Join us on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 for an in-person alumni panel at our annual All-Staff Meeting. Hosted by IES Abroad Brand Coordinator and Spring 2016 Granada Alum, Ashley Simmons, this panel engages with two recent IES Abroad Alumni to recall the mission of their study abroad journeys and the expansion of themselves out into the world. Ashley will be joined by Alex Nielsen (IES Abroad Sydney | Fall 2022), and Maggie Peyton (IES Abroad Santiago | Fall 2022 & Spring 2023), with all three alums having been IES Abroad Correspondents in various mediums. Read more about our host and panelists below and venture into the world of study abroad with this enriching conversation.

Learn more about our panelists below and share your favorite quotes from the event! 



  • Ashley Simmons, Brand Coordinator, IES Abroad Granada | Spring 2016

When: Wednesday, August 9, 2023, 1:15 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. CDT

Where: Chicago Athletic Association

HOST: Ashley Simmons  

Ashley Simmons (she/her) is the Brand Coordinator on the Global Marketing team with IES Abroad. She is an alumna of IES Abroad’s Granada program, Spring 2016 and was named the 2015-2016 Blogger of the Year. Ashley was born, raised, and is based in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University, and her master’s degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. She uses her passion and expertise within writing to help brands and people bring their stories to life, noting her love for storytelling as the driving force for her work. Ashley was also named IES Abroad’s Inclusion Champion for the month of April this year, leading a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for her team. When she’s not chasing after her dog, Roman, she’s considering ways to use writing and stories to bring together people of different backgrounds and cultures, moving forward in the spirit of her time abroad.  

Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn here: 

PANELIST: Alex Nielsen 

Originally from Cincinnati, Alex Nielsen (he/him) is a senior at Loyola University in Chicago studying Environmental Science, focusing on conservation biology. He spent Fall 2022 with IES Abroad in Sydney, Australia at the University of Sydney where he took courses such as marine biology among various electives. He also worked as a Social Media Correspondent and Photographer for IES Abroad. After graduation, Alex plans on pursuing a master’s degree in marine biology in Australia. Alex credits his time spent abroad with IES Abroad in Sydney as a major factor in his decision to pursue his master's degree abroad. 

Connect with Alex on LinkedIn here: 

View Alex’s photography on Instagram: 

PANELIST: Maggie Peyton  

Maggie Peyton (they/them) is from Chicago, Illinois. They credit it (in a completely unbiased opinion) as one of the best cities in the United States.  Maggie is a rising senior at the University of Illinois in Chicago pursuing a major in Public Policy and minors in Spanish and Linguistics. During their year abroad in Santiago, Maggie participated in several IES offered courses and clubs as well as two internships, one in the field of immigration, and one focused on public transportation.

Read Maggie’s study abroad blog here: 

Connect with Maggie on LinkedIn here: