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Office of Intercultural Relations

Office of Intercultural RelationsAbout Us

Meet the Team

Lesa Clark

Executive Director and Student Engagement & Enrollment Services Diversity Liaison

lclark@odu.edu

As the Executive Director, with her team, the Office of Intercultural Relations creates learning and cultural opportunities that promote an inclusive and equitable university climate that values and respects the diversity and identities of all university members. A strategic visionary, OIR has implemented hundreds of programs, initiatives, and events that promote self-awareness and prepare students for authentic cross-cultural engagement based upon respect. To prepare students for inclusive leadership, Lesa has developed cultural learning labs whereby student participants are challenged and equipped to operate from a cultural intelligence framework and created a training seminar that focuses on cultural humility as the framework for cultural competency. Her positionality on diversity, equality, human dignity, and inclusion has resulted in Cultural Intelligence (CQ), Conflict and Family Mediation, and Diversity Coach certifications and recognition as a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory.

Lesa is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Leadership & Social Change at Antioch University. Her research and passion center around positive organization scholarship, toxic leadership and impact on organization climate and culture, ethical leadership, and embodied followership. She is guided by the following Cherokee proverb, "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."



Rachawan "Aey" Wongtrirat, Ph.D.

Director for International Initiatives

rwongtri@odu.edu

Rachawan began her career in international education as a Program Officer for Education and Advising Services and served as the EducationUSA advisor at the Institute for International Education (IIE), Southeast Asia Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand. As the Director for International Initiatives, Rachawan oversees the comprehensive function of the unit which aims to integrate international, global, and intercultural dimensions that provide impactful global learning and engagement opportunities for members of the campus community. Additionally, Rachawan leads the assessment functions for the office and oversees OIR's engagement activities which include website management, social media, marketing & outreach activities. Rachawan co-authored the International Student Engagement: Strategies for Creating Inclusive, Connected and Purposeful Campus Environments which provides an analysis of the academic and social integration of international students on U.S. campuses and how their presence can be leveraged for an enriched experience for all.

In addition to her role at Old Dominion, Rachawan has served as the Co-Chair for NAFSA: Association of International Educators' Foreign-Born International Educator MIG



Ana Luz Williams

Associate Director for Black and Latinx initiatives

a12willia@odu.edu

Ana Luz William was appointed as the Interim Associate Director for Black and Latinx initiatives for The Office of Intercultural Relations. In her current role, Ana Luz has created and implemented programs and initiatives that promote cultural engagement, heritage celebrations, and diverse student-centered learning opportunities.

Ana has been an educator for 20 years, with 12 of those years teaching in the Hampton Roads community. Her long-standing connection with ODU includes starting the first Latina Sorority on ODU's campus, presenting and planning programs for student organizations on campus, and serving as a speaker for Hispanic Heritage Month. She currently serves as a board member for the Hispanic Leadership Forum of Hampton Roads.

Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the State University of New York at Oswego, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Marian University, Indianapolis, Indiana, and an Ed.S., from Regent University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Advanced Educational Leadership at Regent University.



Jose E. Ramos

Associate Director

jeramos@odu.edu

Jose E. Ramos Jr. has served at the Office of Intercultural Relations as the Associate Director since 2016. He began his career at ODU as an Academic Advisor/Instructor in the Center for Major Exploration (CME) in 2005.

Jose is a first-generation college student, veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, and an ODU alumni class of 2004. He is also a founding member of the Hispanic and Latino Employee Association (HLEA) at ODU and a member of Old Dominion University Advising Network (ODAN). Jose earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (B.A) from the University of Puerto Rico, a Masters of Education in Counseling (Ms., Ed.) from Old Dominion University, and an Education Specialist degree in Higher Education (Ed, S.). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership in Academic Advising at Kansas State University.



Edward Moses (he/him/his)

Graduate Assistant for Diversity Education & Engagement

esamselv@odu.edu

Edward Moses is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in International Studies at ODU. Moses has successfully led the interfaith dialogues series at ODU for the past 3 years and helped facilitate the Diversity Institute sessions. He strives to help the students learn about cultural identity and inclusivity on campus. He is a strong motivator and encourager who constantly challenges students to be excellent in what they do. It is his desire to help raise many young leaders and to help them to know that they have an important role to play in order to create a better world.

As a professional filmmaker, his mission is to conceptualize story ideas and develop them into eye-catching, unforgettable experiences using his God-given grace and talents. He has directed and produced more than 30 marketing promotional videos for the office of Intercultural relations. He is a social activist and has a heart for social justice.



Ali Adib (he/him/his)

Graduate Assistant for Intercultural Initiatives

aadib@odu.edu

Ali is a Fulbright student who is currently pursuing his M.S.Ed. in Higher Educational Leadership with a concentration in student affairs. He likes to socialize and learn about other cultures. He has been teaching English for ten years and has been the director for Gawharshad Professional Development Institute in his home country. He loves teaching and working with students. He likes road trips, driving, camping, and playing foosball.

As a graduate assistant for intercultural initiatives, Ali supports the OIR's goals to create an inclusive community for Asian Amirian & Pacific Islander students, Native Americans, and Interfaith Community and to assist with the implementation of cultural and educational programs that enhance the global learning and engagement opportunities and awareness within the Monarch Community.



Caleshia Waye

Graduate Assistant for Black & Latinx Initiatives

Caleshia Waye is currently pursuing her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Administration. She earned her Bachelor of Arts as a Monarch ('20) and Associate of Science Specialized in Education from Thomas Nelson Community College ('17). She has studied the history and geography of many different cultures, giving her a respect for diversity among all people. Her passion for education has led to teaching primary education and currently working with students in higher education. With her strong leadership skills, through her role at OIR, she hopes to create a more inclusive and equitable environment for the black and brown student community. As a self-proclaimed geographer, she enjoys recycling and traveling, as well as creating arts and crafts with her family.



August Kearney

Intercultural Engagement Assistant

bkearney@odu.edu

August Kearney is a Sophomore at Old Dominion University and is majoring in Psychology. He is from Connecticut and decided to move down to Virginia for college. While also being a full-time student he is the vice president for ODU's Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) along with a member of Asterisks, which is the Transgender student advisory board for ODU. His hobbies include playing guitar, yoga, hiking, and reading.

By working at OIR he hopes to learn more about the cultures that make up the world, along with having honest conversations with people very different from himself. He strives to make OIR and the ODU community a safe space for all by creating environments for everyone to have fun and learn.



Nicolas Paul

Intercultural Engagement Assistant

Nicolas Paul is a first-year student at Old Dominion University and is majoring in Computer Engineering. He is originally from Germany. Through his mother's work in the German military, Nicolas was able to fulfill his dream to study in the U.S. and earned his high school diploma from Virginia Beach before he joined ODU.

As an international student, Nicolas can relate to students who have challenges when they first arrive in a foreign country. He appreciates the support and experience he has gained in the U.S. and at ODU and is eager to share his experience and assist others.

Through his role as the Intercultural Engagement Assistant, Nicolas utilizes his skills and friendly manner to welcome, assist, and engage with the Monarch community. During his free time, Nicolas enjoys playing table tennis, badminton, soccer, and he likes to go to the gym. His dream is to become a successful programmer!



Hind Al Saffar

Graphic Designer

Hind Al Saffar is a junior undergraduate student studying graphic design at ODU. She was born in Iraq, then moved to the United States at the age of seven. She loves spending time with family and friends who encourage her to do many great things and conquer challenges. She is an organized and well-balanced individual who considerably shares that experience with others. Her hobbies include art, cooking, singing, and playing the piano whenever she has the chance. In the future, she hopes to have found OIR helpful in terms of her getting the dream job of a product designer at a high-end technological company. She is grateful to have been given this position so early in her career and hopse to gain as much experience as possible to achieve her goals.

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