NAFSA's Diversity Impact Program supports institutions serving underrepresented populations by helping them expand capacity, grow study abroad, and increase student global competencies. The goal is to help build diversity within international education, both in the development of professionals and by assisting these institutions in their efforts promoting internationalization on their campuses.
In its fifth year, the program has grown to provide international education professionals from tribal colleges and universities; historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs); and community colleges and associates colleges, with complimentary NAFSA membership, registration to the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo, and yearlong mentoring and professional development opportunities.
Community and Associate Colleges
Ameer Alsabaa, a native of Saihat, Saudi Arabia, came to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, in 2009 to study human resources management at Central Michigan University. During his undergraduate work, Ameer participated in a number of student organizations that were international student-focused and co-founded the Saudi Student Club. After graduating, Ameer moved on to his master’s degree in international administration, graduating in 2016. Today, Ameer is the full-time international programs consultant at Mid Michigan Community College where he enjoys recruiting students and assisting them with their admissions documentation, and guiding them through their college experience both in and out of the classroom.
Heather Barikmo is the associate director of The English Language Center at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York. She oversees LaGuardia’s non-credit English as a Second Language programs, serving more than 3,500 students from 130 countries annually, around a quarter of whom are international students. She did her undergraduate work in philosophy and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and her graduate work in applied linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is active in global learning initiatives at LaGuardia, and believes that internationalization efforts on campus increase all students’ global awareness.
Lindsey Hoogkamer Smith is an international student adviser and designated school official (DSO) at South Seattle College. She has been a proud member of the South family since October 2011. Lindsey began her college education at Centralia College, and then transferred to Western Washington University to earn her Bachelor's degree in psychology in 2010. Lindsey earned her master's in education in student development administration at Seattle University in 2013. She is passionate about the mission and values of community colleges.
Amy Kue graduated from UW-Madison with degrees in psychology and Spanish before beginning her career in education. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer, bilingual support for migrant workers, English teacher in South Korea, and College Preparation and Career Coach. She currently works as the international programs coordinator at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin, in international admissions and student services, host advises students of the TCCSP grant, and coordinates programming to integrate U.S. and international students on campus. Amy is actively engaged in the community as a facilitator for the Madison, WI Institute for the Healing of Racism, Inc.
Carla Martinez is the dean of students at Golden West College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and her master’s degree in counseling with a specialization in student development in higher education from California State University, Long Beach. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from California State University, Long Beach. Martinez has experience in the areas of leadership development, student life, international education, student conduct, Title IX, and crisis intervention.
Dora Perez is an international student admissions and registrar assistant and a designated school official (DSO) at El Paso Community College. While at El Paso Community College she has been very involved in the College's Leadership Academy allowing her to build strong relationships with local community, business leaders, and school districts to create new paths and resources for students. Dora earned a BBA in management and human resources from The University of Texas at El Paso and an MA in educational administration and leadership from New Mexico State University.
Nellie Pharr-Maletta is a career higher education administrator, having worked in the Maryland University System’s two and four-year institutions since 1990. She is currently the assistant director of international student services and principal designated school official (DSO) for the Community College of Baltimore County Maryland, the state’s largest two-year public institution. Nellie holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Howard University, a master’s in business administration from the University of Maryland College Park, and has completed all coursework towards her PhD in education policy and leadership.
Carol Reyes is director of global student programs at Miami Dade College. Carol has worked for the Fulbright Program at the Institute of International Education, the Office of Global Programs at New York University and the U.S. Department of State’s Education USA offices in Taiwan and Mexico. She holds an MA in international education from NYU and a BS in journalism with minors in French, Portuguese and Latin American studies from the University of Florida. She is a former Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (Taiwan, 2009-2010) and speaks Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and French.
Tia Van serves as the international education coordinator at Illinois Central College (ICC). Her primary focus is developing and maintaining short-term study abroad programming, organization and promotion of international events on campus, and providing F-1 student support services. Tia received her BA in cultural anthropology, MA in international studies: education, and is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Illinois State University in rhetoric and composition. Tia’s institutional emphasis is in study abroad programming and internationalized general education course development for underrepresented and diverse populations at ICC.
Chikako Walker is the program services coordinator and a designated school official (DSO) at Skyline College, San Bruno, CA. Prior to coming to Skyline College, Chikako spent two years at CSU, Chico’s Office of International Education and one year at New York University’s International Scholar Services. She also has seven years of experience working with international students at a Japanese university. Chikako earned a BA in English from Waseda University, Japan and an MA in international education from New York University.
Liu Yang came to the U.S. as an international student from China to pursue her graduate degree. She started her career advising students and stayed for the past five years. Currently she serves as an educational planner for international students at South Puget Sound Community College, developing programs that enhance student success. She also coordinates study abroad programs, assisting American students in their journeys into other cultures. She is devoted to looking for ways to effectively advocate for international students and make study abroad programs beyond the privilege of the affluent few.
Angela Yang is the director of international student program at Saddleback College, a two-year community college in Southern California. She oversees the areas of international recruitment, admissions, immigrations, and student services. Angela has been in the field of international education for 10 years. She is passionate about serving students around the world at community colleges and helping them achieve academic success. Angela received her master's degree from University of Colorado at Boulder, and is completing her doctorate at Northeastern University, focusing on international students' integration and persistence at community colleges.
Hispanic Serving Institutions
Luis Alcocer is an international programs specialist at the Brownsville Campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Luis manages international collaborations and faculty-led study abroad programs in the area of international programs and partnerships. Prior to UTRGV, he served as a student exchange coordinator and lecturer in business and management at a university in southern Mexico, where he was able to experience first-hand the benefits that student mobility has for vulnerable populations. Alcocer is also a doctoral student at UTRGV; he is pursuing a degree in curriculum and instruction, with concentration in higher education teaching.
Kyoung Mi Choi, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Counselor Education & Rehabilitation at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Choi was named an international fellow in the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and founded SF Cross-Cultural Understanding, San Francisco, CA. Dr. Choi earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the Korea National University of Education. She completed two master’s degrees - masters of science in counseling and master of arts in international relations from Syracuse University. Dr. Choi received her PhD in counselor education and supervision from Syracuse University.
Candiece Goodall is the associate director for global learning initiatives at LaGuardia Community College. She spent her career working in various capacities of international education, from managing foreign exchange programs, international credential evaluation, international student recruitment, and teaching English as a second language. She worked in Doha, Qatar for five years as admissions administrator for Texas A&M University at Qatar and then as a human rights advocate for the World Cup Qatar 2020. She holds a BA in international relations from Mount Holyoke College and a MS in higher education administration from Baruch College.
Lizette Leal is an international program specialist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. UTRGV is the second largest Hispanic serving institution in the nation, committed to providing a bilingual, bicultural and biliterate education. Leal holds a BA and MA in English, with an education emphasis and a Mexican American studies graduate certificate. Her areas of interest lie within culturally inclusive pedagogy and experiential learning, primarily service learning and research abroad.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Vera "Jeannie" Culberson is an administrative professional and designated school official (DSO) for Lincoln University of Missouri. She has been DSO since 2014. She is a member of the Missouri Association of International Networks, a NAFSA member, and a mentor to Lincoln's international students. She has a BS in business management. Jeannie enjoys getting acquainted with international students and their diverse backgrounds and personalities. She most values witnessing the transformation students make along their educational journey and hopes to have a positive impact along the way.
Ronice Johnson currently serves at the study abroad coordinator at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT). She earned her bachelor of arts degree in communications from Bennett College and a master’s of science in higher education from Drexel University. She began her career in international affairs at NCAT in 2016. Her responsibilities include managing, developing, and presenting meaningful Aggies Abroad Advising Sessions, assisting interested and committed students with registration and application processes for study abroad, and reading and evaluating student academic credentials to determine eligibility in various programs.
Evelyn McGinty is an immigration specialist II and the principal designated school official (PDSO) at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. She has over 20 years of experience as an international student advisor. She is looking forward to participating in the Diversity Impact Program.
MaRaina Montgomery works to enhance the capacity of Howard University’s study abroad program by incorporating strategic planning, high quality student service, and a dedication to the University’s mission and purpose. Ms. Montgomery is a Howard University alumna with a BA in Spanish and anthropology. She earned a master’s degree in education with a focus on international student affairs from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She was hired in 2016 as the program manager for study abroad, housed within the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard. Prior to that, she managed the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program.