Brandeis Study Abroad Account

Study Abroad Ambassadors

Want to hear from current students about their experience abroad? Contact the Study Abroad Ambassadors for more information.

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Meet the Staff


Mr. J. Scott Van Der Meid

Assistant Dean
and Director of Study Abroad

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.

Ms. Alisha Cardwell
Department Administrator

Alisha began working at Brandeis in November 2012. She comes from a small town in Ohio and was fortunate to have a high school Spanish teacher who first took her out of the country to both Costa Rica and Spain. She holds a B.A. from Miami University in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs and a M.Ed. with a specialization in higher education administration from Northeastern University. As a student, Alisha studied abroad for a semester in Luxembourg and also spent a summer in Costa Rica doing volunteer work. Prior to coming to Brandeis, Alisha worked with faculty-led study abroad programs at both EF College Study Tours and the Office of Lifelong Learning at Miami University and most recently worked in Graduate Admissions at New England College of Business and Finance.

Mr. Darren R. Gallant '08
Study Abroad Advisor

Darren joined the office in March 2013. He double majored in Sociology and Politics while 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 Denmark International Studies Program (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. Most recently Darren worked at Grinnell College and Wheelock College in residence life and academic advising. He is excited to share his experience as an undergraduate at Brandeis and his travel to some 13 countries; including Australia, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, and France.

Ms. Allyson W. Goose
Assistant Director of Study Abroad

Allyson started her work in the Office of Study Abroad in June 2008, bringing with her extensive experience in international and experiential education. Prior to coming to Brandeis she served as an advisor and resident coordinator at Dynamy, a gap year and college-access program in Worcester, Massachusetts. There she delivered leadership development programs, organized community service projects and counseled students on job skills. In addition, she has taught English in Unoke, Japan and Cuenca, Ecuador. She holds a Master's degree in Teaching from Brown University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Grinnell College. As a student, she studied abroad in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Netherlands.


Ms. Candace B. Matta

Assistant Director, Brandeis-Led Study Programs

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 was recently elected to the NAFSA Region XI Leadership Team as Conference Chair-Elect.

Ms. 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 attended 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.

Ms. Leah Hoffman
Graduate Assistant

Leah is currently a graduate student at Brandeis University, enrolled in the Sustainable International Development MA program. Prior to her time at Brandeis, she worked as the International Education Analyst for ILC Africa, a small development consulting firm based in Ghana, West Africa, where she assisted West African high school and college students in securing collegiate and graduate admissions opportunities to the United States. As part of the undergraduate and graduate admissions program, Leah managed exam preparation courses and collaborated with other West Africa-based international education organizations in the region to develop a deeper understanding of education and admissions best practices in the US. Prior to her experience in West Africa, Leah worked at New York Cares, managing non-profit partnerships and an AmeriCorps technology program in the New York City area. A proud Wisconsinite, Leah graduated with a degree in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2009.