Meet the Staff

scottJ. Scott Van Der Meid

Assistant Dean of Study Abroad

Office: Usdan 169
Phone: 781-736-3483
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Scott has directed the study abroad program at Brandeis University since 1999. Prior to his time at Brandeis he worked for several years in Boston University's Office of International Programs.

Scott received his B.A. in History and German Literature with a concentration in Asia in the Modern World from Allegheny College and his M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. He studied in West Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany's eventual unification. Scott also studied and worked for several years in Tokyo, Japan. He has been to over 52 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Professionally, Scott has served on several national advisory boards in the field of international education including Arcadia University's National Advisory Board, IFSA-Butler's Executive Council of the National Advisory Council and SIT Study Abroad's Partnership Council. He is past Co-Chair of the NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group and served as a founding member of the Forum on Education Abroad's Advisory Council. Other national committee involvement included NAFSA's Committee on Underrepresentation in Education Abroad, the SECUSSA Data Collection Working Group, the CIEE Nomination's Committee, the IES Membership Committee, the Forum on Education Abroad's Data Committee and Forum on Education Abroad's Ethics Working Group. He currently serves as chair of the IES Institutional Membership Committee and is a member of the Advisory Board for the NAFSA Rainbow SIG.


Alisha Cardwell

Study Abroad Advisor

Office: Usdan 169
Phone: 781-736-3483
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Alisha began working at Brandeis in November 2012. She holds a B.A. from Miami University (Ohio) in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs and a M.Ed. with a specialization in higher education administration from Northeastern University. As an undergraduate, Alisha studied abroad for her junior fall semester in Differdange, Luxembourg where her most impactful experience was meeting with the few remaining Luxembourgian survivors of concentration camps during the Holocaust.  She also spent a summer in the rural mountains of Costa Rica volunteering in a community center.

Alisha brings with her to Brandeis five previous years of experience working in faculty-led international education at EF College Study Tours and Miami University. At Brandeis, Alisha works with both students interested in studying abroad as well as exchange students studying at Brandeis for a semester or year and is excited to be a part of such a globally focused campus. 

Darren R. Gallant

Darren R. Gallant '08

Assistant Director of Study Abroad

Office: Usdan 169
Phone: 781-736-3483
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Darren returned to Brandeis as an alum in March 2013 since double majoring Sociology and Politics as an undergraduate at Brandeis. A member of the 2nd midyear class, he was very involved in various campus organizations and student life. During his junior year, Darren studied abroad in Copenhagen with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) to bolster his academic learning. Darren earned his M.A. in Higher Education / Student Personnel Administration from New York University. During his time at NYU he traveled to Israel to study international higher education.

Darren has presented on conference topics around social media use, LGBTQ student advising, disability accommodations abroad, and engaging alumni in study abroad. He is excited to share his experience as an undergraduate at Brandeis and his international experiences with students and staff.

Candace B. Matta

Candace B. Matta

Assistant Director of Brandeis-Led Study Programs

Office: Usdan 169
Phone: 781-736-3483
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Candace joined the Office of Study Abroad in July 2014. As an undergraduate, she studied business at Bentley University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Concentration in Business Communication. While there, she spent a semester abroad in Australia at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) which opened her eyes to the big world outside of the small Western Massachusetts town she grew up in. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Cultural and Education Policy Studies with a concentration in Comparative-International Education from Loyola University Chicago.

Candace comes directly to Brandeis from the Institute for the International Education of Students, a non-profit study abroad program partner, where she worked with a variety of institutions in New England as well as acted as a study abroad program advisor for many of their direct enrollment programs. She has volunteered her time with several professional-related activities, including the New England Returnee Conference, the Boston Area Study Abroad Association mentor program, and the NAFSA Region XI Leadership Team.

Kate Cheng

Graduate Assistant

Kate started her work in the Office of Study Abroad in March 2015. She is a first-year graduate student pursuing a M.A. degree in International Economics and Finance at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). As an undergraduate student at Colorado College, she studied abroad in Sweden at Jonkoping International Business School, where she immersed herself in different European cultures by traveling and interacting with fellow Swedish classmates. Prior to her tertiary studies, she went to a United World College (UWC) in Hong Kong, where she volunteered and taught English in Tibet, the Philippines and rural parts of China. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Colorado College. Currently she also serves as the senior business editor at Cypraea Magazine in Brandeis IBS.

Melanie Vandegrift

Graduate Assistant

Melanie started working in the study abroad office in Fall of 2015. She is a first year in the joint Master’s program in Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis.  In 2014, she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance and Anthropology from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania where, during her Junior year, she participated in the study abroad program SIT Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change.  During her time in Samoa, Melanie studied at the University of the South Pacific in Apia, Samoa and traveled to American Samoa and Fiji where she participated in homestays with local families and immersed herself in local culture.  Also while abroad, Melanie conducted Independent research on the topic of third gender in the Pacific, a subject that she wishes to build on during her time at Brandeis.