Speaker Bios

Jill Blondin is the Director of VCU Globe, a global education living-learning program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2014, VCU Globe was designated as a Peace Corps Prep Program, and, in 2015, the program received the NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for campus internationalization. Previously, Dr. Blondin helped to develop and launch Global Awareness through Education (GATE), a globally-focused living-learning program with a study abroad component at the University of Texas at Tyler. She holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

McKenna Brown is the Senior International Officer at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is Professor of Foreign Languages at VCU, teaching Spanish language courses and courses on Latinos in the U.S. and indigenous literature and movements. He holds a doctorate in Latin American Studies from Tulane University.

Amber Bennett Hill is the Director of International Student and Scholar Programs at Virginia Commonwealth University, providing academic, cultural, and immigration advising to international students and scholars. She taught Anthropology and conducted archaeological research on historic sites in Virginia. She holds a doctorate in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.

Leigh Poole is Director of the International Center and an Assistant Professor at Winthrop University. Prior to joining Winthrop, she served as the Director of International Student Life at the University of Georgia. She holds a doctorate in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia.

Malaika Marable Serrano is the Associate Director for Global Communities at the University of Maryland. She is responsible for day-to-day operations, teaches several courses, and leads a service-learning study abroad program to the Dominican Republic. Previously, Ms. Serrano worked as an Associate Director at NAFSA, served as Study Abroad Coordinator at the University of Tennessee, and taught English in Venezuela. She received her M.A. in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland.

Heather Ward is Senior Program Specialist at the American Council on Education. She was previously Associate Director for Internationalization and Outreach at George Mason University and Director of International Programs at Mary Baldwin College. She holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University.

Dawn Michele Whitehead is Senior Director for Global Learning and Curricular Change at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Prior to joining AAC&U, she served as the Director of Curriculum Internationalization at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was the faculty director for international service learning programs, and taught for the Global and International Studies Program. She holds a doctorate in Education Policy Studies with a concentration in African Studies from Indiana University Bloomington.