Get to Know Study Away's Student Staff!

April Stratman, Graduate Assistant

April Stratman photoHaving a father as a pilot made it almost impossible for April not to love travel! Her first trip out of the country to visit family in Italy was really when the fire was ignited, and since then she’s had an insatiable thirst for more. Beginning to learn Italian from her grandparents, and then Spanish in school, also revealed another passion for languages that she wants to make a central part of her future career.

From studying abroad her junior year in Alicante, Spain, she has gained a broadening of horizons and perspective that only comes from being exposed to other cultures and ways of thinking. She can’t rave enough about the incredible host family she lived with and knows she’ll always have a second family in Spain. During the semester she was able to travel throughout Spain, France, Italy, and Greece as well. After leaving Spain she spent the summer teaching English in Italy and had the opportunity to meet other teachers from all over the world. She made her first visit to Asia, summer 2013, to Thailand and Japan and hopes to go back someday soon.

Besides one day hopefully working for the government in foreign affairs or as a linguist, April wants to become a pilot herself and continue the family tradition. 


Blair LacyBlair Lacy, Graduate Assistant

After taking several French classes in high school and embarking on her first overseas trip to Europe, Blair Lacy was certain she was destined to study international languages and cultures.  At Missouri State, she continued that pursuit by majoring in French and Global Studies and interning at Global Ties KC. 

Blair studied away in Nice, France fall and spring semesters of her junior year and was able to experience the French culture and solidify her French language skills.  She had the opportunity to take geography, translation, and culture classes with other local and international students at the University of Nice.  Plus, she committed to taking a foreign language class within a foreign language by taking Arabic classes in French, a challenging but unforgettable adventure!  While studying in France, she jumped on the chance to travel Europe and was able to travel to Switzerland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, and spent Christmas with a friend and her family in Germany as well. 

Blair plans to further her pursuit in the international sphere by teaching English in Japan next year.  She is excited to have an international career and attributes a major part of that enthusiasm to her time studying away!


Ashley Riley BioAshley Riley, Graduate Assistant

Ashley’s first time abroad was a Short Term Faculty Led program to Ghana during the summer after her freshman year at Missouri State. Before even leaving Ghana, she was already planning her next time abroad.

Ashley headed straight to Cairo, Egypt  where she spent a semester studying Arabic, Middle Eastern culture and history, and sustainability at the American University in Cairo. Ashley took full advantage of her semester in Cairo by assisting in AUC’s carbon footprint study, volunteering at the Desert Development Center, and teaching English to a group of adults at a local language school.

During Ashley's breaks she spent time traveling various continents, where she decided to study in West Africa for a semester at the University of Ghana. While in Ghana, she volunteered at the Education USA center at the US Embassy, where she assisted local students who were applying to study in the US.  Ashley is a seasoned traveler and has visited various places including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Caribbean.

One of the most valuable things Ashley gained during her study away experiences was the ability to see the world through a new perspective. Some of Ashley’s favorite memories include chatting with shop owners in markets around the world, camping in deserts in Morocco and Egypt, stumbling upon a market in Southern Ethiopia where several tribes had met to exchange goods, being mesmerized by the Guernica, and witnessing the Egyptian revolution first hand.

Ashley is now perusing a Masters in Applied Anthropology with a focus in HIV/AIDS education and prevention. She cannot wait to see where serendipity takes her next!