Fall 2021 EducationUSA Seminar Presenters

Fall 2021 EducationUSA Seminar Presenters

Peter Baker

Peter Baker is the REAC for Western and Northern Europe and based at the Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels, Belgium. He coordinates the EducationUSA program across 16 countries in the subregion. Prior to his tenure as a REAC, Peter was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic; Peace Corps Fellow graduate student and teacher at a public high school on the Navajo Nation; Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) at the U.S. Department of Education's International and Foreign Language Education office; Legislative Fellow to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (of 1965) in 2007; and a program officer at the University of Montana’s Global Engagement Office. Peter holds a B.A. in History and two advanced degrees, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and an Ed.S. (Education Specialist) with a focus in higher education administration.

Fumi Matsumoto Cheever

Fumi Matsumoto Cheever

Fumi was born in Japan and moved to the U.S. 21 years ago. She earned Bachelor's Degree in Speech Communication from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Master's Degree in Higher Education from Grand Valley State University, Michigan. She was an international student and studied abroad in China. All her university experiences realized how much she wanted to pursue her career in International Education. Lucky, her dream came true. She served as One Person Office MIG and Japan MIG co-Chair. Currently, she is serving as NAFSA Region IV Missouri State Rep.

Dessa Crum

Dessa has been at Johnson County Community College for almost 5 years as a DSO and coordinator in International and Immigrant Student Services as well as a part-time instructor in JCCC’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program in Overland Park, KS. She has a BA in International Studies and a MA in TESL from the University of Central Missouri. Dessa has lived in Germany, Japan, Hungary, and Turkey. Combining her two positions and passions at JCCC, Dessa created English Conversation Hour in 2018 and greatly enjoys connecting with students from around the world.

Jaya Daniel

Jaya has worked at Johnson County Community College for 15 years in different departments in the Student Success Center. She has worked as DSO and coordinator in International and Immigrant Student Services for over 5 years. She was an immigrant and became a U.S citizen, her passion and understanding for International students and education is a natural fit. She has an MBA from Avila University where she has taught at the School of Business. She is a global citizen, born in India, lived in 3 different countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Zambia, and Botswana) and U.A.E. She believes that the world needs kindness, and every being needs to be seen and heard.    

Anthony Koliha

Anthony Koliha is the Director of the Office of Global Educational Programs at the U.S. Department of State, where he oversees a portfolio of international teacher, professional, and global mobility programs and services. Prior to joining ECA, he was the Director of International Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he helped successfully launch a new School of Global and International Studies, in addition to expanding international programs and providing senior leadership for over a dozen federally- funded international, area studies, and foreign language centers. Mr. Koliha previously held joint posts as Director of the Fulbright Program in Russia and International Director of the Russia/Eurasia office for the Institute of International Education.  Mr. Koliha has also worked at the Social Science Research Council and American Councils for International Education. He holds degrees from Kenyon College and Indiana University, Bloomington.

Megan Mankerian-Stem

Megan Mankerian-Stem is the Director of International Enrollment at Creighton University. She has worked in international education for over 10 years and has traveled to 60+ countries. Her favorite part of her job is working with students and families to understand higher education in the US and find programs of best fit.

Anna Martz

Anna Arambulo Martz is the EducationUSA Branch Chief in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  A career Foreign Service Officer since 2008, she has served in Cameroon, India, two tours in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in Washington, and most recently in the United Kingdom.  Before joining the Foreign Service, she worked in the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland and prior to that ran the federal student loan program at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.  Anna graduated from the Honors College at the University of Houston and is currently pursuing a Master of Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  She speaks French, German, Italian, Hindi, and some Tagalog and Chinese.

Patrick Parnell

Patrick Parnell is the Director of International Services at Missouri State University, and the current Chair of the Study Missouri Consortium. His passion for international education began as an exchange student in high school, spanning over two decades to his current role in higher education. His professional background encompasses education abroad, international trade, and international admissions and student support services.

Mary Parsons

Mary Parsons is the Associate Director of International Student Affairs at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish from Alma College, where she started her college career with only one clear cut goal - the desire to study abroad. Since then, she earned a Masters in Education in College Student Affairs leadership from Grand Valley State University, launching a career in international student recruitment, admission and advising. She has visited more than 30 countries and enjoyed welcoming students from around the world to their new campus communities for the past 10 years. She enjoys using technology to creatively problem solve, improve efficiencies, and connect with students.
Rebecca Pisano

Rebecca Pisano

Rebecca Pisano is a Program Officer for Higher Education Engagement with EducationUSA in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She has worked in the field of international education since 2001. Rebecca previously held positions in international program administration at Stevenson University, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), Towson University, New York University, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), and Chapman University. She has also taught community-based education and international service-learning at the college level. She holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Miami University (Ohio), a M.A. in International Development Studies from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Comparative/International Studies in Education from UCLA.

Maria Mercedes Salmon

Maria Mercedes Salmon is the Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) for Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean working out of the Institute of International Education. She oversees a network of 54 EducationUSA advising centers in 24 countries. Daily information, guidance, and support are provided to advisers; multi-day workshops and training programs are organized; and comprehensive evaluations and follow-on to centers are conducted. In her leadership, issues related to U.S. higher education are addressed with stakeholders including U.S. Embassy Public Affairs sections, foreign government agencies, U.S. and foreign universities, and Fulbright Commissions. As a REAC, she also provides resources and information on international student mobility and regional educational systems, as well as represents the region at regional, national, and international conferences. Prior to assuming REAC responsibilities, María Mercedes Salmon was the EducationUSA Country Coordinator at the Fulbright Commission in Ecuador for 10 years and Acting Executive Director for 18 months between 2007 and 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Ohio University where she attended as a Fulbright grantee. 

Kim Steinmetz

Kim Steinmetz is Program Director of International and Immigrant Student Services (IISS) at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) whose office serves an international and immigrant student population of 1,200. She supports staff and students in all aspects of immigration and educational advising. Kim joined the IISS team in spring 2016. Prior to her work at JCCC, Kim was employed at a large, public land-grant institution as an immigration advisor and a SEVIS coordinator.

Joy Stevenson

Joy Stevenson

Dr Joy Stevenson always credits her senior year of high school spent in Denmark through AFS as the beginning of a life in international education.  Degrees in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Colorado served as the foundation of a career focused on international student recruitment and admissions, student and scholar services, advocacy, mentoring and developing global partnerships.  She has served on the NAFSA Board of Directors, the CEA English Language Accreditation Board of Directors and in multiple positions within NAFSA and Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.  Her years of service at the University of Central Missouri and now the University of Missouri-Kansas City were guided and enhanced by professional development opportunities such as this seminar today.  Continue learning every day! 

Pinki Thakker

Pinki Thakker serves as International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service in Kansas City, Missouri, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. She provides export counseling and international trade promotion services to the business community across Kansas and Missouri in key industry sectors (including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, consumer goods, education, energy, and textiles and apparel). Prior to this role, Pinki worked at nonprofit Asia Society India Centre in Mumbai, India, where she developed public education programming that fostered greater understanding of Asia Pacific affairs in policy, business, arts, and culture. Pinki is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned a Master’s in Business Administration and holds bachelor’s degrees in International Studies, Anthropology, and French Language and Literature. Pinki speaks fluent Hindi and Gujarati with intermediate French skills and is currently teaching herself Spanish, Arabic, and Korean.

Rebecca Wall

Rebecca Wall joined the State Department in 2008 and previously served in Bangkok and Djibouti.  She is currently working in the Visa Office in Washington, DC.  Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she can speak confidently about many East Coast American schools.  She has a three-year-old daughter and a rowdy Bangladeshi street dog.   

Kristi Wiggins

Kristi Wiggins is an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service based in the St. Louis office.  She joined the U.S. Commercial Service in 1984, and for the past five years has been a core member of the Global Education Team.  She has organized and led numerous virtual education fairs connecting U.S. Schools with international student recruiting agents, high school counselors, and schools seeking partnership opportunities with U.S. schools.  Many of these fairs have taken place in Asia, but also in Europe, and most recently Central America.  Ms. Wiggins has also organized numerous informational webinars for the education sector, and serves as a conduit between the Study Missouri Consortium and the U.S. Commercial Service.