Our 2018 Annual Conference Recap

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IES Abroad
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Study abroad professionals descended on Chicago for the 2018 IES Abroad Annual Conference from October 10-12th. We enjoyed meeting new colleagues and reconnecting with long-time friends from around the world. And if you weren’t able to make it – we missed you!

Over the course of three days, attendees had stimulating conversations with colleagues, participated in expert-led sessions, and celebrated the accomplishments of outstanding study abroad students and professionals.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Plenary Speakers Tackle Hot Topics

Frank Sesno circled image

Frank Sesno helped kick off Thursday morning with a non-partisan analysis of the deeply partisan divide in American politics. As an internationally recognized journalist with more than 30 years of experience as an anchor, White House correspondent, CNN talk show host, and moderator, Frank shared his expertise on how politics, media, personality, and policy fit together in a compelling national story.

Clint Runge circled image

Clint Runge held our rapt attention as he unpacked the question of the year (and of the next several years!) “Who is Generation Z?” As the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Archrival, a creative agency with an expertise in youth culture, Clint! doesn’t just talk about Gen Z (those born roughly between 1995-2010), he talks with them, surveys them, and researches the defining trends of the generation – a generation of students we’ll work with for the next decade!

“In this news environment, we are pounded and pummeled by all this wrong, and we almost lose sight of what is right, and what is okay, and what is better, and what inspires us, and what moves us.”
Frank Sesno • Director of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs • Annual Conference plenary speaker

Breakout Sessions Spark Deeper Conversations

Advising Students of Color in Education Abroad

With the focus on increasing diversity representation in study abroad, the field has paid attention to recruiting students of color to programs through inclusive marketing and various financial incentives. However, more attention can be paid to how we best serve students of color through advisement. This session drew from the Access, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AIDE) Roadmap and the Top Five Tips to Developing a Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, created by the Race and Ethnicity Task Force of Diversity Abroad.

Presented by:

  • Hernando Sevilla-GarciaDiversity Relations Manager – IES Abroad
  • Marcus KingAdvisor & Program Coodinator – Prairie View A&M University

Speaking the Language of a Gen Z Student

Gone are the days of the millennial student. As noted above, for the next decade study abroad students are part of Generation Z – a generation that is achievement driven, action-focused, non-traditional, tech dependent, and determined to make the world a better place. This session looked at characteristics of Gen Z students at a macro level, and discussed how we can we speak their language, meet their needs, and gain their trust.

Presented by:

  • Abby BaricSenior Communications Manager – IES Abroad
  • Anna McCloskeyMarketing Manager – IES Abroad
  • Emily Churchillstudent at the University of Richmond and IES Abroad Correspondent of the Year

Protecting Your Students via Pro-Active Risk Assessment & Risk Management of Your International Programs

This session discussed a variety of pro-active ways to help protect students from foreseeable harm by assessing and pro-actively managing known risks and dangers. Participants created an international risk plan for one of their institution’s international programs involving an inherently dangerous activity. Participants also learned practical steps for conducting and preparing multiple kinds of risk plans.

Presented by:

  • William HoyeExecutive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel – IES Abroad
  • Ogechi MuotohSenior Associate – Hogan Lovells

Live! From Chicago! It’s Our Thursday Night Awards Dinner!

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It’s not every day you get invited onto the Saturday Night Live stage. But dreams did come true for four outstanding study abroad professionals Thursday night at our annual awards dinner.

This year’s awards dinner was hosted in the SNL: The Experience exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Attendees enjoyed a private viewing of the exhibit, walking day-by-day through the SNL production week from brainstorming to filming live. Dinner was served among iconic sets such as the Weekend Update desk and a full-size replica of the main stage in New York.

While no one gave their own improv comedy sketch, Dr. Mary M. Dwyer, President & CEO of IES Abroad, invited the following individuals to be recognized on the scale-size replica stage.

inline size left to right susan carty dr. mary m. dwyer kate manni leo rowland ies abroad annual conference leadership award winners

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Susan Carty, Director of Administration & Program Management in the Office of Overseas Study at Indiana University
  • Professional Development Award: Kate Manni, Assistant Director for Faculty-Led Programs and Special Initiatives at Penn State University
  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Leo Rowland, Director of Study Abroad at the University of Redlands

In celebration of his 42 years with IES Abroad, Michael Steinburg, who will retire at the end of the year, was invited to the stage to be recognized and say a few words as well. In January 2019, Dr. Michael Adewumi will step into the role as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Dr. Michael Adewumi at a conference

Outstanding Faculty & Students Receive Recognition

dr. mary m. dwyer with student awardees

Earlier in the day on Thursday, we also recognized some of our outstanding faculty members from our Centers:

Friday afternoon closed with a celebration of four recent IES Abroad alumni:

“Do not forget that through one simple conversation or becoming a mentor, you can change someone else's world.”
Yesenia Ayala • 2017 Global Citizen of the Year

Preview of the 2018 Film Festival Finalists

Our 5th annual Film Festival received more than 96 submissions–the most-ever submitted to the Film Festival–and we couldn’t be more impressed with our students’ creativity! Annual Conference attendees saw a preview of each of the three finalist films along with a short intro of each student filmmaker on why people should vote for their submission. Voting ends November 5th!

Kate Flannery, known for her role as Meredith on The Office, also gave a short appearance via video encouraging everyone to attend the Film Festival Event that she will host on November 7th in Chicago.

Welcoming New Faces

J. Kline Harrison from Wake Forest University was announced as the new Chair of the General Conference, an elected position he will hold for a three-year term. We look forward to having him represent the Consortium to the IES Abroad Board of Directors.

We are looking forward to having the following study abroad leaders on the IES Abroad Academic Council:

  • Ali JanicekFranklin & Marshall College
  • Kristen MalloryClaremont McKenna College
  • Kelly O’Sullivan SommerUniversity of California, San Diego

A special shout out to all of the people who have previously served on IES Abroad committees! We’re thankful for your time and dedication.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


The Graphic Arts Studio, Inc. 

Cultural Insurance Services International


Diversity Abroad

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See You Next Year!

We already can’t wait to see you next year! Join us in October 2019 for another three days of learning, sharing, and being reenergized to serve your study abroad students. We’re looking forward to hearing about your professional experience and recent research in 2019 when we call for proposals.

Interested in volunteering to be on the 2019 Annual Conference Planning Committee? Contact Rich Bartecki at rbartecki@IESabroad.org.

Browse our Annual Conference Facebook album for more pictures of the dinner on the sets of SNL, conference sessions, and more.

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