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ITEP | Selected Student Profiles

Talib Abdur-Rahim

Undergraduate University: Lincoln University
Experience Abroad: Morocco, Dominican Republic, Bahamas
Professional Experience: ESL Teacher

Growing up in New York City, I've always been sensitive to cultural differences and to the rich benefit inherent in the process and outcome of people from disparate cultures coming together. Language seemed to be a barrier, which if bridged, could be a strength to the ones who were willing to learn and willing to facilitate understanding.

Studying abroad in Morocco during undergrad, marked my formal introduction to the field of international education. I instantly knew that it was a field that I wanted to be a professional in.

My goal for the ITEP program is to learn as much as possible about the academic side of international education and to be a proficient practitioner in the field. Upon completion of my degree, I would like to work in the field of international development specifically working with inner city youth and with the African diaspora.

Layla Allahverdi

Undergraduate University: George Mason University
Experience Abroad: Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, France
Professional Experience: ASCD: Project Specialist, Constituent Programs

Layla is a project specialist at ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. She completed her Bachelors of Arts at George Mason University, majoring in global affairs with an emphasis in global governance. She has studied abroad in Spain, Switzerland, and France. Layla has surveyed international non-governmental organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. She is currently pursuing the global education concentration in AU’s International Training and Education Program.

Maria Barra

Undergraduate University: SUNY Binghamton
Experience Abroad: Austria, Germany, Global
Professional Experience: Program Specialist for the Key Executive Leadering proram at AU 

Maria Barra is originally from Setawket, NY. Her passion for international educatin began when she studied abroad in Austria with Rotary International. In college, Maria studied abroad with University of Virginia's Semester at Sea program. This exchange gave her the opportunity to explore various regions in the world. After graduation, Maria worked in Germany as an Au-Pair. These international excursions combined with experience working in international non-profit organizations ultimately led to her decision in applying to the ITEP program at American University. She hopes to gain the tools, education and support to continue her path towards working in the interntioanl education field.

Emily Bird

Undergraduate University: American University
Experience Abroad: Niger, Ghana, Morocco, Italy
Professional Experience: Peace Corps, National Cooperative Business Association, DC Public Schools 

After completing her BA in International Studies at AU, Emily worked in non-profit business development and advocacy focused on Africa. In 2009, she departed to Niger where she served with the Peace Corps as a Municipal and Community Development Volunteer. Emily implemented a number of projects in Niger but found working with students in her community to be the most rewarding. She hopes to effectively combine her passions for international development and education in the ITEP program.

Jamie Bussey

Undergraduate University: Hood College
Experience Abroad: Benin, West Africa
Professional Experience: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Peace Corps; Kaplan International Colleges, Academic Coordinator; Center for Health and Gender Equity, Program Intern; International Rescue Committee, Employment Specialist

A Maryland Native, Jamie Bussey completed a dual B.A. in English and Communications from Hood College in 2008. Since then, she has served as a teacher and trainer both internationally and domestically, including serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, and working as an Academic Coordinator and Instructor at Kaplan International Colleges in Washington, DC. Currently, she works with refugees at the International Rescue Committee as a Employment and Training Specialist. As an ITEP student, Jamie's interests lie in International Development, with a specific focus on human rights and gender education. And last year she had the opportunity to travel to the United Nations to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women, advocating against violence against women and girls.

Annelise Cohon

Undergraduate University: Scripps College
Experience Abroad: Italy and Israel
Professional Experience: NEA Health Information Network, Best Buddies International

Annelise Cohon is a second year ITEP student concentrating on international development and global health. She graduated from Scripps College in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Women's Studies. In college, Annelise was (and still is) passionate about empowering women and girls and studied abroad in Parma, Italy to examine the issue of violence against women internationally. After graduating, Annelise worked for Best Buddies, an international nonprofit that provides social integration opportunities for individuals with disabilities through jobs and friendships. She also finished a one-year fellowship in Haifa, Israel, focusing on peace and Conflict Studies. In her current job, Annelise works for the NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN) and runs their Breakfast in the Classroom program. Her job entails helping to ensure that more children get access to the federally-funded School Breakfast Program and working with educators to advocate for alternative breakfast programs. This year, Annelise and fellow ITEPer Heidi Bloom are looking forward to leading an Alternative Break trip to Israel to focus on African Refugees in Israel. After graduating from ITEP, Annelise hopes to continue her work and travels abroad with an international non-profit that focuses on empowering women and children through education and health.

Lindsey Cornish

Undergraduate University: UC Santa Barbara
Experience Abroad: SouthEast Asia, Romania
Professional Experience: Peace Corps service, Romania

A native Californian, Lindsey graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara in June 2010. During her college years, she was given the opportunity to participate in an environmental education program in Southeast Asia. After graduating college, Lindsey joined the Peace Corps and spent her service in southern Romania as a middle school English teacher. She is very excited to be starting her first semester in the ITEP program, and hopes to further purse her interests in international development and training.

Anna Claire Eddington

Undergraduate University: University of North Carolina
Experience Abroad: South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico, Scotland, Thailand, New Zealand
Professional Experience: Social Media Coordinator for a gardener in Little Rock, AR

Anna Claire Eddington is an ITEP graduate student focusing on both development and exchange. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and moved onto a position as an adventure travel guide in Montana and Wyoming. It was on bike ride in the Grand Tetons with a group of city slickers that she first realized the importance and impact of non-traditional education and decided to pursue that passion.

With her ITEP degree, Anna Claire wants to design exchange opportunities that will allow American students and young adults to learn more about sustainable agriculture and health methods and to implement them at home. Additionally, she hopes to train foreign young adults and students in job skills and language that would allow them greater access to better jobs. Her interest and background in gardening and the global food system are strong components of her future plans. She hopes that through the practical application of these types of programs the we will be able to create and support a more sustainable and healthy international food system.

Rachel Gabrielse

Undergraduate University: Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Experience Abroad: Japan, Republic of Vanuatu
Professional Experience: Middle School World Geography Teacher, Peace Corps Volunteer

After graduating with a Bachelors degree in history and English, I began teaching in a variety of venues. The most recent position was as a world geography teacher, which gave me the privilege of introducing middle school students to countries and cultures different from their own. I left my teaching position to join the Peace Corps as a Volunteer Teacher Trainer. Service in the Peace Corps provided the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in other cultures with my enthusiasm for education. The international development track in the ITEP program at American University allows me to explore more fully the challenges and outcomes of educational systems in developing countries. My goal is to work with an international organization that trains teachers and administrators to identify and use effective educational practices.

Fauve Johnson

Undergraduate University: University of Colorado, Boulder
Experience Abroad: France, Senegal, and Morocco
Professional Experience: Peace Corps Morocco, El-Hibri Charitable Foundation USA

Fauve Johnson is a second year ITEP student concentrating on international development and cross-cultural communication. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and French and a minor in Political Science. In high school Fauve became interested in cross-cultural interactions, development, and how people from different backgrounds relate to one another on a global scale. She studied in France for a year where those interests were solidified. In college Fauve studied in Senegal where she was able to focus on culture and development in the Post-Colonial West African context. After graduating Fauve moved to Morocco where she was a youth development specialist with the US Peace Corps. Fauve is currently taking advantage of different internship opportunities with both NGOs and the government in an effort to gain experience and determine what might be the best fit for the future. After she graduates Fauve hopes to serve in some capacity as a facilitator of cross-cultural interactions. Ideally she would find a position where she can provide support to people entering into a new cultural environment in order to help them accomplish their intended goals.

Dianna Leonard

Undergraduate University: Salisbury University
Experience Abroad: Canada, England, France, Italy, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland
Professional Experience: Higher education advising

Dianna is a native of Maryland. During her undergrad at Salisbury University, she studied abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. After returning, she knew that she wanted to be involved in international education. She earned her BA in English: Creative Writing with minors in History and Ethnic and Intercultural Studies from Salisbury in 2008. After graduating, she worked as an academic advisor at University of Maryland University College. In 2011, Dianna completed her MSc in European Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. She wrote her dissertation on the European study abroad program, ERASMUS. Currently, Dianna works as a financial aid counselor at AU.Dianna will be focusing on the international education exchange track. Upon completion of the program, she would like to work in study abroad or international student advising.

Anna Lippard

Undergrad University: Coker College
Experience Abroad: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, England, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, China
Professional Experience: Fulbright ETA, Bratislava SK

My name is Anna Lippard, and I am from Gaffney, DC. It was in my undergraduate studies at Coker College as a history major that I became involved and interested in study abroad and exchange programs. After studying abroad in Italy and the Czech Republic, I applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Slovakia. During my year as a Fulbright ETA in Bratislava, Slovakia, I realized I wanted to make a career out of helping students have their own meaningful international experiences. I also volunteered with Education USA, helping Slovak students Study in the US.
My international experiences have taught me so much about other countries, cultures, languages, and myself. These opportunities are both beneficial and crucial for success for students. It would be a privilege to one day facilitate these types of learning experiences.

Erasmo Mendez

Undergraduate University: University of California Irvine
Experience Abroad: Argentina, Honduras, Panama
Professional Experience: Global Brigades USA, CARE USA

Erasmo Mendez is a second year ITEP student focusing on international development and global health. He graduated from UC Irvine in 2011 with two Bachelors degrees, one in International Studies and in Spanish. In undergrad, Erasmo was intrigued by social issues abroad (and still is) especially community and sustainable development. He studied abroad for one year in Buenos Aires, Argentina and took courses on country specific themes from history to economics. He also was a volunteer with Public Health Brigades Honduras in 2010 and 2011. After graduating, Erasmo worked for Global Brigades USA, an international non-profit that hopes to resolve global health and economic disparities by empowering student volunteers, local professionals, and community members in a collaborative holistic approach to sustainable development. Erasmo recently completed a seven month internship with CAREs Gender & Empowerment team that focused on advocacy of gender equality issues. he currently works with the national NGO Jumpstart as a team leader and collaborates with a team of Corps members to provide educational activities to young children and families. After graduating from ITEP, Erasmo would like to continue working in the international non-profit field with a concentration on sustainable development and gender related issues.

Rebecca Moyer

Undergraduate University: University of Washington
Experience Abroad: Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey,   Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary
Professional Experience: Resource Teacher at National Child Research Center

Rebecca Moyer is from Seattle, Washington. She attended the University of Washington, graduating in 2011 with a dual Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and English Language and Literature. While attending UW, Rebecca spent a year abroad in Cádiz, Spain and a semester in London, England. After graduation, Rebecca returned to Spain to teach English in a rural village primary school as an Auxiliar de Conversación. While in Spain, she decided to pursue a career in education and was accepted into the Resident Teaching program at University Child Development School in Seattle. Her academic interests lie in the realm of global education, focusing on the impact of linguistic and language differences on the learning process. Her goal is to work internationally, training teachers in progressive teaching methods and learning strategies.  

Franziska Rook

Undergraduate University: Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Germany (no degree). Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI (MPA)
Experience Abroad: Mozambique, France, GB, USA, Germany
Professional Experience: Manager Student Recruitment HHL, Intern. Office EBS University, WFP

Having had international exposure since high school, I found myself seeking academic input that complimented this. Having worked with the UN World Food Program showed me what international development truly means. A Fulbright scholarship allowed me to study for my first Master (MPA) in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. After 4 years of working for universities, I decided to take my education further and focus on educational programs, program design and development. The ITEP Master is the ideal program for my area of interest.

Megan Shaw

Undergraduate University: GA State University
Experience Abroad: Tanzania
Professional Experience: Software Trainer/Business Analyst

In deciding to take a leave from corporate America, I chose to spend time volunteer teaching in Tanzania. During my time in Tanzania I realized that the classroom was not where my true passion lay. I was looking for a way to bridge my interest in education with my passion for travel and international experience. Luckily for me, I was guided by an AU alumnus to look into ITEP.

I hope to gain the specific skills necessary to enhance my previous work experience in order to succeed in the arena of international education. Upon completion of my degree, I want to live overseas again and work directly with exchange program design and implementation.

Tatiana Shchekodina

Undergraduate University: Kursk University in Kursk Russia    
Experience Abroad: South Africa, Russia 
Professional Experience: Teacher and Accountant

Upon completing this degree, I hope to gain knowledge and skills to help design and improve educational programs in developing countries. I came from an accounting background where I worked with federal grants to help manage and design budgets for non-profit organizations. I have travled to South Africa for the summer to volunteer to teach in underpriviledged schools and work on community development projects. I want to improve quality of education in sub-Saharan Africa and help manage and design program budgets. My first MA in ESL and my passion for promoting education adn knowledge that I will aquire through ITEP will make mroe more valuable in the education field.

Kiri Stevenson

Undergraduate University: Queen's University
Experience Abroad: Guatamala, Dominican Republic, Ecuador 
Professional Experience: Professional Development/Training

Kiri Stevenson is the Associate Manager of Professional Development at the International Baccalaureate and a graduate student of the International Training and Education Program at American University. Kiri earned her BA in Political Science from Queen's University in Canada. Her focus on youth and international development to a volunteer opportunity in Guatamala before returning to DC to work with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital as a Training Specialist. In 2009, Kiri pursued her interest in international development by serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Kiri has worked with the International Baccalaureate since 2012 and enjoys supporting schools and educators in implementing a rigorous and globally-minded curriculum. This line of work has further developed her desire to study international education and work to promote sustainable education programming in developing countries.

Leah Thompson

Undergraduate University: Appalachian State University
Experience Abroad: Egypt, Bolivia, Greece, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Professional Experience: TESOL Certificate - teaching High School English in rural Thailand.
Originally from North Carolina, I earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Appalachian State University. As an undergraduate, I participated in a study abroad to Greece and two service-learning programs to Egypt and Bolivia. These experiences instilled in me a passion for international education. Following graduation, I earned my TESOL certificate and taught English at a high school in rural Thailand. As an ITEP student I am taking coursework in the exchange and study abroad track, and interning with the DC Human Rights Learning Project. I'm interested in the internationalization of higher education with an emphasis on service-learning programs and peace education. I am also interested in researching how education empowers individuals and serves as an agent for social change.

Ashley Whittington

Undergraduate University: University of Delaware
Experience Abroad: Mexico, Denmark, Mongolia
Professional Experience: Peace Corps TEFL Volunteer

Originally from Rochester, NY, Ashley Whittington completed a dual B.A. in International Relations and Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Delaware. After a high school trip to Europe sparked her interest in foreign cultures, she participated in university study abroad programs in Mexico and in Denmark. Joining the Peace Corps to teach English as a Foreign Language in secondary schools in Mongolia following graduation seemed like the next logical step to authentically experience a foreign culture while gaining skills in development and in education. As an ITEP student, Ashley is interested in the International Development track to put academic context to her experiences abroad and to learn about the education systems of countries she has yet to experience. She hopes to use her degree to work on teacher capacity building in the developing world.

Kelly Wisniewski

Undergraduate University: The College of Wooster 
Experience Abroad: Spain, Guatemala 
Professional Experience: Teacher

My experiences with Teach For America prompted my interest in education. That interest became internationally based when I travelled to Guatamala to do missionary work and was exposed to the failing education system there. My goal in ITEP is to explore topics within international education in order to find my passion and eventually be an activist and change agent within that area. I'm not yet sure what my future aspirations are, but I am excited to start the program!