Meet the Student Ambassadors

ambassadors


What is a Student Ambassador?  This group of individuals have each studied away or are currently on exchange at Sonoma State University. They are dedicated to answering questions, sharing experiences, and helping students make the most out of their college experience.  Come visit us at The Center for International Education -Room 107- International Hall for more information on Studying Away.

This semester we are welcoming two new ambassadors to our team!

Camille Cheze – Student Ambassador – France

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Camille is a 21-year-old French international student here at SSU, currently enrolled in her first year of MA in Linguistics. This is her second year abroad, after spending one in Dublin, Ireland, four years ago. When she is a grown-up, she would like to work in Ireland, playing with language (French or English) for a living – working as a teacher or in communication. The year she spent in Ireland triggered the curiosity to discover the world, which led her to work a lot in order to finance multiple travels throughout Europe. Her favorite things in life include going to concerts, dreaming about George Ezra, eating oriental pastries and fresh croissants, re-reading her favorite books and backpacking around. The things she is not fond of are Brussel sprouts, being stuck at the same place for too long and ironing. Her favorite place on Earth in county Wicklow in Ireland and she hopes to live there someday with at least a sheep and a trampoline in her backyard.

Countries visited: France, Spain, England, Indonesia, Ireland, Finland, Hungary and the United States (only four of them)

Demarcus Luckett – Student Ambassador and WIVA Programs Assistant – Germany

Demarcus

Demarcus Luckett is a senior here at Sonoma State. He spent his junior year not only studying abroad in Germany but I also had the opportunity to teach English at an Elementary school. He volunteered with the Germany American Institute to help educate high school students on American lifestyle and culture. Currently he is the WIVA Programs Assistant. Meeting with students and helping them find different opportunities abroad is his passion! He is also a new CIE ambassador this semester and looks forward to once again working with international students and people from all cultural backgrounds and experiences.

And welcome back to our returnees!

Max Kohl – Lead Student  Ambassador – Germany 

Max is a senior at Sonoma State and is currently studying business with a focus in marketing and is working on a German minor. Being born in Florida, but raised in California, Max has grown to love living by the ocean, though he is deathly afraid of sharks and giant squids. Max’s hobbies are playing musical instruments such as guitar and drums, exercising, jazzercising, eating, watching moviMaxes and long walks on the beach. Max also loves traveling and has been to 15 countries including places like China, Hungary and Spain. Max also spent his junior year of college in Germany, where he fell in love with the German culture and the German chocolate. Now that he is back in California, he spends his free time binging on Taco Bell and watching reruns of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Countries Visited:  Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, England, Scotland, Italy, Belgium Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Slovakia

Anna Vatuone – Marketing & Outreach Chair – Italy1378635_10205172465535149_33911746780458692_n

Anna is 21 years old, she is from small-town Gilroy, California where everyone knows one another and probably always will.  Anna started at Sonoma State University during the fall of 2012 with a strong intent to study or work abroad during her college career.  After thoughtful consideration, she chose Italy, the country in which all of her relatives are originally from, to study literature.  As Italy captures many hearts, Anna fell certain to this, as she began to understand the Italian culture while meeting new people, and studying the politics and society of the nation.  Italy gave Anna a sense of direction, as she discovered her passion for chronicling and journaling her adventures through different countries.  After returning to the United States, Anna has one year left at Sonoma State and will graduate in the spring with a Liberal Studies degree.  She hopes to further her love for travel, study and people by moving back overseas and teaching English as a second language to adults.  Wherever life may take her, she hopes to give back to the world as much as it has given her to see and explore.

Countries Visited: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, Morocco, Monaco

Angie Durkee – Community Engagement Chair – SpainIMG_3537_2

Hola! Angie Durkee welcomes you to the Center for International Education! Angie was born in Stanford Hospital on November 7. She was raised in Redwood City, California by her beloved parents and grandparents. She speaks advanced Spanish and English with her parents, which influenced her decision to want to study abroad in Spain. Angie went to Madrid for the Spring 2015 semester through NSE Study Abroad and had a magnificent experience. She claims it was the best five months of her life! She hopes to graduate Spring 2016 so she can return to Spain next summer to teach English, spend time with her host family, and visit her colleagues in Europe. Angie enjoys dancing Zumba in her free time because the Latin rhythms remind her of the music played in Spain. She welcomes you to join her whenever (preferably Wednesday mornings at 9:30am in Santa Rosa)! She also enjoys long romantic walks on Sonoma State campus – especially after Sonoma aroma has been unleashed… Get to know her! She’s pretty cool.

Countries Visited: Mexico, El Salvador, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, and Denmark

Kiera Anderson – Student Ambassador- GermanyKiera

Kiera is a senior Liberal Studies major and German minor from Cool, California. She studied in Tübingen, Germany for the 2014-15 academic year, and thoroughly enjoyed her time traveling Europe, learning a foreign language, meeting people from all over the world, and having an excuse to wear a Dirndl. The experience gave her the opportunity to connect with her German heritage, visiting family in Nordrhein-Westfalen that she had not seen for many years and eating too much homemade Käsespätzle. Now as an alumna, CIE student ambassador, and Ryanair aficionado, Kiera hopes to further her understanding of various cultures and lifestyles and encourage others to look into their study away options.

Countries visited: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, U.K., Ireland, Italy, Belgium

Meredith Watkins – Student Ambassador – England 

Meredith grew up in Vallejo, California, a city not all that well known, but a city noted for its diversity. The cultural diversity she experienced from her home town has always pushed her to seek out new places with new people and experiences. Having spent most of her childhood and teenage life exploring and travelling throughout the United States with her family, traveling internationally and experiencing life in another country had always been a goal she was determined to achieve. Studying abroad was at the top of her list when she entered Sonoma State as a freshman. Eager to start the process of studying internationally, she attended information meetings and spoke with advisors during her first year to make sure she could make her desire to study internationally a reality. As a political science student interested in international relations, Meredith chose to study in England at the University of Hull in order to gain knowledge of the British political system. Her semester abroad exposed her to so many cultures she had never experienced befedinburgh castleore firsthand, forming friendships with English, Brazilian, Romanian, Australian, German, French, and Italian students. Living in another country helped her to realize what she was truly capable of when given the opportunity. Her time spent living and traveling in England and Scotland has only fueled her desire to pursue international travel in the future. Meredith wants to now help others have the opportunity to live, work, study, or travel internationally or around the United States. She believes the opportunity is out there for everyone no matter what their circumstances are! After graduation she hopes to attend graduate school or gain work experience in health policy at both a domestic and international level.

Countries Visited:  England, Scotland, and Ireland

 

 

Stephanie Hand – NSE Student Assistant – Wales

Stephanie is a senior this year at Sonoma State studying Criminal Justice with an American Multicultural Studies minor. She just returned from the CSU IP program in SwanseStephaniea, Wales. At Swansea University she studied the UK’s Constitution and their approach to controlling crime. Her favorite part about studying abroad was interacting with students from all over the world. She also really enjoyed adapting to and living the Welsh lifestyle, from customs to foods and sport. The whole experience changed the way she approached life and thought about the world. She is now almost ready to graduate from SSU. After graduation she plans to find a way back to Wales through either graduate school or working abroad. In her free time, Stephanie loves watching and going to Bay Area sport games, trying new local food places, a bit of banter with her mates, and going to new places. She is excited to share her experiences and have the chance to help others see how beneficial studying away can be.

Countries Visited: Canada, Mexico, Wales, England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands and France

 

Amy Weald – ISA Student Ambassador – England

Born as a duel citizen and raised in San Jose, California to British parents, Amy had a passion for travel. Competitive hockey throughout much of her childhood enabled Amy to travel to over twenty of our fifty states. But to Amy the world was so much larger than just America. Each summer upon her family’s return to their beloved England Amy would dream of a day when she could finally live in the gorgeous, rolling countryside of England laughing and playing all day with her cousins. As Amy grew older she yearned for more excitement in her life. All throughout high school she contemplated the idea or attending university in the United Kingdom, or at the very least studying abrAmy Wealdoad there. Freshman year at Sonoma Amy attended her first info meeting for study abroad and from that moment on the decision was made that she would be studying abroad in the United Kingdom. Flash-forward to junior year and Amy spent the Spring 2015 semester living in London doing new and exciting things every week. Study abroad was everything she hoped for and more. Upon her return she could not wait to somehow incorporate her experiences and love for study abroad into her daily life back home. Amy now makes it her every day goal to step outside of her comfort zone, encourage people to travel, and say yes to more opportunities. Amy is an ISA (International Studies Abroad) Global Ambassador.

Countries Visited: England, Spain, France, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Prague, Amsterdam, and throughout the Untied States.

Sean Person – Student Ambassador – Korea 

IMG_3774This is a biography about Sean Person (his last name is Person, like a people). He was born as a man to his parents Sandy and Jack and as a younger brother to Tanner. Sean was given the opportunity to travel to France, Italy, and the United Kingdom when he was twelve years old, and that is when he started to develop an appreciation for travel. After recently returning back to the United States after spending a year in South Korea and Japan, Sean hopes to continue spending time with international students. Sean was born in 1994 with straight blonde hair, blue eyes, and a nose, but when Sean went through puberty, his hair became curly and wavy. He is still unsure why this happened. Now Sean is a twenty-one year old man, and he still cannot grow a mustache or beard. Sean has worked as a private tutor for middle school students and also as an editor for a self-study language book that allows Korean students to learn conversational English. He is now excited to begin this year as an international ambassador for Sonoma State University. His interests include: snowboarding, eating, cooking, photography, playing the drums, watching movies, bicycling, surfing, and traveling.

Countries Visited:  Mexico, France, England, Italy, South Korea, Japan

Michelle Perez – Student Ambassador – Florida Michelle

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Michelle Perez is currently a National Exchange student at Sonoma State University. She exchanged from Florida International University in Miami where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in Human Resources Management and a minor in Computer Science. She is an avid pizza lover and loves to seek the thrills our world has to offer. Michelle has visited Colombia, EL Salvador, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. She is extremely proud of her Hispanic heritage and enjoys talking about it. Her goal in life is to bring down discrimination in the workplace against minorities as well as raise a beautiful family in California. A Woman on a mission.

Countries Visited: Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico

Katie Busch – Student Ambassador – England

KKatieatie Busch is a southern California native but is a senior sociology student at Sonoma State University. She studied this past school year in Brighton, England and presumably became obsessed with tea and scones. Katie is a self-professed cat lady and vegetarian. She enjoys playing Frisbee, long boarding, hiking, camping… basically anything outdoors and she will be there! She is keen on going to the pub with her friends to grab a pint and bite to eat. She loves to travel and experience new things and is always itching for a new adventure. She hopes to create her own non-profit organization someday and maybe even expand abroad!

Countries Visited: Costa Rica, India, England, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany, and Ireland.

 

Paige Cummings – Student Ambassador – Italy

PaDSCN0828ige is a senior in the Liberal Studies department here at Sonoma. She is a Northern California Native, having grown up in the East Bay. Paige moved to Sonoma State in order to pursue a career in teaching but discovered her true passion in the Center for International Education. She just returned from her year abroad in Florence, Italy. There she immersed herself in the language and culture and made many lifelong friends and memories. She hopes to help other students pursue their own travels this year as a Global Ambassador.

Countries Visited: Italy, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Hungary

 

Meet the New Student Ambassadors!!!

Lead Ambassadors

Milan Morales

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 is also the International Education Exchange Council Domestic Co-Chair.

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.

Office Hours: Tuesday 9am-12:30pm, Wednesday 2pm-4:30pm, Thursday 9am- 12:30, Friday 11am-4:30pm.

milan

Dae-Sung Kim


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. He is also the IEEC Treasurer.

Office Hours: Monday 2pm- 4:30pm, Tuesday 1pm- 4:30pm, Thursday 1pm- 4:30pm.

dae

 

Engagement and Community Building Committee

Committee Chair: Paige Drake

Paige grew up in San Jose, a city known for technology, but she enjoys a slower pace of life. Her experiences abroad really shaped her international perspective and made her begin to see the world differently. Paige began to feel a call to do overseas service work through being a teacher at an expat school in Africa. Studying abroad was a way for Paige to practice living overseas, away from her family, in a different culture, in an unfamiliar city in preparation for tentatively moving to Africa. She chose to study at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia fall of her junior year through the NSE Study Abroad program. . Throughout her semester, she had to learn many new things about herself and Australian culture, like how their medical system works, how to get around town on a bus/train, how to entertain herself with no TV, how to understand all the Australian lingo, and more. Her confidence grew, and she came back knowing that she has what it takes to leave everything she knows and move to a foreign land. Though Africa will be a lot different than Australia, Paige is excited for what that future holds. She is in her senior year at Sonoma State, finishing her degree in Liberal Studies and minoring in Business. From there, she plans on attending Biola University to get her teaching credential (and do her student teaching at an expatriate school in Africa!). In her free time, Paige enjoys baking, cooking, hiking, photography, going on adventures, and just hanging out with friends.

Paige has traveled to Egypt, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, England,  Malawi, Thailand, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

Office Hours: Monday 9am-12pm, Thursday 12pm- 1pm.

paige bio pic

 

Dulce Preciado

Born in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, Dulce Preciado migrated into the United States at a very young age with her parents due to economic reasons. While in California, Dulce has lived in the Napa Valley/Bay Area and loves it. However, her curiosity intrigued her to know and experience for herself deep into the reasons why her parents had to migrate. “The study abroad experience in Mexico provided me a greater understanding of my family, my local and global community, and myself.” One of Dulce’s dreams is to travel the world. Dulce knew very well that in order to travel the world she had to first travel into the place that saw her born but not grow up. The necessity to know and understand what it means to be a young Mexican woman living in Mexico in 2014 was as great as to knowing and understanding the reasons why her parents as well as many other migrants around the world leave their home country. “I never imagined how much I was going to learn about the world, about the person sitting next to me at the Café, and most gratefully, about myself—the experience is so humbling.” Now as a returning study abroad student at SSU, Dulce is excited about her senior year of college as a Global studies major! Dulce plans to graduate from undergrad in May of 2014 and pursue a grad school program in Journalism. College graduation is a huge stepping stone for Dulce since she will be the very first person in her family to ever attend college and graduate! “İGracias a la vida! Luz, paz y amor.”

Office Hours: Monday , 10am- 12pm and 2pm- 4pm.

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An Okada

My name is An Okada from Yokohama, Japan. I transferred from Lakeland College Japan to SSU this semester. Two years ago, I studied abroad as an exchange student at Linfield College in Oregon because I just wanted to do something in my college life. After I went back to Japan, I decided to enter SSU because I really liked environments of studying in US, and I thought SSU was the best for me. Before I came to SSU, I worked at Starbucks, and still love it. I want to make many friends, and interesting events as one of CIE ambassadors!

Office Hours: Wednesday 12pm- 2pm, Friday 12pm- 2pm

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Special Programing Committee

Committee Chair: Tera Hoover

Tera Hoover is a senior this year at Sonoma State University studying Human Development with a Business minor. She just returned from a year abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in the Child Development and Diversity program at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). Her favorite part of my year abroad was gaining a second family who hosted me for the year, and also having new and different experiences every single day.  She was born in Seattle, Washington but spent most of her life growing up in Monterey, CA. In her free time Tera loves to be around the water: swimming, sailing, rowing or just hanging out with friends. She is very excited for this new ambassador program and is interested in pursuing a career in the International field.

Tera has traveled to Sweden, Italy, England, Ireland, Turkey, Norway and Estonia.

Office Hours: Monday 10:30 am- 1:30am, Tuesday 12pm- 2pm, Wednesday 9am- 12pm.

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Katelyn Granger

Katelyn is an exchange student from Montana, and studied at the University of Montana, Missoula. She is a biochemistry and pre-med major, and wishes to continue on to get her doctorate of medicine and become a veterinarian one day. She hopes to gain leadership skills and experience while studying at Sonoma State University as well as become involved in the community here. She would like to go out and explore the Sonoma area and see new things. She also wanted to come here to thaw out from the cold Montana weather! She loves to ski, snowboard, and dance!

Office Hours: Tuesday 12:30pm- 3pm, Friday 2pm- 4pm

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Lauren DiPeppe

Lauren returned from the CSU IP program in Florence, Italy. There, she studied history and the classics, including Italian history, Italian language, and classical Roman literature. She is currently a senior in the Hutchins program for Liberal Studies. After graduation, she wants to be a teacher for kindergarten or preschool, but is also thinking about teaching abroad or even joining the Peace Corps. Needless to say, Italy was an incredible experience. She never felt so immersed in a culture until she actually was a part of it. Everything in Italy was wonderful; the food, the architecture, the scenery, the people… everything. At first I was so amazed by the sheer beauty of Italy that I was enamored with studying abroad. Eventually, when the humdrum routine set in of going to school, going shopping, then going home set in, Lauren felt like she needed more adventure so she traveled to more countries! By the end, Lauren had grown fondly accustomed to the Italian lifestyle, especially since the Italian side of her family was so welcoming,  it felt rather surreal when it was time to leave. After everything,  Lauren feels like a different person. It was such a positively life-changing experience, and she am so grateful that she was able to be a part of it. Now, she wants to help others realize the benefits of studying abroad and  is always happy to share her experience with others.

Lauren traveled to England, Spain and Portugal.

Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30pm- 4:30pm, Thursday 9am- 11am, Friday 9am-11am.

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Marketing Outreach Committee

Committee Chair: Kacey Chapin

Kacey is from Bakersfield, CA. She is a senior at Sonoma State majoring in Communication Studies. Kacey studied at Uppsala University in Uppsala Sweden for the 2013-2014 school year. While there, Kacey  traveled to many places, but was very glad to call Sweden her home for the year. Her favorite part about Sweden was how beautiful the nature was. Sweden is made up most of forest and she loved to go to all the different hiking spots. She loved the swedish culture and made a lot of new friends. Kacey had never been out of the United States and was ready to see different parts of the world. Studying abroad for a whole year was a life changing experience and she cannot wait to do it again. Kacey hopes to do some volunteering abroad once she graduates and hopes to see and experience even more of the world.

Kacey has traveled to Denmark, Italy, Scotland, Estonia, and Germany.

Office Hours: Monday 12pm- 2pm, Wednesday 9:30am- 2pm, Thursday 3pm- 4:30pm, Friday 9am-11am.

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Kio Crosby

Kio’s  home is in a town in southern California called Reseda. It is in an area outside of downtown Los Angeles and is referred to as the “valley”, but Kio does not consider myself to be a ‘valley girl’. She considers myself to be more of a nature girl, which is a phrase she coined for herself once she realized that being around trees, dirt, and fresh air are elements that bring peace into her life. Her heart will always be connected to her home down south, but during this past year, a Kio’s heart became connected to another place: Florence, Italy. As a Liberal Studies major, known at Sonoma State as Hutchins, Kio was able to go abroad and study Italian literature as well as the Italian language. That year did so much work in opening up her eyes to the world, into how similar people are across cultures and into showing her who she was and who she was not. Kio spent most of her days alone, as she got lost in a foreign country and then found her way back on the right path. “It is true that losing yourself helps you find yourself because, when you get lost, you see how you react under pressure and learn what you are capable of.” Kio also learned the importance of allowing her experience to be her own experience, not someone else’s. She became open to trying things that were new  and things that were not so popular to other people. Doing things added to her over all experience abroad. When she looked back at her experience, the times she spent alone trying to figure herself out, did not compare to those simple moments she spent with people. Simple moments with good friends and strangers were the moments that took her breath away. People are so important. Kio believes in the importance of living away from what you call your home and she plans to share her enthusiasm with anyone who is willing to listen. Kio loves blogging/ writing, dancing, singing, cooking, hiking, biking and learning new languages.

Office Hours: Tuesday, 10am- 12pm, Wednesday 1:30pm- 3:30pm, Thursday 12pm- 2pm, Friday 12pm- 1:30pm.

kio

 

 

 

Michelle Welling

Michelle is a Communication Studies student with a Geography minor. Born and raised in Orange County, CA, Michelle was always drawn to colder climates and adventures beyond her hometown. This desire to travel came from her Grandmother, a London native, whose vigor for life and thirst for experiencing new places has been a life-long inspiration to Michelle. She has seen the Galapagos Islands, cruised along the Danube River, hiked in Nepal, traveled to Australia and New Zealand, and just about everywhere in between. During her time at Sonoma State, Michelle realized the travel gene was hereditary. During her junior year, Michelle was offered the opportunity to study abroad at Kingston University in London, England. For Michelle, London is a place with endless possibilities, a place of self-expression, and a place she could call “home” for a year. Living in a place that is famous for its rain made time spent with friends especially valuable. While at Kingston, she met people from all over the globe – some of whom she even got to travel with, or stay with during breaks from term. London, and each place she was fortunate enough to see, opened the doors to a world that existed previously only in her dreams. “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford,” Samuel Johnson. This sentiment certainly rang true for Michelle. After graduating from Sonoma State, Michelle hopes to return to the United Kingdom for her Master’s Degree, and pursue future international work opportunities

Michelle has traveled to Scotland, Italy, Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Office Hours: Wednesday 10am- 1pm, Thursday 12:30pm- 1:30pm.

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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.