Ali Soltanshahi joined Vanderbilt as the ISSS Director in December 2015. He joined the field of student affairs through his leadership role as President of the International Student Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and has been in the field of international education for over 15 years. He worked at SIUE as a retention & advising specialist and eventually moved to Iowa State University (ISU) in 2007 to serve as an advisor to international students & scholars before becoming the manager of student services. Originally from Iran, Ali has lived in France and the U.S. most of his life and has developed a sensitivity for cross-cultural communication. He is very active with NAFSA’s Association of International Educators through presentations, trainings and research projects at the state, regional, and national levels. He currently serves on the NAFSA national team as the Regulatory Practice Coordinator with the ISSS Knowledge Community. Ali has a master’s degree in Education – Student Affairs from ISU, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology & French Literature from SIUE. He loves long walks in the mountains, percussion instruments from various parts of the world, and international cuisine!
Heather A Jones joined ISSS as an International Student & Scholar Advisor in February 2008. She undertook the position of associate director since August 2015. She advises Vanderbilt students and scholars on F & J visas and assists with coordinating the various ISSS programs. Heather is originally from Ohio, and received her BA in International Business from Michigan State University. While attending MSU, she studied in Angers, France. Previously, Heather was an International Student Advisor at Eastern Oregon University for three years, where she also worked with international admissions and study abroad programs. Heather is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Education & Policy Management at Vanderbilt. Outside of work and school, she enjoys cooking, running with her dog, and exploring new places.
Radhika Reddy began her position at ISSS as International Student & Scholar Advisor October 2007. She originally joined ISSS as Administrative Assistant in April 2005. She was previously employed by Nashville State Community College as an Admissions Assistant and enjoys assisting students and scholars with their adjustment to life in the U.S. She was born and brought up in India and moved to the United States in 1999 with her family. She has two children, and enjoys cooking and gardening.
Michelle Kovash began her position at ISSS as International Student & Scholar advisor September 2013. Michelle started at Vanderbilt University in August 2009 as the Office Assistant in the Dean of Students Office. She initially joined ISSS as the Administrative Assistant in 2010. She also served as the University Staff Advisory Council Vice President for 2014/15. Michelle is originally from Ontario, Canada and moved to Pikeville, Kentucky where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from University of Pikeville. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys time with her husband and two girls, reading, graphic design, and interior decorating.
Jillian Hautman is originally from Redondo Beach, California but spent most of her life living in Burnsville, Minnesota. She received a B.S. in Education and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and a M.Ed. in International Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago. Through her undergraduate and graduate programs she had the opportunity to study in Granada, Spain, Beijing, China and Rome, Italy. Previously, Jillian worked as a Spanish teacher in Minnesota for four years. She also served as a graduate intern in the International Student Services office at the University of St. Thomas. In her spare time, Jillian enjoys reading and spending time outdoors. She also really likes live music, and is very excited to explore all that “Music City” has to offer!
Peggy Knupp joined the International Suite in the summer of 2008. She is the receptionist for International Student & Scholar Services. Prior to working on the university side, she spent six years working on the Medical Center side, in Vanderbilt Internal Medicine. Peggy has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. She has studied in Groningen, Netherlands and has travelled to Paris, Prague, and parts of Germany. In her free time, Peggy enjoys reading, riding her bike, and creating digital artwork.
Brea Harris joined ISSS as a graduate student worker in August 2015. She is originally from Anchorage, Alaska but recently moved to Nashville by way of Los Angeles where she lived for four years while attending Azusa Pacific University. She graduated this past May with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Religion. She is currently a first year Master of Theological Studies student in the Divinity School where she is focusing her studies on the role of religion in conversations related to gender, race, and health. She is passionate about the role of intersectionality in justice work and the importance of people with different backgrounds and identities coming together to organize for change. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a PhD in gender or ethnic studies, and continue organizing around a variety of justice issues. When not at ISSS, Brea is a barista, swimmer, avid reader, writer, spoken word artist, and flautist in the Nashville Community Band.
Derrick Stevens joined ISSS as a graduate student worker in August 2015. He is pursuing his Masters of Education in International Education and Policy Management at Vanderbilt. Derrick is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he went to University of Nebraska – Lincoln for a BA in Political Science. In his free time, Derrick enjoys reading and playing video and tabletop games.
Kelsey Stolzenbach joined ISSS as a graduate student worker in August 2015. Kelsey first became interested in the field of International Education working in the study abroad office at Longwood University as an intern in 2013. After studying abroad herself in Thailand, France, Belgium, and the Dominican Republic, she knew she wanted to help others to make amazing discoveries and build their careers in new places. Kelsey graduated from Longwood University in 2015 with a B.S. in Economics and a minor in International Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Education & Policy Management at Vanderbilt. Upon graduation, she hopes to work with both American and international students as an advisor at a university. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys reading, watching Netflix, spending time with friends, and running.