Meet Our Ambassadors

We are grateful for the leadership, commitment, and generosity of our UCSB EAP Ambassadors. Their collective expertise, personal & professional networks, and philanthropic support help us to open up the world to students through transformative and life-changing study abroad experience. 


UCSB EAP Ambassadors

Ellen Raede, Chair, Madrid, Spain 1978-79

Ellen’s year abroad in Madrid as part of EAP was the highlight of her UCSB years, and was a formative experience in her life. A strong passion of hers is to learn languages and experience other cultures.  She and her husband Rob (UCSB ‘80) recently spent a month in Rome studying Italian. They have been significant donors to EAP and Ellen found a way to give back even more by becoming the founding member and chair of the UCSB EAP Ambassadors group. 

Ellen has been active in many leadership roles in the Santa Barbara community including PTA president, synagogue board member, SB Hillel board member, and creator of a program bringing Israeli teenagers to live and work in the local community. Professionally, Ellen was a CPA (now retired) and helped in the family business running a hedge fund.  Most importantly, she is the mom of two now adult boys, and grandmother to twins.  


Dennis Allen, Bordeaux, France 1962-63

Dennis is board chair of Allen Construction, a company specializing in custom green residential and commercial building. In the late 1960s, he spent several years working in Europe for an international organization to improve cooperation between East and West European countries. In 1973 he was sent to Paris by a coalition of national antiwar groups to monitor the Vietnam Peace talks and provide on-the-ground feedback.

Currently, he chairs the Bren Graduate School Dean's Council at UCSB and serves as a board trustee of the SB Museum of Natural History. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and biking (he doesn't own a car). His latest passion is plein air watercolor painting. 


Alicia Saver Goldsmith, Madrid, Spain 1980-81 

Alicia graduated with a BA in Anthropology from UCSB.  She went on to graduate from Loyola Law School in 1985.  She retired from the practice of law, wrapping up her career at Twentieth Century Fox Television. She has two daughters and lives in Los Angeles with her husband John.  Alicia has been an Ambassador to the EAP program for over ten years and each year, sponsors several EAP students, through a named scholarship, for study in Spain.  



Rachel Gray, Ghana 2015-16, Hong Kong, 2017

Rachel Gray obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Global Studies at UCSB in 2018. During her collegiate years, she learned how to think globally while acting locally. Currently, Rachel serves as an Outreach & In-reach Specialist for Merced College, helping K-12 students get a jump start on and transition into higher education. Rachel’s desire to help other Gauchos realize their own dreams of studying abroad led her to create the Gray-Robson Scholarship which supports students from the San Joaquin Valley to study abroad in Latin America, SE Asia, India, Middle East, or Africa.


Jan Koegler, Grenoble, France 1979-80

Jan Koegler is the public health emergency manager for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. Her work includes preparedness planning in collaboration with organizations across the county and state, and response to disasters.  She previously worked at international non-profits planning and providing medical services. Jan completed her bachelor’s degree at UCSB, and a master’s in public health at UCLA. As a UCSB education abroad participant, she spent her junior year abroad in 1979-80 in Grenoble, France.


Jody Linick, Grenoble, France 1984-85 

Jody Linick graduated from UCSB in 1985 with a double major in Sociology and French Literature. Her participation in EAP Grenoble, France 1984-85 was a truly life-enriching experience. Jody and her husband Christer Hagghult encourage a study abroad experience for all UCSB students, and have created an EAP scholarship fund to reduce financials barriers to entry. Jody owns a small business in Alameda, CA and enjoys Taiko drumming in her spare time. 



John Lofthus, Australia 1998-99

John Lofthus has a deep connection to UC Santa Barbara that includes two degrees (BA in Economics and MA in Educational Leadership) as well as an 18 year career in Institutional Advancement.  He is currently the Assistant Dean of Development for the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division where he focuses on raising critical financial support for UCSB's 3,000 graduate students.  John studied at the University of Sydney in 1999 and had such a great time that he went back to earn a graduate degree in marketing in 2003.  He has served as an EAP Ambassador since 2009. 



Jim Maloney, Goettingen, Germany 1982-83 

Jim enjoyed a long career in the field of international transportation and logistics after his graduation from UCSB in 1984. He has been engaged in LGBTQ+ rights activism since the early 1990s and more recently has facilitated restorative justice work with inmates at San Quentin State Prison, where he also helps coach the 1000 Mile Running Club. He has been an avid track and distance runner since high school and loves to compete in distance, trail and track races and is a regular competitor in the quadrennial Gay Games. He continues to reflect on the positive impact his EAP experience had on his life, and remains engaged in the program through his annual named scholarship giving and participation on the UCSB EAP Ambassadors Program.


Dr. Michael O’Connell, Rome, Italy 1964-65

Michael O'Connell is a professor emeritus of English, specializing in Renaissance and Late Medieval literature. He taught for 40 years at UCSB, and was director of its EAP program for 10 years, also serving as acting system-wide director in 2007-08. He was faculty director for the UK and Ireland 1992-94. His passion for study abroad began with his own year in Rome in 1964-65. 



Sudi Staub 

Sudi Staub was the first development officer at UCSB assigned specifically to support the Education Abroad Program.  Her ongoing efforts led to the establishment of the Ambassadors Group and an affordable named EAP Scholarship Program, both of them ways to further engage and inspire alumni who first participated in the program as students. 


Marie Williams, Goettingen, Germany, 1987-88

Ms. Williams is senior director of technology for the Marriott Corporation. She is an experienced marketing and technology executive. Prior to joining Marriott, she was senior director, digital product management for Hilton Worldwide.

While studying abroad with EAP in Goettingen, West Germany during her junior year at UCSB, Ms. Williams developed a passion for international experience and has sought out global companies for most of her career.  While at Ford Motor Company, she lived in England as the global marketing lead for the Jaguar X-Type development program and then moved to Germany to be the fleet vehicles Marketing & Sales lead for Ford of Germany. Even while based in the U.S. with Ford, Capital One, Hilton and Marriott, Ms. Williams has led numerous global initiatives, particularly in the digital space. 

Marie has been supporting EAP scholarships since 2009 and has established the Marie Williams Scholarship Fund for EAP.


Leslie Meyers Zomalt, Bordeaux, France 1962-63 

Leslie Meyers Zomalt was one of 82 students in the UCEAP Inaugural Program. Her experiences in Bordeaux awakened her interest in Higher Education. She completed a BA, MA and PhD in History.  At the same time, she recognized that she enjoyed “starting things” and taking risks.  At 23 she began a college teaching career that lasted over 35 years.  As Dean of Student Activities at UCSB, she served as the first Director of the Women’s Center.  In 1990 she and her husband took on the challenges of opening California State University, San Marcos where she taught and developed the Undergraduate Advising Program.  In addition to serving as an Ambassador for the Education Abroad Program at UCSB, Leslie and her husband established the Ernest and Leslie Zomalt International Education Fund which secures scholarship funding well into the future for students pursuing their dreams of studying abroad.