The Study Abroad Returnee Conference

The EVOLVE conference is planning to run again in 2023! Please come back to view our updates!

Did you return from your study abroad experience with unending exuberance and a desire to translate and utilize your newly-developed skills? Are you curious how your international experience can mark a new chapter in your personal, academic, and/or professional development? Are you ready to make the connection between your global worldview and your life back home in the US?

Join globally-minded professionals, talented experts, and study abroad returnees from around New York’s Capital Region and beyond for a day of panel discussions, networking and workshops dedicated to helping you refocus the lens through which you view your international experience.

Meet EVOLVE’S 2019 Speakers!

Plenary speaker WILLIS G. WANG is Vice President and Associate Provost for Global Programs, and Deputy General Counsel, at Boston University. He is BU’s senior international officer responsible for major global initiatives, which have included a graduate dental research school in Dubai, a non-profit in India, and global health research operations in Zambia. Willis provides strategic leadership for BU Global Programs and oversight of its academic and student affairs, budgetary and planning responsibilities, enrollment and revenue growth, and efforts to strengthen international institution capacity building.

As a comprehensive international office, Global Programs consists of over 450 people working for BU year-round to facilitate global mobility and intercultural experiences. Willis oversees a team that annually enrolls more than 2,400 students in BU developed and managed study abroad programs and provides immigration support to more than 11,000 international students and scholars at the University. Among other activities, this team manages academic centers and offices in 19 cities in 14 countries; operates a long-standing accredited ESL school; and provides operational and risk management expertise for BU global teaching, research, and service-learning activities.

As Deputy General Counsel, and after joining BU in 1998, Willis’s legal practice focused on international ventures, corporate transactions, technology transfer, endowment investments, research, and environmental matters. He is a trustee of World Education Services in New York City and of Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, MA. Prior to BU, Willis was in-house counsel at an MIT spin-off technology company that reached a market cap of $1 Billion in the mid-90s and a U.S. EPA enforcement lawyer. He is a graduate of Emory University and Boston College Law School.

DR. ASHLEY BUCHANAN, the closing speaker, is a scholar of early modern European history with an interest in the social, cultural, and political impact of medicinal recipes in the early modern world. Her research centers on the significance of plants, recipes, and pharmaceutical production at the late Medici Court. By focusing on plants and recipes, her project reveals not only the important role medicine played at the late Medici court, but also the role of women in circulating and legitimizing empirical medical knowledge as well as the significance of recipes as agents of discovery and transmission in the early modern world. Dr. Buchanan’s research interests developed from her study abroad experiences in Italy. To complete her archival research, Dr. Buchanan spent many years living in Florence, Italy, and researching at the Florentine State Archive and National Library. She has also taught and led numerous study abroad programs throughout Italy.

Dr. Buchanan is currently a Post-doctoral fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard research institute, where she is working with a team of interdisciplinary scholars and JSTOR Labs to create a digital humanities platform, which, through a combination of rare books, herbarium, and plant databases, explores the unparalleled significance of plants to human culture. The goal of the project is to build an engaging digital platform that connects both a scholarly and a broader public audience to the riches of special and archival collections and cutting-edge humanities research.

Dr. Buchanan is passionate about connecting a broader public audience with the processes and products of historical research and international education. She maintains an active social media presence through her blog and Instagram, “History in High Heels,” where she documents her life as a historian, her travels abroad, and her interests outside academia. Through her social media channels, Dr. Buchanan is committed to challenging outdated notions of what intellectual authority looks like. As an educator and academic, Dr. Buchanan has two missions. First, to create and promote study abroad opportunities, and, second, to make history fun and engaging.


Are you or the organization you represent interested in supporting EVOLVE? We’d love to have you. Meet our Platinum, Gold, and Silver Sponsors and find out how to get involved below.