Portia Williams is the Executive Director of International Affairs (OIA) and an Assistant Professor (Coterminous) in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her current work explores internationalization practices within higher education and transnational cooperation. With more than 20 years of experience in education and development, Dr. Williams has directed, advised, or collaborated on policy and program initiatives in East and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, East and Southern Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. Dr. Williams holds a doctorate in International Educational Development and Policy Studies and an Ed.M in International Family and Community Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She also holds an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Dr. Williams is a former Spencer Research Fellow and David L. Boren Fellow. Her research investigates the politics of foreign aid and its impact on educational policy and teacher shortage.
Blessing is the ProgramManager for OIA. Prior to joining OIA, she served as the Program Secretary for TC’s Education Leadership Program, where she tracked expenses for subprograms and supported a range of faculty and student activities. Blessing has a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology and Japanese from Tufts University. She received a post baccalaureate in pre-medical sciences from Columbia University and a master's in clinical psychology from Teachers College. She is an avid reader and filmgoer.
Doctoral Research Fellow
Bing Quek is the Doctoral Research Fellow for the Office of International Affairs, and a doctoral student in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include citizenship education, ethics in education and civic engagement. Before commencing her doctoral studies, she was part of the Singaporean government’s Public Service Leadership Program and served at the Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Communications and Information. She also taught in a secondary school in her hometown of Singapore, and considered those years the most humbling experience of her life. Bing graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Cambridge University, where she was a Trinity Hall Scholar and held the Kareen Thorne prize for academic excellence. In 2012, she earned a master’s degree from Teachers College, where she explored in her thesis the morally controversial nature of International Service-Learning experiences within a cosmopolitan ethical framework.
Abby Byrnes is the Grant Researcher for OIA, where she oversees and maintains databases for Teachers College faculty and students engaged in international work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and legal studies from Bucknell University. Currently, Abby is in her first year at Teachers College where she is pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
Communications & Technology Assistant (CTA)
Shavonna Hinton is the Communications and Technology Assistant for OIA and a first-year student studying Education Policy. Prior to entering Teachers College, Shavonna served as an admissions officer at several institutions where she lead the recruitment of underrepresented populations in STEM. In addition to her work in OIA, she also works for Girls Who Code, the international non-profit dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. It is in these experiences that she found her mission to create access, drive education reform, and serve as an advocate for students across America. A frequent traveler, Shavonna has been to nine countries including Cuba, Amsterdam, and Italy. She hopes to add a tenth country to her list in the near future.
Katerina De Vito
Administrative Fellow and Fulbright Coordinator
Katerina M. De Vito is the Fulbright Program Coordinator for Teachers College. She provides information and guidance to students interested in the program, and manages the application review process. She is also a doctoral student in Health Education, in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.