Ashley Ryan, Graduate Assistant
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.
Ashley’s adventures abroad began during her junior year when she studied at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. While in Scotland, she enjoyed meeting the Scottish and getting ‘lost’ discovering Edinburgh. Ashley was fortunate enough to discover 16 countries while she was abroad, which has given her the notorious “travel bug”.
After graduation, Ashley plans to work for an international company and continue to experience the world. When Ashley is not busy working in the office or attending class, you can find her teaching swim lessons. Ashley enjoys speaking with students about their dreams to study away, and will be happy to meet with you to make your adventures come true!
Stephanie French, Graduate Assistant
Stephanie has always had a love for travel thanks to those infamous family vacations across the US, Europe, and Caribbean and the three service trips to Mexico which provoked her desire to explore more of the world.
But it was after spending the summer of 2011 traveling across Europe that Stephanie had officially caught the “travel bug”. Spending six weeks traveling throughout Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Turkey with Forum Nexus Study Away Programs was the most amazing experience educationally, professionally and culturally that anyone could ever imagine. She got to study with students from all over the world including South Africa, Egypt, the U.S., Canada, Grenada, India and more.
Stephanie’s program granted her the opportunity to not only take classes, but also attend professional visits at a variety of well-known organizations and companies including L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton, Damm Brewery, SEAT, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization, to name a few.
Stephanie hopes to travel abroad again before graduating with her MBA next year. After graduation, Stephanie plans to pursue a career in advertising for an international company or agency and continue her international adventures.
Weston Bland, Student Worker
Weston’s dedication to international travel began during his freshman year of college with a change of degree to Global Studies/Middle Eastern Studies and a trip to Kenya for missionary work. From there, he continued to make international travelling a regular part of his summers, returning to Kenya, teaching in Thailand and studying in Morocco.
In the spring of 2011, Weston began a year and a half of study in the Middle East, spending a semester in the United Arab Emirates at the American University of Sharjah, and a year in Egypt at the American University in Cairo. During his time in the Middle East, Weston had the opportunity to witness the events of the “Arab Spring” first hand, travelling to Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, in addition to his countries of study.
After graduating from Missouri State, Weston plans to pursue graduate studies in Middle Eastern Studies, with hopes to return to the region to continue his research on minority and identity politics.