September 13, 2010

By Jordan Wait

Rachel Banks has spent nearly 10 years at NAFSA, and currently serves as director for public policy, focusing on international student and scholar issues, specifically visa issuance, international student recruitment, the Exchange Visitor Program, as well as state-level initiatives on behalf of international education and exchange. A native Michiganian, she holds an MA in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in history and political science from the University of Michigan. She considers herself and her siblings positive proof that international education makes a difference, for her father met her mother while pursuing his graduate degree in the United Kingdom.

Marlene M. Johnson has served as executive director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators since 1998. From 1983 to 1991, she served as lieutenant governor of Minnesota, during which time she was a particularly outspoken advocate of international educational exchange at the secondary and post-secondary level. Marlene also served as associate administrator for management services and human resources in the U.S. General Services Administration during the Clinton Administration. She currently serves on the boards of the Communications Consortium Media Center and the Kakenya Center for Excellence, and on the advisory councils of the U.S. China Education Trust.

Vic Johnson is NAFSA's senior adviser for public policy. He spent 20 years in senior foreign affairs positions in Washington, DC, including a long stint as staff director of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. Vic served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia and later served as director of the Peace Corps programs in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Clinton Administration. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the Washington Office on Latin America.

Elaina Loveland is editor-in-chief of NAFSA's award-winning bimonthly magazine, International Educator. Prior to joining NAFSA in 2005 as managing editor, she served as editor of magazines, journals, books, and newsletters for other associations, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Rural School and Community Trust, and GAMA International. She holds a BA from Goucher College and MA from George Mason University and has taught college writing and literature courses as an adjunct. Elaina is also the author of two books: Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers and Creative Careers: Paths for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers.

Katie O'Connell has been a member of the NAFSA staff since September 2008. As NAFSA's associate director for media relations and advocacy, she directly and strategically engages on behalf of NAFSA in all forms of media to advance NAFSA's policy agenda and expand and empower the Connecting Our World grassroots community. She first came to DC to work in the Senate as a staff assistant and then as a legislative correspondent, focusing on foreign policy. As a native nutmegger, Katie is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. While at UConn, she studied abroad in Costa Rica and the Czech Republic and also did a semester internship at the U.S. State Department. Katie loves learning more about the world, has a particular passion for anything Irish, and considers writing a competitive sport. You can follow her on Twitter at @KatieAtNAFSA.

Lisa Schock is senior editor with NAFSA’s Communications and Engagement Services team and has been at NAFSA since July 2005. She provides editorial oversight on a range of marketing and communications materials, and oversees the editorial quality of NAFSA’s website and annual conference publications. She manages editorial functions for and is editor of the In Brief section of International Educator magazine. Lisa has a BA in American government from the University of Virginia and an MA in journalism from Indiana University.

Heather Stewart is NAFSA's counsel and director of immigration policy in the public policy department. Prior to joining NAFSA's staff in October 2003, she was the government relations counsel at the American Council on International Personnel and liaison associate with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Heather received a JD from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and a BA from Mercer University. She is a member of the DC Bar and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Jordan Wait is the associate director of web communications and social media and has worked at NAFSA since March 2007. Jordan is responsible for managing all of NAFSA's social media properties as well as working with the NAFSA team to keep the website updated with fresh content. Prior to working at NAFSA, he worked at Care2, the largest online community of people passionate about making a difference. Jordan is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is an avid Jayhawks fan. Rock Chalk!

Jill Welch is NAFSA's deputy executive director for public policy. She has been engaged in working with Congress and the Executive Branch on international education issues for more than a decade, and she leads a team of talented staff in promoting international education as central to constructive U.S. global engagement and to peace, security, and well-being in the United States and the world. In serving as a strong advocate for public policies that create a better world through international education, Welch and her team work to raise awareness of the significant contributions international students and scholars make in the United States, address the need for greater global competency on the part of U.S. graduates, and promote freedom of academic travel, among other objectives. Welch holds an executive leadership MPA from American University and a BA in political science and French from Berry College.

Alan Williams is NAFSA's deputy executive director for organizational advancement, responsible for identifying and securing innovative organizational partnerships. Alan manages NAFSA Global Partnership Program, which includes more than 100 companies, university country consortia and other non-profit organizations as well as NAFSA’s member fundraising efforts. Prior to joining NAFSA, Alan spent 10 years in global development managing the Youth Leadership & Engagement Center at the International Youth Foundation. Before that, Alan managed international communications for 10 years at AFS Intercultural Programs. Alan was born and spent most of his youth in South Africa, where he was engaged in the anti-Apartheid movement as a student activist. He was also an AFS exchange student from Cape Town to Schenectady, New York.