Meet the Staff
J. Scott Van Der Meid
Associate Dean of Study Abroad
Office: Usdan 169
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.
Study Abroad Advisor
Office: Usdan 169
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 '08
Assistant Director of Study Abroad
Office: Usdan 169
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.
Assistant Director for Brandeis-Led Study Programs
Office: Usdan 169
Wanda began work in the Office of Study Abroad in June 2016. A Belgian-American who was raised in the Netherlands, she holds a B.A. from Tufts University in Religion and a M.A. from SIT Graduate Institute in Intercultural Services, Leadership, and Management. As an undergraduate she studied in both India and Australia, and in 2000, returned to India to work with Antioch University’s program in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. Most recently she worked with the Alliance for Global Education where she served as the Assistant Director for The City, The River, The Sacred program in Varanasi for two years. She was an integral part in establishing the Varanasi program before going on to develop and lead the Alliance’s Beijing-Delhi program as Resident Director.
Wanda's responsibilities at Brandeis include the management of all Brandeis-Led Study Programs including sites in The Netherlands, India, Italy, and Denmark. She serves as a back-up advisor for regular summer students and is part of the risk management team.
Senior Department Coordinator
Office: Usdan 169
Andy joined the Office of Study Abroad in May 2016. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he earned a B.A. from Rhodes College (Memphis, Tennessee) in International Studies and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations at Lesley University. As an undergraduate, Andy studied Spanish language and Argentine culture for a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and interned for Servicios de Asistencia Médica de Urgencia (SAMU), a Spain-based medical logistics provider for a summer in Seville, Spain. Additionally, he has spent time in various European and Latin American countries.
Andy arrives at Brandeis from Northeastern University, where he has worked for the last year in its Center for International Affairs and World Cultures. Prior to his time in Boston, Andy spent three years in Washington, DC, where he worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. An avid sports fan, Andy enjoys playing basketball and softball and following his Ohio teams.
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.
Graduate Assistant, Global Brandeis
Millie Knopp is a first year graduate student studying Sustainable International Development at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. Millie is originally from Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with her undergraduate degree in Psychology & Sociology. She was fortunate enough to study abroad during college at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Since this adventure, she was bitten by the “travel bug” and has found a passion in international issues especially dealing with women and girls. Her current goal is to graduate from Heller and land a job internationally in the field of development and/or policy work. She also hopes to continue her work learning the Spanish language which she began during an independent student exchange in Costa Rica. She is excited to join the Office of Study Abroad as one of the friendly faces ready to assist you upon your arrival.