Nantes Alumni Updates

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Updates received Spring 2016

Elan Carson, 2009 Fall - Elan recently gave a TED Talk on mental health in America called "Changing the Face of Depression.” Elan is excited to share this message in hopes to let other people know that they are not alone in their experiences:

Updates received Fall 2014

Martha Runnette, 1989 Fall – Martha has been living in the Denver area since 1999. She is currently working as a project manager for Denver Public Schools, finishing up a 5-year middle school literacy grant in September 2015. She says, “Hello to all the Fall '89 Nantes alumni out there!!”

Linda Bollivar, 1987 Fall – Linda’s semester in Nantes has had a long term impact on her life. Her husband was an exchange student in Australia between high school and college, and thanks to their positive experiences abroad, they decided to host international exchange students. They have hosted 6 high school exchange students in all, each for a full academic year. Linda’s study abroad experience also helped prepare her for a new position as the program director of the Multicultural Leadership Institute, a non-profit in Bloomington, IL.

Jake Joseph, 2009-10 Jake graduated with an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Human Rights Studies and a Masters in Divinity from Emory University in May. Now, he is the Acting Associate Minister of a diverse, Progressive-Christian UCC church in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Updates received Spring 2014

George Faithful, 1999 Fall/Berlin Spring 2000 – George and his wife, Enelia, welcomed their daughter Penelope into the world in January 2014. In May, Oxford University Press will release George’s book Mothering the Fatherland: A Protestant Sisterhood Repents for the Holocaust. Based on his Ph.D. dissertation in historical theology, George’s research on the topic began back in 1999-2000 when he studied abroad in Nantes and Berlin with IES Abroad, during which time he encountered the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, a group of Christian Zionist Protestant nuns.

Laura Cohen, 2011 Spring – Inspired by a transformative semester abroad in Nantes, Laura is pursuing a Master of Library & Information Studies at McGill University in Montreal. Though not quite as far away, she is thrilled to experience life abroad once more.

Annie Balow, 2012 Fall – Anna graduated in May with a degree in Psychology, and is planning on applying to graduate school for Occupational Therapy.

Alyssa MacNeill, 2012 Fall – Since studying in Nantes, Alyssa studied abroad a second time in Madagascar. Anna is very interested in international education and plans to work in a college study abroad office next year.

Updates received Fall 2013

Julia Kaufman Nussdorfer, 2002 Spring – Julia is now married and lives in Ann Arbor where she works for the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.  

Elan Carson,  2009 Fall – After spending a semester abroad in Nantes, France fall 2010, Elan went on to complete her B.A. for Creative Writing, French and Visual Design at the University of Redlands. After graduating, she worked in Fashion for 2 years and then transitioned to digital marketing full-time. Elan has also just wrapped up her first novel, The Willow Tree, which partly details my time abroad. You can check out the website and purchase it online at

Renee Bishai, 2011 Fall – Renee graduated from The Ohio State University in December 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and French with a minor in Arabic. She began interning at OSU's Office of International Affairs where she developed cultural programming for international and American students. Renee was then promoted to a full time position continuing the same work.

Updates received Spring 2013

John Hodges, 1966-67 - After working on it for about 20 years, John recently published his book Delta Fragments: The Recollections of a Sharecropper’s Son (University of Tennessee Press, June 2013). In July 2013, John returned to his high school in Greenwood, MS to give the commencement address at the 2013 SBT Reunion Golden Anniversary Graduation Ceremony for the classes of 1962 and 1963.

Leslie Call Raynor, 1971 Spring – Leslie lives in New York.

Karen Sundal, 1973-74 Fall/Spring – Karen lives in Minnesota.

Julie Meyer Schulte, 1980 Fall – Julie lives in Minnesota.

Joanna Barber Harding, Fall 1996/Paris Spring 1997 –  After receiving a Master's and attending a short career as a French High School teacher, Joanna has leveraged her French skills in the corporate world for the last 7 years.  Joanna is scoping out and hoping for a new adventure which utilizes her love of French and for people, her project management, IT experience, and instructional experience more closely. Referrals welcome!  Joanna would love to get back into contact with anyone from that year.

Curtis Rojakovick, 1998 Spring – After living most of the last decade in France and Geneva, Curtis moved to Norway with his Norwegian wife. It was tough leaving a culture he fell in love with during his time in Nantes, but they now have a 10 week old son and decided to move for the family benefits. When moving to Norway, Curtis decided to change careers.  After nearly a decade in the international NGO and humanitarian sector (including six years with the International Red Cross), Curtis now owns his own bike tourism company, called Viking Biking.  As an avid cyclist who has crossed nearly all of France and Switzerland numerous times, Curtis wanted to turn a passion into a profession.  Viking Biking is entering its second year, and they look forward to a warm and sunny summer when they can show international tourists this great city of Oslo. You can check them out at:

Laura Whitney, 2002 Spring – Laura now lives in Monterey, CA.

Amelia Grabowski, 2012 Spring – Amelia is in the very hectic process of finishing her senior year at Gettysburg College. After Gettysburg, she will work for the summer on a community history project in Danville, VA before heading to Rhode Island for a graduate program in Public Humanities at Brown University. While these plans may seem disconnected from her time in France at first glance, ultimately they are not. Travelling to different museums, particularly museums of social justice, along the coast of France allowed Amelia to develop her ideas of museology and confirm that working in venues of socially motivated public humanities was indeed what she wanted to do with her life. For this, and so much more, Amelia would never trade her study abroad experience with IES Abroad.

Updates received Winter 2012-13

Normand Houle, 1967-68 Fall/Spring – Normand’s junior year in Nantes helped him mature as a young person and helped him develop the confidence that would serve him well in his career as a U.S. naval officer.  Normand was on active duty for 31 fulfilling years.  His only "regret" was that he had only two opportunities to serve overseas, one in mainland Japan in the early 80's and one in Okinawa, Japan in the mid 90's. Both Normand and his wife have had positive overseas experiences and are hopeful that their high school aged daughter will have similar opportunities during her college years.  A period overseas study is one of their criteria in evaluating potential colleges.

Erin Hoffman, 2001 Spring – Erin is in her eleventh year of teaching French in Lakeville, MN and this year she opened her own business, Free Life Yoga,, which brings yoga students on trips to Europe.

Caroline Rohloff, 2010 Spring – Caroline is working on an MSc in European Politics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. As part of her program, she traveled to Brussels, Belgium to visit the EU institutions. She went to Istanbul, Turkey for Christmas vacation. Caroline is very happy to be back in Europe and have the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures.

Katie Warnecke, 2011 Fall – Katie is a senior at Northwestern University, graduating in June 2103.

Valerie Kessie, 2012 Fall – Valerie is a third year student Lawrence University studying Environmental Studies, French and Government. She will be graduating next year and is looking forward to the future after graduation.

Updates recieved Spring/Summer 2012

Alexa Jansma, 2006-07 Fall/Spring - Alexa completed externships in Morocco and Paris, and graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine with a D.V.M. 

Jose Campos, 2011 Spring - Jose is working in San Francisco with the investment management firm, Dodge & Cox. He will travel back to France in October to teach English in the region of Grenoble through TAPIF.   Alyssa Cohen, 2011 Spring - Alyssa graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in biology in 2012 and will attend University of Rochester Medical School in the fall.