Speakers Biographies

Rachel Holskin
Program Officer, U.S. Fulbright Student Programs
(Europe and Eurasia)
Institute of International Education
New York, NY

Rachel comes to U.S. Student Programs after participating in a fellowship with Advancing Learning and Employability for a Better Future (ALEF), a project of the United States Agency for International Development, in Morocco, where she worked on issues such as gender equality, literacy and employability. She has also worked as an English language instructor with the International Institute of Higher Education in Rabat. Her previous experience further includes working at Rail Europe and the University of Connecticut, where she completed her BA in International Relations and Political Science, with a Minor in French, spending her junior year abroad in Paris and working as a French Government English Teaching Assistant. She is currently pursuing an MA in International Affairs and Education at the Gallatin School of New York University. She is fluent in French, has intermediate proficiency in Spanish and is studying Arabic.


Shebana Coelho
U.S. Student Fulbright Ambassador

Shebana Coelho is a producer of television and radio documentaries and a writer. Her projects have been broadcast on outlets such as American Public Television (PBS), BBC Radio Four, the Discovery Channel and National Public Radio (NPR). She received a 2004 Fiction Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) for a short story collection and a 2007 Fulbright Research Grant to Mongolia. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

For more information on Shebana’s Fulbright project and experience, please visit the website:


and see attached description in PDF:

Mongolia- Far Away... So Close and Notes on my Fulbright Project & Experience.


Amber Rydberg
U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant / Student Ambassador

Amber Rydberg, a US Fulbright ETA grantee to South Korea (2007-2008), taught conversational English to students in elementary school grades 3-6 in Daegu. In her spare time, Amber volunteered at Aehwalwon - an orphanage near her home-stay family's apartment. She spent most of her time playing sports and generally having fun with the children at Aehwalwon, but also tutored a few in English. Following her grant year, Amber volunteered for the USOC at the Beijing Olympic Games. Upon her return to the US, she joined the Board of Directors for Korean Kids & Orphanage Outreach Mission (KKOOM) as their Vice President. She is currently preparing to teach Mandarin Chinese at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA.


Christine Moss
Program Coordinator
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
Institute of International Education
Houston, Texas

Christine Moss is a Program Coordinator for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program where she serves as the primary contact for all applicants. Previous to working for the Institute of International Education, Ms. Moss graduated from Washington State University with bachelor’s degrees in Foreign Languages and Literatures as well as Communication. While studying at WSU, Ms. Moss studied abroad in Valparaíso, Chile and upon her return, worked in the Education Abroad Office for two years. In this role, she served as a Peer Advisor and also an Outreach and Promotions Intern. Ms. Moss is dedicated to the field of International Education as it has significantly influenced her personal and professional endeavors.


Elizabeth Pérez
Gilman Scholarship Program/Student Ambassador

Traveling to rural Mexico to visit my family, where I experienced their poverty firsthand, I became aware of the immense needs faced by developing countries—this profound experience led me to pursue a degree in International Development. I want to bring infrastructure systems such as running water, public schools, waste management, and healthcare, to communities in need around the globe. By studying abroad, I will gain better understanding of the interplay between the U.S. and other countries when it comes to such crucial issues as environmental sustainability, third world development and economic balance.

As a first generation Latina who learned English as a second language, Spain presented a unique opportunity for me to study in the only European country that speaks my first language. I was able to fully immerse myself in a culture whose history traces back to the roots of my family’s heritage. In this special environment, I took courses which directly related to my major, including Economic Geography, where I learned about how the location of a region contributes to economic growth or stagnation, and Inter-American Relations in which I analyzed relations between the U.S. and Latin American countries.

I grew up in thriving Los Angeles; however, my Latino community has very limited opportunities. It is filled with hardworking people who have never been given a chance to go abroad. Most, including my parents, have not even been able to finish high school. As the first member of my family to ever attend college, the idea of studying abroad was a completely foreign concept; where I’m from, it’s simply not an option.

In order to pursue my dream of schooling abroad, I drove thirty miles across town to Santa Monica College (the closest school that offers an abroad program). I worked during the day and took night courses in order to qualify for their study abroad program. Having worked nonstop since I was fourteen to help support my family, I could not wait for this chance to fully immerse myself in my studies by becoming a full-time student. The Gilman Scholarship offered a unique opportunity to assist me in achieving my goals, while supporting me in giving back to my community when I returned.

I traveled to Spain to study, knowing it would be a life changing experience, but I never knew the extent to which it would change me. The Benjamin Gilman Scholarship allowed me to study at the Universidad de Sevilla amongst 20,000 students. As a community college student, this experience reinforced my desire to further pursue my educational goals. Due to financial constraints back home, I did not know if I would be able to afford continuing my education. But after the Gilman scholarship expanded my view of what education could be, I was committed to finding a way to continue. So last minute, from Spain, I applied to my dream school, Sarah Lawrence College in New York. They offered me an amazing financial aid package, and thanks to the opportunity the Benjamin Gilman scholarship gave me, I feel confident I will succeed at Sarah Lawrence, just like I did at the Universidad de Sevilla. For me studying abroad was the breakthrough I needed, which has empowered me to go on with my goals. For this I will be forever indebted to the generosity of the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship.


Aimee Hutton
Program Manager, Boren Scholarships
Institute of International Education
Washington, DC

Aimee Hutton has worked in the nonprofit sector for 7 years. She is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, where she majored in Russian and minored in Linguistics. She combined her academic interest by researching American and Russian Sign Languages for her senior thesis and spent a semester studying in St. Petersburg, Russia. Aimee has worked on an exchange program at American Council for International Education in the Moscow office and at the DC office of the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) on programs designed to increase computer literacy and improve access to the Internet in the Former Soviet Union.





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