Our Team

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Our Team

Our APA team is located across the Asia-Pacific and the United States with our headquarter in Shanghai. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” It takes a team effort to bring the Asia-Pacific to you. Meet the people who make your experiential learning possible in this region.


Sharon Jiang

Founder & Managing Director

With 13 years of experience in the field, Sharon is APA’s Managing Director and co-founded the organization with Daisy Ouyang. She has a BS in Statistics from Chongqing University of Technology and a MA in Comparative International Development Education from the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about working with international educators and customizing programs based on different topics and fields for students. She loves exploring new ideas and innovations. Before COVID, she always spent much of her time traveling in the US and the Asia-Pacific region to discover sustainable community resources for students from both sides of the globe. She believes that students can better understand and appreciate people in different cultures by studying abroad. When these students become our future leaders, they will hopefully remember what they learned and make positive changes for the whole of society.

Daisy Ouyang

Co-Founder & Operations Director

Daisy, the Co-Founder and New Initiatives Director at APA, has about 10 years of experience working in international education. In this role, she provides leadership and strategic plans in academic engagements for APA international programs. Daisy is the key person that expands and maintains strategic partnerships with our corporate and university partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

She is constantly engaged in exploring unique experiences and believes that “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Daisy earned her MA in Translation from Anhui University and now resides in Shanghai, China.

Biying Ding

Part-time Program Manager

Biying Joined the team in 2018. She was Program Director for faculty-led programs before she works APA as a Part-time Program Manager. She supports APA’s program as on-site managers during program peak season. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Event Management and Economics from Beijing International Studies University. Biying also spent her senior year at the University of California San Diego as an exchange student. In the past four years, Biying has enjoyed working with international educators and she loves interacting with both faculty and students to learn about different cultures and different ways of thinking.

Through her own experiences of studying and working in various countries, she believes that international communication and exchanges are the key to creating a more peaceful world based on mutual respect and understanding. Her passion lies in providing these opportunities to the next generation so they can explore the larger world through their own eyes.

Zhi (Tina) Dong

Program Manager, Faculty-led Programs

As a Program Manager, Tina plays an important role on proposal development, program management, and on-site operations for customized faculty-led programs. Over the past five years, Tina has been dedicated to intercultural communications and youth leadership in leading global media groups and NGOs. She holds a BA in International Relations from Hong Kong Baptist University and an MA in Global Development at the University of Leeds in the UK. Tina enjoys traveling all over the world and making friends with people from various backgrounds. She has studied abroad at the summer schools in the US and South Korea and has worked as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. These international education experiences have broadened her perspectives and added so much value to her life. She believes that the first step in being a global citizen is to travel abroad – an experience that will expand your horizons and build cultural competence.

Catherine Chen

Senior Manager, Academic Events

Catherine has over five years of experience in higher education and project management. As the Manager of New Initiatives and Partnership, Catherine leads partnership development with corporate partners, universities, and NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure that academic arrangements for APA’s programs are of the highest quality. She holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from Lancaster University.

With her passion for providing international students with the best learning experience in Asia, Catherine has been dedicated to working with our partners in service development and program design. She is highly empathetic and believes that diverse experiences help us better understand the world.

Yannan Liu

Operations Manager, Southeast Asia and South Asia

After interning as a Program Coordinator, Yannan found herself identifying with the goals and values of APA and decided to join the team full time. Yannan holds a BA in Tourism Management from Beijing International Studies University and an MA in Sustainable Tourism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also spent half a year at Griffith University (Australia) as a visiting scholar. Yannan is now an Operations Manager responsible for faculty-led study abroad programs and international internship programs. She works directly with faculty and students across programs.

With a diversified education herself, Yannan understands the value of intercultural learning and communication, and is working hard to bring it to as many students as possible.

Issa Wang

Operations Manager, Greater China

She is currently an Operations Manager at APA for programs in Mainland China and Taiwan. Her job responsibilities at APA mainly include logistics arrangements including working with partners such as housing, transportation, classrooms, cultural activities, local tour guides, coordinators, airfare, and others. Before moving to her role, she was responsible for APA’s recruitment and the allocation of various positions, salary and welfare management, training and development, labor relations, and management and administration. Issa is committed to the idea that through study abroad programs, every participant can become a great global citizen.

Chengyu Liu

Associate Program Manager, Internship and Faculty-led Programs

Chenyu is currently an Associate Program Manager at APA. She has a BA in Music Education from East China Normal University and an MA from the Institute of Education, University College London. During her international study experience in London, she became much more conscious of cultural differences and the impact that different systems of education can have. Therefore, she has a keen interest in the field of international education. In her role as a program assistant, Chenyu is assisting program management team on short-term faculty-led programs  and internship programs on program set up on academic arrangements and logistics set up. Her goal is to contribute to international education in order to help more people to experience the changes and growth that it brings. She believes that high-level intercultural communication skills are extremely important in the workplace and she is working to become more proficient in this area.

Yunpeng Cheng

Associate Program Manager, Faculty-led Programs

Yunpeng is currently working at APA as an Associate Program Manager. He has a BA in Business Management from Cleveland State University. Before joining APA, Yunpeng worked at C&Y Global, a U.S. import-export company located in Texas. With his own international study background and experience working abroad, he feels that understanding different cultures is of utmost importance. His experiences have also made him realize that his passion lies in career development. In his role as a program assistant, Yunpeng is assisting our program management team in customizing our study abroad programs based on the needs of various program themes and fields of study. He enjoys working with faculty and students from different cultural backgrounds and helping the students to have a meaningful experience while they are participating in our programs.

Xiaoxiao Li

Program Manager, Faculty-led Programs

Xiaoxiao is currently a Program Manager for APA and works with the program team, focusing primarily on the management and execution of short-term faculty-led programs in March, June-August, October-November. She holds an M.Ed. in education from the University of Edinburgh and a BS in Applied Psychology from Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. Prior to joining APA, she had over five years of experience working in the education and non-profit sector. She started her career as a volunteer teacher for two years at a primary school in rural village of Yunnan province. The two-year project improved the school facility such as water purification system, library informatization, and others. She then became a teacher for mathematics at Yeh Wah International Education School for three years before she pursued her master’s degree. With her passion for education, she believes that learning is part of life and that studying helps students learn to integrate into society.

Sijia (Zoe) Gu

Assistant Program Manager, Faculty-led Programs

Zoe is a Assistant Program Manager at APA. She holds a BA in Italian Language and Literature from Shanghai International Studies University. During her time at the university, she had the opportunity to study in Italy and this experience ignited her passion for communication between different cultures. Before joining APA, Zoe worked at Adiacent as an Associate Account Manager and Content Manager for planning marketing plans, exhibition plan and implementation, follow up with clients for project plan and execution. She believes that the best way to understand another culture is to travel and experience the real local life. She enjoys helping more students to broaden their knowledge of Asia-Pacific region through the various APA programs.

Qi (Kiki) Zou

Academic Events Facilitator

Kiki is currently an Academic Events Facilitator at APA. She holds a BA in English Literature from the Xianda College of Economics and Humanities that is part of Shanghai International Studies University. Kiki’s education career began five years ago when she decided to pursue an MA degree in translation and interpretation at Beijing Foreign Studies University, but that’s not where she landed in the end. Instead, she worked as an overseas consultant at New Oriental, a provider of various types of educational programs. She found that she had a real passion for helping students study abroad and become immersed in different cultures. She prides herself on her ability to network with different types of institutions, NGOs, NPOs, and corporate partners to provide better experiences for students. She believes that life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.

Shiwen (Vera) Zhang

Assistant Program Manager

Shiwen (Vera) Han is currently an Assistant Program Manager at APA. She holds a BE in Electronic and Information Engineering from Shanghai Normal University. Vera started her career as a teacher of engineering for teenagers, where she found her passion in education. She enjoyed working with students and teachers. She also had working experience as a project manager in an Internet company. Her experience made her a better collaborator. She believes that study and travel abroad experiences can expand our horizon and help us to better understand different cultures.

Ruochen (Jasper) Fan

Assistant Program Manager

Jasper is an Assistant Program Manager at APA in our program management team in Asia. He has 5 years’ experience as a PHD student at Hanyang University in South Korea. During his university time, he had opportunity to participate in scientific research and internship project which developed him good communication and problem-solving skills. After graduation, he developed a great passion for education. He wants to help students gain new perspectives and experience diverse cultures through his efforts.

Mason K. He

Market Coordinator

Mason is currently a Marketing Coordinator for APA and also a graduate student at Yonsei University pursuing his Master’s in Global Strategy Management. Originally from Sacramento, California, Mason pursued his double major in International Relations and Chinese at University of California, Davis. He has previous studying abroad experience in Beijing where he completed a one year study program at Peking University and had the opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and language. Additionally, after participating as a former student ambassador for the South Korea programs, he became more passionate about helping students immersing in different cultures. Finally, he is dedicated to promoting programs in the Asia-Pacific regions and contributing creativity and insights to the APA team.


North America

Dr. Kristine Lalley

Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships

Kristine has dedicated her career to supporting the learning and development
needs of tens of thousands of college and university students, and was one
of the early pioneers of global education for STEM students in the U.S.,
starting as part of the College of Engineering at Penn State University in
their efforts to provide global experiential programs including internships
and cooperative education.  From there, Kristine became the founding
Director of International Engineering Initiatives for the Swanson School of
Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, where she built a diverse array
of global experiential programs alongside faculty and administrators, often
inspired by topics of global significance, such as climate change, social
justice, renewable energy, and the varied effects of technological
innovation.  Kristine also has extensive experience in academic advising,
teaching and learning, course development, student and academic affairs, and
crisis management in education abroad.  She is passionate about high impact
practices in higher education – where students can engage in challenging
experiences such as project-based learning, field work, internships, and
global community engagement.  Her scholarship focuses on processes of
learning in global education, and she is committed to helping others create
high impact practices for their own students.

Dr. Colleen Berry

APA U.S. Representative

Colleen, one of APA’s U.S. representatives, is a recently retired professor of Chinese and Asian studies. As a professional tour leader, she led 44 trips to China before becoming a professor; then, as a professor, she took over one hundred students to China on short-term, faculty-led study abroad trips between 2005–2018. She is passionate about the value of study abroad and about the ways that APA works with students and faculty to ensure smooth, successful trips.

Beth Uding

Director of Academic Partnerships

Beth has been working in international education since 2007 and is passionate about helping students build their careers through transformative educational experiences, including study abroad, internships, and other forms of experiential learning. She began her career at Cultural Vistas in New York City, administering a reciprocal exchange program for young professionals between Germany and the United States. From there, she spent six years in Singapore with Yale-NUS College, overseeing faculty-led programs, including the college’s signature “Learning Across Boundaries” programs in Southeast Asia. Beth earned her BA in German Studies from the University of Minnesota and has an MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute. With extensive experience managing global programs and serving a diverse range of stakeholders, she looks forward to collaborating with APA’s partner institutions on the development of exciting new program initiatives.


Shoitsu Nakayama

Assistant Country Manager, Japan

Shoitsu is APA’s Assistant Country Manager in Japan. She holds a BA in International Affairs with a minor in Japanese from Northeastern University and an MA in international relations from New York University with a concentration in Asian studies. Before joining APA, she was a Project Assistant at APCO and a research assistant at Edelman Global Advisory. She had also interning at the Carter Center where she was responsible for managing communications between non-profit organizations and corporate sponsors as well as for conducting research on issues of interest and relevance to the U.S.–China business and policy communities. Born in Tokyo and raised in Shanghai, Shoitsu is truly passionate about exploring multinational cooperation and relations in the Asia-Pacific.

Naim (Grace) Kang

Assistant Country Manager, South Korea

Grace is based in South Korea where she is currently working at APA as an Assistant Country Manager. She has a BA in English Literature from Shanghai International Studies University. Born in South Korea, she was raised in South Korea, Canada, and China, which gave her a great deal of multicultural and multilingual experience. Before joining APA, her career was mainly focused on marketing and event management. In her role as an assistant country manager, Grace is assisting our program management in customized faculty-led programs, internship, and university-based program for on-site program support and operations in South Korea.

Kriengkrai Punthata

APA Thailand Representative

Kriengkrai Punthata’s nickname is Noom. He was born and raised in Chiangmai, Thailand and has been working as a freelance tour guide in Thailand for 19 years. In addition, Noom has six years of experience working as a tour guide and facilitator for high school and university students. Noom likes to say, “Learning new things is kind of challenge. Just open your mind then you are ready for a new experience. Let’s explore the world!”

Mari Ohara

APA Japan Representative

An experienced communication expert, Mari holds the National Government License for Official Guide-Interpreter in Japan. She has hosted countless guests from all over the world, escorting them and introducing them to Japanese culture, art, history, and society, often while traveling with them. Mari was born in Tokyo, studied English linguistics and literature, and has an extensive background in intercultural business. She has gained invaluable experience in international exchanges while traveling and exploring many countries around the world. She is now based in Kyoto, an ancient capital city of Japan, and has more than 15 years of experience in tea ceremony as a specialist and lector, demonstrating the tea ceremony in programs in Europe and the U.S. for students and faculty. Trekking in nature is one of her favorite ways to meditate. Mari is a firm believer in “Seeing is believing—just open your eyes. Whatever you see can be an opportunity!”

Kyungsub Roh

APA South Korea Representative

Andy graduated from Gyeoungju University with a major in hotel management. He has worked as an inbound team manager at Sky Tour Co., Ltd. since 2013. He has handled ground logistics for schools, corporations, and incentive groups from all over the world. Andy now serves as local logistics support for APA’s programs in South Korea, while he is also the Director of Semin International Tour. He feels that making school tour arrangements has been his favorite experience because he felt so proud when he could successfully create opportunities for international students to visit various authentic Korean facilities. Because of this, he has decided to concentrate on school trips. He feels responsible for always doing his best to offer once-in-a-life time learning experiences to the students. Andy believes “You can learn things by traveling, but a well-arranged study trip will help you learn how to learn things and take you to next level.” 

Sachin Rawat

APA India Representative

Kriengkrai Punthata’s nickname is Noom. He was born and raised in Chiangmai, Thailand and has been working as a freelance tour guide in Thailand for 19 years. In addition, Noom has six years of experience working as a tour guide and facilitator for high school and university students. Noom likes to say, “Learning new things is kind of challenge. Just open your mind then you are ready for a new experience. Let’s explore the world!”

Richard Thong

APA Singapore & Malaysia Representative

Born and educated in Malaysia, Richard speaks and writes English, Malay, and Mandarin, as well as a few Chinese dialects. After finishing high school, at the age of 20 he ventured to Singapore alone to gain some international exposure. As a result, Singapore has been his home for almost 40 years. Before working as a facilitator for educational tours, he worked for 2 Japanese multinational corporations which allowed him to visit 39 countries. The experience made him feels truly international and beyond his dreams. His interests are Movies, Music, “Makan” (“eating” in Malay), and Model kit building—all the M’s! His favorite character is Homer—not the Greek one, but the Simpson one. He feels that this exemplifies his personality—easy going. Now he is in a very exciting phase of his life, working as a tour leader, through which he gets to meet many new friends from foreign countries. International travels have enabled him to see, understand, and appreciate the contrast in cultures, economic development, and nature. That have broadened his views, humbled him, made him more positive and FUN.


Mo Xu

With a Bachelor of Law and an MA in Foreign and Applied Linguistics from Southwest Jiao Tong University, Mo has been leading the English test teaching team for over 6 years. Enthusiastic about teaching, he embarked on his journey as an English teacher after first working for a consulting company and property developers, which he sees as valuable experience in his work with students and the team. Mo currently teaches courses related to English proficiency tests like TOEFL and IELTS. He values helping students to acquire linguistic and cultural English proficiency. Although he is the team leader, Mo prefers to call himself a coordinator. He believes that by choosing the right team members, creating a fair and open work atmosphere, and setting clear directions for the team members, they can make their best contributions, which means a better product for our clients.

Peini Xie

Penny is an English teacher who has been teaching language test subjects for the past 7 years. She graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University majoring in Italian. She also has an MA in English Literature from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Currently, Penny is mainly responsible for teaching GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo. She is a good ‘tailor’ who stitches religion, geography, history, and other cultural content into English teaching, which makes the examination preparation more fun and easier for her students. She believes that going abroad to see the diversity of the world is a catalyst for new ideas and creativity, and language learning is just the first step for students to appreciate diversity, experience new cultures, and learn different ways of looking at the world.

Lan Luo

With more than 6 years of experience in the field, Lan provides study-abroad counseling and is responsible for developing  our personal learning plans. She consults on language teaching and training, and teaches courses on standardized language exams. She has a BA in English Broadcasting from the Communications University of China, Nanjing and an MA in Globalization and Communications from the University of Leicester (GK). Lan hopes to make a real difference through education: she is passionate about helping her students become active, engaged citizens. She keeps up with the latest information in her field to explore new opportunities for students. She believes that study abroad allows students to challenge themselves both personally and academically, and gives them a leg up when entering the workforce.

Wenxi Mou

Wenxi holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Sichuan University and an MS from the University of Bristol (UK). 

With 5 years of experience in providing overseas educational guidance to students, Wenxi helps students apply to top universities worldwide, plan their schedules, and find the best educational pathways that are compatible with their life goals. She has helped more than 300 students transfer to US universities and assisted them in applying to top graduate schools such as Cornell, Penn, Northwestern, Columbia, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. Wenxi believes study abroad gives students valuable academic and life experience,  helping them develop their beliefs and values and making them more competitive in their future careers.

Elsa Qiu

With four years of experience in the study abroad application field, Elsa helps students with their personalized pathway planning for transfer and graduate applications. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics and is currently pursuing a Master degree in Public Administration from Sichuan University. She understands that studying abroad is a process of getting to know oneself and the world. Immersing oneself in a different social environment allows one to transcend the boundaries of thinking and makes it easier to understand the diversity of the world.

Grace Wang

Grace has been a college admissions counselor for four years. With an MA from the University of Surrey (UK), she has consulted with over 200 students on admissions, transfers, and graduate school. Grace has had extensive training in college application editing, college prep workshops, and admissions consulting. Her students have been admitted to top engineering schools such as Cornell, UC Berkeley, and the U of M Ann Arbor.  

Grace values higher education and believes that studying abroad changes in students’ lives: it helps them achieve their academic and career goals through a high-quality education and diverse campus culture. 


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