CEA Directory

university relations Leadership

Justin Schaefer

Director – University Relations

Justin Schaefer is CEA’s National Director of University Relations. He coordinates and oversees the University Relations Regional Directors as they work with colleges and universities to provide study abroad and international internship opportunities to students.

During Justin’s 20+ years in higher education, he has had the privilege of experiencing the industry from a variety of perspectives. He worked for a number of educational content providers helping professors, chairs, deans and curriculum specialists implement the highest quality educational content into their courses. Prior to joining CEA, Justin represented a Bay Area startup during a period of rapid growth and development in the higher education enrollment management space.

Justin firmly believes that study abroad and international internships can shape the lives of students and interns, broadening their global understanding and communication skills. He has visited 23 countries so far, bicycled across the US, and backpacked in Alaska. He is always planning his next international adventure.

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Keziah Diaz

Director of Operations - University Relations

Keziah Diaz provides operational support to the University Relations team. She helps create streamlined and efficient processes, refines assessment measures such as reporting and conference management, and supports the University Relations team to provide excellent service to University Partners. Keziah also oversees the CEA Alumni Ambassador Program.

Prior to joining CEA, Keziah worked for the University of Advancing Technology as Manager of Student Affairs, where she was responsible for student life, student government, student tutors, and transfer credits. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia and a Master of Science in Technology Leadership from the University of Advancing Technology (Ariz.).

Keziah's travels have taken her to eight countries and she looks forward to traveling throughout Italy. Her advice for first time travelers is to "always take the scenic route."

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university relations Team

Matthew Janus

Regional Director - West

Matt Janus' role at CEA is to oversee CEA's institutional relationships with schools in the Western United States. Matt and his team work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes, as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization.

Prior to joining CEA, Matt worked as a Mortgage Consultant at Countrywide Loans and as a National Accounts Manager at Alansis Corporation. Matt obtained his Bachelors of Arts in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz (Calif.). While there, he studied abroad in Morelia, Mexico and Barcelona, Spain. His next anticipated adventure will be a tour through Southeast Asia, with extended stays at each notable surf spot.

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Rebecca James

Regional Director - East

Rebecca's role at CEA is to cultivate and maintain relationships with study abroad offices, faculty and staff at U.S. colleges and universities to help support their education abroad goals. Based in New York City, she works primarily with schools in NAFSA Regions X and XI.

Rebecca serves as NAFSA’s France Country Coordinator through service on NAFSA’s Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee (CAL). She has been on the CAL Subcommittee since 2010, and enjoys helping study abroad advisors and students navigate the French visa process.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in French, History and International Studies from University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina (UNC) and a Master of Arts from NYU in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages for adult learners. Before joining CEA, Rebecca developed a study abroad program for Dublin Business School. She established partner institution and third party provider relationships that doubled the program's annual revenue and was solely responsible for admissions and overall program management and administration.

Rebecca first traveled abroad at 14, to England, and was keen to learn French from an early age. She participated in a French immersion program in Chicoutimi, Quebec and spent a year in Paris as an au pair after graduating from UNC.

Rebecca traveled to Hong Kong in May 2016, took a cruise up the Norwegian coast in 2017, and she is currently looking forward to (another) trip to France in 2018. Future travel suggestions are welcome, she says.

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Jon Jorgenson

Regional Director - Midwest

Based out of Wisconsin, Jon Jorgenson works with our university advisors, faculty and staff to support student exploration, advising, and registration processes, in addition to identifying ways CEA can help its university partners be more successful in internationalizing its curriculum.

Prior to joining CEA, Jon worked Expeditors International, PMT Corporation, RAM Center, and Red Wing Shoe Co. Jon's travels have taken him to 24 different countries, and he is most looking forward to visiting the Czech Republic next. Jon holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business and Spanish from Minnesota State University – Moorhead.

Jon advises first time international travelers that: "Studying abroad is magical. Make the most of your time while abroad plus stay true to yourself and your goals. Your time abroad will fly by quickly and if you experience it to the fullest it will be most rewarding, challenging, exciting and fulfilling time of your life."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
  • Forum on Education Abroad
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • AIEA: Association of International Education Administrators
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Kelly Wilkinson

Regional Director - Southwest

Kelly's role is to work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization.

Kelly obtained his Master's Degree in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vt. and his Bachelor's Degree in History from Principia College in Elsah, Ill. He credits his high school study abroad experience in Germany with sparking his interest in obtaining a career in international education.

Kelly has traveled to over 35 countries after first getting a taste of travel through a high school exchange to Germany. After graduating from college, he spent a year each teaching in both Chile and Honduras. Leading high school groups to Mexico kickstarted his professional career in Study Abroad. And since then he has traveled throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia including some of his favorite locations: Iceland, South Africa, Spain, and The Maldives. Kelly would love for his next personal adventure to take him to Lithuania – where he can do some heritage seeking, explore the Trakai Castle, trace the ancient Amber Road, and see a statue and museum in Vilnius dedicated to one of his ancestors.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS:
  • NAFSA Member
  • NAFSA Region III Team and Texas State Representative
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Carissa Williams Murray

Regional Director - Southeast

Based in Atlanta, GA, Carissa's role is to work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization. Before joining CEA in January 2012, Carissa worked at the University of Wisconsin-Stout as the Study Abroad and National Student Exchange Coordinator. She was named 'Advisor of the Year,' an award voted on by students.

Carissa obtained her Master's Degree in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT and her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Carissa is also a graduate of the NAFSA Academy (Class 10).

Carissa credits her love for travel and curiosity of other countries and cultures to her parents who encouraged her to participate in a German exchange program in high school. Carissa's travels have taken her to Mexico, Canada, Germany, Scotland, Taiwan, Japan, England/Wales, Turkey, India, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She one day hopes to visit Russia, South Africa and Fiji (to name a few). When traveling abroad, Carissa reminds students to go with an open mind and positive attitude; the experience is what you make of it!

Currently, Carissa is the Chair for the Lessons from Abroad Conference in Georgia and is active in the Georgia Association of International Educators (GAIE). Carissa has also presented at GAIE, TAIE, and NAFSA Regional conferences.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

EDUCATION

  • MA, International Education – SIT Graduate Institute (VT)
  • BA, Business Administration – University of Wisconsin – River Falls (WI)
  • NAFSA Academy Graduate (Class 10)
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Eric Schueller

Regional Director - Great Lakes

As University Partnership Development Manager, Eric oversees all the organization’s university-facing marketing, communications, and relationship development strategies. Eric’s mission is to enhance CEA’s visibility and brand recognition amongst its university partners.

Before coming to CEA, he worked for St. Ambrose University and Vactor Manufacturing. Eric's travels have taken him to 13 different countries and lists Croatia as his next international destination. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Marketing from St. Ambrose University (Iowa).

Eric likes to give prospective international travelers this advice: "Dare to get lost or explore without using a map. You might stumble upon a local treasure like a hidden restaurant or plaza. When you are abroad allow yourself the chance to take it all in; the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people. Push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
  • NAFSA e-Learning – Introduction to Education Abroad
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Giustina Pelosi

Regional Director - Northwest

As a Regional Director based out of Portland, OR., Giustina Pelosi works closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus’ agenda for internationalization.

Prior to joining the University Relations Team at CEA, Giustina worked as the Faculty-Led Programs and International Internships Advisor for Portland State University. Giustina has held several positions across the field of international education including work with IE3 Global Internships, the Academy for Global Exploration, and the Hillsboro School District’s Migrant Education Program. Furthermore, she has been very active in developing and leading re-entry programming including serving as Co-Chair for the NW Returnee Conference on Education Abroad as well as developing peer advisor programs to serve as ambassadors on several campus’ throughout the Northwest. Giustina has studied abroad both in Spain and Italy, worked as a volunteer English Teacher in Ecuador, led students through Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and enjoyed travel to many more countries.

Giustina decided on a career in international education after returning from a study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain during her undergraduate studies. Giustina has continued to explore different countries across the globe and enjoys how each experience continues to open her eyes to undiscovered truths about herself and the world around her. She believes studying abroad is a privilege to which all students should have access and encourages students to make an educated decision when choosing an overseas program. “Your options are limitless when exploring abroad opportunities, the key to a successful abroad experience is in articulating your goals - personal, professional, and academic - and selecting the experience that best complements those goals while providing an environment that is both supportive and challenging.”

Currently, Giustina is a member of the founding leadership team for PDX Abroad, an association for education abroad professionals in the Portland area, and serves on the NAFSA’s Financial Aid Subcommittee for Education Abroad Rules & Policies (EARP).

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS:
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
EDUCATION:
  • MS, College Student Service Administration - Intercultural Relations (OR)
  • BS, International Studies - Spanish Language & Culture (WA)
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Larry Hogan

Regional Director - Mid Atlantic

As a Regional Director based out of Baltimore, Maryland, Larry cultivates and maintains relationships with U.S. colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region, supporting their study abroad goals by keeping them abreast of CEA program offerings and opportunities. He works closely with university advisors, faculty, and staff to support the student exploration, advising, and registration processes, and to identify how CEA can promote campus’ internationalization agendas.

Before joining CEA, Larry worked for University of Maryland University College (UMUC) in positions including Academic Advisor and Assistant Director of Third Party Operations. In these roles, Larry worked closely with students to identify international and domestic opportunities that fit into their degree plans. He also maintained relationships with other universities to define course articulations that standardized transfer credit opportunities. Beyond his academic advising duties, Larry coordinated with third party agencies, private business entities, and international universities to increase opportunities for students by building partnerships that provided tuition discounts or tuition deferral options.

Larry obtained his BA in Psychology from Goucher College, the first college in the nation to require all of its undergraduate students to study abroad. He decided on a career in international education after returning from a study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain during his time at Goucher. As a part of this program, Larry also had the opportunity to spend time in London, Madrid, and Amsterdam. He believes that all students should have the opportunity to study abroad, as it’s truly a transformative experience that allows students to explore different ways of communicating, working, learning, and living.

Larry went on to complete his MS in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Global & International Education at Drexel University. Larry completed his thesis on the impact study abroad has on a student’s career choices five to 10 years after graduation. He is a member of NAFSA.

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Alexis Jones

Regional Director – Central States

As a Regional Director based in Kansas City, Alexis works closely with study abroad advisors, administrators, and faculty at higher education institutions in KS, MO, AR, IL, IN, OK, and TN. The goals of this collaborative relationship are increasing study abroad participation and achieving the institutions’ broader vision of internationalization. Alexis cooperates with campus partners to develop custom, faculty-led programs and to advise students about CEA's study abroad and internship programs.

Prior to joining CEA, she was with the University of Kansas for nearly fifteen years, where she served as the Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Retention for the KU School of Engineering and Associate Director for the KU Office of Study Abroad. As Associate Director, she led a campus-wide study abroad curriculum integration initiative where she worked closely with deans, faculty, and academic advisors in over 40 academic units. The initiative identified major-specific study abroad opportunities, produced advising materials and resources, and developed targeted strategies promoting study abroad engagement.

One of her primary goals throughout her career has been to educate students about the international opportunities available to them and to encourage their participation in activities that enhance their academic and professional growth. She looks forward to connecting with students throughout the Central States to share CEA’s study and internship opportunities with them.

EDUCATION:

• MA, Teaching and Leadership – English as a Second Language (Univ. of Kansas)
• BA, Psychology (University of Kansas)

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Sean Williams

Regional Director – New England

Prior to entering the field of international education, Sean worked in corporate law and international finance for a decade. Since his career change, Sean has held a variety of leadership positions in global internship program management, career development, employer relations, study abroad, and university relations. He is the former Site Director for EUSA and the Academic Internship Council in Boston, the former Director of Internship Programs & Client Relations at Intrax in New York City, and was most recently the Director of Institutional Relations for Dream Careers.

Sean is a graduate of Connecticut College and studied abroad at Oxford University, New College during his junior year. He also completed a year of graduate studies in the Economic History of Asia, Africa, and Latin America at the London School of Economics. He’s a graduate of the Senior Leadership Executive Education Program in Non-Profit Management at Columbia Business School.

Sean lives in the Boston area.

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Laura Madden

Regional Director – West

Based out of Los Angeles, Laura works closely with university faculty and staff to support student growth through study and internship abroad opportunities. She identifies ways CEA can assist its university partners achieve their internationalization goals.

Laura obtained her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business & Marketing from DePaul University and her Bachelor's Degree in International Relations & Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has 11 years of professional international education experience. Her most recent position was at DePaul University working within the Global Engagement Office.

Laura studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico and Madrid, Spain during her undergraduate studies, discovering how study abroad can exponentially enrich your career and your life. Shortly after graduating, Laura worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina, an experience that launched her career in international education. Laura has a deep passion for international education and works tirelessly to enable as many students as possible to study and work abroad.

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Steven Paschal

University Partnership Coordinator
As the University Partnership Coordinator based out of Phoenix, AZ, Steven Paschal works closely with the Regional Directors and University Advisors to support the student exploration, advising, and registration processes. He also helps them identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus’ agenda for internationalization.

Prior to joining the University Relations Team, Steven worked as a Team Lead for the Admissions Counselors at CEA. In this position, he managed a group of Admissions Counselors while also providing advising and guidance to prospective students. Steven brings over two years of experience as a CEA Admissions Counselor to this position, giving him a unique understanding of CEA’s programs and the student process.

Steven obtained his BA in Anthropology from the College of Charleston, where he developed a passion for other cultures and expanding his world view. He decided on a career in international education after his undergraduate study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina and continues to explore new cultures every day. Steven believes that all students should have the opportunity to study abroad, as it’s a life changing experience that provides them with a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.
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Laura Higgs

Manager of Alumni Relations
As Alumni Relations Manager, Laura oversees the Alumni Ambassador program and engages CEA alumni through re-entry programming. Laura’s mission is to provide leadership opportunities to returning students so they can begin to utilize their study abroad experience to their advantage in their future careers.

Before coming to CEA, Laura worked for Rotary International, Trinity University, and iE-USA. Laura completed a Rotary Youth Exchange to Argentina during high school that inspired her to study abroad in both Spain and Argentina while in college. She has continued to expand her travels to other parts of Europe and India.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Hispanic Studies from Hamilton College and a Master of Science in Global and International Education from Drexel University.

Laura speaks Spanish fluently and hopes to travel to Brazil and Thailand in the future.
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Shayla Auer

Alumni Relations Coordinator
As the Alumni Relations Coordinator at CEA, Shayla Auer continues to build a strong Alumni Ambassador team that promotes study abroad on U.S. college campuses. Shayla enjoys helping CEA alumni translate their study abroad experiences into life and career skills and further share their international experiences on their home campuses.

Originally from Arizona, Shayla attended University of Colorado in Boulder. While earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she completed a study abroad program in Seville, Spain. After graduation, Shayla moved back to southern Spain to teach and work in the field of study abroad. Since 2012, Shayla has worked within various departments at the CEA Headquarters in Phoenix and on-site at the CEA Seville Center.

Living in Spain for five years, Shayla learned to speak Spanish and continued her world travels. A few of her favorite locations are Portugal, Costa Rica, and Australia! Working and studying abroad has had a powerful impact on her life and career path. Her international experiences inspired her to pursue a career in international education and to share her experiences with others considering a study abroad experience. Next on her travel list – Buenos Aires, Argentina!
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