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Meet our Center Directors, the greatest force in study abroad!

Chantal Omloo
Center Director

Chantal Omloo earned an M.A. in History of International Relations at the University of Utrecht and an MSc in Development Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her academic focus was centred on economic development in Sub Saharan Africa and she has published a number of articles in this field.

Prior to joining IES Abroad in 2001, Chantal worked for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), an NGO based in the United Kingdom. Chantal managed customized programs for IES Abroad out of the London Center before moving back to her native Netherlands to become our Amsterdam Center Director.

Marie-Anne Devaux
Center Director

Marie-Anne Devaux holds a Licence ès Lettres Modernes and a Diplôme d'Etudes Théâtrales from the Université de la Sorbonne (Paris III). Prior to joining IES Abroad, Mme. Devaux worked as Administrative Director of EDUCO, the Duke and Cornell joint program in Paris, as a Drama instructor for several programs in Paris (such as Duke, Scripps, and Northwestern), and as Director of the Academic Year Abroad program in Paris. She also served as the Director of the IES Abroad Paris French Studies Program for more than 15 years.

Bianca Ranson
Program Director

Bianca has a degree in Sport and Recreation – Outdoor Education from AUT, Auckland University of Technology.  She has had many years’ experience working with local Māori, youth at risk, international students and international visitors, providing customized programs and tours to support and engage the various groups and individuals she works with.  Tikanga Māori is at the heart of the work she does, engaging students with the outdoor environment, on local marae, and engaging with Māori arts & culture. 

Cèsar Alegre Alsina, Ph.D.
Center Director

Dr. Cèsar Alegre Alsina has been the Director of our Barcelona programs since 2008. He is originally from Barcelona and speaks Spanish, Catalan, and English fluently. He brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education to IES Abroad, including a noteworthy teaching career in the United States, experience in student services, and a strong research portfolio. Before coming to IES Abroad, Dr. Alegre Alsina taught Spanish language, as well as Spanish and Hispanic Culture and Literature at Amherst College for 16 years. He is the author of a book on Hispanic Americans (Scholastic), and has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Hispanic Americans (BRG Oxford) and numerous articles and reviews in American and international journals. Dr. Alegre Alsina received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University, his Master’s degree in Hispanic Literature at Auburn University, and his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Ms. Zhao Ning (addressed as Zhao Laoshi)
Center Director

Zhao Ning 赵宁 graduated from the Northern University for Nationalities with a B.A. in the English language, and then received her M.A. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics from Beijing Normal University. She has been working at the IES Abroad Beijing Center since 2006, and has taught Chinese language classes of all levels. In 2009, she became the Associate Director of the Beijing Center, and was promoted to Center Director in December 2014.

Ms. Zhao taught at Bucknell University from 2008-2009, and has been focusing her research on Chinese language pronunciation acquisition and teaching methodology ever since. As a member of ACTFL, her recent academic research has been on the Oral Proficiency Assessment. She took the OPI Tester Training in June 2014, and is pursuing a tester certificate.

Barbara Finke
Center Director

 

About the Center Director

Barbara holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of Mannheim in Germany. She also studied for a year at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD. Barbara conducted her Ph.D. research on the legitimacy of non-governmental organizations in global governance with a case study on women’s NGOs in the United Nations system. She has taught and published on civil society in global and European politics and on international relations theory. From 2007 to 2017, Barbara was Program Head at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, a distinguished international graduate school that focuses on public policy and international affairs.

Juan Hudson
Center Director

Born and raised in Argentina, Juan Hudson has extensive experience living and learning abroad. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to joining IES Abroad, Juan held senior academic and managerial roles in the study abroad field in Latin America. Juan has also served as the Director for the Graduate Marketing Program at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, as well as Director of the MBA Program at the Universidad de Palermo, Graduate School of Business in Buenos Aires. In Argentina, he has held numerous teaching appointments in the fields of international business and marketing, and Juan has served as a Visiting International Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Natanya van der Lingen
Center Director
Natanya took up the position of Center Director at the IES Abroad Cape Town Center after working as the Assistant Director of the IES Abroad Center in London and as the Resident Director of an IES Abroad French language summer program in Quebec City, Canada. Originally from South Africa, she graduated from the University KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa where she majored in Spanish and French, and also studied Linguistics, Sociology, Drama, Zulu, and Afrikaans. She spent a year studying abroad in California as a Rotary International Exchange student and has also lived in the UK, Argentina, and France, and has traveled to over 40 other countries around the world.
Eunice McKessar
Program Director

Eunice has been the Program Director in Christchurch since 2007. She spent her career working with educational institutions in culturally-varied environments. She previously served as a guest home manager, and as a teacher of Music and French while living in Malaysia.

Prior to living in Malaysia, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington, and a Bachelor of Divinity through Melbourne College of Divinity. Prior to joining IES Abroad, Eunice spent more than 10 years working as an International Student Advisor at the University of Canterbury (where the IES Abroad Christchurch Program is located), providing pastoral care and academic support to international students and their families.

Megan Markey
Center Director

Megan Markey earned an MBA in Education Management from the Institute of Education, University of London and a Masters in Sociology from University College Dublin. Employed by IES Abroad since 2004, Megan teaches our service learning seminar, Service Learning: Youth Engagement and Education in Ireland. She has also taught qualitative research for the Sociology Department at University College Dublin. Megan was the Assistant Director of the Dublin Center from 2010-2014 and became the Center Director in 2015. 

Ullrich Lohrmann, Ph.D.
Center Director

Dr. Ullrich Lohrmann has been with IES Abroad since 1993. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, and has academic interests in Africa, the United Nations, and the development of the European Union. He has served in various capacities at IES Abroad and has been the Director of the EU program since 2007. He has also taught courses on the EU for IES Abroad.

Alexander Breisacher
Center Director

Alexander Breisacher has been the Director of the IES Abroad Freiburg Center since 2013. He holds a Master’s in Sociology and Business Administration from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and a European Master’s in International Humanitarian Assistance (NOHA ) from the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany, and the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. He also studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and completed a Spanish program in Quito, Ecuador. Before joining IES Abroad, Alexander worked with the Christoffel Blindenmission in India and Tanzania. Alexander joined IES Abroad in 2003 as the Academic and Administrative Officer of the Freiburg Center, and was promoted in October 2007 to the position of Assistant Director of the Center. Interested in the social and ecological consequences of economic activity, Alexander was instrumental in the development of the Environmental Studies & Sustainability Program in Freiburg.

Javier Martínez de Velasco, Ph.D.
Center Director

Dr. Javier Martínez de Velasco has been the Director of the Granada Program since 2005. He received his doctorate in Hispanic Literature from the University of Kansas with a concentration in International Theater, and his Bachelor’s in English Philology from Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. He was a professor at Central Washington University, including the William O. Douglas Honors College, from 1994 to 2002, teaching Hispanic and Latin American Literature and Spanish. He developed a Spanish language program for Spanish Speakers at CWU and directed CWU’s Summer Program with the University of La Coruña in Galicia, Spain. As a complement to his academic work, he is an accomplished theater director.

John Ockey
Center Director

John brings over 15 years of experience with IES Abroad, including seven years with IES Abroad Milan and nearly three years with IES Abroad Siena before coming to IES Abroad London. During his time in Siena, John developed and implemented a banner program with a strong focus on cultural immersion and academic rigor. In Milan, he played a key role in improving and developing the Milan program, notably in the areas of student housing, student activities, orientation, and supervision of the student services staff. Prior to working for IES Abroad, John received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Italian Literature and Art History from Brigham Young University and worked in Geneva for the United Nations.

Elvira Munoz, Ph.D.
Center Director

Dr. Elvira Muñoz has been the IES Abroad Madrid Center Director since 2005. She served a two-year appointment as Associate Director for the Education Abroad program at the University of California Madrid. Her association with the University of California began at UCLA, where she was a Lecturer and Associate Undergraduate Vice Chair of the Mathematics Department, 2000–2002, and visiting Assistant Professor, 1995–2000. Dr. Muñoz received two Distinguished Teaching awards during her career at UCLA. She also has taught mathematics at State University of New York at Stony Brook, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Mathematics from Université Paris XI, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Universidad de Salamanca. Her considerable experience abroad also includes work and study in Germany, Sweden, and Brazil.

Roberto Andreoni, Ph.D.
Center Director

For more than 17 years, Roberto Andreoni has been the Director of the Milan program. Dr. Andreoni holds a doctorate in Music from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his undergraduate degrees at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milan and the Civica Scuola di Musica. He has previously served as the director of the Civica Scuola di Musica in Assago and Milan. Dr. Andreoni is an internationally recognized composer whose works are regularly performed, published, and recorded. When Dr. Andreoni isn’t busy directing the Milan program, he also serves as the Music Coordinator for IES Abroad Milan and is a professor of Composition at the Conservatorio di Musica N. Piccinni in Bari. During Fall 2010, he was the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for Music and Italian Studies at Scripps College. 

ABOUT THE CENTER DIRECTORS

Juan Hudson

Center Director

IES Abroad Buenos Aires


Born and raised in Argentina, Juan Hudson has extensive experience living and learning abroad. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to joining IES Abroad, Juan held senior academic and managerial roles in the study abroad field in Latin America. Juan has also served as the Director for the Graduate Marketing Program at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, as well as Director of the MBA Program at the Universidad de Palermo, Graduate School of Business in Buenos Aires. In Argentina, he has held numerous teaching appointments in the fields of international business and marketing, and Juan has served as a Visiting International Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

María del Carmen Cortés Arce

Center Director

IES Abroad Santiago


A native of Santiago, Maricarmen has over 30 years of experience with local development activities with government and non-profit organizations, including Wilder Center for Communities (part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), Franklin Covey Chile, the United States Peace Corps in Santiago, FINAM (a Women's World Banking NGO), and the Fundacion Miguel Kast. Maricarmen holds a Master's and B.A. in Architecture from the Universidad de Chile, and was also a Fulbright Scholar through the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program with the University of Minnesota.

Satoshi Tsukamoto, Ph.D.
Director of Student Services

A native of Nagoya, Dr. Satoshi Tsukamoto has been the Director of the IES Abroad Center in Nagoya since 2000. He earned his Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University. His fields of study include the philosophy of education, multicultural education, cultural studies, and qualitative research methods. In addition to his work for IES Abroad, he is a professor in the Department of International Communications at Aichi University in Nagoya.

Anna Shoemaker
Center Director

Anna Shoemaker joined the Nantes Center in the summer of 2016. She brings with her years of IES Abroad experience. Since 2008, Anna has been at the Paris French Studies Center serving in many different roles, ranging from accounting and student affairs to managing customized programs and organizing the internship program. In 2013, she served as Interim Director.

Anna attended the IES Abroad Paris French Studies Program as a student from the University of Texas – Austin, where she received a BA in French, Art History, and Plan II Honors. Anna then went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Training Management from the Université Paris-Dauphine, where she wrote her thesis on training faculty to use learning technology.

Maria Stallone
Center Director

Maria Stallone has been working in study abroad for more than 16 years and has been the Center Director in Nice since 2015. Maria's formative years were international, with her family living and traveling between the United States and Europe. She first traveled to Asia in 1993 with the prestigious Rotary Foundation Fellowship. She completed her graduate work, achieving an award of Merit, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Her other academic distinctions include a diploma in Indian Classical Music and Hindi from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi and, most recently, graduate work in Thai Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Previously, she was the Center Director of our Delhi Center for four years. Maria speaks five languages and has been the recipient of several grants and scholarships promoting her interests and research.

Nathalie Lenfant
Center Director

Nathalie Lenfant has been the Director of the IES Abroad Paris Business & International Affairs Program since its inception in 2007. She has worked with IES Abroad since 1998, when she began as the Internship Coordinator of the Paris French Studies Center. She was named Associate Director of IES Abroad Paris French Studies in 2002. She holds a French License in English with a specialization in American Civilization from the University of Poitiers and a graduate degree from the École Supérieure de Traducteur Interprète et Commerce Extérieur of the Catholic University in Lille. During her studies, Mme. Lenfant spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Richmond, Virginia, and a summer as a student at Oregon State University. Prior to joining IES Abroad, Mme. Lenfant worked at the French National Office of American Field Service (AFS) as a regional coordinator of volunteering, and as a coordinator of housing, intercultural training, and student activities.

Scott Lyngaas, Ph.D.
Center Director

Dr. Scott Lyngaas has been the IES Abroad Paris French Studies Center Director since 2014. Scott came to IES Abroad from Beloit College, where he was Associate Dean and Associate Professor of French. He received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he wrote his dissertation on Francophone historical fiction. Dr. Lyngaas previously served as the Resident Director of study abroad  programs in both Brussels and Paris.

Eduardo Ortiz
Center Director

Through LASPAU (Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities), Eduardo Ortiz, a native of Quito, received a Fulbright Scholarship to obtain both his B.A. and his M.A. in Psychology at SUNY Geneseo in New York. After receiving his degrees, Eduardo returned to Quito, where he worked as Senior Official in the Ecuadorian Institute of Educational Loans and Scholarships (IECE) and as Ecuadorian Coordinator for an international educational exchange program (Canada World Youth). He also worked as Associate Professor in two leading Ecuadorian Universities (Catholic University of Ecuador and Army Polytechnic University). Eduardo also has experience as a project manager for USAID (United States Agency for International Development) in Ecuador where he managed projects in tax administration and education. Additionally, Eduardo has international consulting experience in training, organizational development, human resources management, and institutional strengthening in several International Development Agencies including IDB, the World Bank and Universalia Management Group from Canada.

Oussama El Addouli
Center Director

Prior to his work as Director of the Rabat program, Mr. El Addouli was the Director and co-founder of the International Arabic Institute in Meknes. He was also the Program and Outreach Director at the Moroccan American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright Commission) in Rabat. Mr. El Addouli is a former Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of New England in Maine. He held teaching, coordinating and training positions at different institutions in Morocco, the U.S and Europe namely Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, the International School of Bologna in Italy, and QWL in Rabat. He first studied Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy at the University of Bologna in Italy and then participated in a four partner university program to obtain two masters in Global Studies and International Relations from the Universities of Leipzig in Germany, the London School of Economics in the UK, the University of Vienna in Austria, and the University of Wroclaw in Poland. Mr. El Addouli's interests span the fields of TAFL, Educational Curriculum Development and Design, Global Studies, Educational Governance, Civil Society and Democracy, Cultural Studies, and International Law. He has translated books and written and published articles and book reviews on transformational Education, issues on North African Politics and other related subjects. Mr. El Addouli holds a strong cosmopolitan outlook as he has studied, visited, lived in, and was trained in more than twenty foreign countries.

Dott. Gianni Ponti
Center Director

Dott. Ponti is an archaeologist specialized in Imperial Roman architecture. After earning a BA in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dott. Ponti obtained a Laurea in archaeology from the University of Rome. He has worked on a number of archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, including Troy, Aphrodisias and Leptis Magna. His studies and research focus on the use of marble in Roman construction, the ancient marble trade, quarrying and carving techniques. Dott. Ponti has worked on a number of excavations in Rome, including the Palatine Hill and the Imperial Fora. He has done research for the Department of Antiquities on a number of conservation projects including the Ara Pacis, the Column of Trajan and  the Arch of Constantine. He is currently directing an excavation at the Villa of Maxentius on the Via Appia, as well as conducting architectural studies at Leptis Magna, Libya, with the Università di Rome Tre. Dott. Ponti has taught at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro of the Department of Antiquities and is currently Archaeology Advisor of the American Academy in Rome. He has been teaching archaeology courses at IES Abroad Rome since 2004.

Barbara Liberatore
Center Director

Originally from the United States, Barbara Liberatore has been living and working in Salamanca for over 20 years. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Master’s degree in Italian Studies from Brown University where she also held a teaching assistantship. Barbara brings to IES Abroad more than 20 years of experience in teaching, management, and supervision in international education. She taught in Brown University’s Summer Intensive English Program for many years, worked as Assistant Director for the University of Rhode Island’s Summer Study Abroad Program in Salamanca, and directed other study abroad programs there before beginning with IES Abroad.

María del Carmen Cortés Arce
Center Director

A native of Santiago, Maricarmen has over 30 years of experience with local development activities with government and non-profit organizations, including Wilder Center for Communities (part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Saint Paul, MN), Franklin Covey Chile, the United States Peace Corps in Santiago, FINAM (a Women's World Banking NGO), and the Miguel Kast Foundation. Maricarmen holds a Master's and B.A. in Architecture from the Universidad de Chile, and was also a Fulbright Scholar through the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program with the University of Minnesota.

Qinbo "James" Gao
Center Director

Qinbo "James" Gao has been involved in international education for many years. Prior to joining IES Abroad Shanghai as the Center Director, he was the Director of the International Affairs Office (IAO) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)-Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF). He joined SAIF in 2009 as a founding member for the institution, which is a collaboration between the Shanghai Municipal Government (SMG) and SJTU.

Before joining SAIF, James worked at the Chinese Europe International Business School (CEIBS) as Accreditations & International Programs Manager. He started his career as an English lecturer at Tongji University, where he received “Junior Teacher Awards” in 1998 and 1999, based upon student voting and academic reviews.

James received his bachelor’s degree from the International Studies University in Xi’an, and his M.A. in Tourism Administration from The George Washington University School of Business. He is a candidate for the Doctorate of Education at the University of Nottingham (China Campus), focusing on practical research in higher education.

Veronica Semeraro
Center Director

Veronica Semeraro has worked at our IES Abroad Siena Center since the founding of the program in 2006 when she was hired as Student Affairs Coordinator. Since that time, she has been actively involved in all aspects of the program, including housing, customized programs, arrival and orientation, field trips, and academic coordination. Veronica was promoted to Center Director of IES Abroad Siena in 2012.

Prior to working with IES Abroad, Veronica graduated with honors in Archaeology from the University of Siena. Her thesis addressed the GIS platform of the newly discovered and frescoed rooms beneath the Cathedral of Siena. She contributed, with vectorial maps and archeological drawings, to the publication Sotto il Duomo di Siena (2003). Upon winning a research grant following graduation, Veronica spent six years working in the University of Siena archeology laboratory in Computer Science. She also spent several years drawing dig maps while working on site in various important archeological digs in Tuscany (rooms beneath the Siena Cathedral; castle of Miranduolo, Podium Bonizio village) specializing in GIS technology. Veronica is an avid traveler and a member of an all-female Brazilian drum group in Siena.

Kate Smart
Center Director

Kate Smart has been the Director of the Sydney programs since 2016. Kate has over 15 years of experience in International Education, including senior Study Abroad roles at Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, and University of New South Wales.

Kate has lived and worked in the United States and studied abroad in Thailand and Jamaica. She has a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Master of Education in International Education from Monash University. Kate loves sharing her knowledge of the city (and the rest of Australia) with new students, from her favorite beaches to swim at to the best place to grab a great flat white.

Mr. Caleb Foale
Center Director

Caleb Foale has been Center Director since 2015 and his personal and professional experiences span the globe. Born in Britain, he grew up in the UK and New Zealand, graduated from the University of Otago in New Zealand with a degree in Politics, and carried out research and postgraduate study in Japan and Australia. While in Australia, he earned two Master’s degrees—an M.A. in Strategic and Defense Studies from the Australian National University and an M.Ed. in TESOL from Queensland University of Technology. He also spent a significant amount of time living and working in Brazil, before his return to Japan in 2000. In early 2016 he graduated with an M.B.A. from the University of Leicester. His extensive experience in the field of tertiary education in both teaching and managerial roles has been an incredible asset to our Tokyo Center.

Morten Solvik, Ph.D.
Center Director

An international scholar, Dr. Solvik holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Music and Intellectual History from Cornell University. Born in Norway, he speaks Norwegian, German, and English fluently, and uses French as a research language.

Dr. Solvik was instrumental in setting up the IES Abroad Vienna Music Program, which he has coordinated since 1999, and has also designed and taught numerous courses in Music History. In addition to his work with IES Abroad Vienna, Dr. Solvik has served as lecturer at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (The University for Music and Performing Arts). His teaching and administrative experience is augmented by his active and productive scholarly career as an expert on Gustav Mahler.

Melissa Comiskey
Executive Director, Internship Programming
Andrew Erwin, Ph.D.
Program Director