Meet the Staff of Education Abroad

Ed Abroad Staff View

Kimberly Croke 
Faculty-led Programs Assistant 

kcroke [at]
Kim assists with the administrative functions related to the Faculty-Led study abroad programs. She also assists students with the application process for these programs. Prior to this Kim worked as the Asia Exchange Programs Assistant.
Andrea Campbell Drake, M.Ed.
Director of International Health, Safety, and Security 

andreadrake [at]
As the Director of International Health, Safety, and Security, Andrea is responsible for developing systems to support students, staff, and faculty traveling abroad as well as the implementation of comprehensive international travel safety policies and strategies for campus. Andrea also serves as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Prior to working at UMass Amherst, Andrea managed a national personal finance program at an educational non-profit based in New York City. Andrea earned a dual B.A. degree from Northeastern University in International Affairs and Languages, Literature, and Cultures with a minor in Middle East Studies. Her undergraduate program included two full time co-ops working at Amnesty International and The Boston Globe as well as periods studying abroad in Paris and the Middle East. Her travel experience continued post-college with a summer volunteering in Haiti. Andrea received her Master's in Higher Education Administration from UMass Amherst. She holds a leadership position in Pulse, a national network of international health, safety, and security professionals in higher education. Andrea is also the President-elect of the Massachusetts Coalition for International Education (MaCIE).
Sean Ash Gordon
Project Assistant

ipoprojects [at]
Sean is the Research and Project Assistant for Education Abroad. After receiving his B.A. at Boston University, Sean worked in the New York publishing industry before arriving to graduate school at UMass-Amherst, where he is currently a doctoral candidate in the English Department. As an undergraduate, he spent a year abroad at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, studying modern British literature and history while traveling the British isles and Western Europe by weekend. He has always been, and continues to be, an avid international traveler. As the Project and Research Assistant, Sean is excited to share his vision for study abroad programming at UMass.
Lina Heaster-Ekholm
Programs Assistant

ipoevents [at]
I was three weeks old when I crossed the Atlantic for the first time, and much of my life since has been spent living, traveling, and learning abroad. This has enriched my life in countless ways. To paraphrase Arthur Miller, studying abroad is about much more than seeing new places; it’s also about developing new ways of seeing (and being!). I’m excited for UMass students to have this experience as well. As the graduate assistant for pre-departure and re-entry programming, I am responsible for developing resources to help students not only feel more prepared to travel and make the most out of your time abroad, but also know how to better integrate your experience once you return. In addition to my work with the Ed Abroad office, I am a doctoral student here at UMass in the International Education concentration.
Regine John
Director of Programs in Germany, Central & Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Switzerland 

reginejohn [at]
Regine works with exchange partner universities in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen as well as other parts of Germany. She is also responsible for exchanges with the Netherlands and Scandinavia and advises on education abroad programs in Switzerland, Austria, Central and Eastern Europe.
AJ LeBlanc
Education Abroad Advising Center Coordinator & Education Abroad Advisor

leblanc [at]
AJ earned her M.Ed. from UMass in 2002 and has been working on campus since 2007. She was thrilled to join the Education Abroad team during the summer of 2015. Through generous scholarships, she was able to participate in an internship in London the summer before her senior year of college. This provided her with experience and skills that she has used in the classroom, in her career and in all aspects of her life. She believes that study away programs should be an option for all students in all majors, no matter what their backgrounds or resources are. She encourages any student to come talk to the Education Abroad staff, explore the opportunities available and learn how to make studying abroad a reality.
Carol J. Lebold
Director of Education Abroad Advising & Student Success

cjl [at]
Carol works with programs and exchanges in the Middle East, Africa as well as managing the experiential-based programs such as internships and service learning abroad, including CAPA. In addition, Carol works with the curricular integration project to clarify academically sound programs abroad specific to the majors at UMass.Carol is passionate about opportunities for students in some amazing parts of the world. She is committed to assisting any and all UMass students –“this is not an elitist experience but a critical part of everyone's education.” Carol’s best advice: Assume you can do this! Work with us at IPO to help put it together. Never be afraid to ask for help in the process.
Stacy Lutsch
Director of Academic Initiatives

slutsch [at]
Stacy, a native Oregonian, is the Director of Academic Initiatives at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she assesses and develops international programming designed to broaden the campus's understanding of and involvement in the internationalization process. She comes to UMass after three years in Spain, where she taught at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela and got a Master’s in International Business Management – helpful, since she now helps plan IPO’s scholarship efforts! Before Spain, Stacy spent five years at the University of Kansas, where she taught Spanish and completed her doctoral coursework in Spanish and Portuguese literature, in addition to co-leading two programs to Spain and Costa Rica. When Stacy isn’t in her office, she enjoys spending time with her dog (who moved with her from Kansas to Spain and then to Massachusetts), hiking (she has hiked the Camino de Santiago – The Way of St. James – twice), and combining her love of all things food and wine with tourism to plan the perfect culinary travel experience.
Claire Novotny
Undergraduate Exchange Coordinator

cnovotny [at]
As the Undergraduate Exchange Coordinator, Claire works with incoming and outgoing exchange students. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University for Massachusetts and a MA in Intercultural Leadership from SIT Graduate Institute. She studied abroad three times while in college and has led over 20 faculty-taught programs throughout the world. Outside the office, Claire keeps busy hiking in the woods, spending time with friends, and frequenting local coffee shops!
Emily Ostenson
Education Abroad Advisor (France and Italy)

eostenson [at]
Emily serves as the advisor for programs in France and Italy. Prior to IPO, she was the International Relations Manager at Grenoble IAE, the School of Management, within the University of Grenoble Alps. She has also held positions in study abroad, international professional exchange, and foreign language teaching. She is an alumna of the Professional French Masters Program at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, where she earned her Master of French Studies in International Education. She has lived in different regions of France for 5 years, including studying abroad in Montpellier, and has traveled extensively in Europe.
Michael Romero
Academic Initiatives Coordinator

mjromero [at]
Mike serves as an advisor for programs in Ireland and CAPA London and works in close liaison with UMass Amherst’s faculty leaders and International Education Partners to facilitate the coordination of short-term, educationally focused international programs. A Massachusetts native and alumnus of UMass with a B.A. in English and Letter of Specialization in Professional Writing, Mike spent a semester abroad in the United Kingdom during his undergrad career and has since returned to London to lead two short-term programs. His experience abroad as an undergrad ultimately led Mike to choose a career in international education; he thinks everybody should have the opportunity to travel abroad and learn about themselves, and the world, from a foreign perspective.
Kate Smith
Student Account Manager

kes [at]
Kate supports students through the study abroad process by monitoring their progress through the Terra Dotta software application. She is our liaison with the UMass Undergraduate Registrar, Bursar and Financial Aid Services and ensures students’ status and billing information is correct in SPIRE. Kate also works closely with University Health Services and Dean of Students office seeking clearance for students to safely go abroad. Recognizing that students benefit from various levels of support, Kate is available for advising regarding the financial aspects of Education Abroad. She helps students compare program costs and figure out their budgets. Preparing to study abroad is exciting, scary, complicated and fun all at the same time! “Helping students and families through this process is hugely satisfying”.
Candice Snowden
Education Abroad Advisor (Asia & Pacific)

csnowden [at]
Candice advises on programs in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Candice has long been a proponent of international education and was determined to study abroad when she was in high school. Her first trip abroad was to rural Japan, where she was able to improve her speaking abilities while learning about environmental education. Additionally, Candice taught English in Chinese universities for nearly 4 years before joining the IPO. She loved her experience and hopes to inspire students from all backgrounds to study abroad! Candice received her Bachelor degree in East Asian Studies from Wellesley College and her Master degree in International Studies- Education from Concordia University Irvine. Originally from the South, she spends much of her spare time exploring and adapting to life in New England.
Cristina Sosa
Associate Director of Education Abroad (Spain and Latin America)

csosa [at]
What are you waiting for? Go study abroad! Best thing in your college career... As you can see, Cris truly feels this is one of the most incredible experiences you will have in your lifetime. She wishes she had studied abroad during her college career and truly regrets not doing it. Cris was born in Havana, Cuba and spent the first eight years of her life there, until her family fled to the United States following Castro's rise to power. She has lived in two cultures all her life with one foot in the U.S. and the other one 90 miles away in Cuba. Cris completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science at UMass Amherst and then continued on to a Masters in Educational Policy and Administration. She has been a photographer, worked for a cruise line in Miami, worked in an ad agency in New Jersey, traveled the world recruiting students for an area college and started an international office at a state school in Massachusetts. Her most rewarding job: “What I am doing now, facilitating study abroad opportunities for students at UMass.”
Shamo Thar
Curriculum Integration Assistant

curriculum [at]
Shamo Thar (Xia Maotai) serves as a Curriculum Integration Assistant in The Education Abroad Office, where she maps, assesses and promotes academically rewarding programs for UMass Amherst students overseas. She is excited to work in the Education Abroad Office and truly believes the values of quality international academic opportunities for each and every student. She is a Ph.D. candidate at UMass Amherst’s College of Education, concentrating her research in International Higher Education—specifically, investigating questions related to college access, equity, and success for minority students. Prior to UMass Amherst, Shamo worked as a lecturer at Qinghai Normal University in Western China, Eastern Tibet, where she taught classes related to education and development studies, also led service-learning, community-driven projects with the students. Shamo has working experiences both in nonprofit organizations and universities from different countries, including the U.S.A and China. She has also traveled to many countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, and Bangladesh through short-term Fellowship Programs, mainly residing in its universities. Her leisure activities include cooking, meditating, jogging, and writing children’s stories in her native language.
Kalpen Trivedi, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for International Programs

ktrivedi [at]
Kalpen Trivedi (Ph.D., University of Manchester, 2001) is the Associate Provost for International Programs. With over fifteen years of experience in international higher education, Kalpen is responsible for the strategic and operational oversight of student mobility programs, university exchanges, and UMass faculty-led programming overseas, and also supports comprehensive internationalization across campus. He oversees international travel safety and risk management and also serves as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. With previous degrees from India, Oxford, and Cambridge, Kalpen is trained as a literary scholar of the British Middle Ages and speaks fluent French, Hindi, and Gujarati, passable Urdu and Italian, and rudimentary German. Kalpen has lived and worked on three continents and he enjoys traveling and encountering new places, peoples, and cuisines. His leisure activities include reading, American Football, and music.