About the Office of International Programs

Office of International Programs Staff

Shelly Fisher

Education Abroad Program Director | sfisher@umn.edu

Shelly has over 20 years of experience working in international education at the university level and many more years learning new cultures. Shelly grew up in a career-Navy household and first studied abroad in mainland Japan in middle school while her family was living in Okinawa. Shelly has celebrated one 4th of July in the USSR with Soviet high school comrades; ridden a horse through rice terraces in the Philippines; floated in the Dead Sea; and slept in a castle in Scotland. After studying in Germany, where she learned at the University of Freiburg that "only God gets As," Shelly decided to pursue a career in international education. She has since worked in the education abroad offices of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the University of California - Santa Barbara, in addition to the University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center. She came to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 2004 with plans to spend as few winters as possible in the Midwest and return to California upon completing her PhD in international and intercultural education with Dr. R. Michael Paige. PhD complete, she married an Australian, and now saves vacation time to return to her happy place at Los Baños del Mar, an outdoor 50m pool in Santa Barbara.

Vanessa Walton

Education Abroad Program Director | vwalton@umn.edu

Vanessa has a joint position in Education Abroad, working two days a week at the CFANS Office of International Programs and three days at the Learning Abroad Center.  Vanessa has over 10 years of experience working in international education and a Master's in Heritage Conservation & Preservation from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. She enjoys managing and developing study abroad programs, assisting faculty to create their own study abroad programs, connecting with onsite staff, and working to make learning abroad more accessible to students from underrepresented backgrounds. Vanessa studied abroad 4 times during her undergraduate studies and since then has traveled to 6 continents and 19 countries and counting. 

Vanessa is available for program selection advising or to answer your learning abroad questions during the St. Paul campus drop-in advising hours, every Wednesday from 2 - 4 p.m. during Fall and Spring semester in 190 Coffey Hall (map).