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International Studies and Programs
Michigan State University
International Center
427 N. Shaw Lane
Room 207
East Lansing MI 48824-1035
Tel: +1-517-355-2350
Fax: +1-517-353-7254
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Laura Ballard Peace Corps Coordinator
Peace Corps

International Center, Room 202B

Wenda Bauchspies Co-Director for Research and Engagement
Center for Gender in Global Context

206 International Center

Maria Beam Executive Secretary
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center

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Biography: Maria Beam supports the executive director with general day-to-day operations of the office, which includes managing the Executive Director’s calendar and providing support with planning and scheduling meetings and appointments, organizing and maintaining the Executive Director’s files, documentation and records, and attending meetings and events with/on behalf of the Executive Director as requested and taking notes as needed. Maria also provides support for the Education Abroad Council meetings, Education Abroad Leadership meetings and any other committee/group meetings as requested by the Executive Director.

Maria has been at MSU since 2003, beginning as receptionist, transitioning into an enrollment management specialist and now the assistant to the director. She has provided administrative support for the Global Internship Conference and attended conferences in Toronto, Ontario and Dublin, Ireland. In her free time, Maria enjoys spending with her family in Charlotte, Michigan. She has also participated in mission trips to France, Guatemala and Mexico.

DeAndra Beck Associate Dean for Research
Office of the Dean

207 International Center

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Biography: DeAndra Beck is Associate Dean for Research at International Studies and Programs. Before joining MSU, Dr. Beck served as a Program Director in the National Science Foundation's Office of International and Integrative Activities, with responsibility for NSF's Developing Country initiatives and the Middle East and Africa portfolios. She worked closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development to bridge the interests of science and development, including the design and implementation of the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER Science) initiative. PEER Science provides merit-based funding to developing country scientists who are collaborating with NSF-funded scientists.

Dr. Beck also co-managed Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI), a mechanism to foster global partnerships among NSF awardees, and she served on NSF's INSPIRE working group, which is piloting a new NSF initiative to solicit and fund transformative, multidisciplinary research. In cooperation with CRDF Global, she was instrumental in launching Newton's List as a platform to publicize funding opportunities for international research collaboration and initiated the International Funding Agency Seminar to facilitate dialogue among global science funding agencies.

Prior to NSF, Dr. Beck served as the acting Managing Director for Environment and Social Assessment at the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). While at MCC, she participated in the negotiation of multi-million dollar Compacts with Ghana, Armenia, and Mongolia and managed a team of professional staff responsible for environment and social assessment issues across the full spectrum of MCC eligible countries.

Previously, Dr. Beck served as Assistant Director for Policy, U.S. Forest Service International Programs, where she represented the interests of the U.S. forestry community in international negotiations, including the UN Forum on Forests, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Tropical Timber Organization, and the Montreal Process. These positions flanked her foray into the private sector as Chief Executive Officer of a biotechnology start-up company. Dr. Beck held positions as an international research administrator at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and as an AAAS Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She earned a B.S. (cum laude) and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University.

Cheryl Benner Communications Manager
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center

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Biography: Cheryl Benner oversees information, public relations and marketing activities for the Office of Study Abroad. Cheryl works with the executive director on overall communications strategy and is responsible for the development of printed publications, digital communications (including the web and social media), and coordination of special events. She networks with units across campus, such as the Office of Admissions, to maintain positive relationships in order to promote study abroad at various campus events and orientations.

Collaborating with the university-level communications office, Cheryl ensures all communication maintains a consistent brand image. She also serves as the initial media contact for the office, and oversees all aspects of data collection, analysis and reporting for education abroad.

Cheryl has co-presented at the local and regional levels on interactive media, the Generation Study Abroad initiative, education abroad for under-represented student populations, and the effective use of technology in student advising. She holds a BA in Advertising from MSU and brings more than 20 years of experience in outreach and marketing at a large public institution.

Ann Biersteker Associate Director and FLAS Coordinator
African Studies Center

100 International Center

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Biography: Ann Biersteker joined the African Studies Center in 2013. She coordinates activities related to MSU’s work as a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center for African Studies and as an institution that awards Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships. She also manages the “Eye on Africa” seminar series and teaches a course on Swahili literature. Ann has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in African languages and literature. She has published two books on Swahili poetry and a widely used Swahili textbook as well as a wide range of articles on African literature.

Ann has been awarded three U.S. Department of Education International Research and Studies awards, five U.S. Department of Education Group Projects Abroad awards, and she was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Senior Scholar Research Abroad Award and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award.

Sara Bijani Undergraduate Student Advisor
Center for Gender in Global Context

206 International Center

John Bonnell Program Director, Tanzania Partnership Program
Center for Advanced Study of International Development

202 International Center

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Biography: Dr. John Bonnell works in Michigan State University’s (MSU) International Center as the Program Director of the Tanzania Partnership Program, a collaborative alliance of local and international organizations dedicated to improving local livelihoods and promoting community resiliency in Tanzania. John also serves as Co-PI of the Innovation Scholars Program (in Malawi) through the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation. In each of these roles John works with academic staff at MSU and at partner universities, particularly in Africa, to design and implement research and capacity development programs that improve the well-being of individuals, institutions, communities, and systems. Dr. Bonnell is a practitioner and scholar of international higher education. His research and praxis include the role of higher education in developing countries, educational and workforce development systems, faculty development, organizational transformation, and international academic partnerships. He has conducted educational research and development projects in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Ghana. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Bonnell served as a faculty member and head of department at a private university in Kenya. Dr. Bonnell holds a PhD from MSU in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, with specializations in African Studies and International Development.