Our Team

Our program operates under the leadership of a diverse and innovative faculty and student team, representing a variety of experiences and backgrounds in international programs. Interested in partnering with us? Are you an international student who would like to attend CALS? Want to learn more about study abroad? Whatever the reason, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to connect with you.


Jose Cisneros, Director, CALS International Programs
Jose Cisneros has extensive experience in international agriculture and business, and entrepreneurial development and solutions. He has participated in numerous international agricultural projects and has trained farmers, NGO trainers, and government officers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe. At NC State, Cisneros founded CALS Global Academy, an initiative to train international professionals in agriculture and life sciences. He also developed the most comprehensive database of international activities among peer colleges of agriculture. Cisneros is the founder of AgriFoodGateway and the Global Agribusiness Program at the University of Missouri. As an entrepreneur, he has started six businesses in the horticulture, poultry, consumer retail, and mobile electronics industries. Contact: jose_cisneros@ncsu.edu.

Adrienne TuckerAdrienne LaBranche Tucker, Program Coordinator
Adrienne has a background in agriculture and environmental science and holds a B.S. degree in ornamental horticulture, M.S. degree in turfgrass science, and a Ph.D. in environmental planning. Adrienne’s research experiences include investigating plant drought stress tolerance in response to exogenous applications of plant growth stimulants, and alternative water source planning to meet non-potable irrigation needs. Adrienne has worked as a sustainability director in higher education to provide training opportunities and program development. Prior to joining the CALS International Programs Office, Adrienne lived in France for two years. As the program coordinator, Adrienne oversees and manages the CALS International Programs’ initiatives and manages programs to increase CALS global engagement. Contact: adrienne_tucker@ncsu.edu.

Amber Beseli, Graduate Assistant
Amber assists in the development and coordination of new initiatives and training for students, faculty, and international visitors. She developed a passion for international work after participating in several study abroad programs. Amber has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Education and is working toward a Ph.D. in Crop Science with a minor in Agricultural Education. Each spring, she teaches “Global Issues in Agriculture,” which she developed in her doctoral program. Contact: alwillis@ncsu.edu.

Katie Dungan, Undergraduate Assistant
Katie is an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University pursuing a degree in Public Relations with a minor in Non-Profit Management. She is our undergraduate communications intern and is responsible for developing promotional content for CALS International Programs and the management of our social media. She looks forward to working with CALS International Programs while continuing her studies in Boone, NC. Contact: dunganka@appstate.edu.

Graduate Trainers

Sara Prado Applied Ecology – saraguitiprado.wordpress.com/
“I have enjoyed working with the CALS Global Academy. It has been great being able to meet people from different countries and learn about how agriculture differs in their country compared to the U.S. It has been an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge, and also to learn about different cultures, which I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. An added bonus has been being able to attend the lectures, and meet professionals from NC State and the government. This is especially useful for me since I plan on graduating this summer, and building a network of contacts is extremely important. Overall, this has been a great experience, so thank you to CALS Global Academy for allowing me to be a part of this program.”

Manal AskarManal AskarBiological and Agricultural Engineering – mhaskar@ncsu.edu
“It all started with an email from Amber Beseli, a CALS-IP program coordinator, seeking interpreters for a Jordanian group. Once I checked the program online, I decided to join immediately. I thought this would be a great opportunity to meet researchers, farmers, and governmental employers from different countries who work in the same field. Working as an interpreter for the Jordanian group was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot about different Food Supplement Programs in the US and services provided for low-income families to meet their nutrition needs. I also had the chance to visit facilities, e.g. US Foods, that I would have never been able to access except through this program. The program gives you a great opportunity to broaden your perspective and interact with different cultures from all around the world. I enjoyed my time as a trainer with the CALS-IP and I wish I have known about it earlier.”

Shannon BannerShannon Banner – Biological and Agricultural Engineeringsbcreaso@ncsu.edu
“I have always loved meeting new people and my work with the CALS Global Academy has been such a great opportunity to do this. The program has allowed me to meet people from all over the world, form lasting friendships, and grow both personally and professionally. NC State has a diverse culture but, being busy students, we don’t often get the chance to fully explore and appreciate this diversity. Participating in the program has allowed me to do this. The CALS Global Academy is a unique and rewarding program, and I would highly encourage anyone to get involved in this rewarding experience.”

Amarilys D. Irizarry  Applied Ecology – adirizar@ncsu.edu
“I’ve really enjoyed working as a graduate trainer through the CALS Global Academy, where I’ve had the opportunity to work with delegations from Bosnia, Denmark, and Mali & Burkina Faso. Getting to spend time with groups with different backgrounds, views, and customs have been truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This experience with CALS International Programs has given me the opportunity to learn more about different agricultural practices and exchange ideas about the role of agriculture in conserving biodiversity. It also has given me the opportunity to expand my professional network and make new friends in other countries, as well as in other departments here at NC State. I believe this experience has also helped me to be more globally aware and has made me (even more) curious and motivated to visit other countries and experience their culture first-hand. I don’t think I’d ever had the opportunity to learn about these different cultures, study fields, and meet some wonderful fellows if it hadn’t been for this program. I will always be grateful for this opportunity, and I hope to continue to collaborate with fellows from all around the world in the future.” 

Mahmoud ShehataMahmoud Shehata – Biological and Agriculture Engineering – mmebrahi@ncsu.edu
“Since I started working as a graduate student trainer, I have worked with groups from different countries including from Jordan, Bosnia, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Each training program I participated in was a unique experience. I found myself learning more about the agricultural practices used in the U.S. and in other countries. Working in the CALS program was a wonderful opportunity to explore other cultures and to widen my professional network.” 

Past Staff and Graduate Trainers

Past Staff

Sydney Robling 

Mackenah Simmons


Nat Mansfield


Emily KennedyEmily Kennedy


Chelsea GarrisonChelsea Garrison


Marisol MataMarisol Mata


James FreemanJames Freeman


Past Graduate Trainers

Hande UlusHande Ulus


Redife A. UcarRedife A. Ucar


Seyit YuzuakSeyit Yuzuak


Emily KennedyEmily Kennedy


Kelsey Hample


Amanda Clayton


Marcus Reason


Olivia Pearson


Mike Jones


Chelsea GarrisonChelsea Garrison


Luis Artioli


FemiAdioFemi Adio


Thiago Marino



Chen Jiang


Travis Hootman

Contact Us

Campus Box 7642
13 Ricks Hall
1 Lampe Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-515-1240
Email: cals_international@ncsu.edu