Bernd Widdig, Executive Director
Bernd Widdig joined Boston University as the Executive Director of BU Study Abroad in 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, he served as Director of the Office of International Programs at Boston College and was the founding Director of BC’s McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies. Previous to his work at Boston College, he was the Associate Director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI), MIT’s international education cornerstone program that places science and engineering students in tailored internships around the world. In 1996, he founded the MIT-Germany Program, one of the most successful of the MISTI country programs.
After receiving his PhD in German Studies from Stanford University, Bernd began his career at MIT in 1989 as a faculty member in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section with a research focus on 20th century German culture. He is the author of numerous publications, among them “Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany.” (2001). Bernd received his Erstes Staatsexamen in Economics/Political Science/Sociology and German literature from the University of Bonn.
In 2008 he was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
View Dr. Widdig’s curriculum vitae.
Debra Terzian, Director, Academic Affairs
Director, Academic Affairs
Debra Terzian earned a PhD in French Studies at Brown University and has many years of experience at the college and university level teaching French language, literature and culture. Before coming to BU Study Abroad, she was assistant professor at Wellesley College and Dickinson College, and has also taught at the University of Vermont and Brown University. While at Dickinson College, she directed the Dickinson Summer Language Immersion program in Toulouse, France with responsibility for academic and administrative oversight of the program.
Debra is a member of the senior leadership team at BU Study Abroad and has considerable experience designing, developing, and administering BU study abroad programming in collaboration with faculty from around the university. At BU Study Abroad, she has served as director of enrollment services with oversight of the program management and student services groups.
As Director of Academic Affairs, Debra is responsible for assuring the academic excellence and integrity of Boston University’s study abroad programs. In this role, Debra will work in close collaboration with Boston University faculty to review and develop curricula, develop programs to extend and complement academic offerings on campus and to assure adherence to BU academic policies.
Philippe Pavillard, Director, Site Operations
Director, Site Operations
Philippe is responsible for the overall oversight of BU Study Abroad. He is also a representative of BU on the EUSA Board of Directors.
Maribel Blanco, Associate Director, Finance and Operations
Associate Director, Finance and Operations
Maribel is responsible for all aspects of developing, maintaining, and analyzing BU Study Abroad’s budgets and financial plans, in addition to overseeing the payroll and personnel administration of the Study Abroad office and working closely with the Director of Site Operations on matters related to overseas operations. Maribel has a BA from Boston University, an MEd from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and she studied abroad in Grenoble for a semester while at BU. Maribel is a native Spanish speaker and is conversant in French, German and Italian.
Debbie Miller, Associate Director, Enrollment Services
Associate Director, Enrollment Services
Debbie oversees the Enrollment Services group (Program Management and Student Services). Debbie studied abroad in Iceland during her junior year of high school. In college, she studied in France for one semester. She was in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan after graduating from college. So, at times since high school she has been proficient in Icelandic, French, Russian and Turkmen. She holds a BA in French and Language Studies and a MA from Lesley in Intercultural Relations.
Leilani Olson, Associate Director, Institutional Relations
Associate Director, Institutional Relations
Leilani has been working at BU Study abroad since 2003. Prior to starting her undergraduate career, she spent a year in Sweden as a Rotary exchange student. She then returned to the US to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and French Language and Literature at Boston University. During her junior year, she participated in BU’s Grenoble Language and Literature Program, as well as in the Paris Internship Program. Upon graduating in May 1999, Leilani returned to Paris in order to pursue a Master’s Degree at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po), while simultaneously working in the BU Paris Center. In addition to speaking fluent English, French, and Swedish, she has studied Spanish and participated in Middlebury College’s Intensive Arabic Language Program. In her current role at BU Study Abroad, she is responsible for Institutional Relations as part of the outreach team. Leilani is also a director on the Board of Directors of the US Sciences PO Alumni Association.
Chris Russell, Associate Director, Campus Outreach
Associate Director, Campus Outreach
Chris is responsible for advertising, marketing, and off-campus recruiting.
David Lamitie, Assistant Director, Program Development and External Programs
Assistant Director for Program Development and External Programs
David works on the development of new Boston University Study Abroad short and long-term programs as well as manages the non-Boston University study abroad program process (i.e. External Programs).
Emily Whalen, Program Manager, External Programs
Program Manager, External Programs
Emily advises students interested in studying abroad with an externally sponsored program for the semester, summer or academic year regarding BU policies, external program quality, and general study abroad considerations. Prior to working at BU, Emily worked as the Assistant Director of Student Services for a small Boston based program provider where she oversaw student advising, enrollment procedures and policies, and onsite program implementation. She also worked with senior staff on crisis management for programs in the UK, Ireland, South Africa and Botswana. Emily holds a BA in English Literature from Kenyon College and participated on a semester abroad in South Africa during her Junior year.
Finance and Administration
Monika Gil, International Personnel Manager
International Personnel Manager
Monika is responsible for the international and domestic personnel areas at BU Study Abroad. She acts as first line of contact for all personnel related matters and manages the implementation of domestic and international hiring procedures and policies. Monika works closely with core services groups such as BU Central HR, Compensation, Payroll, Benefits and Global Programs.
Sergio Lemos, Finance/Operations Assistant and Payroll Coordinator
Finance/Operations Assistant and Payroll Coordinator
Sergio is responsible for finance and operations of BU Study Abroad as well as payroll for Study Abroad faculty.
Linda Surette, Staff Coordinator
Linda provides administrative support to the Executive Director.
Sarah Zadova, Financial Analyst
Sarah oversees all policies, processes, and procedures related to expense payments and reporting, including all of the department’s overseas accounting and banking. She is also the department liaison with various financial offices on campus (General Accounting, Accounts Payable, Miscellaneous Receivables, Treasury, et cetera). Before becoming Financial Administrator, Sarah worked in BU Study Abroad’s Enrollment Services area for three years and possesses expert knowledge of Study Abroad application and enrollment statistics.
Jenal Austin, Administrative Assistant
Jenal supports the Executive Director of BU Study Abroad and works closely with the Study Abroad executive staff and the Office of Global Programs. She is responsible for coordinating the annual Study Abroad Directors Meeting and managing the Study Abroad intra-department newsletter. She works closely with the Finance and Operations team to coordinate Summer Faculty hires and manage the Graduate Assistantship Placements in the global study abroad offices. Jenal studied Business Management at San Diego State University and is currently pursuing an MBA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Global Economic Development at Boston University. Prior to moving to Boston, she studied abroad and taught English in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 2007 to 2009. Jenal has also volunteered with organizations such as L.I.F.E. Argentina and the MassBay Rebuilding Haiti Task Force.
Melissa Ormsbee, Assistant Director of Student Services
Assistant Director of Student Services
Melissa is responsible for oversight of the Student Services area which includes student information systems and records, the application process, program registration, financial aid, billing, transcripts, statistics and reporting, and other student financial and academic affairs. Melissa studied art history and computer science and participated in study and work abroad programs in France and England. Prior to joining the BU Study Abroad staff in 2006, Melissa worked in non-profit arts administration as well as event management as a registrar, program coordinator, and systems specialist.
Canaan Boyer, Program Manager
Canaan began interning at BU Study Abroad in the fall of 2009, working for the Director of Academic Affairs, Elizabeth Goldsmith. She spent the academic year of 2008-2009 living in Grenoble, France and working as the BU in Grenoble program assistant. She has also spent 7 months in Normandy as an English language assistant, as well as a semester in Cordoba, Spain as an undergrad. At the moment, she is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in French at BU. She manages the Auckland programs, the Shanghai programs, and the Sydney Programs.
Sarah Cooper, Program Manager
Sarah manages the day-to-day application and general pre-departure documents, processes and provides secondary customer service and troubleshooting for students, advisors, and recommenders throughout the admission process and pre-departure process. In addition to providing support for varied, essential enrollment services tasks, Sarah organizes and processes French and Spanish visa letters for admitted students. She is a 2010 graduate of CAS with a BA in International Relations, focusing on foreign policy and security studies as well as Africa and the Middle East. She studied abroad in London in 2009 through the BU London Internship Program. She manages a number of London programs including the Acting Program, Courtauld Institute of Art Program, and the School of Education program along with the arts and arts administration, management, theater studies, economics and finance, psychology and health sciences, hospitality and tourism tracks in the London Internship Program.
Marisa Crowley, Program Manager, Exchanges
Program Manager, Exchanges
Marisa joined the BU Study Abroad staff in 2013. She is the manager of our exchange programs and is the main point of contact for both incoming international exchange students and BU students going abroad on exchange.
Marisa has participated in short-term study abroad programs in both China and Russia and lived in the UK for two years while completing an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at Oxford University.
Prior to joining the BU Study Abroad team, Marisa worked as a Study Abroad Advisor and Manage of Short-Term International Programs at Northern Arizona University, and as a Career Advisor at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds an M.Ed in Counseling and Student Affairs from Northern Arizona University and a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College.
Caitlin Dundon, Program Coordinator
Caitlin handles our interactions with visitors and preliminary advising to students, as well as application processing. Caitlin comes to BU Study Abroad from the BU Athletics Department where she has worked in various administrative roles for four years. Caitlin graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2006 (French Language and Literature) and studied with the Grenoble Language and Liberal Arts and Paris Internship Programs.
Brandon Gast, Program Coordinator
Brandon handles our interactions with visitors and preliminary advising to students, as well as application processing. He is a native Oregonian and a graduate of Portland State University where he studied International Studies and African Studies. Brandon is appreciative of the many unique experiences he has had while traveling including the three formal study abroad programs he has participated in: a year in Ghana as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, his Senior Capstone project in Nicaragua, and a summer program through the London School of Economics in Beijing, China. Brandon has worked as an administrative assistant at the PSU International Special Programs Office and he has interned with several non-profit organizations focusing on international development and social justice issues. He was teaching English with the JET program in Sapporo, Japan prior to relocating to Boston.
Alissa Kramer, Program Manager
Alissa joined the BU Study Abroad staff in 2012. She holds a BA in Germanic Languages and Literatures, and a BS in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. She has studied abroad for a year at the Karls-Eberhard Universitat in Tuebingen, Germany, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, North and Central America and Israel.
Prior to coming to BU, Alissa worked as Program Officer for Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland programs at ISEP International Student Exchange Programs in Washington, D.C. She has experience in student advising, program development, visa issues, and marketing. At BU Study Abroad, she manages the Brussels, Dresden, Geneva, Los Angeles, Rabat, and Zanzibar Programs.
Mary Ogburn, Program Manager
Mary completed her MA in Higher Education at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. She has a BA in French from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and spent a semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence with the American University Center of Provence.
She has also studied abroad on shorter-term and faculty-led programs at Universitat Kassel in Germany and at language institutes in Montpellier, France and in Florence. She spent an additional year in the French Alps as an English language assistant through the French Ministry of Education.
Mary has worked in international programs offices at three different institutions: Virginia Tech and most recently at Boston College and Wellesley College. In these roles, she had a range of responsibilities, including student advising, marketing and recruiting, and coordinating faculty-led and exchange programs. At BU Study Abroad, Mary manages the Italy, Grenoble, Paris, Padua, and Israel programs.
Shannon Williams, Program Manager
She is the Program Manager for Washington, DC programs and the College of General Studies, Graduate Journalism, History and Literature, and Royal College of Music Programs in London. Additionally, she manages the film, radio, television, international relations, journalism, pre-law, advertising, marketing, politics, and public relations tracks in the London Internship Program.
Heather York, Program Manager
Heather joined the BU Study Abroad staff in 2012 and is the main contact for students interested in studying abroad in Spain or Latin America. Heather originally studied abroad as an undergraduate student at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador, which ignited her passion for the Spanish language and Latin American culture. Since that initial experience abroad, Heather has led trips, studies, traveled, interned and volunteered in numerous Latin American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay.
Prior to joining the BU Study Abroad team, Heather worked as an Education Abroad Advisor and Babson College for almost five years, advising graduate and undergraduate students, as well as incoming exchange students, throughout their study abroad experiences. Heather holds an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley College and a BA in Administrative Science and Spanish from Colby College.
Sheerley Zinori, Student Services Administrator
Student Services Administrator
Sheerley manages the day-to-day application and general pre-departure documents and processes and also provides secondary customer service and troubleshooting for students, advisors, and recommenders throughout the admission process and pre-departure process. Sheerley is a 2008 graduate of Bryn Mawr College, where she studied history and dance. She has participated in a couple of life changing study abroad programs: once during high school when she livd with a host family in Messina, Sicily and another during her time at Bryn Mawr when she studies abroad in Prague. Prior to joining the BU Study Abroad staff in 2011, Sheerley worked in higher education administration at Boston Architectural College, as well as study abroad organizations and offices in Boston and at Bryn Mawr College.
Publications and Marketing
Meg Lucas, Marketing & Institutional Relations Coordinator
Marketing and Institutional Relations Coordinator
Meg Lucas has been with BU Study Abroad since 2009, where she began as a Marketing Assistant. She supports BUSA’s communications and recruitment strategy for off-campus and on-campus recruiting and special events. She represents BU Study Abroad to students, advisors, faculty members and administrators of several schools around the United States with a view of direct recruitment of students to BU programs, and to the further development of BU’s relationships with the institutions visited.
Meg is a 2010 graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication with a BS in Mass Communication/Public Relations. She studied abroad on the Dublin Internship Program in the spring of 2009 and, since then, has traveled throughout Europe.
Andi Walgren, Institutional Representative
As a member of our Marketing/Recruitment team since 2004, Andi promotes our programs to students on campuses around the country. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and has over 30 years of experience in educational administration, college admissions, and international program development. She served for 20 years as a senior administrator at The School for Field Studies (SFS), a provider of environmental field study programs. Andi is also an adjunct faculty at Lesley University where she teaches the course International Educational Exchange in the graduate program in Intercultural Relations.
Undergraduate and Graduate Student Staff
Samantha Peterson, Academic Affairs Intern
Samantha is a PhD candidate in French Literature and a Presidential Teaching Fellow in French at BU. As an undergraduate at Williams College, she traveled and studied extensively in France, including short-term exchanges at schools in Biarritz and Angers, and one year at the Université de Paris III. She has assisted the Director of Academic Affairs since 2010.