International Studies & Programs

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Office for Education Abroad
Michigan State University
International Center
427 N. Shaw Lane Rm 109
East Lansing, MI 48824
Tel: 517-353-8920
Fax: 517-432-2082
abroad(at)msu.edu
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Education Abroad Advising Advising Center
Office for Education Abroad

108 International Center
abroad(at)msu.edu

Lynn Aguado Program Coordinator
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center
aguado(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Lynn Aguado coordinates MSU study abroad programs for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. She also advises and manages the administrative process for students participating in Non-MSU-sponsored programs. In addition, Lynn is the liaison with the Office of Financial Aid and works on outreach related to financing education abroad.

Lynn received a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, during which time she participated in an academic year abroad program at the Universidad de Sevilla in Seville, Spain, where she developed fluency in Spanish and a love of discovering new cultures. After returning home, she worked as a peer advisor in the U of M study abroad office that led to a permanent position as a study abroad advisor after graduation. She has been working in the field of international education ever since, at U of M, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and now at MSU. Lynn obtained a Master’s degree in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education in May 2017 from the MSU College of Education.

Lynn enjoys using her Spanish language skills as well as the French that she studied in high school and college, and she has picked up some Italian over the years, as well. It was her love of language that propelled her to go abroad, but she gained much more than the ability to communicate in Spanish during her time in Spain. She learned to be flexible, patient and self-reliant, and to appreciate and celebrate diverse ways of thinking and living. She is proud to be part of a great team of MSU faculty and staff who support students to achieve their education abroad goals.

Opal Leeman Bartzis Executive Director
Office for Education Abroad

105 International Center
bartziso(at)msu.edu

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Biography: As executive director of education abroad, Opal provides vision for the education abroad office and leadership for all aspects of the education abroad experience at MSU. In addition to managing education staff units, she actively engages faculty and offices across campus in the institutional aim of cultivating globally engaged citizens.

Opal came to MSU from twenty years at the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University, where she was Vice President for Academic Affairs, overseeing curriculum development, faculty engagement, and student success, and instructor of Exploring Community and Culture in a Global Context, a unique course that engaged students studying in varied countries in online intercultural learning communities known as “global cohorts.” She also worked in Ireland for three years as a resident director, looking after over 300 students per semester and managing institutional relationships with nine Irish universities. Through her work at IFSA-Butler, she is credited with being the first education abroad administrator to adapt an academic advising/positive psychology practice known as appreciative advising to education abroad.

Opal studied abroad on multiple programs, including an academic year in Switzerland and a short-term program in Russia, and she was part of the first student diplomatic mission to Lithuania following the political end of the Soviet Union. She has an honors bachelor’s degree in German and a master’s degree in history (both from Butler University), and a doctorate in adult, higher and community education from Ball State University, where her dissertation evaluated the impact of engaging in student teaching abroad on the development of culturally sensitive instructional practices. Through professional and scholarly experiences, she has developed her expertise in areas such as inclusive pedagogy, experiential education, and academic ethics across cultures.

Some of Opal’s recent publications include chapters titled Student Teaching Abroad: Intercultural Learning in Context and a Changing Approach to US Teacher Education Preparation, Innovative Approaches to Study Abroad at Harper College and Fox Valley Technical College, and Study Abroad: Toward Fulfillment of a Critical Need for More Culturally Sensitive Volunteers. Opal has held multiple regional and national leadership positions with NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Forum on Education Abroad, and is the current chair of the Study Abroad Committee of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).

Maria Beam Executive Secretary
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center
beamm(at)msu.edu

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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.

Cheryl Benner Communications Manager
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center
bennerc(at)msu.edu

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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.

Hope Kroll Student Success Specialist
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center
krollhop(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Hope Kroll coordinates student success related projects and all aspects of data collection, analysis, and reporting for the Office for Education Abroad. Hope works closely with the Executive and Associate Directors to further align the office with student success practices, including teaching and learning enhancement. Additionally, Hope coordinates education abroad programs for the Honors College, Lyman Briggs College, the College of Music and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.
Hope transferred to Michigan State University from Lansing Community College and earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2016. She has worked in higher education for five years and has significant experience in international program administration, data management and reporting. Before she joined Education Abroad in December 2019, Hope worked as the Student Coordinator for the BHEARD Program, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development. This position enabled her to travel abroad for the first time in 2018, which sparked her interest in education abroad and the impact transformative learning experiences may have on student success.
Hope is passionate about inclusive excellence and is committed to increasing student access to quality education abroad programs and intercultural education.

Sherry Martinez-Bonilla HR/Office Manager
Office for Education Abroad

109 International Center
marti269(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Hired at MSU in 1996, Sherry Martinez-Bonilla has progressed from an entry-level clerical position to professional management, responsible for all aspects of the main office operations. Sherry assists with scheduling office meetings, retreats and on-going professional development activities for the office, and coordinates planning and hosting EA visitors and delegations. She facilitates purchase requests and is the go-to person for matters related to maintenance, telecommunication and recycling. She also assists with coursework and transcript processing, and contract processing.

As part of her management role, Sherry serves as the primary liaison to HR and ISP for personnel issues, supervise the federal work/study student staff and support EA leadership on personnel matters. She assists with staff searches and provides general on-boarding support of all new hires.

Sherry also assists with the smooth and efficient operation of the Freshman Seminars, including processing applications, responding to students and parents, and scheduling on-campus logistics.

Kelsey Pink Business Manager
Office for Education Abroad

5 International Center
pinkkels(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Kelsey Pink, Office for Study Abroad Financial Services Coordinator, is responsible for overseeing the development, approval, and implementation of all faculty-related program budgets, including the preparation of travel advances and the reconciliation of programs upon return. Kelsey maintains reports regarding financial activities associated with education abroad programming and works closely with a team of program coordinators to develop, implement, and streamline processes and procedures related to program budgeting.

Originally from Troy, Michigan, Kelsey graduated from Michigan State University with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Accounting. After spending a few years in public accounting serving as a tax accountant at Plante & Moran, PLLC, she came back home to her alma mater and joined the Office of Study Abroad in November 2016.

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