Spring 2025 | 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

Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala
Academic Dean
Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala
Academic Dean

Fabiola P. Ehlers-Zavala (Ella/She) is Professor of English at Colorado State University (CSU). She earned both her M.A. in English and her Ph.D. in English Studies from Illinois State University (ISU). She earned a B.A. in English from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV), Chile. Her scholarship addresses issues in language teacher preparation, internationalization for diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership in higher education. In addition to having served as Chair of TESOL International’s Nominating Committee and the Bilingual Education Interest section (BEIS). She is Past President of Illinois TESOL/BE (Bilingual Education) and Past President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). She loves languages, travel, and animals.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala earned her Ph.D. from Illinois State University; her MA from Illinois State University; and her BA from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de ValparaÍso, Chile.
  • Personal Interests
    Travel, languages, reading, cats
Mike Ellis
Assistant Executive Dean
Mike Ellis
Assistant Executive Dean

Mike serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University. Mike sailed with Semester at Sea in Spring 2018 as the Dean of Student Life and is excited to return to the MV World Odyssey.

Mike is originally from southern California where, as a first-generation student, he attended UC Irvine and began his career in student affairs. He is committed to ensuring student access to leadership opportunities in higher education which help students not only feel connected in our communities of learning, but also empowered to make a difference in our world.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    EdD degree from University of Utah; MA degree from University of Maryland, College Park; BA degree from University of California, Irvine
  • Personal Interests
    Mike and his wife, Maria, can often be found in the Colorado landscape, fly fishing, hiking, playing pickle ball, and cycling through the city of Fort Collins.
Robyn Jeep Ernst
Academic Advisor/Registrar
Robyn Jeep Ernst
Academic Advisor/Registrar

Robyn Jeep Ernst (she/her) is currently a Graduate Student Advisor for the Online MBA Program a Colorado State University. Previous advising roles at CSU have been as an Undeclared Advisor in the Collaborative for Student Achievement, First-year Advisor for the School of Biomedical Engineering, and Key Explore Instructor for Key Communities. She worked at the Edwards Campus of Colorado Mountain College where she cultivated a passion for students at all stages of their education journey. Prior to working in higher education, she spent several years enjoying the ski areas around Breckenridge and took advantage of the opportunity to work abroad in New Zealand. Her favorite aspect of being an advisor is to help students understand their journey and how their unique story impacts academics.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Robyn earned her BS in Psychology from Colorado State University and her MEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont.
  • Personal Interests
    Robyn most enjoys adventure and is inspired by interesting stories, a good cup of coffee, and colorful sunsets. Sailing with her will be husband, Joe, son Jonas (11), and daughter Elora (turning 9).

Faculty

Eric Adams
Film, Media, & Journalism
Eric Adams
Film, Media, & Journalism

A passionate film producer, screenwriter, novelist, and former journalist, Eric recently produced the feature film “Rickshaw Girl,” the first ever US-Bangladesh co-production.

Eric wrote the feature “Supremacy,” starring Mahershala Ali and Danny Glover and “My Suicide,” winner of 21 major film festival awards.

As a journalist, Eric’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The LA Times, Wired, and many travel, inflight and business magazines.

Eric is the author of four novels, including the thriller “Birdland” and satire “Cosmic Fever.” Along with his wife Kathleen (a counselor on this journey!), he co-wrote the children’s book “On The Day His Daddy Left.”

Eric and Kathleen live in Sonoma Wine Country and are proud parents of two grown sons, both in the film and music business.

  • Home Institution
    Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Education
    Eric earned his Masters of Arts in Film Studies from Sonoma State University; and his Film and Television Industry Certificate from NYU/Tisch.
  • Personal Interests
    Film, travel, guitar, spirited conversations, epicurean adventures, pizza, laughter. Let’s talk!
Gayle Allard
Economics
Gayle Allard
Economics

Gayle Allard is a professor of Economics at IE Business School in Madrid. She is a native of California, but has lived and worked in Europe for most of her adult life. Her research centers on labor markets in developed countries, and development issues, mainly in Africa and in relation to innovation. She has an NGO that funds projects in water access and women´s education in Ethiopia. Besides her academic publications, she appears regularly in international media as a commentator on economic issues.
Dr. Allard teaches three courses on Coursera and her “MOOCs” have had hundreds of thousands of students. She has authored numerous interactive exercises and games to enhance learning in the classroom, and has written three e-textbooks.

  • Education
    Gayle Allard earned her PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis; Master in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University, Master in Hispanic Studies from Middlebury Institute
  • Personal Interests
    Reading, horseback riding, travel, spending time with family and friends
Sona Andrews
Geography
Sona Andrews
Geography

Sona Karentz Andrews is a professor emerita of geography & provost emerita at Portland State University. She has held faculty positions at the Univ of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Univ of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Boise State Univ, Portland State Univ, and taught at Semester at Sea. Her academic area is geography, cartography, and Geographic Information Science. Sona has held administrative positions at several universities, including Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at Portland State University, Vice Chancellor of the Oregon University System, and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at Boise State. Sona is bilingual (she speaks fluent English and Armenian). She grew up in New England and she and her husband, Steve, like to hike, bicycle, travel, read, and attend live performances.

  • Home Institution
    Portland State University
  • Education
    Sona Andrews earned their bachelor’s degree from Worcester State College in Massachusetts and their master’s and Ph.D. from Arizona State University
  • Personal Interests
    hiking, bicycling, sewing, reading, travelling
Alissa Arp
Blue World Specialist
Alissa Arp
Blue World Specialist

Alissa Arp has extensive experience as a marine scientist and educator. She has conducted research, mentored graduate students, and published articles on the physiology of life in challenging environments ranging from the deep ocean to suburban estuaries. Alissa has been to the bottom of the ocean in research submarines, and at sea on many university research vessels. She currently travels extensively as an eco-tourist and has sailed on more distant oceans, including the Arctic, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and South Pacific. These travel experiences are woven into her teaching, bringing personal first-hand experience to classroom discussions. Alissa recently relocated to Portland, Oregon, and is an avid collector of folk art from her world-wide travels, and an avid textile enthusiast.

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Alissa J Arp earned her BA degree from Sonoma State University, and her PhD from University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Personal Interests
    travel and textile arts
Xiaoyang Behlendorf
Librarian
Xiaoyang Behlendorf
Librarian

Xiao was born and raised in Harbin China. During her senior year at Beijing University, she hosted a group of Semester at Sea students and faculty. She has worked as an academic librarian at Loyola University in New Orleans, Ball State University in Muncie, University of Southern California, Woodbury University and finally Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) in Los Angeles. In addition to working in the library, she also led a team of librarians in California to create an open education resource information literacy textbook, Introduction to College Research. She is passionate about information equity, climate justice, and life-long learning. She is so excited about being a part of Semester at Sea Voyage, a dream that is over 30 years in the making.

  • Education
    Xiao earned her Master’s in Library Science from Louisiana State University; her Master’s in Communications from Beijing University; her BA in International Relations from Beijing University.
  • Personal Interests
    Xiao loves traveling, hiking and reading.
Erin Davis
Psychology
Erin Davis
Psychology

Dr. Erin Davis is an professor at Indiana Wesleyan University with over 25 years of experience in the fields of student development, higher education, psychology and graduate counseling. She enjoys interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly in the areas of psychology, neuroscience, and sociology. Dr. Davis has studied and participated in service work in several countries around the world, including England, Uganda, Egypt, Australia and Portugal, and her research interests include cross-cultural and international psychology. Dr. Davis’ areas of interest include international student adjustment; neuropsychology and empathy; relational aspects of sexuality; dreamwork; cross-cultural and international psychology; positive psychology and coaching.

  • Home Institution
    Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Education
    Erin Davis earned her PhD degree from Ball State University in Counseling Psychology; her MA from Ball State University in Counseling, and her BA from Anderson University (Psychology).
  • Personal Interests
    Cross-cultural relationships, social justice, indigenous wisdom, storytelling, art, movies, books, writing, and adventures of all sorts.
Juan De Pascuale
Philosophy
Juan De Pascuale
Philosophy

Born in Argentina and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Juan teaches philosophy at Kenyon College. He also taught at Brown, Notre Dame, and was a visiting professor at the University of Louvain, Belgium and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Juan’s teaching interests are broad, embracing existentialism and phenomenology, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, and Zen Buddhist philosophy. Juan is multilingual and has traveled throughout Latin America , Europe, and Asia. He is married to Carola Sanz, a Cuban-American sociologist and textile artist. They have four grown children. Juan has a PhD from Brown University, a L.Phil from Louvain University, Belgium, and a BA from Queens College. Juan is an avid hiker, woodworker and carpenter, and a published poet, mostly of Japanese short-form poetry.

  • Home Institution
    Kenyon College
  • Education
    Juan Edgardo De Pascuale, PhD Brown University, MA Brown University, L.Phil Louvain University, Belgium, BA Queens College, CUNY
  • Personal Interests
    Hiking, Carpentry, Poetry, Ikebana
Lindsay Gary
Lindsay Gary
Timothy Hibsman
Timothy Hibsman
Selena Kohel
Intercultural Specialist
Selena Kohel
Intercultural Specialist

Dr. Kohel has taught counseling and social psychology-related courses for over fifteen years, most recently as a professor at Cottey College. Before, she served as a student academic affairs administrator, with a focus on student development. Integrated throughout her work is an emphasis on social and cultural identity. She aims to continually increase her and others’ multi/cultural intelligence to be able to facilitate greater equity, equality and inclusion in an ever-broadening and changing world. For example, she has led several student trips to Thailand. Dr. Kohel’s specific areas of interest include exploring different kinds of justice and causes and interventions for injustice, such as recategorization, self and organizational assessments, strategic planning, training, and dialogue.

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Dr. Selena Kohel earned her BA in Psychology and Piano Performance and her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from UW-Madison and her MA in Student Personnel Administration from NYU.
  • Personal Interests
    Walking/being in nature; partaking in the performing and visual arts; travelling, exploring important sociopolitical and historical sites, food and coffee, arts and crafts, and festivals/holidays
Agnès Peysson-Zeiss
French and Francophone Studies
Agnès Peysson-Zeiss
French and Francophone Studies

Agnès Peysson-Zeiss is Senior Lecturer at Bryn Mawr College where she is in charge of the intensive language program. Her research interests focus on comics from the French Speaking world. Her latest works examine the text-image relationship in graphic narratives. In 2019, she published « Dans la marge de la BD : Génocide et résilience » in Nouvelles Etudes Francophones and co-edited the volume Handicap et études francophones : état des lieux, in which her article revisits disability issues. Her current research deals with trauma and disability representations. Her article « Entre enfermement et réinscription visuelle : les enfants albinos sortent des cases dans Dipoula et Pour une couleur de peau » (La revue de l’enfance irrégulière, forthcoming Fall 2024).

  • Home Institution
    Bryn Mawr College
  • Education
    Agnes Peysson Zeiss earned her MA and PhD from Michigan State University; she earned her BA from Université Marseille-Provence
  • Personal Interests
    Besides literature and cinema. I enjoy swimming, hiking, dancing, skiing and yoga.
Pete Seel
Murray Chair in Journalism
Pete Seel
Murray Chair in Journalism

Pete Seel is professor emeritus at Colorado State University where he taught video production, photojournalism, telecommunication, and documentary history/production. This is his fourth voyage with Semester at Sea and his positive experiences with students and experiential education on these voyages led to the creation of media-related study-abroad courses for Colorado State that he led in Europe and Australia/New Zealand. He has extensive professional experience in photojournalism and video production. His research is focused on the global effects of new communication technologies, primarily concerning the internet, artificial intelligence, and social media.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Pete earned his PhD in Mass Communication from Indiana University. His MA in Education is from San Francisco State University, and his BFA in Photography is from the San Francisco Art Institute.
  • Personal Interests
    Travel and wildlife photography and video production. Hiking, biking, skiing, and meeting people from diverse cultures and regions.

Staff

Kathleen Adams
Counselor
Kathleen Adams
Counselor

Kathleen Adams, LCSW, has worked with children, adults and families for over 35 years in both the USA and overseas. She has a psychotherapy and mediation practice in Northern California where she focuses on transition, trauma and inspiring hope.

Kathleen is co-author of the award-winning children’s book on divorce, “On the Day His Daddy Left.” She is also a film producer passionately focused on issues such as suicide prevention and girl empowerment. Her most recent feature film, “Rickshaw Girl,” won 10 major film festival awards and was the first-ever US-Bangladesh co-production. And just for fun, she does some travel writing.

Recently she was honored by the National Association of Social Workers with the “California Social Worker of the Year” award.

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Kathleen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Catholic University in Washington DC; her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University in New York.
  • Personal Interests
    Film, travel and culinary adventures. Spending time with family. Dolphins and chocolate will always bring a smile to her face.
Jenai Copeland
Counselor
Jenai Copeland
Counselor

Jenai Copeland, LCSW, is passionate about supporting students and families through their trials and triumphs. She has an eclectic therapeutic style that is trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and relational. Prior to joining this voyage, Jenai provided therapy for individuals, couples, and groups through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Towson University, and Oaks Integrated Care. Her career in higher education has also included serving as a Residence Director at Montclair State University, Wesley College, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Rutgers University Newark. She values creativity and enjoys engaging folks through innovative groups including improv therapy, laughing yoga, and dancing mindfulness.

  • Home Institution
    No Associated Institution
  • Education
    Jenai earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Montclair State University; her MBA from Wesley College; and her MSW from Montclair State University.
  • Personal Interests
    Reading, journaling, hiking, biking, dancing, karaoke, mentorship, spending time with loved ones, exploring, etc.
Aki Hosoi
Counselor
Aki Hosoi
Counselor

Aki has worked as a licensed psychologist in the counseling center at the Colorado State University Health Network since 2011 and has been the Training Director there since 2012. She loves training master’s and doctoral-level graduate students who are learning to do therapy, while also providing individual and group counseling to CSU students. She identifies as multiracial and particularly enjoys providing support to students who are working to understand their own identities, including working with historical and identity-based trauma. Aki also has worked within the VA Medical Center, at a rape crisis center, and at an intensive outpatient program for eating disorders.

Aki is accompanied on this voyage by her partner and two young children.

  • Home Institution
    Colorado State University: Fort Collins
  • Education
    Aki earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Colorado State University; a Ph.D. in Ecology/Evolution from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and a B.A. in Biology from Amherst College.
  • Personal Interests
    Aki loves anything creative/artistic: painting, photography, kid’s craft projects. As a former biologist, she also is passionate about conservation and loves seeing animals in their natural habitat.
Randy Orsborn
Physician Assistant
Randy Orsborn
Physician Assistant

Mr. Orsborn has over 24 years of experience in emergency medicine. He began his career at an early age, joining Utica Emergency Medical Services during the 10th grade. He later joined the Mount Vernon Life Support Team (LST) and was certified as a Basic (BCLS), Advanced (ACLS) and Pediatric (PALS) Advanced Life Support Instructor, and a Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS) Instructor.
Mr. Orsborn was selected to join the Grant LifeFlight EMS Helicopter team, where he helped staff our nation’s first remote-based EMS Helicopter program. While at Knox Cardiology Associates, he became one of only four physician assistants in the U.S. to become Board Certified in Lipidology. Mr. Orsborn also helped establish Knox County’s first Urgent Care.

  • Education
    Mr. Orsborn earned a Maters Degree in PA studies from the University of Nebraska; their BA degree from Excelsior University; and a Associate Degree (PA) from Cuyahoga Community College
  • Personal Interests
    Family outings, cooking, travel, music, movies, walking/hiking

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.