Friends of Fulbright Finland Alumni Council

The Friends of Fulbright Alumni Council was established in May 2015. As an advisory and working group, its purpose is to consider how to develop the U.S. alumni program further through gatherings, enhanced communication, FoFF Alumni Enrichment Award support and development, and other topics as suggested by alumni. The Council consists of up to ten U.S. alumni of the Finnish Fulbright program, recruited from throughout the U.S. and representing all the different grant programs.

Current Council Members

Headshot of Bruce Blair
Bruce Blair
2019 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä
Alton, New Hampshire

Bruce L. Blair is a Senior Analyst at the State of New Hampshire Department of Energy. He was a Fulbright-EDUFI Research Fellow for 2019-2020 and was primarily located at the University of Jyväskylä where he researched Finnish nuclear waste management efforts.  Like all Fulbright scholars, Bruce’s Fulbright was ended prematurely in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bruce’s research background not only includes nuclear waste management on the country and international level, but also includes international cooperation and conflict, non-profit management, and public-private partnerships. Bruce is also an experienced higher education administrator with previous appointments in student success, international education, graduate education, and on-campus housing.

Bruce is excited to serve on the FoFF Alumni Council and to help pay forward all of the help and aid he has received. 

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Mary Anne Butler
2018 Fulbright Leaders for Global Schools Program
Groton, Connecticut

Mary Anne Butler is currently the Superintendent of Stonington Public Schools in Stonington, Connecticut. Prior to her superintendency, she held Assistant Superintendent positions in Stonington, Groton, and Windsor Public Schools. Her career in public education also includes over 6 years of experience with the Connecticut State Department of Education in various roles including Chief Academic Officer. Butler has over a decade of classroom teaching experience serving in Somers Public Schools. The Bureau of Education and Research in Bellevue, Washington hired her in 2003 as a national presenter on science education and she continues to deliver seminars across the country as a consultant. Mary Anne just completed her second 4 year-term on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) High School Review Committee. She is a free-lance writer for Penguin Random House. Mary Anne is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Fulbright Leaders for Global Schools (Finland). She holds a B.S. in Biology from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, a J.D. from Western New England University School of Law, and a 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University.

Headshot of John Donnellan
John Donnellan
2017 Fulbright Specialist Program
2019 Fulbright-Turku UAS Scholar Award
2021 Fulbright Specialist Program
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Dr. John Donnellan is an accomplished academic and experienced professional in the field of management. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair of the Management Department at the NJCU School of Business, located in Jersey City, NJ, USA. With an international teaching background, Dr. Donnellan has delivered lectures in various countries including China, England, France, Finland, and Mexico. Notably, he has had the privilege of lecturing at prestigious institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, as well as Columbia University in New York City.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Donnellan gained valuable executive management experience on Wall Street, having worked at JPMorgan and Prudential Financial. This practical background in finance and management serves as a solid foundation for his research pursuits.

Dr. Donnellan's latest research focuses on the development of the ARC model in higher education, specifically addressing the internationalization of curriculum. His work on this topic gained recognition when it was featured on NPR's "Academic Minute," showcasing the significance of his findings in the field of academia.

Education-wise, Dr. Donnellan earned his MBA and Doctoral degrees from Nova Southeastern University and Pace University, respectively, specializing in Entrepreneurship and International Business. His research is primarily grounded in management and financial theories, leading to the publication of numerous articles that highlight and contribute to these areas of study.

In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Donnellan has conducted research collaborations with the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), examining the small business sectors in both rural and urban areas of Mexico and the United States.

Dr. Donnellan's dedication to research and academic excellence has been recognized through his participation in prestigious programs such as the US Specialist and Scholarship Fulbright Programs. During these programs, he conducted research in Rauma, Turku, and Rovaniemi in Finland, focusing on small businesses and curriculum development at Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences, and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.  In addition, he earned a TIES State Department award and participated in lectures dealing with the rural communities of the US in Birmingham Alabama 2023. 

Overall, Dr. John Donnellan's extensive academic and professional background, coupled with his research contributions, make him a highly regarded figure in the field of management and higher education.

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Edwin (Mike) Loovis
2010 Fulbright Scholar Program, University of Jyväskylä
Special Project Adviser for the Rediscover Suomi Journey
Cleveland, Ohio

E. Michael Loovis received his PhD from The Ohio State University in 1975.  He is professor emeritus at Cleveland State University where he taught from 1978 to 2013 and where he is currently chairperson of the Department of Health and Human Performance having come out of retirement in July 2016. He is a fellow of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2011, teaching and doing research at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.  In 2015, he served as the Mark R. Shibles Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maine. The development of fundamental motor skills and patterns in typically developing children and development of motor proficiency in children and youth with intellectual disabilities are primary areas of research.  

Headshot of Maureen Mascha
Maureen Mascha
2022-23 Fulbright-University of Vaasa Scholar Award
Inverness, Illinois
Headshot of Julia Miller
Julia McGee
2018 Fulbright U.S. Graduate Student Program
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Julia McGee is the Program Manager of the Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network. As a former play-based learning specialist, Julia is committed to helping support projects that that lead to high-quality education without barriers to success through playful learning best practices. 

Her philosophy of education has derived from the belief that all children deserve a stimulating social-emotional, sensory-oriented, and academic environment where every child can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially in a playfully conducive setting. This vision was influenced by her year-long Fulbright Scholar research grant in Helsinki, Finland, where she researched the effects of play-based learning in early childhood by way of a Finnish social-emotional environment.  When Julia returned to the U.S in 2019, she was able to secure a grant to turn a charter school storage room into a play-based classroom. Julia’s self-created program, Just Play, operated out of the grant-awarded playspace in North Philadelphia.

Julia holds an Urban Education Master’s Certification from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in International Education and Music Business from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania where she served as the President of the Class of 2013. As Program Manager of PLLAN, Julia is able to continue her Fulbright work within local communities to help transform public places and spaces that families frequent to create playful learning opportunities where they are needed the most!

Headshot of Susanna Monseau
Susanna Monseau
2022 Fulbright-Turku UAS Scholar Award
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Susanna Monseau is a professor in the School of Business at The College of New Jersey where she teaches a variety of law and policy courses. Ms. Monseau is an attorney qualified in the state of New York and in England.  Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as an Intellectual Property litigator at law firms in London, Philadelphia, and Princeton, New Jersey. Ms. Monseau’s research interests include law and policy issues that relate to the globalization of the world economy particularly questions about intellectual property. Her scholarship has been published in a wide range of law and business journals. She has also written two books: Law, Technology, and the Future of Business and Protecting Creativity in Fashion Design: US Laws, EU Design Rights, and Other Dimensions of Protection. She spent Fall 2022 as the Fulbright-Turku UAS Scholar working on understanding the policy obstacles to a sustainable textiles and fashion supply chain. She will return to Finland in 2023 on an American Scandinavian Fellowship to continue work on the role of the EU textiles strategy and certifications in the supply chain.

Susanna is honored to serve on the FoFF Alumni Council to pay forward all the help she has received and to help shape the future of the Fulbright Finland alumni program.

Headshot of Ed Sivak
Ed Sivak
2015-17 Core Fulbright Scholar Program
Westlake, Ohio
Headshot of Leasa Weimer
Leasa Weimer
2011 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä; Tampere University; University of Helsinki
Denver, Colorado

Leasa is the Director for Strategic Partnerships at the University of Denver Office of Internationalization - one of the many roles she holds includes serving as the Fulbright Scholar Campus Liaison. Her career has been shaped by the Fulbright program; she received a Fulbright grant to conduct PhD fieldwork at the University of Jyväskylä and lived and worked in Finland for 11 years. From 2019-2023, she served as the Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives for the Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Leasa has over 20 years of experience as a scholar-practitioner in international higher education, including roles as the president of the global Erasmus Mundus Association, Knowledge Development Advisor for the European Association for International Education and an expert in numerous European projects. Bridging research with practice, she continues to contribute to thought-leadership in the field of internationalization and has authored and edited numerous international publications.

She holds a PhD in higher education policy from the University of Georgia, an Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree in European higher education from the University of Oslo, Norway; University of Tampere, Finland; and University of Aveiro, Portugal, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Headshot of Robyn Young
Robyn Young
2018-19 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research
Goleta, California

FoFF Council aims and major areas of interest:

  • Award development: Participate in the selection process for the FoFF Alumni Enrichment Award. Work with the Fulbright Finland Foundation to further develop the Award and to design fundraising initiatives for the endowment.
  • Alumni engagement: Foster meaningful alumni engagement and develop timely, relevant initiatives to support the Foundation’s continued growth and enhanced alumni services. Elevate the importance of alumni engagement and mobilize a network of proud alumni living in the U.S. in lifetime service to Fulbright Finland.
  • A bridge between alumni and the Fulbright Finland Foundation: Serves as a bridge that helps U.S. alumni connect to each other and to the multiple facets of the Foundation.
  • Contributing ideas: Ideas and submissions for the Fulbright Finland News magazine, especially highlighting alumni news and accomplishments.
  • Promoting the Foundation’s grant programs: Promote the Fulbright Finland experience and programs in general. Inspire U.S. alumni and friends to promote the Foundation's programs.
  • Philanthropy: Champion a culture of philanthropy and giving back to the Foundation.
  • Partnership: FoFF Council is an indispensable partner with the Foundation in building coordinated relationships and engagement opportunities with alumni residing in the U.S. as well as with the Finnish Embassy and the Finnish Consulates General in the United States (New York City and Los Angeles).

How the Council works and what types of initiatives the Council is involved in: 

  1. The Council assists in shaping the future of the U.S. Fulbright Finland alumni program, which is overseen by the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki. Council activity is typically conducted through Zoom meetings and email.
  2. The FoFF alumni network in the U.S. benefits from the regular input of a coordinated group of alumni who can voice their opinions on a variety of matters important to alumni. Council members are recruited from the Fulbright Finland Foundation alumni living in the U.S., representatives of all the different grant programs, and geographically living around the U.S. 
  3. The Council does not have an independent budget, however as needs arise it may apply to the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki for alumni funds. Council membership does not require paying a membership fee, or financial donations, or travel; however, when possible Council members attend FoFF alumni gatherings held in their area.
  4. Since 2012, one of the major projects of the U.S. alumni has been the creation of the Friends of Fulbright Finland Alumni Enrichment Award. Further development of this award, as well as its endowment, is a significant portion of the Council's work. (It’s important to note that Council members may not themselves apply for the Friends of Fulbright Finland Alumni Enrichment Award during their term serving on the Council.)

Members for the Term Ending in May 2027

Ed Sivak
2015-17 Core Fulbright Scholar Program
Westlake, Ohio

Bradley Turner
2011-12 Fulbright U.S. Graduate Student Program
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Members for the Term Ending in May 2026

Mary Anne Butler
2018 Fulbright Leaders for Global Schools Program
Groton, Connecticut

John Donnellan
2017 Fulbright Specialist Program
2019 Fulbright-Turku UAS Scholar Award
2021 Fulbright Specialist Program
East Stroudsburgh, Pennsylvania

Maureen Mascha
2022-23 Fulbright-University of Vaasa Scholar Award
Inverness, Illinois

Susanna Monseau
2022 Fulbright-Turku UAS Scholar Award
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Robyn Young
2018-19 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research
Goleta, California

Members for the Term Ending in May 2025

Julia McGee
2018 Fulbright U.S. Graduate Student Program
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Leasa Weimer
2011 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä; Tampere University; University of Helsinki
Denver, Colorado

Members for the Term Ending in May 2024

Bruce Blair
2019 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Former Council Members

Members for the Term May 2022 - May 2024

Annette Jones
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange, Central School of Viiala
North Bethesda, Maryland

Maedeh Pourrabi (until October 2023)
2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Detroit, Michigan

Members for the Term May 2021 - May 2023

Cheryl J. Fish
2006 Fulbright U.S. : Core Fulbright Scholar Program, University of Tampere
New York, New York

Michael Saffle (until October 2022)
2000 U.S.: Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki
Spokane, Washington

Kelsea Turner
2019 U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research, University of Jyväskylä
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Members for the Term May 2020 - May 2022:

Annette Jones
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange, Central School of Viiala
North Bethesda, Maryland

Maedeh Pourrabi (until October 2023)
2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Detroit, Michigan

John Self
2014 Fulbright Haaga-Helia Scholar Award
San Rafael, California 

Bin Yang
2018 Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair
Richland, Washington

Members for the Term May 2019 - May 2021:

Casie Hermansson
2014 Fulbright-University of Turku Scholar Award
2016 Friends of Fulbright Finland Enrichment Award, Åbo Akademi University, University of Turku
Pittsburg, Kansas

Barbara Mossberg
1982, 1990 Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki
Eugene, Oregon

Members for the Term May 2018 - May 2020:

Yvonne Allen
2014 Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Campbell, New York

Phil Alperson
2012 Scholar Grantee to University of the Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Doug Maynard
2006 Scholar Grantee to University of Helsinki
Madison, Wisconsin

Members for the Term May 2017 - May 2019:

Hank Bullamore
2000 Scholar Grantee to University of Turku
Frostburg, Maryland

Joan Kluwe
1999 Graduate Student to Metsäntutkimuslaitos, Rovaniemi
Anchorage, Alaska

Members for the Term May 2016 - May 2018:

Nancy Commins
2011 Fulbright-University of Turku Scholar Award
Louisville, Colorado                              

Karen Martin 
2013 Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching to Jyväskylä University
Healy, Alaska

Ben Zeller
2012 Scholar Grantee to Åbo Akademi
Lake Forest, Illinois

Members for the term May 2015 - May 2017:

Bradley Boehringer
2014 Fulbright-Cimo student grantee to Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Portland, Maine

John Helling
2011 MCPD grantee to Helsinki City Library
Bloomington, Indiana

Kenneth Kolson
2006 Scholar grantee to Oulu University
Alexandria, Virginia

Suzanne Louis
2001 MCPD grantee to Aalto University
Charlottesville, Virginia

Paul Majkut
2007 Specialist grantee to Jyväskylä University
San Diego, California

Council members are appointed for 2 years.

Council members have been active personally in the various FoFF projects:

  • Ken Kolson represented the American alumni on the Finnish Embassy’s Suomi100 planning committee
  • Nancy Commins and Phil Alperson have held FoFF gatherings at their homes
  • Yvonne Allen coordinated a get together at the FinnFest in Buffalo in 2015
  • Mike Loovis presented a special recognition gift, photo of the “Spirit of Finland” sculpture, to the Finnish Ambassador at the November 2017 reception

And numerous Council members have donated to the FoFF Alumni Enrichment Fund, joined the Welcome Network and promoted Fulbright Finland through the Centennial Ambassadors initiative.