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 BS in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Japanese from Tufts University. She also has a Post Baccalaureate in Pre-medical Sciences from Columbia University and an MA 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.
Rachel is a student in the International Education Development Masters program at Teachers College and a research assistant for OIA. After graduating with a BA in Political Science and French at Virginia Tech, she taught French for three years in New Orleans, Louisiana. Afterward, she taught at the teacher training university in Rabat, Morocco through Fulbright where she also began studying Arabic. Prior to coming to TC, she also spent time in Granada, Spain studying Spanish and Arabic. She has recently started a non-profit, WGEI, that does social-justice oriented study abroad programming in Morocco for high school girls from Atlanta, Louisville, and New Orleans and is interested in global citizenship education, as well as language policy, particularly in promoting non-dominant languages.
Sarah is the OIA Grant Researcher. She has a bachelor's degree in anthropology and linguistics and is a master's student in arts administration at Teachers College. Having studied abroad in Santiago, Chile and worked in Pondicherry, India as a Fulbright-Nehru English Teaching Assistant, Sarah is passionate about international and intercultural experiences. Her professional focus is on museums and their capacity to serve as alternative educational spaces for cross-cultural exchange within communities. Recently, Sarah worked as lead content editor on an exhibition about historic and modern connections between the former French colonies of Pondicherry and Vietnam, and also as a researcher to develop a model for a professional course on museum practice in India.
Communications & Technology Assistant
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.