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Meet the Staff


Shijie Shi

Assistant Director 


Sharon Wallace

Program Coordinator 

Shijie Shi and Sharon Wallace aim to provide the highest level of service to our participants; from greeting them as they get off the plane to providing a network of support services through graduation and beyond.

Shijie received her B.A. in Economics from Renmin University of China in 2011, and M.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University in 2013. She worked for the Program office as a student and was hired to work full-time as Assistant Director of the GPED when she graduated. Her primary responsibilities include student training, student development and student recruitment. Shijie loves working with students from diverse cultures, and firmly believes that building cohesive and inclusive learning environment is the key to help students succeed in graduate study.

Sharon joined the GPED as program coordinator in August 2016, upon Mouzon Siddiqi’s retirement and service of nearly 30 years to the GPED. Sharon received a B.A. in Business Administration and German from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, followed by post-graduate Fulbright study in Berlin, Germany. After this she worked for German software company SAP for over 13 years in the globalization team. Upon her return to the U.S., her husband’s job took them to Missouri, where she oversaw the international sponsored student program at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Sharon is happy to now call Nashville home and is excited to have joined the GPED family.

Sharon works with students from the time they apply until they graduate, meeting incoming students at the airport and assisting students in finding suitable housing. She also works with sponsoring agencies and assists students with forms and letters required by their sponsors and home governments. Students may seek help from Sharon who can personally advise them or direct them to appropriate resource persons or services.

Shijie and Sharon work together closely with applications ensuring that each application received is reviewed in a timely manner and that each prospective student/applicant is well informed regarding their application status. They also plan several social events during the year including the annual Awards Dinner and the annual Fall Picnic.

What's the hardest part of their job? "Seeing students graduate and having to say goodbye."