Executive Leadership Council

Want to learn about study abroad from expert students?

Come speak to some of our Executive Leadership Council members, who are study abroad alums with a passion for all things international. Our staff of ELC members can help you learn about programs, find scholarships and tell you about their amazing experiences abroad.

SSamuel Yoccaamuel yocca

Executive leadership council advisor


Hello global leaders! My name is Sam Yocca and I am the Graduate Assistant in the Office of International Programs and Education Abroad and the advisor of the Executive Leadership Council. I completed my Bachelor's Degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish and French from Grand Valley State University and am currently pursuing my Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration here at Kent State. I studied abroad in Israel/Palestine, did two service trips to Costa Rica and Peru, visited Spain, France, Gibraltar, Morocco, and Australia, and most recently did an internship in Bulgaria. Education abroad is a monumental piece of your education so please stop by our office and meet our experienced staff that can help you start your next adventure!

Maria Kuhn

graduate intern


Hi everyone! My name is Maria Diane Kuhn and I am a masters student in Art History. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio and I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life. I've been to Florence, Italy twice and I really want to go to Poland or Xi'an, China. I got to lecture about art in the Vatican Museum and Bascilla, The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and The Brancacci Chapel! Also, Italian espresso is absolutely amazing! Study abroad is something that will completely change you at your core and expand your mind more than I can fit in one sentence.

Kennedy nemeth

graduate intern


Hello! My name is Kennedy Nemeth, I am a graduate intern in the Office of International Programs and Education Abroad! I am a masters student in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Kent State, where I also got my BA in Political Science in 2017. I’m from Massillon, Ohio, but I’ve been living in Cleveland for almost two years now. 

During my undergraduate time at KSU, I studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland for a semester. By studying in Switzerland, I was able to see most of Western Europe in under 16 weeks - an experience I surely wouldn’t have had anywhere else! The classes I took at Webster University in Geneva allowed me to work directly with diplomats, United Nations employees, and international security advisors and lawyers. One of my favorite things about living in a polyglot country is that I had the ability to practice my French and German language skills that I had been learning since high school! 

For my next experience abroad, I would love to visit Hungary, where my grandparents are from, to meet my family for the first time! 

After my experience in Geneva, I advocate for all students to go abroad at least once. The experiences you’ll have, the people you’ll meet, and the worldview you’ll gain are not things you can experience on any U.S. campus and will forever shape the person you are! 

piper matthews



My name is Piper Mathews, I am from Alliance, Ohio, and I am a senior studying anthropology, archaeology, and art history. I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for two semesters and participated in the Florence Summer Institute. While in Florence, I was able to become fluent in Italian, make many Italian friends, immerse myself in the culture, and intern as a translator for the Uffizi Galleries! Studying abroad allowed me to learn so much about myself and the world around me, and I would recommend this experience to anyone looking to expand their worldview and gain valuable life skills.

caroline sorato


My name is Caroline Sorato. I am junior at KSU pursuing a dual major in Fashion Merchandising and Business Management. I was born in São Paulo/Brazil, and this is my fourth year living in the United States. I have traveled to a couple different places, including Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, France, Luxembourg and I am planning to study abroad in Florence/Italy next year. One of the main reasons that drove me to work at the Office of International Education Programs and Study Abroad at CAS was my passion for different cultures. My experience abroad was the best decision I have ever taken. It made me evolve in several scopes of my life, such as personal, social and cultural. I learned not only another language but how to see people with different eyes, understand and appreciate the differences. I think studying abroad is such an amazing experience that everyone should have.

shannon clark


Buongiorno! My name is Shannon and I am an intern in the Education Abroad office. I am a Global Communication major with minors in both Italian and Italian Studies. I grew up near Dayton, Ohio and have spent about a year in Kent. I have studied abroad for a year and a half in Florence, Italy through Kent State’s study abroad program and hope to return there soon. While there I studied the Italian language and am now quite fluent. As well, I learned how to communicate with people from all over the world, even when there was a language or cultural barriers. This was very important to me so that I could better understand how my major functioned and how cross-cultural communication affects daily life and interactions.

sarah hagglund



Hello! My name is Sarah Hagglund and I am from Columbus, Ohio. I am a junior European History and Anthropology major with minors in Ancient-Medieval-Renaissance Studies, Art History, and Italian Studies here at Kent State. I studied abroad at the Florence Summer Institute in 2018, went on the Poland Holocaust Perceptions and Remembrance Spring Break trip in 2019, and spent a month in Prague, Czech Republic this past summer as a part of the Presidential Leadership program to further Kent State Study Abroad programs in Prague. I would love to get somewhere on the African continent before graduating, but there are just too many amazing programs to choose from!

As a student who was incredibly nervous before studying abroad and a certified homebody, I have returned from each one of these trips with a new level of independence and the initiative to continue to seek out these opportunities. As I tell other students, once you get bit by the travel bug, its hard not to continue traveling!

All of that being said, I never would have expected to have traveled this much all before my junior year and it is truly because of the amazing people and the endless encouragement I have received from the Education Abroad office—so much so that now they can’t get rid of me! It can be intimidating planning study abroad experiences, and even more intimidating to ask for help, but my favorite thing about the Education Abroad office—both as a student who studied abroad and as an intern—is the fact that it is an office for students, by students. 

A fun fact about me is that I have played a soccer game in crew stadium…in a sumo suit.

alina howard​


Ciao! My name is Alina Howard and I am a Photojournalism and English Major with minors in Italian, Italian Studies and Ancient Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Raised in Warren, Ohio I had an urge to travel outside my community; going to Montreal, Canada and traveling twice to Florence, Italy. I have learned that the world is not as scary as it seems and communities that may look different from your own are fundamentally similar. If your thinking about going abroad the answer is always yes. Don’t just travel to change the look of your Instagram feed, travel to change how you look at the world and yourself. The country I would like to visit next would be Mexico in order to understand both the regional and local culture that is so often vilified in the States. Lastly I love to document and tell of the stories of communities in whatever medium is accessible to me. 

shannon mcmaster


Hello! My name is Shannon McMaster and I study anthropology (concentration archaeology) with a minor in art history. I am from Youngstown Ohio, I am a third year student and chose to transfer to Kent State in the Fall 2018 Semester to study anthropology. I will be studying abroad at Kent State Florence in Spring 2020. My time abroad in France taught me about my ability to adapt to new surroundings, which gave me a confidence much needed for college life and beyond. I would urge students to come and meet with us. Our undergrad, graduate student, and faculty staff members want to know about you and talk about how study abroad can fit into and enhance your college career. It is truly students first in our office, and we cannot wait to meet you! A few other places on my bucket list are Vienna, Amsterdam, Cairo, and Marrakesh. A fun fact about me: I can play the oboe!

kayla janecek


I am a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and General Business with a minor in Italian Studies. I’m from Louisville, Ohio. I studied abroad during the 2017 and 2018 Florence Summer Institutes and am hoping to be able to study in Florence again or India and/or France. Since studying abroad, I am now on the way to becoming bilingual and have a greater appreciation for global cultures. Study abroad has been such a life changing experience by shaping me into a worldly student with the education to become a responsible global citizen.

sarah suntheimer


My name is Sarah Suntheimer, I’m a sophomore Mathematics major with minors in Italian, Italian Studies and Jewish Studies. I grew up in Mayfield Heights, Ohio and have been lucky enough to study abroad many times so far at Kent State. Some of the destinations I have been able to live and study in are Italy, Prague, Israel and Poland. This spring semester I will be joining a large group of Kent State students to Florence as well! Studying abroad has taught me so much about who I am as a person, a student and a leader. Being separated from the people and social structures that influence so many decisions I make unconsciously every day, I have been able to get a grasp of what I want with my education and my life through the process of leaving behind all that I think that I know. We are in Bowman 124 from 9-5 every weekday talking about our study abroad experiences and waiting for YOU to come visit us and let us help you achieve your study abroad dreams. Moving forward I would love to study outside of Europe, especially East Asia. I am also a trombonist and vocalist and spend 10 years performing in choirs like the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus! I would be negligent to not mention that I am a huge nerd who loves video games, computers and literature.

Jordan worrell


Hello, my name is Jordan Worrell and I am a Senior at the Kent State University main campus! I am pursuing a duel Major with a BA in Music, concentration in voice, a BA in Psychology, concentration in counseling, and a minor in Italian Studies! I studied abroad during the summer institute in 2018 at the Kent campus in Florence, Italy. The trip greatly impacted not only how I see the world and how willing the world is willing to help you on your journeys but  also just how much I am fully capable of. People think the world is so large but in regards to how people care and help each other along their way it’s a pretty small world after all. I highly recommend traveling abroad if it hasn’t already happened because not only do you gain a new perspective on the world around you through the eyes of another culture but it also teaches you how to rely on yourself in all kind of life situations. I would really like to go to the Greek Cyclades next and, more specifically, Santorini and Mykonos! A fun fact about me is that I have family in Italy that live near Naples!