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14 posts categorized "CIEE News"

Introducing the 2017 Alumni Summer Interns

Every summer, CIEE selects ten outstanding CIEE Study Abroad alumni to participate in a nine-week internship working on challenging strategic projects that reflect CIEE's mission. This year, we welcome interns not only to CIEE's global headquarters in Portland, Maine, but also at the new Boston, Massachusetts office. Learn more about this year's group of interns:


Emily MacLaren:
Emily MacLaren is a rising senior from New Orleans. She is studying public health and international development at Tulane University. At Tulane, she is an intern in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, gives tours, and is a member of a sorority. In the fall of 2016, she studied abroad in Amsterdam on CIEE’s Social Sciences program.

Evan Seder:
Evan Seder is a native New Englander from Norwich, Connecticut and is entering his senior year of international studies and Spanish at Elon University in North Carolina. Having just returned from a semester at CIEE’s Study Center in Seville, Spain, he is excited to join the CIEE team in Portland. He also is excited to explore the great life Portland has to offer in the summertime, and learn more about CIEE’s day-to-day operations.

Ciranno Soares:
Ciranno Soares is an international student from Brazil and studies graphic design at the University of Minnesota. He loves to play and listen to music, to travel as much as possible, and to bike. Ciranno has worked for a variety of companies ranging from Disney World to Guns N' Roses, consequently living in a lot of different places. He recently came back from a study abroad term in Barcelona with CIEE and is looking forward to experiencing life in Portland this summer.

Arianna Alleyne:
Arianna Alleyne, currently studying computer programming and software engineering, is a rising senior attending Johnson & Wales University. Originally from New York City, Arianna is passionate about incorporating her big city dreams with bridging the gap between women and the technology world, while using those interests and skills to connect popular culture trends to technology. In her free time, she enjoys keeping up with these popular culture trends by reading articles, shopping, blog writing, and exploring the world. Having studied abroad in Berlin with CIEE, as well as in London, international experiences have been deeply intertwined in Alleyne’s educational career and she hopes to continue on this journey by landing a position in a global corporation.

Liz Stoppelmann:
Liz Stoppelmann is pursuing degrees in public relations and political science at the University of Oregon. Last spring, she studied in Seville, Spain through CIEE. Prior to her semester abroad, Liz led an on-campus club that creates entrepreneurial ventures where the profits fund international and domestic projects focusing on sustainable development.

Jamie Katz:
Jamie Katz is a management/marketing double major at Tulane University in New Orleans. She studied abroad with CIEE in Budapest, where she was set up as an intern for a Hungarian start-up struggling to penetrate the U.S. market. The ability to work abroad was the most meaningful part of her experience in Budapest, and she is excited to bring what she has learned to CIEE's global headquarters in Portland. Jamie loves to cook in her spare time, and she is a big football fan.

Carmin Wong:
Carmin Wong is a senior English major and playwriting minor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She studied in London, Paris, and Rome through the CIEE Global Scholar’s program in Fall 2016. Born in Georgetown, Guyana, she is an advocate for educational rights for minorities and women. She has spent her time on campus working with Girls Inc., a non-profit dedicated to mentoring and tutoring middle school girls while encouraging them to be strong, smart, and bold women. As a CIEE alumna, she wants to share her experiences abroad to help encourage diversity in global education.

Ellen Lechman:
Ellen Lechman is a senior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale majoring in communication studies and minoring in management. Ellen recently completed a semester studying in Prague through CIEE. She fell in love with Prague’s beauty, history, and culture, and she is excited about the opportunity to help other students have their own magical study abroad experiences. At school, she is involved with the Student Programming Council, the University Honors Program, and works as a campus tour guide. In her free time, Ellen enjoys hiking, reading, and Netflix.

Lea Sandoval:
Lea Sandoval is a rising senior at Texas Christian University. Born in San Salvador, El Salvador, her family relocated to Long Island, New York and eventually made their way to Arlington, Texas where they now reside. She is currently majoring in middle school math education and minoring in social work. Determined to experience a different culture, she decided to spend 4 months in Seoul, South Korea during spring 2016. Lea is looking forward to working at CIEE's headquarters because, after studying abroad in Seoul, she garnered a newfound passion for international education and would like to obtain a master's degree in this unique field.

Naeli Elizalde:
Naeli Elizalde is a Mexican-American first generation college student. She is from Dallas, TX and is studying business administration at Babson College. During the spring semester of her junior year, she studied abroad in Seville, Spain where she discovered her love for traveling. She also has a passion for dancing and food, admires nature, and loves to spend time at the beach.

CIEE Celebrates 70 Years

On May 8, 2017, CIEE marked 70 years of living out its mission and providing educational and cultural exchange opportunities to people around the world. CIEE was founded on May 8, 1947 under the name Council on Student Travel with a defining purpose: to provide exchange opportunities that would create conversation and unity between people of all nations. What began seven decades ago as a commitment to international exchange has now become an enduring legacy – one built upon strong partnerships with forward-thinking organizations, institutions, and individuals. 

We're proud to say that in the past 70 years:

  • More than 600,000 Americans have experienced another culture through CIEE study, teach, and internship programs in more than 50 countries outside the U.S.
  • More than 950,000 people from 135 countries have experienced the U.S. – many for the first time – through our inbound study, work, internship, and trainee programs.
  • And more than 48,000 U.S. families and employers have shepherded students and been enriched through the hosting of CIEE-sponsored international exchange participants.

In celebration of these accomplishments and in the spirit of continued dedication to international exchange, staff, members of the Board of Directors, family, friends, and other special guests gathered at CIEE's global headquarters in Portland Maine on June 8, 2017 for an evening of reflection, conversation, and fun. There was even a cake shaped like the ships CIEE's first participants traveled on!

Thank you to all of the alumni who have been a part of CIEE's history. We hope you continue to engage in cultural exchanges and stay passionate about international education.

Please enjoy these video and photo highlights from the event:

CIEE - Celebrating 70 Years






Announcing the Winners of CIEE's 70th Anniversary Alumni Storytelling Contest


From May 8 to June 8, CIEE alumni from all over the world submitted hundreds of photos, videos, and essays to the Alumni Storytelling Contest. It was an honor to hear so many inspiring stories that represent a wide variety of CIEE experiences - stories of independence, discovery, human connection, identity, transformation, personal struggles, and empathy that show just how impactful an exchange experience can be. Our team of CIEE staff judges carefully reviewed the entries and chose our top winners. Each winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card for future travels and exploration. Congratulations to the following winners:

Charles Lee (CIEE Study Abroad, Brussels, Belgium, 2013)
Erin Ruff (CIEE Study Abroad, Legon, Ghana, 2009)

Francesca Perticarini (CIEE High School Exchange USA, 2014-2015)

Atenea Rios Buezo (CIEE Work & Travel USA, Montana, 2015)

We would also like to recognize some additional outstanding entries with an honorable mention. View the entries here.

Brooke Burrows, Essay (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, Germany, 2009-2010)
Katia Stie, Essay (CIEE Study Abroad, Dublin, Ireland, 2015)
Akintunde Ahmad, Essay (CIEE Study Abroad, Legon, Ghana, 2016)
Michelle Dondero, Photo (CIEE Study Abroad, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013)
Wei Kai Lim, Photo (CIEE Work & Travel USA, New York, 2014)
Mitra Ghaffari, Photo (CIEE Study Abroad, Brazil/Cuba, 2014/2016)
Mahamed Barzanji, Video (CIEE Study Abroad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2016)
Nadja Junghardt, Video (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, USA, 2015-2016)
Jack Brennan, Video (CIEE High School Abroad, Seville, Spain, 2016-2017)

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to all the CIEE alumni who participated. If you missed this contest, don't worry! There will be more opportunities to share your story in the future. To get started now and learn more about how to get your CIEE story on the CIEE Alumni blog, email

CIEE Study Abroad Alum Will Speak at 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad

We are pleased to announce that CIEE Study Abroad alum Hannah Smalley has been chosen to be a Generation Study Abroad Voice at the 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad taking place this weekend in Washington, D.C. Hannah studied abroad in Legon, Ghana through CIEE in 2011 and graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a double major in international development and sociology and a minor in psychology. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works as the Coordinator for Women, Girls, and Population for the United Nations Foundation.

The Summit brings education leaders, government and business leaders, and journalists together to discuss how to make study abroad opportunities available for all, over the course of more than 30 sessions, 12 summit talks, 4 think tanks, and 5 learning labs. This interactive conference is designed to help attendees explore ideas for expanding study abroad participation, exchange best practices with a diverse group, and experiment with new actions to work towards the goal of doubling study abroad participation by 2020.

Hannah will be a panelist on the session “Mavericks with a Cause: Generation Z and Millennial Incentives for Study Abroad,” talking about her first-hand experience studying abroad and the academic and professional experiences these generations find valuable. As someone whose study abroad semester made a profound impact on her career trajectory, Hannah is excited to speak about the value of these types of experiences for future generations. And, she will be taking over our social media channels to tell us all about it!

First, though, we interviewed Hannah to learn more about her study experience:

If you could describe your study abroad experience in one word, what would it be?


What made you interested in studying in Ghana?

It was really more the program that initially sparked my interest in Ghana rather than the country itself. The CIEE program had a development track that you could apply to, which provided an internship and international development classes; since I was an international development major, that was right up my alley. It really was the opportunity that I had been longing for, a program that I knew would guarantee the hands-on learning experience that I felt was the point of study abroad.

What did studying abroad offer for your education that was different compared to another semester at university?

My study abroad experience truly offered me more than I had ever anticipated; both in and out of the classroom, and the experience ultimately helped lead me to my career, which is working in the field of girls and women’s rights.

My most poignant and impactful moment studying abroad was while I was working on my internship, which was co-founding an eco-tourism non-profit. My two partners were one Ghanaian man and one American man. Initially, at least two of us would go to meetings together, which was fine. Then the American man had to go back to the U.S., and I started working more independently, as my other co-founder didn’t live full-time in Accra. One day I had a meeting with a man who worked at a television station, who we had met with before, to go over an upcoming project. I sat at his office for two hours before he finally came out to talk to me. However, as soon as he stepped out he asked where my partners were. I said I was on my own and he let me know that he would not be working with an American woman. He told me to come back with my co-workers then turned on his heel and left.

Needless to say, though I had seen gender inequity in the US, I had never experienced anything close to that before. The point of study abroad, at least for me, was to experience a culture completely different from my own, and in that I was very successful. That moment has stayed with me and will continue to drive me to work in the international gender space. I have always had the passion to work in this field, but my experiences abroad gave me a very real push to make it my career.

  • Follow Hannah’s Summit experience on social media – she’s taking over the CIEE Alumni Twitter & Instagram until Oct. 26!

CIEE's Interns in Boston & Beyond: A Summer in Review


0804 Boston Lunch
Several CIEE interns enjoy lunch with Boston-based CIEE staff.

CIEE is all over the world, but did you know that we’re in Boston too? As you’ve seen on the blog and social media, we had a great group of interns working for CIEE in our Boston office this summer in addition to our alumni intern group in Portland. They spent the summer exploring digital assets and brand management at CIEE study centers around the globe, working with an international taskforce of CIEE staff to have meaningful conversations about digital strategy. Part of the international team was another intern, Cameron Masters, based at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin in Germany. The dynamic group of interns, both alumni and newcomers to CIEE, worked across time zones to complete the extensive project, resulting in a final presentation at CIEE’s headquarters in Portland, Maine.

Here are some fun facts about our digital strategy and brand management interns from this past summer:

Boston intern feature

What was it like to intern at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin? Cameron gives us the inside scoop:

“I am very fortunate to have worked as an intern on CIEE's digital marketing taskforce, while staying on site at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin in Kreuzberg. Revisiting Berlin, where I spent a year abroad in high school, was absorbing, and working with both the team of interns in Boston and the staff and faculty at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin was very rewarding and productive. By the end of the two months in Berlin, our team produced a series of social media guidelines for CIEE that are now beginning to be implemented on the ground. I am incredibly appreciative of my Boston teammates' hard work, and by the professionalism and support of the faculty and staff at both CIEE Global Institute – Berlin and Portland.”

What was a summer in Boston with CIEE like? (Hint: there was a lot of Skype!) Kerry put together this video of snapshots from the interns’ summer together, working hard in the Boston office, exploring the city, and visiting global headquarters in Portland, Maine:

Congratulations to our Alumni Summer Interns

Meet the 2016 Alumni Summer Interns

Learning About Food Security with Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda

The fifth annual Justice for Women Lecture Series took place this week at multiple sites in Maine. For the past four years, CIEE has welcomed the Justice for Women Lecture Series to our headquarters and broadcasted the lecture to alumni and overseas staff. Although we weren’t able to host this year, our Alumni Engagement Coordinator attended a lecture at Deering High School in Portland, Maine to listen and share with you on the blog.  Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda

This year’s speaker for the Justice for Women Lecture Series was Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, a global leader in the sustainable farming movement with a passion for ending food insecurity and hunger in Africa. Dr. Sibanda, originally from Zimbabwe, is the CEO and Head of Mission for the Africa-wide Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) with a portfolio in policy research, advocacy programs on food policies, rural livelihoods, climate change, and agricultural productivity and markets. Her main focus is to achieve food security by coordinating policy research and advocacy programs across multiple countries. Dr. Sibanda encourages us to think, “What can agriculture do for nutrition?”

The auditorium was filled with Deering High students and guests eager to learn about food security, agriculture, and nutrition. Two students joined Dr. Sibanda on stage to ask a series of questions that helped the audience learn more about her and the significance of her work. After hearing about the poverty in Africa and thinking critically about poverty here in Maine, students wanted to know, “how do we get rid of poverty?” Dr. Sibanda answered that we need education and good leadership to lift one another out of poverty. Part of that good leadership is recognizing the challenge of climate change and finding ways to adapt to it, creating policies that address fundamental needs, and investing in the research and implementation of new agricultural technologies. The lecture was a great learning experience and offered students the opportunity to ask questions to one of the most influential African women in agriculture. You can learn more about Dr. Sibanda’s work by visiting the FANRPAN website.

Although we weren’t able to host an event at CIEE headquarters this year, we look forward to next year’s Justice for Women Lecture Series and will keep alumni posted about ways to take part in the lectures as well!

25 Years of CIEE in Budapest: An Interview with Resident Director Elizabeth Simon

  8174_HAESF_Budapest large crop
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of CIEE study abroad in Budapest, Hungary, we look back at the history of the study center and how it’s changed over the years. To find out more, we spoke with Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director of the CIEE Study Center in Budapest, Hungary.

Elizabeth has an educational background in history and international relations, which led her to working in the field of international education with CIEE. Born in Hungary and eager to return home after studying in the United States, Elizabeth applied for an opening at the Budapest study center in 1992 and has worked there since as a resident director, professor, and overall student mentor. Over the years, she has seen the study center grow, students transform, and new partnerships develop. To commemorate the anniversary, Elizabeth shares with us the history of the study center:

“Budapest is the best kept secret, but now the secret is getting out!”
-Elizabeth Simon

The History of CIEE in Budapest
“The CIEE Study Center opened in 1990 and the first students arrived in the fall of 1990. This happened, of course, at a historic time for Hungary, just after the regime change when Hungary became a free country again with a democratically elected government. So students came at the very beginning of the new era for the country… the region in Hungary was just recreating itself in a way—building a new democracy, changing from a centrally planned economy to market economy—those were very, very exciting times for the American students.”

Since its opening in 1990, CIEE has been able to successfully bring students to Budapest each semester. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in interest for the Budapest study program. While the center marks its 25th anniversary, it also marks a record number of students this semester. Students are particularly drawn to the volunteer work and internships available on the program. Elizabeth notes, “I’m really pleased that an overwhelming majority of students are interested in some kind of engagement outside of the academic work. We have had as high as 70-75% of all students doing either for-credit or not-for-credit internship or volunteer work while they’re here.” Opportunities for students have mostly been in the nonprofit sector but, in recent years, has expanded to include private sector opportunities as well, specifically in startup companies.

The CIEE Study Center in Budapest has not only been a place of learning and growth for students, but also for faculty and administrators as well. For many years, the center has hosted International Faculty Development Seminars (IFDS)—a CIEE program that provides faculty and administrators from institutions of higher education with access to the rich academics, diverse intercultural experiences, and innovative approaches to learning and problem-solving that enhance syllabi, internationalize curricula, and increase global understanding on their campuses.

A True Cultural Exchange
As CIEE’s presence in Budapest continued to grow, so did the opportunities for cultural exchange. CIEE developed a partnership with the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund (HAESF) to create scholarship-based opportunities for talented Hungarians to gain professional experience in the United States, strengthening ties between the U.S. and Hungary. Not too long after, a similar partnership was formed between CIEE and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation as well as the Slovak-American Foundation. Those partnerships helped create a center of true exchange in and out of Budapest and beyond. Elizabeth, who was instrumental in this effort, offers these words, “It’s important to note that the Budapest program is truly an exchange program in that we are not only bringing American students here, but we are also sending talented Hungarians to the United States. For 11 years, we have supported around 430 talented Hungarians. […] This kind of exchange that we are able to do in Hungary has benefitted both sides. Our American students are actually able to do some internships with some of the HAESF alumni that have returned from the U.S. […] and so this has been a wonderful benefit to the study center.”

25 Years of Quality Exchange
“I love what I’m doing and I’m still here after so many years,” says Elizabeth, “The program is running strongly, we have an increasing number of students, and we have an excellent partnership with Corvinus University, our host institution here. I think a wonderful attestation to the quality of the program here in Budapest and what kind of experiences our students are getting from the program is that many of them would like to return eventually, at least just to visit.” Elizabeth shared that her most memorable moments working with CIEE are when students return or reconnect with the study center staff. “When they tell you how much one semester meant to them and what changes the study abroad experience brought in their life… that is truly memorable and it just makes you feel that your work is valuable.”

Many students who studied with CIEE in Budapest have kept in touch, returned to visit, and have even decided to pursue careers in international education. Furthermore, among CIEE Budapest alumni are 6 Fulbright awardees to Hungary. Elizabeth notes, “I think that’s a wonderful record… that we have 6 Fulbright awardees who were previous CIEE students here in Budapest. It speaks highly of the quality of students who are here and it also speaks highly of the program we are able to provide and maintain here in Budapest.”

A Special Anniversary
“It’s a special celebration because we have been able to build a strong organization here with wonderful partners, colleagues, and teachers who have supported us, and stayed with us, for all these years,” Elizabeth notes, “and it’s as much of a celebration of their work as CIEE’s commitment to stay in a country where, at times, there were fewer students.”

CIEE is proud to celebrate 25 years of study abroad in Budapest. We look forward to seeing more students learn, grow, and experience Hungary and the impact of study abroad. As Elizabeth says, “Learning about a new culture, about another country’s history, culture, politics, and society, in the location—that has to be the best way of learning.”

This article is written in celebration of the 25th anniversary of CIEE study abroad in Budapest. An official 25th anniversary event will be held at Corvinus University in Budapest on March 4, 2016. To take part in the virtual celebration, join us on social media @CIEEalumni.

Culture, Adventure, & Intellect: CIEE in Berlin, Germany

If you follow CIEE news and events, you may have noticed our recent obsession with Berlin, Germany. This fall, we launched our brand-new Global Institute in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most exciting districts.

Over 200 students arrived in Berlin this fall for the inaugural semester of the CIEE Global Institute. Our new Global Institute challenges the traditional concept of student living-learning design: what used to be an old factory for car radio buttons has been transformed into a multi-purpose academic facility, including a student residence that Fast Company Design calls the ‘nicest dorms ever.’ Our Global Institute has received praise from Slate, ArchDaily, I Like Architecture, and more. 


Photo via (by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea)

Meanwhile, CIEE is preparing for our annual conference in Berlin this November. As we focus on ways to reimagine the field of international education, it was a natural fit to choose Berlin as our conference location, a city known for reinvention and innovation.

CIEE has facilitated programs for U.S.-German exchange for many years. Our U.S.-German exchange programs include:

So, what’s the appeal of Berlin? We asked a few of our study abroad alumni to tell us, in their own words, why they chose to study in Germany. Here’s what they had to say:

A city of culture, adventure, history, diversity and intellect

“I studied in Berlin, Germany with CIEE after declaring a German major at my home university. I felt like it would be an awakening adventure, because as they say, Berlin is never Berlin. Berlin is a city of culture, adventure, history, diversity, and intellect: something I felt my small town home in the Midwestern U.S. lacked. Through CIEE, I met some of the best friends I have ever had. It's been almost three years, and I still communicate regularly with my CIEE friends."Niki Kennedy (1)

“Because of my awesome experience abroad, I volunteer frequently with the Missouri State University Study Away office, discussing Berlin, Study Away, and international travel. After graduation in 2014, I was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for Hamburg, Germany. While Hamburg is a special place, I always say there is a hole in my heart shaped like Berlin. I truly believe CIEE in Berlin shaped me as a person, gave me language skills I didn't know I could achieve, and set me up with the encouragement I needed to grow into the person I am.”

    - Niki Lynn Kennedy, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2013

I got to learn about the field of architectureJohn Zach Fields (3)

Photo Credit: Zach Fields

“I studied Urban Architecture and Design in Berlin, Germany in the spring of 2015. Saying I loved it would be an understatement. I fell in love with the city of Berlin, and no matter where I traveled I couldn't find another city that I liked better. In my home university, I study Environmental Sciences but eventually plan to pursue a Masters in Architecture, which is why I chose the program. Not only did I study environmental aspects, but I also got to learn about the field of architecture. I was able to study the Spree River which runs through the center of Berlin, and my studio was located right on the riverfront! Now I am applying to graduate schools and my professor in Germany is even serving as a reference for me. I do plan to return to Germany for an internship, a job, or just to visit the friends I made along the way. Maybe I could even work at the new study center! Then I could really share my share my experience with the brand new students. For now I'll have to wait, and to any student traveling abroad: Viel Gluck.”

    - Zach Fields, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015

I made friends from all over the world

“I chose Berlin because I knew that if something went wrong, I had family friends that lived near Munich. I loved the fact that the water was so clean and you could get everywhere by taking the U-bahn. For people who live in areas were public transportation is non-existent, it’s a big change and a new experience. I did not know what to expect,, and was very surprised by the number of international students that attended the school. Back in the United States, I have always lacked the opportunity to work with international students, because my small university does not have a large program for study abroad. I made friends from all over the world, not just Berlin, and that was probably my favorite part of going to Berlin."Elizabeth Brock (1)

Photo credit: Elizabeth Brock

“Having returned to the States almost two months ago, I am now participating in my school’s growing study abroad program. I am attending a conference and will be talking about CIEE and Berlin at an upcoming study abroad fair. I am very excited to share my experience with other students in an area and a school where few students feel like they have the opportunity to study abroad.”

    - Elizabeth, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015

Studying abroad made me more confident and assertiveIMG_6964

"Studying abroad in Berlin not only exposed me to a new culture, language, people, and environment, but it also helped me become more sure about myself in a number of ways. Through experiences like living with host family, learning German for the first time and traveling throughout the city, country, and continent, I became more confident about myself and my abilities. I fell head over heels for my new home and absorbed as much of it as I could.

I was able to assist in the restoration of a mural on the East Side Gallery (the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall), become close with my host mother over daily cups of jasmine tea, and talk to locals and residents, who quickly became friends, about their experiences living within the city that history shaped and still creates today. Because of my time in Germany, my ability to learn a new language has grown, and I am continuing with German. I also have caught the travel bug more than ever and plan to travel as much as I can. Studying abroad made me more confident and assertive, while also opening my world to a whole new set of experiences."

    - Sarah Lucas, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015