Meet Our Speakers

Featured Guest Speaker: Deputy Assistant Secretary, Caroline Casagrande


Deputy Assistant Secretary Casagrande is responsible for all academic exchanges supported by the Department of State, including the Fulbright and Gilman scholarships, English language learning programs, study abroad initiatives for Americans, over 600 American Spaces around the world, and the promotion of U.S. higher education overseas through 435 EducationUSA Centers. Ms. Casagrande previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly for eight years, rising to Deputy Republican Leader, and is the youngest woman assembly member ever elected in New Jersey. Ms. Casagrande spent more than five years as a practicing litigation attorney and as chief legal counsel for various towns in New Jersey. As an American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) exchange alumna, Ms. Casagrande served as a delegate to Nepal in 2010; later she received an ACYPL fellowship from the East-West Center in 2015, for which she traveled to India. She has been an honorary fellow of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics since 2015. Ms. Casagrande holds a JD from Rutgers School of Law and a BA from Pennsylvania State University. 

Session Speakers & Panelists


Mark ALgren

Retired Executive Director, University of Missouri, Center for English Language Learning

Mark Algren has recently retired from the Executive Director position at the University of Missouri Center for English Language Learning. He has over 40 years of experience in ESL teaching and administration at the post-secondary level, and previously served as an IEP director at the University of Kansas, and at universities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Algren has been president of the TESOL International Association (2009-2010) and of UCIEP (2014; Consortium of University and College English Programs). He has written, presented and consulted on professionalizing the profession, and contributes to advocacy efforts promoted by TESOL and other international education associations.

Rosa aronson

Interim Executive Director, TESOL

Rosa Aronson is the interim Executive Director of the TESOL International Association (TESOL).   A former Fulbright exchange teacher, Rosa started her education career as an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher in France. She holds a Master’s degree in English Linguistics from the University of Aix-en-Provence, France, and a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia, in the United States. In 2015, Aronson was named a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), an honorary recognition for service to the association profession. Prior to her service at TESOL, Dr. Aronson had 24 years of experience in nonprofit association management with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, USA.  Aronson also served as English Language Specialist for the Department of State in central Asia in 2019.  Dr. Aronson is bilingual (French).

Amy Baker

CEO and Co-Founder, PIE News

Amy is an international education expert with over 20 year’s experience in the industry. She worked for a trade title from 1997 to 2011, for the majority of the time as editor of a magazine for education agencies, editing and refining her news-hunting skills in hotel bars around the world.

Rachel Banks

Senior Director for Public Policy & Legislative Strategy, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Rachel Banks, senior director for public policy and legislative strategy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, focuses on advocating for U.S. govern­ment policies that increase study abroad opportunities for U.S. students and attract international students and scholars to study or conduct research in the United States. She also oversees production of NAFSA’s annual economic analysis of international students studying in the U.S. She has prior experience working on Capitol Hill and with nonprofit associations. She holds a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan.

Russell Barcyzk

Branch Chief and Regional English Language Officer (RELO) in the Office of English Language Programs

Russell Barczyk is a Regional English Language Officer (RELO) and the Programs Branch Chief for the Office of English Language Programs. Russell recently served as RELO in Morocco and Nepal. He is also a former English Language Fellow and English Language Specialist, having served in a number of assignments in different countries. 

Alan Broomhead

Dr. Broomhead currently serves as the Director of Student Services for Showa Boston and as Lecturer in the Doctor of Law and Policy program at Northeastern University. His career in English language teaching began in 1991, and over the past 20 years he has directed US-based  proprietary and university‐governed IEPs and a pathway program. He served on the board of UCIEP, and he currently serves as a Commissioner for CEA and as an EnglishUSA board member.

Director, Student Services for Showa Boston and Lecturer for Northeastern University & EnglishUSA Board Member

Jennifer Brown

Program Officer for EducationUSA

Jennifer Brown is a Program Officer for EducationUSA, supporting educational advising across the Western Hemisphere region.  Jennifer’s prior experience includes work and volunteer service with AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and AFS.  She holds an MAT from Lewis and Clark College, a BA in English from Pomona College, and a CELTA certificate.

Adam Chen

Adam Chen served as the Director of Student Services of the University of Houston Language and Culture Center. He oversaw advising and student services on topics including immigration requirements and procedures, academic advising, intercultural adjustment, healthcare and wellbeing, and personal and career counseling. With over 10 years of experience in student recruitment, admissions, and services in a university setting, Adam is a strong student advocate, a seasoned educator, and a passionate trainer. In 2015, he served as Chair of the Houston Forum for International Educators. From 2016 to 2020, he served as a Trainer Corps member at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and conducted the workshops “F-1 Student Advising for Beginners”, “F-1 Student Advising: Intermediate”, and “U.S. Visa and Entry Process for Students and Scholars” at regional and national conferences.

Cheryl Delk-Le Good

Executive Director, EnglishUSA

Cheryl Delk-Le Good has been an active member in the field for more than 25 years. She served as President of EnglishUSA in 2011-12 and as Communications & Promotions on the UCIEP Board from 2006-2011. She served as IEP Network Leader for the International Enrollment Management Knowledge Community for NAFSA through 2016 and completed a term as CEA Commissioner/Treasurer in 2015.  For 15 years, Cheryl served as director and faculty of the Intensive English Program at Georgia State University. Prior to moving to Atlanta, she taught at Western Michigan University and Michigan State University. She earned her BA from Illinois Wesleyan University and MA degrees in French and TESOL at Michigan State University. Her areas of specialization include program administration, curriculum and materials development; she has authored two ESL textbooks and has conducted multiple program and curriculum reviews, nationally and internationally. She has also been known to respond to just about any situation with a line from Hamilton: The Musical.

Caroline Gear

Executive Director, International Language Institute of Massachusetts & EnglishUSA President

Caroline has been at the helm of the International Language Institute of Massachusetts since 2016, leading the school in creating a long- term strategic guide and action plan, strengthening the school’s programs and fiscal and operating procedures, securing ILI’s first-ever foundation grants, and extending outreach efforts on many international as well as national fronts. Her current focus is how to shape the “new normal” within the context of the coronavirus pandemic for ILI and partner schools in the U.S. and around the world. From 2005 to 2007, she served as EnglishUSA’s Board Secretary and held successively more responsible positions at ILI before assuming the role of executive director. She is also the Youth Exchange Officer for the Northampton International Rotary Club.

Brittany Goodman

Business Development Manager, ICEF

Brittany Goodman serves as a Business Development Manager for ICEF US team, working with new and existing customers in effectively using agents to maximize international student recruitment. In her early career, she managed a site for students to conduct collegiate research, where she specialized in marketing for the traditional undergraduate recruitment of students for schools in the USA and seven other countries. There, she worked to consult clients on their international strategies to increase enrollments. Having worked with the international education space for the past decade, Brittany brings a practiced expertise in best practices for international recruitment, case development, implementation for an admission cycle and strategic client support.

Mike Finnell

Executive Director, AIRC

Mike Finnell became the Executive Director of AIRC in December of 2015. Previously he was the President and CEO of Youth For Understanding USA. He has nearly thirty years of experience in the
international education and cultural exchange field and has also worked at Meridian International Center, Global Ties U.S., NAFSA and the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in International Affairs from the University of Pennsylvania.

Karin Fischer

Journalist

Karin Fischer is a longtime higher-education journalist with a focus on international education, including American colleges’ activities overseas, the globalization of the college experience, and study abroad. Her extensive reporting on international-student recruitment and the experience of foreign students in the U.S. has been collected in Chinese Journey: Student Migrations, Family Dreams and What Happens Next. Her work has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, EdSource, the Washington Monthly, and University World News. She publishes a weekly newsletter on global education, latitude(s). Fischer is also a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley and an international education leadership fellow at the University at Albany. She is a recipient of the East-West Center’s Jefferson Fellowship for reporting in Asia and the International Reporting Project fellowship. Her work has been honored by the Education Writers Association, the National Press Foundation, and the Poynter Institute.

Joann Ng Hartmann

Senior Director for IEM-ISS Services, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Joann Ng Hartmann is the Senior Director for International Enrollment Management-International Student and Scholar Services and Volunteer Engagement at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. In her capacity, Joann provides strategic staff leadership for professional development, programs, services and publications related to IEM-ISS. Joann has 25+ years of experience in international education. Prior to joining NAFSA, she was at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she was responsible for managing the student and scholar services unit, including institutional compliance, orientation, and student/scholar advising support services. Joann was an active volunteer leader for NAFSA in various regional and national capacities. She has written workshop curriculum and presented many workshops and sessions at regional and national conferences. She holds an MS in communication from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Judy Hendrickson

Interim Executive Director, ACCET

Judy was appointed Interim Executive Director of The Ac­crediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) in 2019 after having served as Deputy for six years.  She has extensive higher education experience working at the accreditation, state, and campus level.  She previously worked for the Maryland Higher Education Commis­sion, HumRRO Technical Education Center, and George Washington University.

Mackenzie Kerby

EnglishUSA Board Member

Mackenzie Kerby served as the Center Director for ELS Language Centers Boston. Prior to serving in various leadership roles throughout her organization, she taught English at all levels: IEPs, high school, community college, and university. She has presented at EnglishUSA PDC, TESOL, SE TESOL, and the Allerton English Articulation Conference. She has been published in Oxford University Press’s The Year’s Work in English twice. Ms. Kerby has a particular interest in advocacy at both the local and national level where she has participated in NAFSA’s Advocacy Day and organized advocacy efforts in Boston.

matthew Knott

News Editor, Study Travel Magazine

Matthew has been the News Editor of Study Travel Magazine, the specialist website and monthly print publication covering all aspects of the international education industry, for eight years, publishing news stories, features, interviews and statistical research on the sector. StudyTravel Magazine has been trusted by agencies for 30 years, and sister products include the StudyTravel Alphe Conferences and the StudyTravel Star Awards, celebrating excellence in service in the industry. He previously worked as a freelance writer for several titles and as an English language teacher in the UK, Spain and Japan.

Patrick Pavlacic

Head of Research, BONARD

 As a proponent of practical application of data and intelligence, Patrik leads BONARD’s team of in-house and in-field researchers. Since joining the company in 2009, he has worked on developing industry-specific metrics and bespoke approaches to data collection and reporting challenges faced by organizations. He enjoys embarking on uncharted areas, often designing pioneering solutions for a plethora of client types.  Patrik has worked on over 100 industry projects for government agencies, associations as well as individual education providers. He specializes in quantitative and qualitative research, trend monitoring and formulating international expansion strategies. He is the author of more than 20 industry publications, where he focuses on global and regional trends in the international education industry. Patrik is a member of ESOMAR World Research. 

Jennifer Phillips

Director, Wisconsin ESL Institute (WESLI) & EnglishUSA Board Member

Jennifer Phillips is the Director of WESLI (Wisconsin ESL Institute), based in Madison, Wisconsin. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA) and University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education (MATESOL), she has lived and worked in Ecuador, Thailand and New Zealand, working in the fields of Community Development, Curriculum Design, ESL Teaching and Faculty Development. She sits on the board for Study Wisconsin, as well as Leading Change. Through WESLI, Jennifer has the honor of traveling internationally to promote educational partnerships and witness firsthand how education has the power to empower individuals, transform educational institutions and change communities.

Tate Quinones

Cultural Immersion Coordinator, University of Florida

Tate started at the English Language Institute as a Language Assistant and 2013 and continued on as a teacher and administrator in the Cultural Immersion Program. She got a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Minor in Arabic Language from the University of Florida.  She then continued at UF to get a Master of Education in Bilingual and ESOL Education.  She later studied Arabic in Oman and served as a Fulbright English teacher in the country of Jordan, where she lived for two years.  Helping students navigate a new culture and making a space for international students to feel at home is her passion and why she loves coordinating the Cultural Immersion Program.

Elizabeth Redden

Reporter, Inside Higher Education

Elizabeth Redden is a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, where she covers international education topics in addition to general news. She has reported for Inside Higher Ed since 2006 and has not missed a national NAFSA conference since Minneapolis in 2007. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

Craig Riggs

Editor, ICEF Monitor

Craig Riggs is the editor of ICEF Monitor, the industry’s leading source of market intelligence for international student recruitment, and the publisher of ICEF Insights, an annual magazine focused on the most important trends and issues shaping international education. His work on both publications places him in constant contact with the latest research, best practices, and leading-edge strategies in the field. He has led international marketing for both private and public-sector institutions, is the co-founder of a longstanding consulting practice dedicated to publishing and education, and has more than 25 years experience in building international markets. Craig holds a Masters in Publishing and is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University.

Steve Springer

Director of Regulatory Practice Liaison, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Steve Springer is Director of Regulatory Practice Liaison for NAFSA: Association of International Educators and manages NAFSA’s engagement with federal agencies concerning regulatory practice issues, among other duties. Prior to joining the NAFSA staff he worked as an immigration attorney, representing higher education institutions and their faculty, staff, and students, and worked in-house managing immigration services for several major research universities. He is active in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), has served on its USCIS Transformation Committee and currently serves on its Students and Scholars Committee. He earned a law degree, a graduate degree in cultural studies, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Poland.

Alex STEVENS

Alexandra Rafailovic Stevens has been a professional in the housing and hospitality industries for more than a decade. She has orchestrated housing options for thousands of students and managed just about any housing related issue under the sun. Dedicated to customer service, it is her belief that good quality housing is a primary indicator of a positive study abroad experience. When not scouring real estate listings and negotiating affordable contracts that allow for a diverse student population, she manages bookings and customer relations at her family’s hotel on the Adriatic coast. She is happily married and currently resides in Princeton, NJ.

Julie Strecker

Director, Office of International Programs, Mercer University

Dr. Julie Strecker has served as the director of international programs and the English Language Institute at Mercer University since 2013.  Julie has an MA in Foreign Languages/TESOL from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Mercer University. Dr. Strecker’s service to the field of English language teaching and learning includes her current and past positions on the board of UCIEP, a consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs, and her volunteer work as a site reviewer for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).  Dr. Strecker has been engaged in the field of international education for over 20 years and continues to be an active member of NAFSA, the Georgia Association of International Educators (GAIE), and the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA). She was a founding board member of Study Georgia, she has served as a NAFSA Academy coach, and she has experience reviewing applications and proposals for several professional organizations. Her honors and awards include the NAFSA KCISSS Hugh Jenkins Award, a Fulbright award for international education administrators, and the AIEA Neal Presidential Fellowship.

Heidi Vellenga

Executive Director, CEA

Heidi E. Vellenga holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and a MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. She has taught in and directed intensive English programs overseas and in the US. Her numerous professional service positions include a term as Vice President for Standards for EnglishUSA, leadership roles in TESOL affiliate chapters, and current service on the TESOL Journal Editorial Board and as the Chair for the Spring Professional Development Committee of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). Dr. Vellenga has been on the CEA staff since 2014 and supports the work of the Commission through overseeing the accreditation process, representing the agency with various external entities, promoting CEA accreditation and standards, as well as leading accreditation workshops and representing staff on review teams during site visits. Dr. Vellenga regularly speaks in professional settings and at conferences on CEA matters, accreditation, and various quality assurance topics. 

Gabriela Zelaya

Global Education Team Leader, US Commercial Service, Department of Commerce

Gabriela Zelaya is the global education team leader for the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce Global Education Team, a position she has held since 2014. In this role, she manages and oversees U.S. Commercial Service Education Team programs that assist U.S. educational institutions with promotion and recruitment efforts. She also oversees U.S. Commercial Service collaboration with partners both domestically and abroad. With more than 15 years in the field, Gabriela was recently honored as Silicon Valley’s “40 under 40” recognizing her as an up-and-coming leader in Silicon Valley for her leadership, community work and impact in her respective field. Gabriela received her bachelor’s degree in political science/law and society from the University of California, Riverside and master’s (honors) from the University of Miami.

Ilir Zherka

Executive Director, Alliance for International Exchange

Ilir Zherka is the Executive Director of the Alliance for International Exchange. The Alliance serves as the collective public policy voice for the exchange community. In addition to congressional advocacy, the Alliance organizes program impact reports, conducts media outreach, develops best practice workshops, and hosts an annual public policy conference. Ilir has served as the head of three other organizations. He gained policy and political experience working on Capitol Hill, on presidential campaigns, and as a political appointee. He is the author of Winning the Inside Game: The Handbook of Advocacy Strategies. Ilir is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Virginia School of Law.