Our People

Every member of our team has studied, traveled, volunteered, interned, and/or taught abroad, and we understand how life-changing an experiential program can be. We’re here to advise you, work with you throughout the application process, prepare you before your program begins, and support you while you’re abroad.

Our resident staff provides support from the moment you arrive, helps orient you to your new country and host organization, and ensures that you are successful throughout your time abroad.

U.S.-Based Team


Kristine Barer

Director


Hailing from San Jose, CA and eager to explore the world, Kristine studied abroad in Durham, England and Lund, Sweden before graduating from Santa Clara University in 2006 with a B.A. in Communication. Prior to joining ISA in 2011, Kristine lived and worked in Australia and South Korea. In 2014, she earned her M.B.A. at St. Edward's University with an emphasis in Global Entrepreneurship.

As a veteran of the service-learning department, Kristine is excited by the growth of experiential program offerings and models. Observing student progress and development from connections made with host communities abroad is what keeps her ticking. Kristine has traveled to over 35 countries and hopes to travel to at least 35 more.

Kristine Barer
Director

Rachel Desmarais

Placement Coordinator


A Hoosier by birth and alma mater, Rachel was raised in the Midwest and fell in love with Service-Learning during her time as an undergraduate at Indiana University pursuing degrees in Sociology and Spanish. This sparked a career in experiential education driven by the desire to make genuine connections with people around the world. In pursuit of her passions, Rachel has learned and worked in communities across multiple regions in the U.S., in Madrid, Spain, and in East Africa. Rachel believes deeply in the value of immersing yourself in new cultures, reflecting on your experiences, and taking time to help others. When not traveling or working, she can be found coaching volleyball, playing cards, or singing along to any Throwback Hits playlist.

Rachel Desmarais
Placement Coordinator

Academic Team


Elizabeth Erbeznik, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President, Curriculum & Academics


Hailing from Northern California, Elizabeth graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a BA in English and French and then received her MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. Elizabeth first traveled to Switzerland as a high school exchange student, then studied abroad for a year in Lyon, France, where she enrolled in literature courses with local students and traveled throughout most of Western Europe during long vacations. After graduating from UCLA, she joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Madagascar. Before joining ISA, she taught French language and literature courses at Northern Illinois University and UT-Austin. She loves reading books in their original language (or translations), traveling, camping and going on adventures with her husband and daughter.

Elizabeth Erbeznik, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President,
Curriculum & Academics

Michelle Dippold

Assistant Director, Curriculum & Academics


Born and raised in Central Ohio, Michelle received an Individualized B.A. in Environmental Sociology from Otterbein University and an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina. Despite being an avid solo traveler, she didn't collect most of her passport stamps until her late 20s. Now a self-proclaimed expert in optimizing 48-72 hours at a destination, she is always planning the next adventure. As an international educator who "tripped and fell" into the field, she is passionate about designing experiences that align with students' long-term personal and professional goals. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time outdoors (in moderation), supporting local businesses, and conspiring to take over the world with her cat.

Michelle Dippold
Assistant Director,
Curriculum & Academics

Andrés Suárez

Support Specialist


My name is Andrés, and I was born and raised in Merida—a small city in southeast Mexico. I recently graduated from Law School, and one of my professional goals is to combine my legal background with my passion for travel. I’m also a soccer fan and history buff, which are big reasons I enjoy traveling and learning through travel. Being born in Mexico, in one of Latin America’s top destinations for tourism, culture, and tradition, I’ve made it a personal challenge to see all 32 states before I’m 32. The top international destinations on my bucket list are Norway, Scotland, Austria, and Portugal. I’m eager to follow these passions and have more lifechanging experiences of my own as well as assist you through your next big adventure, wherever your journey may take you!

Andrés Suárez
Support Specialist

Resident Staff


Lizette Arredondo Castillo

Resident Director, Valparaíso, Chile


Lizette Arredondo was born in Valparaíso.  She studied English Teaching at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and later specialized to teach Spanish as a Second Language. She taught Spanish to foreign students for 10 years. She has been ISA' s Resident Director in Valparaíso since August 1996 and enjoys working with foreign students, helping them adapt to the new culture and enjoy their whole experience.

Lizette Arredondo Castillo
Resident Director,
Valparaíso, Chile

Adriana Caravaca

Resident Director, San José, Costa Rica


Adriana studied Bilingual Preschool Education at the Universidad Central. She has worked as a coordinator of camps and recreational activities with youth groups from Costa Rica, the United States and Canada. This experience helped her share ties of friendship, communal work, and cultural exchange. Adriana is an active person who loves to meet new people from different cultures. She also enjoys teaching Spanish and English and has been involved as a tutor of children, youth and adults for 10 years. Thanks to her experience working with students and languages, she is very excited to be able to share and help students to adapt and learn from Costa Rican language and culture.

Adriana Caravaca
Resident Director,
San José, Costa Rica

Lucie Smitkova

Student Services & Service-Learning Coordinator, Czech Republic


Lucie joined the ISA family during the summer of 2009. In spring 2010, Lucie graduated from the Faculty of Education at Charles University with a Master's degree in English Language and Literature and German Language and Literature. Lucie provides Czech language tutorials for ISA students wanting to improve their language skills, and is dedicated to making the student experience in Prague an excellent one. She loves traveling and has been to almost every country in Western Europe. In an effort to improve her language and teaching skills, Lucie spent one year in Germany attending the University of Bonn specializing in German, American, and English literature. She also spent time in Florida where her interactions with American and international students showed her the unique opportunity to help students join two worlds together and while sharing the beauties of the Czech Republic.

Lucie Smitkova
Student Services &
Service-Learning Coordinator, Czech Republic

Andy Osorio Mollenedo

Resident Director, Cusco, Peru


Born in Arequipa and raised in Cusco, Andy studied business administration at the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in Lima. Since 2009, he has been part of the ISA Peru team. Andy is passionate about helping ISA students have a wonderful experience abroad. In his free time, he likes to play basketball, soccer, watch TV, and go to the movies.

Andy Osorio Mollenedo
Resident Director,
Cusco, Peru

Roxana Paredes

Service-Learning Coordinator, Cusco, Peru


Roxana grew up in Cusco, Peru and graduated from Universidad San Antonio Abad del Cusco with a bachelor's degree in Tourism and a master's degree in Public Administration. She furthered her studies with a master's degree in Spain focused on Human Rights. In 2008, she had the opportunity to work abroad in the United States through an exchange program in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and joined the ISA Cusco team in 2011. She coordinates a variety of student services, including the ISA service learning programs. She loves to share the Peruvian culture with all ISA participants and support them as they adjust to life in Cusco. Roxana spends her free time preparing baked goods, such as cakes and pies for friends and family, and loves to hike the mountains in her beautiful hometown.

Roxana Paredes
Service-Learning Coordinator,
Cusco, Peru

Michelle McRaney

Resident Director, Lima, Peru


Michelle graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a focus on International Management. She studied International Business in Caen, France and Spanish and International Management in Monterrey, Mexico. Michelle joined the ISA team in 1998. Michelle has led programs in Guanajuato, Mexico; Salamanca, Spain; Granada, Spain; Santander, Spain; Sydney, Australia; and Santiago, Dominican Republic. She also accompanied several ISA site visits in Chile and Argentina, and conducted new program research and staff training in Mexico and Brazil. In 2006, Michelle moved to Lima, Peru, where she set-up ISA's first program in Peru, which expanded to include Cusco. Michelle is excited about sharing the Peruvian culture and cuisine with all ISA participants and helping to adjust to life in Lima.

Michelle McRaney
Resident Director,
Lima, Peru

Marisa Revelles Moyano

Resident Director, Granada, Spain


Marisa was born and raised in Granada, and returned home to join ISA after many years of international experiences. She lived and worked in Colorado for ten years where she taught Spanish at the University of Denver. Later, she worked as a foreign language teacher in Belgium (University of Louvain La Neuve) for seven years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English/Spanish language and literature, a master degree in anthropology, a Master in Second Language Acquisition and a doctorate in Pedagogy and Didactics (University of Granada). She has also lived and worked in England and Norway. Outside of work, she loves scuba diving, skiing, and spending time outdoors.

Marisa Revelles Moyano
Resident Director,
Granada, Spain

Carmen Abanades Cruz

Resident Director, Salamanca, Spain


Originally from Cuenca, Spain, Carmen attended the University of Salamanca. There she obtained degrees in Art History and Pedagogy. Before ISA, Carmen got involved with study abroad arranging cultural activities and guiding tours for international students. Carmen joined ISA Salamanca in 2001 and worked there for almost six years before becoming the Santander and Bilbao Resident Director until 2009. She then returned to ISA Salamanca to lead the office there. Her great knowledge of Spanish history and culture makes her an important part of the ISA program in Salamanca. Carmen's cheerfulness helps to create an easy-going environment with ISA students. She is dedicated to making ISA students' experiences in Salamanca rewarding. Carmen enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

Carmen Abanades Cruz
Resident Director,
Salamanca, Spain

Beatriz de Miguel Martín

Student Services & Service-Learning Coordinator, Salamanca, Spain


Beatriz was born and raised in Salamanca, where she studied Psychology. After finishing her degree, she worked for two years in Mérida (Extremadura) with people with intellectual disabilities, developing projects focused on facilitating their entrance into the workforce. In 2011, she returned to Salamanca and joined the ISA Salamanca team. What she likes most about her job is the direct contact with students, getting to know them and helping them as much as possible so that they fall in love with her hometown, Salamanca! Bea loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.

Beatriz de Miguel Martín
Student Services &
Service-Learning Coordinator,
Salamanca, Spain

Karen Appel-Stefoni

Resident Director, Galway, Ireland


Born and raised in Puerto Varas, Chile, Karen Appel Stefoni studied at the Duoc UC Professional Institute in Viña del Mar, where she graduated as a Public Relations professional with a minor in Marketing. Karen's dream has always been to improve her skills and learn other languages abroad. This is why she carried out her professional practice in Madrid, Spain. She has worked as Promotion Coordinator at the Duoc UC in Viña del Mar, she served as Alumni Coordinator at the Federico Santa María Technical University and, held the position of Public Engagement National Coordinator at the Santo Tomás University in Santiago. While her professional career was taking shape, Karen never gave up on her dream of going abroad. Therefore, she carried out all the procedures to obtain Italian citizenship and fulfil her greatest desire to emigrate from Chile, in search of better horizons. Once citizenship was obtained, in 2020 Karen travelled to Sweden where she spent two years learning Swedish and teaching English and Spanish at a school in Skellefteå in northern Sweden. However, fate would provide her with a much better opportunity in Ireland, where she currently lives and works at ISA by Worldstrides, in an area she is passionate about and motivates her daily. In her spare time Karen loves to cycle, work out, and do most activities that involve movement. Coming from warmer climates, when she gets the chance, she “runs away” to sunnier cities to worship the sun. She is an avid reader and a fan of Disney and Harry Potter. Her friends and family deem her as a very cheerful, loyal, responsible, hard-working person and a faithful friend.

Karen Appel-Stefoni
Resident Director,
Galway, Ireland

Robbie Bourke

Resident Director, Limerick, Ireland


Bio coming soon

Robbie Bourke
Resident Director,
Limerick, Ireland

Iman Essamati

Resident Director, Meknes, Morocco


Born and raised in Meknes, Iman has a Bachelor's degree in Applied Linguistics and a Master's degree in Communication in Contexts from Mly Ismail University. Iman joined the ISA family in 2008, and working within the field of international education has been a dream come true. She is fluent in classical Arabic, Darija, French and English, and speaks some Italian and German. Iman is a very dedicated and devoted person to her work and enjoy introducing her students to their host culture in Morocco.This remarkable experience with ISA helped her realize how much she likes traveling, which led her to travel extensively to many countries like the USA, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Iman is a passionate reader and an adventerous soul, and she believes that learning is her life mission.

Iman Essamati
Resident Director,
Meknes, Morocco

Ouma Mpela

Resident Director, Cape Town, South Africa


Ouma Mogale-Mpela has over 20 years’ experience in international higher education in Southern Africa. She was born in the northwest part of South Africa in a small village town called Itsoseng. She moved to Cape Town in the late ‘90s to further her studies in Human Resources Management but later joined the International Office at the University of Cape Town as their Semester Studies Abroad Program Coordinator. Ouma has been a Resident Director in South Africa since 2004. She enjoys and excels at building solid and lasting relationships. She considers herself a student of life, loves traveling to new places, and is the mother of four beautiful children.

Ouma Mpela
Resident Director,
Cape Town, South Africa

Fred LeBlanc

Resident Director, Wellington, New Zealand


Originally from the US, Fred worked for Rutgers College Office of Student Support as both a Resident Advisor and a Hall Advisor after finishing his BSc in Primatology and Hungarian. He currently looks after study abroad students and the coordination of ISA’s service-learning in New Zealand.  Since moving to New Zealand, Fred has worked at Massey University, Victoria University in Wellington, and the University of Otago in various roles and enjoys working with students, especially those that have also chosen New Zealand as their new, though short term, home.

Fred LeBlanc
Resident Director,
Wellington, New Zealand