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CEA CAPA Internship Coaches Directory


Internship Coaches Team

Keona Gardner
Internship Coach

As a NACE-Certified Career Coach, Keona works towards ensuring that students are heard, supported by meeting them where they are, and empowered as they work on their career readiness journey. She also serves as a member of CEA's Embracing Differences Diversity Committee in order to make progress toward creating and sustaining equitable practices for marginalized students.

Keona is originally from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area where she received her Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a first-generation college student, she had the pleasure of leading service learning experiences in various states and was granted the opportunity to study abroad in South Africa. That experience is what changed Keona’s trajectory — passion-wise — to make it a point to continue to immerse herself in various cultures respectfully and serve historically marginalized communities — connecting them to more significant opportunities.

Shortly after receiving her undergraduate degree, Keona served as a Community and Youth Development Specialist in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She has also worked in the mental health field, educational non-profits, and workforce development to help strengthen partnerships for overall sustainable programming.

Keona enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors, cooking, learning, picking up various creative projects, practicing yoga (soon to become an instructor), watching psychological thrillers, and overall being in intentional community.

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Layla Franco
Internship Coach

As a NACE-Certified Career Coach, Layla works to help students grow both professionally and personally while supporting them through the placement process. Layla’s coaching style is a combination of a holistic and “big picture” approach. She encourages her students to explore all of their past experiences with their current passions to think creatively about the possibilities of their internship abroad. This approach ensures that students feel empowered to explore different areas of interest and broaden their idea of a career post-graduation.

Being a Phoenix native, Layla attended Arizona State University and graduated with a B.S. in Tourism Development and Management. While at ASU, Layla had the unique experience of working at the Arizona Capitol Museum in many areas including curation, marketing, and even operating tours for students (ask her about how Arizona became a state and she can go on for hours!).

After college, she had the incredible opportunity to work with musicians and students; planning their concerts and events all over the world. This career took her to some of the most phenomenal destinations around the globe.

For Layla, travel is a sincerely life-altering experience that grants us the opportunity to see how big the world is and how little we’ve seen of it. Learning the logistics for planning a trip was useful, but seeing the incredible impact travel had on the students and musicians moved her. Assisting others in having this experience seemed right! Getting the chance to help students study and live abroad is something that she didn’t intend when studying tourism, but it has very quickly become something that brings her tremendous joy and fulfillment.

When she’s not working or traveling, she loves to explore Arizona and all it has to offer. This includes attending local Phoenix events, hiking amazing trails, and going on walks with her two dogs - Emmy and Moose.

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Elle Bowman, M.Ed.
Internship Coach

As a NACE-Certified Career Coach, Elle’s approach to student success revolves around empowerment, resource navigation, and meaningful relationship building. She shares a true passion for international internships and the impactful growth that leads to new perspectives, intercultural understanding, and the responsibility of global citizenship.

Elle has 3+ years of experience in student affairs, working in career services, admissions, financial services, and housing and residence life. Elle received her Master’s Degree in Higher Education from Grand Valley State University. She also received her BS degree from GVSU in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Her own study abroad immersed her in 11 different countries and cultures across four continents. This experience was so impactful that it inspired Elle to pursue a career path in promoting educational and professional abroad experiences.

Elle is originally from Michigan, calling both Sturgis and Grand Rapids home, and is now based in Phoenix, Arizona. Elle is passionate about serving her communities, specifically engaging with Kids Food Basket and Dekpor School Development Organization. She enjoys staying active through hiking, yoga, running, and exploring new fitness classes. Elle uses she/her/her pronouns.


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