Our Team

Andrea Olsen
Adjacent Professor
I am passionate about bringing embodied intelligence into courses on communication in intercultural and international contexts.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS is engaging graduate students and faculty with diverse global perspectives and sharing our common heritage – the intelligence of the human body and our need for movement. Dance is inherently interdisciplinary, and I have been involved in applying performance as a medium for communication and environmental education in international contexts throughout my thirty years of teaching at Middlebury College. The opportunity to bring this conversation robustly into the DPP curriculum, collaborating with my dynamic colleague Nükhet Kardam is capacious – meaning it draws on all the skills accumulated through my years of teaching, writing, and performing.

As an author, my daily writing practice has resulted in three books: Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy; Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide; and The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making along with numerous articles and essays in edited collections. Recent publications include a chapter for The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing, edited by Vicky Karcou, Sophia Lycouris, and Sue Oliver, and a new book-in-process with Nükhet Kardam to accompany our research on Communicating in A Changing World.

This spring, I will be involved in the Intercultural Arts and Leadership, a series of performances, workshops, and lectures hosted by Tangut Degfay through the Fund for Innovation 2018.


Tangut Degfay, MAIPD ’18
Project Lead: Fund for Innovation
Hailing from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I am pursuing an MA in International Policy and Development at MIIS, specializing in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design.
I am passionate about bringing social change in the areas of global youth leadership, girls’ education,gender equality, early childhood development, and violence against children prevention. My extensive work/study abroad experience, foreign language study, leading and collaborating with multicultural teams have inspired my commitment to fostering cross-cultural understanding and inclusive social change. I am humbled for the amazing support from the Fund for Innovation which allowed us to make the Intercultural Arts and Leadership Project happen on the MIIS campus! I hope the different art elements hosted throughout the semester as part of this project would inspire discussion on the crucial influence the arts have on our commitment to global development and social change. every step counts, this too!


Airon Whitt
Team Support
Born and raised in southern Mississippi, I began my arts career at an early age. I come from a family of weavers, painters, photographers, and glass artists, and has expanded her personal practice to digital photography, jewelry making, and ceramics. I attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I majored in Sustainable Tourism and Development Management. I then went on to manage for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, among others, before joining the Peace Corps in 2015. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, I served as a Community and Development Facilitator helping local artists and small businesses with their marketing, accounting, and personal and public brand image.
My lifelong dream is to own and manage an Ecolodge that promotes and develops responsible and sustainable tourism practices. I hope to combine my dual master’s degree of Business Administration (MBA) in Social Enterprise with my Master’s in International Development and Policy to create businesses that promote authentic cultural exchanges between host communities and the travelers who visit them. I have visited and lived in over 18 countries, and plan to continue to travel to promote my passion for authentic cultural and sustainable tourism practices worldwide.


Kaitlin Emmons
Team Support
I am a Massachusetts native currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Passionate about the power of personal growth through creativity and the ways in which art can foster the development of self-worth, I strive to ignite positivity and equity within marginalized communities through art and creativity.
While I may laugh too hard at my own jokes, I have the deepest appreciation for human resiliency and a fascination for its ability to transcend linguistic and cultural constructions.