About Us

Michelle Anderson Application Specialist

Michelle grew up in Manila, Philippines. As a young child, she got a taste of traveling abroad when her family visited Jeddah, Amsterdam, and America. In fourth grade, her family moved to America and eventually settled in Tucson. Michelle graduated from the UA with a degree in Accounting. After graduating, she and her husband moved to Austin, TX where she had a short but successful career in accounting. Michelle realized that accounting wasn't for her and after quitting her job, she and her husband lived in India for four months where she trained to be a teacher. She worked at a private school in Austin for six years as a math teacher and, eventually, as the high school campus head. After the birth of her son, her family moved back to Tucson to be near relatives. When her son was four years old, her family moved to Europe and lived there for fourteen months. Michelle feels that traveling and living abroad has given her a broader perspective on life and she is thrilled to help UA students achieve their dreams of studying abroad.

Devon Bilsing Study Abroad Coordinator, Senior
Devon attended Iowa State University, where he earned a B.A. in German and a M.S. in Communications. His passion for education abroad began after a semester in Cork, Ireland during his sophomore year. During his college career, Devon had several international experiences including studying abroad in Florence, Italy; Berlin, Germany (twice!); Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and having an internship in Swansea, Wales. He joined UA Study Abroad in November of 2015, and is delighted to be part of this fantastic team (and to be a Wildcat!). Professionally, Devon is interested in how study abroad is communicated to students, and believes it is important to create global citizens by exposing students to the world. Personally, he is interested in breakfast, endless learning, and riding his motorcycle. Future plans include more travel, another language, and pursuing a Ph.D.
Advises for Arizona in Orvieto and Faculty-Led Programs in: College of Science; College of Education; Eller College of Management; College of Fine Arts; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture
Jill Calderón Assistant Director, Student Health & Safety

Jill completed her BA at Colorado State University in Creative Writing and her MA in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, she set out for Costa Rica where she worked at becoming fluent in Spanish while running her own business, Escuela Latina de Lenguas, S.A., a language school teaching English to Costa Ricans and offering service learning opportunities and Spanish language instruction to international visitors. While in Costa Rica, Jill had the opportunity to travel throughout Latin America. She came to Tucson from Costa Rica in 2000 to work at the UA and pursue her Master's degree.  Currently, Jill serves as the Program Director, Senior and assists the Center for Latin American Studies with international initiatives in teaching, research and study programs abroad.

Hsin-Fen Chang Study Abroad Coordinator

Hsin-Fen was born and raised on the beautiful island of Taiwan. In her sophomore year in college, she studied abroad in Canada. Upon completing her B.A. in Chinese Language and Creative Writing, she received a government grant to work abroad in England, sharing the beauty and the complexity of her mother tongue with her students. Before coming to the U.S., she traveled to many countries including China, Costa Rica, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan and New Zealand, helping to form a healthy and positive view of the world. In 2012, Hsin-Fen came to the University of Arizona to pursue her M.A. in Language, Reading and Culture at the College of Education, where she met her husband who was born and raised in Nogales, Sonora and AZ. She believes her life journeys have shaped her into a better human being who appreciates different cultures and perspectives. She values the precious life lessons one can learn when being abroad, and is thrilled to join the UA Study Abroad team to assist Wildcats to study abroad and explore the world!
Advises for Exchange, Direct-Enroll and Third-Party Provider Programs in the following regions: Canada; Asia and Middle East; Europe (all except for Germany and Spain); Africa

Harmony DeFazio Director, UA Study Abroad and Executive Director, Global Mobility Lab

Harmony’s interest in a career in international education began after college, but her desire to explore the world began earlier when, at age 15, she participated in a short exchange to Germany. This experience piqued a cultural curiosity that motivated her repeated return to Germany to live, work and study. Harmony attended the University of Oregon, where she earned first a BA in German with minors in Italian and Linguistics, then a Master of Public Administration with a focus on international education.  As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Germany and Italy and traveled extensively within Europe. In graduate school, she returned to Germany to create her first study abroad program.   Since then, Harmony has had a passion for developing global opportunities for US students. As a result of her personal and professional experiences abroad, Harmony is a firm believer in the life‐changing impact of intercultural exploration and understanding.  She joined the Office of Global Initiatives in 2006 and now serves as study abroad director and executive director of the global mobility lab.

Lindsay Downs Study Abroad Enrollment and Curriculum Manager

Lindsay’s connection to UA Study Abroad goes back to 2003 when she first started working in the office as a graduate student. Passionate about international education, she decided to stay on the team as a Study Abroad Coordinator until 2011 when she took a break to stay home to raise her two children. She’s excited to be back, now in a new role. focusing on study abroad course registration and curriculum integration efforts. A native of upstate New York, Lindsay graduated from Le Moyne College in Syracuse. She participated in study abroad programs to both England and Ireland and later earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from the UA— go Wildcats! When she’s not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially traveling across Arizona by RV. Currently, Lindsay serves as the Study Abroad Enrollment and Curriculum Manager.

Derrick Goodrich Study Abroad Coordinator

Derrick grew up mostly in Tucson but spent his teenage years in a small coal-mining town in northeastern Wyoming. Wanting to leave his small confines and explore different parts of the world, he enlisted in the US military and was deployed to South Korea, Egypt, and elsewhere. Hitting the books after his military service and gaining degrees in political science, Derrick took part in a summer abroad program on the island of Crete, taking courses with fellow undergraduates from conflict-areas like the Middle East and the Balkans. His international travels left a lasting impression on Derrick and he is committed to seeing others get the opportunity to experience life-altering connections and moments abroad as well.
Advises for Exchange, Direct-Enroll and Third-Party Provider Programs in the following regions: Australia/New Zealand; Latin America; Europe (Germany and Spain)

Renee Griggs Associate Director

Renee has been with UA Study Abroad for many years. She is the person you'll want to see for any help with registration, posting of credits, billing questions, or financial aid.

Sanji Gybyrov Peer Advisor

Sanji was born in Turkmenistan located in the central Asian countries. At an early age, he moved to France to pursue his life in Monaco. Adventurous, he traveled to many countries around the world such as China, UK, Carribean Islands to discover new cultures and self-confidence. Currently attending the University of Arizona with the goal of becoming an Eller Student where he would like to major in marketing and management. From all the experience, this young Wildcat joins our crew for becoming a Peer Advisor for Study Abroad to share his past experiences with any students willing to travel and discover new adventures around our world.
Advises for: General Questions and CEA programs

Dafne Johnson Study Abroad Coordinator

Dafne is a proud Tucson native and earned her Bachelor’s in History and Master’s in Secondary Education at the UA. She had the opportunity to live and work in Abu Dhabi for a couple of years during which time she traveled and explored various countries. Upon returning home, she knew she wanted to share her passion for intercultural experiences with students and inspire them to study abroad. She is eager to utilize her knowledge, skills, and values toward serving students and helping them on their life-changing journeys. Dafne loves to spend her time outdoors photographing nature and maintaining a mini-farm with her husband that consists of dogs, goats and chickens. She aspires to have an animal rescue that is surrounded by lush jungle someday.
Advises for Faculty-Led Programs in: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Alena LaScola Peer Advisor

Alena was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and developed a travel bug early on in her life. Throughout grade school and high school she traveled extensively and knew she wanted to continue that through college. Now attending the University of Arizona, she is pursuing a B.S. in Management Information Systems with minors in German Studies and Global Business. Alena attended school at the University of Westminster in London last year which inspired her to go again for the upcoming summer. The sum of her experiences abroad have motivated her to work towards a global career and to help other students see the benefit of a multi-cultural education along the way.
Advises for: General Questions and CEA Programs

Veronica Ortiz Study Abroad Program Assistant

Veronica joined UA Study Abroad in December 2016. She is excited about all the interesting people she is working with and serving! She earned her B.S. from the University of Arizona in Elementary Education and obtained her Arizona Teaching Certification with the Structured English Immersion endorsement. She taught elementary school for several years in Tucson. Her interests include the pursuit of garnering more experiences with her family. She recently participated in her first Mud Run with her two kids and husband. She especially enjoys attending the Broadway in Tucson shows at Centennial Hall with her husband on their date nights.

Rudo Moyo Sandy Program Development Manager

Born in Lusaka, Zambia to Zambian and Zimbabwean parents, Rudo had early exposure to a cross cultural setting. She grew up in Stockholm, Sweden and Gaborone, Botswana. In 2000, after completing her undergraduate degree in French and English at the University of Botswana, Rudo’s family migrated to the United States. She has lived and studied in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Masters in Politics of Democracy at Oxford Brookes University. Rudo’s professional career includes working in the nonprofit sector on areas such as human rights and development. She has vast experience working with young people from diverse backgrounds. She has travelled to over 30 countries across Sub-Sahara and Northern Africa, South East Asia, Western, Northern and Central Europe. She is very passionate about inter cultural learning and believes that educational exchanges that facilitate such experiences are an integral part of personal growth. Rudo’s hobbies include writing poetry and playing tennis.

Lisa Turker Associate Director, Operations and Student Engagement

Lisa’s interest in study abroad started with her own experience studying in Copenhagen, Denmark during her undergraduate studies. After completing her MA in Political Science in 2007, Lisa moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she worked at KIMEP University in the Language Center. While in Almaty, Lisa also worked on projects with USAID/CAR and the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia. In 2010, Lisa became a lecturer and international advisor at Istanbul Arel University in Turkey. She has traveled to over 20 countries throughout Europe, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Having recently returned to the States, Lisa is excited to use her experience to encourage students to engage in meaningful and enlightening adventures abroad.


Susan Valdez-Villarreal Health and Safety Student Worker

Susan has worked in the UA Study Abroad office for almost a year now. She is the student health and safety assistant, and she helps ensure that students are prepared to have a safe and exciting study abroad experience.

Katie Van Wyk Study Abroad Coordinator, Senior

Born and raised in the cheese head state, Katie attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she received her B.S. degree in Mathematics and Spanish. During her undergraduate career, she spent a semester studying in Granada, Spain and began working in the Office of International Education upon her return to help other students gain an intercultural experience. After graduation, Katie moved to Santiago, Chile where she worked as an Au Pair and Customer Service Representative for ECELA Spanish Schools. Upon completing her M.S.Ed in Student Affairs Administration, Katie was thrilled to join the UA Study Abroad team in June of 2015.
Advises for Faculty-Led Programs in: Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Colleges of Letters, Arts and Sciences; College of Medicine; Honors College; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Nursing

Rachel Wright Study Abroad Coordinator

Rachel completed her B.A. in English and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky before pursuing an M.A. in Higher Education at the University of Michigan. Two study abroad experiences – first to France as an undergraduate and later to South Africa as a graduate student – sparked her passion for facilitating international education opportunities. In her free time, you can find her reading, playing with her dog, or exploring Tucson.
Advises for Faculty-Led Programs in: College of Humanities