What inspired you to work in this field? After hosting an international student from Spain during high school, studying abroad for a year in Spain during college, and completing an internship in Venezuela after graduating college, I realized I was intrigued by other cultures. Upon my return to the States, an opportunity to work with a USAID grant at my local technical college presented itself, and I never looked back!
Since then, my passion and dedication to global learning in higher education at two-year institutions have only deepened, and almost 25 years later, I find myself leading the way in international education initiatives at one of the largest community college districts in the U.S.!
What are the challenges you've faced? The ongoing struggle for the value of international education, its place in two-year institutions, and the amount of knowledge and expertise I have as a relatively young female professional. I haven’t always been regarded as an expert within my institution, and I have to fight not only for what I believe is critical for our students and their need to be globally competent citizens, but also for my voice to be heard.
What do you hope to achieve in the future? I hope to continue to make a difference in the lives of our students and that leadership will continue to welcome my voice at the table. It is important to recognize that global education truly helps students develop their capacity to be informed, open-minded, and responsive to diverse perspectives. As educators, it is our responsibility to prepare and empower our students and employees to address the world’s most pressing issues and to do so in a collaborative and equitable way. If we do not, we are not adequately preparing them for the workforce.
If you can give 1 or 2 pieces of advice to our prospective international students, what would it be? Preparation is key to success in studying abroad in the U.S. Not only do your homework and be prepared both financially and mentally, but also make the most of your time by learning about the culture, getting involved in your school and community, and trying new things. This way when you return home with not only a degree or your goal achieved, but the life experiences and skills you developed will set you apart from the other candidates when you apply for your dream job!