Dr. Sam Eisen (Director of Programs) - Dr. Eisen is the Director of Programs in the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). Before coming to DLNSEO, Dr. Eisen served as the Director of the Advanced Training and Research Group in International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education, where he provided oversight for Title VI and Fulbright Hays programming designed to develop and maintain national capacity in foreign language and international and area studies. Before joining the Department of Education, Dr. Eisen served at the U.S. Department of State (1999-2007) in the Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia. At the State Department, Dr. Eisen coordinated Freedom Support Act which funded academic and professional exchange programs with the former Soviet Union for over 5,000 participants per year and managed specialized institutional development projects. Dr. Eisen also served in the Coordinator’s Office as the Democracy Programs Officer for U.S. Government assistance to Eastern Europe and Eurasia to promote civil society, independent media and rule of law in the region. At the U.S. Information Agency (1998-1999), he managed university partnership programs for Russia and Central Asia. Before joining the federal government, Dr. Eisen taught Russian language, literature, and culture as Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at American University in Washington DC (1995-1998). Dr. Eisen holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Stanford University, and a B.A in Russian from Amherst College.
Ms. Shirley T. Rapues (Senior Program Manager) - Ms. Rapues is the Senior Program Manager for Project Global Officer (GO) and the Language Training Center (LTC) Program. In her current position, she provides program management and oversight for Project GO and LTC programs which are designed to meet the present and future needs for language, regional, and cultural expertise for the Department of Defense (DoD). Prior to her current position, Ms. Rapues served as the Foreign Language Training and Education Officer for the Defense Language Office (DLO) by providing oversight and integration of all learning programs for language, regional and cultural expertise across the training and education continuum throughout DoD.
Ms. Rapues retired from the U.S. Army in January 2011 after 25 years of service. Her last military assignment was as the Associate Director for the DoD Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program at DLO. As the DoD FAO Program Manager, she provided oversight and support to the Service FAO Programs and advised the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on the Joint FAO Program. Ms. Rapues also served in various FAO assignments overseas and in CONUS. Ms. Rapues has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii – Manoa (UH-Manoa) and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Troy State University. She received her commission as a Second Lieutenant through the ROTC Program at UH-Manoa. Ms. Rapues completed basic language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center for Japanese and Portuguese. She also graduated from the advanced Japanese language training at the Foreign Service Institute in Yokohama, Japan.
Lawrence G. Mason (Senior Project Manager) - As Senior Project Manager for DoD programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE) Mr. Mason serves as the team lead for Project Global Officer (GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs in addition to working across the suite of DoD programs at IIE to support programmatic best practices specific to international programing. In his over ten years with the Institute, he has served in multiple team leadership and program management roles spanning scholarly exchange to international development initiatives. From 2014 – 2017, he was Assistant Director for Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programs at IIE where he responsible for program and team management for the core Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, Junior Faculty Development Programs, and the Fulbright Arctic Initiative. Other IIE management roles have supported the MENA Judicial Exchange Project for Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI); the USDA-sponsored Leadership Training Initiative for the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock; the U.S. - Japan Fulbright Teacher Exchange for Education for Sustainable Development; and the USAID sponsored Egypt Development Training II Project. Outside IIE he successfully launched and directed a U.S. Department of State J-1 designated sponsor organization and worked within the Investment Management Division of the World Bank prior to joining IIE. Mr. Mason is a graduate University of California Santa Barbara with BA in Political Science/International Relations and a minor in Global Peace and Security Studies and has studied abroad in Spain and France.
Meredith Schumacher (Program Specialist) - In the role of Program Specialist for the Project Global Officer (GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs at IIE, Ms. Schumacher leads the administration of the Project GO Central Application system and shares best practices for application and selection activities. She also manages the collection, analysis, and reporting of both Project GO and LTC programmatic data. Prior to joining IIE she worked as a Senior Program Officer on the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at IREX. Ms. Schumacher has 20 years of experience working in international education and development programs, and earned her MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.
Brian Cooke (Program Officer) - Brian Cooke previously served as Program Coordinator for Project GO in 2009-2010. Following his initial time at IIE, Brian worked in several DoD program support and non-profit management roles, including most recently as Vice President, Operations and Strategy, at The Manufacturing Institute. From 2013 to 2017, Brian served as Chief of Staff and later as Executive Director of the Armed Forces Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of military service members, veterans, and their families. Prior to that, Brian was a Senior Policy Analyst at The Charles Group, a government affairs consultancy, specializing in national security policy and DoD management issues. From 2005-2008, Brian served on active duty as a US Army Field Artillery officer. He was deployed during this time to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a platoon leader and staff officer in the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Brian is a 2005 graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he majored in International Politics and studied Russian. Brian also holds an MA in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University, earning honors for his thesis, “The United States Army and Counterinsurgency: History, Culture, Application, and Institutionalization.” Originally from Freehold, New Jersey, Brian has lived in Washington, DC since 2009.
Jonathan McGonagle (Program Officer) - Prior to joining IIE, Jonathan worked in a variety of capacities in the DC area resettling refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders at local offices and in program oversight at two national resettlement agencies. His most recent role was as Program Officer at U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants overseeing a refugee family strengthening program. During his undergraduate career, he taught English to students at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea remotely. He received a BA in International Relations and Ethics & Public Policy. He participated in two French immersion exchanges during his secondary education in Lyon, France and studied abroad in Morocco as an undergraduate at the Arabic Language Institute of Fez (ALIF).
Kayla Springer (Program Officer) - Kayla Springer originally joined IIE in 2017 as an outreach & selection coordinator where she assisted with the support of outreach and application components for Project GO, Boren Awards and EHLS. Before rejoining the DoD program team at IIE, Kayla worked as the outreach and digital communications manager on the team managing the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. Prior to IIE, Kayla worked at the George Washington School of Business, within the Global and Experiential Education program, as a program assistant providing key areas of programmatic and student support for international exchange opportunities. Kayla received her MA degree in International Education from George Washington University, where she focused her studies on diversity, mental health, and equity in study abroad. She is also a graduate of Susquehanna University where she received a BS in Psychology. Kayla studied abroad in Italy while an undergraduate student and taught English in Chile for a year following her graduation.