Rainbow SIG Fall 2019 Newsletter

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Volume 26, Number 1, Fall 2019

The Rainbow Newsletter is published once a semester by the Rainbow Special Interest Group (SIG) of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The Rainbow SIG is comprised of diverse NAFSAns whose goals are to combat homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia within NAFSA, to counsel international students and study abroad students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender professionals in international education.

In T his Edi tio n:

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆRainbow SIG Announcements (p.2) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆRainbow Scholarship Updates (p.4) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆESL Materials: Heteronormativity Doesn’t Have to be the Norm (p.5) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆThe Importance of LGBTQ+ Pre-Departure Orientations (p.6) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆTrue Allyship: A Toolkit for Allies of the Education Abroad LGBTQIA+ Community (p.8) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;ŒˆNavigating International Education as an LGBTQIA+ & POC Professional (p.10)

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RAINBOW SIG G E T I N V O LV E D! Subscribe: to the Rainbow SIG Listserv by completing the online form. Like: Join the private Rainbow SIG Group on Facebook Give: Donate to the Rainbow Scholarship (pg.4) Reach Out: Email the listserv by sending your message to: rainbow-l@indiana.edu Contribute: Submit content for the Rainbow SIG Newsletter (Call for Articles via Listserv & Facebook) Represent: Volunteer to become a NAFSA Rainbow SIG Regional Rep

SIG Announcement s: NAFSA RISE Fellowship Program NAFSA welcomes applications from international education professionals from underrepresented minority backgrounds, in early stages of their career, to join the new NAFSA RISE (Representation, Inclusion, Support and Empowerment) Fellowship Program. Designed as a fully-sponsored, 2-year professional development opportunity, RISE Fellows will enjoy the benefits of the prestigious NAFSA Academy for International Education (Year 1), and apply the knowledge, skills and experiences learned during their training, to positively impact their institution, campus and/or community (Year 2). Applicants must be currently employed full time in the field at a U.S. institution and have been in their current position for at least a year by the program start date. More details on eligibility are available on the RISE webpage. For more information, and to submit an application, visit: www.nafsa.org/rise Deadline, November, 15th, 2019

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RAINBOW SIG Call for Submissions: Perspectives on the Intersections of Social Justice and International Education NAFSA seeks practitioners with extensive field experience in higher education to write short (800 words) essays, called “Voices from the Field,â€? that provide their perspective on the intersections of social justice and international education in their work. LaNitra Berger, NAFSA Board member and senior director of fellowships in the Honors College at George Mason University, is serving as the editor for a new NAFSA book on perspectives on the intersections of social justice and international education to be released in spring 2020. The book is divided into three sections: (1) Perspectives of Social Justice and Global Citizenship; (2) Perspectives of Social Justice and Global Learning; and (3) Perspectives of Social Justice, International Students, and Global Learning. Prospective contributors should respond to the prompt: What does social justice in international education mean to me, and how does my work contribute to its advancement? Guidelines đ&#x;Œˆ Word count must not exceed 800 words. đ&#x;Œˆ Figures and tables are not allowed. đ&#x;Œˆ Submissions are due by November 8, 2019, to NAFSApublications@gmail.com. đ&#x;Œˆ For accepted submissions, contributors will sign a copyright permission form and submit it to NAFSA. đ&#x;Œˆ Upon submission, contributors agree to allow NAFSA to use the copy in promotional efforts for the book.

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Editorial Policies đ&#x;Œˆ Copy can be written in first- and third-person. Second-person narrative should not be used. đ&#x;Œˆ Copy must be original and not published elsewhere. đ&#x;Œˆ Copy should mainly be original reflections and perspectives. However, any outside sources and quoted materials must be properly cited. đ&#x;Œˆ Copy should be accurate. NAFSA cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy of facts, figures, or names in submitted copy. Before submitting material, verify the spelling of names, titles, countries, and institutions. đ&#x;Œˆ Contributors should provide their name, position, and institution or affiliation. đ&#x;Œˆ All writing is subject to editing for clarity, grammar, and length.

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RAINBOW SIG RAINBOW SCHOL ARSHIP Updates from the Fund for Education Abroad

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ The next FEA application for Summer, Fall, and Academic Year 2020-2021 opens on November 11, 2019. đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ The 9th Annual Scholar Gala is also on November 21, 2019 from 6-9pm at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC. Tickets are available for purchase. đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ As a fun update, two Rainbow Scholars are currently abroad: Darren De Leon, studying in England, and Olu Oshodi, studying in Japan

Update from the Rainbow SIG Scholarship Coordinators The Summer ’20, Fall ’20, and AY ’20-’21 Rainbow Scholarship applications will open on November 11, 2019. The deadlines for those terms have not yet been announced. In order to be eligible, students must: đ&#x;Œˆ Identify as LGBTQ+ đ&#x;Œˆ Be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident đ&#x;Œˆ Be currently enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. (graduate students are not eligible) đ&#x;Œˆ Ensure their chosen study abroad program is eligible for credit at their home institution đ&#x;Œˆ Ensure that the program is at least 4 weeks in length

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Any questions regarding the scholarships, may be directed to our two fabulous Scholarship Coordinators: Olivia Del Viscio - odelviscio@ceastudyabroad.com Shannon Erickson - shannonerickson@outlook.com

Donate to FEA Rainbow Scholarship

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Lizz Alezetes (she/her/hers), Assistant Lecturer of ESL, Ball State University

When I stumbled upon a NY Times’ article about virtual influencers, I knew I had found the final debate topic for the advanced speaking class I teach at the Intensive English Institute at Ball State University. The article discusses Lil Miquela, a model and Instagram star with over 1.5 million followers who isn’t even human. The article starts with a commercial where model Bella Hadid kisses Lil Miquela, which is quite mind-boggling when you discover Lil Miquela is computer-generated. As I pondered how to introduce a completely new topic to my students and get them excited about it for their final debate, the first idea that came to mind was to show them some pictures of Lil Miquela and the commercial described in the article. I paused. Should I show a commercial of two women kissing to my students? As I taught for 5 years in an extremely conservative country, I am conditioned to consider what is appropriate for students from conservative religious countries. Since I had a few students in the class with that background, my initial decision was that I should not show the commercial in class because it might make them uncomfortable. Then it struck me: would I hesitate to show this commercial if it were Lil Miquela kissing a man? No. I wouldn’t hesitate to show commercials containing a heterosexual kiss for the sake of gaining student buy-in on a topic. So I knew what I was going to do: I was going to use the video. On principle. I showed the video in class and explained the controversy that people were upset a heterosexual model was cast to kiss Lil Miquela and how that controversy led to the discovery that Lil Miquela wasn’t a real person, which led to a whole new controversy. And that new controversy of using virtual models to sell products— not a kiss between women—was the focus of our debate. I did my best to gauge the students’ reaction since it’s the first time I’ve shown a same-sex kiss in a lesson. The students from non-religious countries did not show a negative or shocked reaction to the video (although they were shocked to discover that Lil Miquela wasn’t real—which was the point of using the commercial), and they discussed the topic with ease and referred to the video without a detectable level of discomfort. And despite my concern for the students from conservative religious countries, the two in my class also took the video in stride and did not seem uncomfortable when referring to the video in later discussions.

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It may just have been those students’ personalities, but I think one factor that made the inclusion of a same-sex romance safe for all students was that it wasn’t the primary focus of our discussion. It was a vivid example of how virtual models are used and how deceptive they are, and it just happened to feature a woman kissing another woman. I believe when we use an example that does not conform to heteronormative standards, we take a small step away from the heteronormativity that pervades our classrooms and curriculum. It is not radical. It is not meant to be radical. It is meant to chip away at heteronormativity in a way that still provides a safe space for all international students. I didn’t enter into this debate topic with the plan to challenge my own promotion of heteronormativity in the classroom. But after this lesson, I realized it was time to ask myself the kinds of questions I found myself pondering before I showed the Lil Miquela commercial. As I consider what realia to bring into my classroom, whether it’s a song or a movie clip or an article, I will ask myself: Does this material reinforce or chip away at heteronormativity? And if it does reinforce heteronormativity, do I still want to use it? Is there something else I could use in its place that is not heteronormative? If not, is there a way I can provide balance to the lesson or to that week’s lessons to make the material generally less heteronormative? Providing a safe space for international LGBTQ+ students while promoting tolerance amongst international students from conservative countries cannot be the sole outcome of an ESL teacher. But we can prioritize it when choosing or creating materials for our students. And each time we successfully include material that does not reinforce heteronormativity, we take a step towards creating a more inclusive culture.


Nick Falzone (he/him/his), Program Manager, The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)

As LBGTQ+ people continue to embrace their identities at younger ages, we’ll see more LGBTQ+ students going abroad. As queer people, we have a unique set of life experiences that shape how we navigate our personal and professional lives. When preparing to go abroad or participate in such a transformative experience like study abroad, we deserve a forum structured specifically for our needs and experience.

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RAINBOW SIG This past summer, my colleague, Russ Alexander and I facilitated an LGBTQ+ session at the annual pre-departure orientation for Youth For Understanding’s (YFU) 2019-2020 cohort. YFU is a non-profit international education organization that helps hundreds of American high school students study abroad on year long programs each year. Last year, they were looking for individuals to help run their first LGBTQ+ orientation session during their annual pre-departure orientation weekend in Chicago. We were made aware of this opportunity through Rainbow SIG, as YFU reached out to the group for help.. Russ and I both work in international education for the study abroad provider The Education Abroad Network (TEAN). He has worked in international education for over 25 years, and I’ve been in the field for 6 myself. As proud members of the LGBTQ+ community, we were very excited to participate in this orientation. After several years of having an informal LGBTQ+ meet up for students, YFU felt an orientation session specific to LGBTQ+ students was necessary to offer. We expected around a fifth of the students would attend at most, but to our surprise, we had over 40 of the 100 or so students at orientation attend. We believe the popularity of the session is reflective of the growing number of queer students and allies going abroad, but also that our students are coming out earlier. The session was designed to share information about LGBTQ travel, queer resources, provide tips to allies, emphasize safety concerns, etc. Past that, the remainder of our time was to foster a brave space where students could share their individual concerns, ask questions pertaining to their LGBTQ identity, or find comfortable commonality with fellow queer students their age going abroad. We got to hear from many of the students who asked questions ranging from “I’m not out to my family at home, but I want to be out abroad, what should I do?” or “I’m going to a small town in a country that is not politically accepting of LGBTQ+ people, should I go back into the closet?” to “What is it like to date in high school as a gay person in Germany?” As LGBTQ+ adults, we know to navigate the world with a keen awareness of when our safety may be threatened. We’ve learned to code switch, “pass” or hide our queerness in various situations as a means of prosperity or survival. Fortunately, young people in America are able to start exploring their queer identities without such extreme necessity to learn these skills. Obviously, this is not the case for all students, but there is certainly more social acceptance and ease for LGBTQ+ folk to live authentically in comparison to other generations. While this is a great thing, it does cause new conflict for young queer students who may have to confront LGBTQ+ intolerance for the first time while they’re living abroad. Prioritizing formal time to speak about these topics with students is vital in ensuring their success and prosperity internationally. It was humbling for Russ and I to converse with a new generation of strong and unapologetic young queer folk and allies. I’m a full millennial, so I wasn’t much older than the students, and having participated in study abroad during university as opposed to high school, I felt even less removed from where they’re at; but there was such a difference in their convictions to live truthfully and be themselves overseas. I can remember going to eastern Europe as a study abroad student who had been out for over a year already, but still tip toeing around, and slowly reigniting the process of coming out to my peers once arriving on site for my program. It didn’t seem like these students had any intention of dimming their queerness abroad, and in fact, it seemed like most wanted to turn it up!

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RAINBOW SIG We’re not as far as we need to go in LGBTQ+ acceptance in this country, and certainly not worldwide, especially with respect to the trans and non-binary folk of our community. Last year, the HRC reported that nearly half of LGBTQ+ folk are still closeted at work and even more report to hearing jokes about queer being made. Code switching still very much has it’s place in the narrative of queer Americans, but after speaking with dozens of eager, young queer students, it makes me hopeful that they’re aiming for a world with less and less need for these practices.

T RU E A L LY S H I P: A TO O L K I T F O R A L L I E S O F T H E E D U C A T I O N A B R O A D L G B T Q I A + C O M M U N I T Y.

Kyle Keith (he/him/his), International Programs Coordinator, NC State University Kory M. Saunders (she/her/hers), Assistant Director for Strategic Marketing, Diversity, and Inclusion, NC State University Christina Thompson (she/her/hers), Director of Partnership Development and Diversity Initiatives, Barcelona SAE Social justice bloggers and activists offer one critical suggestion for allies of the LGBTQ community: transform your allyship from “performative allyship” -- or passive displays of support focused on one’s self rather than the community in question -- to demonstrations of solidarity with marginalized populations. As described by columnist Eric Peterson in a 2017 Medium.com[1] piece: “One of the important jobs an ally can take on is to amplify the voices of the unheard...The performatively woke person takes up a lot of space. The ally makes space. It’s a crucial difference.” Many education abroad offices have started to invite their staff to participate in various LGBTQ trainings and programs, including safe zone training. While this is a great first step, some would argue that participating in a training does not make individuals true allies to an oppressed community. Avoiding the pitfalls of performative allyship or ally theater can be challenging in an Education Abroad office or organization. For those seeking to advance their allyship beyond the performative acts of “ally theater” we have curated a toolkit designed to serve as a catalyst for shifting the ally narrative in Education Abroad offices and on campuses to a more action-oriented positionality. The toolkit includes 3 key elements: Brave Zone Action, Diversity Action Planning and Self Assessment, and Building Effective Trust. Daring to be Brave: Transforming the traditional “Safe Zones” training narratives Safe Zone training is intended to give participants the resources to learn to become allies for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Many who work in Education Abroad offices attend these safe zone trainings. At times, attending these introductory trainings for allies can be treated as just another checkbox for new employee onboarding or required diversity education programming.

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RAINBOW SIG When we think of “Safe Zones”, who is it really safe for? In moving from safe zones, which implies an unrealistic feeling of safety usually felt by those with dominant identities, the concept of “Brave Spaces” does not guarantee or promote “safety” but allows for the discomfort and messiness that effective diversity trainings often require. Those with marginalized identities often feel the discomfort to make the dominant culture feel safe and supported. However, It should not be the responsibility of the marginalized community to make the dominant communities feel safe. When making this important shift from safety to bravery, authors o Arao and Clemens[2], propose that hearing and respecting contrasting views does not mean that one has to agree with them. By providing space for critical dialogue and understanding a person or a community’s narrative, trainings anchored in a brave space allows for r growth in one’s perspective. This is necessary for true allyship versus performative allyship. Arao and Clemens propose the concept of “challenge by choice” to allow individuals to decide to what extent they want to take action. In true allyship, rather than performative allyship, allies must always choose to challenge their thoughts, preconceived notions and that which they have been taught. When allies choose to be brave and take action rather than remaining complacent and safe, we move closer to authentic community with our LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and family . Cultivating trust: True allyship as a verb, not a noun When moving away from performative allyship in supporting LGBTQIA+ students and Education Abroad staff, allies should understand that effective trust-building with members of the LGBTQIA+ community should take time. Many allies have good intentions but are often perplexed when rejected by the very community they are trying to support. Understanding the complex history of the LGBTQIA+ community is essential. Allies must be aware of their own positionality, as well as the power and privileges afforded to them based on it, and how it affects the LGBTQIA+ community.This degree of awareness and empathy can be used to guide allies of when to use their privilege on the front lines of issues and causes, as well as behind the scenes. Diversity action planning helps to push task forces and working groups beyond talk into attainable action and critical reflection. An effective diversity action plan includes a clear mission, S.M.A.R.T goals, and accountable leadership. Diversity action plans can be used for institutional and/or individual staff goals. It is important that everyone engages in the creation of a goal that relates to their professional responsibilities. Consider creating a personal link for staff learning something new and the community to which they hope to support. For example, if a staff member is an avid reader but is unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ community, they might start off by completing a recommended reading and report what they learned. Even with the best intentions, diversity action plans can be created and then gather dust, without some assessment of progress. Using self-assessment, will allow allies to identify points of growth in their ongoing work towards true allyship.

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RAINBOW SIG Through these suggested guidelines, allies to the community can move from a performative space to true allyship, which is more inclusive, affirming, and most importantly, action-oriented. As an ally, how do you plan to incorporate these steps to move towards true allyship in your Education Abroad office or organization? [1] https://medium.com/@Tawdry_Hepburn/on-allyship-and-performative-wokeness-30581808bf8b [2] Arao, B., & Clemens, K. (2013). From safe spaces to brave spaces: A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice. The Art of Effective Facilitation , 135–150. [3] https://endgv.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Organizational-Self-Assessment.pdf


Michael Ziadat (he/him/his), Assistant Director, University of St. Francis

LGBTQIA+ POC (people of color) face work discrimination from the hiring process to growth. Some LGBTQIA+ presence in media would have many believe that isn’t the case – the myth of “gay affluence.” However, there are “gay wage gaps,” (excluding race). LGBTQIA+ people have some representation in International Education (IE). However, it is without intersection of race, class, and gender and isn’t an accurate nor acceptable reflection of the community and field as a whole; the LGBTQIA+ community is more racially diverse than the whole population. There’s lack of visibility and intersectionality in IE. It isn’t enough to include white gay men. We must provide an inclusive path for LGBTQIA+ POC within the heteronormative “old boys’ club.” A hot topic now is the gender pay gap, but it excludes POC. White/Asian women are paid less than white/Asian men, while Black/brown POC make far less than all – with Black/brown (trans) women at most risk. Employment is systemically a socioeconomic, racial, health, and LGBTQIA+ issue. Systemic challenges in IE require systemic changes, from entry-level to leadership. White men are in leadership while LGBTQIA+/POC are excluded or “tokenized.” IE has high turnover due to work-related/ economic stresses which are harshest for LGBTQIA+ POC (25% are poor and 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQIA+). IE promotes diversity/inclusion but doesn’t fully practice it in both leadership and organization. While a snapshot of a gay cis white male might not “give away” identity, LGBTQIA+ POC are more visibly identifiable.

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PA G E 10

RAINBOW SIG IE champions “global citizenship” as a necessity; however, the current version of “global citizenship” is a luxury. Basic requirements/entry into IE inadvertently exclude LGBTQIA+ POC. A common requirement for entry/mid-level IE roles is study/work/teach/live abroad. As a brown queer Middle Easterner who’s lived abroad, I’ve “achieved” that experience; but why isn’t there more representation? The “international experience” should be broad, including local POC. LGBTQIA+ POC face barriers here and abroad. IE attempts to diversify its Study Abroad population (unsuccessfully) yet fails to diversify its own circles. We must diversify our circles in order to diversify our student populations, and vice versa. Socioeconomic barriers also prevent underserved and undocumented communities from experiences abroad; we could treat domestic travel as international but this is a Band-Aid that doesn’t ignite change. Another entry/mid-level IE role is the DSO. We should acknowledge the triggers/traumas regarding DHS/ ICE/TSA that POC could face in such a role. IE updates with the political climate, but that doesn’t increase IE diversity, access, or solidarity. DSO positions and studying abroad are exclusive to citizens so we must find roles for those who aren’t. Teaching/working/living abroad, another common requirement, is a barrier for LGBTQIA+ POC and women, as racial/gender discrimination in employment (and life) is unchallenged and LGBTQIA+ people aren’t protected worldwide. We must redefine “global citizenship” to also include LGBTQIA+ POC experiences here. Regarding IE recruitment, the lack of diversity is striking. If you speak Spanish and are Latinx, you’re a fit for Latin America and worldwide. If you speak Arabic and are Middle Eastern, you’re a fit for MENA and worldwide, etc. So why do white straight men dominate? Too many don’t choose POC (especially Black) as “salespersons” abroad out of “fear” that racism will “cost” a client, and they don’t choose LGBTQIA+ people because they look/act/speak “too feminine” or “not feminine enough.” IE is influenced by the gig economy which inherently excludes low-income LGBTQIA+ POC due to poor benefits, low wages, and part-time work. Simultaneously working in several IE roles can hinder growth, stability, and access to good healthcare – essential to LGBTQIA+ POC (PrEP, hormone therapy, diabetes, depression, etc.). The job-seeking process and workplace culture affect LGBTQIA+ POC’s success in IE. I was asked “jokingly” in a job interview if my time management skills were strong “as an Arab” (tardiness stereotype). I’ve also been sexually harassed in an office. Just because we’re in IE, that shouldn’t normalize racist jokes, and just because you’re heterosexual, you don’t have permission to touch LGBTQIA+ colleagues.

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P A G E 11

RAINBOW SIG As LGBTQIA+ and POC, your brand is your authentic self. The LGBTQIA+/POC experience is an international experience. Your multiculturalism and identity maximize your global citizenship. Don’t assimilate. Own it. I don’t possess the answer to structural inequity for all LGBTQIA+ POC; I don’t represent everyone in my communities; and IE has an inclusive attitude more than other fields. That said, we can’t overlook shortfalls regarding LGBTQIA+ and POC in IE. It isn’t enough for “white saviors” to talk the talk but walk the walk by easing the path for LGBTQIA+/POC to both talk and walk.

Y O U A R E L O V E D A N D Y O U B E L O N G!

Shane Lanning (he/him/his), Co-editor of the Rainbow SIG Newsletter Earl Lee (they/them/theirs), Co-editor of the Rainbow SIG Newsletter We just wanted to take some time and space given the current state of the world and the recent Supreme Court hearing in the US to hold space for those who may be hurting, afraid, and/or angry. Your job, life, and dignity should not be dependant on who you are and how you identify. No matter what other people think or do, we hope that you at least feel a little comfort in knowing that we see you and value you all. Take care!

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P A G E 12

RAINBOW SIG R E G I O N A L R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S Region I Open Position

David Gardner david.gardner@mnsu.edu

Region II Drew Ross Andrew.Ross.4@asu.edu

Region V Open Position

Region III Jeff Simpson jeff.simpson10@okstate.edu Jose Martinez jfmartin@uiwtx.edu Region IV Kristen Albrecht albrechtkl@missouri.edu Will Bonfiglio bonfiglio.w@wustl.edu

REGION VI Kyle Hayes kyghayes@iu.edu Region VII PJ Shoulders pj@qs.com Heath Thompson hmthompson@ua.edu Region VIII Brett Wobbe bwobbe1@jhu.edu

Region X Rebecca Greenstrom becky.greenstrom@nyu.edu Region XI David Griffin david_griffin@emerson.edu Region XII Shawna Hook-Held sheld@ucsd.edu Travis Pentz tpentz@berkeley.edu Outside U.S. Representative Ira Kirschner Jerusalem, Israel ira.kirschner@mail.huji.ac.il

R A INB OW SI G L E A D ER SHIP T E A M: Rainbow SIG Co-Chairs Murphy Scott, ’18 – ’20; murphy@insituprograms.org Valerie Pierce, ‘19-’21; valerie.pierce@ku.edu Membership Coordinator & Listserv Manager Susan Carty; scarty@iu.edu Newsletter Co-Editors Shane Lanning, ‘18-’20; smlanning@bsu.edu Earl E. Lee, ‘19-’21; earl.lee.1@thunderbird.asu.edu Treasurer Rick Russo; russo@berkeley.edu

Scholarship Coordinators Andrew Rapin, ’17 – ’19; andrew.rapin@nyu.edu Olivia Del Viscio, ‘19-’21; odelviscio@ceastudyabroad. com Jan Kieling (Honorary); yaneechay@hotmail.com Mark Lenhart (Honorary); mlenhart@academic-travel. com Website Co-Content Managers Evelyn Rosengren-Hovee, ’17 – ’20; evelyn@ gennexteducation.com Anh Phan, ‘19-’21; anh.phan@pepperdine.edu

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P A G E 13

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