Meet CIEE’s Directors in the Americas

Authored by:
Caroline Maas

I'm delighted to introduce you to the CIEE Directors from the Americas. Whether they are finding internship placements for your students at businesses and non-profits in Toronto as a Site Director for our Academic Internship Council, or helping your students adjust to a new culture as a Center Director in Valparaíso, these are the people that ensure your students have a positive, life-changing international experience.


Andres Piacentino
Director, Buenos Aires - Global Institute

Andrés joined CIEE as the Buenos Aires Global Institute Director in April of 2018. He holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan and is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, and Portuguese. His experience in education includes managing the Master's of Marketing program at Universidad de San Andrés and teaching business courses. Andrés has an extensive career in the corporate word with positions of growing responsibility at Nestlé, Barilla Alimentare, Coca-Cola Export Corporation, and Merck. His professional development started in Argentina and continued in the U.S. with projects in Europe and Latin America.


Carla Leal
Director, Global Institute - Rio de Janeiro

Carla will start at Director of the Global Institute - Rio de Janeiro on May 20. She has 17 years of experience in higher education in the United States, including six years of experience within the field of international education. Carla received her undergraduate degree in Portuguese Language and Literature, from the Universidade Católica do Salvador, and her graduate degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester, New York, USA where she has worked for 17 years. During her time at the University of Rochester, Carla coordinated exchange programs throughout the world, for both incoming and outgoing students, developed an incoming exchange student orientation program, and implemented a successful peer adviser program. Carla has a passion for languages, cultures, and enjoys teaching Portuguese to speakers of other languages.


Isabella Johnson
Academic Internship Council Site Director, Toronto

Isabella started as an intern for the Global Internship Conference (GIC) in 2012. She was an integral member of the GIC team, helping run the conference in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Ireland, and Chile, while also placing students in internships across Toronto in her role as Program Manager for the Academic Internship Council. In 2017, she began her current role as Site Director in the Toronto office. This year, she is also placing students for the CIEE Vancouver office. Isabella holds a bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from McGill University in Montreal. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, barre, going to craft breweries, and reading.


Evelyn Córdova
Director, Global Institute - Santiago

Evelyn joined CIEE as the Director for the Global Institute in Santiago de Chile in January 2018.  Evelyn's career is in educational management, academic quality assurance, and statistical analysis applied to research in Venezuela and Chile. She holds a B.S. in Economics with a minor in Applied Statistics, a M.S. in Science and Innovation Management, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Human Sciences. For four years, Evelyn participated in the "Genetics of Common Heritable Disorders in Venezuela Research Training Program" at Columbia University and The University of Chicago.

Carolina Elgueta
Center Director, Valparaíso

Carolina joined CIEE as Center Director in Valparaíso in July 2018. She is a native of Valparaíso and has more than 10 years of experience managing programs for international students, including faculty-led programs and internships, at her alma mater, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV). She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration at PUCV. As an undergraduate, she was an international exchange student at Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. She also earned a master's degree in Sustainability from Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. Carolina is fluent in Spanish and English.

Costa Rica

Karen Masters, Ph.D.
Director, Global Institute - Monteverde

Dr. Karen Masters is a tropical ecologist who has 30+ years working and living in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. She has a B.S. from the University of Michigan, an M.S. from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. She has lived in Monteverde for more than 20 years and has been teaching at the CIEE Study Center in Monteverde since 1997. She currently studies the effects of climate change on epiphytic orchids in Monteverde and has published papers on a host of conservation-related research. She and her husband (Alan Masters) met and married in Monteverde, Costa Rica and raised their sons (twins) there as well.


Melisa Rivière, Ph.D
Center Director, Havana

Melisa received her doctorate degree as a MacArthur Scholars fellow from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Her research has focused on the globalization of hip-hop, civil rights, media, and popular youth culture movements in Cuba and Puerto Rico. She has published portions of her research in academic journals and popular culture magazines as well as received various awards for her multimedia ethnographic works. Melisa has developed critical pedagogical approaches and participatory-action research for educational initiatives between the United States and Cuba for nearly two decades.

Dominican Republic

Tian Song
Center Director, Santiago

Tian joined CIEE in August 2011 as Manager of Student Services in Shanghai, China, then relocated to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in May 2014. She held progressively responsible positions before becoming the Center Director in Santiago de los Caballeros, DR in February 2017. She teaches Development Internships and Intercultural Communication and Leadership courses and is particularly interested in facilitating students’ cultural adaptation and intercultural engagement. Tian is fluent in Mandarin, Sichuan, English, and Spanish. Before CIEE, Tian worked in the Global Education Office at Vanderbilt University as a Study Abroad Advisor and oversaw the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Exchange Student Program. Tian holds an M.S.Ed. from the University Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University.


Karla Zarco
Director, CIEE Global Institute, Yucatán

Karla joined CIEE in Merida, Mexico, in February 2019 to oversee the launch of CIEE's most recent addition to the Global Institute Network (opening summer 2019). Over the last 12 years, she held various positions at the Netherlands Education Support Office Mexico, focusing on finance, planning and control, operations, and international education promotion. Prior to that, Karla served for five years at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Mexico City, where she managed public relations and diplomatic assignments.


Marion Tizón
Center Director, Cusco

Marion holds an M.A. in Non-profit and Public management, with a concentration in community participation and education, from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Swarthmore College.  Marion is also an intercultural trainer who is passionate about cultural differences and intercultural communication. Originally from Maine, she grew up in a bicultural and bilingual family, and has lived, worked, studied, and raised a family in Perú since 2007. She has recently relocated to Cusco to build the new CIEE study center which will receive its first group of students in May.

United States

Cynthia Singer-Riordan
Academic Internship Council Site Director, Boston

Cynthia joined EUSA (the predecessor to AIC) in 2008. Cynthia has always had a strong interest in global issues and people from various backgrounds, so her transition into international education was a natural development. She began by teaching English abroad in Germany, and then returned to the US to work with exchange programs at AIC. Immediately prior to joining the AIC team, Cynthia was the Center Director of the English Language Center, an ESL organization located in Boston. She holds a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University in Communications. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Cynthia now calls Boston home and loves to showcase the city for visitors. She is a biking enthusiast and can be found biking to work during the summer months.

Julianna Manning
Academic Internship Council Site Director, New York

Julianna has been creating internship programs for students in every field from finance to fashion since 2015 and has been the Academic Internship Council's New York Director since 2018. Though originally from New York, she has also lived in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and discovered her interest in international education and student relations through personal experience. She holds a master's degree in Organizational and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from State University of New York Geneseo. In her free time, you can find her exploring her beloved borough of Brooklyn by bicycle (and often alliterating!).

Ken Nourse
Academic Internship Council Site Director, San Francisco

After a career in tech, law, and legal technologies, Ken started leading internship programs for AIC in October 2014. He moved to San Francisco following a two-year assignment in Hong Kong, where he opened the Asia-Pacific office for the electronic evidence division of a business intelligence firm. Much earlier, Ken lived in Finland as an American Field Service high school exchange student and worked in Japan on Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program as a public junior high school English teacher. He received his B.A. in Political Science from McGill University in Montreal and his J.D. from Northeastern University in Boston.

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