NAFSA Announces New President and Members to its Board of Directors




Rebecca Morgan, 202.737.3699 x4449,

WASHINGTON, October 11, 2016 - Eight leaders in international education were recently elected to join NAFSA’s Board of Directors starting in January 2017. With more than 10,000 members, representing 3,500-plus institutions in more than 150 countries, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. NAFSA’s board guides the work of the association, while hundreds of NAFSA member volunteers serve in leadership positions, and thousands more advocate for international education.

The newly-elected president and members of the board are:

Elaine Meyer-Lee, Ed.D., Agnes Scott College
NAFSA President and Chair, 2017-2018
Elaine Meyer-Lee, Ed.D., is associate vice president for global learning and leadership development at Agnes Scott College, and 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. She served on NAFSA's International Education Leadership Knowledge Community and Annual Conference Committee, and chaired the Women's College & University Institutional Interest Group. Meyer-Lee joined the board in 2014, and served as 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.

Bonnie Bissonette, M.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore
Vice President for Public Policy and Practice, 2017-2019
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 a master’s degree in international affairs and economics from George Washington University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in higher education administration at the University of Minnesota.

Michael Adewumi, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2017-2019
Michael Adewumi, Ph.D., is the vice provost for global programs and professor of petroleum & natural gas engineering at Pennsylvania State University. 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 UNESCO chair in georesources management at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Since 2008, Adewumi has been a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees in gas engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

LaNitra Berger, Ph.D., George Mason University
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2017-2019
LaNitra Berger, Ph.D., 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 B.A. in art and international relations from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in art history from Duke University.

Stephen Ferst, Ed.D., College of Staten Island
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2017-2019
Stephen Ferst, Ed.D., 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. He has worked in international education for more than 25 years in multiple roles in study abroad, international student and scholar services, and strategic planning. His previous NAFSA volunteer leadership experience includes serving as chair of the Education Abroad Knowledge Community and the 2013 Annual Conference Committee. In 2008, he was named NAFSA Advocate of the Year. He currently serves on the board as NAFSA’s Vice President for Public Policy and Practice. Ferst received his doctorate of education from Rutgers University in theory policy and administration.

Jesse Lutabingwa, Ph.D., Appalachian State University
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2017-2019
Jesse Lutabingwa, Ph.D., 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, including as a team member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community and the 2013 Annual Conference Committee.

Sara Thurston, Ph.D., Director, Kansas State University
Member, NAFSA Board of Directors, 2017-2019
Sara Thurston, Ph.D., has more than 18 years of professional experience in international education. Thurston’s past involvement with NAFSA includes presenting on numerous topics, mentoring, serving in Trainer Corps 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 Ph.D. in higher education administration from Loyola University Chicago.