Meet our Team

International Students and Intercultural Programs
Melissa Lyon, Director of ISP

Melissa Lyon
Director

Meet Melissa Lyon

Melissa Lyon recently joined Golden West College as Director of International and Intercultural Programs.  Before coming to GWC, she was the Director of International Student Services at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).  At CSULB, she oversaw international events and programs, federal regulatory compliance, first-year academic advising, and the development of international student support services. Melissa received bachelor’s degrees in Communication Studies and Spanish from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, and a master’s degree in Communication Studies from CSULB.  International and intercultural education has long been a passion of hers, so it’s not surprising that her career began with ESL teaching, then teaching Communication Studies, and finally International Student Program management. Melissa loves talking about, teaching, and engaging in intercultural communication. Her other interests include travel, reading, and trying new restaurants. Her childhood was spent in Huntington Beach, and she now lives nearby in Long Beach, California. Contact Information: mlyon@gwc.cccd.edu 714-8958146 ext. 3

Nicole Diamond - International Student Counselor

Nicole Diamond
Int’l Student Counselor

Meet Nicole Diamond

Nicole Diamond joined the International Student Program in Fall 2015. She has over nine years of experience working with international students from across the globe in California and Michigan community colleges. Her desire to learn about other places and cultures began in graduate school. She took a graduate course abroad for one month in Germany, France, and Luxembourg, learning about student services in Europe. She also lived in Costa Rica for a month while earning her certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). Nicole was a California community college transfer student herself, and went on to earn her B.A. in Communications from Chapman University, and her Master’s in Counseling, Student Development in Higher Education, from CSULB. Her love of travel has taken her to Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, England, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Spain, France, Mexico, and Canada. She is fútbol enthusiast and has traveled to see a premier league match as well as El Clásico in Madrid.

Mirna Bitar - Immigration Advisor

Mirna Bitar
Immigration Advisor

Meet Mirna Bitar

Mirna grew up and lived in Lebanon and Egypt before deciding to move to U.S to continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree. She enjoys working with students from different cultures from all over the world. She is passionate about learning new cultures, understanding the various values and beliefs, and visiting new places. Mirna loves the welcoming and familiar environment at Golden West College as it reminds her of her own experience in college as an international student. In her free time, Mirna likes to spend time with family and friends.

Contact Information:
mbitar1@gwc.cccd.edu
714-892-7711 Ext. 55202

Alison Carlock - Staff Aide

Alison Carlock
Staff Aide

Meet Alison Carlock

Alison Carlock joined the Center for International and Intercultural Programs team in summer 2016 after completing her Master’s degree in Postsecondary Administration & Student Affairs at the University of Southern California. Alison has worked at USC in student programming, social justice & inclusion education, and international admissions. She also worked for International Student Programs at Caltech assisting with new international student immigration check in and orientation. Alison is passionate about creating inclusive and safe spaces for students to learn about different cultures as well as continue to explore their own cultural identities. In her free time, Alison loves to travel and paint.

Veronica Soto - Staff Aide

Veronica Soto
Staff Aide

Meet Veronica Soto
Veronica Soto is a southern California native. She spent a semester studying abroad in Galicia, Spain, as well as two years working abroad in the South Pacific as the Field Director of the WorldTeach American Samoa program. Veronica graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey with a Master’s Degree in International Education Management with an emphasis in Intercultural Communication. In previous positions, Veronica served as a co-curricular program coordinator for international scholars at UC San Francisco, a J-1 visa specialist, and an ESL instructor. She also previously assisted international visitors through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Veronica is excited to serve the international student population and help to support their success at GWC! In her spare time, Veronica enjoys spending time in the sun, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and listening to live music.
Arelia Bouronich - Student Assistant

Arelia Bouronich
Student Assistant

Meet Arelia Bouronich

Arelia Bouronich finds working in the CIIP office enjoyable and rewarding. Helping and supporting new international students with acclimating to their new environment is the best part of her job. Arelia is also a student at Golden West College and was recently accepted to the Nursing Program for Fall 2016. As a student and a mother of two little girls, life can be pretty hectic, so when she has some free time, Arelia enjoys singing at her church, performing in community theater musicals and taking day trips with her family.

Jenny Thach - Student Assistant

Jenny Thach
Student Assistant

Meet Jenny Thach

Jenny joined the Center for International and Intercultural Programs in the fall of 2016. She plans on graduating from Golden West College with her AS-T in Accounting, then transferring to CSUF, UCI, or UCSB to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Business. Being multi-ethnic herself, Jenny finds working at CIIP to be a perfect fit. She takes pride in supporting diversity and making everyone feel welcomed. In her free time, Jenny enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering, trying new foods, going to different places, and meeting new people.

Kei Truong - CIIP Student Assistant

Kei Truong
Student Assistant

Meet Kei Truong

Kei left her home in Vietnam at the age of 16 to begin her educational journey to the US. She began studying at GWC in the spring of 2015, after graduating from High School in Seattle. After graduating from GWC, she plans on transferring out of state to the East Coast to get her Bachelor’s degree. Working at CIIP helps to bring Kei out of her shell and provides lots of opportunities to get involved in campus activities. In her free time, Kei enjoys challenging herself with learning foreign languages, playing piano and singing, traveling alone, eating, and sleeping.