Business & Marketing
A native of Muskegon, Michigan, Ms. Thomas has extensive experience in higher education, having worked for three different institutions since 1978. A member of the Georgia State University team since 1990, she has worked for the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services in the College of Education and in the Associate Provost’s Office. She is a member of the Alpha Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. Her international travel experiences include Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa. Ms. Thomas manages the business and HR affairs for the office.
Homma oversees the public relations and marketing portfolios for the Office of International Initiatives. She has over ten years of experience in writing for the media and academia, with a strong passion for international awareness and education. Before graduating with a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Emory University, she spent a summer abroad in South Africa with the University’s Journalism Program, where she worked as a writer for Cape Town’s daily newspaper, the Cape Argus. While earning her M.A. in Communication from Barry University in Miami, Florida, Homma served their Division of Student Affairs in a marketing research role for four years, in addition to providing support to the office of International and Multicultural Programs and the Honor’s Program’s China Study Abroad experience. Homma is excited to share her strengths and provide enthusiastic support towards the office’s and Georgia State University’s strategic plan.
Michelle Robinson, Administrative Assistant
International Partnerships and Agreements
Kike joined the Office of International Initiatives in 2003 as the Project Coordinator for the Ghana Tourism Capacity Development Initiative and simultaneously as Study Abroad Programs Advisor from 2004-2005. Kike manages the university’s international partnership agreements, internationalization grants such as the international strategic initiatives (ISI) seed grants, and more recently, the Faculty International Partnership Engagement (FIPE) grant, and special initiatives including the international Faculty Mentoring Program and the Global Gateway project. Kike also oversees partnership evaluation efforts including the coordination of multiple databases that capture international program data.
Prior to her employment at Georgia State, Kike served as the Institute Liaison and Team Lead for both the Institute of Gender and Health, and the Rural and Northern Health Strategic Programs, at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Ottawa, Canada. Kike holds Bachelors degrees from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Canada and a Masters degree in International Development Studies from St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada.
Vacant, Project Coordinator
Danielle serves as the unit’s Data Steward. She manages the agreement database and generates reports that capture international partnerships. Danielle leads IPA’s transition to the unit’s new international relations management system by developing and managing training and referral documentation, establishing data integrity, and improving reporting procedures. From 2002-2013, Danielle worked for the United States Air Force as a Logistics Management Specialist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio where she managed documentation and classification review for over 2,000 positions in the areas of training, career development and personnel management. She also provided administrative support to senior level Generals during Weapon System Reviews and Joint Logistics Boards. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
International Programs and Projects
Amanda joined the Office of International Initiatives in 2010 first as a Study Abroad Advisor and then as the Executive Assistant to the Associate Provost. Amanda manages many of the various international programs and projects that originate in OII, including the Summer Institute, as well as oversees the five emerging-market task forces and special on-campus programming, such as International Education Week. She earned her M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and her B.A. in History and Global Studies from Middle Tennessee State University. She studied abroad in Germany and China and taught English in the Czech Republic. She has been a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators since 2005, and she is the past Chair of the Financing Education Abroad Sub-Committee for NAFSA and the past Secretary-Treasurer and past Chair of the Advocacy Sub-committee for Georgia Association of International Educators (GAIE). She is also a graduate of NAFSA’s Academy Class 9.
Lingxi Gao, Graduate Research Assistant
Lingxi Gao, originally from China, serves as the Graduate Research Assistant for International Programs and Projects. She works closely with the partner universities in China on various international programs and projects. She coordinates the Summer Institute and China task force. In addition, Lingxi serves as the point of contact for students who are interested in partner programs between Georgia State University and universities in China. Pursuing her Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication at University of Maryland, Baltimore County provided her with various opportunities and skills to connect with people from different cultural background and prepared her to communicate effectively in both Chinese and U.S. cultures. Lingxi loves to take pictures of fun cultural facts and murals.
Ahu Kostak-Bulat is the International Programs Manager for International Programs and Projects. Ahu has strategic and operational responsibility for coordinating and supporting programs and projects related to Turkey. She also serves as the Executive Director of the American Turkish Friendship Council and the Turkish Honorary Consulate General for Georgia to actively implement and coordinate educational, cultural, humanitarian, and business programs to improve relations between Turkey and the United States. In her previous positions she worked as the Consumer Rights and E-Business Relations Executive at Vestel Company and as Marketing and Sales Executive at Edpa USA and Altinyildiz Textile Company. Ahu is highly committed to implementing educational programs and working with organizations to provide equal access to proper education.
Ahu has a BS degree in International Relations, Ankara Siyasal, Turkey and an MA degree in European Studies from Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey. She has also completed coursework toward Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has earned North Carolina teacher certification.
Study Abroad Programs
Ryan Rathmann, Director
Prior to joining the Study Abroad Office at Georgia State, Ryan worked as an Assistant Director of Admissions and as the Logistics and Operations Manager for The Experiment in International Living. While working at this eighty year old 501c3, Ryan had the pleasure of working with international partners, mentors, educators, parents and donors to provide unparalleled access to international education for exemplary students. Prior to entering the field of international education, Ryan received his M.A. in Cultural Policy from The University of Chicago. While working on his B.A. in German and English Literature at Humboldt State University, Ryan spent his summers fighting forest fires on an elite interagency ‘Hotshot’ crew as a lead sawyer and lead firefighter. Ryan’s passion for study abroad was inspired by his undergraduate experiences overseas: a semester in Vienna and an academic year enrolled at The University of Heidelberg. At Georgia State University, Ryan hopes to find innovative and thoughtful ways to pay forward the meaningful overseas experiences that transformed his education, his career and his world view.
Stephen Murray, Senior Study Abroad Advisor
In addition to advising students, Stephen Murray works on events like the Broadening Horizons panel and Passport Day, as well as behind-the-scenes processes like health clearance and study abroad insurance.
Stephen is a graduate of Georgia State University, with Master’s degrees in Anthropology and Applied Linguistics. He participated in Georgia State’s Tsinghua University Exchange in addition to having studied abroad in Erlangen, Germany as an undergraduate German major at Georgia Southern University. In addition to his academic experience he has worked in customer service and operations fields and the travel industry. Over the years he has travelled to the United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, France, Mexico, Ireland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Thailand, Belize, the Czech Republic, and China.
Emily Caskey, Study Abroad Advisor
Emily Caskey completed her Master’s degree in German Literature at the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate German and History major she studied abroad in Rostock, Germany through a UGA exchange program. In addition to her academic year abroad, she interned in Berlin at the U.S. Embassy. in her role as a Study Abroad Advisor at Georgia State she hopes to encourage curiosity and prepare students to benefit personally, academically, and professionally from study abroad.
Casey Ottinger, Study Abroad Advisor
Casey Ottinger is a recent graduate of New York University where he received his Master’s degree in International Education and worked in the Office of Global Services. His interest in International Education was ignited while an undergraduate student at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL where he studied for a semester in Athens, Greece. Casey went on to work for the study abroad provider that facilitated his semester abroad. Before landing at Georgia State University, he most recently served as an International Student Advisor at Rollins College.
Alexandria (Alex) Ricker, Study Abroad Advisor
Alex Ricker received a Bachelor’s degree in French Studies from the University of Florida. She went on to complete her Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. Directly after graduation, she taught English as a Second Language in Beijing, China through GSU’s Tsinghua Exchange Program. Alex believes in making the study abroad process approachable and achievable from start to finish, helping students explore their options and supporting them every step of the way.
Rosalyn Jordan, Business Manager
Cristina Roman, Study Abroad Coordinator
Brian Johnson, Intern