Meet the Staff
Virginia Hosono, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Study Abroad and International Travel
- Describe your role in the office --- As director, for the Study Abroad and International Travel section of the International Center, I function as the director, coordinator and overseer of all aspects of the Study Abroad programs, including international exchange programs. I look to enhance and evaluate current and potential programs and facilitate in the development of new offerings. Additionally, I manage, coordinate and oversee all aspects of undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, and group international travel. I am responsible for overseeing student recruitment through the marketing of study abroad and exchange programs. I serve as the campus-wide liaison to ensure consistent procedural application across Units in regards to study abroad and international travel. Finally, I direct and manage the operations and strategic growth of the Office of Study Abroad and International Travel.
- Education --- PhD, Comparative Humanities: Lacanian Gaze, Semiotics, and the Enigmatic Bosch, UofL
- Hometown --- Chi-town!
- Countries traveled to --- Japan, Mexico, Canada, Greece
- One country you want to visit --- Iceland and Slovak Republic
- How do you prepare for international travel? --- When preparing to go to a new location I spend time researching local activities. I like Lonely Planet as a source for information. I also check out the State Department’s travel site to get information on passport validity, vaccinations, safety & security, and local laws & special circumstances. I look at local fashion, if women are wearing dresses, I probably won’t be wearing shorts! I will ask friends and colleagues if they have been to where I am going and ask for recommendations on what to eat, where to stay, and what to see.
- What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working? --- I enjoy participating in local events and trying new food venues.
- What would you want to be famous for? --- Helping others reach their goals.
Melissa Lee, B.A.
Study Abroad Advisor
Describe your role in the office --- I advise students on the study abroad process, process registrations, process transcripts and process insurance for all international travelers. I also order supplies, process payments, and other fun budgeting stuff.
Education --- BA in Psychology & BA in Communication, UofL
Hometown --- I am a Military Brat. I was born in Abington, PA, but I consider Louisville my hometown.
Countries Melissa has traveled to --- Cuba, Canada, Costa Rica, Spain, Australia
One country Melisa wants to visit --- Italy
How do you prepare for international travel? --- The first thing that I do when preparing for international travel is to make sure that I have physical and electronic copies of all of my travel documents such as my passport, flight itinerary, lodging information, immunization records and driver’s license. I email a copy of all of my documents to myself and to my family members. I pack a week prior to my trip, so that I can ensure that I’m not forgetting anything.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren't working? --- I enjoy crafting and spending time with my family.
What would you want to be famous for? --- I would want to be famous for making a positive impact on the world in some capacity.
Kimber Guinn, M.A.
Study Abroad Advisor
- Describe your role in the office --- I plan on-campus events, develop marketing and social media campaigns, and advise students on study abroad opportunities and procedures.
Education --- M.A. in Higher Education Administration, UofL & B.A. in International Studies, University of Kentucky
Hometown --- Somerset, KY
- Countries Kimber has traveled to ---Canada, Ecuador, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Italy, The Vatican, Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, New Zealand, Fiji, Iceland, Costa Rica, Colombia, The Netherlands, Romania, Moldova, Israel, Jordan, Belgium, Lithuania, Cyprus, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria
- One country Kimber wants to visit --- Thailand
- How do you prepare for international travel? --- So. Much. Research. I make a dedicated Pinterest board to save clothing ideas based on weather and what locals wear. Then, I combine all my research into an offline accessible Google Document to include my: flight itinerary, lodging, in-country transportation options, list of attractions I want to see detailing their cost (if any), opening times, address, and other relevant information.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren't working? --- I often play fetch with myself because my 12 year old Golden Retriever is lazy. I love to volunteer at local festivals, write Yelp reviews, and read.
What would you want to be famous for? --- Inventing a shrink ray so I can take my dog with me when I travel.
Rebecca Dixon, M.A.
Describe your role in the office --- I facilitate the approval process for faculty/staff/non-study abroad student international travel and for faculty-led group trips.
Education --- M.A. in French, UofL & B.A. in English and in Foreign Languages & International Studies, Bellarmine University
Hometown --- Louisville, KY
Countries Rebecca has traveled to --- Canada, France, Ireland, England, Austria, Italy, Martinique, Ecuador
One country Rebecca wants to visit --- New Zealand
How do you prepare for international travel? --- I make lots of lists! (Then try to do all the things on the lists.)
What do you enjoy doing when you aren't working? --- I enjoy reading, writing, and hiking.
What would you want to be famous for? --- I’d rather never be famous! I’m way too introverted. At the same time, I wouldn’t say no to being a successful author.
Brianna Berry, B.A.
- Describe your role in the office --- I greet people when they come into the office and make sure things are running smoothly. I also help with the social media and partake in tabling and other on-campus events to promote studying abroad! Lastly, I am a go-to person for the peer ambassadors and help them to be successful in their roles, while also doing walk-in appointments when necessary!
- Education --- B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Music, UofL
- Hometown --- Florence, KY
- Countries traveled to --- Canada, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Ireland, Wales, England, Italy, The Vatican, Switzerland, Germany, Peru, Argentina, Austria, Portugal, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sant Maarten, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Czech Republic
- One country you want to visit --- Norway
- How do you prepare for international travel? --- I read travel blogs to see what tips and tricks I can learn beforehand to help me while I'm abroad, and also to see what the must see and do things are!
- What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working? --- I love working out and running, as well as petting every dog in sight.
- What would you want to be famous for? --- The ability to make any and every situation more awkward than it needs to be.
Prague, Czech Republic
Kianna Johnson, B.S.
- Describe your role in the office --- My main role is to enter data about all international travel through the university. I also do special projects, mostly in Excel, analyzing trends in international travel from UofL. I am also an assistant to all the advisers in the office and complete any “odds and ends” jobs they may need finished to keep the office running efficiently. I occasionally work the front desk and greet visitors when they come in, as well as set up appointments and answer the phone.
- Education --- B.S. in Chemical Engineering, M.Eng. in progress; UofL
- Hometown --- Irvington, KY
- Countries traveled to --- Canada
- One country you want to visit --- Finland
- How do you prepare for international travel? --- I make a packing list and triple check that I have everything, make sure my cell phone data is turned off so I don’t incur any charges, and call my bank to see what their policy is on using debit/credit cards internationally and so they don’t flag my account for suspicious activity by spending money in a different country. I also like to check Yelp for recommendations from locals on where to eat because I love hole-in-the wall restaurants!
- What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working? --- I love playing with my kitty, exercising/kickboxing, and spotting cats/dogs wherever I go and pointing them out to whomever I’m with.
- What would you want to be famous for? --- Owning a huge farm where I rescue any and all animals and give them the love and attention they deserve.
- Major & Expected Graduation Date -- Theatre Arts and Political Science, May 2022
- Hometown -- Louisville, KY
- When / Where did you study abroad? -- Fall 2019 in Nagoya, Japan
- Most interesting / unique experience while studying abroad. -- Traveling on my own for the first time for an overnight trip to a small small city I’d wanted to go to for a while, and having an awesome time managing all by myself in a place without much English! That, or, going to an onsen bath and bathing without any clothing with people I didn’t know.
- One item you can’t fly without. -- Giant power block so I can use my phone the whole time!
- Give a piece of advice for students considering study abroad. -- Don’t be discouraged by the setbacks you experience, and try every possible avenue to make it happen. You never know what you might fall into! It’s worth the time it takes to figure it out, and the work you put in to make it happen.
- Major & Expected Graduation Date -- Exercise Science, May 2022
- Hometown -- Bardstown, KY
- When / Where did you study abroad? -- Fall 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia
- Most interesting / unique experience while studying abroad. -- Getting to visit the monkey forest in Bali, Indonesia. There were hundreds of monkeys running around everywhere and they would even climb on you and try to get in your bags for food!
- One item you can’t fly without. -- Earphones!
- Give a piece of advice for students considering study abroad. -- Never be scared to say hello. Never be scared to get to know someone because by doing this you can make a life long friend that you may never have had.