Launch Event: 2022 Survey of the Virtual Exchange Field Report

Event Details
  • Date

    November 16, 2022

  • Time

    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    U.S. Eastern Time

  • Location


On November 15, 2022, the Stevens Initiative released the 2022 Survey of the Virtual Exchange Field Report. At this launch event, the report’s authors give an overview of the third iteration of this annual survey, highlighting key findings and implications for the virtual exchange field. They also share about a new qualitative research effort providing rich details about different exchanges. Hear from survey respondents and virtual exchange advocates about their virtual exchange programs and their experience contributing to the survey, and learn how you can use this report at your institution. You can read the report here.

Henry Shepherd (@StevensInit) is Assistant Director of the Stevens Initiative. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, he was a student in the Master of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University, where he was research assistant to former Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker. Earlier, he coordinated the volunteer training program at Soliya, a New York-based organization that facilitates virtual exchange between young people in Western and predominantly Muslim societies. As an undergraduate at Brown University, he helped launch Strait Talk, an international initiative that conducts youth dialogue across the Taiwan Strait. He is from Boston.

Rajika Bhandari (@RajikaBhandari) is an international higher education expert, a scholar-practitioner, and the founder of Rajika Bhandari Advisors, offering research and data-driven guidance on international engagement strategy to nonprofits, multilateral organizations, and higher education institutions globally. She previously led the IC3 Institute as its President and CEO and spent over a decade at the Institute of International Education (IIE) where she led IIE’s research, evaluation, and thought leadership portfolio, including the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Dr. Bhandari is quoted frequently in the global press, and is a widely published author and frequent speaker on international education issues, global talent, and skilled mobility. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility. You can learn more about Rajika here.

Melquin Ramos is an international education professional, whose experience includes working with international internships, short-term faculty-directed programs, and virtual learning and exchange for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Melquin has also worked with Rajika Bhandari Advisors on international education research projects and served as the research assistant for the past two iterations of the Survey of the Virtual Exchange Field Report. Through his work, Melquin strives to offer affordable and equal access to global education opportunities for first-generation students and underrepresented groups. He served as a Visiting Fellow at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. Melquin holds a bachelor’s in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s in organizational leadership from the George Washington University.

Kyle Kastler (@StevensInit) is a Program Manager, where he oversees alumni engagement for participants and awardees of Stevens Initiative programs and contributes to the Initiative’s research and knowledge sharing work. In his role, Kyle focuses on providing support to alumni to leverage their virtual exchange experience into future opportunities and sharing resources about virtual exchange with the wider field. Previously, he contributed to the field of international exchange by working on in-person youth exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State.  Kyle joins the Initiative after completing a Master’s Program in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park where he researched and wrote about practitioner perceptions of virtual exchange.  Kyle, originally from Kansas, is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a Critical Language Scholarship Recipient, and holds a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from Missouri Southern State University.

Rawan Nasir (@StevensInit) is a Program Coordinator at the Stevens Initiative, where she works to support both the alumni and research portfolios. She joins the team with previous experience working with international exchange students and helping them navigate their transition to studying in the United States. In addition, she has worked with young adults to prepare them for their undergraduate studies by guiding them through the college application process. She holds a B.A. in Global Affairs with a double concentration in the MENA region and Media, Communication, and Culture, as well as a Minor in the Arabic language from George Mason University.

Ammar Alhajmee (@lot_digital)  is Co-founder and Program Officer of Leaders of Tomorrow Digital Exchange Program (LOT), a self-funded, two-month virtual exchange program for international youth between the ages of 14-24. LOT focuses on cultural exchange and leadership development in the form of workshops, discussion groups, webinars, and group projects. Ammar is currently studying Business Administration at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and is a graduate of UWC Adriatic (Italy). He participated in World Learning’s IYLEP in 2018 and has been involved in international education and development through different projects and programs, primarily based in Iraq, since then. He is originally from Iraq.

Dr. Geoff Bradshaw (@MadisonCollege) is the Associate Vice President of Intercultural Education at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College). As a senior international officer, he is responsible for college global strategy, partnerships, mobility, risk management, and curriculum integration. Geoff has held leadership positions in multiple state, regional, and national organizations in the field of international education.  He is the recipient of the CCID Werner Kubsch Award for outstanding contribution to the field of international education, the Hong Rost Leadership Award from the Wisconsin Association of International Educators, and the Andrew Heiskell Award from the Institute for International Education (IIE) for innovation in international education. In 2020, Madison College was a recipient of a Stevens Initiative Coronavirus Response Fund grant to establish a new virtual exchange partnership with Qatar and has since integrated virtual exchange within several other courses as a key strategy within the internationalization portfolio.

Dr. Ana Cristina Biondo Salomão (@Unesp_Oficial) is currently Assistant Provost for International Affairs of São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil. She is professor at the Department of Modern Languages and an accredited lecturer in the Postgraduate Program in Linguistics, supervising research at Master’s and Ph.D. levels. Her research interests are telecollaboration, virtual exchange, and intercultural communication. She has been involved with telecollaboration in Brazilian higher education since 2006 through the Teletandem Brazil Project (BRaVE). Since 2018, Ana has served as the Coordinator of the Brazilian Virtual Exchange Program, where she guides and supports faculty across UNESP’s 24 campuses who are engaging in virtual exchange. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on virtual exchange, including several in collaboration with researchers in the United States, France, Spain and Taiwan. She is also one of the two organizers of a book on the development of the BRaVE program.

Watch a recording of the launch event below: