Meet the New International Services Staff!

International Services would like to introduce the new office and student staff to the internationally minded and Sonoma State community! Please come visit us during our work hours to talk about studying away and our experiences!

Hope Emry Ortizhope

International & Exchange Programs Advisor

Work hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30AM  – 4:30PM

Hope Rayne Emry Ortiz was born and raised in Humboldt County, CA. She attended Sonoma State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While attending SSU, she studied abroad in Mexico for one year, completing a minor in Spanish. This experience along with the many other student leadership positions that she held at Sonoma, including EOP Summer Bridge Peer Leader, Orientation Peer Leader, and Freshmen Seminar Peer Mentor, lead her to pursue a career in student affairs. After graduating from SSU, she attended and graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters of Arts in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs. It was there that her interests in social justice, multicultural competency, assisting Veteran students, and increasing retention in underrepresented students thrived. She has now returned to Sonoma State and is excited to share her passion of education abroad with SSU Seawolves as the new International & Exchange Programs Advisor.


nicoleNicole Voorhees

WIVA Programs Assistant

Work hours: Monday 12:00PM – 4:30PM, Tuesday 1:00PM – 4:30PM, Wednesday 12:00PM – 4:30PM, Thursday 10:00AM – 3:00PM

A native of Oregon, Nicole loves adventure. After earning her BA in Education and Sociology from the College of Idaho, Nicole traveled and hiked for 4 months in New Zealand. She then joined the Peace Corps as a Health and Community Development Volunteer. She served almost 3 years on the banana producing island of Saint Vincent in the West Indies…where!?! She said the same thing when her assignment came and is happy to show you on the map… It’s tiny! After her return, Nicole was hired on by the San Francisco Peace Corps Office and worked almost five years as a Regional Recruiter and Recruitment Coordinator. As she neared her 5 year limit with Peace Corps, Nicole and her husband decided to continue the adventure and moved to Santiago, Chile. In Santiago, Nicole taught business English to Chilean mining professionals and worked at an international language school. Nicole is now back in Sonoma County and starting her first year of graduate school with the Organizational Development program. She will be working as the WIVA (Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad) Programs Assistant and is excited to talk about her experiences abroad and the array of international opportunities available to students. She is an avid cyclist, mountain biker, hiker and yogi. Nicole and her husband will be adding a new adventurer to their family this December!

Milan Moralesmilan

IEEC Domestic Co-Chair

Work hours: Tuesday 2:00PM – 4:30PM, Wednesday 12:00PM – 2:00PM, Thursday 2:00PM – 4:30PM

Growing up behind the sheltered Redwood Curtain of Northern California, Milan always wondered about the outside world. When her family starting hosting high school exchange students, her curiosity blossomed. She knew as soon as she got into high school that she, too, wanted to live abroad in another country, so she began taking French classes to prepare. When she attended SSU Freshman Orientation in 2010, she went straight for the study abroad office on campus, knowing that however scary an entire year abroad might seem, it was something she yearned for. The next August she was on a plane headed for Aix-en-Provence, France to spend the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters, not having any idea what this year would bring. She immediately fell in love with the small city and realized she’d been bitten by the travel bug. Throughout the year she gained new perspectives on even her own life, and found a new appreciation for tradition and conservation of a centuries-old culture. As bittersweet as returning home was, she knew she had to encourage and help other students have a life-changing experience like her own. When she’s not suggesting studying abroad to other students, she’s taking classes for her double Bachelor’s degree in French and Global Studies, as well as planning on graduating in Spring 2015. In her free time, Milan loves cooking, exploring nearby small towns, and camping.

Milan has visited France, Denmark, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Finland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Estonia, England, Belgium and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


daeDae-Sung Kim

IEEC International Co-Chair

Work hours: Tuesday 9:00AM – 10:00AM, Thursday 9:00AM – 12:30PM

Born and raised in Gyeongju, a small coastal city in the far southeastern corner of South Korea, Dae-Sung always dreamed about studying in the United States. When he was eleven years old, his passion about studying overseas grew even stronger when he visited his uncle in Marin County near San Francisco. He fell in love with the culture and the people. He patiently waited for his time to go to America to study. The new chapter of his life started in the winter of 2005. He moved to a good old town called Santa Rosa, and he started going to high school in the United States. He has been studying here ever since. It wasn’t easy for him at the beginning, but he made lots of friends and has created great memories. Currently, he is pursuing his academic goals at Sonoma State University, majoring in Accounting and Financing. He loves meeting new people and becoming friends with them. He also enjoys driving and going to places with his friends. He really wants to visit Sydney, Australia after his graduation next year.


Will Smitheywill

IEEC Treasurer

Work hours: Monday 10:00AM – 12:30PM, Tuesday 12:30PM – 2:00PM, Thursday 10:00AM – 12:00PM

From Sacramento, California, Will was inspired to travel the world by his older brother who lived and worked in Asia. Unsure of where he wanted to live in the world, he sorted out his options by contacting the study abroad office on campus. Finally, Will decided on Brighton, England and his year adventure was underway. Will spent the 2012-13 academic year overseas and embraced this chance to travel visiting any country he could get a cheap flight to. Will visited Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. He has also traveled to Japan, Canada, and extensively throughout the United States. Will is studying Marketing and is planning on going into International Business when he graduates. Will enjoys playing and watching basketball and football, riding his bicycle, traveling, exploring, and having fun.

Countries visited: Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Japan


Yvette Rangel

IEEC Secretary/Membership Coordinator

yvetteWork hours: Tuesday 12:30PM – 2:00PM, Thursday 12:30PM – 3:00PM

While double-majoring in Spanish and sociology, Yvette decided to take her studies abroad to Madrid and focus primarily on her BA in Spanish. Having never left the states prior to her departure, she took a leap of faith and hopped on a plane to Spain. While studying abroad, she encountered a newfound passion for travel and cultural experience. Prior to her return home, Yvette moved down to Tanzania to work with a non-profit organization to teach English in the local school of the village she was living in. A year later she is finishing up her last couple of semesters at Sonoma State and focusing on her submission of grad school applications with a focus in social work.

Countries visited: Spain, France, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, and Germany.

Cesar Cruzcesar

IEEC Liaison

Work hours: Monday 9:00AM – 12:30PM, Wednesday 10:00AM – 12:30PM

From the heart of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, Cesar has always had interest in film and producing media. He was inspired by an older sister to venture out into the wild. Later on he was able to go abroad to the Caribbean in Puerto Rico, and studied at  Universidad de Puerto Rico Rio Piedras. The experience has enriched every part of what makes him so creative today. Now, it has encouraged him to step out of any comfort zone and embrace the ability of exploring and discovering new worlds; which will soon appear in his motion pictures with MoonMan Productions. He has a clear goal of one day becoming an anchorman hosting his own variety show and taking his audience on a journey of discovery, to get out into the world, and see what life is all about. While being abroad has also been a challenge of adaptation and endurance, it was a moment of clarity that every student should pursue because the world is much more than what we can ever imagine and priorities become evident. He enjoys hiking, cooking Latin cuisines, filmmaking,  taking photos, dancing, fashion, Futbol, traveling, and most of all, entertaining the crowd. He is currently a Communication Studies major as well as Philosophy and Spanish minor and will graduate spring 2014. Soon he will attend graduate school in the bay area with a focus in Journalism. In the future, he plans to work a year abroad in Barcelona as a media producer, which will be the opportunity of a lifetime. So far he has gone to Mexico, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico.

lauraLaura Ibsen

IEEC Mentor Program Coordinator

Work hours: Monday 12:30PM – 2:00PM, Tuesday 10:30AM – 12:30PM, Wednesday 9:00AM – 11:00AM & 3:30PM – 4:30PM, Thursday 12:30PM – 2:30PM

Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Laura loves cultures and languages. The culture and history of France caught her attention her freshman year of college. The French culture was something that Laura loves and wanted to discover more. Laura saw many of her friends going abroad and having amazing experiences. The person that inspired her to go abroad was her best friend who is French/American. Then she decided to start looking into the study abroad program that changed her life completely. By attending the informational meetings and talking to alumni, she was helped through the study abroad process.

“I thought you had to be rich to go abroad?” But she found out that financially studying abroad was the same as if she was at Sonoma State for a year! She was so happy to be able to do it. She studied in Aix –en-Provence, France 2011-2012 where she learned a third language, met new friends, and traveled to many other countries. Experiencing the global perspective gave her a better idea of many diverse cultures and how people are different but equal. Different behaviors to customs and food are fascinating to her. Laura studies Human Development and Women’s and Gender Studies at Sonoma State University. Being able to understand humans from other cultures has helped her to answer many questions on human behavior in dissimilar societies. Studying abroad was a dream that came true. Traveling has been thus far her best gift in life. Thanks to a year abroad she has a better idea of what she wants to do with her career and her life goals. It’s a life changing experience where not only she learned more about herself but also about people surrounded her. Now she shares that experience with others because is not impossible; it is all about reaching the resources and making it happen!!!

Laura has travel to: Japan, France, Morocco, Ireland, England, Italy, and various states in America. She enjoys cultures, dancing, biking, rock climbing, discovering, exploring, and always trying to learn a new language.

Korie Layne Lafondkorie

IEEC Table Coordinator

Work hours: Monday 2:00PM – 4:30PM, Tuesday 10:30AM – 12:30PM

Born and raised in the South Bay Area, Korie learned early on that she became restless easily and quickly decided that studying abroad would be a perfect option to change up her routine. After only a semester at Sonoma State, Korie began researching and planning a way to not only explore more of the world, but also improve her French-speaking and dive into her family’s French-Canadian background. After an academic year studying at Concordia University in Montreal, Korie gained a more worldly perspective and a knack for comparative politics, literature, and philosophy between the United States and Eastern Canada. Korie has traveled to France, Australia, Canada, and countless states in the U.S. After finishing her undergraduate studies, Korie hopes to earn a teaching credential to teach high school level French, or work as a tour guide in a French-speaking country. When she’s not planning her next getaway, Korie enjoys reading French literature, swimming, studying philosophy, and watching football, hockey, and baseball.

mackMack Cooper

IEEC Events Coordinator

Work hours: Monday 12:30PM – 2:00PM, Wednesday 11:00AM – 3:30PM

Born and raised on the inland side of Caldecott Tunnel in the East Bay Area, Mack was exposed at an early age to the wonders of the world. His father had traveled all over, and he made it a life-long goal to emulate that worldliness. Upon hearing of a friend studying abroad while still in high-school, Mack immediately understood how he could achieve his dream. After visiting the International Services office his sophomore year, he found the concrete path to Europe. Before he knew what hit him, he was on a plane to Florence, Italy for a year abroad. Always somewhat reserved and aware of his comfort zone, Mack was able to push his boundaries and found that in doing so, he was having the time of his life! While in Florence, Mack studied Classical Literature and Ancient History. His time there would also instill a deep appreciation of art, architecture, food, people, traditions, and getting out and enjoying himself. Among the places that Mack has visited are France, Turkey, England, Spain, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Upon his return, he has resumed his study of History and plans on graduating (hopefully) in the Spring. In his free time, Mack enjoys playing and watching basketball (GO WARRIORS), playing video games, watching movies, doing yoga, rock climbing, and making up words.


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