Meet the Staff of Education Abroad

Don't know where to start? Find your advisor here or email abroad[at]umass[dot]edu.

Ed Abroad Staff View

Kimberly Croke 
Faculty Taught Programs Assistant 

kcroke [at]

Available Tuesday and Wednesday from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and Thursday from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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 for incidents abroad. 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 a program in Egypt, Syria, and Qatar. Her travel experience continued post-college with a summer volunteering in Haiti on the small island of Île-à-Vache. Andrea earned her Master's in Higher Education Administration from UMass Amherst in 2018. She previously served as the President of the Massachusetts Council for International Education (MaCIE) from 2019-2020. Andrea is currently on the Board of Directors for Pulse, International Safety and Security Professionals in Higher Education and holds a leadership position with NAFSA, as Coordinator for Health and Safety in the Education Abroad Knowledge Community and Chair of the Health and Safety Subcommittee.

Mark Eckman
Director of Education Abroad

eckmanm [at]

Mark began his career in education abroad in 2007 at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM), and later that year he took on the role of Assistant Director of Global Student Services at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. While at St. John’s he was part of an effort to dramatically increase participation in education abroad programs, the result of which was a 400% increase over his four-year tenure at the institution.

Mark returned to UWM in 2011 as the Director of Study Abroad in the Center for International Education’s Study Abroad Office. During his time at UWM, Mark expanded access to programs for students, created a more robust emergency response protocol, engaged faculty program leaders from traditionally underrepresented academic areas, and positioned UWM as a leader in international education within Wisconsin.

In 2017 Mark stepped into the role of Senior International Officer, providing oversight and leadership for the Center for International Education. As SIO he worked to strengthen the connections between incoming and outbound students, and facilitated strategic planning and coordination of international education initiatives across the institution.

Mark joined the International Programs Office in 2019, as the Director of Education Abroad. In this position he is responsible for all outbound international education programs, including semester and exchange programs, as well as faculty-taught programs.

Having studied and lived abroad, Mark is an accomplished international traveler. His first international trip, at the age of five, planted the seed early. When not traveling, professionally or personally, Mark is most often found spending time with his wife and two kids, exploring parks and other outdoor pursuits, and, whenever possible, riding the back roads of western Massachusetts.

Ashley Krause
Education Abroad Advisor

aekrause [at]

Advisor for: Australia, China, Fiji, Ghana, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates

Ashley advises students about study abroad opportunities in Asia and the Pacific. Ashley earned a B.A. in Asian Studies, which included spending a year abroad in Japan, and an M.Ed in Higher Education from Havard’s Graduate School of Education. Her experience in Asia includes teaching English in Hokkaido with JET for 2 years, and travel in China and Thailand. Professionally, Ashley has worked for study abroad programs and at small colleges in study abroad, and is very happy to have landed at UMass, where there is a such a diverse student body, with a variety of goals, with so many programs options. Her favorite part of advising is getting to know students and help them make their study abroad goals a reality. She encourages students to go abroad with an open mind and to take advantage of every opportunity; you may find so much more than you were seeking.

Schedule an appointment with Ashley on Navigate.

AJ LeBlanc
Education Abroad Advising Center Coordinator & Education Abroad Advisor

leblanc [at]

Advisor for: Ireland, United Kingdom, Netherlands

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.

Schedule an appointment with AJ on Navigate

Claire Novotny

International Exchange Advisor

Advisor for Sweden and Denmark


cnovotny [at]

As the International Exchange Advisor, Claire works with all incoming and outgoing exchange students as well as UMass Amherst undergraduates looking to study abroad in Denmark and Sweden. 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!

Schedule an appointment with Claire on Navigate

Emily Ostenson
Assistant Director of Education Abroad

eostenson [at]

Advisor for: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland

Emily serves as the Assistant Director of Education Abroad and advises undergraduates on study abroad options in various regions of continental Europe.  She was inspired to work in education abroad after spending an academic year in Montpellier, France as an undergraduate.  She currently serves as Secretary for NAFSA Region XI (New England) and was past Vice President of the Massachusetts Council for International Education (MaCIE) from 2018-2020.  She holds a BA in French from Augsburg University in Minneapolis and a Master of French Studies in International Education from the Professional French Masters Program at the University of Wisconsin Madison.


Michael Romero
Coordinator for Faculty Taught Programs

mjromero [at]

Advisor for: Faculty Taught Programs
Mike serves as the Coordinator for all Faculty-led Programming at UMass Education Abroad. 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 the UK to lead short-term programs in a professional capacity.

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”.

Schedule an appointment with Kate on Navigate.

Cristina Sosa
Associate Director of Education Abroad 

csosa [at]

Advisor for: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Cuba, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Sea Semester, Spain, Tanzania, Uruguay


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.”

Schedule an appointment with Cristina on Navigate.

Ilene Tillman
Education Abroad Advisor

itillman [at]

Ilene serves as Education Abroad Advisor in the International Programs Office. Her passion for travel and international experiences began when she was in high school and participated in a summer exchange program in Corrientes, Argentina. This experience inspired Ilene to pursue a major in Spanish and study abroad twice as an undergraduate. Ilene spent a semester abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and her junior year abroad in Granada, Spain. She holds a BA in Spanish with a minor in Sociology from UMass Amherst.  Before coming to UMass, Ilene worked as a regional director for an international education organization for 15 years. Ilene loves working with students and supporting them through the study abroad process. In her free time, Ilene enjoys traveling, painting, and spending time with family and friends. 

Kalpen Trivedi, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Global Affairs

Director, International Programs Office

IIE Senior International Officer of the Year 2021


ktrivedi [at]

Kalpen Trivedi is Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the land-grant flagship campus of the Commonwealth. He is responsible for the leadership of campus-wide initiatives for global engagement and he exercises operational and strategic oversight of the International Programs Office (Education Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, International Partnerships, and Travel Health and Safety). Trivedi served previously as the Director of Education Abroad at UMass Amherst and prior to that, as Director of the University of Georgia’s Center and programs in Oxford, U.K., and faculty member in the English Department. He has nearly two decades of experience in international education with particular expertise in managing global partnerships, program design and evaluation, global operations and risk management, and international health and safety.

Recognized as an AIEA Presidential Fellow for 2019-20, Trivedi is a member of AIEA’s Professional Development & Engagement Committee. Trivedi is also Chair-Elect for NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community (IEL KC), having previously served on the IEL KC as Symposium & Training Lead, as well as being a member of the NAFSA Trainer Corps. Trivedi is a member of the Standards and Governance Subcommittee of the US Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), having also held positions as steering committee member and Vice-Chair of the OSAC Academia Sector Committee. He was a charter member of Arcadia University’s Guild for Global Education and is a member of the Strategic Academic Advisory Board for Academic Programs International (Austin, TX). Trivedi is a regular contributor on current topics in international education in fora such as NAFSA, AIEA, and the Forum on Education Abroad. He has delivered workshops and trainings on a variety of topics such as Global Operations Management and Title IX compliance for international programs.

Trivedi was educated in India and the U.K., with degrees from Gujarat University, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Manchester. He held the Radhakrishnan Scholarship at Oxford and a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Fellowship, and his doctoral work in Medieval English Religious Literature was supported by the UK Government’s Overseas Research Scholar award and a University of Manchester Research Scholarship. Trivedi has been a Mellon Research Fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA as well as a Summer Institute Fellow of the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.

Selected recent contributions to the field of international education include:

  • Senior International Officer of the Year, The Institute of International Education (IIE)
  • Chair, Symposium on Leadership “Futureproofing International Education for the Next Decade”, NAFSA Signature Event, Annual Conference 2021
  • “How to create a data-informed study abroad portfolio (without losing your mind or breaking the bank)”, CIS Abroad Workshop Series 2021 (with Kris Holloway and Scott Tayloe)
  • “Introduction to Global Operations”, Core Workshop, NAFSA Annual Conference 2021 (with David Di Maria)
  • “Assessing for Success: Comprehensive Operations Review during a Crisis”, NAFSA Annual Conference 2021 (with Penelope Pynes and Christina Sanchez)
  • “Mobility and Management: How will Covid-19 shape the New “Normal”?”, NAFSA International Education Town Hall (with the US Dept of State, CDC, and Adria Baker)
  • “From Knee-Jerk Response to Policy Change: Effective Operations during a Pandemic and Beyond”, AIEA Annual Conference 2021 (with Patrick Morgan and Douglas Proctor)
  • ““Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” (or Still Can’t): Guidelines and Benchmarks for the Return of Student Travel”, Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Annual Briefing 2020, US Department of
  • State (with Robin Reliford and Seth Tucker)
  • “Internationalization and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”, (with Chrystal George Mwangi and Nefertiti Walker) UMass Dignity and Respect: The Podcast, Office of Equity and Inclusion, 2020
  • “Next Generation International Education Curriculum: Integrated Education”, Gateway International Leadership Institute, Fall 2020 Curriculum (with Nick Gozik)
  • “Leading Campus Internationalization during a Pandemic”, MACIE: Massachusetts Council on International Education Annual Conference, November 2020 (with Wing-Kai To and C. Julie Whitlow)
  • “A Primer on Global Operations Management”, NAFSA eConnection (2020) (with David Di Maria, William Ferreira, and Sandee Huang)
  • “Higher Education Equity: Navigating Local and Global Priorities to Achieve Success”, UMass College of Education Research Summit (2020) (with Amer Ahmed and Anna Branch)
  • “Lessons We’re Learning: How COVID-19 is impacting our Globalization Efforts”, APLU Commission on International Initiatives Huddle (2020) (with Deandra Beck)
  • “European Universities Networks, the next step in Internationalization?”, AIEA Annual Conference (2020), Washington, D.C. (with Meritxell Chaves and Ramon Ellenbroek)
  • “Developing Sustainable International Partnerships and Academic Collaborations”, NAFSA Annual Conference (2019), Washington, D.C. (with Jane Gatewood, Kiki Caruson, and Chad Hoseth)
  • “The Education Abroad Imperative: Planning for Strategic Education Abroad Growth”, AIEA Annual Conference (2018), Washington, D.C. (with Andrew Law and Sarita Rai)