Meet Our Staff

The Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange team is a group of dedicated and knowledgeable education abroad professionals.

Our Structure

IAGE is divided into three distinct teams: the Education Abroad Team, the Global Engagement Team, and the Business & Systems Team. Click on the links below to view our organizational charts.


As the Director, Joy oversees office staff and services, while ensuring that IAGE extends the mission of Illinois International. Her role also includes managing institutional partnerships and stewarding leadership development.


Joy Phaphouvaninh

Director, Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange

(217) 333-6322

Joy assumed the position of Director of Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange in February 2018 after having joined the office in 2013. She collaborates closely with both on campus academic departments and international partners abroad to identify and develop education abroad programming that aligns with and complements academic learning goals.  Previously, Joy worked at the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York, NY, and developed a variety of education abroad policies for the university system. She has a background in refugee and immigrant services in government and non-profit sectors, and studied abroad for an academic year in India. Joy earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and Asian Studies from Kenyon College and M.A. in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Education Abroad

The core responsibilities of the Education Abroad team include oversight of day-to-day operations, general office administration, program management, student advising, and liaising with partners on campus and abroad.


Stacy Billman

Associate Director for Administration

(217) 333-6322

Stacy joined IAGE in January 2009. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the office including the Advising and Resource Center that is staffed by students who have studied abroad on Illinois-sponsored programs. She works with key IAGE staff on consistent process improvement of structure and services supporting student mobility programs. Stacy also advises for the IAGE signature program in Rome with GustoLab International. Stacy studied abroad for an academic year in Leeds, England and during her employment with IAGE, has done site visits to various cities in the U.K. and Italy and has been the program assistant on faculty-led programs to Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Peru. She earned her B.A. from Stephens College and her Ed.M. with a concentration in Higher Education from the University of Illinois.


Helen Agans

Office Support Associate

(217) 333-6322

Helen Agans joined IAGE in the spring of 2016 as the Office Manager. Just prior to that, she was with the university’s International Student and Scholar Services office for five years. She also has previous experience organizing and managing international academic conferences for a local organization.


Andy Hinnant

Education Abroad Coordinator

(217) 333-6322

Andy joined IAGE in August 2016 and is in charge of programs in the Middle East, northern Africa, and several programs in mainland Europe. Previously, Andy worked in Career Services at Baker College, taught ESL at the University of Florida, and organized programming activities for international students at Indiana University. He earned his B.S. in International Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and M.A. in Public Affairs and East European Affairs at Indiana University. He studied abroad for a year in Aix-en-Provence, France, interned in Montreal and Warsaw, and started a small language business in Gdansk, Poland. As an Education Abroad Coordinator, Andy hopes to inspire students to go abroad and have their own life-changing experience.


Sommer Ireland

Education Abroad Coordinator

(217) 333-6322

Sommer joined IAGE in February 2019 as an Education Abroad Coordinator and manages IAGE programs in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Prior to joining IAGE, she worked in the private sector for Lidl, a German-based international grocery retailer, where she planned and executed international food promotions and managed communication between the German and US Food Promotions departments. She received her B.A. from Washington and Lee University in Economics and German, and studied abroad on three separate occasions in Germany. Sommer also taught English in Imst, Austria for a year through Fulbright Austria.


Lauren Karplus

Education Abroad Coordinator

(217) 333-6322

Lauren joined IAGE in December 2018 as an Education Abroad Coordinator and is in charge of programs in sub-Saharan Africa, northern Europe, the UK and Ireland. Prior to joining IAGE, she worked at International Student and Scholar Services, where she advised both international students and scholars on immigration matters. She received her B.A. from Illinois in International Studies and German Languages and Literature and her M.A. from Illinois State University in Political Science. Lauren served in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Eswatini and has lived and worked in Europe and southern Africa.


Erin Leonard

Education Abroad Coordinator

(217) 333-6322

Erin joined IAGE in February 2019 as an Education Abroad Coordinator and is in charge of programs in Latin America and Spain. Prior to joining IAGE, she worked in International Student Services at Missouri State University, where she coordinated scholar programs, work authorizations, and advised sponsored students. She received her M.A. in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute, and her B.A. in Public Relations from Cleveland State University. Erin has traveled on volunteer trips and served as an intern in several countries spanning across four continents.

Global Engagement

The Global Engagement team provides expertise and leadership in partner relations, academic integration, exchange program management, support for underrepresented and returnee students, marketing, and outreach.


Mike Nelson

Assistant Director for Global Engagement

(217) 333-6322

Mike joined IAGE in September 2016. He oversees partner relations, media and marketing, exchange programs, and student initiatives. Previously, Mike worked for the European Union Center and Global Education and Training at the University of Illinois. He became passionate about study abroad after interning and studying in Belgium, Finland, and Sweden. Mike earned a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in European Union Studies from the University of Illinois, as well as an M.Sc. in International and Comparative Education from Stockholm University.


Brooke Baslee

Coordinator for Exchange and Student Initiatives

(217) 333-6322

Brooke joined IAGE in August 2017. As the coordinator for exchanges and student initiatives, Brooke manages incoming exchange student admissions and advising processes in close collaboration with other units on campus, such as college deans’ offices, Admissions, and ISSS. She also leads study abroad returnee engagement programming and organizes IAGE’s efforts to support inclusive and diverse student participation in study abroad. Brooke comes to Illinois from the University of Missouri International Center where she advised for both outbound study abroad and incoming exchange students. She earned a B.A. from the University of Missouri and a Master’s degree in cross cultural communication and applied linguistics from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.


Alex Williamson

Coordinator for Media and Marketing

(217) 333-6322

Alex joined the IAGE team in January 2017. As the Coordinator for Media and Marketing, she creates multimedia content that establishes and maintains the identity of IAGE. She works closely with the Office of Global Communications and Protocol to ensure consistency of the Illinois International brand. Alex also plans and executes Illinois Abroad Day, which is held annually in the Fall. She earned her BFA in Visual Communications in 2014 from Truman State University. Before coming to Illinois, she served as the Communications and Marketing Specialist for the Auburn University Career Center.

Business and Systems

The Business and Systems team supports IAGE by overseeing all financial operations, including creating program/student budgets and managing student billing. This team also ensures agreement and contract compliance and maintains technical systems.


Alex Hall

Assistant Director, Business and Systems Support

(217) 333-6322

Alex joined IAGE in the summer of 2016. He oversees financial management for IAGE, and maintains the technical systems used by IAGE and other college education abroad offices across campus (Terra Dotta Software). He is also responsible for all statistical reporting, ensuring compliance with international contracts and agreements, and for implementing continuous process improvement regarding the technical systems used by IAGE. Prior to joining IAGE, Alex worked for the university’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office for four years. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University and his M.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois – Springfield.


Brandy Coy

Business Manager II

(217) 333-6322

Brandy joined IAGE in 2015. She manages the IAGE business office and is responsible for the financial oversight and operational planning of the IAGE office. She and her business team oversee all financial aspects of the office; including but not limited to student billing, programs budgets, international travel insurance, foreign banking and contracts/purchasing. Brandy has been with the university since 2000 and has worked her way up from an entry level accounting position in OBFS Accounts Payable. Most recently, she worked as a business manager in the Illinois International executive office where she focused mainly on the financial management of Title VI grants and a large endowment. In her spare time, she loves live music and doing Sudoku puzzles. She is a proud mother of 1 adult son and looks forward to grandchildren someday.


Thomas Schrepfer

Business and System Support Specialist

(217) 333-6322

Thomas joined IAGE in November 2018. He has a background in university financial and enterprise data management, providing IAGE with support in financial reporting, analysis, and in developing business and systems solutions for study abroad programs and operations. Thomas spent four years living and studying in Ireland, travelling extensively across Europe. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin.