Jody Dixon is an intercultural facilitator with over 10 years of experience working in international education. She has worked specifically in the areas of developing and facilitating education abroad experiences for students, academic faculty, administrators, and corporate executives.
She completed a Master's in International Training and Education at American University (AU). While completing her Master’s, she worked as a graduate assistant alongside the Graduate Enrollment Management team of the College of Arts and Sciences as a recruiter and prospective student adviser for the college's School of Education. She currently supports the Academic Initiatives and Transformation Division at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Her work spans several regions, but her current projects focus specifically on developing, facilitating and supporting cultural, professional and academic international exchange experiences in East Asia and South America.
Jody is a native Jamaican. Prior to moving to the United States she served as a Guest Services Director for the Sandals Resorts International brand in Jamaica, followed by five years working in Yamanashi, Japan as an assistant language teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching program (JET Program). She recently completed two years of service as Vice President and Social & Volunteer Events Chair respectively, on the executive board of the Washington DC chapter of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association (JETAADC).
Sarah Paxtonis a member of the Institute of International Education's Corporate & Foundation Programs team. In this role she is responsible for supporting global programs on multiple fronts including application & selection, budget monitoring, advising, compliance, payment support and strategic planning. Additionally, she serves on the institute’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining IIE in 2017, Sarah worked at the College Success Foundation - DC where she held several positions in development and board management. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and in 2016 earned her Master of Arts in International Training and Education from American University. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys doing yoga, reading and has recently gotten into gardening.
Stephanie Largeis a 2018 ITEP graduate originally from Morris County New Jersey who has lived in the DC area for the past 7 years. She moved to DC in 2013 to attend American University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications. During her time at AU she gained a passion for education and international development after taking an Education for International Development class from ITEP professor Elizabeth Worden. It was after that she looked into Master’s programs and became the first ITEP Bachelors/Masters candidate. During her time in the ITEP program she continued developing her passion for education and international development and she designed a development program for her capstone. Upon graduation from ITEP she worked for a year in an elementary school as a before after care teacher. She then worked for an anti-human trafficking non-profit before accepting her current position as a Program Coordinator for the Institute of International Education. At IIE she works on the Corporate & Foundation Programs team supporting 4 programs in instituting their education programs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, exploring the city and spending time with friends and family.
Rebekah Heinis an alumna of the ITEP program, completing her degree in December 2019. Previously, Rebekah attended American University for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Studies with a focus in Comparative and Global Governance and identity, race, gender, and culture. Currently, she is employed with ECODIT LLC as the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Coordinator on the USAID Communications, Evidence and Learning (CEL) project. The CEL Project works on issues related to international development, specifically land tenure, the environment and pollution, locally led development, and women’s empowerment.
Rebekah has additional work experience in international development more broadly, with a particular focus on education policy and inclusive education, previously working in Romania and Poland. Much of her independent research focuses on inclusivity in education namely for persons with disabilities as part of broader efforts to meet critical targets under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. She has further had the opportunity to work on domestic education and higher-education issues, being previously employed by Education Week, the DC Tutoring and Mentoring Initiative, and the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS).
Teresa Bellono, ITEP ‘11
“Curate your own ITEP experience — both inside the classroom and throughout the AU and DC communities. I found lifelong friends and cherished colleagues with whom I remain close, and some of my most impactful experiences were thanks to unexpected detours along the way that complemented ITEP's lessons and helped shape my future.”
Jamie Bussey, ITEP ‘13
Deputy Director, International Rescue Committee
“I would not be where I am today without the ITEP program and in particular its focus on areas of equity, social justice, and training. In particular what stands out is reading pedagogy of the oppressed (I reference it often--somewhere in Tunisia there are a group of trainers who are also now in the Paulo Freire fan club). And along those lines, my favorite class was with Dr. Illana Lancaster EDU596 Education Policy in Africa--this was such an eye-opening experience and like many classes worked on instilling theory with real-world application.”
Maureen James, ITEP ‘11
Academic Exchange Specialist, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Office of Global Educational Programs.
“I came into ITEP so focused on wanting to become a study abroad advisor that I kind of had blinders on. I wanted to learn what I needed to do that exact job and over my time in ITEP I became more open to all the different avenues and alleyways that there are in international education and exchange. I kind of fell into working with international students and focusing more on foreign policy and international relations after interning at the State Department and through a graduate internship as a program assistant for a Libyan Diplomatic Training Program at AU’s IMI office, a program that was running during lead up to and during the Arab Spring.”
La’Nita M. Johnson, ITEP ‘19
Education Foreign Service Officer, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
“I had a very unique journey to not only graduate school, but the International Training and Education Program as well. Unfortunately, in 2016, I survived an international terrorist attack in Burkina Faso after visiting the country to begin construction on a primary school in a rural village. After my safe return to the US, I found out that the perpetrators of my attack were youth. This incident sparked my desire to ensure youth in developing nations never seek involvement in terrorist groups as a viable solution to their personal challenges or the development challenges in their home countries.
Daniel Lopez, ITEP ‘95
Director of Global Education, Colorado Academy
“After graduating from ITEP (and also earning a TESOL certificate simultaneously), I went on to be an English Language Fellow in Cape Verde and Mexico, Regional English Language Officer for the US State Department, and Associate Director of the Peace Corps in Bolivia. In each of these, I leaned heavily upon the academic foundation ITEP provided me.”
Laurie Melín, ITEP ‘07
Director of Internationalization and Inter-University Relations, Universidad de Sagrado Corazón
“The most memorable part of ITEP for me was the peer group I connected with. I cannot speak highly enough of the other members of my cohort and those I got to know in the years before and after mine. I continue to be impressed by these colleagues as individuals and as professionals. I enjoyed and learned a lot from the courses, but I found their content even more enriching because I was working in several jobs within international education during the program, which allowed me to apply what I was learning and practice facilitation.”
Brinton Ramsey, ITEP ‘93
“I recommend you do two things during ITEP… blending them and balancing them will help you: (1) Explore topics that your employer might never let you explore. Be curious, be radical, be theoretical, be imaginative. (2) Develop papers and projects that are highly pragmatic, that you can actually use in your workplace or that you can add to your résumé.”
Shige Sakurai, ITEP ‘13
Director of Leadership Initiatives and Associate Director of the LGBT Equity Center, University of Maryland – College Park
“ITEP emphasized what it means to be a reflective practitioner and a scholarly practitioner — always learning, always engaging. This orientation has been further supported by the alumni network, which focuses on providing learning and growth opportunities for each other. It’s great that we can help each other out in the long term.”
Kiri Stevenson, ITEP ‘17
Senior Manager, Professional Development, International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)
“ITEP enhanced my professional approach to education management by supporting a world view where education is seen as a public good and service, but also a growing area of study, research, development, and policy-making that has the potential to make the world a better place.”
Shelley Stinelli, ITEP ‘13
Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs' Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking.
The connections I made and the opportunities to delve into coursework on equity and equality, and program management and evaluation have all been important for my current and future work. Find a balance between being open to learning while also pursuing your passion. Identify opportunities that align with your interests and seek support to pursue them. Make the most of your time in ITEP!”
Kristina Thompson, ITEP ‘00
“20 years after graduating, I still appreciate the network that I left ITEP with, and which grew throughout the time I worked at AU -- many later ITEP students facilitated the TALK intercultural dialogue groups that I coordinated on campus and worked as interns in ISSS. ITEP events have been a highlight of many NAFSA conferences I have attended. I appreciate the social justice focus that many ITEPers bring to their international education work. Over the years we have continued to discuss important questions about the impact of international education, and about inclusion, equity, and diversity in the field.”
Courtney Wright, ITEP ‘10
“The program provided me with a foundation to apply a critical lens to the development sector. Additionally, it gave me insight and skills that can be adapted and applied to domestic or global contexts. I have been able to successfully navigate a career at the local, national, and international levels.”