Program Managers

  • Jillian Cener- Global Internships Manager
  • Jillian Cener- Global Internships Manager

    Jillian received her B.A. in Italian Studies and K-12 Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey and her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  She studied abroad as an undergraduate in Urbino, Italy for two summers and in Rome, Italy for one summer.  Prior to coming to Penn for her master’s degree, she served as a U.S.A. Student Ambassador at Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy and worked as a high school Italian teacher at several schools in New Jersey.  While getting her master’s degree, Jillian was a Graduate Research Assistant at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, where she worked on a partnership aimed at helping more students from Minority Serving Institutions study abroad.  She is excited to be a part of the Penn Abroad team and to oversee all global internship opportunities for students.

  • Melissa Jen DiFrancesco- Senior Global Programs Manager
  • Melissa Jen DiFrancesco- Senior Global Programs Manager

    Melissa Jen DiFrancesco is the Senior Global Programs Manager, working with students who seek global opportunities in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa region. Prior to Penn Abroad, Melissa worked for the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies and the Center for East Asian Studies, developing academic programs aimed to promote the study of Korea and East Asia at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Melissa studied international relations and Chinese at the University of Southern California, and received her M.S. in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition to volunteering and leading student groups overseas, Melissa previously studied abroad in Taipei, Taiwan and held an internship in Beijing, China. 

  • Kevin Haines- Global Programs Manager
  • Kevin Haines- Global Programs Manager

    Kevin manages the International Internship Program.

    He received his B.S. in education and Spanish from Penn State and his M.A. from Middlebury College. Prior to working at Penn Abroad, he worked at Drexel University where he was an adjunct Spanish professor and was the study abroad coordinator as well.

    As an undergraduate student, Kevin spent a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain. While studying at Middlebury College for his master’s degree, he spent the academic year abroad in Madrid, Spain and then finished that degree in Guadalajara, Mexico.

  • Laurie Jensen- Global Seminars Manager
  • Laurie Jensen- Global Seminars Manager

    Laurie Jensen is the Penn Global Seminars Manager. She works closely with faculty to develop new courses and coordinate the logistical aspects of the study abroad component, and advises students on course selection, registration, and budgeting. Prior to joining Penn Abroad, Laurie worked at Penn’s Perry World House where she helped launch its research agenda and student programming.

    Laurie received her B.A. in Archaeology and Classical Civilization from Boston University and her M.A. in Ancient Greek and Latin from Penn. She studied abroad in Ireland where she spent the summer excavating a 13th century church complex.

  • Greta Kazenski - Senior Global Programs Manager
  • Greta Kazenski - Senior Global Programs Manager

    Greta serves as the Senior Global Programs Manager and is excited to work with students looking to study in the UK or Ireland.

    Greta studied Spanish and psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. She earned her M.S. in Global and International Education from Drexel University.  Prior to working at Penn Abroad, she worked as a senior academic advisor at Drexel University. Greta studied abroad and also lived in Madrid, Spain after graduating from USC.

  • Josh Pontrelli- Global Programs Manager
  • Josh Pontrelli- Global Programs Manager

    Prior to joining the Penn Abroad team, Josh received his B.A. in Journalism and M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at The Pennsylvania State University. He has conducted higher education research in Germany, served as a three-term Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Austria, and has taught or volunteered in Albania, Georgia, and Scandinavia. Prior to working at Penn Abroad, Josh served as the Student Exchange Coordinator in the Oklahoma State University Study Abroad/NSE Office. He has presented at multiple international education conferences and has participated in intercultural communication and risk management workshops. Josh has visited 40 countries, and in addition to travel, enjoys hiking, biking, live music, and trying different cuisines.

Marketing & Outreach and Program Coordinators

  • Mackenzie Weiler- Program Coordinator
  • Mackenzie Weiler- Program Coordinator

    Mackenzie maintains Penn Abroad’s computer systems and manages students’ enrollment information and documents.  She should be contacted for questions about application and transcript statuses.  In addition to helping Penn students behind the scenes, she also coordinates the enrollment of incoming exchange students.

    Prior to joining Penn Abroad, Mackenzie worked in international education at the University of Pittsburgh, and she spent a semester studying abroad in Berlin, Germany.  After earning her B.A.s in Political Science and History, she spent 9 months living and working in Prague.

Directors

  • Nigel Cossar - Director
  • Nigel Cossar - Director

    Nigel oversees the Penn Abroad team at the University of Pennsylvania, providing leadership and support to the education abroad programs at Penn. Nigel comes to Penn from the University of Melbourne, where he directed the university’s study abroad and international exchange initiatives from 2007-2014. Nigel has previously been appointed as a Forum Council member (2012-14), and has held numerous leadership positions in education abroad including the Chair, Group of Eight Universities student mobility initiative and member of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) student mobility leadership group in Australia.

    Nigel earned his bachelor degree from RMIT University and his graduate degree from the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne.

  • Erica Sebastian- Senior Associate Director, Programming
  • Erica Sebastian- Senior Associate Director, Programming

    As the Senior Associate Director of Programming in Penn Abroad, Erica oversees management of the Penn Global Seminars, the Global Internship Program, marketing and outreach initiatives, and other strategic programming. Erica joins Penn from Princeton University, where she served as the Associate Director of Study Abroad. Prior to Princeton, Erica held positions in international education at Drexel University and the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University.

    Erica holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Oregon, and an M.S. in Global and International Education from Drexel University. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Spain and completed a semester long internship in Cuba, and after graduation went on to live and work in Argentina. While her roots are in Philadelphia and her heart is in Latin America, she considers herself a citizen of the world.

  • Kristyn Palmiotto - Associate Director, Advising & Enrollment
  • Kristyn Palmiotto - Associate Director, Advising & Enrollment

    Kristyn serves as the Associate Director of Advising & Enrollment at Penn Abroad. In this role she oversees the advising team for all global programs available to Penn undergraduate students.

    Kristyn received her B.A. in Linguistics and Arabic Studies from Binghamton University and her M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. She studied abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco as an undergraduate student, and also completed a Fulbright exchange to Malta, where she served as an English Teaching Assistant and conducted independent research on language policy in education. Prior to joining Penn Abroad, Kristyn worked at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, where she managed international opportunities for the business school. 

Please only schedule an appointment with one Global Programs Manager at a time.  If you are unable to make it to your appointment, please either cancel through the online scheduler or call 215-898-9073 to cancel.  No-shows and appointments canceled with less than an hour's notice will be noted in the applicant's profile.

How can I prepare my application before I meet with my Global Programs Manager?

  • 0
While you will not have access to your online application until you have met with your Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager, there are still some things you can do to prepare your application. If you have not already done so, watch the Penn Abroad 101.  Do your research. Read about…