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The Team

For inquiries, please email the international center at

Kara Johnson

Assistant Director
Contact for F-1/J-1 students, J-1 Scholars, and H-1B

Education: Master’s degree in intercultural relations from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Global know-how: Kara has studied and/or worked abroad in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.
Interests: As a new Chicago resident, she spends most of her time exploring the city, trying new restaurants, and learning her way around. Kara loves to travel, learn new languages, and experience other cultures.

Karen Spreitzer

International Student Advisor
Contact for F-1/J-1 students

Education: B.S. in Anthropology from Loyola University Chicago
Global know-how: Karen worked as an archaeologist throughout the Midwest and western U.S. regions for 10 years, and spent
several months traveling in Europe. She developed an interest in international services when she advised graduate students from all over the world as the physics graduate program advisor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Interests: When not working, Karen enjoys writing, walking, biking, playing guitar, and singing. She finished writing her first novel in 2007.

Nora Hayes

SEVIS Coordinator


Education: M.S. in Mathematics from Chicago State University.
Global know-how: Nora loves to travel and has been to Europe and Canada. As a high school Mathematics teacher for 8 years, she has worked with several English Language Learners from around the world.
Interests: Nora enjoys music, spending time in the mountains, creating new home decorations, and spending time with family and friends.

Mark Zajac

International Services Specialist

Education: B.A. in Global Studies, German and Spanish from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
Global know-how: Mark has studied abroad in both Germany and Spain and spent a year teaching English in Germany on a Fulbright grant.  He has traveled extensively in Europe and has also been to Canada, Morocco and Turkey.
Interests: In his spare time, Mark loves practicing languages, running, reading, and spending time with his friends and family.

Elizabeth Hall

Coordinator of Study Abroad

Education: B.A. in East Asian Studies from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Global Know-How: As an undergrad, Elizabeth studied abroad at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities in Hikone, Japan. After college, she participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and spent two years teaching English at a high school in Nagasaki City. Elizabeth has also traveled to England, France, and Italy.

Interests: In her free time, Elizabeth loves baking, attending musical theater and ballet, and reading (especially historical nonfiction).

Student Assistants

Study Abroad

  • Charlotte Sauer

International Center

  • Ryan Siddall, Student Assistant
  • Vien Yadavongsy, Student Assistant
  • Haoyu Liao, Student Assistant
  • Saahil Sofat, Student Assistant

For inquiries, please email the international center at