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advisory board

Cari Vanderkar, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice Provost for International Programs - California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
As the Senior International Officer for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Dr. Vanderkar serves as a strategic partner in leading university global initiatives. She is engaged with faculty and the campus community on enhancing international partnerships and with initiatives involving international student retention and success, curriculum internationalization, and diversity and inclusivity. Dr. Vanderkar has extensive experience managing study abroad, exchange, and faculty-led programming; health, safety, and risk management; program development and administration; and consortium leadership.

Dr. Vanderkar earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at the University of Oregon, where she researched post-socialist transition in Eastern Europe and conducted an ethnography on Moravian village life in the Czech Republic. She has been in the international education field for over 20 years and has managed study abroad efforts for thirteen years.
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Christian Wilwohl, Ed.D.
Dean of Global Education, Providence College

As Dean of Global Education, Christian provides leadership for the Center for Global Education at Providence College (PC) by working with the administration, faculty, staff, students in all aspects of PC’s global education programs.  Since joining PC in 2020, Christian has launched virtual global learning initiatives such as COIL courses and remote international internships.  Prior to PC, Christian held positions at SUNY New Paltz and the University of Lynchburg.  On a professional level, Christian is actively engaged in NAFSA, Forum on Education Abroad, and Diversity Abroad.

Christian earned his doctorate in international education from the University of Minnesota with a dissertation on the internationalization of teacher education, and received his M.A. in African Studies at the University of London.  As an undergraduate at McDaniel College, Christian studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland to focus on his majors in French and international studies.  In addition, Christian has taught English in France and Japan.

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David L. Mothersbaugh, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate and International Programs, University of Alabama
Dr. Mothersbaugh is currently the Associate Dean for Undergraduate and International Programs at University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business. Prior to that he served as the Department Chair for Marketing. In addition to these leadership roles, David co-founded the UA Sales Program, was founding director of the UA Services Marketing Program, and served as acting director of the International Business Program. In his current role, he served on the ACE Internationalization Lab Executive Committee tasked with developing and implementing a strategic plan for internationalizing the University of Alabama. David is an award-winning researcher and teacher as well as co-author of the text Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy. In 2018, he was awarded the John S. Bickley Innovation and Creativity Award for his programmatic work on student engagement.
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Emelee Volden
Director of the Office of International Education, University of Denver

Emelee Volden is the Director of the Office of International Education at the University of Denver (DU) where she provides strategy and advocacy for study abroad and global learning.

Prior to DU, Emelee was the Senior International Officer at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse where she was responsible for all campus internationalization efforts, education abroad, international student and scholar services and ESL. She has also worked at Northwest College (WY) where she led international student recruitment, admissions and retention efforts and the University of Minnesota where she advised on and assisted with the development of education abroad programs.

Emelee is a first-generation college student, earning a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Sioux Falls. Her international education experience began as an undergraduate student studying abroad in Florence, Italy. After graduation, she then taught in Wajima, Ishikawa, Japan on the JET Program, returning to the U.S., eager to begin her professional career in international education. She earned an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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Kelli Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Success- Binghamton University

Kelli Smith, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience in higher education, mostly within the area of career services. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Student Success after serving as the Director of University Career Services for 3 years at Binghamton University (SUNY) in upstate New York. There she provides overall vision and leadership for the Center for Civic Engagement, Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, Student Employment, Public Speaking Lab, First Year Experience, Emerging Leaders, the Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives office, Transfers, the peer academic support Discovery program, and general student success initiatives. Kelli is also an adjunct faculty member for leadership within Binghamton University's School of Management and teaches leadership courses to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Prior institutions where Kelli worked include University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Wesleyan, Georgetown University, Doane College, and Indiana University.

She has served on the Directorate for an ACPA commission on career development and on the NACE First Destination Survey Task Force, the NACE Leadership Advancement Program, and the 2016-17 NACE awards committee where she proposed the “Career Champion” award. She co-chaired the 2017 Global Career Services Summit in Leicester, England and co-chaired the most recent NACE Standards Task Force.

While serving as the Director of University Career Services at Binghamton, the comprehensive center she led grew from 14 to 21 staff lines, and within that timeframe, the center received 6 regional awards and the international “Exemplary Career Center” award given by the National Career Development Association for 2017.

Kelli’s relevant publications include the Jossey-Bass/Wiley sourcebook Strategic Directions for Career Services Within the University Setting (2014), the chapter, “Preparing Students for After-college Life: The Context,” in Stepping Up to Stepping Out: Helping Students Prepare for Life after College (2012), and the Jossey-Bass/Wiley sourcebook co-sponsored by NACE, Leadership Development for Career Readiness in University Setting (February, 2018).

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Leslie Ann Smedley
Senior Advisor - Global Experiences Office, University of Pittsburgh

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and have always made it my home, despite travels far and wide for professional and personal reasons. I earned a BA in French Language and Culture from the Pennsylvania State University and after moving back home to Pittsburgh, earned a BA and MA in Spanish Language and Culture and have taken many German Language and Literature courses at the University of Pittsburgh. I completed 4 semesters of Swedish “just for fun” and continue to informally audit courses in the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh as my schedule permits.

My career in international education began with the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1980s in the Office of International Services, where I served as an Admissions Officer whose primary role was to evaluate educational credentials for internationals applying for admission to the University. We were charged as well with the review of financial documents for issuance of immigration documents, allowing successful applicants to apply for the appropriate US visa. After several years in this role I became a J-1 Scholar Advisor in International Services and assisted academic departments with all aspects of bringing researchers, physicians, and seasoned academics and their families to the University.

Post 9/11, immigration regulations and the role of professionals like me changed dramatically. My perception of my professional identity shifted and I began to feel that advising took a back seat to policing and enforcing tougher newer, tougher regulations. When the opportunity to move from the “import” to the “export” side of things opened in the Study Abroad Office (now Global Experiences Office), I applied for the position and have been very happy to be back in an advising capacity since 2003. The change from assisting seasoned professionals and academics to advising undergraduate students in Arts and Sciences was initially challenging and has been consistently rewarding. I believe in the work that we do and know that we make a difference in the lives of the young adults we serve, and that they can make a difference in the world. Being a part of this group will only serve to reinforce this, and I look forward to serving.

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Mario Thomas Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of New Haven

Mario Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D. was named interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in June 2019. He serves as Chief Academic Officer overseeing the academic programs delivered through the University’s five schools and colleges, and those offered at remote locations, including Prato, Italy, and Albuquerque, NM. He also oversees Accreditation and Assessment, Information Technology, Institutional Research, Grants and Sponsored Projects, and the Library. He is Chief Strategy Officer for the university and is responsible for the continued refinement and implementation of the University’s strategic plan.

Previously, he served as Dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Dr. Gaboury joined the full-time faculty of criminal justice in 1996 and is a tenured Professor of Criminal Justice. He held the University's Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professorship From 2007-2009. He has more than 35 years of professional and academic experience, including formerly as deputy director of the Office for Victims of Crime for the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Martha McGivern, Ph.D.
Director of Study Abroad - DePaul University
Dr. Martha McGivern is the Director of Study Abroad at DePaul University and is responsible for directing the strategy and implementation of study abroad programs across DePaul’s 10 colleges and schools. She oversees crisis and emergency responses for 80 annual programs. Her current priorities are program assessment, term-long program development strategies, and team leadership.

Prior to DePaul University, Dr. McGivern managed faculty-led study abroad programs at New York University and center- and hybrid-based programs at IES Abroad. She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Education from New York University, with research focusing on issues of gender and cultural learning in study abroad, particularly as it plays out in cross-national relationships among peers. She regularly teaches a course on international partnership, project management, and proposal writing in the Master’s of Global Health program at Northwestern University.

Dr. McGivern’s international experience is strongest in Latin America, including doctoral research in Mexico, volunteer teaching in Ecuador, and undergraduate study abroad in Argentina.
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Meredith Blumthal
Director of International Programs, College of Engineering- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Meredith Blumthal has been in the field of international education for 12 years. As the Director for International Programs in Engineering (IPENG) at the University of Illinois, she leads the study abroad initiatives and programming for the college. Ms. Blumthal’s team includes three study abroad advisors, a receptionist, and peer advisors. Together the IPENG office provides study abroad advising, expertise, international exchanges, and cultural experiences in over 60 programs throughout 20 countries, with the goal of providing transformative learning experiences that empower students to develop global competency skills. Through partnerships with universities abroad, alumni, faculty, staff, and student groups, Ms. Blumthal leads the IPENG team to provide study abroad advising, informational events, and class presentations. She works with the 12 engineering departments to develop and grow studying abroad programming with overseas partners to grow connections with universities, and facilitates the study abroad fair. Meredith is responsible for developing faculty-led programing and engagement within the College of Engineering.

Her areas of expertise include ideation, program development, partner collaboration, faculty training and development, comprehensive program management, marketing and promotion, co-curricular development, study abroad advising, and student development.

Ms. Blumthal received her bachelor’s degree in Horticultures and her master’s degree in Horticulture and Agriculture Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a student, Ms. Blumthal studied abroad at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and was a Foreign Language Areas Fellow (FLAS) in Ecuador, where she studied Quechua and conducted field research during her graduate program.

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Miguel E. Ayllon, Ph.D.
Director of Study Abroad, University of Missouri
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Dr. Miguel Ayllon is the Director of Study Abroad at the University of Missouri (MU). In this role, Miguel provides vision, leadership, and management to design transformative global experiential learning opportunities for students. Miguel has recently led the MU study abroad office to change from a regional to an academic based model of study abroad advising. Miguel holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from MU. Miguel formerly served as MU’s Director of International Engineering programs where he led the program to achieve record study abroad enrollment and first academic collaborations with Latin American partners. Miguel has also taught graduate level seminars in International Higher Education for the MU Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. Miguel is a NAFSA Academy alumnus, and he has also contributed to the field through his past service as country coordinator for the World at Large NAFSA Consular Affairs Liaison sub-committee.
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Patrick Morgan
Chief International Safety Officer, University of Michigan
Patrick provides guidance to all U-M units concerning travel abroad health insurance, the International Travel Policy, and unit-specific policies. As the chair of the International Travel Oversight Committee, Patrick stewards the Travel Warning and Restriction destination list and is the point-person for Safety Plan inquiries. Patrick is available to facilitate unit-specific program leader workshops; consult on health, safety, and security for individual travel and managed education abroad programs; and create common travel resources for M-Compass and Global Michigan. He serves as the primary international emergency responder for all U-M travelers overseas, actively monitors international events, and coordinates communications with U-M travelers and their U-M units in times of crisis.
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