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Meet Our Team

Center for Global and Cultural Programs
Melissa Lyon

Melissa Lyon

Melissa Lyon joined Golden West College in 2015. 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 bachelors degrees in Communication Studies and Spanish from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, a masters degree in Communication Studies from CSULB, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at University of Minnesota. Global Learning has long been a passion of hers, so its not surprising that her career began with ESL teaching, then teaching Communication Studies, and now leadership in international and intercultural education. Melissa's interests include travel, reading, and trying new restaurants. She grew up in Huntington Beach and now lives nearby in Lakewood, California.

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Nicole Diamond

Nicole Diamond
International Student Counselor

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 Masters 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 ftbol enthusiast and has traveled to see a premier league match as well as El Clsico in Madrid.

Mirna Bitar headshot

Mirna Bitar
Student Services Specialist - Immigration

Mirna grew up and lived in Lebanon and Egypt before deciding to move to U.S to continue her education and earn a bachelors 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:
714-892-7711 Ext. 55202

Headshot of staff member

Kaori Nakama
Student Services Specialist

Kaori was born in Okinawa, Japan and moved to the US when she was 11. Her experience as an immigrant makes her passionate about helping students from diverse cultures. She earned her BA in Studio Art from UC Santa Barbara, and her Masters in Education from University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Contact Information: 
714-892-7711 Ext. 51007