About Us

A message from GAISA

In order to further advance the experience of international students around the world, we have assembled a diverse and experienced team to help GAISA achieve our mission. We are also extremely fortunate to have the overwhelming support of many like-minded organizations and partners who have joined us on the journey to improving the lives of millions of international students.

Meet Our Board

Richard DeCapua, Ed.D.

Founding President, GAISA
Before his journey with GAISA, Rich was a 20-year higher ed veteran working at institutions such as Boston College, Brandeis University, and Wesleyan University where he oversaw numerous aspects of campus life and student affairs that directly impacted the success of international students. Rich is currently still teaching in numerous higher education graduate programs where he specializes in higher education finance.

Austin A. Ashe - MIT Sloan School of Management

Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Education
I've spent 15 years working within the field of higher education. During that time I have worked within spaces that include: academic advising, university advancement, alumni affairs, student leadership, first-year programs & orientation, and residential life. I am currently finishing my doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts (Boston) higher education program. My research seeks to examine the connections between #HipHopEd, cultural/racial identity of faculty, and pedagogical approach.

M.L. “Cissy” Petty - George Washington University

Vice President Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Working as the Chief Student Affairs Officer for the last 30 years at a variety of institutions leading teams to provide student centric programs and services for students.

Tamara Yakaboski, Ph.D. - University of Northern Colorado

Professor & Department Chair
Tamara Yakaboski, Ph.D., is a professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership and Department Chair at the University of Northern Colorado. She has almost two decades of experience in both student services and academic affairs administrator roles. She incorporates mindfulness, interculturalism and inclusivity into coursework, research, advising and mentoring, and academic leadership. Additionally, she runs a coaching and consulting business to work with academics around the globe who want to recreate their relationship with higher education.

Huan Roholt - University of Pennsylvania/NAFSA

International Student and Scholar Advisor/ NAFSA China MIG Vice Chair
10 years of international education experience including teaching, management, and advising. Highly-motivated and experienced educator with global vision, detail orientation, go-getter attitude, entrepreneurial mindset and team-playing spirit. Enthusiastic about providing excellent service to students and promoting organizational goals and strategic plans.

John Singleton -Texas Christian University

Director of International Services
20 years working across the spectrum of International Education from ESL to Admissions to International Programs to Student and Scholar Services. Most recent work includes co-authoring and implementation of TCU's Quality Enhancement Plan for accreditation, Discovering Global Citizenship.

Shams Vahedi, LL.M. - Michigan State University

Immigration Advisor
Experienced Immigration specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry for almost 4 years. Currently working at Michigan State University providing service to a wide variety of immigration inquiries with the focus on employment-based immigration. Strong legal background with an LL.M in American jurisprudence focused on Judicial law from Michigan State University College of Law.

Jamele Adams - Brandeis University

Dean of Students
I've been working in Higher Education for 25 years. I have a passion for the success of students. The opportunity to impact student's experiences is a privilege. There is a balance to the equity and equity of students collegiate narratives. Student Affairs professionals work to accentuate and assist in providing that balance, particularly as it pertains to BIPOC, International and students of varying backgrounds and means.

Suzanne E. Beech - Ulster University

Lecturer in Human Geography
Suzanne is a specialist in higher education mobilities and international student decision-making. Her work has analysed all aspects of the international student experience from recruitment through to study. Suzanne's monograph The Geographies of International Student Mobility: Spaces, Places and Decision-Making was published in 2019.

Jenny Bowen - Indiana University

Director, International Student Advising
20+ years working with international students, largely in the area of immigration advising and regulatory compliance, with adjacent experience in the admissions and pre-arrival process. Bowen specializes in regulatory policy and practice issues in international student immigration advising, and has held a number of regional and national leadership roles in NAFSA: Association of International Educators pertaining to international student advising, immigration regulations and SEVIS.

Nathalie P. Rita - University of Hawaii at Manoa

PhD Candidate and Researcher
Nathalie Rita is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where her research focuses migration and mobility, race and ethnicity, and urban sociology. Her research has explored the effects of immigration-status and enforcement in various settings, including academic workplaces, the criminal justice system, and public housing. Her academic interest in immigration arose from her international upbringing; Nathalie is of Chilean-descent, born in Finland, and raised in South Florida.

Olga A. Moskaleva - The Pennsylvania State University

Regional Global Education Coordinator
Olga has over 10 years of experience in international education: recruitment, advising, engagement, mentorship and leadership programs, intercultural learning and advocacy.

Dulce Amor L. Dorado - University of California San Diego

Director of International Students & Programs Office
Dulce Amor L. Dorado is the director of the International Students and Programs Office at the University of California San Diego. Her 20+ year career in international education has included a variety of responsibilities such as leading a comprehensive international student service office at a large, public institution; advising international students in English language programs and advising study abroad students pursuing year-long, semester, or faculty-led programs.

Justin S. Jeffery - University of Georgia

Director of International Student Life
Justin Jeffery has served as Director of International Student Life at UGA since 2014. He has over 10 years of experience working with international students in a range of functional areas including orientation, residential life, campus programming, student leadership development, student advocacy, and intercultural communication. He received his bachelors and masters degrees from Kent State University in Ohio and is currently a doctoral candidate at UGA's Institute of Higher Education.

Whitney Szmodis - Lehigh University

Assistant Director, Fellowship Advising and United Nations Programs
Whitney Szmodis is the Assistant Director of Fellowship Advising and United Nations Programs, and Director of the Lehigh University-United Nations Youth Representative Program at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She also serves as a representative to the United Nations on behalf of Lehigh University. Prior to taking this position, Whitney was the Director of Global Citizenship at Lehigh. Throughout her career, she has worked with international students on topics related to curricular and co-curricular programs, academic, and professional development.

Samantha C. Brandauer - Dickinson College

Associate Provost and Executive Director
Samantha has passionately devoted her 20+ year career to international education. As Associate Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement at Dickinson College, she oversees campus internationalization efforts, global learning initiatives, operations and services including education abroad and international student and scholar services. Samantha’s professional experiences include working at the Institute of International Education; the University of Maryland; Brown University; Study Abroad in Scandinavia-Copenhagen, Denmark and Gettysburg College. In addition to numerous conference presentations, she has been interviewed on her research and areas of expertise in The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, International Educator, and Education Dive.

Denis Simon - Duke University School of Law

Senior Adviser to the President for China Affairs and Professor of the Practice

Gerardo Blanco - Boston College

Director for the Center for Higher International Education & Faculty

Rudie Altamirano - University of Pennsylvania

Director of International Student, Scholar, Immigration & Integration Services

Shontay Delalue - Dartmouth College

Senior Vice President and Senior Diversity Officer

Margee Ensign - Dickinson College


Jacinda Félix Haro - Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Dean of Students and Senior Student Affairs Officer
Dean of Students and Senior Student Affairs Officer at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has 20 years’ experience in higher education. Her area of focus is primarily student success, engagement, and sense of belonging with a focus on marginalized student populations. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her work focuses on voice and silencing of women of color student affairs officers. She holds a master of arts in teaching from Sacred Heart University and a bachelor of science in communication arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Samba Dieng - Louisiana State University

Senior Internationalization Officer and Executive Director of International Programs

International Student issues don't stop.
Neither do we.

Sign up to get the latest insights, research analytics and more.


* indicates required