Presenter Bios

North Carolina International Higher Education Workshop: Telling Our International Student and Scholar Story

Dr. Esther Brimmer

Dr. Esther BrimmerDr. Brimmer is the Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She has been the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She served in the Department of State three times, most recently as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 2009 to 2013. Earlier in her career she was Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. She has been a consultant at McLarty Associates and McKinsey & Company. She has also been an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she is a Life Member. She has published numerous articles and edited eight books on transatlantic relations. Her work has been translated into five languages. Currently she is a member of the Department of Defense National Security Education Board and the Executive Board of the Atlantic Council. She received her doctorate and master's degrees in international relations from Oxford University and her bachelor's degree from Pomona College.


Dr. Debra W. Stewart

Dr. Debra StewartDebra W. Stewart, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at NORC, the University of Chicago. She is also President Emerita at the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). She served as president of CGS from 2000 until July 2014.  Under her leadership the Council launched a series of projects designed to strengthen the capacity of universities to prepare graduate students to meet the challenges of the 21st century and was awarded significant funding in competitive grants and gifts to achieve that objective. She serves on several boards and committees including currently the Educational Testing Service Board of Trustees (currently vice-chair); the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universität Berlin; the International Board of ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia (currently chair); and the US National Academy of Sciences, Policy and Global Affairs Committee. Stewart has written on a wide array of higher education issues and lectures on higher education, research, and global competitiveness at major universities and education organizations around the world.  She is the author or co-author of numerous scholarly publications on administrative theory, public policy, and education policy.  Prior to joining CGS, Stewart was vice chancellor and dean of the graduate school at North Carolina State University. She also served as interim chancellor at UNC-Greensboro (1994) and as graduate dean and then vice provost (1988-1998) at NC State. Stewart has received honorary doctorates from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (2007) and Loyola University Chicago (2013) and the Distinguished Alumna Award from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2008). Stewart received her PhD in political science from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and her BA from Marquette University.


Katie O'Connell

Katie O'ConnellKatie O'Connell is the Director of Advocacy and Media Outreach at NAFSA: Association of International Educators in Washington, DC. She regularly mobilizes NAFSA members, higher education leaders, and other activists to advance NAFSA's policy agenda of creating a more welcoming and globally engaged United States. Katie has been a member of the public policy team at NAFSA since September 2008. She first came to DC to work in the U.S. Senate where she focused on foreign policy. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While at UConn, she studied abroad in Costa Rica and the Czech Republic and did a semester internship at the U.S. State Department. Katie currently serves as the chair of the board of directors of yPIE: Young Professionals in International Education in DC. You can follow her on Twitter at @KatieAtNAFSA.