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.

Dr. Kevin Gormley (Senior Program Officer) - Dr. Gormley manages grants to the six Senior Military Colleges through Project Global Officer for the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO).  He is also the Director of the English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) Program, which enables naturalized U.S. citizens with native critical language skills develop professional English skills in preparation for federal government service. In his Senior Program Officer role for DLNSEO he also provides policy guidance for all National Security Education Program (NSEP) foreign language initiatives, which help U.S. military and civilian personnel develop high-level proficiency in less commonly taught languages. His other responsibilities include financial policy, information technology policy, and government service policy for DLNSEO. Dr. Gormley served as an adjunct professor and researcher at Eastern University’s School of International Leadership and Development, the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and numerous other educational institutions domestic and abroad. Dr. Gormley developed proficiency in Brazilian Portuguese while serving as a visiting researcher at the Centro Dom Helder Câmara de Estudos e Ação Social in Recife, Brazil. Dr. Gormley has a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota.


Lawrence G. Mason (Director) - As Director for DoD programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE), Mr. Mason leads the team responsible for the administration of 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 programming.  In his over 15 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 the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programs at IIE where he was responsible for program and team management for the core Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, Junior Faculty Development Programs, and the Fulbright Arctic Initiative.   His 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 Mr. Mason successfully developed, launched, and directed a U.S. Department of State J-1 designated sponsor organization and worked in the Investment Management Division at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC prior to joining IIE.  Mr. Mason studied abroad in Spain and France.  He is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara where he received his BA in Political Science/International Relations and a minor in Global Peace and Security Studies.

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 (Senior 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. 

Ariana Panbechi-Cole (Program Officer) – Ariana Panbechi-Cole serves as a Program Officer for Project Global Officer (Project GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs and is committed to supporting impactful language and cultural exchange experiences. Ariana has more than seven years of experience in developing and managing educational and cultural programs for international audiences at various institutions of higher education, including The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, where she supported academic and curricular operations for 3,300+ students as a Program Supervisor for Academic Programs. Ariana holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in the History of Art, with a focus on art and culture of the Islamic world, from The George Washington University. With a passion for international education and foreign languages, Ariana speaks English, Persian, and some Italian.

Janessa Schilmoeller (Program Officer) - As a Program Officer, Janessa Schilmoeller is dedicated to supporting the development of global leaders through meaningful language and cultural exchange. Over the past decade, Janessa has managed nonprofit and academic programs serving students from over 30 countries as an educator and program director. She has worked with both the administration and implementation of educational programs, including as the Director of Programs at the Louis August Jonas Foundation, where she managed full-scholarship residential leadership programs for international students in upstate New York. Janessa holds a BA in International Relations from St. Catherine University and a MS in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in International Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.