Academy coaches are volunteer members who work with a cohort of six trainees. They represent a broad range of expertise and have worked in the field of international education for more than five years. Coaches work with their trainees to develop the trainees' learning plans and guide them as they navigate the world of international education, including NAFSA. They also advise trainees on workshop and session selections at the annual and fall regional conferences. Each coach is trained to be knowledgeable in six coaching skill sets:

  • Knowledge of the Academy
  • Marketing and Recruitment
  • Building a Cohort
  • Communication with Trainees
  • Professional Tools
  • Facilitating Learning

Become an Academy Coach

Applications for Academy Coaches open on April 1.

Access to coaches' experience and knowledge is one of the greatest benefits for trainees. The coaches provide professional guidance and direction to trainees while they receive a broad overview of international education through a variety of workshops.

Download the Acadmey Coach position description Icon PDF 16

Note: You must be a NAFSA member to serve as a coach for the NAFSA Academy.

An Interview with a Former Academy Coach

Rendy SchraderRendy Schrader
Director of International Student and Scholar Advising
Indiana University

Rendy Schrader shares her experience of being an Academy Coach and offers advice to new, incoming coaches. Read her interview.

Christopher Thomas

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University of Washington
Chris Thomas is the 2019 Academy Class 16 Chair. Thomas received his masters of higher education leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has over a decade of experience in international education. He currently serves as the associate Director for International Enrollment for...

Roopa Rawjee, EdD

Roopa Rawjee
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2020 Academy Class 17 Chair 2019 Academy Class 16 Chair-Designate. Roopa is Assistant Dean/Director of International Student Services (ISS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is responsible for oversight of programs and services for over 7000 international students and approximately 1000...

Kristen Kalbrener

kristen kalbrener
University of Oregon
2019 & 2020 Region I Academy Coach Kalbrener is currently a program manager for study abroad programs at University of Oregon's GEO (Global Education Oregon) and enjoys living in her native Pacific Northwest. She previously directed international programs in Region XI, working with international...

Barbara Velázquez

barbara velazquez
Metropolitan Community College
2019 & 2020 Region II Academy Coach. Velázquez has worked at Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Omaha, Nebraska, for over 30 years, and has served as the Coordinator of International/Intercultural Education since 1991. Her current College responsibilities include intercultural education...

Jenny Brydon

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Rice University
2019 Region III Academy Coach Brydon is senior manager for international advising and programs at Rice University where she has worked for over six years. Her responsibilities include overseeing undergraduate international students, sponsored groups, and J-1 scholars. Along with these immigration...

Megan Kohr

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Upper Iowa University
2019 Region IV Academy Coach. Kohr is the coordinator for international student and scholar services in the Center for International Education at Upper Iowa University. She has 11 years of experience in international education having worked at Drexel University and Northern Arizona University...

Mark Eckman

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2019 Region V Academy Coach and the Education Abroad Liaison for Region V. Eckman started his career in education abroad in 2007, and has been with UW – Milwaukee since 2011. In his role as director of study abroad he coordinates UWM's many study abroad programs, and works as a member of the Center...

Amanda Yusko

amanda yusko
The Ohio State University
2019 & 2020 Region VI Academy Coach. Yusko is the program manager for the Student Immigration Team at The Ohio State University where she serves as a DSO/ARO and manages advising efforts for more than 7,000 international students. She has been very involved with NAFSA, serving in several capacities...

Daphne Orr

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Oxford College of Emory University
2019 Region VII Academy Coach. Orr is the director of international student programs at Oxford College of Emory University. She began her career in international education more than 20 years ago as an ESL instructor. In her current role, she serves as the DSO for international students, designs...

Samba Dieng

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Lehigh University
Samba Dieng is 2019 Region VIII Academy Coach. Dieng is the director of international students and scholars at Lehigh University. Samba is originally from the West African nation of Senegal. He came to the United States to embark on his undergraduate studies in political science at the University of...

Janet Ray

Janet Ray
Providence College
2020 Academy Class 17 Chair-Designate 2019 Region XI Academy Coach. Janet Ray is an Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of International Student Success at Providence College. As a native of Barbados, the opportunity to come to the United States as an international student has...

Tammy Silver

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University of California, Davis
Tammy Silver is the 2019 Region XII Academy Coach. Silver is the assistant director for international student services at the University of California, Davis where she leads a team of eight professional staff members who are responsible for 8000 international students and their dependents. She has...

William Elliot

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Missouri S&T
William (Bill) Elliot is the 2019 National Academy Coach. Elliott is director of the Office of International and Cultural Affairs at Missouri S&T in Rolla, MO. He is the founding chair of the Study Illinois Consortium. Bill received his master’s degree in college student affairs from Eastern...