Meet Our Staff

John Bader EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The year that John spent on a Fulbright Scholarship to India was the most intensely educational of his life. It inspired him to promote international exchange and understanding in many positions. He is especially proud of coaching 114 Fulbright recipients at Johns Hopkins University, where he was the faculty representative, for leading a contingent of scholarship advisors to advocate for Fulbright on Capitol Hill, and for his previous service on the Association Board.

John served in several deanships for a decade at Johns Hopkins, including Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Prior to that, he taught history at public high schools, covered a presidential election at ABC News, directed the UCLA Center for American Politics in Washington, DC., and served as policy director on a U.S. Senate campaign. Since his tenure at Hopkins, he directed international recruitment for Marks Education, led the Colonial Academic Alliance (a coalition of US universities), and served as a chief officer at International Baccalaureate.

John earned his BA in History from Yale University, and his MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recipient of a Brookings Institution fellowship and the inaugural “Global Changemaker” award from the Institute of International Education, he is the author of Taking the Initiative: Leadership Agendas in Congress and the “Contract with America” and Dean’s List: 10 Strategies for College Success.

His Fulbright biography would not be complete without his late parents, William and Gretta Bader. His father was in the inaugural class of Fulbright Scholars to Germany, where he married his Pomona College classmate, Gretta. William went on to work with Senator Fulbright on the Foreign Relations Committee and to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Gretta sculpted important portraits of Senator Fulbright on display at the National Portrait Gallery and the University of Arkansas. One portrait now serves as the physical Fulbright Prize.

Shaz Akram DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Shaz Akram joined the Fulbright Association in 2012. As Deputy Director, she oversees all operations of the office, and development and fundraising efforts. Shaz has previously been the Director of Chapter and Institutional Relations and Senior Director at the Association.

Prior to joining the Fulbright Association, Shaz served as an Assistant Director at the Diversity Center at Mississippi State University, where her name had become synonymous with the word “international.” Shaz also served as faculty and student adviser for the Fulbright Program (FPA) at Mississippi State University. She has extensive knowledge of J, F and H1-B visa regulations, academic exchanges, and study abroad programs, and served as an adviser to international students for several years before joining the Association in D.C.

She was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and has lived in her home country, Pakistan. She was part of the prestigious Civil Services of Pakistan and worked under the Auditor General of Pakistan’s Office as Deputy Controller Military Accounts and Deputy Director Commercial Audit for several years before moving to the U.S. She is fluent in multiple languages and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and French, a Masters in English Literature, and a Masters in Business Administration.

Michelle Dimino COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING MANAGER

Michelle joined the Fulbright Association in 2017. As Communications and Marketing Manager, she oversees the Association’s online presence, publications, and organizational content strategy. Michelle’s professional experience has included roles at the intersection of higher education and international programs: she comes to the Association from a position in events and communications management at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and was previously the head of marketing and communications for CORE Languages.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Michelle earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, with a focus on contemporary literature of migration in southern Europe. During her undergraduate studies, Michelle completed a Department of State internship in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Rome, which sparked her lasting interest in a career in international education.

Kelsey Poholsky CHAPTER RELATIONS AND MEMBERSHIP MANAGER

Kelsey Poholsky joined the Fulbright Association in 2017 as the Manager of Chapter Relations and Membership. In her role, she oversees and supports nationwide chapter relations for the Association and drives strategic enrollment initiatives for membership with the Fulbright Association team. Kelsey’s professional background includes experience in higher education admissions at both private and public institutions including her most recent position in undergraduate admissions at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication at American University.

Kelsey earned her B.A. in Psychology and Organization and Management Studies from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During her time at Gettysburg College, she engaged in several research opportunities through the psychology department and studied abroad for one semester in London, England. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kelsey’s interest in global education was born out of her own travel experiences and her involvement with admissions recruitment as she had the opportunity to interact with students from communities across the world.

Alison Aadland OFFICE COORDINATOR

Alison Aadland joined the Fulbright team as the Office Coordinator in 2016, traveling across the country to Washington, DC from her Fargo-Moorhead hometown in Minnesota. She comes from an eclectic background of international, academic, and non-profit experience. She holds an M.A. in Medieval Studies from King’s College, London, where she specialized in Viking Age history.

She received her B.A. from Concordia College in Global Studies with an East Asian Concentration and a Psychology minor, which included a one-year study abroad at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. She additionally worked in Japan for two years as an English instructor, and has worked as a communications specialist and coordinator in a non-profit mental health agency. These experiences have given Alison a passion for international relations and intercultural exchange, as well as a strong devotion to education and societal welfare, which she brings with her to the Fulbright Association.