Meet the Staff
Mr. J. Scott Van Der Meid
Assistant Dean 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
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 of 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 the NAFSA Region XI Leadership Team.
Ms. Kate Cheng
Ms. Melanie Vandegrift
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.