Speaker Biographies

Pre-Conference Workshop Facilitators:

(in alphabetical order)

Kris Acheson-Clair, PhD, Director, Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentoring and Research (CILMAR), Purdue University

Formerly Georgia State University faculty and Fulbright Scholar to Honduras, Kris is a well-published scholar on intercultural competence, transformative learning theory, and assessment. Kris currently serves as director of Purdue University’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR). Under her leadership, CILMAR works with the university’s faculty and staff both to put intercultural learning at the heart of study abroad and virtual exchange programs and to embed intercultural learning across the curriculum and student life in order to reach all undergraduates. Kris and CILMAR also serve the field of international education by creating experiential and reflective teaching materials, producing cutting-edge scholarship, offering professional development opportunities, and connecting people and resources in the Intercultural Learning Hub (hubicl.org).

Annette Benson, Senior Public Relations Consultant, Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentoring and Research (CILMAR), Purdue University

Annette (she/her) serves as the Senior Public Relations Consultant for the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) at Purdue University. She oversees external communication outreach for CILMAR and manages the Intercultural Learning Hub (HubICL), a searchable digital repository of intercultural learning tools and research. She holds an MS in Strategic Communication with an emphasis in global communication from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University.

Daniel F. Diaz, Director for the Office of Global and Off-Campus Initiatives & International Student Advisor, Guilford College

For the last 10 years Daniel has worked at Guilford College supporting international education, with most recently serving as the Director for the Office of Global and Off-Campus Initiatives & International Student Advisor. With over 17 years of International Higher Education Administration experience that spans over 60 countries, Daniel is an avid practitioner of international engagement and intercultural development. He is an active member of NAFSA, NCAIE, and serves on a handful of non-profit international organization boards. Daniel holds a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in Anthropology, and an M.A.I.S in International Higher Education Administration from East Carolina University (ECU).

Dennis John, PhD, CEO & Founder, Without Exception

Dennis is the Chief Executive Officer of Without Exception, a company he founded to help organizations build, develop, and fine-tune their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy by leveraging systems thinking to deconstruct these complex topics into concrete actions that facilitate immediate and sustainable change. Dennis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine, his MBA from Everest University, and his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He also holds certifications in online teaching pedagogy and instructional design, as well as certifications in a variety of assessments and experiential learning programs. Dennis is a member of the Academy of Management, the Association for Institutional Research, and the American Educational Research Association. He is also an Advisory Council Member for the Conscious Leadership and Team Management Certificate Program at the University of Chicago Graham School of Professional Development Programs.

Rich Kurtzman, Founder & CEO, Barcelona SAE

Rich has been working in EA since 1998 but began his journey by studying in St. Petersburg and Madrid, interning in Milan, and leading groups of students in Spain. He moved from Chicago to Barcelona in 2002 to begin working with students in a variety of capacities, including Academic Director, Intercultural Consultant and as a professor of intercultural studies. In 2009, Rich founded Barcelona SAE and has been the Director ever since. Some past presentations at conferences include: Increasing Cultural Awareness in Short-term Programs: A Toolkit of Activities, and Helping Students Make the “Right” Decisions: Using Choice Architecture and Nudge Theories, and Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: How to Support Failure and Build Intercultural Competence. Rich earned an M.A. in Spanish Applied Linguistics and Second Language from the University of Il-Chicago. Rich’s book – a cultural guide for students studying abroad filled with activities and anecdotes to further help them grow abroad when they go abroad – will be available in early 2022.

Kory Saunders, Assistant Director for Strategic Marketing, Diversity, & Inclusion, North Carolina State University

Kory (she,her,hers) is a lifelong learner of culture and has a keen interest in the connection we as people share between each other and the cultures in which we live. Kory specializes in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as programming in global higher education. She is currently the Assistant Director for Strategic Marketing, Diversity, & Inclusion at North Carolina State University. Kory was the 2020 finalist for the Diversity Abroad, Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education Rising Star Award. Kory was the recipient of the NAFSA Region VII 2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in International Education Award. She was also the recipient of the NC State African American Culture Center’s Ebony Harlem 2021 Nkonsonkonson Staff “Sticks in a Bundle Award.” Kory is the creator of Kultural Kurators, a platform to amplify and uplift BIPOC folx who have had global experiences.

Aletha Stahl, PhD, Senior Intercultural Learning Specialist, Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentoring and Research (CILMAR), Purdue University

Aletha is a senior intercultural learning specialist at the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research and an affiliated faculty member in Comparative Literature at Purdue University. Following two decades as a professor at a small liberal arts college, she now partners with faculty on curricular needs assessments and intervention design, manages the faculty/staff program Growing Intercultural Leaders, facilitates Worldview Workshops, and develops curricula.

Christina Thompson, Director of Partnership Development and Diversity Initiatives with Barcelona SAE

Christina (she/her/hers) is the Director of Partnership Development and Diversity Initiatives with Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE).  At Barcelona, SAE, she pioneered TODOS (The Outcomes-Based Diversity Outreach Strategy) and worked closely with faculty and partners to develop inclusive academic programming. Christina is also the Founder of Compear.org consulting with partners around the globe to implement strategic diversity and intercultural interventions. She has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, directing best practices in international education, diversity, equity, and inclusion at public and private universities. She has instructed intercultural pre-departure and reflection courses for education abroad experiences.  Christina serves as a NAFSA leader for Region IV, a NAFSA mentor, and is frequently invited to present at WISE, NAFSA, Diversity Abroad, and FORUM on Education Abroad.  Christina received her MA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.