Eastern looking for new study abroad coordinator

Olivia Swenson-Hultz, Associate News Editor

Eastern has narrowed down its search for a study abroad coordinator to three final candidates.

Ryan Hendrickson, dean of the graduate school, said the position calls for someone who is able to work with faculty and students to further advance study abroad.

“Kurt (Olausen, assistant dean for international education) has done a great job as director of the study abroad office, but he now has new administrative duties,” said Hendrickson.

Olausen has been serving in his position since January.

He will continue to serve as the director of study abroad, with the study abroad coordinator serving beneath him.

The three final candidates for study abroad coordinator are Tia Van Hester, the international education coordinator for Illinois Central College, Margaret Leimkueler, a program adviser for Institute for the International Education of Students Abroad and Emily Tooy, the associate director for global international programming at Utah Valley University.

Hendrickson said all three candidates came in and interviewed in open sessions and that they are moving onto the next stage.

Olausen currently is responsible for most Study Abroad duties. Olausen said that it will be great to have somebody working full time to fill in for some of them.

He said that the new coordinator will help with student advising for prospective study abroad students and become the first point of contact for them.

“We’re ready for new blood in the office,” said Olausen

Olausen said the search committee has had their final meeting regarding the finalists and that somebody should be hired by the end of the semester.

All three candidates have studied abroad in several different locations.

Hester has studied abroad in France, Cambodia and Colombia, while Tooy has studied abroad in France and Quebec and Leimkueler in Norway, Spain and Austria.

“We’re always open to new ideas and programs and they can bring in knowledge and experience from previous positions and study abroad experiences,” Olausen said. “The three candidates have had a lot of positive study abroad experiences themselves and will be people that students can get positive feedback from.”

Nima Lane, a graduate student in european history who works inside of the study abroad office, has studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria.

Lane said bilingualism is an important trait for a prospective study abroad coordinator to have because many international students who might want to study abroad speak multiple languages.

“People come from all over the place these days, so you never know,” he said.

George Anaman, who is currently pursuing his master of arts in economics, initially came to the U.S in 2014 from University Of Cape Cod in Ghana through study abroad, arriving at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

He said as a result of the wonderful experience, he wanted to pursue his master’s degree in the U.S. as well.

“I would love to see more students participate and apply to study abroad. It increased my confidence levels through participating in more classroom presentations and writing projects than I did in Ghana. The new coordinator should be someone who is open and jovial and can share real experiences with students,” Anaman said.

Anaman said he would love to see a new study abroad coordinator who can drum up more support for the program so that trips will not be canceled.

He suggested a new coordinator use international students like himself to help create interest in study abroad for prospective applicants.

There are currently 583 different programs offered in 63 different countries for study abroad.

Programs are structured into four different catagories of exchange programs—faculty-led programs, direct enrollment and third party programs.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]