ISSO Staff

Photo of ISSO staff
Jodi Hanelt
Jodi Hanelt
Executive Director

Jodi began leading the ISSO at Brandeis in the fall of 2015. Prior to Brandeis, Jodi worked in the international offices of Tufts University and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, at Harvard’s LASPAU, and has consulted at other Boston-area institutions such as MIT and UMass Medical School. During her career, Jodi has served on the NAFSA Region XI Team as the central/western state representative (2015), as the secretary for NAFSA’s Prevailing Wage Working Group (2012-2015), as a member of NAFSA Trainer Corps, and completed the NAFSA Academy (2008). As a member of NAFSA Trainer Corps, Jodi has served as a trainer for NAFSA Workshops on F-1 and J-1 visas at regional NAFSA conferences.  Jodi often presents at NAFSA conferences, including topics such as Update on Department of Labor Issues (Worcester, MA, 2019), Mental Health Awareness (Portland, ME, 2018), Prevailing Wage Step by Step (Philadelphia, PA, 2018), Immigration Jeopardy! (Mount Washington, NH, 2017), Creating and Maintaining Public Access Files for H-1B Employees (Denver, CO, 2016), and has served as a regional mentor for professionals new to the field of international student and scholar advising. Currently, Jodi serves as a member of the Government Relations Advisory Committee for NAFSA Region XI. Jodi is proud to witness at Brandeis the formation of meaningful relationships among the international students and scholars that create a foundation for the exchange of ideas over a lifetime. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Tufts University, Jodi is originally from Massachusetts, and enjoys tennis, traveling, the beach, and spending time with her family and friends.

Adrea Papadopoulos
Adrea Papadopoulos
Assistant Director
Advisor for Students with Last Names J-L

Adrea Papadopoulos joined the ISSO in April 2019 and has over ten years of experience in the higher education field. Prior to joining Brandeis University, she worked at Boston University in their International Students and Scholars Office. Adrea is originally from Texas where she earned her Master of Science in student affairs administration and higher education from Texas A&M University (TAMU). While pursuing her degree, she was an international student advisor in the International Student Services Office and served as an academic advisor for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at TAMU before relocating to the Boston area. Adrea received training as a Designated School Official/Alternate Responsible Officer by completing several of the training sessions through NAFSA. She was part of the NAFSA Academy Class IX for International Education which provided a wide range of international education training in the areas of education abroad, international admissions, and international student and scholar services. Adrea has attended and presented at numerous national and regional NAFSA conferences including being a trainer for the F-1 Student Advising for Beginners Workshop. Adrea is a member of the NAFSA Trainer Corps team which helps to deliver and maintain the NAFSA Core Education Program (CEP) curriculum. She has always been interested in diverse cultures and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Through her studies, she participated in several study abroad programs in Australia, England, Italy, and China. In her free time, she loves traveling, being outdoors, running, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Jingwen Yan
Jingwen Yan
Associate Director
Advisor for Students with Last Names A-C

Jingwen is originally from Jilin, China. Before she joined Brandeis in December 2016, Jingwen worked as a student success coach in the First Year Experience Office at Salem State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Beijing's Jiaotong University, a Master of Arts in English literature and a Master of Education in higher education in student affairs from Salem State University. As a former international student herself, Jingwen is drawn to the dialogues and conversations with international students and scholars, and she is eager to serve and support the international community on campus. Jingwen has presented multiple times at NAFSA Region XI conferences, with topics including international student orientation, student identity development, and advising for community integration. She has completed training in F-1 and J-1 advising through NAFSA’s workshop. She has also attended the Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication to expand her skills in facilitating cross-cultural communication and community integration. In her free time, she loves to read, do yoga, and spend time with her family and her dog Sophie.

Rachel Benjamin
Rachel Benjamin
Assistant Director of Immigration Technology Systems
Advisor for Students with Last Names M-P

Rachel joined the ISSO in August 2018 as the Department Coordinator, and moved into the role of International Student Advisor in November 2019. Since beginning her work at Brandeis, she has attended several conferences to expand her knowledge of the international education field, including the Massachusetts Council for International Education (MaCIE) Fall Conference, the NAFSA Spring Immigration Workshop, the NAFSA Region XI Conference, and the NAFSA F-1 Advising Basics and Intermediate trainings. She also attended the Brandeis Student Affairs Conference on Social Identities, Privilege, and Oppression to develop skills and frameworks for serving a diverse student population. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Cornell University and completed minors in international relations and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, and she is currently taking graduate level classes in global studies at Brandeis. Before joining the ISSO, she worked as a retention specialist at Commonwealth Care Alliance assisting members with MassHealth eligibility, many of whom were recent immigrants. Rachel is originally from Ipswich, MA and spends her free time singing in a chorus, playing the ukulele, going to the beach, and traveling.

Picture of Rachael Elliott
Rachael Elliott
Assistant Director
Advisor for Students with Last Names X-Z

Rachael joined the Brandeis ISSO in October 2020. Originally from central Massachusetts, she holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Dominican University of California an M.Ed. from Northeastern University. During her undergraduate studies, Rachael spent a semester abroad at Minzu University in Beijing, China, where she was immersed in Mandarin language studies, Chinese ethnic dance, and cultural anthropology coursework. She then went on to live in the Netherlands, Germany, and China for nearly seven years, working as a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and a ballet teacher, as well as periodically teaching English. After returning to the U.S., Rachael worked at Massachusetts International Academy, a post-secondary Intensive English Language Program, first as a Student Advisor, then as the Director of Student Services and DSO. Rachael is an active member of the NAFSA community and is dedicated to cultivating a broad understanding of the challenges that international students face as they navigate their educational journey in the U.S., and to developing creative solutions to improve student outcomes. In her time outside of work, Rachael is an avid hiker, plays ultimate frisbee, and, when possible, loves to spend time abroad.

Photo of Karen Pabon
Karen Zuffante Pabon
International Student Advisor
Advisor for Students with Last Names Q-W

Karen Zuffante Pabon has been involved in the fields of International Education and Immigration for over 35 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from Colby College and a master’s degree in Latin American Development from Georgetown University.   

She has studied abroad and worked in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, and the Philippines. Her professional experience ranges from teaching English as a second language, to intercultural consulting, immigration legal assistance, and international student and scholar advising. She has worked as an Advisor to International Students and Scholars at Georgetown University, MIT, and the University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, Teikyo Post University, Babson College, Wellesley College, and the University of California San Diego. 

Karen has served as a member of the NAFSA Association of International Educators Region XI Team, a NAFSA Trainer Corp member, and the Chair of the Region XI Government Regulatory Advisory Committee (GRAC). She is also served on the leadership team of the International Careers Consortium (ICC.)

She is originally from the Boston area and enjoys traveling, making art, and learning new languages. Throughout her life, Karen has been devoted to increasing intercultural understanding and bridging cultural gaps. 

Picture of Ian Metivier
Ian Metivier
Department Coordinator

Ian joined the ISSO in March 2020. Prior to starting at Brandeis, he worked at Boston City Hall and at Northeastern University with the program. Having participated in a variety of study abroad and international internship programs in Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom, Ian developed a keen interest in working with and supporting international students and their studies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from Northeastern University. Ian is originally from Texas and enjoys tennis, visiting National Parks, board games, and international travel.