NAFSA's Board of Directors

 

NAFSA's leadership structure is led by a Board of Directors. The board guides the work of the association through its Strategic Plan that sets out goals and objectives over a three-year horizon. Specific objectives are assigned to member committees, teams, task forces, and knowledge communities.

President and Chair of the Board of Directors

Elaine Meyer-Lee

Elaine Meyer-Lee, EdD, Agnes Scott College

Elaine Meyer-Lee, EdD, associate vice president for global learning and leadership development at Agnes Scott College, has been a senior international officer and intercultural leadership, diversity, and inclusion educator for 14 years. She has given numerous invited talks and juried presentations on assessment and leadership; has served on NAFSA's International Education Leadership Knowledge Community and Annual Conference Committee; and chaired the Women's College and University Institutional Interest Group. Meyer-Lee joined the NAFSA Board in 2014, and was secretary in 2015. Meyer-Lee has a master’s in counseling psychology from Lesley University and a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University.

Board Members

Vice President for Public Policy and Practice

Bonnie Bissonette, University of Maryland-Baltimore

Bonnie Bissonette is currently the director of the student center for global education at the University of Maryland-Baltimore. Bissonette’s NAFSA experience began as a mentee in the second NAFSA Academy class, followed by service as the Wisconsin legislative whip, and the community college representative on the Region V team. She was named NAFSA Advocate of the Year in 2007 and served on the NAFSA Board from 2008 to 2011. Bissonette has an MA in international affairs and economics from George Washington University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in higher education administration at the University of Minnesota.

Vice President for Professional Development and Engagement

Ravi Shankar, Northwestern University

Shankar has been in the field of international education for more than 20 years and has worked in various types of institutions, ranging from small professional institutions to a community college to a major research institution. He is currently the director of the International Office at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His NAFSA member-leader experience began in Region V as a community college representative. He has also served as Knowledge Community for International Student and Scholar Services representative, regulatory representative, Region V Chair, a Membership Committee member, chair of the NAFSA Task Force on Online Case Management Tool (currently called IssueNet), a member of NAFSA’s Diversity Statement Task Force, a member-at-large on the Leadership Development Committee, and chair of the Leadership Development Committee. Currently, he is the coach of the regional chairs-elect and a NAFSA Academy Coach. His area of specialization includes intercultural communication, program development, and nonimmigrant regulation.

Vice President - Scholarship and Institutional Strategy

Yenbo Wu, PhD, San Francisco State University

Yenbo Wu, PhD, has been associate vice president for international education at San Francisco State University since January 2007, having served as director of the Office of International Programs and associate professor in educational administration and interdisciplinary studies from July 2000. Previously, he was director of the Office of International Studies and Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. From 1991 to 1996, Wu was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, first as international program coordinator and then as director of international student programs and recruitment. He received his undergraduate education in English language and literature from Capital Normal University in Beijing, and earned his master of education degree in teaching English as a second language and PhD in comparative and international education from the University at Buffalo.

Secretary

Britta Baron, University of Alberta

Britta Baron is vice-provost and associate vice-president (international) at the University of Alberta, where she spearheads the university’s international activities, including partnership development, international recruitment, and student and staff mobility. Between 1983 and 2004, Baron held various leadership roles in the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst or DAAD), including director of its office in New York and London. With degrees in Italian, French, history, and German from the University of Göttingen, the University of Florence, and the University of Bonn, she was appointed a visiting professor in modern languages at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom and has taught in a master’s program at the University of London’s Institute of Education. She received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University. Baron is a founding member of CALDO, a consortium of Canadian research universities committed to advancing the country’s international education connections. She is a member of the Governing Board of Bielefeld University (Germany) and of the BMW Center for European Studies at Georgetown University.

Treasurer

Debra W. Stewart, PhD, Council of Graduate Schools

Debra W. Stewart, PhD, is president emerita and senior scholar at the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). She served as president of CGS from 2000 until July 2014. Prior to joining CGS, Stewart was vice chancellor and dean of the graduate school at North Carolina State University. She also served as interim chancellor at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (1994) and as graduate dean and then vice provost (1988-1998) at North Carolina State University. She serves on the ETS Board of Trustees, the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universität Berlin, the International Board of ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Advisory Committee of the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academy of Sciences. Stewart has written on a wide array of higher education issues and lectures on higher education, research, and global competitiveness at major universities and education organizations around the world. Stewart received her PhD in political science from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, her master's degree from the University of Maryland, and her BA from Marquette University.

Members at Large

Simon Adams, PhD, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Simon Adams, PhD, is executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Adams previously worked with governments and civil society in South Africa, East Timor, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. He is the author of many books and academic articles focused on international conflict. Adams studied at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and at the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he received his PhD. He is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Business School. Adams was executive dean of arts and sciences at the University of Notre Dame Australia and received a distinguished service medal from the university in 2007. He served as pro vice chancellor (international engagement) at Monash University and as vice president of its South African campus between 2008 and 2010.

Michael Adewumi, PhD, Pennsylvania State University

Michael Adewumi, PhD, is the vice provost for global programs at Pennsylvania State University, and professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering. In this role, Adewumi oversees the university’s global engagements, including the expansive study abroad portfolio; programming and support of a rapidly growing international student and scholar population; and development of strategic partnerships with institutions around the world. In 2007, he served as the inaugural United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chair in georesources management at the University of Ibadan. Since 2008, Adewumi has been a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He holds master’s and PhD degrees in gas engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

LaNitra Berger, PhD, George Mason University

LaNitra Berger, PhD, is the director of fellowships in the honors college at George Mason University (GMU), where she has helped students secure more than 50 prestigious fellowships such as the Fulbright, Boren, Gilman, Truman, Udall, and Critical Language Scholarship awards. At GMU, Berger promotes internationalization through student advising, university service, and research. In 2015, she received the GMU Spirit of King Award for diversifying study abroad. She is an active member of the Diversity Abroad Network and volunteers with Globalize DC. Berger received her BA in art and international relations from Stanford University and her PhD in art history from Duke University.

Diana Bartelli Carlin, Saint Louis University

Diana Bartelli Carlin served as the senior international officer at Saint Louis University and at the University of Kansas. She retired from Saint Louis University in January 2016. She has been a NAFSA member since 2000. In 2007 and 2008, she served as dean-in-residence and director of international outreach at the Council of Graduate Schools. Carlin chaired the NAFSA Task Force on the Bologna Process from 2006 to 2008 and has presented at several NAFSA annual conferences, regional conferences, and preconference workshops. She assisted NAFSA teams with preparations for the 2010 annual conference in Kansas City and the 2013 annual conference in St. Louis, and organized and chaired a Colloquium on Sustainability and Internationalization at the 2013 conference. During her tenure at Kansas, the university received the Senator Paul Simon Award, and the Center for Global Citizenship at Saint Louis University won the inaugural AIEA Innovation Award. She has authored book chapters on joint and dual degrees, international student support, and faculty international development. Carlin received a Fulbright International Education Administrators award to France in 2013 and a Fulbright Specialist Award to Myanmar/Burma in 2016.

Susana Carrillo, World Bank

Susana Carrillo is an international development professional with more than 20 years of experience working across regions in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa (including fragile and conflict affected states) and Europe. Throughout her career, she has been successful in influencing policy making, bringing multi stakeholder teams together and motivating others to achieve goals and objectives. She is working with the World Bank, where she held several positions in operations and corporate initiatives. She recently served as an adviser to the Skills Development Working Group, Brazilian chapter of the BRICS Business Council. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as chief of program in Central America, sub-Saharan Africa and in New York at the Bureau for Development Policy.

Stephen Ferst, EdD, College of Staten Island

Stephen Ferst, EdD, is executive director of the Center for Global Engagement at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, where he is responsible for all aspects of the college's internationalization. His previous NAFSA volunteer leadership experience includes serving as New Jersey state whip, chair of the Education Abroad Knowledge Community, and, most recently, chair of the 2013 Annual Conference Committee. In 2008, he was named NAFSA Advocate of the Year. Ferst has an EdD from Rutgers University in theory policy and administration.

Robert A. Frost, PhD, City College of San Francisco

Rob Frost has worked in education since the early 1980s, when he began as a student worker in the Intensive English Language Program at Wichita State University. Since then, he taught English as a second language and primary school in Argentina for three years, then was a tenured humanities professor and international education director at two Midwestern community colleges over 18 years. Throughout this period he was an active NAFSA member in Region IV. Later, he was a professor in the higher education doctoral program at Oregon State University before continuing on as a vice president of student learning and later president at two community colleges. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and books and offered workshops on financing and partnerships in international education, study abroad, and organizational leadership.

Joël A. Gallegos, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Joël A. Gallegos is assistant provost of international programs at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Charlotte. Previously, he served as the director of education abroad at UNC-Charlotte and as the director of study abroad at the University of Toledo. Gallegos, who was the chair of NAFSA's 2014 Annual Conference Committee, serves on the board of directors for the World Affairs Council of Charlotte where he chairs the education committee as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Fund for Education Abroad. He was a member of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) board of directors and served as chair of CIEE's Academic Consortium Board from 2006 to 2014. From 2007 to 2012, Gallegos served as chair of UNC's University Council on International Programs and chair of the UNC Exchange Program advisory board. He holds an MA in French literature from Bowling Green State University and was the 2008 recipient of NAFSA's Lily von Klemperer award.

Jesse Lutabingwa, PhD, Appalachian State University

Jesse Lutabingwa, PhD, is currently associate vice chancellor for international education and development and professor of public administration at Appalachian State University. Originally from Tanzania, Lutabingwa has more than 20 years of experience in international education and international development. Lutabingwa has been a NAFSA member since 1992 and has served in various leadership capacities at the national and regional levels, most recently as a team member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community and the 2013 Annual Conference Committee.

Barry Morris, PhD, University of Central Florida

Barry J. Morris, PhD, is chief global strategist and senior international officer at the University of Central Florida. He also serves as internationalization consultant for Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU). At BJTU, he was the founding vice dean for strategic planning and internationalization at the Hanergy School of Renewable Energy, professor of international relations, and founding secretary general of BJTU’s international advisory board. An institutional strategy and international education consultant, Morris also serves as instructor for the NAFSA/AASCU (American Association for State Colleges and Universities) Senior International Officer Institute in Washington, D.C., and the AASCU/CEAIE (Chinese Education Association for International Exchange) Senior International Officer Institute in Beijing, China. Morris serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Council of International Visitors. He is the former vice provost for global engagement and strategic initiatives at Kennesaw State University (KSU)—University System of Georgia, where he was responsible for leading KSU's global engagement mission and a variety of campus-wide strategic initiatives. During his tenure at KSU, KSU won NAFSA’s prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. Morris has served as a founding dean of American University of Nigeria and as a lecturer at Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University. He has management experience in global banking and finance, and consulting experience in international finance, economics, and business. Morris earned a BA in Russian and political science with a specialization in international relations from Tulane University, and an MA and PhD in international relations and international political economy from Emory University. He studied Russian at Moscow State University's Lumumba Institute and studied Chinese at Tsinghua University. Morris holds a certificate in global strategic management from Harvard Business School and has completed advanced studies in intercultural communication competency at the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Oregon, and the Intercultural Development Research Institute in Milan, Italy. In 2016, the Chinese State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs designated Morris as a National Distinguished Expert of the Chinese Recruitment Program of Global Experts (1000 Talent Plan).

Jeff Riedinger, PhD, University of Washington

Jeff Riedinger, PhD, is the vice provost for global affairs and professor of law at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has leadership and administrative responsibility for the University of Washington’s diverse global programming, including support for international research; study abroad; student and faculty exchanges; and overseas centers. He works with colleagues across the university to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with universities, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations to advance cross-college and cross-continent research, teaching, and engagement collaborations that address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Riedinger is former chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Commission on International Initiatives for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Riedinger earned a BA at Dartmouth College, a juris doctor degree at the University of Washington, and a PhD at Princeton University.

Sara Thurston, PhD, Kansas State University

Sara Thurston, PhD, has more than 18 years of professional experience in international education, including the last eight years that she has been at Kansas State University. Thurston’s past involvement with NAFSA includes presenting on numerous topics, mentoring, and serving in the Trainer Corp and on the Leadership Development and Membership Committees. From 2012 to 2016, Thurston served on the Annual Conference Committee as poster chair, workshop coordinator, and most recently, content chair. In 2015, Thurston received the 2015 Homer Higbee Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA. Thurston has a PhD in higher education administration from Loyola University Chicago.

Ex-Officio

Esther Brimmer, DPhil, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Esther Brimmer, DPhil, currently serves as the executive director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Dr. Brimmer’s distinguished career includes three appointments within the U.S. Department of State, serving most recently as the assistant secretary for international organization affairs from April 2009 to 2013. Prior to joining NAFSA, Dr. Brimmer was professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where she served a two-year term as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor. She was also an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a senior adviser at McLarty Associates. She was previously deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001 to 2009, and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium, and from 1995 to 1999, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a legislative analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate from Oxford University, she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

See the rest of the NAFSA Senior Staff.

Board Committees

Seven committees of the board carry out specific oversight.

Learn more