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
  • Supporting Trainee Development
  • Professional Tools
  • Facilitating Learning

Become an Academy Coach!

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

Download the Academy Coach position description

Academy Coach Testimonial

loveness schafer

"I’ve truly enjoyed seeing my trainees grow professionally. My coaching experience has also contributed to my own personal and professional development in many ways. I look forward to seeing all my outstanding trainees graduate from the Academy in December, and I look forward to serving again in 2021! The growth each of my trainees demonstrated this year shows just how valuable the Academy is." - Loveness Schafer, 2020/2021 Academy Coach. 

Todd Goen

Todd Goen
Virginia Military Institute
2023 Academy Chair
Todd Lee Goen is Director of International Programs and Senior International Officer at Virginia Military Institute where he oversees education abroad, international student and scholar support services, and strategic planning for campus internationalization. Prior to VMI, Goen held full-time...

Kira Espiritu

kira espiritu
University of San Diego
2023 Academy Chair-Designate
Kira Espiritu is the Director of the Office of International Studies Abroad at the University of San Diego. She has nearly 20 years’ experience in international education and has been a longtime NAFSA member. Kira oversees the development of all undergraduate study abroad programs at the University...

Cody Tornow

Cody Tornow
Washington State University
NAFSA Academy Coach, Region I
Currently, I am the Assistant Director for International Retention at Washington State University having moved up from the Lead International Student Advisor at WSU. Previously, I spent 5 years in South Korea as a student, teacher, and as an administrator as a District Coordinator for the Korean...

John Hildebrand

John Hildebrand Photo
Colorado State University
Academy Coach, Region II
I've served as a Senior International Student and Scholar Advisor at Colorado State University since 2017 and previously worked as an International Student Advisor at Southern Utah University. I have over 10 years of experience working in international education and draw on this diversity of...

Janel Dumbre

Janel Dumbre
Communications Liaison, Region III; Academy Coach, Region III
Janel Dumbre holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. She has been a professional in the field of international education since 2004. She is currently an academic advisor at SABIC’s Scholarship Program in Houston, Texas. Prior to this, she worked at Rice University in...

Miho Patani

Miho Patani Photo
University of St. Thomas
Academy Coach, Region IV
Miho Patani is Assistant Director at the Office of International Students & Scholars at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, where she serves as a primary immigration advisor for more than 500 international students and scholars. Miho has more than 10 years of extensive experience in...

Tyler Morkin

Tyler Morkin Photo
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Academy Coach, Region V
Tyler Morkin currently works as SEVIS Coordinator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also serves NAFSA's KC ISSS as the ISTA network leader. Prior to joining U-M, Tyler worked in a similar role at Central Michigan University. He has also taught various classes in ESL, academic...

Nicola Kille

Nicola Kille photo
University of Akron
Academy Coach, Region VI
Nicola Kille joined the University of Akron in May 2017 as the Executive Director of the Center for International Students and Scholars. Her primary area of responsibility is that of support for all international students at Akron (from English language learners to PhD/Law students) from admission...

Anna Hayes

Anna Hayes
Duke University
Academy Coach, Region VII
As Director of Global Health and Safety at Duke University, Anna provides strategy and vision for risk assessment, mitigation, health and crisis preparedness, faculty leader training, and response plans for undergraduate programs and students undertaking Duke-sponsored travel domestically and abroad...

Rachel Scholten

rachel scholten
Loyola University Maryland
International Enrollment Management KC Liaison, Region VIII; Academy Coach, Region VIII
Rachel Scholten is Director of International Admission at Loyola University Maryland where she manages international recruitment, credential evaluation, and admission at the undergraduate level. Prior to this position she worked in international admission at Kent State University, Ohio University...

Emilie Buse

Emilie Buse Photo
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Academy Coach, Region X
Emilie Buse is the Assistant Director of International Services for Students and Scholars at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She maintains and develops the software system Terra Dotta and ensures that student data is accurate, advises and counsels students regarding immigration matters, processes...

Emily Ostenson

emily ostenson
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Secretary, Region XI; Academy Coach, Region XI
Emily Ostenson is the Assistant Director of Education Abroad in the International Programs Office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a graduate of the Professional French Masters Program at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she received a Master of French Studies in...

Emily Kirsch, PhD

Emily Kirsch Photo
University of California, Los Angeles
Academy Coach, Region XII
Dr. Emily Kirsch is passionate about the field of international education and believes in the power of cultural exchange to bridge divides and forge connections. She brings a deep background in strategic international marketing, recruitment, admissions, and immigration to her role at UCLA Extension...

Robb McCollum

Robb McCollum Photo
Southern Utah University
Academy Coach, National
Robb McCollum serves as Director of the American Language & Culture Center at Southern Utah University. He works with his faculty and staff to provide English language support services for international students, to train English language teachers, and to support campus initiatives in...

Barbara Velázquez

barbara velazquez
Metropolitan Community College
Academy Coach, Pan-Regional Cohort
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 programming across a 3-campus community...