Janet Arici
Program Officer, U.S. Department of State

Janet Arici is a contracted Program Officer in the Near East Asia Branch in the Office of Academic Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Her primary responsibilities include the Fulbright Programs for Algeria, Jordan, Libya and Saudi Arabia. Prior to joining ECA in June 2015, Janet was a Program Officer for the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Scholar Rescue Fund Iraq Project.
Janet started her career in international education working at IIE as a Senior Program Coordinator for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. A returned Peace Corps volunteer, Janet spent her service in the Republic of Moldova teaching English as a Foreign Language at a secondary school. She holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Oregon and an MA in Political Science from George Mason University.


Peggy Brozi
Junior Program Officer, U.S. Department of State

Peggy joined the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in February 2019, where she works on the Fulbright Program. Prior to joining the State Department, she completed a B.A. in International Affairs and minors in Human Resource Development and Humanitarian Affairs from James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She mentored international students and promoted study abroad at the JMU Center for Global Engagement. Peggy was also an international exchange participant at the University of Oxford and interned at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia. She speaks fluent Albanian, conversational French, and is currently learning Spanish.


Justin Van Ness
Advisor, Institute of International Education

Justin Van Ness has over eight years of experience advising U.S. and Visiting Fulbright Scholars, Fulbright Foreign Students, Fulbright Visiting Researchers, and F-1 international students. In addition to advising students, scholars, and professionals, he also managed the International Fulbright Science & Technology Program for nearly two years and was an advisor and SEVIS Coordinator at DePaul University. He was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Madrid, Spain in 2006 and has been committed to international exchange ever since. He holds a MA in comparative politics from American University and a BA in world politics and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Justin is currently an advisor for the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program in IIE’s Chicago office.

Dr. Leyah Malcha Bergman-Lanier
Executive Director, Spring International Language Center
Department Chair, English Language and Cultural Studies

Dr. Leyah Bergman-Lanier brings more than 20 years of ESL teaching and administrative experience to her position as Director of Spring International Language Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Her teaching spans all ages from kindergarten through adult levels. She served as Director of the Program in ESL at the University of California at Irvine, Assistant Director of ESL at Pitzer College, and Program Coordinator of Adult Education and K-12 Programs in Claremont, California; Leyah has also directed the Spring Institute for International Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Bergman-Lanier speaks fluent Japanese and taught in Japan for four years. She has also taught and conducted research in the People’s Republic of China. Her undergraduate degree comes from the University of California at Berkeley, and she completed her M.A. (Education and Reading) and Ph.D. (Education and Sociolinguistics) at Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Bergman-Lanier has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Her home town is in West Los Angeles.

Rebecca Foote
Assistant Professor of Spanish, World Languages, Literatures & Cultures, University of Arkansas

Rebecca Foote is Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages, Literatures & Cultures at the University of Arkansas. She received her Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006, and has held tenure-track positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Second Language Research, and Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience; her research centers on psycholinguistic aspects of second language acquisition, including bilingual and multilingual language processing and production. She is interested primarily in the nature of morphological processing and production in the L2 and heritage learner. Recent publications have focused on the production and processing of person, number, and gender agreement morphology by L2 and heritage Spanish, Arabic, and Swahili speakers.


Michael Freeman
Director of International Students and Scholars, University of Arkansas

Michael Freeman is the director of International Students and Scholars at the University of Arkansas. He has been at the University since January 1985. As director, he advises scholars on employment related permanent residency, H and J issues, supervises a fantastic team of creative and dedicated professionals and develops models to help increase international education opportunities for the University of Arkansas and NW Arkansas communities.


Dr. Kim LaScola Needy
Dean, Graduate School and International Education, University of Arkansas

Dr. Kim LaScola Needy is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and serves as Dean of the Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Wichita State University. She previously held an academic appointment at the University of Pittsburgh and served as the Industrial Engineering Department Head at the University of Arkansas. She is a Fellow and Past President of both the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) and the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and a member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Dean Needy is a licensed Professional Engineer in Kansas.


Brenda Magnetti
TA Supervisor, Spanish Instructor
World Languages, Literatures & Cultures, University of Arkansas

Professor Magnetti is the Supervisor for TAs and Instructors in the World Languages, Literatures and Cultures department at the University of Arkansas. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Ouachita Baptist University (2004) and holds a Master of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Arkansas (2007). She is currently in her final year of studies for the Doctor of Modern Languages degree from Middlebury College. Prof. Magnetti has presented at conferences on Foreign Language Teaching and she is currently working on the development of new Online Spanish classes for the department of WLLC and Global Campus. Magnetti has taught SPAN 2013H Intermediate Spanish II Honors, SPAN 3003 Advanced Spanish and SPAN 4003 Advanced Grammar on campus.

Becky Menendez
Instructional Designer and ESL Instructor

Becky Menendez is an instructional designer at Penn State College. She holds a B.A. in Art, with concentrations in graphic design and digital productions; an M.A.T. in Elementary Education; and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language. She recently completed her M.Ed. in Educational Technology through the University of Arkansas. Becky has 6 years of teaching experience with English language learners in elementary, community college, and university settings. She has a special interest in materials development and design. She also enjoys exploring the ways in which technology can be used to improve learning, promote collaboration, and increase engagement. She currently works as a Learning Designer for International Baccalaureate.

Gavin Nelson
Special Programs & Teacher Training Coordinator, ESL Instructor, Spring International Language Center

Gavin is a native Arkansan. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and relocated to Seattle, Washington where she could make use of her creative writing and marketing skills for a hospitality management company. Years later, she set off to pursue a career in TESOL by returning to Arkansas to earn an M.A. in Second Languages from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she also received a graduate assistantship to teach in the University’s Intensive English Language Program. After graduation, Gavin traveled to Norway to participate in a Group Study Exchange, a position awarded her by Rotary International. Upon returning to the U.S., she accepted a teaching position at the Intensive English Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Opportunity then led her to teach at Spring International Language Center (SILC) in Denver, Colorado for over six years until Arkansas called her home again in 2012. She coordinates the academics and logistics for special programs and teaches pre and in-service domestic and international EFL teachers for SILC.

Cindy Rauth
Academic Coordinator, English Language and Cultural Studies Program, Teacher Trainer & ESL Instructor, Spring International Language Center

Cindy Rauth is the Academic Coordinator for the English Language and Cultural Studies program at the University of Arkansas, which works in partnership with Spring International Language Center. She has extensive experience in teaching ESL, developing curriculum, training English language teachers and training international teaching assistants and faculty at the university level. She has lived in Chile, Portugal, France, Montenegro and Croatia and has trained teachers from over 80 countries. She holds a Master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s in Latin American and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is pursuring her PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Arkansas.

Luis Restrepo
Director of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, University of Arkansas

(B.A. Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellin, Colombia, 1988; M.A. University of Maryland, 1992; Ph.D. University of Maryland, 1996), joined the Department in the Fall of 1995 as a professor of Spanish specialized in colonial Latin American literature and culture. Other teaching and research interest include indigenous literatures, literature and human rights, service learning, and Latino education. He has been visiting professor at the Universidad Javeriana with a Fulbright Scholarship, and also at the Universidad de Antioquia and Universidad Eafit in Medellin, Colombia. He serves in the editorial boards of Confluencia (Colorado), Revista Estudios de Literatura Colombiana (Universidad de Antioquia), and Perifrasis (Universidad de los Andes). His current research project focuses on early modern humanitarianism. He is the current director of the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Program. In 2011 he established Sin Limites, The Latino Youth Biliteracy Project, a service learning initiative involving upper level Spanish students mentoring elementary and middle school Spanish heritage speakers. He has also served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community and the founding director of La Oficina Latina—The Office of Latino Academic Advancement and Community Relations.

Dr. Leslie Jo (L.J.) Shelton
Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education, University of Arkansas

LJ is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arkansas. As a higher education/student affairs scholar, she explores the learning and development of college students in the United States.  Her teaching, scholarship, and service primarily reflect the following areas: 1) the experiences of minoritized students in higher education, 2) the scholarship of teaching and learning, and 3) curriculum development and learning outcomes of higher education/student affairs master’s-level gradate preparation programs, especially related to multicultural competencies.

Dr. Mary A. Wyandt Hiebert
Pat Walker Health Center, University of Arkansas

Dr. Wyandt is the Director of STAR Central at the University of Arkansas Pat Walker Health Center. STAR Central is the office for Support, Training, Advocacy, and Resources related to sexual and relationship violence that addressed these issues through prevention education and victim advocacy services. She serves as co-chair of the American College Health Association Campus Safety and Violence Coalition. She has also been appointed for a second term as co-chair for the American College Health Association Creating Guidance for Addressing Sexual Assault Task Force.  Dr. Wyandt is an assistant professor, adjunct faculty of the Department of Public Health; she teaches various academic courses including a course about rape culture and a course that explores masculinity.  In addition, Dr. Wyandt mentors graduate and undergraduate students with regards to program planning and advocacy.



This activity is funded by the U.S. Department of State‘s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as part of its Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world.

It is administered by the Institute of International Education and hosted by Spring International Language Center at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

For more information, visit: foreign.fulbrightonline.org