Breaking In: Entering the Field of International Education

February 23, 2012

During the course of this Collegial Conversation, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of our presenters about how they entered the International Education field, tips for successful applications, and much more. Our presenters included:


Stephen Ferst Stephen Ferst
Stephen Ferst is currently Director of the Center for International Studies at Kean University in New Jersey. He has been working professionally in international education since 1989 as an adviser, recruiter, resident director, program officer, and director. Dr. Ferst studied abroad in Israel, lived and worked abroad in the UK, and has travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. He is the Chair of the NAFSA 2013 Annual Conference and Expo and has served previously as past chair for the NAFSA Knowledge Community for Education Abroad as well as NAFSA state whip for New Jersey.

Dr. Ferst has also served as institutional representative to IIE, CIEE, and the Forum on Education Abroad.. He regularly presents at both regional and national conferences on program administration and development, student preparation, gender and identity, sexual assault prevention, and technology in education abroad. Ferst is a recipient of the Lily von Klemperer Award and was recognized as the 2008 NAFSA Advocate of the Year. He earned a doctorate from Rutgers University and has primary research interest in university governance and department chair responsibilities.

Irene Gawel Irene Gawel
Irene Gawel is the Manager of Partnership Development at GlobaLinks Learning Abroad and formally the director of a small education abroad organization in overseeing the North American, European and African offices from 1997 to 2009. She focused on business development, institutional relations, enrollment management, marketing and recruitment. She holds a Masters in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University.

As an active member of NAFSA and Forum, she is a member of the Forum Standards Committee, Forum Training Group and Denver Conference Committee. She has developed eLearning curriculum for NAFSA Education Abroad 101 and was the Co-Chair of the Forum Committee on Institutional Relations and Chair of the School of Record Committee.

Brooke Roberts Brooke Roberts
As Senior Vice President at, Brooke spearheads the strategic mission and growth of the organization as well as new business development and marketing. She holds a BA in International Affairs & Political Science from Northeastern University and an MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Bowling Green State University. Brooke's educational, professional, and personal worlds have been defined by international experiences.

Along with three semesters studying abroad as an undergrad, Brooke has held various positions in the field of international education both in the US and internationally. She's worked with public and private universities, small and large program providers, and provided international education consulting services. Brooke writes about international education on her blog at

Martin Tillman Martin Tillman
Martin Tillman is President of Global Career Compass (GCC), an international consulting practice focused on global workforce trends and the impact of education abroad experiences on student career development.  He was formerly Associate Director, Career Services at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. His diverse consultancies include: World Learning SIT Graduate Institute; U.S. State Department Academic Experts Program in Tbilisi, Georgia; World Bank Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research; NAFSA: Association of International Educators; IIE Emerging Markets Development Assistance Program; American Institute for Foreign Study; CEA Global Education; Education Dynamics.

A prolific writer, his chapter, "Employer Perspectives on International Education," will appear in the SAGE Handbook in International Education in 2012.  He is a regular contributor of book reviews and essays to NAFSA’s International Educator magazine and conference speaker on issues of global workforce development, education abroad and its impact on career development and intercultural competence. Among other titles, he is also author of the AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad and Career Development, editor of the two volume series, Impact of Education Abroad on Career Development and  Study Abroad: A 21st Century Perspective, and The Right Tool for the Job