Carina A. Black, Ph.D.: Executive Director, Northern Nevada International Center
A native of Argentina and a citizen of Switzerland and the US, Carina Black has lived in the United States since 1988. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1997 in Comparative Politics. She is the first Executive Director of the Northern Nevada International Center. Currently, she also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council for International Visitors. As a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Black has taught courses in global studies, world politics, comparative politics, democratization, international organizations and Latin American politics. She has also been actively involved in international education for the local community, and support programs for minority groups. Dr. Black is the mother of four children and is fluent in four languages.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x221
Corazon Padilla: International Visitor Leadership Program Coordinator
Corazon Padilla joined the NNIC staff in 2009 after volunteering beforehand. She is program coordinator for the International Visitor Leadership Program, Community Connections, Open World, Legislative Fellows Program and Algeria Youth Leadership Program. Corazon received her BA at the University of Nevada Reno with a dual major in Sociology and International Affairs. She also studied at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Corazon has traveled to countries in Asia, Europe and North Africa, and has also met with past visitors during her travels. She loves experiencing different traditions, learning languages, cooking and trying new foods and meeting people from around the world.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x223
Joy Orlich: Finance/Grants Manager
Joy Orlich is the Finance/Grants Manager for the Northern Nevada International Center in Reno, Nevada, a position she has held since 2009. In addition, Joy also oversees the human resources function for interns and part-time staff. After working many years in corporate and government sectors, Joy turned to nonprofit work to find an outlet for her passion for making a difference, including the YMCA, Nevada Humane Society and Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty before coming to NNIC. She is also a longtime member of Zonta International, currently serving as a service and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x 229
Gabreélla Friday- Language Bank Coordinator
Gabreélla was born in Reno, Nevada and grew up in various cities in California and Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno dual majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. Gabreélla hopes to attend law school and study international law, as well as to become fluent in at least three languages. Gabreélla joined our NNIC team in order to learn more about the world and to meet people from countries. Gabreélla is currently running the Language Bank at NNIC. Gabreélla is very active on campus and partakes in many clubs, organization, and activities. She has been to Latin America and Canada and is very hopeful to travel more in the future. Her hobbies are practicing Japanese, playing tennis, and watching cartoons. In the future, Gabreélla aspires to be an ambassador in hopes helping create change in whichever country she becomes an ambassador to.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x 227
Madeline Burak – International Visitor Leadership Program Coordinator
Madeline Burak began working as an intern at the Northern Nevada International Center in 2010. She worked on IVLP as well as other projects in the office. She graduated from Reno High School in June of 2011, and is currently a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno. Madeline is majoring in International Affairs Major with a minor in Political Science. Her experiences in high school as an intern were the precursor for the job opportunity at the Northern Nevada International Center upon entering UNR. Madeline recently completed a three month internship for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Washington D.C. Madeline hopes to attend Tufts University for Graduate School, and aspires to become the U.S. Secretary of State.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x 229
Patrick Kratzer 2012-13 Lucatelli Intern – International Visitor Leadership Program Coordinator
Patrick is in his senior year here at the University of Nevada, Reno studying international affairs, economics and Spanish. His passion for the study of international affairs and Spanish was solidified during his semester in Costa Rica, where he also interned teaching English to families wishing to learn English in order to improve the experience of their host students. Patrick’s time so far at the NNIC has been a real world, hands on learning experience, not only through programming for the International Visitor Leadership Program but also through the incredible array of tasks required to aid with the Fulbright and the Algerian Youth Leadership Programs. Patrick wishes to further pursue international learning and fluency in Spanish while working abroad after graduation.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x 228
Crystal O’Connor –International Visitor and IREX Teacher Exchange Coordinator
Crystal completed her studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Pau in southern France. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and French. After graduating Crystal spent a year in Bordeaux, France teaching English to 200 students in the public school system. During her time as a teacher, she was able to tour Europe and has visited 15 countries. Crystal began interning with the NNIC during the spring 2012 semester and was hired as Program Coordinator in May 2012. She has both assisted and managed programs several programs including Community Connections, Legislative Fellows, Algeria Youth Leadership Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program and the Fulbright Gateway Conference
Email: CLICK ME
Mike Graf – Program Support and Development Consultant
Michael Graf is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a BA in International Affairs and is pursuing his Master’s in Program Management. He has worked for the Institute of International Education and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership and Fulbright Scholar exchange programs in Washington, DC. Following his time at IIE and CIES, he worked on U.S. Russia trade relations with the East West Institute, a New York headquartered think-tank. Michael has recently returned to Reno recently after spending 6 months in Abuja, Nigeria working in public sector organization management consulting.
Email: CLICK ME
Phone: 775.784.7515 x 222
Claudia Ortega Lukas
Why I Serve: I serve on the board of the NNIC because I believe in the concept of Citizen Diplomacy. The power an individual citizen has on foreign relations is amazing. When we meet with our international visitors, we not only make long-lasting friendships, we learn about other cultures and points of view, we learn to appreciate our differences. We build bridges of communication and mutual understanding. And we learn that, as much as we are different, we are also the same: we worry about our future, our children, our planet. We are motivated to engage with the rest of the world — to make a better world!
Background: Claudia E. Ortega-Lukas is a graphic designer in the office of Integrated Marketing at the University of Nevada, Reno. Claudia came to the Reno from Savannah, Ga., where she was the Features and Sports Planning Editor at the Savannah Morning News. She had previously worked for the Reno Gazette-Journal. Claudia was born in Mexico City. Her hobbies are photography and traveling. She and her husband, Tim Lukas, regularly host a myriad of Rotary exchange students and other international visitors traveling under the auspices of the State Department. Claudia graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and obtained her master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.
Why I Serve:I serve on the NNIC Board, as this is my way to help make the world a better place. Because the NNIC touches so many people from different countries, I feel that my time is well spent. While it is impossible to calculate the benefit to the world, I know that the NNIC is introducing many ordinary citizens of the world to different cultures, languages, and ideas. The friendships that are created will last much longer than anyone could imagine and that has to make the world a better place for all of us.
Why I Serve: I despair of a country whose citizens do not travel abroad, who do not seek out new people, culture and ideas. i serve on the board to encourage those exchanges, to welcome international guests into our home, to learn from them & to share new experiences. I believe that governments will never resolve differences if their people cannot connect and recognize common aspirations. I also selfishly serve to associate with the fine people who are committed to NNIC, both board members and staff
Bio: Karren Smith has been married for 50 years to Michael Smith. She has 3 married children and 4 grandchildren. Karren received a BA in History from UNR with graduate work in Criminal Justice & Hotel/Convention Management. She has been the Unit Manager: Dept. of Adult Parole & Probation; instructor in Criminal Justice at TMCC; adjunct at the National Judicial College; Director of Cultural Focus Tours; and conference planner/manager for Nevada Commission on Tourism. Karren is a writer, editor, traveler, designer of student internship and volunteer programs, lover of good food, wine, books and theatre.
Background: I was born in New York City and at the age of six, moved to Virginia City, Nevada, where I was raised by an unorganized community of artists, writers, misfits, alcoholics and agnostics. I attended elementary school in Virginia City, high school at the progressive college preparatory Midland School in Los Olivos, California, the University of Nevada Reno and McGeorge School of Law. I have worked as a Supreme Court settlement judge, chief deputy attorney general, state government administrator, mediator, chef, carpenter, letter carrier, infantry scout dog handler, and combat photographer. I designed and built my own home from recovered flume timbers, field stone and other salvaged materials. I have been married three times, divorced twice and never arrested. My daughter Amy is wise, my son Zachary is clever and my wife of thirty years Laureen is the least neurotic person I have ever known.
Why I serve: Becoming a board member of the Northern Nevada International Center has given me the extraordinary opportunity to meet and work with dedicated individuals who believe in the importance of involving Northern Nevadans with the emerging global community. It is through one-on-one relationships with peoples around the world that our local community can work for a more compassionate and understanding world. In turn, visitors from abroad are given the chance through the many programs of NNIC to meet residents of Northern Nevada in their own backyards and return to their countries with an authentic experience of American people and their values. The relationships formed through these experiences show us that we can all become citizens of the world and make a difference globally by acting locally.
Background: When Dianne was thirteen, her parents moved their family to Ethiopia for her father to teach English. She was fortunate during those years to study in Ethiopia, Kenya, Switzerland, and France. It is becoming clearer to me with time that my life’s path since then is rooted in those relationships I formed as a teenager in Africa with people of so many different nationalities. She is still connected with Ethiopia in many ways, including sponsoring two young men in their university studies. She later returned to the US and earned an MA degree in French and also in English. After college she worked for three and a half years for the government in Washington, DC. Since then she has taught French, German, and Spanish in Oklahoma and in Colorado, and in Nevada at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno for the past twenty-five years. Dianne founded the Distinguished Speaker Series at the college and in 2004 she received the TMCC award for Faculty Excellence in Service for creating the series which is awarded annually by Model Dairy. Dianne also has a passion for photography.
Why I Serve: I chose to become a cultural anthropologist out of my commitment to advancing cross cultural understanding. I lived and worked in the Middle East for three years soon after college, and became clear about the need for Americans to have far greater contact with and experience of people from other nations and cultures. As globalization shrinks the world, this becomes all the more important. In a democracy such as ours, where the understandings and attitudes of citizens influence foreign policy, it is vital that people are informed about the global landscape and knowledgeable about people from around the world. NNIC provides those opportunities in northern Nevada for both education about other cultures and personal experience of people from nations around the world. I am committed to working for a world of the future where cross-cultural understanding and the sense global connection flourish. Supporting NNIC works to that end.
Background: Jill Derby of Gardnerville, Nevada is a cultural anthropologist who received her Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Davis in 1988, with a concentration in Middle Eastern cultures. After four years teaching anthropology at the college level, Derby chose a policy role in higher education and ran for election to the Nevada Board of Regents the governing board for Nevada’s colleges and universities. She served three terms as board chair and worked to advance Nevada’s colleges and universities to better serve the state’s students during a period of rapid growth. She has maintained her role as a cultural anthropologist, developing strong public speaking skills, lecturing to hundreds of groups on topics ranging from cross-cultural understanding and the Arab/Muslim Middle East, to issues in education and higher education governance.
Derby has served 12 years as a Governance Consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. She works with colleges and university around the U.S. and Canada facilitating planning and performance initiatives with higher education boards and leaders.
Derby, a native Nevadan, has been active in Nevada politics serving as the State Chair of Nevada’s Democratic Party between 2007 and 2008. She is a regular political commentator on the Nevada Newsmakers television program. Derby joined the Northern Nevada International Center Board in 2011.
Earlier in her career, Derby was involved in policy making at the state level, serving on the Nevada Supreme Court Gender Bias Task Force, the State Judicial Selection Commission and the Nevada Humanities Commission. In 2010, Derby was appointed by Nevada’s Governor to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education Reform which developed important recommendations for legislative action.
Derby was honored in 2008 as a Woman of Achievement by the Nevada’s Women’s Fund, and received the NASS Medallion Award for Advancing Democracy. In 1990 she received the Soroptimists Woman of Distinction award and received special recognition in ceremonies honoring women leaders of Nevada. The Regents nominated her for the prestigious National Trustee of the Year Award in 2002.
Jill is married to Veterinarian Dr. Stephen Talbot of Minden and has two grown children.
Why I Serve: After seeing NNIC from the “outside” I was pleased to be able to accept a board position and contribute from the “inside.” During my tenure with the Washoe County School District, I was able to help with arranging several NNIC after-school programs where students learned a foreign language. We also partnered with the International Center on a summer camp. Now, as a board member, I hope to be able to lend my expertise in marketing, communications and media relations to strengthen NNIC’s visibility in the community and broaden our support base. Today’s young people are growing up in a global society and it’s NNIC’s outreach to those future leaders that motivates me.
Background: For 24 years until his retirement in 2010, Dr. Steve Mulvenon was the Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Washoe County School District. In that capacity, he oversaw the district’s internal and external communications efforts including media relations, school-business partnerships, publications, volunteer services, the district’s website and family/parental involvement programs. He is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences including the seminars of the National School Public Relations Association, The American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association. Currently, he teaches courses in school-community relations at both the Reno campus of the University of Phoenix and the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2007, Mulvenon was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He recently became an associate with Patron Insight, Inc., a Kansas City area firm. From his home in Sparks, he’ll provide communications training and personalized assistance for school districts in Nevada and surrounding states.
Dr. Antonia Neubauer
Why I serve: NNIC is the heart and soul of much that is international in the Reno/Tahoe area – from housing international visitors to running the language bank to bringing world-class speakers on international issues into the community. I serve on the board because, in today’s global society, we are all tied together and have to be able to reach out beyond the narrow Nevada world to touch other societies and other countries. NNIC provides a crucial international link.
Background: Traveler, humanitarian, and teacher, Toni is the guiding spirit behind Myths and Mountains, and founder of READ Global, a nonprofit global organization dedicated to empowering communities by increasing literacy and access to education through the creation, advancement and leveraging of a replicable library-based model for sustainable economic development. READ Nepal was selected as recipient of the 2006 Access to Learning Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Toni also has received the Walk the Talk Global Citizen Award.
For more than 20 years, Toni has traveled within Asia and Southeast Asia, getting to know the people and their way of life. These intimate experiences are the heart and soul of every Myths and Mountains trip, and this is what makes each journey so unique. Toni speaks five languages, holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration as well as a Masters in French Literature, and has visited 57 countries around the world.
Why I Serve: Serving on the board of the Northern Nevada International Center has been one of the best experiences of my life.
Embracing people from all over the world,that are eager for dialogue, has brought me friendships to treasure. To be able to pick up the phone or receive a call from someone in Tajikistan that just wants to share a joy, a dream, or a hope for his or her child or family is an amazing treat.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” I have found there is a group of people that believes there is a common thread that binds humanity together and we are more like-minded than we are different. It is more important now than ever for Americans and the world to engage in learning together from each other.
This understanding and dialogue shared, needs to be from all walks of life so that we have discussions pertaining to values, families, hopes, dreams, education, jobs, and spirituality. We need to embrace and understand our similarities and differences, then we will be able to see each other from the other side of the looking glass.
Why I Serve: Being involved with the Northern Nevada International Center has been a wonderful way to have an opportunity to help let people from other countries and cultures see what America is really all about. And by being able to meet individual people from across the globe through the NNIC, it has been possible to view the diverse cultures and countries on the globe as collections of individual people, all with their hopes, dreams, and desires and maybe give them a hand in reaching their goals.
Background: After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Kirst was active in the area of finance with banking, the brokerage business, and investing; and in chain restaurant development and operation. He is the author of the youth baseball book “Screwballs, Curves, and Knuckleheads”, and now is a public school teacher of Financial Literacy and Career Exploration. Mr. Kirst is married and has four grown children..
Why I Serve: Despite the ability of the new social media to connect people around the world, countless millions do not have access and this planet remains riven with suspicion of others’ cultures, religions and motives. Although all politicians claim to want to better their relations with other countries, state diplomacy has proven to be a very slow and sticky tool for fostering better understanding between nations. What clearly works to build these essential bridges is citizen diplomacy – the actions of individuals as they move around the world and talk to those they meet, on trains, in the bazaars and cafes. The NNIC is one of 100 odd organizations that welcome and host 1000s of international visitors a year. This enables the northern NV community to interact intimately with our guests, learning about their lives and sharing much about how we live, our values and how the American society works. These unique and personal interactions add up to a vast and growing network of global friendship and understanding. As a Director of the NNIC, I am personally able to promote citizen diplomacy and help in building a local community that increases tolerance and understanding between all peoples of this world.
Background: I am a British citizen and was lucky enough to spend my childhood vacations visiting all the European countries, even those behind the Iron Curtain that divided the continent then. Those times gave me my early wanderlust and taught me that the commonalities between peoples and nations are so much more obvious and important than our cultural and religious differences. I have lived in Holland and Canada as well as the UK and now America, all the while learning that tolerance and an inquisitive mind create lasting friendships across the globe.
I am an entrepreneur, having started several companies in the UK as well as the USA. From this I have learned that international business (pharmaceutical and medical device product development, stand up paddle board manufacture) is another way to bring the nations together and foster greater understanding.
PhD Central nervous system pharmacology and depression
PhD 18th century European Philosophers and a New Religious Enlightenment.
Rock and mountain climbing
Stand up paddling
Classical music, contemporary art