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Behind the Scenes: CEA Alumni Ambassador Program

We’ve had an awesome summer meeting several of our Alumni Ambassador team members on the blog, but we couldn’t put the spotlight on them without also sharing more about the CEA team member behind the program, Kristi Ellison. 
 Kristi Ellison, CEA Alumni Relations Coordinator
(Pictured at Piazza Michelangelo overlooking Florence.)

As CEA’s Alumni Relations Coordinator and the CEA Alumni Ambassador point-of-contact, she has been able to weave her CEA Florence study abroad experience into a fulltime job. By joining the CEA Alumni Ambassador team, you’ll not only join a dynamic team of study abroad enthusiasts and start a new chapter of your study abroad journey, but you’ll also get to work with a CEA team member who shares your passion for spreading study abroad awareness! 
 
(Plus, don’t miss out on the chance to join the Alumni Ambassador team!)
 Kristi on a CEA Excursion to San Gimignano
with Fellow CEA Florence Spring '10 Students

CEA: Tell us about yourself.
 

Kristi: I studied abroad with CEA during the Spring 2010 semester (wow, four years already??) in Florence, Italy. I felt so incredibly impacted by my time abroad, I figured pursuing a career in international education would be the best way for me to stay connected with my experience, further learn from it, and contribute to the greater initiative to inspire other students to get out there and explore the world.

 Easter in the Piazza della Repubblica
Near the CEA Center

I joined CEA specifically because the Alumni Relations Coordinator position description just spoke to me. As a CEA alumna, I was interested in helping build an Ambassador Program and further expanding Alumni Relations. Those resources didn’t exist when I returned and they would have been greatly beneficial for the reentry process.
 Kristi Making a Pizza at Dante's,
her  Favorite Florentine Trattoria

CEA: What does your role with the Alumni Ambassador team include?

Kristi:
Anything and everything Ambassador-related. I’m responsible for appointing ambassadors, training them, coordinating program meetings and responsibilities, and supporting them throughout their tenure as an ambassador. Support includes helping them brainstorm and execute outreach ideas on their campus, ensuring that they are fully equipped and performing well, and providing career-advising sessions. A lot of our ambassadors are focused on going abroad again (work, grad school, etc.) and they regularly seek guidance for abroad opportunities and professional development.
 
CEA: What do you love about your job?
 
Kristi: Simple–our ambassadors. They truly are an inspirational team; all of them have their own unique experiences and significant lessons they learned from studying abroad. I love interacting with them because they challenge each other and myself to incorporate the ways in which we’ve changed from our journeys in daily living and future aspirations. In regards to my work, I love the developmental and leadership aspects. This role provides amazing opportunity for me to consistently be innovative, creative, and take initiative.
Kristi & her Mom at the San Lorenzo Market
CEA: Most rewarding part of your job
 
Kristi: Helping our ambassadors “complete the study abroad cycle.” I help them learn how to further reflect on their time abroad, articulate their growth and change in perspective, leverage their new understanding in future encounters and aspirations, and to continue to think global. It’s the most rewarding shared accomplishment when our ambassadors successfully land their first job out of college, get into grad school, or continue their journeys abroad after learning how to incorporate their study abroad experience and professional development as an ambassador. That’s what it’s all about – continued growth.
 Meeting with Meghan Sekely,
Spring '13 Alumni Ambassador at West Chester University of Pennsylvania &
Aix-en-Provence Spring '12 Alumna

CEA: What impresses you most about the Alumni Ambassador team?
 
Kristi: Their maturity and passion. They blow my mind. I remember who I was when I was their age and realize that we share the same passion for wanderlust and intention to utilize this newfound identity study abroad taught us about ourselves. The funny thing is that it’s subconscious most of the time. Most ambassadors have no idea what that actually means to utilize the power of their newfound identity and perspective. Their evolution from study abroad supplies them with a unique power to change the world, and they’re just beginning to realize that.
 Kristi & the Spring 2013 Veteran Alumni Ambassadors
Meeting Online
 
 University of Arizona Spring '13 Mixer
(left to right) Savannah Cherry (Spring '13 Ambassador and Barcelona Spring '12 alumna),
Kristi, & Daisha Hart (Veteran Fall '12 & Spring '13 Ambassador and Barcelona Spring '12 alumna)

CEA: What have you learned from the Alumni Ambassador team?
 
Kristi: I’ve learned on a much deeper level how study abroad actually changes people. I’ve learned what that growth means, rather than just commonly promoted benefits such as “global competence, employment advantage, etc.” They helped me truly understand beyond all the articles how studying abroad actually transforms people in so many different ways and just how powerful that can be for ourselves, our community, and our global position.
 University of Arizona Spring 2014 Study Abroad Fair.
Kristi with five Members of the CEA Alumni Ambassador Team
 
 Kristi on a CEA Excursion to
Tuscany Hillside Towns
with her Beginning Italian Language
Instructor, Martina Ghiandelli

CEA: Who would you encourage to join the Alumni Ambassador team?
 
Kristi: Any CEA alum who needs an outlet to share their experience, is looking to collaborate and network with fellow enthusiasts, is intentional about continuing their growth and professional development, and more importantly, feels devoted to our shared effort of inspiring more students to go abroad and embark on their own journey.


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