International House


Mark Bryant

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.


Carol O'BrienCarol O’Brien

Carol is originally from New York, but she has been living in Tennessee for many years. Carol knows the Knoxville area very well and knows a lot about the “culture” here at UT. She has been working at the International House as a Program Resource Specialist for over twenty years.

She helps out the I-House staff and tries to keep things running smoothly for everyone who works and comes to the I-House. Her office is located next to the computer lab. Stop by to say “Hello” sometime.



Thuy Phamphoto

Thuy Pham is a Graduate Assistant at the International House. She is a first-generation American whose parents are from Vietnam. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was raised in Knoxville. She attended UT for her undergraduate degree and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Global Studies. Currently, she is working on her master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. She has a passion for learning about other cultures and enjoys helping students with their adjustment to UT and Knoxville. She values traveling outside the country and hopes to find a career where she can work abroad. She enjoys volunteering, spending time with friends and family, and eating every hour of the day. Her door is always open for smiling faces and delicious treats so stop by anytime!



Mariana 05-27-12 163_c_mm_webMariana Garciagodoy

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!


Ackerman-150x150Leigh Ackerman

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! So far, Leigh really likes her new home at the University of Tennessee (but is still adjusting to all the orange).  If you’re in the I-House, stop by and say hi!

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