growth opportunities for US undergraduates as they explore the world and themselves. I would bring to the Forum Council a wealth of experience in the trenches of program design and delivery, and a track record of dedication to our broadly shared mission of igniting the curiosity of US undergraduates from a range of backgrounds, identities and institution types. Currently, as WorldStrides’ Associate VP of Academics, I oversee my organization’s blockchain micro-credentialing initiatives, an effort to promote global citizenship values and career readiness skills while bringing ISA & TEAN co-curricula into alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As someone who entered the field while living abroad in Europe, teaching foreign nationals and completing a dissertation about what is idiosyncratic about US higher education, I’m uniquely positioned to help the Forum think big by broadening the way we frame vital questions about the considerable challenges (financial and geopolitical turmoil and realignment; the erosion of the humanities) faced by globally minded folks beyond our national context. I would like to use my cross-cultural competencies and my global network of contacts to help expand our membership to institutions who, though sharing our values, operate in very different social contexts.

I have presented at multiple Forum conferences, served on the European Conference Committee, and guided my own organization through site-specific and organization-wide QUIP self-studies and peer review processes, leading to deep familiarity with the Standards of Good Practice as well as collegiality with many past and present Forum leaders. As someone who is passionate about broadening access to educational opportunity in a time of runaway costs, I am an advocate for unbundling some of the Higher Education value proposition. I would like to see our field more directly engage the interculturality immigrants, strivers, and others beyond the groves of academe who seek or already possess global skills. I am eager to work with the Forum on projects related to assessment, outreach, advocacy, credentialing, and more, while learning from other experts in our field.

Click here to learn more about Kyle Rausch

Kyle Rausch, University of Illinois at Chicago, Executive Director, Study Abroad Office

I am grateful to have served on the Forum Council for my first term and am seeking re-election as I would like to continue contributing to the important work the Council is doing during this critical time in   the field.

During my first term, I had the honor of serving as the chair of the Changing Needs and Realities of the Current and Future International Educator working group. This group was created as a result of listening to many colleagues in the field discuss the challenges they face in advocating for fair compensation that matches the skills and workload demanded from education abroad professionals and in supporting professional development and retention. Throughout the working group’s first year, we contributed to the State of the Field Survey, facilitated focus groups, and analyzed primary source documents leading to the publication of a white paper to help colleagues advocate for themselves and their teams. This work is very important to me, both as a stakeholder and team leader, and I would like to have an opportunity to continue building upon these efforts.

Having worked in education abroad for 16 years at four public universities, including Minority Serving Institutions, I have been fortunate enough to work on every aspect of the education abroad lifecycle and to develop relationships with colleagues domestically and abroad. I have and can continue to leverage this network to help inform the Forum’s work plan for another 3-year term and I take seriously the responsibility of doing so. My research has focused on supporting underrepresented students in education abroad and this is another area I would like to continue championing by serving on the Forum Council.

Thank you for your consideration.

Click here to learn more about Angela Schaffer

Angela Schaffer, Fund for Education Abroad, Executive Director

I am honored to be considered for a role on the Forum Council. I have worked in international education for two decades, throughout which I have been an advocate for inclusion and a changemaker in creating access for historically-excluded students and professionals to education abroad. My career has included experiences at a large public research university (where I obtained my M.A. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), a small private liberal arts college, a non-profit international exchange organization, a J-1 visa program, and as a consultant. My lived experience studying abroad as a low-income first-generation college student has shaped my work as a longtime advocate of more inclusive and accessible education abroad.

I would bring to my Council role the approaches I have successfully employed as Executive Director of the Fund for Education Abroad. FEA is a unique entity in the field of education abroad because we are a fully philanthropic organization. As Executive Director, I work to make our mission relatable to everyone and connect regularly with people who are not education abroad professionals. I would bring this experience to the Council, helping to inform outreach and advocacy efforts with government and other stakeholders whose actions and work impact education abroad. Second, I am committed to actively moving away from deficit-model language and towards asset-based and student-centered language when it comes to framing advocacy and JEDI work. As a Council member, I will work with the Forum membership consider ways we can continue to develop more encompassing, empowering, truthful, and inclusive terminology, and expand these practices and standards to the field. Third, I want to work with the Council to bring additional visibility to the diverse array of career pathways that have an impact on (and remain impacted by) education abroad. My own international education career began with a college internship coordinating a high-school exchange program. I’ve developed and led programming that runs the gamut from faculty-led programs to yearlong exchanges to virtual opportunities for professionals from all over the world. Through my previous work in program development, and now in my work as leader of a philanthropically-funded organization, I have extensive experience in grant writing, fundraising, advancement and development work—skills I would love to work with the Forum to share with our colleagues the world over!

The Forum on Education Abroad has provided me with the connections, resources and knowledge that have kept me active in education abroad and as a believer in our work as a field. I have been a session presenter at Forum conferences. Currently, I serve on a working group writing a Forum White Paper for nontraditional students and education abroad. A role on the Council would allow me to continue to support the imperative work of the Forum, work that has strongly influenced my own career and outlook on international education.