APA Advisory Board

APA Advisory Board is a committee from different professions and/or industries. Members are composed of faculty, educational abroad practitioners, academic advisors and influencers, institutional coordinators, and other important stakeholders from various countries. APA Advisory Board members are not paid for their services. They play a role in assuring ongoing qualities of APA study abroad programs and oversee our academic standing and assisting APA in continuously improving our students’ international learning experience. 

 Advice and guidance will be received from the Advisory Board in the following areas:

As part of our Advisory Board’s dedication, we are planning to hold tri or quat-yearly meetings every year. Our advisors have an opportunity to visit our study-abroad destinations to get a glimpse of how APA programs are operated.

Gerald Walton Fry


Dr. Gerald Walton Fry

Professor | Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development | College of Education and Human Development | University of Minnesota

My background is Amish, although as a city-reared Kansas boy I was the only member of my extended family who didn’t speak Amish. Maybe that’s what prompted my interest in learning languages. I studied abroad as an undergraduate in Germany, taught in the Peace Corps in Thailand, and did fieldwork in Costa Rica on the relationship between education and national development. I eventually obtained my doctorate in international development education from Stanford, with a focus on Southeast Asia. Later, as head of the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Oregon, I continued to be particularly interested in education and development issues in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I enjoy moving, changing, and taking on new challenges. I have a total of approximately 13 years of fieldwork experience in mainland Southeast Asia over a period of six decades and am fluent in Thai and Lao. I’d like to see teaching about Asia improved in public schools, and to that end have collaborated with the Asia Society in New York.

In 1994-1995, I had the opportunity to spend a sabbatical doing fieldwork in Laos as a team leader for an Asia Development Bank (ADB)-funded education reform project. The project involved practical efforts to improve the quality of education through reform, such as training educators and producing new textbooks. I also served as team leader for an ADB-funded educational finance and management study in Thailand providing the research base for Thailand’s major education reform. Several years later (2002), I was asked by the ADB to prepare a synthesis report on education reform in Thailand. I have also done considerable research on Vietnam, a country where I spent time as a visiting professor.

Since 1993, I have been regularly taking study groups to Southeast Asia. I have led four University of Minnesota Global Seminars in Thailand and Laos. In the fall of 2008, I received an award from the Learning Abroad Center for promoting diversity in study abroad. I have also taken groups to Southeast Asia for Stanford and the East-West Center and took a Fulbright group to Cambodia.

In 2006-2007, I had a sabbatical in Japan. During that period I did the research for the basic reference book on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was published in the fall of 2008, as part of a series on global organizations.

During 2008-2009, I assisted the UNESCO Office for Asia and Pacific with two projects: 1) a study of education and development in Thailand and 2) a comparative study of secondary education in China, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Lao PDR.

I also had a major research grant with the late professor R. Michael Paige looking at the long-term impact of study abroad on global engagement. This project was funded through the International Research Title VI program of the U.S. Department of Education. The project was titled Beyond Immediate Impact: Study Abroad for Global Engagement. Also with Dr. Paige, I published a major monograph for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on how study abroad transforms careers, world views, and outlooks on life, based on a major research project funded by CIEE.

In August 2009, I gave a presentation (in collaboration with a CIDE graduate student) at the International Convention of Asian Studies (held in Korea) on the complexities of understanding cultures that are similar such as Japanese and Korean and Thai and Lao. At their most recent convention at Leiden University in the Netherlands in July 2019, I presented a paper on the evolution of inequality in Thailand.

In 2013, I completed the major reference work (in English) on all aspects of Thai society. Its title is the Historical Dictionary of Thailand. I just completed in 2018 a comprehensive book on education in Thailand titled, Education in Thailand: An Old Elephant in Search of a New Mahout, published by Springer Three of my major current research projects are education for healthy aging and strategies to reverse aging, a project on happiness education, and a critical analysis of Chinese “soft power” in Laos and Thailand, reflected in their BRI initiative. The expectation is that the first two projects will result in two or three major books.

I try to emphasize interactive, experiential, and participatory learning in my classrooms. I enjoy teaching and have developed a number of innovative courses at Minnesota. I’m really pleased to be living in an urban area with such large and diverse Asian and African diasporas. I also served for many years on the Board of the Directors of the Hmong Cultural Center, located in St. Paul, and in 2017-2018, I served as Chairman of the Board.



  • – BA, Stanford University
  • – MPA, Princeton University
  • – Ph.D., Stanford University

Catherine Wang

President of Shenzhen Horn Audio

Catherine Wang

President of Shenzhen Horn Audio | Shenzhen Horn Audio Co.,Ltd

Catherine Wang has been the President of Horn Audio for 31 years. Catherine is the founder of Horn Audio – a company established in 2001 and committed to the development of total solutions and applications for acoustic products. Horn is recognized in China as a National High-tech Enterprise promoting innovative technology. Company headquarters is located in Shenzhen, China with production in both Shenzhen, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, and Liuyang, Hunan province, Vietnam with production in Haiphong city. With branch offices in the USA, Japan, Taiwan, and Europe, Horn provides integrated acoustic product solutions to our customers as well as ODM/OEM services.

Quan Le


Dr. Quan Le

Economist | Educator | Fulbright Scholar | YSEALI | Higher Education | United States and Vietnam

Dr. Le is an educator and economist with more than 20 years of teaching, research, and administrative experience in higher education in the United States and Vietnam. Currently, he is a consultant for local and foreign universities on curriculum development and internationalization strategy.  He was a Director of YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam, Director of Business Administration Program, College of Business and Management at Vin University, and Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Circular Economy Development at Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City. Before returning to Vietnam, he was Eva Albers Professor of Economics and Director of the International Business Program at Seattle University.  He was awarded a Fulbright Scholar in 2006, 2016, and a Fulbright Specialist in 2017 at three Vietnamese universities by the United States Department of State.  He teaches primarily in the areas of international economics, macroeconomics, and economic development. His research is in the areas of entrepreneurship, governance, public health, and sustainability.  His work has appeared in the International Review of Financial Analysis, the Journal of International Money and Finance, the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Behavior & Research, and Public Health.



  • – BA, University of California, Berkeley
  • – MA, University of San Francisco
  • – Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University

Sheldon Shaeffer

Senior Education Consultant

Dr. Sheldon Shaeffer

Senior Education Consultant | UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, AusAID/DFAT, ADB, ILO, SEAMEO, the Asia-Pacific Network on Early Childhood Education, and the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development.

Dr. Sheldon Shaeffer provides education consultancy services, focused on South and Southeast Asia, in areas such as inclusive education, child-friendly schools, early childhood care and education, teacher management and development, language policies in education, and multi-grade teaching. During recent years, he has worked as a consultant with UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, AusAID/DFAT, ADB, ILO, SEAMEO, the Asia-Pacific Network on Early Childhood Education, and the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development. Dr. Shaeffer was the Director of UNECSCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education from 2001 to 2008, Head of Education at UNICEFF New York from 1998 to 2001.



  • – BA, Stanford University
  • – Ph.D., Stanford University

Yongling Gorke


Dr. Yongling Gorke

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development | College of Education and Human Development | University of Minnesota

Dr. Yongling Gorke is the assistant director for international education in the Office of International Programs and an adjunct professor of Chinese in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at UNC Charlotte. At the Office of International Programs, she assists the senior international officer on a variety of initiatives such as the strategic plan and collaborates on cross-unit programs such as the Student Learning Outcome project, Globally Networked Learning, and Global Learning and Internationalization Institute (GLII).

She has taught various Chinese courses at UNC Charlotte and led multiple short-term study abroad programs such as Experiencing Chinese Culture through Historical and Modern Banking. Yongling’s professional expertise includes designing, implementing, and evaluating study abroad programs, curriculum development and teacher training in Chinese language and culture, and international education and exchange. She has received multiple federal grants as principal investigator such as STARTALK teacher summer institutions and NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth). 

In the Charlotte community, Yongling serves as the chair of the Charlotte-Baoding sister city relations committee, part of the Charlotte Sister Cities organization. She also co-leads a community group “Meet-Up Chinese in Charlotte”, which organizes both in-person and online Chinese language and culture events.

A native of Shanghai, China, Yongling studied on three continents: China (Fudan University, B.A.), the UK (University of Liverpool, M.Ed.), and the USA (University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Ph.D.). Yongling speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, English and German.



  • – B.A. Fudan University, Shanghai, China 
  • – M.Ed. University of Liverpool, UK
  • – Ph.D. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Ping Neo

Associate Engineer

Pingchien (Ping) Neo

Associate Engineer | Affiliations Division of Student Affairs, Staff | Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering | University of Florida 

Pingchien Neo was born and raised in Malaysia and moved to the United States to pursue a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently obtained her M.S. in Nuclear Engineering at ETH Zürich in Switzerland.

Since then, Pingchien has worked and studied in Asia, Europe, and the US. The exposure to different countries and cultures gives her a unique perspective on intercultural personal and professional relationships. In her work, she enjoys the opportunity to use her multilingual skills in English, Malay, Mandarin, and German.

Pingchien hopes to leverage her own international experiences to encourage engineering students to think and act globally. She is passionate about the need for more globally-minded engineers to keep up with the increasingly connected environment. Since then, she has advised numerous engineering students and helped them to gain international experience through study, research, and internship opportunities. She has worked with engineering faculty to develop thematic faculty-led programs and expanded the program offerings in the college. She has also advised joint study abroad programs between HWCOE and other colleges in UF. She hopes to continue to develop meaningful, and intentional programs for students to grow professionally and personally through international experiences.



  • – BS, University of California, Berkeley
  • – MS, ETH Zürich
  • – MS, University of Florida 

Jennifer Creamer

Director of Global Engagement

Jennifer Creamer

Anthropologist | International Educator | Director | Center for Global Engagement | Robert Morris University

Jennifer Creamer is the Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement at Robert Morris University where she oversees education abroad, international student services, and campus internationalization. Creamer has a long personal and professional relationship with Japan. After spending the summer with a host family near Yokohama with Youth for Understanding in high school, Creamer decided to pursue Japanese language and area studies in college. She returned to study in Japan during college (Kyoto) and graduate school (Yokohama), and also taught English as a Second Language in Japan. As part of a sister city-university partnership, Creamer designed and hosted short-term education abroad programs for Japanese college students and helped coordinate pre-departure programs for American high school students heading to Japan. Currently, Creamer serves on the Board of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and enjoys volunteering with their Japan in the Schools program to share Japanese culture with K-12 students. A cultural anthropologist by training, Creamer has conducted qualitative research on the perceived impact of study abroad on the academic and career trajectories of Japanese women. A member of the NAFSA: Association of International Educator’s Trainer Corps since 2010, she is an active trainer and presenter at national international education and anthropology conferences.

She currently serves on the NAFSA national conference committee as the Content Chair for NAFSA’s 75th Anniversary conference in Washington DC in 2023. Creamer received her BA in anthropology and East Asian studies from Colby College, Waterville, ME, and her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



  • – A.B., Colby College
  • – Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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