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Our diverse and talented staff deliver FIUTS programs to the community and beyond. Learn more about them here.

Era Schrepfer, Executive Director

Era Photo
Era joined FIUTS in 2006, and brings many years of nonprofit and international experience to her role. Era has traveled extensively in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean and served with the US Peace Corps as a Community Agriculture Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. In addition to her role at FIUTS, she is a volunteer for Joyas Mestizas, Seattle Works, and Girl Scouts. Her interests include cross-cultural leadership development, team building, nonprofit strategy and planning, and the use of social media for social change.

Era is a Minnesota native who was raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington. Era lives with her husband, daughter, and son in South Seattle and loves Latin music, new recipes, dark chocolate, and fiction from around the world.

Other Languages Spoken: Spanish
Favorite Place on Earth: Palenque, Mexico
Next Place I’d Like To Go: India
Favorite International Dish: Asopao de Pollo con Guandules

Contact Era at

Ellen Frierson, Manager of Education Programs

Ellen Photo

Ellen grew up in New York, Germany, and Virginia. She joined FIUTS in 2012 as Manager of Community Programs and became Manager of Education Programs in 2015. Previously, she taught English in Germany, Ecuador, and Thailand, and coordinated a human rights education program with journalists in Cameroon. She also spent ten summers teaching German at Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, and has worked for nonprofits in Washington DC and New York City.

Ellen received a BA in English from Franklin & Marshall College and an MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is passionate about promoting social justice and global citizenship through cross-cultural exchange and collaboration. Outside work, Ellen can usually be found reading, taking pictures, planning future adventures, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Other Languages Spoken: German and Spanish
Favorite Place on Earth: The Andes mountains
Next Place I’d Like To Go: Turkey, Hungary, Namibia, Nepal, Morocco, Bangladesh, Japan, and everywhere else…
Favorite International Dish: Sushi, sushi, and sushi.

Contact Ellen at

Amy Bergstrom, Manager of Student Programs

Amy started exploring new places through the world of books, sparking an interest in learning about and from people everywhere. She has traveled internationally several times, each visit providing inspiration for more learning and exploring.

Amy grew up in the Seattle area, then studied journalism at Colorado State University. After several years working in sports journalism, she rediscovered the joy that is working with college students and made the shift into higher education. After completing her Master of Education in Student Development Administration at Seattle University, she joined the FIUTS staff in 2015 to help support international students in their learning and growth as they become global leaders. She loves books, baseball, baking, crafting, and laughing most of all.

Other Languages Spoken: Used to be able to speak French, but it’s been awhile!
Favorite Place on Earth: Anywhere along the water…and the British Library
Next Place I’d Like to Go: China
Favorite International Dish: Noodles in any language (spaghetti, udon, chow mein, pad see ew)

Contact Amy at



Samantha Novak, Manager of Community Programs

Samantha grew up in the great state of Alaska, which translated to countless mosquito bites, being a real snob about salmon quality, and a high level of comfort with planes of all sizes. She joined FIUTS in April of 2017 as Manager of Community Programs, which involves communicating with the wonderful host community, juggling giant spreadsheets, wrestling with Salesforce, and fostering great donors. Outside of work, she loves reading, sailing, trying great cocktails, and especially cooking. She loves good food and should probably be kept away from produce stands for the health and safety of her credit card.

Samantha earned a BA in Global Studies from ASU, where she studied or interned abroad in China, Argentina, and the Czech Republic. She thinks peas are the most satisfying thing to eat with chopsticks. After an Americorps term of service in Seattle and a 4,000 mile roadtrip throughout many Western states, she came back to Seattle to earn her MPA at the Evans School of the University of Washington. She believes that everyone has a story, and that empowering a diverse community to express themselves works us towards a more empathetic world. She is passionate about creating strong vibrant communities, and enabling nonprofits to work to their fullest potential through good governance and strong systems.


Other Languages Spoken: Spanish and a teensy tiny bit of Czech

Favorite Place on Earth: Halibut Cove or Shrode Lake in Alaska, and Prague

Next Place I’d Like to Go: Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, and Fiji

Favorite International Dish: Tacos al Pastor, Palmiers, Njera, and curries of nearly any nationality and type.

Contact Samantha at

Pauline Tolentino, Student Programs Coordinator

Pauline was born in the Philippines, but is a Midwesterner at heart having grown up in Michigan. She received a BA in Advertising and Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago, where she was a student leader and volunteer and loved every minute of it. Inspired to share a love for education, leadership, diversity, justice, and empowering leaders, Pauline pursued a master in Student Development Administration at Seattle University and internships in Housing/Residence Life, International Education, Student Life, and Graduate Admissions at a variety of colleges in the West Coast. Pauline is excited be part of FIUTS and to continue helping people, especially students, recognize, explore, and fulfill their potential and capacity to become leaders for positive social change. But Pauline is most excited about sharing the baked goods and arts and crafts that she likes to make!

Other Language Spoken: Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish (a work in progress)
Favorite Place on Earth:
Anywhere with water and the Chicago Cultural Center
Next Place I'd Like To Go: Philippines (always number one on list), then Peru, Scotland, and Ireland
Favorite International Dish: My mama’s Bicol Express and sushi

Contact Pauline at


Jean Guth, Development and Office Administrator

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Jean joined FIUTS in December 2013, after working in fundraising at Bastyr University. She grew up in multi-cultural New York City, got a BA in European History in Boston and after working at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, moved West out to Seattle in 1996 after a two year stop in Chicago for an MBA at the University of Chicago. She is excited to be at FIUTS and is a passionate believer in the value of intercultural exchange and cross-cultural experiences. As a college student, she studied in Germany on a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) summer grant and is still friends with contacts she made on that trip. She attributes her love of things global to her grandmother, who was a travel agent in her 20's, traveled extensively to India, South America and the Middle East and always brought something tangible to share with her grandchildren from her travels that was totally different and had local meaning. Jean enjoys exploring the trail and parks the Northwest with her husband and young son.

Other Languages Spoken: Some German and rusty French
Favorite Place on Earth: Skiing on the Methow Valley community trails on a sunny winter day
Next Place I’d Like To Go: Nepal, Portugal
Favorite International Dish: SO hard to choose! Indian, Ethiopian, tapas, and a good Seattle cup of coffee

Contact Jean at


Manjot Singh, Work-Study

Manjot is an undergraduate at the University of Washington and his intended major is Bioengineering. He is originally from India and moved to the United States a little over five years ago. Back then, he had never been outside his home state in India, so moving here was a drastic change in his lifestyle. He understands how difficult it can be to get adjusted to life here in the US, which is why he decided to join FIUTS. He wants to help international students get accustomed to life here and he wants to open them to the vast array of resources available to people here.

In his free time, he likes to watch TV shows and movies, play sports, and hike. He also enjoys cooking different types of food whenever he has time.

Hometown: India
Year: Sophomore
Intended Major: Bioengineering

Contact Manjot at


Aleassa Wren, Work-Study

Aleassa is a graduating senior at the University of Washington and her major is sociocultural anthropology. She was born and raised in Washington but loves to travel abroad and in the United States. She's passionate about helping foster an environment where both international and domestic students can be in community and learn from one another.

In her free time she likes to hike, play tennis and watch historical documentaries.

Hometown: Chehalis, WA
Year: Senior
Major: Sociocultural Anthropology

Contact Aleassa at

Marilyn Cole, Work-Study


Marilyn is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies - Russian, East European, Central Asian Studies Program. She graduated from the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College with a BA in History, International Studies, and Russian and worked in the field of international student services for several years before continuing on to her master’s degree and joining the FIUTS team in 2016. She loves traveling and learning about cross-cultural interactions with a focus on international exchanges. She is originally from Portland, Oregon; however, her parents and brother are from Odessa, Ukraine. As the first United States-born member of her family, she witnessed her their difficulty in integrating themselves with American culture. Their experiences are what drew her towards pursuing a career in international students services. She wants to help students feel welcome and guide them towards resources and opportunities. In her free time, she likes to watch TV shows and movies, try new foods, and visit new destinations.

Other Languages Spoken: Russian
Favorite Place on Earth: Cinque Terre, Italy
Next Place I’d Like To Go: Greece, Croatia, Russia, Thailand, Brazil, Morocco, and Indonesia.
Favorite International Dish: AHHH! There are so many - I can’t pick! I would never say no to sushi though…

Contact Marilyn at



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Upcoming Events
Youth Ambassadors Program with the Caribbean Aug 13, 2017 - Aug 24, 2017
English Conversation Group Aug 17, 2017 04:30 PM - 06:00 PM — HUB 340
FIUTS Fridays: Ballard Locks & Fun Aug 18, 2017 04:30 PM - 08:30 PM — George Washington Statue
EFS International Student Orientation Aug 20, 2017 01:00 PM - 05:30 PM — Kane Hall
Upcoming events…