Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

international programs

Boston Intercultural Skills Conference (BISC)

office of international programs


Meeting Students Where They Are:
Exploring Generational Differences within the Context of International Education

Friday, March 1, 2019
Corcoran Commons, Boston College

Intergenerational differences require college and university faculty and staff to appreciate and respond to the ever changing needs, expectations, and characteristics of incoming students. In recent years, significant attention has focused on “Generation Z” or the “IGen”, which has been shaped by greater access to the internet and social media, as well as attitudes around safety and security in a post-September 11th world, among other factors.

Hosted by Boston College, the 2019 Boston Intercultural Skills Conference (BISC) will bring together colleagues from around the New England region and beyond to examine how we might address generational differences within the context of international education. Doing so requires us to better understand the characteristics of current students, as well as to determine the approaches that are most beneficial for maximizing our encounters with iGen students, including with education abroad, work with international students, and internationalization at home efforts.

The conference is intended for faculty leading short-term study abroad programs, international education professionals, and other university staff and faculty interested in the internationalization of campus communities and/or student learning models and theory.

For additional questions or information, contact Shannon Williams at

8:30-9:00 am


9:00-10:30 am

Introductions by Prof. Billy Soo, Vice Provost for Faculties, and Dr. Nick Gozik, Director of the Office of International Programs & the McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies, Boston College 

Keynote address & workshop: Rachel Reiser, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Student Experience and Services, Undergraduate Academic and Career Development Center, Boston University

10:30-10:45 am


10:45 am-12:00 pm

Breakout sessions: "Fostering Communication within a Multi-generational Staff", "Mental Health Concerns in the Overseas Experience", and "Technology and Engagement: Making Technology Work for First Generation College Students in an International Context"

12:00-1:15 pm

Lunch & Ed Talks, with an introduction by Prof. Akua Sarr, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Boston College

1:30-2:45 pm

Breakout sessions: "Exploring Generational Differences among International Students", "Preparing Students for a Changing Workforce by Leveraging Intercultural and International Learning", and "Challenge vs. Support: Promoting Intercultural and Personal Growth in a Risky World"

2:45-3:00 pm


3:00-3:30 pm

Concluding remarks by Nick Gozik and Rachel Reiser


The Cross-Generational Higher Education Environment: Generational Awareness as an Intercultural Skill

Rachel Reiser, Boston University

The term “generation” refers to a group of people who have experienced the same historical and life events at about the same time in their lives. Each generation brings its own set of values, beliefs, life experiences, and attitudes. As with any applied characteristic, our generational makeup informs the perceptions we hold and those that that are held about us. The goal of this session is to provide understanding of the four current dominant generations (Baby Boomers; Generation X; Millennials; and the newest generation known as Gen Z or the iGen), and to consider what their defining characteristics mean for us in the context of the global higher education environment. How does generational mindset impact communication and workstyle? What are the challenges and opportunities in a multi-generational environment? How do we leverage our own intergenerational understanding to best prepare our students for tomorrow’s workplace?



Craig D. Burns is Director of University Counseling Services at Boston College, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Hult International School of Business. He has practiced as a clinical psychologist with university students for 15 years, and holds particular interest in the application of mindfulness and stress management in psychotherapy, distress tolerance, and clinical consultation. He received a B.A. from Brown University and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of America, as well as completed an APA-accredited Internship at Brockton/Worcester VA Hospital/Harvard Medical School and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Boston College.

Gretchen R. Cook-Anderson is the award-winning Director of Diversity Recruiting & Advising at IES Abroad. She is a marketing and PR professional with 13 years of experience in international education marketing and 25 years’ in the marketing field. Her efforts over nearly 8 years have led to 78% growth in enrollment diversity in IES Abroad programs. Gretchen manages the Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA), which is marking its 10th anniversary in 2018-19 through a series of special #WorldOfDifference activities to celebrate the impact global education has had on the lives and careers of IES Abroad alums of various diverse identity. Gretchen’s work garnered the nationwide Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education Award (The EDIIE Award) in 2014 and 2016, and an IES Abroad Achievement Award in 2018. She holds a B.A. in political science from Spelman College and M.A. in international economics/Japanese Studies from Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

Joseph Finkhouse has been Associate Director of Health, Safety, and Security at Boston University Global Programs since 2011, following prior work in international education at BU for several decades. He is responsible for developing and coordinating policies on health, safety and security for BU students, faculty and staff traveling abroad for any university-sponsored or sanctioned activity. Joe earned an MA from Michigan State University and received a PhD in Comparative Literature from Brown University. A founding member of PULSE and the OSAC Academia Working Group, he has presented widely on international risk management and higher education.

Sora H. Friedman is professor and chair of international education (IE) at SIT Graduate Institute, where she teaches and advises IE graduate students. Dr. Friedman has worked in the field since 1984, focusing on the preparation of new professionals, exchange program management, public diplomacy, and policy advocacy. Her recent research explores gender parity in senior IE leadership. Dr. Friedman has held nationally appointed and elected leadership positions with professional associations; she is also the recipient of NAFSA’s Region XI James Leck Distinguished Service Award. She taught at George Mason University and the University of Pennsylvania in Mexico and Chile; lived in Bolivia, Colombia and England; and holds a doctorate in cultural studies from George Mason University and a master's in international administration from the School for International Training. Friedman’s new book, co-authored with Amir Reza, Careers in International Education: A Guide for New Professionals, is soon to be published by NAFSA: The Association of International Educators.

Andréa McColgan Javel is a Senior Lecturer in Boston College’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures where she coordinates both Elementary and Intermediate French and supervises teaching fellows in their pedagogical training. Andréa received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton, her Masters in Psychology from the Université René Descartes in Paris (with a concentration in Learning Theory and Clinical Psychology) and her M.Ed. in Teaching (French) from Harvard University. At BC, she teaches Elementary and Intermediate French language courses, Foreign Language Pedagogy and has taught Reading in French, as well as a number of summer intensive language courses. She has been teaching in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at BC since 1990, and has been leading and teaching BC’s Intensive Intermediate French in Paris and/or Bordeaux under the auspices of BC’s Office of International Programs since 2002. 

Régine Michelle Jean-Charles is associate professor of Romance languages and Literature and African and African Diaspora Studies. Her scholarship and teaching on world literatures in French includes Black France, Sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an AM and PhD from Harvard University. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Mays Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She is the author of Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (2014) as well as numerous articles that have appeared in edited volumes and journals such as The Journal of Haitian StudiesAmerican Quarterly, French Forum, Research in African Literatures, and Small Axe. She is also a founding board member of A Long Walk Home, Inc., a non-profit organization that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women.

Ana M. Martínez Alemán is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of the Educational Leadership & Higher Education Department at Boston College, Lynch School of Education. Her recent books include Critical approaches to the study of higher education (2015) and Accountability, pragmatic aims, and the American university (2011) She is coauthor of Technology and engagement: Making technology work for first generation college students, Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture, co-editor of Women in Higher Education: An Encyclopedia. Her scholarship appears in the Journal of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Educational Theory, The Teacher Educator, Feminist Interpretations of John Dewey, Educational Researcher, and the Review of Higher Education. Martinez-Aleman has held various leadership positions in the American Educational Researchers Association (AERA), and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and. Currently, Martinez Aleman serves as Vice-President of AERA’s Division of Postsecondary Education.

Gareth McFeely is Executive Director of Study Abroad at Boston University, where he leads efforts to enhance the quality of BU’s study abroad programs, to build stronger bridges between Boston University’s on-campus academic experiences and overseas engagements, and to foster greater connections among faculty, staff, and students within all BU schools and colleges. Gareth has worked at Boston University since 2003, in areas ranging from faculty actions to curriculum planning. A native of Ireland, he spent five years working for the Irish Foreign Service, including postings in Berlin, Stockholm, and New York before joining Boston University. He completed his undergraduate degree in French and English at Trinity College Dublin, his M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Cambridge in England, and his Ph.D. in African History from Boston University.

Natalie A. Mello is The Forum on Education Abroad’s Vice President for Programs, Services & Training. She oversees a range of initiatives including The Forum’s Professional Certification Program, the Critical Incident Database, Standards Institutes, and managing the process for updating the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad. Natalie joined The Forum in 2011 after serving 18 years as Director of Global Operations in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Charlie Morse is a licensed mental health counselor who has worked in various mental health settings in the field for the past 35 years. Over the past 25 years he has worked at the Student Development and Counseling Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and in the position Associate Dean & Director of Counseling for the past 13 years. Morse has presented on numerous topics associated with mental health and study away at both NAFSA and The Forum on Education Abroad conferences over the years. He also co-leads daylong trainings for study away professionals covering practical topics associated with mental health and study abroad. Recently he was lead author on a paper titled “College/University Counseling Centers Supporting Study Away: Challenges and Opportunities”, which appeared in the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy in the spring of 2017.

Adrienne Nussbaum has 35 years of experience in international higher education as an administrator, professor, trainer and consultant. She is currently the Director/Asst. Dean of the Boston College Office of International Students and Scholars where she has worked for the past 31 years, and has also worked at Harvard University and Lesley University. Adrienne’s teaching experience includes 17 years in the Global Studies department at Bentley University as well as courses at Tufts University, Lesley University, and for the past five years at Boston College. She has done trainings for non-profit organizations both in higher education and at the K-12 level, and numerous presentations at regional and national conference of NAFSA, NASPA, and the International Careers Consortium. Adrienne is also a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). Adrienne received her BA in French and Psychology from Tufts University, and her MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University.

Amirah Orozco, MCAS '19, is originally from the El Paso, Texas and Cd. Juarez, Mexico border. She is a Political Science and Philosophy double major. She spent her junior year in Dublin, Ireland at Trinity College. She is a Bowman Advocate through BC's Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center (BAIC) and an undergraduate staff member in the Women's Center. She is writing a senior thesis on the ethical urgency on taking action on climate change, and works on campaigns across Massachusetts politics.

Erik Owens is director of the International Studies Program and associate professor of the practice in theology at Boston College. His research explores a variety of intersections between religion and public life, with particular attention to issues of citizenship in global contexts and the challenge of fostering the common good in religiously diverse societies. He is the co-editor of three books and has published a number of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles, as well as essays for the general public. Owens teaches interdisciplinary courses on ethics and religion in international politics; religion in American public life (including religion in public schools); and political theologies of citizenship. He has taught or travelled internationally with students in South Africa, Israel/Palestine, and Ireland. He received his Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Chicago, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from Duke University.

Daniel Ponsetto is the Welles R. Crowther Director for Volunteer & Service Learning at Boston College. In this role, he directs a limited number of short-term international experiences for both students and faculty, and advises other departments on both domestic and international service and immersion programs. 

Ned Quigley is Associate Director for Global Engagement and Enrollment Management at Brown University, where he works with students who are considering overseas opportunities in academic studies, internships, and research. Prior to Brown, Ned worked at Middlebury College (in advancement and communications), Boston University (in international education), Syracuse University (in international education), Harvard University (in admissions and financial aid in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and Norwich University (in admissions, student and cultural affairs, and Russian studies). His interests include second language acquisition, curriculum design, and student development. He holds an EdM from Harvard University in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy. An avid traveler, Ned also enjoys languages, dabbling in Polish, Russian and French.

Rachel I. Reiser is the founder and principal of Generationally Speaking, which provides consultation to companies and other organizations in helping them to consider generational issues and human resources opportunities in the workplace. Rachel Reiser is also currently Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Experience & Services at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. In a career spanning over 20 years in higher education, Rachel has held positions at several schools working directly with college students, providing her with the opportunity to experience first-hand the changing characteristics of today’s young adult. This, coupled with her own observations, has fostered her professional interest in generational studies. Rachel has researched, written, and presented extensively on the demographics and psychographics of the Millennial Generation, and serves as a consultant to companies and organizations in helping them to consider their work in the age of the Millennial Generation, including topics such as the multi-generational workplace, intergenerational communication, onboarding best practices, and more. Rachel is an active member of several professional organizations, and is the 2006 recipient of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education Award for Professional Excellence. Her book, Millennials on Board: The Impact of the Rising Generation on the Workplace, was released in February 2010.

Amir H. Reza is Dean of the Babson Academy for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurial Learning and dean of global education. He began his career in international education 20 years ago at the University of Maine. He has held numerous positions in academic affairs, student affairs, and international education over the past 18 years at Babson College. Dr. Reza has served on leadership boards for NAFSA and the Association of International Education Administrators. He has also served on several international advisory boards. Dr. Reza's new book, co-authored with Sora Friedman, Careers in International Education: A Guide for New Professionals, is soon to be published by NAFSA: the Association of International Educators. Reza earned his BA in international relations and his master’s in higher education administration from the University of Maine, and his Ph.D. at Boston College.

Lorien Romito, Director of Education Abroad at Babson College, has worked in the field of international education for over 15 years. Lorien holds a Master of Arts in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Spanish, dual major, from the University of New Hampshire. Lorien’s previous roles include Director, International Programs at Endicott College, Associate Director for the Center for International Programs at Saint Mary’s College of California, and the Academic Relations Manager at Intrax Cultural Exchange. Lorien is co-founder of Lessons from Abroad, an organization that runs regional returnee conferences around the country, and serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She has presented at numerous conferences on international education and serves on the Academic Consortium Board for CIEE. Lorien has lived, worked, and studied in Spain, Costa Rica, and France and speaks Spanish.

Heather Rowan-Kenyon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. She received a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Rowan-Kenyon is the author of more than 35 articles, book chapters, and working papers focused on college student access, learning and success. Her new book with Ana Martínez Alemán, & Mandy Savitz-Romer, Technology and engagement: Making technology work for first generation college students, was awarded the 2018 Association for the Study of Higher Education Outstanding Book Award. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the NASPA Foundation.

J. Scott Van Der Meid, Associate Dean of Study Abroad at Brandeis University, has worked in international higher education for over 20 years. Since 1999 he has directed the study abroad program at Brandeis University and worked for Boston University's study abroad office prior to that. Scott has presented both nationally and internationally on various topics within higher education such as underrepresention in study abroad with a focus on the influencing factors for participation of Asian Americans and lgbt students. He has served on several national advisory boards and chaired numerous groups within both NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad. In addition to study abroad, Scott has overseen the international students and scholars office as well as supported fellowship advising during his time at Brandeis. Scott received his B.A. in History and German Literature from Allegheny College and his M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University.

Celeste C Wells, Associate Professor of the Practice in Communication, joined Boston College in 2010 after earning her doctorate from the University of Utah. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Wells worked as a human resources manager, director, and consultant in the biotechnology field. In 2017, Dr. Wells was named Alpha Sigma Nu's Teacher of the Year at Boston College. In her teaching, Dr. Wells aims to develop students’ critical understandings of how the social and political world around them is shaped by communication. In doing so, she hopes to better enable students to think critically about the professional and personal choices they make in their lives.   


$65 for non-BC staff and faculty
$30 for graduate students
Complimentary for all BC staff, faculty, and graduate students

A light breakfast and lunch will be included.

Registration is currently closed for this event, though a waitlist has been created. To be added to the list, contact Shannon Williams at


The conference will be held on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College in the Heights Room at Corcoran Commons. Click here for directions to BC and a campus map.