Who We Are

The US-UK Fulbright Commission hosts both the Fulbright scholarship programme and the EducationUSA advising network for the UK. We focus on opportunities and exchanges between the USA and the UK, as part of a global programme.

Board of Commissioners

Our work is governed by 14 Commissioners, appointed by the US, UK and Scottish governments. The Chair alternates between British and American Commissioners every three years.

Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG

Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG

Chairman

Nigel spent nearly four decades in the British Diplomatic Service. He served as Ambassador to the United States, Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister and Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels.

He is now involved in international business as a board member and adviser, and is a Visiting Professor and Council member at King's College London. He supports a number of organisations active in transatlantic and European affairs, and is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford and Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple, London.

Nigel believes strongly in the cultural dimension of international diplomacy, and the importance of active UK-US university links to the UK's economy and society.

Sara Grote Cerrell

Sara Grote Cerrell

Sara Cerrell is the Founder and Managing Director of Global Change Network (GCN), a social-issues consulting practice. GCN does strategic planning, partnership development and branding for mission-driven organizations, socially-responsible companies and philanthropists.

Sara is a former aide to Hillary Clinton and brings two decades of political, private sector and non-profit experience to her clients. Her work has centred on social impact, particularly international development with an emphasis on global health and women’s empowerment. Her clients have included the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Gap Inc. and the Packard Foundation, among many others. 

Sara’s career began in The White House, coordinating First Lady Hillary Clinton’s involvement in several initiatives, ranging from health care to women’s rights to children’s issues. After the White House, she was Vice President at DDB Issues & Advocacy, a global social sector practice where she oversaw award-winning initiatives for international clients. 

Sara serves a member of ICRW’s Circle of Ambassadors and on the boards of Global Impact UK and 1000 Days. She is delighted to contribute to Fulbright’s mission of fostering learning and leadership between her country of birth (the US) and her adopted country (the UK).

Dame Amelia Chilcott Fawcett DBE

Dame Amelia Chilcott Fawcett DBE

Dame Amelia Fawcett is Chairman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board in London, a Non-Executive Director of State Street Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, Deputy Chairman of Investment AB Kinnevik in Stockholm, Sweden and a Non Executive Director of Millicom Cellular S.A in Luxembourg (until May 2016).

Until September 2013 she was Chairman of the Guardian Media Group plc in London and until June 2010 she was Chairman of Pensions First LLP, a financial services and systems solutions business, based in London. Prior to that Dame Amelia held senior roles at Morgan Stanley including Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of European operations.

She was an attorney (in New York and Paris) at the New York-based law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.From June 2004 to 2009, Dame Amelia was a member of the Court of Directors of the Bank of England. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE and in 2010 she was awarded a DBE, in both instances for services to the finance industry. In addition, she received The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador Award in 2004.

Dame Amelia, a British and American citizen, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1956. She has a degree in History from Wellesley (1978) and a law degree from the University of Virginia (1983). She was admitted to the New York Bar in 1984.

Dame Amelia is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, Governor of the London Business School, a Commissioner of the US-UK Fulbright Commission and a Trustee of Project Hope (UK). 

 

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond is the President of the Diamond Family Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that develops unique methods to improve and increase access to education and healthcare, by supporting those who fall outside traditional, government-sponsored assistance programs. As president, Jennifer helps determine the direction and mission of the organization, sets the strategy for how to best tackle issues most important to the foundation, reviews results from past projects, and continually seeks compelling new philanthropic opportunities to explore. 

Under Jennifer’s leadership since its establishment in 1997, the Diamond Family Foundation has supported a range of projects that particularly emphasize educational development as a vehicle for poverty reduction. Examples of missions the Foundation has funded include research projects aimed at developing gifted and talented primary school programs in the USA, financial literacy training programs in the UK, and campaigns supporting HIV education and awareness in the USA and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Jennifer holds a BSc from Michigan State University and a MA in Anthropology from University of London. She began her career working as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to her role with the Diamond Family Foundation, Jennifer serves as a trustee on a number of boards and  is a partner in Cobble House LLC, a multimedia development company.

 

Drake Dubin

Drake Dubin

Drake Dubin is Chief Operating Officer for Neuberger Berman in Europe and Latin America. Prior to joining Neuberger, Drake was a Partner at Tideway Investment Partners where he had both operating and business development responsibilities. Earlier in his career, Drake spent fifteen years with JP Morgan Chase where he was a Managing Director and Head of Structured Capital Markets for EMEA and five years as a Managing Director in The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Financial Structuring Group.  

Drake received his BSc from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., is a Trustee of The UK Friends of Georgetown and recently concluded six years serving on the university’s Board of Regents where he was Chair of the Global Engagement Committee.

Eric A Johnson

Eric A Johnson

Eric joined the U.S. Embassy in London after serving for three years as the Counselor for Public Affairs (Head of Communications) at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Most of Eric’s career has focused on Russia or on those countries along its border, including assignments as: the Consul for Public Affairs in St. Petersburg; the Public Affairs Officer in Tallinn, Estonia; and an extended tour as the regional Information Resource Officer in Moscow. For his work in Russia, Eric received the 2002 Award for Achievement in Public Diplomacy and the 2010 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy.

Although he spent 11 years at the U.S. Library of Congress before joining the U.S. Foreign Service, Eric’s library career also focused on Russia and the surrounding region where he worked on everything from acquisitions and training to parliamentary development and exhibits. Eric graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with degrees in Politics and Russian Studies and completed his master’s at the University of Maryland. A second generation public diplomacy officer, Eric speaks Russian, Estonian, and Spanish.

 

William A Plapinger

William A Plapinger

Bill Plapinger has been a partner of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP since 1986. He is a member of the firm’s Managing Partners Committee and was the Managing Partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s London office from 1995 to 2008 and the Coordinator of the firm’s European offices from 2000 to 2011. He has been resident in London since 1987, having spent his first nine years in Sullivan & Cromwell’s New York office.

Mr Plapinger’s practice is focussed on capital markets, M&A and general corporate (including corporate governance) matters. His work has an emphasis on complex, often precedent setting international and US financial transactions, advising US and non-US industrial and financial companies, governments and investment banks. He has been named repeatedly by numerous publications as, variously, one of the world’s leading IPO, equity and debt capital markets, privatisation and M&A lawyers.

Mr Plapinger has devoted much of his time outside Sullivan & Cromwell to education. In addition to serving on the US-UK Fulbright Commission, he is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Vassar College, the senior member of the Board of Trustees of the American School in London and a member of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges and the President’s Commission of Wheaton College (MA). He is also a member of the Atlantic Council.

Mr Plapinger earned his AB from Vassar College, his JD from New York University School of Law, and attended Westfield College, University of London.

Mr Plapinger is married to Cassie Murray, and they have three children.

 

Alexsis de Raadt-St James

Alexsis de Raadt-St James

Alexsis is an investor and technology business executive with over 25 years of investment experience in both private and public markets. She is the founder and managing partner of Merian Ventures, a US and UK venture-capital firm. Merian Ventures invest in entrepreneurs who are driven to build profitable companies in consumer, mobile and cyber security.

Alexsis is also founder and chairman of The Althea Foundation, a social-venture fund in San Francisco she established in 2003. Prior to these roles Alexsis held leadership roles and board seats with companies she funded or founded; senior executive roles in YBA Ventures, Commerce One, Shell International in London and Holland, where she served in a number of management positions, including director of M&A, venture investments and treasury advisor.

Alexsis serves on the leadership board of The Osher Center at the University of California Medical School San Francisco, the Leadership Council Salk Institute and is an advisor to CapLinked, Oorja, Provenance and CirrusIdentity. Alexsis has an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MBA from Erasmus University, Holland and a BA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Dame Seona Reid DBE

Dame Seona Reid DBE

Seona Reid’s professional career has spanned art, design and architecture education, arts funding,  dance and theatre. Most recently she served as Director of the Scottish Arts Council (1990-1999) and Director of Glasgow School of Art (1999-2013).

She has held many positions in public life, currently Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland; Chair of Cove Park artist residency centre;  Deputy Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund and Scotland Committee Chair; a Trustee of the Tate Gallery; a Trustee of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit Foundation. Previous roles included membership of the Universities Scotland Executive Committee; of the UK Government Advisory Panel for the selection of the 2017 UK City of Culture and a Commissioner on the Scottish Broadcasting Commission

Seona is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow and became a Dame in 2013 for services to the creative industries.

Her involvement in Fulbright stems from a fundamental belief in the power of international exchange to create understanding between people of different nations and cultures and develop thoughtful leaders whose values embrace tolerance and a sense of wider humanity.

Anneliese Reinemeyer

Anneliese Reinemeyer

Anneliese Reinemeyer comes to London as Cultural Affairs Officer after three years as the head of the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.  Her previous assignments with the State Department include Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Jerusalem, as well as several assignments in Washington, DC. Anneliese holds a PhD in Political Science from Texas A&M University, and speaks Arabic, French and German.

 

Professor Colin Riordan

Professor Colin Riordan

Professor Colin Riordan is President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University.

Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. He moved to Essex from Newcastle University, where he had been Professor of German then Pro Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Riordan taught English as a foreign language at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany and was Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in German at Swansea University.

Professor Riordan is a board member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Edge Foundation, UCAS and The Conversation (UK). He has been a Fulbright Commissioner since 2014.

His motivation for involvement in Fulbright stems in large part from his own experience of benefiting greatly from periods spent aboard in German-speaking countries as a student of German. He is keen to help ensure that present and future generations of Fulbright scholars are able to benefit in a similar way.

Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths

Andy is the Executive Director of the Investor Forum and a Senior Advisor to Corsair Capital. He has 20 years of investment experience gained at Capital Group and Prudential and has consistently been ranked among the leading equity investors in Europe over the last two decades.

Andy has a number of roles in the social enterprise arena, including Chairman of StudentFunder (a social enterprise that provides finance for professional and postgraduate courses), a trustee of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and a member of the Seeing is Believing Innovation Investment Committee.

Toby Young

Toby Young

Toby Young is an associate editor of the Spectator and a blogger for the Telegraph. He is the author of two books, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2001) and The Sound of No Hands Clapping (2006), and has performed in the West End in a stage adaptation of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

He co-produced the film version of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) and more recently co-produced and co-wrote a drama doc for Channel 4 called When Boris Met Dave (2009).

His teaching experience includes working as a teaching fellow at Harvard and a teaching assistant at Cambridge. He is the co-founder of the West London Free School, which became the first free school to sign a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education earlier this year. The school opened in September 2011.

 

Staff

Our staff are of several nationalities, have a range of international and educational experiences, and are passionate about the global exchange of culture and ideas.

Penny Egan CBE

Penny Egan CBE

Executive Director

Penny has been leading the Commission for over 10 years. She was previously the first woman to head up the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in its 250-year history. Prior to that her posts include working for the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

She has previously held a number of non-executive roles, including council member at the University of Warwick and Chair of the Geffrye Museum. Penny is currently a council member of the University of Reading.

Penny was awarded a CBE in 2013 for her services to international education.

Chris Horry

Chris Horry

Chief Operating Officer

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Chris Horry

Chris Horry

Chief Operating Officer

Chris oversees the Commission's finance, IT, legal and HR.

He is a chartered accountant and has a degree in pure mathematics from the University of Sheffield. He has worked for multinational corporations in the US and various European countries.

Chris is also a trained teacher and is passionate about international education and cultural exchange. His three daughters have all been educated internationally.

Outside work, he devotes his time to amateur music making and hill walking.

Rowena Boddington

Rowena Boddington

Director, Advising and Marketing

Rowena heads the EducationUSA advising service, oversees the delivery of the Sutton Trust US Programme, and is responsible for the Commission’s communications and marketing strategy, including promoting its programmes and US-UK exchange.

While an American studies student at a British university, Rowena had the opportunity to study abroad in California. This life-changing experience has led to a career so far focused on enabling domestic and international students to make informed decisions about their best study options. She is passionate about helping more students have as transformational experiences at US universities as her own was.

Amy Moore

Amy Moore

Director, Fulbright Awards Programme

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Amy Moore

Amy Moore

Director, Fulbright Awards Programme

Amy oversees all of the Fulbright Award programmes for both American and British grantees. As Director, Amy also manages relationships with Award sponsors and partners, and is always on the lookout for new partnership opportunities.

Prior to Fulbright, Amy ran customised, faculty-led programmes for American students in London, and managed a busy student services department. She later assisted Cornell University, Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania undergraduates studying in the UK. Amy spent a memorable year at the University of Pittsburgh as part of her American studies degree at the University of Sheffield, which is perhaps why she has dedicated her career to promoting cultural exchange.

She has a very mischievous son and two lively dogs, which makes gym membership very much unnecessary.

Jackie Barnett

Jackie Barnett

Finance Officer

Jackie has been employed by the Commission since June 2013. Her role is primarily the day to day running of the finance department.

She has worked for several large and small companies in a similar role over the past 25 years, and has a Diploma in Bookkeeping from the International Association of Bookkeepers. Jackie is currently studying for the Advanced Diploma in Accounting with the Association Of Accounting Technicians.

Jackie believes that the Commission enriches the lives of young people who take part in its programmes, and loves being part of an organisation that provides such amazing global opportunities for students.

Rebecca Cobby

Rebecca Cobby

Senior Programme Manager

Rebecca coordinates all aspects of the Scholar Award programme for UK citizens, from promotion to selection, pre-departure preparation and the running of cultural events.

She holds a PhD in African American studies from the University of Nottingham and has lived and studied abroad in the US.

Rebecca has worked for the Fulbright Commission since 2011 and considers it a pleasure and a privilege to enable talented people with exciting and vital research and teaching projects to get to where they want to be.

Outside of work, Rebecca is a keen knitter, volunteers for a local charity and enjoys exploring the countryside with her two young children.

Lavishka Katwa

Lavishka Katwa

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

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Lavishka Katwa

Lavishka Katwa

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Lavishka coordinates the UK residential workshops for the Sutton Trust US Programme, before students visit the USA. Lavishka also works closely with the students throughout the year, sharing her expertise on financial aid and her perspective as a British student who applied to American universities.

Originally from London, Lavishka studied neuroscience at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. In her free time, she enjoys travelling and cooking dishes inspired by her trips.

Florence Ledger

Florence Ledger

Advising and Marketing Assistant

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Florence Ledger

Florence Ledger

Advising and Marketing Assistant

Florence supports both the EducationUSA and Sutton Trust US Programme teams, including the Fulbright outreach programme and Adviser Training Conference.

Florence graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA in International Relations and History. As part of her degree, she studied abroad at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, an amazing experience which has left her well placed to advise UK students on US study.

As an EducationUSA Adviser and member of the Sutton Trust US Programme team, Florence is delighted to be in a role that involves both international education and social mobility.

Brittany Lehr

Brittany Lehr

Programme Manager

Brittany manages all aspects of the Postgraduate Awards programme for UK citizens, including outreach and promotion of the Awards throughout the UK, the selection process, and pre-departure preparation and cultural orientation.

Prior to joining the Commission in 2014, Brittany obtained an MA in International Communications from American University’s School of International Service in Washington DC.

Brittany is a keen traveller and loves living abroad. She spent a year abroad in Spain during her undergraduate degree, which sparked her passion for international educational exchange as a means for personal growth and promoting mutual cultural understanding.

She is delighted to work with British students to help them pursue postgraduate study in the USA.

David Mannion

David Mannion

Communications and Advising Manager

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David Mannion

David Mannion

Communications and Advising Manager

David coordinates the Commission-wide external communications and co-manages the EducationUSA advising team. As an adviser, he concentrates on our outreach programme and digital communication to students.

He has lived, studied and worked abroad in China, France and Honduras. David is a qualified secondary school teacher and holds a master's degree in intercultural studies.

His interests lie mainly in travel, hill-walking and pizza. He is most passionate about social mobility and might some day start a PhD.

Elizabeth Mucha

Elizabeth Mucha

Alumni and Awards Assistant

Elizabeth provides administrative support to the Alumni and Awards teams, including managing communications and the alumni database.

Originally from Chicago, she completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany and has studied at the University of Illinois and the London School of Economics.

Elizabeth enjoys social activism, exploring the countryside around London and spending time with dogs. She is passionate about international educational exchange as a means to foster cooperation and effect change.

Jillian Neasom

Jillian Neasom

Senior Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

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Jillian Neasom

Jillian Neasom

Senior Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Jillian supports Sutton Trust US Programme students and their parents during every step of applying to universities in the US.

Originally from South Florida, Jillian has worked abroad in Western Patagonia, Chile and has lived in the UK since 2011. Jillian studied at the University of Florida and holds an MA in Education Leadership and Management from the University of Roehampton.

Her interests include travelling, crafting and exploring world cuisine.

Daniel O'Meara

Daniel O'Meara

Advising and Events Manager

Daniel manages the Commission's advising events, including seminars, webinars, Grad School Day and the College Day university fair held each September. As part of the EducationUSA advising team, he works with members of the public interested in US study and manages the team's internship programme.

Originally from foggy San Francisco, he has lived in foggy London since 2016. Daniel holds a PhD in musicology from Princeton University and, prior to working at the US-UK Fulbright Commission, he taught music history and theory at higher education institutions in the US.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, traveling and playing jazz guitar.

Sarah Panek

Sarah Panek

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

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Sarah Panek

Sarah Panek

Programme Manager and Educational Adviser

Sarah oversees the selection process for the Sutton Trust US Programme and plans the summer school weeks in the US.

Sarah is originally from Chicago and, in addition to living in London, has also studied and volunteered abroad in Spain, China and Ecuador. She studied at DePaul University and holds an MSc in Elementary Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Prior to moving to London, she worked for five years as a primary school teacher in a high needs school just outside of Chicago.

Sarah is ecstatic to be working in a role that combines her experience and passion for international educational exchange and social mobility.

 

Ana Guerra Pereira

Ana Guerra Pereira

Programme Manager

Ana manages the Fulbright Scholar Awards for US citizens and all Fulbright Scholar Special Programmes in the UK. She also co-coordinates three major events for the Commission (EndCap, Forum, and Orientation).

She holds a master's in Russian studies from University College London, and has studied at the University of Lisbon and Moscow State University. Ana is from Portugal, has lived in Brazil, and has been in London for over a decade. Ana has worked for the Fulbright Commission in Portugal, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, and the Chevening Scholarship programme.

She is a fan of the semi-colon and open borders. Her interests include film, contemporary art, architecture and literature.

Valerie Schreiner

Valerie Schreiner

Senior Programme Manager and Communications Liaison

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Valerie Schreiner

Valerie Schreiner

Senior Programme Manager and Communications Liaison

Valerie has been with the US-UK Fulbright Commission since 2012. She coordinates the US and UK Summer Institutes for undergraduates, and implements the communications strategy for the Fulbright Awards.

She received her Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Valerie has studied and worked in France on exchange programmes and speaks fluent French. 

She loves living in London, which feeds her appetite for theatre and music. She joined the Fulbright Commission to continue a 10-year career in education and international exchange.

Valerie enjoys the change and growth she sees in the participants that go through each and every summer programme.

Alison Ward

Alison Ward

Alumni and Development Manager

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Alison Ward

Alison Ward

Alumni and Development Manager

Ali manages the engagement and activities with our alumni network. She trained as an actor at East 15 Acting School and holds an MA in Acting for TV, Film & Radio.

Her background is in customer service, communications and events and she has organised global workshops in Ethiopia and Bangkok. Her interests include live comedy, writing and her rescue cat Misty.

Ali particularly enjoys meeting Fulbrighters and hearing about the experiences they had during their time abroad.