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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Staff & Hours

Page address:


Dr. Nancy O’Brien, Director

Dr. Nancy O’Brien

Phone Number:507-389-6724

Nancy O’Brien has built a career as an intercultural and international education professional. She has lived and worked abroad in Japan, Germany, England, Egypt, Serbia, New Zealand, Australia, and Tanzania; and domestically in Minnesota, Vermont, Arizona, Oregon, and most recently, in Alabama. She has developed and led study abroad programs, and has worked in director and faculty roles in education abroad administration. Nancy earned her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota. Her graduate degree is in International and Intercultural Management (SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont) and her undergraduate degree is in German (St. Cloud State University, Minnesota). She is a co-author for the LGBT Cultural Detective® package and a contributing author in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence. Nancy has taught courses in cultural literacy and intercultural communication at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota and at The University of Alabama-Honors College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is most interested in bridging cultures and her hobbies include travelling, hiking, cross-country skiing, cooking, and writing.



Alissa Morson, Education Abroad Advisor

Alissa Morson

Phone Number:507-389-1340
Schedule an Appointment: Click here

I’m Alissa Morson, the Education Abroad Advisor in the Center for Education Abroad and Away at MSU, Mankato.  I’m excited to bring my passion for all things international to MSU, Mankato and help students have their own life changing experiences.  I believe that study abroad or away is a necessary part of everyone’s collegiate experience in today’s increasingly globalized society, and I’ve dedicated my career in international education to improving access and inclusion in study abroad programming.  To better understand all aspects of international education, I attended SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and received my Masters in International Education.  During my graduate program, I did extensive research on study abroad marketing to better understand how language and imagery may influence a student’s decision to go abroad.  I look forward to speaking to students about the benefits of opportunities abroad and how they can overcome barriers to maximize their experience.   I’ve studied and traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, the Caucasus, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean throughout college, graduate school and my time in the Peace Corps.



Xochitl Valencia, Education Abroad Advisor

Photo of Xochitl

Phone Number:507-389-6669
Schedule an Appointment: Click here

Hello, I am Xochitl Valencia, an Education Abroad Advisor for the Center for Education Abroad & Away, here, at MSU, Mankato! I received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in International Business from Minnesota State Mankato. During my undergraduate studies, I participated in a year-long study abroad program in Spain offered by the World Languages and Cultures department and I had the opportunity to intern at a local community center teaching English. I’ve travelled to France, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and United Kingdom. When I’m not travelling or working, you will find me cooking or simply relaxing at home watching movies. I look forward to guiding and supporting students through the study abroad process.



Dunia, Peer Advisor

Photo of Dunia

Phone Number:507-389-1341

Dunia is a freshman student at Mankato, majoring in International Relations. She is from Ethiopia and Yemen originally, but has lived in the Twin Cities for 8+ years now. This summer, she plans to study abroad with the Mankato Exchange in South Korea, but hopes to travel the entirety of the world someday. Dunia is happy to be working as a Peer advisor for the study abroad office, and is excited to help students make their travel dreams a reality.



Amal, Peer Advisor

Photo of Amal

Phone Number:507-389-1341

Greetings, I’m Amal Mohamed, a Peer Advisor in the Center for Education Abroad and Away at Minnesota State University, Mankato majoring in International Relations and minoring in International Business. A tidbit about myself—I recently moved to Minnesota from Nashville, Tennessee, but I was born in Nairobi, Kenya even though I am originally from Somalia. I enjoy learning about new cultures and aspire to study abroad during my time here at MSU, Mankato! I’m excited to be a part of the CEAA community and offer assistance for those interested in Studying abroad.



Hope, Peer Advisor

Photo of Hope

Phone Number:507-389-1341

Hello, my name is Hope Benike and I am a freshman at MSU Mankato. I am majoring in Pre-Dental with a primary focus in Biology. I have never left the United States, but I have been fortunate enough to explore many states like: Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, California, the Dakotas, and Wyoming. I love to travel and I hope to someday, in the near future, study abroad somewhere in the Pacific. As I am working to fulfill my dreams of traveling, I would love to help you with yours as well!


Office Location:

Morris Hall 3 (lower level)

Hours Of Operations:

Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
(Summer Hours: 7:30am - 4:00pm)