Mark is originally from Texas, but he has also lived in Florida and Tennessee. During 2008-2009, he lived in Kosovo in Southeastern Europe where he taught Leadership Theory and English courses at a university. He has traveled all over the world and hopes to live overseas again someday. Mark has worked on university campuses for over 20 years in various aspects of the student life experience. He is an advocate for international education and when given an opportunity, he enjoys challenging American students to engage in international experiences as a part of their education and to make it a part of their lives after graduation. He has a BA in Psychology from Baylor University, an MS in Student Affairs from Florida State University, and a Doctor of Education Degree from Vanderbilt University. Mark enjoys spending time with his wife, Kelly, and their son, Joshua. He also enjoys exploring new places, hiking in the mountains, reading fiction, running, and going to the theater.
Lauren recently moved from Texas to join the staff at UT’s International House. She loves to travel, learn about other cultures, and meet new international students. She’s visited many places around the world, but especially enjoyed living abroad when studying for a semester in Denmark, working as an au pair in Spain, and studying Spanish in Nicaragua for a summer. Lauren completed her BBA in Marketing at Baylor University and her MEd in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. In her free time, she enjoys playing all kinds of games from Monopoly to tennis and everything in-between.
Maria Lungu is the newest Graduate Assistant in the International House. Maria is originally from Zambia but grew up in Botswana. After a year of studying in Switzerland she decided to pursue her Undergraduate studies in the USA. She earned her Undergraduate degree from The University of Charleston in Business Administration, Finance, and minored in Leadership. She is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee College of Law and hopes to practice both Immigration Law and Personal Injury Law in the future.
Maria loves having this opportunity to work in the International House and have fun while doing it. She has loved music since she was a young girl and has played the piano since she was 7 years old. In her free time Maria loves to Zumba, and she is currently training to run a half marathon. She also loves reading, learning about new cultures, learning about international human rights, and keeping up with global issues. Please stop by and visit me anytime!
Mariana Garciagodoy is very interested in different cultures, and loves the ways in which music overcomes barriers and brings people together, no mater how different their backgrounds are. She is very passionate about history and languages and speaks Spanish, English, German, French, and Russian. Mariana grew up in a family of aviators and she was able to travel and explore different countries in her childhood. Additionally, she was able to study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as travel with the Chamber Singers to Ireland. She also loves to read, and in her free time you can find her riding a motorcycle or going on adventures with her dog and her better half.
Mariana is currently in the graduate choral conducting program at the University of Tennessee, under the tutelage of Dr. Angela Batey. Originally from Mexico City, Mariana demonstrated early in life a passion for dance and music. Her conducting draws on these two passions and shows the ways in which music and movement are interconnected. Additionally, she works with the Soundcompany children’s choir and is the happy director of the Junior group.
She is very excited to be a part of the I-House family and share with our community. Make sure to stop by and say hi!
Although she was born in Washington D.C., Leigh has lived most of her life in Georgia. She earned her undergraduate degree in Business Management at the University of Georgia. During college, she became passionate about service, social justice, and traveling. Her most recent international journeys include volunteering in rural Kenya and studying abroad in Ecuador. In her travels, Leigh has enjoyed exploring new places, learning about new cultures, meeting new people, and (of course) eating new food!
Leigh is here at UT to pursue her M.S. Degree in College Student Personnel. She loves working with college students and feels so fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a Graduate Assistant at the I-House, where she can meet new people from different countries and cultures every day! Leigh really likes her new home at the University of Tennessee. Please stop by any time! She’d love to hear where you think she should travel to next.