Who We Are

The US-UK Fulbright Commission hosts both the Fulbright scholarship programme and the EducationUSA advising network for the UK. We focus on opportunities and exchanges between the USA and the UK, as part of a global programme.

Board of Commissioners

Our work is governed by 14 Commissioners, appointed by the US, UK and Scottish governments. The Chair alternates between British and American Commissioners every three years.

Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG

Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG

Chairman

Nigel spent nearly four decades in the British Diplomatic Service. He served as Ambassador to the United States, Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister and Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels.

He is now involved in international business as a board member and adviser, and is a Visiting Professor and Council member at King's College London. He supports a number of organisations active in transatlantic and European affairs, and is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford and Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple, London.

Nigel believes strongly in the cultural dimension of international diplomacy, and the importance of active UK-US university links to the UK's economy and society.

Sara Grote Cerrell

Sara Grote Cerrell

Sara Cerrell is the Founder and Managing Director of Global Change Network (GCN), a social-issues consulting practice. GCN does strategic planning, partnership development and branding for mission-driven organizations, socially-responsible companies and philanthropists.

Sara is a former aide to Hillary Clinton and brings two decades of political, private sector and non-profit experience to her clients. Her work has centred on social impact, particularly international development with an emphasis on global health and women’s empowerment. Her clients have included the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Gap Inc. and the Packard Foundation, among many others. 

Sara’s career began in The White House, coordinating First Lady Hillary Clinton’s involvement in several initiatives, ranging from health care to women’s rights to children’s issues. After the White House, she was Vice President at DDB Issues & Advocacy, a global social sector practice where she oversaw award-winning initiatives for international clients. 

Sara serves a member of ICRW’s Circle of Ambassadors and on the boards of Global Impact UK and 1000 Days. She is delighted to contribute to Fulbright’s mission of fostering learning and leadership between her country of birth (the US) and her adopted country (the UK).

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond is the President of the Diamond Family Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that develops unique methods to improve and increase access to education and healthcare, by supporting those who fall outside traditional, government-sponsored assistance programs. As president, Jennifer helps determine the direction and mission of the organization, sets the strategy for how to best tackle issues most important to the foundation, reviews results from past projects, and continually seeks compelling new philanthropic opportunities to explore. 

Under Jennifer’s leadership since its establishment in 1997, the Diamond Family Foundation has supported a range of projects that particularly emphasize educational development as a vehicle for poverty reduction. Examples of missions the Foundation has funded include research projects aimed at developing gifted and talented primary school programs in the USA, financial literacy training programs in the UK, and campaigns supporting HIV education and awareness in the USA and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Jennifer holds a BSc from Michigan State University and a MA in Anthropology from University of London. She began her career working as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to her role with the Diamond Family Foundation, Jennifer serves as a trustee on a number of boards and  is a partner in Cobble House LLC, a multimedia development company.

 

Drake Dubin

Drake Dubin

Drake Dubin is Chief Operating Officer for Neuberger Berman in Europe and Latin America. Prior to joining Neuberger, Drake was a Partner at Tideway Investment Partners where he had both operating and business development responsibilities. Earlier in his career, Drake spent fifteen years with JP Morgan Chase where he was a Managing Director and Head of Structured Capital Markets for EMEA and five years as a Managing Director in The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Financial Structuring Group.  

Drake received his BSc from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., is a Trustee of The UK Friends of Georgetown and recently concluded six years serving on the university’s Board of Regents where he was Chair of the Global Engagement Committee.

Alexsis de Raadt-St James

Alexsis de Raadt-St James

Alexsis is an investor and technology business executive with over 25 years of investment experience in both private and public markets. She is the founder and managing partner of Merian Ventures, a US and UK venture-capital firm. Merian Ventures invest in entrepreneurs who are driven to build profitable companies in consumer, mobile and cyber security.

Alexsis is also founder and chairman of The Althea Foundation, a social-venture fund in San Francisco she established in 2003. Prior to these roles Alexsis held leadership roles and board seats with companies she funded or founded; senior executive roles in YBA Ventures, Commerce One, Shell International in London and Holland, where she served in a number of management positions, including director of M&A, venture investments and treasury advisor.

Alexsis serves on the leadership board of The Osher Center at the University of California Medical School San Francisco, the Leadership Council Salk Institute and is an advisor to CapLinked, Oorja, Provenance and CirrusIdentity. Alexsis has an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MBA from Erasmus University, Holland and a BA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Dame Seona Reid DBE

Dame Seona Reid DBE

Seona Reid’s professional career has spanned art, design and architecture education, arts funding,  dance and theatre. Most recently she served as Director of the Scottish Arts Council (1990-1999) and Director of Glasgow School of Art (1999-2013).

She has held many positions in public life, currently Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland; Chair of Cove Park artist residency centre;  Deputy Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund and Scotland Committee Chair; a Trustee of the Tate Gallery; a Trustee of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit Foundation. Previous roles included membership of the Universities Scotland Executive Committee; of the UK Government Advisory Panel for the selection of the 2017 UK City of Culture and a Commissioner on the Scottish Broadcasting Commission

Seona is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow and became a Dame in 2013 for services to the creative industries.

Her involvement in Fulbright stems from a fundamental belief in the power of international exchange to create understanding between people of different nations and cultures and develop thoughtful leaders whose values embrace tolerance and a sense of wider humanity.

Professor Colin Riordan

Professor Colin Riordan

Professor Colin Riordan is President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University.

Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. He moved to Essex from Newcastle University, where he had been Professor of German then Pro Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Riordan taught English as a foreign language at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany and was Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in German at Swansea University.

Professor Riordan is a board member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Edge Foundation, UCAS and The Conversation (UK). He has been a Fulbright Commissioner since 2014.

His motivation for involvement in Fulbright stems in large part from his own experience of benefiting greatly from periods spent aboard in German-speaking countries as a student of German. He is keen to help ensure that present and future generations of Fulbright scholars are able to benefit in a similar way.

Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths

Andy is the Executive Director of the Investor Forum and a Senior Advisor to Corsair Capital.  He has 20 years of investment experience as a top rated research analyst and investment professional gained at Capital Group and Prudential M&G. He has consistently been ranked among the leading equity investors in Europe over the last two decades.

Andy is a Fulbright Commissioner, a trustee of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and has a number of roles in the social enterprise arena.

 

Toby Young

Toby Young

Toby Young is an associate editor of the Spectator and a blogger for the Telegraph. He is the author of two books, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2001) and The Sound of No Hands Clapping (2006), and has performed in the West End in a stage adaptation of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

He co-produced the film version of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) and more recently co-produced and co-wrote a drama doc for Channel 4 called When Boris Met Dave (2009).

His teaching experience includes working as a teaching fellow at Harvard and a teaching assistant at Cambridge. He is the co-founder of the West London Free School, which became the first free school to sign a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education earlier this year. The school opened in September 2011.

 

Vivian Hunt

Vivian Hunt

Vivian Hunt is the Managing Partner for McKinsey & Company’s United Kingdom and Ireland offices.

Vivian previously led the firm’s Pharmaceutical & Medical Products practice in EMEA, and continues to advise leading British firms in the private, public and third sectors. She serves on the firm’s global Board of Directors and Values Committee.

In addition to her client responsibilities, Vivian is a leader within the firm on leadership and
diversity. She frequently speaks on McKinsey & Company’s flagship research and co-authored publications such as Women Matter, Diversity Matters and The Power of Parity. She was previously named ‘the most influential black woman in Britain’ by the Powerlist Foundation and The Financial Times identified her as one of the ‘European Women to Watch’ and more recently as the 30 most influential people in
the City of London.

Vivian is on the board of several important business groups in the UK, including BritishAmerican Business, the CBI London Council, and the Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board. She is a trustee of The Henry Smith Charity and is Chair of the Business in the Community's ‘Seeing is Believing’ programme. She sits on the Advisory Council of the Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre, as well as Teach First’s Business Leaders Council.

Dwight Poler

Dwight Poler

Dwight Poler joined Bain Capital in 1994 and has been a Managing Director since 1999. Prior to joining Bain Capital, he was a consultant at Bain & Company where he worked in the technology, consumer products and financial services industries. Previously, Dwight worked in the Mergers and Acquisitions department at Morgan Stanley & Co. with a focus on technology deals.

A member of the Advisory Group formed by the British Venture Capital Association and led by Sir David Walker, Dwight was an active participant in the formulation of the Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency in Private Equity.

He received an MBA with distinction from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth where he was a Tuck Scholar. He received a BA from Amherst College.

Kim Dubois

Kim Dubois

Kim Dubois has served as a career member of the Foreign Service Office for over 10 years.  As a Public Diplomacy Officer, her career within the Department of State has afforded her the opportunity to work with foreign officials, educators, journalists and youth the world over.  

Ms. Dubois has worked in countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya and Afghanistan.  She is a recipient of the Una Chapman Cox Fellowship and spent a year’s sabbatical in Los Angeles educating youth in Compton, Inglewood and Culver City about the inner workings of U.S. embassies and U.S foreign policy.  She most recently served as the Counselor for Public Affairs in Norway and as the American Embassy Iraq Spokesperson in Baghdad.

Courtney Austrian

Courtney Austrian

Courtney Austrian is a career Foreign Service Officer in the area of Public Diplomacy.  She currently serves as Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U. S. Embassy, London.  Previous overseas postings include Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Haiti, where she served as Public Affairs Officer, Cultural Affairs Officer, Press Officer, Political Officer, and Consular Officer, respectively. 

In Washington, Ms. Austrian has held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Information Programs, Director of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, and has worked in the office of the Secretary of State. Ms. Austrian received a B.A. from Swarthmore College, an MBA in Public and Non-Profit Administration from Boston University, and a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Courtney’s husband is also a Foreign Service Officer, and they have two children.

Ian Coates

Ian Coates

Ian is currently the Director of Higher Education (HE) Strategy and Policy in DfE, a post he took on in May 2016 having previously been Deputy Director responsible for Alternative Providers and Higher Education Governance. Ian’s responsibilities stretch widely across HE policy, including the impact of Brexit on the HE sector, student migration, widening participation in HE, Prevent, and HE’s interest in fiscal events. Ian has also take a lead role in the “Machinery of Government” changes which have seen HE policy move from BIS to DfE.

Prior to working in HE, Ian was Senior Responsible Owner for the “Policy Delivery Reform” programme in BIS, which developed ambitious cross-BIS reform options to generate savings whilst increasing impact, reporting in to new Ministers in 2015. Previously, Ian was Area Director for BIS South Central & West, one of six local teams working to promote BIS policy priorities across England. Ian’s geography stretched from Aylesbury to Lands End, and from Tewkesbury to Brighton.

Ian has worked across Whitehall, including Deputy Director posts in DCLG (Strategy Director at the Government Office for the South East), DfE (responsible for Special Educational Needs and then for Safeguarding) and Cabinet Office (leading a range of projects in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit).

 

Staff

Our staff are of several nationalities, have a range of international and educational experiences, and are passionate about the global exchange of culture and ideas.

Penny Egan CBE

Penny Egan CBE

Executive Director

Penny has been leading the Commission for over 10 years. She was previously the first woman to head up the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in its 250-year history. Prior to that her posts include working for the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

She has previously held a number of non-executive roles, including council member at the University of Warwick and Chair of the Geffrye Museum. Penny is currently a council member of the University of Reading.

Penny was awarded a CBE in 2013 for her services to international education.

Chris Horry

Chris Horry

Chief Operating Officer

Read Bio
Chris Horry

Chris Horry

Chief Operating Officer

Chris oversees the Commission's finance, IT and legal matters.

He is a chartered accountant and has a degree in pure mathematics from the University of Sheffield. He has worked for multinational corporations in the US and various European countries.

Chris is also a trained teacher and is passionate about international education and cultural exchange. His three daughters have all been educated internationally.

Outside work, he devotes his time to amateur music making and hill walking.

Rowena Boddington

Rowena Boddington

Director, Advising and Marketing

Rowena heads the EducationUSA advising service, oversees the delivery of the Sutton Trust US Programme, and is responsible for the Commission’s communications and marketing strategy, including promoting its programmes and US-UK exchange.

While an American studies student at a British university, Rowena had the opportunity to study abroad in California. This life-changing experience has led to a career so far focused on enabling domestic and international students to make informed decisions about their best study options. She is passionate about helping more students have as transformational experiences at US universities as her own was.

Amy Moore

Amy Moore

Director, Fulbright Awards Programme

Read Bio
Amy Moore

Amy Moore

Director, Fulbright Awards Programme

Amy oversees all of the Fulbright Award programmes for both American and British grantees. As Director, Amy also manages relationships with Award sponsors and partners, and is always on the lookout for new partnership opportunities.

Prior to Fulbright, Amy ran customised, faculty-led programmes for American students in London, and managed a busy student services department. She later assisted Cornell University, Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania undergraduates studying in the UK. Amy spent a memorable year at the University of Pittsburgh as part of her American studies degree at the University of Sheffield, which is perhaps why she has dedicated her career to promoting cultural exchange.

She has a very mischievous son and two lively dogs, which makes gym membership very much unnecessary.

Jackie Barnett

Jackie Barnett

Finance and Office Manager

Jackie has been employed by the Commission since June 2013. Her role is primarily the day to day running of the finance department and administering the office facilities and supplies.

She has worked for several large and small companies in a similar role over the past 25 years, and has a Diploma in Bookkeeping from the International Association of Bookkeepers. Jackie is currently studying for the Advanced Diploma in Accounting with the Association Of Accounting Technicians.

Jackie believes that the Commission enriches the lives of young people who take part in its programmes, and loves being part of an organisation that provides such amazing global opportunities for students.

Rebecca Cobby

Rebecca Cobby

Senior Programme Manager

Rebecca coordinates all aspects of the Scholar Award programme for UK citizens, from promotion to selection, pre-departure preparation and the running of cultural events.

She holds a PhD in African American studies from the University of Nottingham and has lived and studied abroad in the US.

Rebecca has worked for the Fulbright Commission since 2011 and considers it a pleasure and a privilege to enable talented people with exciting and vital research and teaching projects to get to where they want to be.

Outside of work, Rebecca is a keen knitter, volunteers for a local charity and enjoys exploring the countryside with her two young children.

Florence Ledger

Florence Ledger

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Read Bio
Florence Ledger

Florence Ledger

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Florence graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA in International Relations and History. As part of her degree, she studied abroad at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, an amazing experience which has left her well placed to advise UK students on US study.

As a Programme Manager for the Sutton Trust US Programme, Florence is delighted to be in a role that involves both international education and social mobility.

Brittany Lehr

Brittany Lehr

Programme Manager

Brittany manages all aspects of the Postgraduate Awards programme for UK citizens, including outreach and promotion of the Awards throughout the UK, the selection process, and pre-departure preparation and cultural orientation.

Prior to joining the Commission in 2014, Brittany obtained an MA in International Communications from American University’s School of International Service in Washington DC.

Brittany is a keen traveller and loves living abroad. She spent a year abroad in Spain during her undergraduate degree, which sparked her passion for international educational exchange as a means for personal growth and promoting mutual cultural understanding.

She is delighted to work with British students to help them pursue postgraduate study in the USA.

Elizabeth Mucha

Elizabeth Mucha

Programme Manager

Elizabeth manages all aspects of the Postgraduate Awards programme for US citizens. She also co-coordinates three major events for the Commission (EndCap, Forum, and Orientation).

Originally from Chicago, she completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany and has studied at the University of Illinois and the London School of Economics.

Elizabeth enjoys social activism, exploring the countryside around London and spending time with dogs. She is passionate about international educational exchange as a means to foster cooperation and effect change.

Daniel O'Meara

Daniel O'Meara

Advising and Events Manager

Daniel manages the Commission's advising events, including seminars, webinars, Grad School Day and the College Day university fair held each September. As part of the EducationUSA advising team, he works with members of the public interested in US study and manages the team's internship programme.

Originally from foggy San Francisco, he has lived in foggy London since 2016. Daniel holds a PhD in musicology from Princeton University and, prior to working at the US-UK Fulbright Commission, he taught music history and theory at higher education institutions in the US.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, traveling and playing jazz guitar.

Sarah Panek

Sarah Panek

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Read Bio
Sarah Panek

Sarah Panek

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Sarah oversees the selection process for the Sutton Trust US Programme and plans the summer school weeks in the US.

Sarah is originally from Chicago and, in addition to living in London, has also studied and volunteered abroad in Spain, China and Ecuador. She studied at DePaul University and holds an MSc in Elementary Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Prior to moving to London, she worked for five years as a primary school teacher in a high needs school just outside of Chicago.

Sarah is ecstatic to be working in a role that combines her experience and passion for international educational exchange and social mobility.

 

Ana Guerra Pereira

Ana Guerra Pereira

Programme Manager

Ana manages the Fulbright Scholar Awards for US citizens and all Fulbright Scholar Special Programmes in the UK. She also co-coordinates three major events for the Commission (EndCap, Forum, and Orientation).

She holds a master's in Russian studies from University College London, and has studied at the University of Lisbon and Moscow State University. Ana is from Portugal, has lived in Brazil, and has been in London for over a decade. Ana has worked for the Fulbright Commission in Portugal, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, and the Chevening Scholarship programme.

She is a fan of the semi-colon and open borders. Her interests include film, contemporary art, architecture and literature.

Valerie Schreiner

Valerie Schreiner

Senior Programme Manager and Communications Liaison

Read Bio
Valerie Schreiner

Valerie Schreiner

Senior Programme Manager and Communications Liaison

Valerie has been with the US-UK Fulbright Commission since 2012. She coordinates the US and UK Summer Institutes for undergraduates, and implements the communications strategy for the Fulbright Awards.

She received her Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Valerie has studied and worked in France on exchange programmes and speaks fluent French. 

She loves living in London, which feeds her appetite for theatre and music. She joined the Fulbright Commission to continue a 10-year career in education and international exchange.

Valerie enjoys the change and growth she sees in the participants that go through each and every summer programme.

Alison Ward

Alison Ward

Alumni and Development Manager

Read Bio
Alison Ward

Alison Ward

Alumni and Development Manager

Ali manages the engagement and activities with our alumni network. She trained as an actor at East 15 Acting School and holds an MA in Acting for TV, Film & Radio.

Her background is in customer service, communications and events and she has organised global workshops in Ethiopia and Bangkok. Her interests include live comedy, writing and her rescue cat Misty.

Ali particularly enjoys meeting Fulbrighters and hearing about the experiences they had during their time abroad.

Jo Downey

Jo Downey

Executive Assistant/HR Manager

Read Bio
Jo Downey

Jo Downey

Executive Assistant/HR Manager

Jo joined the Fulbright Commission in 2017 as Executive Assistant and Human Resources Manager.  She also has responsibility for IT and Health and Safety.  

Her most recent roles have been in UK higher education but she has also worked overseas and is excited to be working for an organisation that is dedicated to providing global educational opportunities. 

In her spare time, Jo enjoys travelling, photography and cooking.

Kelsey Flynn

Kelsey Flynn

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Read Bio
Kelsey Flynn

Kelsey Flynn

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

 

Kelsey is responsible for guiding Sutton Trust US Programme students through the US university admissions process.

Kelsey holds a Ph.D. in European history from The George Washington University and a B.A. from the University of Maryland. She studied abroad in the UK at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Prior to moving to London, Kelsey worked as a university lecturer in Washington, DC. She is thrilled to work with those who share her enthusiasm for international education and social mobility

Emmanuel Patterson

Emmanuel Patterson

Alumni Assistant

 

Emmanuel is our Alumni Assistant and is responsible for the communications out to the alumni network. He is a graduate from Middlesex University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems.

He has been working within the Marketing industry for over a year and is particularly interested in content writing and social media. He is a huge football fan and a Manchester United supporter.

Emmanuel enjoys meeting new people and is very interested in people who have studied abroad. He enjoys working within an alumni department because he feels that he is relatable, being an alumnus of Middlesex University.