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Join us online as speakers from around the world cover one of the following topics: Headlines from Abroad, JCCC Travelers, and International Careers.

The series is sponsored by JCCC’s International Education Office.

Spring 2021 Videos

This presentation will share tips for participants to navigate disagreements with others and illustrate how to prevent conversations from going down the path of unproductivity. 

Dr. Terri Easley-Giraldo is a professor of Communication Studies and has taught at JCCC for 16 years. Dr. Easley-Giraldo’s teaching and research focus on debate, intercultural communication, gender, leadership, public speaking and political communication. During her time at JCCC, she has coached the 2010 and 2011 National Community College Debate Champions, and has been awarded teaching, publication and service awards. 

Patricia Donaldson (Colombia) 
Patricia Donaldson will share interesting information about her home country that she travels to whenever she can to see her family.

Patricia is a JCCC Counselor and a former student advisor in the International and Immigrant Student Services (IISS) office. She is a native of Cartagena, Colombia, and loves dancing to Colombian music. She has served as a Spanish interpreter for JCCC’s Las Pintas project. 

Suzanne Maheu (Canada)
Suzanne Maheu is the Homestay and Community Resources Coordinator in the IISS office. She was born and raised in Montreal by her French-Canadian father and English-Canadian mother. She will share with you some one-of-kind, yet little known, natural and manmade wonders from the Great White North which you will surely want to add to your travel bucket list.

Catherine Schrag (Jamaica)
Catherine Schrag is a JCCC communications faculty member. She was born and raised in Jamaica and still credits her happy, carefree nature to her Caribbean roots. Catherine will share some of Jamaica’s hidden gems, which many honeymooners never see.

Mary Anne Matos (Brazil)

Mary Anne Matos, Marketing Automation Specialist at JCCC, is a native of São Paulo, Brazil, and is looking forward to sharing a few of her favorite places in her homeland. Mary Anne has been traveling for as long as she can remember, with her first international trip when she was just a wee kid and has had the travel bug ever since. She plans to visit every continent and has been to countries in North and South America, Oceania and Europe so far. She loves to get a great tip from a local for a place she probably never would have found on her own.

Melisa Jimenez (Mexico)

Melisa Jimenez, Recruitment Coordinator for JCCC Admissions, has contributed to JCCC becoming the top post-secondary institution in Kansas for Hispanic student enrollment. Melisa’s husband is a native of Mexico City, and she has traveled with him for several visits. She has had the opportunity to travel with her children and share with them their authentic Mexican heritage.

Jerry Marcellus (Peru)

Jerry Marcellus is the Interim Director of the Hospitality Management programs.  As a chef and culinary instructor, Jerry has always been interested in global cuisine but with a sharper focus on the food and culture of Mexico, Central and South America. Experiencing the cuisine of Peru firsthand was truly one of the highlights of his career as it had a dramatic influence on his understanding and appreciation of that region’s food and culture. 

Beyond the popular cities of Paris, Rome and London lie smaller places in Europe worth exploring.

Anne Dotter (France)

A native of France, Dr. Anne Dotter moved to Kansas in 2000 as a doctoral candidate in American Studies. Dotter directs the Honors Program at JCCC and draws heavily from American Studies in her teaching of honors courses. She has directed study abroad trips in Paris and Florence while teaching at the University of Kansas and is developing a trip to her hometown, the city of Strasbourg, on the eastern border of France.

Eric Elisabeth (Switzerland)

Professor Eric Elisabeth has been teaching chemistry at JCCC since 2006. Even though Eric was born and raised in Paris, he will discuss his experiences in Switzerland where he spent three months every year until going to college. Eric also co-led a study abroad trip with the JCCC International Education to the United Kingdom (U.K.). He was a participant in the Capacity Building Program Grant for U.S. Study Abroad in Martinique and is currently taking part in the UISFL Grant Project.

Dan Owens (Germany)

Dan Owens, Professor of Economics studied abroad in Germany two separate years while in college, including a Fulbright year in Berlin in 1989 where he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Dan hopes to co-lead a study abroad trip to Germany. He is a sponsor of the JCCC International Club and a leader of the Intercultural Retreat for students.

Jay Antle (Iceland) 

Professor Jay Antle teaches history, including courses in Kansas History and North American Environmental History, as well as serving as the Executive Director of JCCC’s Center for Sustainability. He has traveled to Iceland and hopes to create a JCCC study abroad trip there once travel resumes.

Farrell Jenab (Russia)

Farrell Hoy Jenab, Director of Faculty Development, has taught part time for more than 20 years in the English Department and the English for Academic Purposes program. She formerly served as Director of JCCC’s Kansas Studies Institute and as a Study Abroad Coordinator. She and her two teenage children spent the 2014 spring semester in Izhevsk, Russia, where she was a visiting professor of English at Udmurt State University.

Susan Johnson (Albania)
Professor Susan Johnson teaches engineering. During the summer of 2018, she traveled throughout the Balkan countries in southeastern Europe. The difficulty of finding a rental car company that permitted their car to enter Albania was her first hint that Albania was going to be very different. But armed with a backpack, a sense of humor and a lot of patience, she discovered a beautiful country filled with lovely people.

Kristy Howell has served as Sustainability Education and Engagement Coordinator in the Center for Sustainability at Johnson County Community College since 2014, where she advises the Student Sustainability Committee and supports curriculum development and student/community engagement for sustainability. Kristy holds an EdD in Community College Leadership from Northern Illinois University, where her research focused on the history and development of community colleges in white flight towns, and a master’s degree in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities from Western Kentucky University with a focus in sustainability-related curriculum development in the humanities.

As an undergrad at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, Kristy hoped to either teach history or live on a boat and tour with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers, so she majored in history and music. Both still bring her much joy.

Kotoko Grass (Japan)

Professor Kotoko Grass teaches Japanese. A native of Fukuoka, Japan, she will introduce the beauty of Kyushu Island, where she is from. Grass will co-lead an upcoming study abroad trip in 2023 to Tokyo, where students will learn the language, experience Japanese culture and homestay with local Japanese families.

Samira Hussein (Pakistan)

Professor Samira Hussein teaches business, including International Business. A native of Pakistan, Samira has also traveled to Morocco, the Netherlands and the U.K. with JCCC. She has taught in China, been a guest lecturer in Pakistan and been involved with several international workshops and grant projects, including the project that brought Pakistani faculty to JCCC for a semester.

Suneetha Menon (India)

Suneetha Menon, Director of JCCC’s Science Resource Center, lived in various parts of India before her parents settled down in Mumbai. She has taught chemistry in Mumbai and is fluent in four Indian languages. Suneetha travels to India every year to visit her family. She will co-lead a study abroad trip to India when travel resumes.

Hear directly from international students as they answer your questions and describe life as a JCCC student.

Fall 2020 Videos

Oceania is a region made up of thousands of islands throughout the Central and South Pacific Ocean. New Zealand is one of them. Often thought of for Kiwis and the shot location for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” this small island country has recently been making big international news! Hear from Whitney Irwin as she brings us up to speed with the major events happening in New Zealand.

Whitney Irwin is a marketing officer at Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill, New Zealand. She will tell us what the view is from Middle Earth – or, as the Maori call it – the "Land of the Long White Cloud."

Six of the world’s fastest-growing economies are on the African continent. The economic promise and the majestic beauty of Africa draw many to discover its rich agriculture and diverse communities.

Hear inspiring stories from Gloria Laker, Coordinator of the Uganda Refugee Online News Network. Now a journalist, Laker grew up near Gulu, Uganda, during the time that the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, terrorized that region. She was one of the first female journalists to report from the war zone, often visiting sites of recent abductions and massacres. These experiences led Laker to care deeply about peace and using journalism as a tool to give peace a chance. Currently she is reporting on the situation facing refugees in Uganda as it hosts over a million refugees from South Sudan, D.R. Congo, Burundi and Somalia.

The Netherlands isn’t just the home of windmills, tulips and top performing Winter Olympic teams. Join us as we hear from Renée Frommé, Tineke Laarhoven and Gilles van der Putt, from Koning Willem College in 's-Hertogenbosch as they share with us the big picture of current Netherlander news. 

Renée Frommé is the head of the International Office at Koning Willem College in the Netherlands. Renee does the matching for the Dutch Exchange Program that so many JCCC faculty, staff, and administrators have enjoyed. She and her colleagues will tell us what’s currently in the headlines

Traveling in Pakistan is a truly unique experience: enlightening, life-changing and, more often than not, surprising. The people are amazing, the landscape is unbelievable and it is rich in history.

Become captivated as moderator Dr. Sher Muhammad Doudpota and Panel, Sukkur IBA University (Pakistan), discuss recent headlines from Pakistan, particularly as they relate to education. Six faculty from Sukkur IBA University spent fall 2016 at JCCC as part of a grant project funded by the U.S. Embassy in Karachi.

Several adventurers will share their stories from the continent of Africa. Each panelist will invite you into their personal experiences of traveling and serving on this fascinating contient. One by one, they will create a clearer picture of the continent and stir up a desire in you to see it for yourself!

  • John Harty teaches World Regional Geography, Physical Geography, and Human Geography. Prof. Harty spent the summer of 2004 teaching at Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, Kenya, and the summer of 2005 as the team leader of a Fulbright-Hayes study project in Tanzania. He has spent time on every continent and has led Study Abroad programs on four continents.
  • Janette Jasperson, International Education Coordinator at JCCC, loves to help students explore the world. Between 2011 and 2016, Janette traveled twice to western Kenya with service projects and twice to northern Uganda with a nursing study abroad program and a peacebuilding study project. Her stories include free-range roosters, the busy and endlessly fascinating street activity, the lilt of Swahili music, and witch doctors.
  • Brooke Stock, International Education Coordinator at JCCC, took a gap semester in 2006 to be a volunteer at an HIV/AIDS orphanage in South Africa. During this volunteer stint she mentored children in group and one-on-one settings and assisted with the establishment and implementation of a soup kitchen and child sponsorship program in neighboring townships.

The Middle East is a cradle of civilizations composed of beautiful, complicated lands and home to some of the planet’s most hospitable people. Travel with us, hear our stories.

Professor Melanie Bevell Hull teaches history and religion, including History of the Middle East and Islam: Religion and Civilization. She studied in Jerusalem as an undergraduate and has traveled in Morocco. In 2016, Hull co-led a JCCC Study Abroad program that focused on the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts held in collections in Oxford, London and Berlin.

Professor Dawn Gale teaches philosophy. She has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Gale and her family spent the summer of 2018 in Israel, where she worked on an additional graduate degree at Hebrew University.

Dessa Crum, Coordinator for International and Immigrant Student Services, teaches in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program. Crum lived in Turkey for three years where she taught English, explored the countryside and drank a lot of tea.

Ancient temples, castles, shrines and FOOD. So little time, so much to explore. Asia has become a hot topic for journalists, politicians, and travelers alike. Listen in as these travelers share their memories and perspectives on some of Asia’s enthralling destinations.

Professor Sheilah Philip, Professor Emeritus of Theatre, coordinates the College’s Recital Series and leads Study Abroad trips. Philip has traveled extensively in Europe and in Asia, particularly in China and Japan. She is the co-leader of an upcoming Study Abroad program in Japan.

Professor Beth Gulley teaches English. She and her family spent the 2016-2017 academic year at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China, where she taught English and wrote a fascinating blog.

Chef Aaron Prater teaches in JCCC’s Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy. He has traveled in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, eating delicious food and studying its preparation. Chef Prater co-led a Study Abroad trip to Italy in 2018 and has plans for a program in Ireland as soon as we are again free to move about the world.

Trademarked by the friendliness and openness of the people, Latin America is full of large cultural events, dances, sports and outrageously delicious cuisine. These JCCC travelers have spent significant time in Latin America, and some even call it “home.”

Professor Luz Alvarez teaches Spanish. A native of Puebla, Mexico, she will tell us about her homeland, which she loves. Alvarez has traveled to Guadalajara many times to serve with and translate for JCCC’s Las Pintas project teams. She has also traveled to other Spanish-speaking countries in South America and the Caribbean, and she visited Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago.

Professor William McFarlane teaches anthropology. He directed an archaeological field school in Honduras for many years before the political situation there became less welcoming. McFarlane will co-lead an upcoming study abroad program in Belize which will explore Maya ruins and tropical ecology.

Professor Sam Sommerville teaches Spanish. He grew up in Argentina and still visits “home” every chance he gets. Sommerville has led several Study Abroad programs in Argentina and has plans to co-lead a program in Peru when travel resumes.

From leading health campaigns, to boosting local entrepreneurship, to teaching digital literacy, Peace Corps offers a range of opportunities for making a difference.  

Jessica Vandivort de Montiel served in Guatemala for two years with the Peace Corps. She so valued the opportunities and experiences which she received through the Peace Corps that she is now the Peace Corps recruiter for Western Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. Find out how you can make a difference through service that is hands-on, grassroots-driven, and lasting.

Rich in culture and history with beautiful forests, impressive mountain ranges, idyllic seaside and amazing lakes, Poland is home to a number of culturally significant monuments. Its rich and complicated past has shaped its humming city life and imaginative tourist destinations. How about working there?

Konrad Patterson works for UBS, a multinational investment bank and financial services company founded and based in Switzerland. He works harvesting, cleansing and analyzing alternative data sourced from the internet to help worldwide clients make better investment decisions. Patterson also works as a contractor keeping the U.S. government up on what’s happening in Poland and the EU through monitoring the Polish media, translating articles into English and writing summary reports highlighting news of interest to the U.S. government. He lives and works in Krakow, Poland

Katerina Kochergina works for the maritime division within Kongsberg Group, a Norwegian international technology company, as a strategic buyer. She manages purchasing processes, including market research, cost analysis, contract negotiation, suppliers’ relationship development and maintenance. She lives in Krakow, Poland, and works throughout Europe.

Working internationally can open doors you may never have expected. Not only can it help you develop amazing trivia skills, but it might allow you to help to shape systems you never thought you’d have access to.

Aaron Mann is the Senior Attorney for Litigation with Terracon Consultants, one of the nation’s largest engineering and design firms. Prior to joining Terracon, he was a partner at Husch Blackwell where he spent four years working in the firm's London office and served as the head of international services throughout EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).