Rachel Banks has spent nearly 10 years at NAFSA, and currently serves as director for public policy, focusing on international student and scholar issues, specifically visa issuance, international student recruitment, the Exchange Visitor Program, as well as state-level initiatives on behalf of international education and exchange. A native Michiganian, she holds an MA in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in history and political science from the University of Michigan. She considers herself and her siblings positive proof that international education makes a difference, for her father met her mother while pursuing his graduate degree in the United Kingdom.
Michael Feighner is assistant editor with NAFSA’s Communications and Engagement Services team. He joined NAFSA in 2011 after spending two years teaching English in Spain. He graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2009 with a BA in English language and literature, and he spent a semester studying in Madrid, Spain in 2007. Michael is a huge soccer fan, and his favorite teams are D.C. United and Atlético de Madrid.
Marlene M. Johnson has served as executive director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators since 1998. From 1983 to 1991, she served as lieutenant governor of Minnesota, during which time she was a particularly outspoken advocate of international educational exchange at the secondary and post-secondary level. Marlene also served as associate administrator for management services and human resources in the U.S. General Services Administration during the Clinton Administration. She currently serves on the boards of the Communications Consortium Media Center and the Kakenya Center for Excellence, and on the advisory councils of the U.S. China Education Trust.
Vic Johnson is NAFSA’s senior adviser for public policy. He spent 20 years in senior foreign affairs positions in Washington, DC, including a long stint as staff director of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. Vic served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia and later served as director of the Peace Corps programs in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Clinton Administration. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the Washington Office on Latin America.
Kari Lantos has served as NAFSA’s manager of grassroots outreach since August 2005. In her role, she manages all grassroots advocacy programs, from coordinating letter-writing and telephone campaigns to members of Congress on issues affecting international education to planning NAFSA’s annual Advocacy Day and advocacy training programs. Prior to joining NAFSA she served as the assistant director for government relations at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Kari was exposed to international education at a young age as her family hosted Rotary exchange students from Portugal, Germany, Philippines, Mexico, and Spain. She now enjoys traveling with her husband, who is a former international student from Hungary.
Elaina Loveland is editor-in-chief of NAFSA’s award-winning bimonthly magazine, International Educator. Prior to joining NAFSA in 2005 as managing editor, she served as editor of magazines, journals, books, and newsletters for other associations, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Rural School and Community Trust, and GAMA International. She holds a BA from Goucher College and MA from George Mason University and has taught college writing and literature courses as an adjunct. Elaina is also the author of two books: Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers and Creative Careers: Paths for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers.
Katie O’Connell has been a member of the NAFSA staff since September 2008. As NAFSA’s associate director for media relations and advocacy, she directly and strategically engages on behalf of NAFSA in all forms of media to advance NAFSA’s policy agenda and expand and empower the Connecting Our World grassroots community. She first came to DC to work in the Senate as a staff assistant and then as a legislative correspondent, focusing on foreign policy. As a native nutmegger, Katie is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. While at UConn, she studied abroad in Costa Rica and the Czech Republic and also did a semester internship at the U.S. State Department. Katie loves learning more about the world, has a particular passion for anything Irish, and considers writing a competitive sport. You can follow her on Twitter at @KatieAtNAFSA.
Lisa Schock is senior editor with NAFSA’s Communications and Engagement Services team and has been at NAFSA since July 2005. She provides editorial oversight on a range of marketing and communications materials, and oversees the editorial quality of NAFSA’s website and annual conference publications. She manages editorial functions for NAFSA.news and is editor of the In Brief section of International Educator magazine. Lisa has a BA in American government from the University of Virginia and an MA in journalism from Indiana University.
Heather Stewart is NAFSA’s counsel and director of immigration policy in the public policy department. Prior to joining NAFSA’s staff in October 2003, she was the government relations counsel at the American Council on International Personnel and liaison associate with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Heather received a JD from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and a BA from Mercer University. She is a member of the DC Bar and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Jordan Wait is the manager of web content and social media and has worked at NAFSA since March 2007. Jordan is responsible for managing all of NAFSA’s social media properties as well as working with the NAFSA team to keep the website updated with fresh content. Prior to working at NAFSA, he worked at Care2, the largest online community of people passionate about making a difference. Jordan is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is an avid Jayhawks fan. Rock Chalk!
Eric White has been a key part of NAFSA’s web services team since 2006. As the director of web communications and user experience, he considers the NAFSA website his home and is always striving to make it more inviting and engaging. He alone realizes that the secret to advancing international education and exchange lies in well-formed HTML and cutting edge CSS. Eric is occasionally bearded, sometimes mustachioed, but always in disguise.
Alan Williams is NAFSA’s deputy executive director for organizational advancement, responsible for identifying and securing innovative organizational partnerships. Alan manages NAFSA Global Partnership Program, which includes more than 100 companies, university country consortia and other non-profit organizations as well as NAFSA’s member fundraising efforts. Prior to joining NAFSA, Alan spent 10 years in global development managing the Youth Leadership & Engagement Center at the International Youth Foundation. Before that, Alan managed international communications for 10 years at AFS Intercultural Programs. Alan was born and spent most of his youth in South Africa, where he was engaged in the anti-Apartheid movement as a student activist. He was also an AFS exchange student from Cape Town to Schenectady, New York.