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IR Online About Us

Learn more about the people in the IR Online Program Office


Matthew Meekins

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, School of International Service

Matthew Meekins is the director of operations for the online MA in International Relations. He previously worked in the SIS Office of Graduate Enrollment Management as the assistant director of Graduate Admissions. He works collaboratively with the SIS and university leadership teams to ensure a high-quality experience for students in the online program, consistent with the high-quality on-campus programs at SIS. He earned an MA in higher education administration from the University of Maryland, College Park, and holds a BA in graphic design and a BS in marketing from Salisbury University in Maryland.
Phone: +1 (202) 885-6577


Terra Gargano

Faculty Advisor, IR Online Program

Dr. Gargano teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in intercultural and cross-cultural communication both online and on campus. She spent time teaching English in Japan and was the Assistant Dean of Semester at Sea for ISE (the Institute for Shipboard Education) before serving as a faculty member at American University as well as the University of Maryland. She has worked with the Intercultural Management Institute to organize conferences and conduct trainings for expatriates and their families, graduate students, and foreign nationals. Throughout her career in international education, she has managed dozens of study abroad programs and institutional collaborations worldwide.

Ph.D, International Education Policy, University of Maryland
MA, International Training and Education, American University

Phone: +1 (202) 885-1612


Claudia Hofmann

Program Director, Master of International Service (MIS) Program

Dr. Claudia Hofmann is the Director of the Master in International Service (MIS) program at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. She is also an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. Dr Hofmann’s research addresses the role of non-state actors in world politics, with a particular emphasis on rebels, insurgents, and organized criminal groups as a challenge to foreign and security policy. Her recent research focuses on the interplay between drugs and organized criminal groups and national security. Dr Hofmann has a rich background in academic teaching and policy-oriented in-depth research on both sides of the Atlantic. Her work has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed academic publications, international policy papers, presentations, and policy consultations.

Ph.D., Political Science, University of Cologne, Germany; M.A., International Conflict Analysis, Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent, Belgium; B.A.(hons), Politics & Government and History, University of Kent, UK

Phone: +1 (202) 885-6728

Colleen Brauer

Associate Director, IR Online Program

Colleen Brauer is the assistant director of operations, and has worked within the Program Development Office at American University's School of International Service for the past two years. Prior to joining the AU team, she worked with various international higher education organizations throughout Washington, DC, including the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and ISEP (International Student Exchange Programs). She earned a Master's in International Relations from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and a BA in literature from the University of Maryland. Her priority is identifying creative and meaningful ways to make the online degree experience as personal as possible.

Phone: +1 (202) 885-6815

Shaine Melnick

Career Advisor, IR Online Program

Shaine Melnick prepares and motivates online graduate students in the School of International Service to set and achieve career goals. As Career Advisor for Online Programs, Shaine develops and implements a comprehensive set of professional development activities to occur over the length of the Master of Arts in International Relations and Executive Master of International Service programs. Her specialities include career development, career advising, resume writing, program development, project management, event planning, relationship building, organizational partnerships, marketing strategy, strategic communications, and higher education. Prior to joining the AU team, Shaine worked in career services at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs and the University of California, Irvine. Shaine also managed and developed the capabilities of the membership team at PBS SoCaL, focusing on strategic communications, mid-level fundraising, and donor engagement strategy. Shaine holds a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in Advertising from the University of Florida.

Phone: +1 (202) 885-2511

Amy Newell

Academic Advisor, Executive Programs

As the executive programs advisor, Amy serves as the primary academic advisor for students in the Master of International Service (MIS) and the Master of Arts in Social Enterprise (SE) programs. Previously, she worked in the SIS Graduate Advising office as the advising coordinator, where she was directly involved in student communications and supporting academic records maintenance. Amy brings with her the first-hand experience of having completed a graduate degree in SIS, as she earned her MA in international development. She holds a BA in international political economy and policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Phone: +1 (202) 885-6522


Julia Throop

Advisement Specialist, IR Online Program

Julia Throop joins American University after five years of experience in the field of international education and administration. A Boston native, Julia spent four years working overseas in Shanghai, China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Her past experience includes writing as a contributing editor for the Boston Phoenix and Bostonian magazine. She is an avid reader and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring outdoors.

Phone: +1 (202) 885-6981

Brittany Rock

Program Coordinator, Master of International Service (MIS) Program

Originally from the Adirondack Valley in Upstate New York, Brittany Rock received her Bachelor’s degree from American University where she majored in International Studies and minored in Italian.  After graduating from AU she served as an Admissions Counselor at Youth For Understanding USA where her passion for international education grew. After that she spent three years in Japan where she worked as an Assistant Language Teacher and Prefectural Advisor on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Her hobbies include cooking, dancing, writing and learning new things!


Student Support

The Student Support team is here for you, 24 hours 7 days a week. We provide assistance and support to all students regarding general concerns, courses, and technology. 

Phone: +1 (855) 307-2847