Spring 2024 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

Faculty & Staff

Exploring countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, this voyage gives participants a truly global study abroad experience on our floating campus!

We are a diverse team of academic experts and professionals

Under the leadership of the executive dean, academic dean, and dean of student life, Semester at Sea faculty and staff are a team of innovative and stimulating educators who are passionate about international education and focused on developing a dynamic and compassionate shipboard community.

Voyage Leadership Team

Marti Fessenden
Executive Dean
Marti Fessenden
Executive Dean

Marti Fessenden is General Counsel and a member of the president’s cabinet for Agnes Scott College. For the 2021-2022 and part of the 2022-2023 academic year, she additionally served as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Throughout her 30+ year career, she has provided leadership in legal practice, higher education administration and non-profit board service. Prior to joining Agnes Scott, she practiced law as a civil litigator for more than 26 years in the private sector, most recently with her own law firm – The Fessenden Firm / Higher Ed Advise.
Marti is incredibly excited to be returning to the Spring 2024 shipboard experience. Marti will be sailing with her daughter Sydney, who is a junior at UC Berkeley.

  • Education
    Marti receive her Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law. She earned her Master’s in Education and BA in psychology from the University of Florida.
  • Personal Interests
    Marti has traveled extensively, including the good fortune to have sailed with the program in positions of increasing responsibility over the years.
Bob Kling
Academic Dean
Bob Kling
Academic Dean

Bob Kling is a micro and environmental economist with a passion for international education and experiential travel. His first SAS voyage was Fall 1998, with spouse and kids. He served as Academic Dean for the Spring 2017 and Spring 2022 voyages, and as SAS Senior Academic Officer, 2017-22.

At CSU, Bob has held many teaching and administration roles. Partnering with Vietnam’s Foreign Trade University, he directed the CSU-FTU Vietnam Economics Curriculum Program, 2008-17. His research has focused on the economics of land management, valuation of historic resources, and regulatory strategy. Bob retired in 2022 and remains engaged with both CSU and SAS.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Bob earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Davidson College, and his Master’s and PhD in Economics from the University of Kansas.
  • Personal Interests
    Bob is an amateur stonemason, adventurous cook, haphazard gardener, and casual reader of science fiction. He speaks French competently, Italian just a little, and can order a beer in Vietnamese.
Vernon Wall
Dean of Student Life
Vernon Wall
Dean of Student Life

Vernon A. Wall has accumulated over 30+ years of professional Student Affairs experience at Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Chapel Hill and has experience in Greek life, new student orientation, student activities, leadership development, global education, and university housing. Vernon currently lives in Washington DC and is the Director for Business Development at LeaderShape, Inc. Vernon is also President and Founder of One Better World, LLC – a consulting firm specializing in engaging others in courageous social justice and equity conversations and is a past President of ACPA – College Student Educators, International.

  • Home Institution
    One Better World, LLC
  • Education
    B.A. – North Carolina State University; M.S – Indiana University
  • Personal Interests
    I love great food, creative martinis, all genres on music, visiting my family and traveling to fantastic locations. This is my second SAS Voyage!
Theresa Vecchio
Assistant Executive Dean
Theresa Vecchio
Assistant Executive Dean

Theresa A. Vecchio (Terry) was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and is a Midwesterner at heart. She has worked in higher education for 33 years, currently as the Dean of Students at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester Massachusetts. She received a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation at Southern Illinois University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut, and a Doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University. Terry sailed with Semester at Sea in 1988 as a Residence Director and then again as the Assistant Dean of Student Life on the summer 2014 and spring 2017 voyages respectively. Terry enjoys vacationing at Cape Cod, golfing, kayaking and movies. She is an active member of a rowing club in Massachusetts.

  • Home Institution
    Quinsigamond Community College
  • Education
    Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation, Southern Illinois University, Master of Social Work, University of Connecticut Doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership, Johnson & Wales University.
  • Personal Interests
    My love for global exploration started on my first Semester at Sea voyage, Spring 1988. I believe that experience positively influenced how I saw myself and my role in the world.
Ryan Barone
Academic Advisor/Registrar
Ryan Barone
Academic Advisor/Registrar

Ryan Barone, PhD (he/him) serves as the Assistant Vice President for Student Success at Colorado State University. In this role, he works between both academic affairs and student affairs and collaborates with units across campus to foster equitable student success. He is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Education teaching and advising doctoral students in the Higher Education Leadership program. Dr. Barone’s research interests include social justice leadership, equity with an emphasis on two-year colleges, violence prevention, and critical qualitative research methods.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Dr. Barone earned his bachelor’s degree from State University of New York College at Fredonia, his master’s degree from Colorado State University, and his doctorate from the University of Denver.
  • Personal Interests
    Ryan is excited to experience the Spring 2024 voyage with his partner Lindsay and their soon to be 10-year old daughter Lane.
Lindsay Sell
Assistant Dean of Student Life
Lindsay Sell
Assistant Dean of Student Life

Lindsay Sell (she/hers) works at Colorado State University as the Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life. Lindsay has worked at a number of institutions of higher education in a variety of areas including alumni relations, student conduct, and development. Lindsay enjoys working and volunteering in higher education, supporting students as they explore co-curricular opportunities that contribute to a rewarding college experience. Lindsay is excited to sail with Semester at Sea with her partner (Ryan) and daughter (Lane).

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Lindsay earned her bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Colorado State University and her masters of science in student affairs in higher education also from Colorado State University.
  • Personal Interests
    Lindsay enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and the performing arts. Lindsay loves making things and expressing her creativity.
Trish Becker-Hafnor
Field Director
Trish Becker-Hafnor
Field Director

Trish is the Executive Director of the Cohousing Association of the United States, a national nonprofit committed to creating a more connected and sustainable future. A social worker to the core, Trish has over a decade of experience working in nonprofit and higher education with a focus on community engagement and strategic partnerships. She served as the Director of Community Engagement at the University of Denver, leading community engagement initiatives and creating gatherings that advance social justice. Her consulting group, Storyspring, provides strategy, facilitation and coaching to nonprofits & social changemakers. She is most alive when gathering people around a common purpose and when traveling around the world with her partner, Adam, and daughter, Cadence.

  • Home Institution
    University of Denver
  • Education
    Trish holds Master of Social Work from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University
  • Personal Interests
    Trish has traveled to 30+ countries and enjoys yoga, surfing, making pottery and beekeeping.
Thomas Sterling
Physician
Thomas Sterling
Physician

Dr. Sterling graduated Cum Laude and with Honors from Grand Canyon University with a BS in Biology. He earned his medical degree from the Midwestern University. He then completed a 5 years of training including 3 year Emergency Medicine Residency at St Vincent’s Mercy Medical Center’s Level I trauma center, 1 year of surgical training at a Temple University Program and 1 year of medicine at Michigan State University. Dr. Sterling started Emergency Medicine with Dartmouth Hitchcock, and is currently the Medical Director for the Manchester Medical Center as well as Deputy Town Health Officer for Manchester.
Dr. Sterling currently serves the US Air Force as a Flight Physician, Critical Care Air Transport Physician, and CERF-P Medical Director for the 193rd Special Operations Medical Group.

  • Education
    Dr. Sterling graduated Cum Laude and with Honors from Grand Canyon University with a BS in Biology. He earned his medical degree from the Midwestern University
  • Personal Interests
    Married with 4 amazing daughters. Studied with the 1997 SAS Fall voyage

Faculty

Alma Jean Billingslea
English and Interdisciplinary Studies
Alma Jean Billingslea
English and Interdisciplinary Studies

Alma Jean Billingslea is emerita professor of English at Spelman College. An activist and academic, Professor Billingslea is a veteran of the southern civil rights movement who joined the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) soon after college to work with Martin Luther King, Jr. Having worked as organizer, editor and writer at SCLC, Professor Billingslea earned her PhD and joined the faculty at Spelman College where she became founding faculty and later director of the African Diaspora studies program. With a focus on comparative Africana literatures, Professor Billingslea has taught at the University of La Salle, Bogota, Colombia, conducted research at the University of Ghana, Legon and has been the recipient of Fulbright and Ford Foundation Fellowships.

  • Home Institution
    Spelman College
  • Education
    Alma Jean Billingslea earned their A.B. degree from Rutgers University: their M.A. degree from Atlanta University and their PhD degree from The University of Texas, Dallas
  • Personal Interests
    Theatre, film, and comedy
Jen Bousselot
Plant Science
Jen Bousselot
Plant Science

Jennifer Bousselot, Ph.D., specializes in green roof research on native species evaluations, plant drought tolerance, integration with solar panels, and rooftop agrivoltaics. Jen is the Editor of the Journal of Living Architecture, a longtime member of the Research Committee for Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), and Board Member of GRHC and the High Plains Environmental Center in Loveland, Colorado. Jen is an accredited Green Roof Professional and leads the Colorado Regional Center for Excellence in Living Architecture, both designated by GRHC. She was a technical advisor for the 2017 Green Roof Ordinance in Denver and is on the Green Building Ordinance Technical Advisory Committee for the City of Denver. Due to her expertise in green roofing, Jen regularly consults on green roofs.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Jen earned a bachelor’s in Plant Health and Protection (2001) as well as a master’s in Sustainable Agriculture (2003) from Iowa State University. She earned doctorate in horticulture (2010) at CSU.
  • Personal Interests
    Jen married her high school sweetheart, Aaron, and they have two children, Evan and Julia. They spend time outdoors walking dogs, working in the yard, and enjoying the mountains in their camper.
Jonathan Bowman
Communication
Jonathan Bowman
Communication

Jonathan M. Bowman loves teaching about relevant topics like body language and personal relationships, and he enjoys helping people think about the ways that people send messages to friends, family members, colleagues, and romantic partners. When he’s not hiking or swimming, Dr. Bowman can often be found navigating the beaches and parks of Southern California with an energetic rescue dog named Nala the Noodle. (She’s the best.) He’s regularly featured in the media, talking about ways that people share information with one another in close relationships. Bowman has been awarded the highest teaching recognitions in his field, and he often mentors students in Greek life, student government, and/or campus faith-based organizations.

  • Home Institution
    University of San Diego
  • Education
    Jonathan M. Bowman earned both his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Communication from Michigan State University, and his B.A. degree in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of California Davis.
  • Personal Interests
    Bowman likes reading with an iced americano, exploring new cities by going for a (slow) run, trying out unique flavors of ice cream, and visiting the worst theme parks and tourist traps in town.
Dave Bybee
Marine Biology
Dave Bybee
Marine Biology

Dr. David Bybee is a marine biologist on the faculty of Brigham Young University-Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. He has also worked as an environmental consultant. He holds a PhD from the University of Hawaii. His research focuses mainly on biodiversity and life histories of marine invertebrates on coral reefs. His work has taken him to many parts of the Pacific including Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. In recent years he has also done research on seabird migrations between French Polynesia and the arctic.
His interests include linguistics, history and cultural anthropology. His wife Herenui is from French Polynesia and received her degree in Pacific Island studies. Together with their four children they enjoy the rich biological and cultural heritage of the Pacific.

  • Home Institution
    Brigham Young University – HI
  • Education
    Dave earned his PhD degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University.
  • Personal Interests
    Personal interests include foreign languages, water sports and other outdoor activities.
Tom Byrnes
Marketing/Management
Tom Byrnes
Marketing/Management

I have taught at the college level for 21+ years. While my specialty is marketing, I have taught courses including Principles of Mgt, Personal Finance, HR Management & Dev. I led several student study abroad trips, visiting China, Western and Eastern Europe. Additionally, I have lead students on 4 Maymester study abroad trips (3 Argentina, 1 Spain). I retired from IBM after 35 years and enjoyed a varied career in sales, marketing and management. As a global brand manager, I had extensive responsibilities for project/product management & channel strategy. I managed several sales teams in the US as well as global representatives. I was a SCORE counsellor providing business support for SMB and entrepreneurs. I am married and have 4 adult children living in NYC and NC.

  • Home Institution
    North Carolina State University at Raleigh
  • Education
    Thomas Byrnes earned his Doctorate of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Bachelor of Business Administration from Pace University
  • Personal Interests
    I enjoy a variety of sports including kayaking, swimming, hiking, etc. I especially enjoy traveling to new destinations and learning about country cultures, values, history and business practices.
Vivian Chávez
Public Health
Vivian Chávez
Public Health

Vivian Chávez has studied in India, Guatemala, and Spain. She worked in youth media and child abuse prevention for a decade before obtaining her doctorate Public Health. She became a tenured professor at her alma mater where she has been teaching global health, community well-being, and health promotion. A storyteller by nature, she has written and presented on Violence Prevention, Media Advocacy, Cultural Humility, and Community-based Participatory Research. Vivian was a traveling faculty with the International Honors Program at Boston University and a visiting professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, Preventative Medicine Program. She is a life-long student of contemplative practices and has presented her work internationally in Cuba, Peru, Japan, and Argentina.

  • Home Institution
    San Francisco State University
  • Education
    Vivian earned her Doctor of Public Health from UC Berkeley; Post doctorate from the University of Michigan; and Certificate in Spirituality and Social Change from Pacific School of Religion.
  • Personal Interests
    Walking, meditation, dance, and yoga! Time with family/friends in nature, learning from trees, lakes, mountains, rivers, and the ocean.
Daniel Cordoba Montoya
Psychology
Daniel Cordoba Montoya
Psychology

Daniel Montoya holds a Ph.D. in Biological Psychology and training in Neurosciences. He graduated from the National University of Córdoba in 1998, where he worked at a private research institute with grants from the Argentinian government to study how learning and memory work in the hippocampus. After moving to the USA in the same year, he completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University. Then, he pursued post docs at Wake Forest University, NC, and Bowling Green State University, Ohio. In 2005, Dr. Montoya began his career as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at FSU, where he is currently a tenured associate professor. His main research interests are cognition, consciousness, and their relationship with Artificial Intelligence.

  • Home Institution
    Fayetteville State University
  • Education
    Daniel Montoya earned his B.S. in Psychology and Ph.D. in Biopsychology from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.
  • Personal Interests
    Travel, writing, creating electronic music
Sarah Cronin
Psychology
Sarah Cronin
Psychology

Sarah Cronin, PhD, LP (she/they) is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. They are an alum of Semester at Sea and thrilled to return as a faculty member. The chance to gain a global perspective while studying psychology was truly transformative, and she is excited to go through the process again with her students. Sarah’s approach in the classroom is collaborative and encourages self-exploration and identity formation. As a counseling psychologist, she works to integrate her lens as a scientist-practitioner into professional settings. At her home institution, Sarah co-directs the Indigenous Students in Psychology Training (InPsyT) program, which supports Indigenous psychology majors on their paths to graduate school and serving their communities.

  • Home Institution
    Bemidji State University
  • Education
    Sarah earned their BA degrees from the University of St. Thomas and their Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota
  • Personal Interests
    Time in nature, Exploring new food and drinks, Mario Kart, Winter sports, Volleyball
Ken Cushner
Global Studies Director-Intercultural Specialist
Ken Cushner
Global Studies Director-Intercultural Specialist

Ken taught in schools in Switzerland, Australia, and the USA before becoming a professor of international teacher education. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Sweden and Poland, and a visiting professor in China, Serbia, Bahamas, and Australia. Ken has traveled with young people and teachers on all seven continents. Ken serves as Executive Director of the Int’l Academy for Intercultural Research; has become active with Givat Haviva, an Israeli organization devoted to Arab and Jewish reconciliation; and the Orkeeswa School, a Maasai community school in northern Tanzania. This will be his 6th voyage with SAS.

  • Home Institution
    Kent State University: Kent Campus
  • Education
    Ken earned his B.A. in biology and education, and M.Ed. in counseling from Kent State University, and an Ed.D. in curriculum from the University of Hawaii/East-West Center.
  • Personal Interests
    In addition to travel, Ken enjoys photography, cycling, hiking and music.
Kim Euell
Theatre and Africana Studies/Film
Kim Euell
Theatre and Africana Studies/Film

Kim Euell is a professional theatre artist with a passion for teaching. Her most recent production, Flex by Candrice Jones, debuted to critical acclaim Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center in June 2023. Kim edited the first play anthology devoted to hip-hop theatre and her plays have been performed across the U.S. and in Cape Town. As a Visiting Artist at Cape Town’s University of the Western Cape from 2017-19, she conducted script writing workshops and theatre excursions as part of her courses. Kim also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was Playwright in Residence from 2014-18. Kim was the August Wilson Fellow in Theatre and a MacArthur Scholar in Development Studies & Social Change at the University of Minnesota.

  • Home Institution
    Southern Oregon University
  • Education
    Kim Euell earned her BA with Honors in Africana Studies and International Relations from Stanford University and her MFA in Theater Arts from the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop.
  • Personal Interests
    History and cultural expressions (music, theater, dance, cinema) of the African Diaspora and Asia, Hip-hop, international politics, cultural exchange, making collaborative theatre pieces.
Brian Goeltzenleuchter
Art & Art History
Brian Goeltzenleuchter
Art & Art History

Brian Goeltzenleuchter is the Darlene Shiley Honors Faculty Fellow in the Weber Honors College, San Diego State University. He is a conceptual artist working at the intersection of social engagement, olfactory art, and drawing. His artwork has been exhibited in over 60 museums and galleries in 9 countries. He has held residencies at Banff Centre (Canada), Centrum Beeldende Kunst (The Netherlands), Sculpture Space (New York), and Institute for Art and Olfaction (Los Angeles). Having taught at universities since he was 21 years old, Brian has developed teaching methods that are marked by interdisciplinary research, experiential learning, collaboration, and humor. Brian is an alumnus of Semester at Sea (Summer 1996), which he attended with his then-girlfriend and now-wife of 25 years, Amy.

  • Home Institution
    San Diego State University
  • Education
    Brian Goeltzenleuchter earned his MFA and BA degrees from the University of California San Diego.
  • Personal Interests
    Brian is an avid basketball player and semi-retired skateboarder. He’s also an amateur scholar of olfactory culture, so unless you love talking about food, wine, or perfume, don’t get him started.
Samuel Granoff
Writing Center Director
Samuel Granoff
Writing Center Director

For his first voyage, Samuel Granoff will serve as the Director of the Writing Center while also teaching E 238 Contemporary Global Fiction and E 311A Intermediate Creative Writing. Both courses will hone students’ critical and creative skills by engaging work from an array of award-winning international authors. Having founded a literary journal, worked in publishing, and helped students place work from Ms. Magazine to The New York Times, Sam aims to support writers both on and off the page.

Aside from creative writing and composition, he has taught classes on The Beatles, Westerns, and baseball. Sam pitched professionally in Europe last summer and will coach in Argentina this fall. He is currently working on a novel about the game.

  • Home Institution
    Florida State University
  • Education
    Samuel earned his BA from the University of San Francisco, his MA from Duke University, and his MFA from Columbia University. He is currently completing a PhD at Florida State University.
  • Personal Interests
    Sam plays three instruments, practices photography, and has a knack for finding the best food around. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and is spending this summer living in Japan.
Doris Gray
Gender Studies & Social Sciences
Doris Gray
Gender Studies & Social Sciences

Dr. Doris H. Gray directed the Hillary Clinton Center for Women’s Empowerment at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, where she served as Professor of Women and Gender Studies.She moved to Morocco from Tallahassee, Florida, where she taught Women Studies and in the Modern Languages Department at Florida State University.
Before becoming an academic, Doris worked as a foreign correspondent from South Africa and then for 10 years in Nairobi, Kenya.
Her books: Leaving the Shadow of Pain: a cross-cultural exploration of truth, trauma, reconciliation and healing, Women and Social Change in North Africa: What counts as Revolutionary?, Beyond Feminism and Islamism: Gender and Equality in North Africa, Muslim Women on the Move: Moroccan Women and French Women of Moroccan Origin Speak Out.

  • Home Institution
    Al Akhawayn University
  • Education
    Ph.D. Florida State University, M.S. Florida A&M University, Journalism School, Bielefeld, Germany
  • Personal Interests
    Reading, Bicycling, Classical Music, Exploring
Joseph Itaya
Film, Multi-media, Communication
Joseph Itaya
Film, Multi-media, Communication

Joseph Itaya is an award-winning film director, digital content creator, technology innovator, educator, and entrepreneur. He specializes in the fusion of storytelling and business, synthesizing brand identity and strategy into compelling multi-media content for defined audiences.

For over 20 years, Itaya has produced and directed multitiered digital campaigns for global brands including Sony, CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, Walmart, Mattel, and Coca-Cola. He founded Legacy Films in 2007 and has produced documentaries for notable clients in the fields of politics, real estate, finance, sports, and entrepreneurship. A pioneer in the live-action VR industry, Itaya also founded EVRLAND, to bring travel/wellness/education VR experiences to sick and disadvantaged children.

  • Home Institution
    University of Southern California
  • Education
    Joseph Itaya earned his BA in Piano and Composition from the University of Washington, and an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California.
  • Personal Interests
    Joseph is a lifelong musician, and has been a touring/recording pianist, vocalist, and songwriter since early childhood.
Mara Karlin
Political Science
Mara Karlin
Political Science

Karlin served in national security roles for 3 presidents and 6 secretaries of defense. As Asst. Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, she led the 2022 National Defense Strategy and advised the Secretary of Defense on forces, plans, posture, emerging capabilities, and security cooperation. She was Acting Asst. Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, leading DoD relations with nearly 150 countries. In the Obama and Bush administrations, she focused on strategic planning, defense policy and budgeting, future conflicts, and Middle East and Asian affairs. She was the Strategic Studies Director and an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She wrote two books on military history.

  • Education
    Karlin earned an undergraduate degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
  • Personal Interests
    Karlin sailed on SAS as a college student in Fall 1999 and as faculty in Spring 2017- where she was named “Most Inspirational Professor” and selected by the students as graduation speaker.
Heidi Keller-Lapp
Port Country Discovery Specialist
Heidi Keller-Lapp
Port Country Discovery Specialist

Heidi Keller-Lapp is a historian with a PhD in European history/French empire, focusing on gender, religion, and the impact of maritime voyages on identity. On this voyage, she will teach Global Studies and Modern World History. She taught and administered a global studies program at UC San Diego and is now at San Diego State University where her courses include the global history of religion, ideas, revolutions, social movements, and gender/sexuality. As a first-gen student, Prof. Heidi values education as her best investment and is passionate about learning and teaching. She has lived and worked in Europe and the Mediterranean. Teaching Global Studies on the Spring ‘22 voyage is her most rewarding professional and personal experience. She can’t wait to see what this voyage will bring!

  • Home Institution
    San Diego State University
  • Education
    Heidi Keller-Lapp earned her MS degree in Higher Education from Indiana University and her PhD in early modern European history/French Empire from UC San Diego
  • Personal Interests
    Heidi enjoys yoga, exploring new cities, long walks with her beagle, and U2 concerts.
Meg Lewis
Theatre & Film Studies
Meg Lewis
Theatre & Film Studies

A South African Theatre & Film scholar and Distinguished Teacher, this is Dr. Lewis’ second voyage with Semester at Sea. A fierce advocate for international education, she leads her own study abroad program, Arts & Culture in South Africa, and believes that the performing arts offer a lens through which to examine social justice, race, class and gender politics, history, & memory. Study abroad builds our global citizenship skills, capacity for empathy, and understanding of difference & diversity. Lewis is author of Magnet Theatre: Three Decades of Making Space (2016) and Performing Whitely in the Postolony: Afrikaners in South African Theatrical and Public Life (2016). She is the Director of Theatre at Colorado State University.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Dr. Lewis earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota, MA from Johns Hopkins, BA from Kenyon College, and Digital Filmmaking Certificate from NY Film Academy.
  • Personal Interests
    Dr. Lewis loves hiking, the ocean, arts of every kind, world music, fine wine, and documentary films. She spends her time between South Africa and the United States.
Laurie McConnico
Oceanography and Conservation of Marine Megafauna
Laurie McConnico
Oceanography and Conservation of Marine Megafauna

Laurie McConnico is marine biologist and native Californian who grew up in Fresno (the hot, land-locked central valley). Her interests in marine biology developed as a child, often camping along the coast with her family (although her mother never liked to admit to having once tolerated camping). At her home campus, Laurie teaches marine biology, general biology and field studies courses, including some in Baja, Mexico. She has received several awards for teaching and faculty excellence over the years and is passionate about field courses that take her students throughout California and abroad. Research and professional highlights, so far, include diving 2 miles below the ocean’s surface, nerding-out on algae anywhere she can, and of course sailing with Semester at Sea!

  • Home Institution
    Cuesta College
  • Education
    Laurie McConnico earned her PhD from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur; her MS from Moss Landing Marine Labs; and her BS from UC San Diego.
  • Personal Interests
    Laurie enjoys traveling, hiking, vintage “stuff,” pressing algae (it’s like pressing flowers, only cooler!), spending time in Mexico and anything to do with the ocean.
Stephen Preece
Business Management
Stephen Preece
Business Management

Dr. Preece’s research and teaching centers on both the Entrepreneurship and Business & Society fields of specialty. Most recent research has focused on the challenge of Arts Management (music, theater, opera, dance) including areas such as partnerships, sponsorship, funding, marketing, etc. Stephen is a successful entrepreneur, having founded The Jazz Room in Waterloo, Ontario (now in its 13th year).

  • Home Institution
    Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Education
    Stephen Preece earned their PhD degree from The Ohio State University
  • Personal Interests
    Music performance (piano, voice), Sports (soccer, mountain biking, rock climbing), Movies, and Reading!
Ursula Quillmann
Blue World Specialist
Ursula Quillmann
Blue World Specialist

Ursula Quillmann is passionate about the role the ocean plays on shaping the Earth’s environment, our climate, and life. She began her career in researching the link between ocean and abrupt climate changes during the past 12,000 years in the northern North Atlantic. Today, she focuses on investigating how human activity affects ocean environments.
Ursula sailed on Semester at Sea for the first time in Spring 2017, a voyage that crossed the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Here she witnessed first-hand some of global challenges human activities created. She firmly believes that we can work towards solving global challenges we created. In Spring 2022, Ursula sailed as part of the Global Studies team on the first SAS voyage since Covid was declared a pandemic.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Ursula earned her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Ursula moved in 1980 from Germany to the United States. She is a first-generation college graduate.
  • Personal Interests
    Ursula lives in Colorado with her husband and her two dogs. She loves being outdoors, loves hiking, snowshoeing, and snorkeling. She is an amateur photographer. She loves to read.
Andy Seidl
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Andy Seidl
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics

Andrew (Andy) Seidl has been CSU professor of environmental and development economics since before the invention of wifi and the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy. His work focuses on natural resource-based economic development and private (agricultural) lands conservation in Colorado and biodiversity finance and World Heritage tourism internationally.

Andy has taught courses and/or lived in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, England, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and Vietnam, and has travelled to about 80 countries. He has worked with the Brazilian government in the Pantanal, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Andy earned his Ph.D. (1996) and M.S. (1993) in Food & Resource Economics from the University of Florida & his B.A. in Economics & International Relations from the University of Wisconsin (1985).
  • Personal Interests
    He can hack his way through Spanish and Portuguese and can read French but really can only tell the best dad jokes in English. He enjoys losing at golf, soccer, skiing, and a good local IPA.
Yuwei Shi
Business and Management
Yuwei Shi
Business and Management

Dr. Shi is an expert in contemporary business and management. His interests center on competitive strategy, business model and impact management for sustainable enterprises. He published dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals, several books and book chapters and numerous articles in popular media. An innovator in pedagogy, course and program design, Dr. Shi led the development of award-winning programs such as the FMS Fellowship Program and the Blue Pioneers Accelerator Program. He was Dean of Graduate School of International Policy and Management at Middlebury Institute and had twenty years of experience as founder of tech venture, advisory partner at venture capital firm, and consultant to well-known management consulting firms. He lives with his wife in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Home Institution
    Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Education
    Yuwei earned his BE at Shanghai Jiaotong University, his MCL at SMU Dedman School of Law, and his PhD in Organization and Strategic Management at UT Dallas Jindal School of Management.
Glenn Shive
History
Glenn Shive
History

I grew up in Philadelphia PA in USA and studied religion and Asian Studies for BA, MA and PhD at Temple University. After a post-doc at Harvard U, I taught American studies at East China Normal U in Shanghai, China. Was assistant dean at East West Center in Hawaii (1982-86) and Scholar in Residence at the Fulbright office in Washington DC. I joined Institute of International Education (IIE) as director of IIE/Hong Kong in 1988. Established the Hong Kong America Center (HKAC) and was a Fulbright scholar in CUHK. From 2000-2020 was CEO of the HKAC, until I retired to Scotland, where I now live.

  • Home Institution
    Retired
  • Education
    Glenn Shive earned their BA in Religion 72 and MA 76 and PhD 79 in Asian History from Temple University.
  • Personal Interests
    I have an enduring interest in the diversity of human cultures and settlements, and the experience of travelers who encounter those cultures and learn from them.
Irit Shmuel
Tourism
Irit Shmuel
Tourism

Dr. Irit Shmuel is Head of Tourism Studies in the Management Department at Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel. Trained in geography, her main research interest is in the field of tourism and includes the following: touristic imagination, cultural tourism, rural tourism, and host-guest relationship. Dr. Shmuel holds BA (1997) and MA (2008) in geography from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Ph.D. (2021) in Tourism and Geography from Bar Ilan University in Israel. Dr. Shmuel lectures at conferences, workshops, and seminars worldwide and collaborates with researchers from Israel and abroad.

  • Home Institution
    Hadassah Academic College
  • Education
    Irit Shmuel earned her BA and MA degrees in Geography from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; her Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
Melissa Stewart
Religious Studies
Melissa Stewart
Religious Studies

Melissa Stewart is professor of religious studies and gender studies at Adrian College, in SE Michigan, where she won the teaching award in 2013. She sailed with SAS Fall 16 which she considers one of the best experiences of her life. Thanks to a Lilly Grant, she trained in active pedagogies and teaching civic engagement. And as the current Adrian College Study Abroad Director, she helps students pursue their passion for studying across cultures. She has spent semesters studying in Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, the DR, Germany and Sweden. Melissa enjoys time with her partner Brad and three boys Walker, Oscar and William. She likes to travel, swim, and play cards, and hopes to do as many of these as possible with the SAS Spring 24 students.

  • Home Institution
    Adrian College
  • Education
    Melissa Stewart earned their PhD from Vanderbilt University; and their BA from Wofford College.
  • Personal Interests
    Swimming, biking, watching soccer, and reading fiction.
Julie Strand
Ethnomusicology
Julie Strand
Ethnomusicology

Julie is an independent scholar living in Portland, OR. She is an SAS veteran, having taught on the Spring ‘07 voyage, which included shipmate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as the Spring ’12 and Fall ’13 voyages. Julie’s areas of expertise include music and cultures from West Africa and Indonesia and has led non-SAS study abroad programs to Ghana and Bali while teaching at Northeastern University in Boston. She was profiled alongside other scholars in the book, Living Ethnomusicology: Paths and Practices by M. Sarkissian and T. Solis (U of Illinois, 2019). Presently, Julie co-directs a Portland-based Balinese Gamelan ensemble called Gamelan Wahyu Dari Langit (Revelations from the Sky) and is completing a book about Obo Addy, a renowned master drummer from Ghana and local Portland icon.

  • Home Institution
    Independent Scholar
  • Education
    Dr. Strand earned her PhD in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, her MA in Ethnomusicology from Arizona State University, and her BMA in Clarinet Performance from the University of Michigan.
  • Personal Interests
    Free time activities include gardening, swimming, woodworking, and enjoying the beauties of the Pacific Northwest. She also recently completed certification to be a full stack software engineer.
Scott Wiebensohn
Librarian
Scott Wiebensohn
Librarian

I love helping people share their story for their love of libraries. I am a trained educator and information specialist. While on land, I collaborate with a highly skilled team of librarians and library staff at CSU. We put credible resources into the hands of curious users. I enjoy presenting to students and educators on navigating the internet and exploring the research process in a fast and fluid manner. No matter the question, I’m determined to provide library users with a credible and speedy answer.

My main life objectives are to motivate life-long learners, to cultivate information literacy skills, and to fuel and embrace positive change. I look forward to meeting each of you on the ship and welcoming everyone to the library, a space and place where academic creativity blossoms.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Scott earned their Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and their Master of Library and Information Science degree from University of Denver.
  • Personal Interests
    While I don’t do much reading, I do take joy in composting, fishing, cooking, watching movies, judging livestock, and anything from Wisconsin!

Staff

Andrew Brimhall
Counselor
Andrew Brimhall
Counselor

Andrew is a licensed psychologist in the state of Colorado. He earned his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Ball State University, and a Masters in International Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in Mexico City.

As a staff psychologist at Colorado State University, Andrew specializes in individual and group counseling, multicultural therapy, and providing affirmative care to students holding marginalized identities.

Although a native of the United States, Andrew spent 2 years in Brazil and another 2 years in Mexico; he speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Andrew is aboard the ship with his partner and their 13 years old son, and is missing their 2 dogs, Rorschach and Mighty Macho, who had to stay behind.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Andrew earned his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Ball State University, and his MA in International Psychology from Alliant International University
  • Personal Interests
    Andrew and his son Jacob started a YouTube gaming Channel in 2020 called “Come Game with Us” and enjoy filmmaking and editing together.
Kim Brimhall
Kids’ & Teens’ Program Coordinator
Kim Brimhall
Kids’ & Teens’ Program Coordinator

With a rich background in education spanning 25 years, Kim had the privilege of teaching children in various capacities, including dance, cheer, gymnastics, and preschool. Her passion for education has been a driving force throughout her career. In addition to this, Kim co-manages a simple living blog with her sisters, where they explore the beauty of minimalism, sustainable living, and the pursuit of a simpler, more intentional life. Kim also finds great joy in volunteering at her kids’ school, further deepening her commitment to nurturing young minds and promoting a clutter-free, intentional lifestyle.

  • Education
    Kim earned her Associate of Science Degree from Citrus College.
  • Personal Interests
    Kim loves to cook, eat good food, dance, play board games, watch movies, and chill.
Maeve Byrnes
Administrative Assistant for Program Support
Maeve Byrnes
Administrative Assistant for Program Support

Maeve is joining her husband, Tom, on the Spring 2024 SAS voyage, and she is looking forward to working with the Administrative staff on this voyage. She currently lives in North Carolina where she was a Kindergarten teacher for almost 20 years. Maeve retired in the Summer of 2020, and has been a Reading tutor since then. Maeve and her husband have 4 children. Three of them live in Brooklyn, NY and one in Durham, NC. They spend their summers at a lake in Pennsylvania, and they love the outdoors. Maeve loves to travel, and they are both looking forward to exploring countries they have never visited before. They are also looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends.

  • Education
    BBA from Pace University, Elementary Ed. Teacher Certification, Meredith College
  • Personal Interests
    Hobbies: Knitting, Reading, Walking, Kayaking. Between 2018-2023 Maeve visited Ireland 3x learning about the homeland of her four grandparents.
Joe Cronin
Kids’ & Teens’ Program Coordinator
Joe Cronin
Kids’ & Teens’ Program Coordinator

Joe Cronin (he/him) is a Senior Data Analyst for EAB, a higher education consulting firm. He works with colleges and universities to leverage their financial aid policy in order to meet their institutional enrollment goals. Throughout the course of the past 7 years, his work has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of college students across the US as they made their college decisions. In his spare time, he is a youth basketball coach and is on the board of directors for a couple of non-profits in his community. He is excited to meet the ship kids and to see what sort of creative endeavors they pursue throughout the voyage!

  • Education
    Joe earned their B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Saint Thomas
  • Personal Interests
    Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Frisbees, Canoeing, Backpacking, Spicy Food, Mountains, Waterfalls, Karaoke, Dad Jokes, Board Games, The Price Is Right
Hyla Cushner
Global Studies Instructional Coordinator
Hyla Cushner
Global Studies Instructional Coordinator

Hyla Cushner (M.Ed.) retired from a 30 year career teaching and advocating for children with special needs at all levels of K-12 education. Her career included teaching ESL at Case Western Reserve University, teaching Intervention Specialists at the University of Hawaii, and 30 years as a Case Manager. Post retirement, Hyla has consulted with the Autism Society of Greater Akron in support of families and children with their inclusion concerns pertaining to schools and community agencies, served as Project Director on a Transition Project at Kent State University, and offering professional development at a Maasai school in Tanzania. This will be Hyla’s fourth voyage. Travel is a big part of her life having lived in Australia and Hawaii in addition to Ohio.

  • Home Institution
    County of Summit Board of Developmental Disabilities, Retired
  • Education
    Hyla earned her M.ED degree from Kent State University
  • Personal Interests
    When traveling, Hyla enjoys making personal connections with people. At home she loves spending time with her husband and grandchildren hiking, playing basketball, and baseball, and cooking/baking.
David Ferree
David Ferree

My name is David, (he/him) and I am so excited about our upcoming voyage!! In 2011, I had a goal to one day become a resident director on a Semester at Sea Voyage, and 12 years later, it came true! I have memorized the itinerary and have started doing my research into things to do at different ports. When we’re sailing I hope to connect with you all through board games, basketball, and over my love of food. (Fair warning, I’m VERY good at Settlers of Catan.)

Home for me is Fort Collins, Colorado. I have two degrees from CSU and I truly wish to work at CSU for the rest of my career. My wife and I have a beautiful fur baby named “Riggins,” who is our pride and joy. For fun I play on a kickball team, rock climb and watch documentaries.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    David earned his bachelor’s in Political Science from CSU in 2013 and then his masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) from CSU in 2018.
  • Personal Interests
    College Football, March Madness, Documentaries, Rock Climbing, Video Games, Board Games, and anything else that is awesome.
Amy Goeltzenleuchter
Advancement Coordinator
Amy Goeltzenleuchter
Advancement Coordinator

Amy started her career in education as a high school English teacher in the early 2000s before making an unexpected move to serve publicly-funded Adult ESL programs nationwide. Over the last 20 years, Amy has made significant contributions to Adult ESL programs housed in K12 school districts and community college districts by providing professional development to hundreds of teachers and classroom support to ensure efficacy for students. Often the “hidden gem” of public education, Adult ESL programs provide access to community resources, employment and career preparation, and tools for academic success to learners of all backgrounds. The enthusiasm of the staff and students in Adult ESL programs Amy serves often mimic her own enthusiasm for learning something new in challenging situations.

  • Education
    Amy earned her MA in Creative Writing from Central Washington University; and her BA in Comparative Literature and Secondary Teaching Credential from San Diego State University
  • Personal Interests
    Amy and husband Brian participated in Semester at Sea as students in 1996 and now celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary as staculty.
SuEllen Hamkins
Counselor
SuEllen Hamkins
Counselor

SuEllen Hamkins, MD is a psychiatrist specializing in college mental health and narrative therapy. Her passion is helping people thrive in the face of challenges and difficulties. As Assistant Professor at UMass Chan Medical School, she cherishes providing psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment to students, as well as offering psychotherapy supervision. She has been an Assistant Director at the Center for Counseling at UMass-Amherst and College Psychiatrist at Smith College. Her book, The Art of Narrative Psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 2013) offers detailed guidance in resiliency-focused, culturally-attuned, collaborative mental health practice, bringing narrative approaches alive through vivid case reports. She regularly presents at professional conferences around the world.

  • Home Institution
    University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
  • Education
    SuEllen earned her BA from Cornell University and her MD from the University of Wisconsin Medical School.
  • Personal Interests
    SuEllen loves to dance, swim, explore the world, connect with people, and lie around the living room with her partner, kids and friends.
John Lapp
Administrative Assistant for Program Support
John Lapp
Administrative Assistant for Program Support

John will be serving as an Administrative Assistant on voyage 133. His spouse is Dr. Heidi Keller-Lapp who is part of the Global Studies Team for the Spring 2024 voyage. John is a retired elementary school teacher from San Diego California and is looking forward to the adventures ahead!

  • Education
    University of California Santa Barbara B.A. Liberal Studies 1986
  • Personal Interests
    I have been married for 30 years and have two sons Noah (27) and Jacob (25). The two of us are returning voyagers having previously traveled on voyage 129. I enjoy golf and travel tremendously!
Ginny Leitner
Physician Assistant
Ginny Leitner
Physician Assistant

Virginia “Ginny” is a board certified Physician Assistant who will be joining SAS on her second voyage, having sailed as a student in the Spring of 1986. This was a life-changing experience and she is thrilled to be here once again, especially in a medically supportive role. She joins our medical team with 27 years experience in emergency and urgent care medicine. She has 2 great kids- a 23 year old daughter, a recent graduate in film studies from Ithaca College, and a 26 year old son, Plattsburgh University grad working in the field of marine biology.

  • Home Institution
    Rosendale Medical Center
  • Education
    Ginny earned a BS in biology at Syracuse University in 1989, a BS in PA studies at LIU Brooklyn in 1994, and an MS in PA studies at Pace University in 2019.
  • Personal Interests
    Ginny spends her free time traveling, hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, scuba diving, and singing in a small local band.
Dannie Matevia
Lifelong Learner Voyage Coordinator
Dannie Matevia
Lifelong Learner Voyage Coordinator

Dannie is a highly accomplished professional with a diverse background in academia, philanthropy, and international engagement. As the Director of Donor and Foundation Relations at Gulfstream Goodwill, Dannie has contributed significantly to the organization’s success in improving the lives of the most marginalized in our society. Dannie’s global experiences have shaped her worldview. From the Spring 2007 voyage on Semester at Sea to residing in rural 영월 South Korea and meeting her husband, Blessing, from Durban, South Africa, to raising their two children in Seoul, she values cultural diversity and the transformative power of exploration. She could not be more thrilled to be serving as the Lifelong Learner community and to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity for a second time!

  • Home Institution
    Gulfstream Goodwill
  • Education
    Dannie earned her B.S. Arts Administration from Butler University; Master of Nonprofit Management from University of Central Florida; and MBA from University of Maryland University College
  • Personal Interests
    Dannie and Blessing enjoy hiking, yoga, exercise, live music, Korean food, trivia, reading, and traveling with their two children, Bantu and Nandi, Our most recent favorite destination? Florence.
Roxie Mitchell
Global Studies Instructional Coordinator
Roxie Mitchell
Global Studies Instructional Coordinator

Roxie Mitchell is a Semester at Sea Alumni from the Spring 2003 who will return to join Semester at Sea again with her family as one of the Global Studies Coordinators for the Spring 2024 voyage. She is a National Board Certified teacher that has 19+ years of teaching experience in both in-person and virtual environments primarily with art education for students from kindergarten through college.

  • Home Institution
    Pueblo Community College
  • Education
    Roxie Mitchell earned her Bachelor of Arts-Honors in Art and her Master of Arts in Teaching from The University of Puget Sound.
  • Personal Interests
    Roxie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who snowboards and mountain bikes. She is a practicing studio artist who uses photography as her main media and is inspired by to new places and ideas.
Vanita Narayana
Resident Director
Vanita Narayana
Resident Director

Vani worked in student affairs for 19 years at various small private liberal arts colleges and at Colorado State University (12 years). She was primarily in DEI and Campus Activities, but also spent 2 years in Admissions. Since 2019, Vani joined her family’s business, ansrsource, which works primarily in online education and accessibility. She developed a series of asynchronous microlearning courses on DEI topics known as The Inclusion Institute (TM) and oversaw the development of many other courses on topics such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. She is currently working in Marketing and Communications and developing a DEI strategy for the company.

Vani is divorced with 2 kids who will join this voyage as well as 2 adorable tiny dogs. She lives in Colorado.

  • Education
    Vani earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Colorado College and her Master’s in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis
  • Personal Interests
    Vani enjoys traveling to Disneyworld, karaoke, baking, making ice cream, water aerobics and she regularly does Bikram yoga, but doesn’t “enjoy” it. She started a virtual antiracism book club in 2020.
Zoe Nguyen
Social Media Coordinator
Zoe Nguyen
Social Media Coordinator

Zoë is a freelance multi-media artist and storyteller, specializing in social media, illustration, and podcasting. She’s been a digital nomad for the last 7 years, traveling and working on teams like Spotify and Remote Year. When she’s not creating, she can be found freediving, taking an online course, or giggling over a book.

Reach out if you’re interested in…
– the creator economy
– a new photo
– puns
– memes
– sharing something you’re excited about

@zoevnguyen

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Zoe Nguyen earned their Bachelor of Science degree from San Francisco State University
  • Personal Interests
    Intentional living, visual storytelling (photo/video, illustration), freediving, cooking, all of the things!
Daniel Ostick
Resident Director
Daniel Ostick
Resident Director

Daniel has worked in several roles in Student Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park, including human resources and student & staff development in Resident Life, and leadership curriculum development and assessment & administration in the student union. He has also worked in residence life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Texas at Austin. Daniel has taught classes on student leadership and global leadership and has edited and published articles and book chapters on the social change model of leadership, diversity & leadership, and LGBT issues and leadership. Daniel is also proud to have led students on service-learning global leadership immersion experiences in Masaka, Uganda.

  • Home Institution
    University of Maryland: College Park
  • Education
    Daniel earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia (Advertising), Masters from Indiana University (Student Affairs), and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland (Student Affairs).
  • Personal Interests
    Growing up in an Army family, Daniel lived all over the US (and Panama, too!). In DC, he loves playing bocce in a LGBT league, spending time exploring the city, and traveling to see shows on Broadway.
Sierra Pancoast
Resident Director
Sierra Pancoast
Resident Director

Sierra is a Student Affairs professional with a background in Housing and Residence Life. She’s been a Residence Director for the past 5 years and she enjoys working alongside students to help them define what success looks like for them. She is a strong believer in radical candor and she firmly believes that when we care for others, we challenge them too.

Sierra enjoys any opportunity to be outside or travel. Being outside gives her the chance to unplug. It’s so easy to become over-involved and she finds peace in being in a new environment and stepping away from the chaos to gain new perspectives. As a lifelong learner, Sierra is beyond excited to be on the Spring 2024 voyage!

  • Home Institution
    Gonzaga University
  • Education
    Sierra earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College and her Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas
  • Personal Interests
    If there is a mountain, Sierra will be there either hiking or skiing! She loves visiting National Parks, watching documentaries, seeing live music with her partner, and doing book clubs with friends.
Shayna Perry
Care Team Coordinator
Shayna Perry
Care Team Coordinator

Dr. Shayna Perry (she/her) is a licensed clinical psychologist by day, adjunct professor at Boston College by night, and hungry for good meals & music in between. She’s been passionate for travel since 16 when she spent a year abroad with a host family in Madrid, Spain. Life’s greatest adventures and relationships have come through her international travels, including cross-cultural research trips, exploring the outdoors, pursuing knowledge of spiritual/religious practices, & attending life events of loved ones.

Her role as Care Team Coordinator is to foster a genuine community that looks out for one another based on her clinical background of trauma informed care and mind-body practice. She looks forward to journeying alongside students and staculty at sea.

  • Home Institution
    Boston College
  • Education
    Shayna earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) as well as her B.S. in Biology and Spanish from California Lutheran University.
  • Personal Interests
    An enthusiast for all things outdoors (hiking, trail running, rock climbing, biking). Her simple pleasures include time with loved ones or playing a good funk/jazz tune with her neighborhood band.
Amaya Savoy
Videographer
Amaya Savoy
Videographer

Amaya Savoy-Easton is a content creator and social media strategist. She’s from Southern California but currently resides in Austin, Texas. She’s passionate about telling authentic stories and making sure there’s representation on the screen and behind the screen. She hopes to use her talents to help other share their story with the world.

  • Education
    Amaya Savoy-Easton earned her B.S. Public Relations degree from Texas State University.
Laura Seidl
Assistant Lifelong Learner Coordinator
Laura Seidl
Assistant Lifelong Learner Coordinator

Laura is a Colorado native. She is excited to be traveling with Semester at Sea on Spring of 2024. This will be her first experience on a ship for this period of time but she is ready for the challenge. Having a responsibility with assisting other folks during this time should keep her on her toes and provide some insight to experiences on the ship.

Laura has worked and lived in Europe, South America, Central America, Australia and New Zealand. This will be her first time in Asia and Africa and she is very excited for this opportunity.

  • Education
    Laura earned her bachelors degree (with honors) from the University of Florida in Therapeutic Recreation, College of Health and Human Performance.
  • Personal Interests
    Laura has completed several marathons, Ironman triathlons, hiking, skiing and more recently golfing with her husband and 85 year old mother. She started traveling abroad in 1984 and has never stopped.
Brent Shafer
Resident Director
Brent Shafer
Resident Director

Prior to Semester at Sea, Brent (he/him) has served as a Residence Director at Colorado State University. His favorite part of the RD role is supporting students and seeing them grow over the course of their undergraduate career. His start in the field of student affairs began as RA at his undergraduate institution, The University of Tulsa (TU), and later earned his master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his family. While at TU, he had the transformative opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica during a summer. It was this experience that cultivated his passion for traveling and exploring new places. Brent is excited to be a resource to students aboard this voyage as they become global citizens!

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Brent earned his master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk) and his BA in Organizational Leadership from the University of Tulsa.
  • Personal Interests
    Brent enjoys skiing in his home state of Colorado, cycling, and paddle boarding. He is a major foodie who enjoys trying different dishes and checking out local coffee shops with his dog Henley.
Abigail Smith
Resident Director
Abigail Smith
Resident Director

Abigail most recently served as the Women’s Complex Manager at American University in the United Arab Emirates where she lived for three years. She was born in the United Kingdom but was raised in Jamaica before moving to the United States for college. During her undergraduate career she became curious about the field of student affairs which guided her to pursue her Masters in Higher Education Administration and has built a career so far in Residential Life. Abigail is passionate about supporting students and using her power to create inclusive environments. As a lover of the world, she also enjoys exploring new cultures and sharing her own.

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Abigail Smith earned her bachelors degree from Randolph College and her masters degree from the University of Connecticut
  • Personal Interests
    Abigail’s hobbies include reading, trying new things and exploring the world (23 countries to date). As an island girl, she is a lover of the ocean as its where she feels most calm.
Thomas Sterling
Physician
Thomas Sterling
Physician

Dr. Sterling graduated Cum Laude and with Honors from Grand Canyon University with a BS in Biology. He earned his medical degree from the Midwestern University. He then completed a 5 years of training including 3 year Emergency Medicine Residency at St Vincent’s Mercy Medical Center’s Level I trauma center, 1 year of surgical training at a Temple University Program and 1 year of medicine at Michigan State University. Dr. Sterling started Emergency Medicine with Dartmouth Hitchcock, and is currently the Medical Director for the Manchester Medical Center as well as Deputy Town Health Officer for Manchester.
Dr. Sterling currently serves the US Air Force as a Flight Physician, Critical Care Air Transport Physician, and CERF-P Medical Director for the 193rd Special Operations Medical Group.

  • Education
    Dr. Sterling graduated Cum Laude and with Honors from Grand Canyon University with a BS in Biology. He earned his medical degree from the Midwestern University
  • Personal Interests
    Married with 4 amazing daughters. Studied with the 1997 SAS Fall voyage
Brandon Valicoff
Field Program Coordinator
Brandon Valicoff
Field Program Coordinator

Passionate travel professional with 10+ years’ experience. Committed to staying curious and forever expanding my global perspective. I believe in the power of the outdoors and its impact on the human psyche. In my free time, I love to mountain bike, go backpacking, and have recently obtained my skydiving license. As an alumni of the Spring 2009 voyage, I can’t wait to give back to a community that has given me so much!

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington
  • Personal Interests
    Anything active, especially if it is outdoors!
Jessica Wheeler
Health Team Support Provider
Jessica Wheeler
Health Team Support Provider

Jessica is estatic about her first voyage with Semester at Sea!

Jessica has been a Registered nurse for 16 years. She has practiced in variety of settings but works mainly in Emergency Medicine and Post-Operative care. Nursing has given her the opportunity to provide healthcare internationally, including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in South Sudan and extensive medical work in Haiti. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization that helps provide sustainable healthcare to a rural commuity in Haiti.

When she’s not globe-trotting, Jessica loves to travel with her husband Mal and spend time with their adorable pup Indie. The three of them enjoy bike rides around the city and exploring what Colorado has to offer.

  • Education
    Jessica earned their Associates in Nursing Degreee from Rochester Community and Technical College and their Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
  • Personal Interests
    Jessica enjoys cross-stiching , watching documentaries, and immersing herself in new adventures. She values connecting with people and learning about cultures and traditions that differ from her own.
Hannah Wilson
Counselor
Hannah Wilson
Counselor

Hannah has been a practicing Mental Health Professional for 5 years. Hannah has worked with young adults and marginalized populations for 20 years. Hannah has a client centered approach, offering clients options and moving at a therapeutic pace agreed upon with the patient. Hannah is trained in a variety of therapeutic interventions including: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Managing and Adapting Practices (MAP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Personality Disorder Training with Gregory “Gary” Lester, Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT.)

The interventions listed above are aimed at treating (coping with) anxiety, depression, personality disorders and trauma.

  • Home Institution
    Bemidji State University
  • Education
    Hannah Wilson earned her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Bemidji State University
  • Personal Interests
    Hannah traveled to Spain & Portugal in the Summer of 2022. Hannah has two sons ages 19 & 21. She has been married to her husband Ron Wilson, Leech Lake Tribal member, for 23 years.

Interport Lecturers

Aileen Tan
Interport Lecturer for Malaysia
Aileen Tan
Interport Lecturer for Malaysia

Aileen Tan is a Professor in Marine Science at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Currently, she is the Director of the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) in USM, Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific University-Community Engagement Network (APUCEN), and Vice Chair of IOC Western Pacific (WESTPAC).

A pioneer in the area of green aquaculture in Malaysia, she has been a champion of mollusc culture for the last 30 years. Her work with mollusc culture, which is centered on providing an alternative livelihood for coastal communities, is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing poverty while aiming to stimulate actions to promote prosperity and protect the planet to achieve sustainable development (in line with Blue Economy).

  • Home Institution
    Universiti Sains Malaysia – Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS)
  • Education
    Aileen Tan earned her BSc from the National University of Malaysia and her MSc and Ph.D. from the Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Koki Grignon
Interport Lecturer for Kenya
Koki Grignon
Interport Lecturer for Kenya

Amb. Dr. FCS. Koki Muli Grignon is the founding Ag. Dean of South Eastern Kenya University School of Law. For over 33 years she has been involved in the human rights and women’s rights movements, academia, diplomacy, social justice and rule of law, constitutional making and review processes, democratization process, and free, fair, transparent, and accountable elections. She is a Lecturer, a Professional Mediator, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a Commissioner for Oaths, a Notary Public, and a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICS) and holds various professional certificates.

  • Home Institution
    Kenyatta University
  • Education
    Ph.D. in Law (Dar-Es-Salaam), a Master’s in Human Rights (London, UK), an LL.B (Nairobi), a Diploma in Law (Kenya School of Law), and a Certificate in Human Rights (Columbia University, New York).
  • Personal Interests
    Spending time with my family and relaxing when I can, reading and writing, gardening and farming, cooking, travel, music and the arts.
Vassen Kauppaymuthoo
Interport Lecturer for Mauritius
Vassen Kauppaymuthoo
Interport Lecturer for Mauritius

Born in Mauritius and having studied in France, Canada and the UK, I hold three academic degrees in Environmental Engineering, Oceanography and Law and I am also a qualified skipper and a professional diver. Having worked in Small Island Developing States and Continental Africa for the last 28 years in the fields of blue economy with international organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, Japan Cooperation, French Cooperation, the Commonwealth, I have developed Marine Protected Areas and advanced policies in the field of ocean governance, including at the United Nations by participating in the first Ocean Conference in New York in 2017.

  • Education
    Masters in Environmental Engineering Ecole des Mines, France (1990 to 1994) Masters in Oceanography University of Quebec, Canada (1994 to 1997) LLB Laws University of London, UK (2015 to 2017)
  • Personal Interests
    Discovering the oceans…
Janet Jobson
Interport Lecturer for South Africa
Janet Jobson
Interport Lecturer for South Africa

Janet Jobson is the CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Previously, Janet was the Deputy CEO (and Acting CEO for the period Feb 2021 to Feb 2022) at the DG Murray Trust (DGMT), one of South Africa’s largest private foundations. Her work focused primarily on the education and youth development sectors. Janet has held governance and leadership roles with a range of organizations such as Activate! Leadership, Amandla.mobi, Amnesty International South Africa, and CIVICUS. Janet completed a BA (Hons) degree in History at Rhodes University as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. Her academic work then took her to Oxford University, where she completed an MPhil in Development Studies as a Rhodes Scholar. In 2009-10 she was a Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Fellow based in Montreal, Canada.

  • Home Institution
    The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
  • Education
    Janet earned her MPhil degree from Oxford University, and their BA(Hons) from Rhodes University.
  • Personal Interests
    Janet has a personal love for poetry, theatre, and the arts as tools for engaging with histories of violence, and reimagining our societies.
Charlene Houston
Interport Lecturer for South Africa
Charlene Houston
Interport Lecturer for South Africa

Charlene Houston is a community centered, public historian and creative. She uses writing, dialogue and documentary film to promote healing, love and/or social change. She is a well-known anti-apartheid activist and remains engaged as an activist on certain socio-political and justice issues. As the former Head of the Museum Service in the Western Cape Government she championed the reburial of ancestral human remains of indigenous people held in museums. She led various projects to bring visibility to marginalised histories including enslavement, precolonial indigenous histories and liberation heritage. She has worked on the legacy projects of former Rivonia Trialists Nelson Mandela, Dennis Goldberg, former Constitutional Court Judge, Albie Sachs and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu.

  • Home Institution
    The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
  • Education
    Charlene is a PhD scholar at the University of Johannesburg. She has an MA from the University of the Western Cape as well as Postgraduate Diplomas in Museums and Heritage Studies and in Education.
  • Personal Interests
    Reading, creative writing, live music, dancing, forest meanders, beach walks, movies, blowing bubbles, colouring mandalas, cooking and family time.

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