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Staff Biographies

To view complete biographies, click on each name below.

Mana Derakhshani, PhD.
Director, Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership
Email: mana [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Julie Storme, PhD.
Associate Director, Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership
Email: jstorme [at] saintmarys [dot] edu 

Alice Siqin Yang, PhD.
Associate Director, International Education
Email: syang [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Adriana Petty, B.S.
Assistant Director, International Student/Scholar Advisor 
Email: apetty [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Martha Smith, B.S.
Project Director, Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative
Email: msmith [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Joan McClendon, M.A.
Associate Project Director, Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative
Email: jmcclendon [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Linda Biggins, M.S.
Administrative Assistant
Email: cwil [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

Mana Derakhshani, PhD.

Dr. Mana Derakhshani is Director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership and Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages. She has a Ph. D in nineteenth-century French poetry, however since coming to Saint Mary’s College in 1989 she has focused her scholarly work on the pedagogy of languages and intercultural studies. She is coordinator of the Intercultural Studies Minor Program and has taught the Introduction to Intercultural Studies course every year since its inception.


Julie Storme, PhD.

Julie A. Storme, Associate Director of CWIL and Professor of French (PhD in French Literature from Northwestern University) has worked on many initiatives related to intercultural learning since her arrival in 1986, including participation in the Design Team for the Sophia Program’s engagement learning outcomes (LO3) and the Intercultural Studies Minor. Much of her research has focused on the teaching of culture and intercultural understanding.

Alice Siqin Yang, PhD.

Dr. Alice Siqin Yang is the Associate Director of International Education. She supports all Saint Mary’s study abroad programs and is in charge of the student intercultural travel grants. She teaches Chinese and is the first Chinese instructor of Saint Mary’s. She is the Coordinator of China Summer Program and teaches a course on Chinese Women and Society. She offers intercultural training workshops and advises leadership certificate students. She has a passion for campus internationalization.

Before joining the CWIL, Alice received her Ph.D. degree from the Program of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota, where she received intercultural training and gained international educational exchange skills. She helped design and manage the Beijing Summer Study Abroad Program and the Master of Law Program (LL.M.) for Chinese Lawyers in Beijing for the University of Minnesota Law School. Her internship experiences at the Minnesota International Center and the American Association of University Women Minnesota helped her gain leadership and development skills.

Alice successfully applied for a grant from the Ford Foundation and did her Ph.D. dissertation research fieldwork on women’s development and gender mainstreaming in higher education in South China. She received her master’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Northern Iowa and has published her thesis in the Journal of International Women’s Studies, which was a national student survey on the internationalization and multiculturalization of women’s studies graduate programs in the United States. 

Adriana Petty, B.S.

Adriana I. Petty graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2001, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Adriana worked with the Saint Joseph County Minority Health Coalition, Saint Mary’s College Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership office with International Students and Scholar Services, was the graphic designer for New Dimension Wear, worked with United Way of Saint Joseph County and has returned to the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership office and works with the International Students and Scholar Services.


Martha Smith, B.S.

Martha is the Project Director of Women’s Entrepreneurial Initiative. She graduated from Ferris State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, she owned and operated two small businesses. One is a local mini-storage facility, and the other one is a business to business textile company. Martha and her husband started their textile business from the basement of their Michigan home and developed it into a nation-wide textile distribution enterprise. She has previous work experience with banking and manufacturing. She held jobs with First National City Bank (Citibank) in Nicaragua; Owens-Corning Fiberglas, Toledo, Ohio; and AM General in South Bend. She served on the Small Business Division Advisory Board for 1st Source Bank. Martha has served as community volunteer with the Niles YMCA and the Senior Citizens Center, as well as Hospice of Saint Joseph County. Hobbies and interests include: reading, traveling around the United States and Latin America, and power walking with her Golden Retriever, Fred.

Joan McClendon, M.A.

Joan is the Associate Director for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. She is actively involved in both the Downtown South Bend and YWCA board. She also is an author and speaker. She owned her own business for seven years and was an adjunct instructor for a local college for over three years. Joan has been married for 24 years and has two college-aged children. She holds a B.A. in Natural Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Masters of Ministry and Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Bethel College.

 Linda Biggins

Linda Biggins has been working at Saint Mary’s since 1994. Her role as administrative assistant in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership is comprehensive: she coordinates events, calendars, and budgets for the central administration as well as the Research and Scholarship and Global Education components of CWIL. Linda received a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, and has experience teaching in the classroom.  Her favorite pastime is gardening.

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