Meet Our Staff
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  • Dr. Syedur Rahman is the Project Director of the NOVA led Community College Consortium and has a Ph.D. in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. He has over two decades of experience in managing faculty and student exchange programs. He served as the director of international programs at the College of Education at The Pennsylvania State University. He also served as the president of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies. His publications include research report for the United Nations, grant report for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs division of the United States Department of State and peer-reviewed papers on human resources, leadership development and financial management.

  • Leeza Fernand is the Associate Director for the Community College Initiative Program and holds an M.B.A. in International Business with a focus on leadership and cross cultural integration from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her background in higher education began with a role as Study Abroad Assistant with Miami Dade College and later as the Program Coordinator of the CCI pilot year in Miami. Originally from Belarus, Leeza has lived in Argentina and Spain; volunteering with underprivileged children and interning, respectively. She has also served as a translator and cultural attaché for visiting State Department dignitaries. Her work has taken her to various countries in Latin America – including Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Chile – where she has created new exchange partnerships and fostered cross-cultural understanding.

  • Amira Al-Khulaidy is the Senior Program Manager. She is originally from Brazil and Yemen. She has lived, studied and worked in both countries. She has a B.A. from Columbia University in English and Philosophy, and an MEd. in Education from the University of Virginia with a concentration in Social Foundations of Education- Global Education. She has worked in higher education with community college students for over 4 years, and has experience working with community based organizations and programs as a coordinator and a mentor. Amira is passionate about international education and global exchange. She is a lifelong learner who enjoys reading, traveling and understanding new perspectives and cultures.

  • Andrew Shahan is the Program Associate for the Community College Consortium, a member of the Community College Initiative Program. He has worked with the Consortium for the past two years and has been working at Northern Virginia Community College for the past four year. He is an undergraduate of James Madison University and holds a BA in Graphic Design. He was born and raised in Germany until coming to the United States to attend college. He has traveled to most European countries and still loves to experience new places and cultures.

  • Jaclyn Ruybalid Krueger is the Program Coordinator for Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus. Jaclyn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and a Master of Science degree in Higher Education with an emphasis on Student Development from the University of Kansas. Her studies as well as work experiences have been devoted to understanding and assisting with the varied needs of diverse student populations, first generation college students, international students and multicultural and urban environments. Jaclyn was born and raised in Southern California but has lived and worked in 6 other states, most recently moving to Virginia from New York. Living in such a wide variety of settings, as well as her time spent traveling internationally, has fueled her desire to continue to expand her horizons and become more involved in the international education community. Jaclyn loves music, traveling, animals and learning!

  • Kelly Forbes is the NOVA-Annandale Program Coordinator. She has a B.A. in German from Old Dominion University and a M.A. in International Education from The George Washington University. She has worked with international students in higher education for the past five years and is very excited to join the CCI. Kelly’s passion for international education and cultural diplomacy stems from her childhood when she lived in Stuttgart, Germany. She enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures and meeting people from all over the world.

  • Lorin Banja is the Program Coordinator for the Houston Community College. Lorin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting. He is originally from the city of Elbasan, in Albania. He started his international education as an exchange student scholar in high school through a Fulbright Scholarship in 1999. He has more than 10 years of experience working with federal grants that help underprivileged students to get their higher education degrees. Lorin is currently enrolled in one year long international training through NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

  • Nicole Spizzirri is the Program Coordinator for College of DuPage. Nicole earned her BA in Political Science and German from Elmhurst College, which included a study abroad experience in Strobl, Austria. She earned her Masters of Arts in Higher Education with an emphasis on Student Affairs. Nicole has worked with students in a variety of different settings, including first year orientation and academic advising. Nicole spent a considerable part of her childhood in Germany and has been around different cultures for her whole life which sparked her passion to work with international students. Nicole believes optimism is key in life and eager to work with incoming CCI participants.

  • Zoisa Edwards is the Bunker Hill Community College CCI Program Coordinator. She has a Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. Zoe has studied and worked internationally in the UK and in South America. Most recently, she was the Director of International Programming for an international educational travel program. She also taught English and Service Learning at an International School in Guyana, South America. She has developed and directed international work abroad programs with both adult and youth participants. Zoe enjoys reading and playing hours of scrabble.

  • Shanathan “Nate” Crayton, is the program coordinator at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. He has earned his second Master’s degree in International Education at the SIT Graduate Institute of Brattleboro, VT. He earned his first Master’s in Higher Education at Florida State University in 2008 and his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at Florida A&M University. Nate has experience working with college students, including students with disabilities, student athletes and African American males. He has taught First Year Experience to freshmen students and Spanish to the local community. Nate began his career in International Education as a Marketing Intern at Florida State University’s International Programs and as a Study Abroad Intern at Miami Dade College. In 2011, Nate became Program Coordinator. Nate has international experience through short-term study abroad in the countries of Dominican Republic, Spain, and Jamaica. He also spent time traveling to England, France and Italy in 2011. The times abroad are what sparked Nate’s interest in international education and he desires to travel the world for years to come.

  • Megan O'Connor is the CCI Program Coordinator at Scottsdale Community College (SCC). Megan is an Arizona native with several years of experience working with local nonprofit organizations in Phoenix. She is a SCC alumna, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Arizona State University and studied at Charles University in the Czech Republic. In 2011, she was awarded a Carl Wilkens Fellowship in order to continue to advocate locally for victims of genocide and mass atrocities arriving in Arizona. Megan enjoys traveling, dancing, hiking, fishing, camping, meeting new people, and spending time with family.

  • Margaret M. Di Gennaro, originally from Oneida, New York, is the Program Coordinator at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus. She earned her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University, Miami, FL in 2011 and her Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and International Relations from Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY in 2009. Margaret has experience working in a variety of areas of college administration including residential life, leadership development, women’s programs, orientation and advisement. Margaret has studied in Brazil, Ecuador and India and is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

  • Paul Patterson is the Program Coordinator at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Paul received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling and worked as a psychotherapist in many settings including a Native American Indian Reservation, an inner-city clinic for the homeless and mentally ill, a Congolese refugee camp in Africa, as well as private practice psychotherapy. He is completing his Doctor of Ministry degree in Spiritual Formation with his dissertation-in-progress on "Inter-faith Dialogue." Having worked with the CCI since October of 2010, he has served as the event coordinator for the annual mid-year retreat and workshop for transformative leadership. Paul enjoys his opportunities for international travel, most recently visiting sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Jane Ann Rix is the Program Coordinator at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Jane Ann has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Northwest Missouri State University and extensive coaching and teaching experience. Her background in education has given her experience teaching English, Home Economics as well as specific coaching experience coaching girls basketball. For the past six years, Jane Ann has worked with a variety of programming needs of international students visiting Kirkwood on grant programs including coordination of Pre-Academic and Academic programming for CCI and SEED students. She enjoys advising students who are funded by grants that help underprivileged students get involved in campus and community activities. Jane Ann enjoys traveling and recently participated in a service project in Antigua, Guatemala as a Kirkwood Global Service Awardee. Her focus on community service and outreach to community leaders has facilitated international students at Kirkwood to contributing 1000s of hours to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa Communities.

  • Alexander Lincoln is the CCI Program Coordinator for Northampton Community College. He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in Political Science from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and has served Northampton Community College in various positions including adjunct professor and project coordinator. He began his career as a counselor for wrestling advisement at Bloomsburg University. He also served in the role of a student academic advisement liaison at Bloomsburg University. Upon joining the Northampton Community College in 2013-2014 as a Project Coordinator for the Center for International Education, Alex worked with International students by coordinating housing, organizing student orientations, and cultural excursions for international students. Under his guidance, six international staff members were engaged in a variety of student projects that benefitted the center for International Education as well as the broader NCC community. Alex also advised international students, coordinated study abroad programs and implemented the official Center for International Education’s social media platforms by creating the Center’s Facebook page and Twitter account. Alex also served as an adjunct professor at Northampton Community College (NCC) in 2013-2014 and taught a US American Culture Class and a College Success class.