Get to Know Study Away's Permanent Staff!

Meet Elizabeth Strong, the Director of Study Away Programs

Elizabeth Strong in GermanyElizabeth Strong serves as the Director of Study Away Programs at Missouri State University.  In this capacity, she provides the vision and leadership for the program, collaborates with faculty to develop short term programs, refines education abroad policies and procedures, and serves as the health and safety analyst for the University’s program, while supporting efforts to internationalize the Missouri State community.

She holds a B.A. in Economics from Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC and an MBA from Missouri State University. Prior to her role in the Study Away office, Elizabeth served the University in the Citizenship and Service-Learning office, where student participation grew from under 300 to over 2,000 in 10 years. She was selected as an Engaged Scholar with National Campus Compact based on her work in reflection and critical thinking.

At home, Elizabeth enjoys life with her husband, John, and four teenagers. Elizabeth’s outside interests include running and hiking. She has completed 6 marathons and 10 half marathons. Hiking adventures have included Mount Washington, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Perhaps her most memorable and educational experiences have been her travels outside the United States. These journeys include a senior year study abroad program in Europe, and trips of varying lengths to the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. In 2012, Elizabeth traveled to Amsterdam, and then to Zambia for a safari.



Meet Ashley Ryan, Study Away Advisor

 "As a former Missouri State study away student, I understand the value of a global experience during the formative college years. As Study Away Advisor, it has become my passion to facilitate education abroad programs so Missouri State students can pursue cultural competency and develop their worldviews.”

Ashley Ryan's Bio PictureAshley Ryan became the Study Away Programs Advisor in 2014 after serving the International Programs in various capacities.  Ashley formerly served the Study Away office from 2011-2013 as a graduate assistant and most recently worked in International Services’ as the International Admissions Coordinator.  Ashley graduated from Missouri State in 2011 with her B.S. in Administrative Management, Minor in Accounting and again in 2013 with her MBA.

Ashley's love for travel began at a young age when her family drove a motorhome from Kansas to Washington DC.  Her curiosity for all things international continued to grow as she discovered more of the United States and wondered what was beyond the yellow brick road.  Her adventures abroad began spring 2010 when she studied at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland.   The study away experience impacted her in ways she would’ve never imagined!  Ever since then, Ashley has visited 19 countries, including most of Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean.  Ashley hopes to expand her list to every continent.  

When she’s not working, rest assured you’re likely to find Ashley hunting for great flight deals to spark a new adventure.  Ashley enjoys traveling, learning about other cultures, and sharing this passion with students.

 As the Study Away Advisor, Ashley advises students throughout their entire study abroad experience. She is the main contact for all affiliate and reciprocal exchange partners and serves as the ISEP Coordinator. She enjoys working with students to make their study abroad plans a reality.   Ashley loves traveling, learning about other cultures, and sharing this passion with students. 



Marian Green in Alaska

Meet Marian Green, Administrative Assistant

The Study Away office has been home to Marian for 14 years and she enjoys serving as the office historian.  As the Administrative Assistant she keeps the bills paid, students registered, and the staff supplied with chocolate. 

Marian likes to travel. In the past five years she has traveled internationally to El Salvador and China and her travels in the US include Colorado, Maine and Alaska.  Her big dream vacation is to spend a couple of weeks in Italy. 

As much as she enjoys traveling, Marian loves staying at home with her “fur” babies – a big gray and white cat named Patches and a bouncy puppy named Coco.






Denise Medforth

Meet Denise Medforth, Accounting Specialist

As a native Georgian, Denise brings a touch of Southern charm to the Study Away office.   Her 14 years of accounting experience provides financial assistance to faculty members who are leading short-term study away programs. 

Denise has visited many places over the years which include England, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Scotland, Canada and Hawaii.  She one day hopes to see Japan, Ireland, Australia and Alaska.

Her interests include playing piano, singing, teaching Sunday school, gardening and listening to various types of music.  She’s been married for 32 years, has two grown daughters, and lives with her husband and two Shih Tzu dogs (Oscar and Gracie) in the countryside of Missouri.