Arlene Benitez, Interim Director, CIEDR; Project Director, South Sudan Master's in Education Program (MEP)

Arlene Benitez serves as Interim Director for CIEDR and as Project Director for the USAID-funded Masters in Education (MEP) program, a partnership between Indiana University and the University of Juba focused on developing a Masters of Education in Emergencies Program at the University of Juba to prepare educational leaders in South Sudan and assisting South Sudanese universities and the education system to promote social cohesion, peace building, and conflict mitigation.

Prior to MEP, she served as Program Director for SSHIELD, a program aimed at increasing gender equity and women’s leadership in South Sudan. During her time at Indiana University, she has also managed international education projects in Afghanistan, Turkey, Armenia, Malawi, Ecuador, and India.

Prior to her work at IU, Ms. Benitez started her career as social studies and English teacher in Los Angeles and later held the position of Assistant Director for Civitas International Programs at the Center for Civic Education, a U.S. based NGO, where she managed civic education partnerships in Latin America, Europe and Eurasia, and the Middle East. Her academic interests include education in conflict and crisis settings, human rights education, and gender inclusive education.

To contact Ms. Benitez, please e-mail her at

Jacob Butler

Jacob Butler, Project Director, Fulbright Exchange Programs

Jacob Butler is the project director for Fulbright Exchange Programs at the Center for International Education, Development & Research (CIEDR). In that role, he serves as the director for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program and the Fulbright Russian International Education Administrators Program.

Jacob earned a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Indiana University, participating in the School of Education's Global Gateway for Teachers Program which allowed him to complete part of his student teaching in Kenya. In 2011, Jacob earned a Master’s degree in African Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a linguistic focus in Kiswahili.  Jacob later moved to Tanzania and spent a year working as a volunteer teacher at Buko Secondary School in rural Musoma. In 2013, Jacob was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and served as a facilitator in the Center for Teaching & Learning at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In 2017, Jacob completed a Master's certificate in Higher Education & Student Affairs at Indiana University.

To contact Mr. Butler, please email him at

 Evan Mickey

Evan Mickey, Program Manager, Transformational Leadership Program - Scholarships and Partnerships

Evan Mickey is an Academic Specialist and serves as CIEDR's program manager for the Transformational Leadership Program – Scholarships and Partnerships (TLP-SP) project, which is funded by USAID and the Kosovo government and administered by World Learning. TLP-SP is a multi-faceted project designed to develop a cadre of leaders to drive significant change in Kosovo in priority economic, political, and social development areas. Through TLP-SP, Indiana University has partnered with the University of Pristina to develop scientific-research activity in the Faculty of Education (FE) at the University of Pristina (UP) through exchanges and other programming to improve Kosovo's education system.

In addition to his work on TLP-SP, Mr. Mickey provides support to many of CIEDR's projects, including the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, the Fulbright Russian International Education Administrators Program, and more.

Mr. Mickey has taught undergraduate and graduate coursework in economics and cross-cultural interactions, served as a research assistant for the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP), and completed a research fellowship for Save the Children-USA in Bangladesh.  He has a bachelor's in Elementary Education with a minor in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master's degree in International and Comparative Education from Indiana University and is a doctoral candidate in Education Policy Studies at Indiana University.

To contact Mr. Mickey, please e-mail him at

Dr. Erden

Ozlem Erden, Academic Specialist

Ozlem Erden, PhD is an Academic Specialist with CIEDR. Dr. Erden's research concentrates on refugee and immigrant education, multicultural education, and curriculum theories. Dr. Erden received her PhD in Curriculum Studies from Indiana University - Bloomington under the mentorship of Dr. David J. Flinders. Her dissertation examined Syrian refugee students' agency and independence development in Turkey within the framework of such local refugee protection and education model.

Dr. Erden has worked with CIEDR since 2015, assisting many of its projects, including the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program and Fulbright Russian International Education Administrators Program. In 2017, Dr. Erden will serve as a Specialized Friday Fulbright Seminar instructor, with Dr. Stephanie C. Serriere, and an inquiry project coordinator.

Dr. Erden earned a BSc degree in Science Teaching from Hacettepe University, Ankara and an MSc degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She received Postgraduate Exchange Certificate in Education Studies at Middlesex University, London. She also attended short-term training on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, the United Kingdom. Previously, she worked in several projects with the immigrant and refugee communities from Middle Eastern and North African countries in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

To contact Dr. Erden, please e-mail her at

Rhonda Gambill

Rhonda Gambill, Academic Specialist

Rhonda Gambill is an Academic Specialist with CIEDR. Ms. Gambill has worked on projects with English teachers from Turkey and Armenia and female educators from South Sudan.

Rhonda has taught at both the secondary and college level including social studies methods and multicultural education courses. She also worked as a graduate assistant to the Associate Dean of Teacher Education during the national accreditation process for the School of Education. Outside of academia, Rhonda is an appointed commissioner on the City of Bloomington’s Human Rights Commission and is currently a First Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and politics from Drexel University and a master's degree in citizenship education from the University of Pennsylvania. Rhonda is currently a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum Studies Program at Indiana.

To contact Ms. Gambill, please e-mail her at

Jennifer Douglas Jennifer Douglas, Research Associate

Jennifer Douglas serves as a Research Associate at CIEDR.  She assists with grant research and proposal writing, actively looks for funding opportunities and collaborations with schools and other sources, and participates in programming.

Prior to her work with CIEDR, she spent many years as a Teacher of the Deaf.   She was also an Outreach Coordinator at Montana State University and developed projects in science education involving local public schools, Native American Reservation schools, and South African township schools. She holds a Masters of Science from the State University of New York at Geneseo in Deaf Education.

To contact Ms. Douglas, please e-mail her at

Christi Jones

Christi A. Jones, Administrative Manager

Christi Jones serves as the Administrative Manager of the Center for International Education, Development & Research.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and education. Ms. Jones has middle school teaching experience. Before coming to Indiana University, Christi held positions with the U.S. Army as a social services representative. She also served as the program coordinator for the University of Southern California (Zeibrucken, Germany) overseas Master of Science degree in information systems management.

To contact Ms. Jones, please e-mail her at


Emma Everson, Graduate Assistant

Emma is a doctoral student in Education Policy Studies and a Graduate Assistant for CIEDR.

Emma earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and ESL from Ball State University and her M.A.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from Bellarmine University. While completing her degree at Ball State University, Emma student taught in a 5th grade classroom at Smith Elementary in Baumholder, Germany. Apart from student teaching in Germany, Emma also studied abroad in London at the City of Westminster College. Before starting her doctoral work at Indiana University, Emma taught ESL for several years in Kentucky at the secondary level. Her research interests focus on education policy for English learners and improving teachers' pedagogical knowledge for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

To contact Ms. Everson, please e-mail her at