Erika Wilkens, PhD
As an Assistant Provost and the Executive Director of Syracuse Abroad, Dr. Erika Wilkens is responsible for all aspects of the strategic expansion and management of Syracuse Abroad, as well as playing a key role in advancing the University’s vision and commitment to internationalization.
Erika brings deep international, academic and administrative experience to her role, most recently as the founding Director of Syracuse University’s study abroad center in Istanbul, Turkey, where she led operations from 2010 until 2017, until the center closed its doors due to political unrest in the region. Transitioning to Syracuse University in the U.S., Erika served in various global engagement leadership positions before being appointed to her current role.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Wilkens has served as a faculty member and conducted research at several institutions worldwide, most recently as an assistant professor at Okan University in Istanbul, an instructor at Sabanci University, Istanbul and New School University’s Graduate Program in International Affairs in New York City. She also has worked as a research consultant to the World Bank and as a visiting faculty member on a Soros Foundation Civic Education Project at Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas) and Vilnius Universities in Lithuania. She has conducted international research in several countries including Canada, Belgium, Romania, Hungary, and India.
Wilkens earned a Ph.D. in political science from Syracuse University; a master’s degree in international development from University of Calgary, Canada; a master’s degree in international relations from Lancaster University, United Kingdom; and a bachelor of commerce degree from University of Calgary.
Diane has been with Syracuse Abroad since 2001. As Director of Administration, she assists with HR, legal, risk management, compliance, and other issues for Syracuse staff and for staff and faculty at our overseas centers. She also provides administrative support to the Assistant Provost and Executive Director of Syracuse Abroad.
Prior to her current position, Diane worked as an independent public relations consultant and event planner for various clients in the Syracuse area. She also worked in the public relations department at Crouse Hospital, and as Assistant to the VP of Public Relations at Crouse. Diane holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in PR from SUNY Geneseo.
Admissions & Programming
Tara BlomvallDirector, Admissions & International Program Advisor, Santiago
Mary FedorkoAssistant Director, Admissions
Delaney Van WeyCampus Outreach Manager
Theresa BaroneFront Desk Coordinator
Joelle OreckiInternational Program Advisor, London & Strasbourg
Katie WellsInternational Program Advisor, Florence & Central Europe
Ben CogdallInternational Program Advisor, Madrid
Sarah TomlinsonInternational Program Advisor, Florence
Tara serves as the Director of Admissions and Student Engagement for Syracuse Abroad. In this role, she oversees the admission and predeparture process for all Syracuse Abroad Center programs, campus outreach initiatives across Syracuse University and the recruitment and the recruitment of non-Syracuse University students from our partner schools. Tara has over 14 years of experience working in higher education, specifically in the areas of undergraduate admissions and recruitment, CRM implementation and design, and education abroad.
She obtained her MBA degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and her BBA degree in International Business and Human Resource Management from Temple University. As an undergraduate student, she also had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain.
Mary Fedorko has worked in the field of international education for nearly 25 years, with a special emphasis on student advising, scholarship administration, program management, and cultural exchange. She most enjoys guiding students towards finding the best study abroad program to meet their academic, financial, and personal needs. Mary studied and lived in China for three years shortly after China opened its doors to U.S. students. She has a BA in English from Smith College, and an MA in Chinese Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
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Delaney Van Wey
Delaney is excited to connect Syracuse University students to the multitude of opportunities available through Syracuse Abroad. As a 2018 graduate of Syracuse University and an alumna of the Santiago Center, she knows first-hand the ins and outs of student life and the impact of international education. Delaney studied journalism, international relations and Spanish and is happy to talk about anything and everything ‘Cuse related. She is originally from Buffalo, New York (Go Bills!).
Theresa joined the Syracuse Abroad team as Office Coordinator in 2018. She graduated Canisius College with a B.A. in Industrial Psychology. After completing her degree at Canisius she opened and operated her own retail store in Syracuse for 15 years. While running her business she obtained a Paralegal Certificate from Syracuse University.
She has had the opportunity to live in London with her husband and children and travel throughout Europe. Theresa can now share her passion for education abroad and travel with Syracuse University students.
Joelle serves as the advisor for Syracuse Abroad’s Center programs in London, England. As part of the Admissions Team, she works with students through every step of the abroad experience. As an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Geneseo, Joelle spent a semester abroad in France. Prior to joining Syracuse Abroad, Joelle held various education roles both in the U.S. and overseas. She is committed to international education and the experiential learning opportunities that study abroad exemplifies.
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Katie’s love for international education began in high school with a six week exchange to France, quickly followed by a year-long exchange program to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Realizing her goal to help future students also study abroad, she studied and interned abroad in Klaipeda, Lithuania while completing her Bachelor’s in International Studies at George Fox University in Oregon. Shortly after, she embarked on the Teaching Assistant Program in France to work as an English language assistant in Pontarlier.
Following teaching abroad, Katie began her graduate studies in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and graduated with a Master’s of Arts after completing her practicum at the Syracuse University Strasbourg Center. Through all these programs, Katie has learned the importance of citizen diplomacy through cultural immersion, language acquisition, and developing intercultural competency skills. She is eager to continue her work creating bridges across countries and cultures as she assists students in advising students for the Strasbourg and Madrid Semester programs.
Having grown up as a ‘Military Brat,‘ Ben has had the unique experience to grow up all over the United States and see many parts of the world from a young age. Because of this Ben, now considers himself to be a strong advocate for international travel. He attended Northern Arizona University where he studied abroad in Costa Rica. There, he became fascinated with language acquisition and intercultural development, and found great value in international education.
He graduated with a master’s in education and Spanish and went on to teach English in Madrid, Spain. During his post-graduate career, Ben has held several positions related to foreign language instruction, student services, and study abroad. Excited to be with Syracuse Abroad, Ben is eager to work with students looking to create their own incredible experiences overseas.
Sarah was born and raised in the Syracuse, New York area. She attended Loyola University in Maryland for her first year of undergraduate studies, then transferred to Elon University in North Carolina where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. During her undergraduate career, she studied abroad in London, England for a semester and New Zealand for three weeks during her senior year January term.
Sarah is a recent graduate of Syracuse University, receiving a master’s degree in Higher Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Intercollegiate Athletic Advising and Support. In previous years, she has held many positions in the international education field. As an advisor for the center programs in Florence, Italy, she works directly with students to assist them during every step of the study abroad process. During her free time, you can find her cheering on the many sport teams here at Syracuse University and going on walks with her two dogs.
World Partner Programs
Cara HardyAssistant Director, World Partner Programs
Sarah NebhutInternational Program Advisor, World Partner Programs
At Syracuse Abroad, Cara manages the portfolio of World Partner programs and advises students who are interested in studying abroad in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Cara began her career in education abroad over 20 years ago at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and has held roles in advising, institutional relations, and program development and management, including a stint abroad as the Assistant Resident Director of CIEE’s center in Barcelona. She has also taught Spanish language at Syracuse University and other colleges and worked as a grant writer for non-profit organizations.
Cara graduated with an AB in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Dartmouth College and holds an MA in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has spent time studying, working, volunteering, and living in Spain, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
- Australia and New Zealand
- Central Asia
- Europe (Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Sweden)
- Latin America and the Caribbean (Brazil)
- Middle East
- SEA Semester Programs
Sarah Nebhut is from Austin, Texas. She graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Hartwick College and a M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University. While attending Hartwick College, Sarah studied abroad in Portugal, Thailand, and South Africa. During her master’s degree, Sarah served as an intern in study abroad at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
As the International Program Advisor for World Partner Programs, Sarah manages the World Partner Programs in locations such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America and advises students interested in studying abroad in these programs. She also manages incoming international exchange students.
- Europe (Austria, France, Spain)
- Latin America & the Caribbean (West Indies)
- Incoming Exchange Students
Marie KulikowskyAssistant Director, Summer & Faculty-Led Programs
Laura PriolettiInternational Program Advisor, Summer & Faculty-Led Programs
Originally from Paris, France, Marie first came to Syracuse University as an exchange student and spent her junior year here. She came back after graduation and received her Master’s Degree from Newhouse. She stayed in Syracuse after that, taught French at SU and joined Syracuse Abroad in 2013. As the Assistant Director of Summer Sessions and Faculty Led programs she oversees both Summer and Short Term programs. She works with faculty and overseas centers to create and run meaningful and high quality programs.
International Program Advisor, Summer & Faculty-led Programs
Laura was born and raised in the Syracuse area. She attended St. John Fisher College for her B.A. in Psychology, and Syracuse University where she graduated with an M.S. in School Counseling. As and undergraduate, she spent a semester abroad in Limerick, Ireland where she took various classes on Irish culture and traditions, including Irish Dance. During this semester, she fell in love with seeing the world and now wants to encourage other to do so as well!
Seth TuckerDirector, Global Safety & Student Services
Bridget DemorestAssistant Director, Student Services
Katie ShawCoordinator, Student Services & Inclusion
Seth A. Tucker serves as the Director of Global Safety and Student Services at Syracuse University Abroad where he is responsible for developing policy and institutional practice in the areas of global safety, risk mitigation, and crisis management. He also provides leadership for the Student Services department and, with his team, works to ensure students have a safe and engaging experience abroad. With 25 years’ experience in both academic and student affairs administration, he has previously served as the Vice President for Campus Life and Safety at Onondaga Community College and as the Director of Crisis Management at Syracuse University. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder.
Bridget has been with the Syracuse Abroad team since 2007 and primarily focuses on student wellness, health and safety. Bridget provides students with connections to resources while working closely with colleagues locally and abroad so that students can achieve their highest potential for success. With a background in college student counseling, Bridget values the life-changing caliber of a college experience combined with an international adventure. While each brings their own unique challenges and opportunities, this human services approach to student support abroad is most rewarding to her. Bridget has a BS in Family & Consumer Sciences from Mercyhurst University, and an MS in Counseling & Human Services from Syracuse University.
Katie was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. Go Orange! She received her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Psychology, from Hobart & William Smith Colleges. During this time, Katie had an opportunity to study abroad in Hong Kong. Katie also completed a my Master’s in Social Work through Syracuse’s Falk College. Katie previously worked with Syracuse University’s Academic and Career Advising Team for the College of Arts & Sciences/Maxwell and was there for over 5 years prior to transitioning to Student Outreach and Support where she spent some time.
Katie is looking forward to combining her passion and love for travel and well as looking forward to applying social work education and skills to the Abroad environment and continuing to gain perspective and critically evaluate policies pertaining to the student experience.
Nicole CollinsDirector, Strategic Partnerships & Outreach
Gael NoyesAssistant Director, Strategic Partnerships
Ray WihakAssistant Director, Institutional Relations
Ariana SahinovicSr. Institutional Relations Specialist
Nicole serves as the Director of Strategic Partnership & Outreach. In this role, she oversees recruitment and outreach initiatives at non-Syracuse partner schools, development of World Partner programs, and strategic marketing initiatives for Syracuse Abroad. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Nicole brings with her over 16 years of experience in global education, including crisis management, program development, partner relations, and strategic marketing and recruitment. Before joining Syracuse Abroad, Nicole held professional leadership roles at Miami University, IES Abroad, and Wake Forest University.
Nicole earned a B.A in International Studies from Case Western Reserve University and she studied abroad in Costa Rica at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma. Nicole received an M.A. in Intercultural Communication from Wake Forest University. While a student at Wake, she received a grant to travel to Lima, Peru to interview health practitioners and volunteer at a local hospital.
Gael has worked in international education for 20 years. She started her career in admissions advising as the International Program Advisor for the Syracuse Abroad Florence and Strasbourg programs, as well as heading up visa processing for SU students going abroad. Gael then moved to work for the Study Abroad provider CIEE, as Senior Institutional Relations Manager for New York and Pennsylvania before becoming Associate Director of Institutional Relations and managing a team serving the schools in the Eastern half of the US. Gael has now made a full circle and returned to Syracuse Abroad as Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships where she is looking forward to continuing to work with Partner Schools and visiting students to grow enrollments for Syracuse Abroad.
Gael has a BA Joint Honors from Cardiff University in South Wales. She is originally from the UK and after meeting her husband, a Syracuse native, while teaching English in Japan, moved to Syracuse and has lived here with her family ever since.
Ray Wihak is the Assistant Director for Institutional Relations. He has worked at Syracuse Abroad for over 30 years. Ray graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University and has traveled extensively throughout his career. He is fluent in Ukrainian and also has working knowledge of Italian, Spanish, Polish and Russian. Ray is an avid cruiser and goes on yearly cruises with his family. Someday, Ray hopes to retire in Southern California.
Ari is an alumna of Syracuse University and the Syracuse London Program having majored in International Relations and Communications. Since graduating, Ari’s work has related to university alumni engagement, in-person and virtual event coordination, and communications. Ari is a running enthusiast, professional Netflix binger, and aspiring baker.
Petra Hejnova, PhDDirector, Curriculum & Academic Services
Kelsey HanbachAssistant Director, Academic Services
Jeanne ChuProgram Assistant, Academic Services
Christi JenningsCoordinator, Academic Services
Jackie Lewis-FrenayAcademic Services
Petra Hejnova, PhD
As a Director of Curriculum, Petra Hejnova, PhD, oversees curriculum and academics for Syracuse University’s Centers abroad. She also holds a faculty appointment in the Political Science Department of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
Dr. Hejnova previously served as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an Executive Co-Director of the Gender Studies Center in Prague. As a faculty, she developed and taught courses in the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Dr. Hejnova holds an MA in Public Policy from Charles University in Prague and a PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University.
Kelsey is a Syracuse alum, earning a BA in Social Studies Education & History in 2014. During undergrad, she studied abroad through the FU-BEST World Partner program in Berlin, Germany. Her experiences in college, including studying abroad, inspired her to earn a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from the University at Buffalo. She has held numerous roles at SU, including previously advising for Syracuse Abroad Summer and Faculty-Led programs and as an Academic & Career Advisor in the College of Arts & Sciences/Maxwell.
Kelsey now serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Services, specializing in academic matters for Florence programs. Studying abroad gave Kelsey the opportunity to immerse herself in the history and culture she was learning about in classes, by living with a host family and through local field trips, and she is excited to help students gain these experiences in Florence!
A Syracuse native and Newhouse graduate, Jeanne supports the Academic Services team as the Program Assistant. She specializes in academic matters for the Central Europe, Madrid, and Santiago semester programs. Having lived overseas happily and traveled widely, Jeanne loves helping students fulfill their international study ambitions (and still hopes one day to bag her seventh continent, Antarctica).
Christi joined the Syracuse University staff in 2019 after many years in the hospitality industry. With a strong belief that exploration, through travel, learning and new experiences, brings the most profound shifts of perspective and satisfaction, she knew that a role with Syracuse Abroad would offer an ideal career to flex her administrative skill while positively impacting students on their own journey of exploration. Christi is pleased to be the Academic Services Coordinator for the London and Strasbourg Centers.
Jackie has worked in international education at SU for more than 30 years and currently specializes in academic matters for our Central Europe, Florence, and Strasbourg semester programs. An alum of the Syracuse London program and a Newhouse grad, Jackie couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the many and varied study abroad opportunities that Syracuse University offers students!
Shukhrat AminovDirector, Global Operations
Courtney EppelStudent Records Specialist
Marisa LostumboFunctional Business Analyst
Bobbi ClapsBusiness Office Specialist
Janet NicholsonSenior Accountant
Josie PascarellaBusiness Operations Specialist
Kelly KirleySenior Budget Analyst
The Director of Global Operations is new role at Syracuse Abroad, developed in response to our growing student numbers, changing expectations, and increased complexities in all of our locations. Reporting to the Executive Director, Shukhrat is responsible for overseeing all non-academic operational issues at Syracuse Abroad and our centers abroad. His scope therefore is supporting our centers in the areas of budget/finance, human resources, IT/data, legal, facilities, agreements, and other operational areas. Within Syracuse Abroad, Shukhrat is responsible for the direct supervisory responsibility for Assistant Director of the Business Office, Senior Budget Analyst, and Functional Business Analyst positions.
Shukhrat brings more than a decade of operations management experience to Syracuse Abroad, some of which was within international contexts. His qualifications include budget management, administration, strategy development and implementation, project management, and asset management. He has completed Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Prior to joining Syracuse Abroad, Shukhrat served as the Regional Chief Operating Officer for Western & Central New York region of the American Red Cross, where he was responsible for overseeing all administrative and business functions for a team that provided humanitarian services for a population of more than 4 million individuals. Some of Shukhrat’s past experiences include managing complex humanitarian aid operations in post-Tsunami Indonesia and supporting humanitarian efforts in post 9/11 Northern Afghanistan.
As a member of the Syracuse Abroad Business office team, Courtney serves as the Student Records Specialist maintaining and reconciling student records along with providing registrar support. She has previously served as the advisor for the Exploring Central Europe and as the Florence program’s visa coordinator.
Courtney is an alumna of the SU Florence studio arts program. She holds a BFA in Painting, and an MA in Museum Studies from Syracuse University.
As the Functional Business Analyst for Syracuse Abroad, Marisa’s primary responsibility is maintaining the Syracuse Abroad systems and managing technology and data needs for the organization. She attended Ithaca College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and a minor in Legal Studies. Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, she began working for the University in 2011 and has been with Syracuse Abroad since 2014.
Bobbi serves as Syracuse Abroad’s Business Office Specialist within the Business Office. She assists with Accounting, HR and Business office needs for the Syracuse Abroad office and staff at our overseas centers.
Prior to her current position, Bobbi worked as an Accountant for Syracuse University Press and other local non-profit organizations. Bobbi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting from American University in Washington D.C.
Janet serves as Syracuse Abroad’s Senior Accountant within the Business Office.
Kelly serves as the liaison between Syracuse Abroad and the Office of Budget and Planning.
Marketing & Communications
Ashley serves as the liaison between Syracuse Abroad and the Division of Marketing & Communications and works to develop and deploy marketing strategies across Syracuse Abroad’s various teams and activities on and off campus. As an undergraduate, Ashley studied abroad in Rome, Italy and graduated from Salve Regina University.
Prior to joining Syracuse Abroad, Ashley held marketing roles at various organizations including CVS and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Currently, Ashley is working toward her M.S. in Communications at Newhouse School of Public Communications.