WCIE is a place for connection, a place for learning, and a place for building long-lasting relationships. We help students flourish through international education. We are committed to students’ intellectual, social and emotional growth; we employ value-added research and analysis; and we partner with parents and institutions to offer students world-class experiences and cross-cultural team building skills.

We believe students cannot succeed alone. They thrive with the support of well-informed and engaged communities. We draw on dynamic resources available in the Washington, D.C. area as well as through our team’s extensive networks and expertise to create nurturing environments that empower students, domestic or international, to become globally-minded leaders.

Meet the Team

WCIE's team is inspired by a common vision of serving international students, their families, and the educational institutions that serve those students. WCIE's founding team includes the following:


Elisa Zhai Autry

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Elisa Zhai Autry is WCIE's co-founder and executive director. She is passionate about international education and combines an Asia-focused academic background with expertise in non-profit organization management, as well as active engagement in the international education communities. Dr. Autry serves as an affiliate professor at the Center for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation at George Mason University. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Autry has held various roles at the US-China Education Trust (USCET). At USCET, Dr. Autry worked with students, educators, and administrators from over 75 Chinese universities. She led programs on American society and culture, facilitated international conferences, and managed relationships with partners and stakeholders. Prior to joining USCET, Dr. Autry served as a program officer at the Institute for Global Engagement, where she worked with government officials, academics, and civic communities to implement global religious freedom initiatives. Before coming to Washington, Dr. Autry was as an assistant professor of sociology at Miami University. In addition to her teaching and research, she helped the university launch its Asian and Asian American Studies program. She has published widely both in English and Chinese. Dr. Autry received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas-Austin, and a B.A. in Sociology and Law from Peking University. She and her family reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

Paul Boesen - Website Photo[3]

Paul Boesen

Co-Founder and Chair, Board of Governors

Mr. Paul Boesen is a WCIE co-founder and senior advisor. He also serves as managing director of an English language school in Bethesda, Maryland, English Now!, and as senior advisor to GreenPoint Group, a strategic advisory firm that connects people and resources in the United States and China. Mr. Boesen’s background in education includes experience in general management as well as international program development and administration. Prior to his work in education, Mr. Boesen worked in investment banking and private equity for the Goldman Sachs Group in New York, Frankfurt, and Singapore; and for the World Economic Forum in Geneva and Beijing. He also served as executive director of the US-China Education Trust; and he serves on the Steering Committee of the One Million Strong Initiative, a Presidential Initiative to promote Chinese language education in American K-12 schools. Mr. Boesen’s academic background is in economics, Asian studies, and law. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School and resides in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children.


Emilie Kao

Co-Founder and Advisor

Ms. Emilie Kao is a WCIE co-founder and advisor. She was founder of the Kids World Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building cross- cultural understanding through relationships that provides WCIE its institutional home. Ms. Kao was born in the U.S. and moved to China as a teenager. That experience led to a career in international law at Latham and Watkins, the United Nations in Geneva, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and the the U.S. Department of State. She also taught international human rights law at George Mason University Law School. Ms. Kao has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Harvard College in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and speaks Mandarin and Arabic. She is based in Washington D.C.


Lucia Pierce


Ms. Lucia Pierce received a B.S. and M.S. from New York University, in education and Asian studies education respectively, and an M.A. in East Asian Studies with a focus on Chinese history, from Yale University. Ms. Pierce was the founding director of the Chinese Studies Program at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. She also served as the founding Head of Education at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, which together form the museum of Asian art at the Smithsonian Institution. Ms. Pierce has extensive experience in higher education administration as well. She served as the Assistant Dean of Admissions for the inaugural class of NYU Shanghai and the Director of External and Academic Events for NYU Shanghai. After living nine years in China, Lucia retired from full-time work and returned to Washington, D.C., where she is an independent consultant.


Hien Vu

Southeast Asia Program and Outreach Advisor

Ms. Hien Vu is Southeast Asia Outreach and Education Advisor at WCIE. Ms. Vu has more than twenty years’ experience working in multinational and multicultural settings and serves as a Program Manager at the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE). Her current work with IGE is a demonstration of her commitment and capability in international relations, peace building, community’s holistic development and global education. Prior to joining IGE, Hien worked in the Voluntary Repatriation Program at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong. She also worked on human resources and development with World Vision Vietnam. While pursuing higher education in Fresno, California Hien worked for a multi-cultural humanitarian organization, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries to assist the Vietnamese community and other Southeast Asian refugee populations in the city. She graduated from Hanoi University with a Bachelor's degree in English, and from Fresno Pacific University with her Master's degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies.


Ken Guan


Dr. Ken Guan earned his doctorate in Higher Education specializing Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior, along with a Graduate Certificate in Institutional Research at the Indiana University Bloomington. His dissertation focused on assessing institutional efforts to build culturally engaging environments, to support international and domestic undergraduate students in the U.S. Dr. Guan has designed curriculum for undergraduate international students related to their retention and graduation and has taught intercultural academic and co-curricular courses.

Dr. Guan’s academic background and extensive overseas studying and working experience has enabled him to serve as a bridge builder with people from many sectors. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Guan served in various roles in higher education as a instructional consultant, residence life coordinator, and international student services and support coordinator. He currently chairs the committee that recognizes best practices worldwide in international education through NASPA. He also coordinates the logistics for the ACPA Commission of Global Dimension for Student Development (CGDSD).


Program Intern

Ms. Tianjiao (Tanya) Li is a graduate student at the Kogod School of Business of American University. She studies analytics with specialization in finance and IT consulting. Before coming to America, Tianjiao worked in the Chinese finance sector, including Citi and China Everbright Bank in China.

Tianjiao is an active student leader in the international student community in D.C. She has organized and participated in various competitions through the Chinese Alumni Association, the Career Leadership Program, and the Venture Capital Investment Competition at American University. Besides her study, Tianjiao loves yoga, trekking, and volunteering at local community events.


Hannah Donner

Program Intern

Hannah Donner is a summer intern Volunteer Coordinator. She is a rising senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. She has been learning Chinese for six years and was a 2018 recipient of the U.S State Department’s National Student Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship, which enabled her to study and live abroad in Nanjing, China for six weeks last summer. Hannah hopes to use her experience living abroad to help other students living abroad in the U.S this summer. Hannah also volunteers at a Chinese Adult Day Care center in Gaithersburg, where she helps teach English to the adults and translates for them while shopping. In her free time, Hannah also enjoys diving and playing soccer.

Sally Tsang Sin-Man

Volunteer Coordinator

Ms. Sally Tsang is a rising senior student majoring in marketing at the City University of Hong Kong. She cares about the well-being of international students and is active in voluntary works to improve the local community. Sally's contribution to the Hong Kong community has earned her an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Hong Kong District Council in 2015.  Sally also worked as an event management intern at the City University’s Office of Education and Gateway Education. She served as a tutor helping disadvantaged students in secondary schools in Hong Kong.

Sally is passionate about international education. Growing up in a multicultural background in Hong Kong (being half Chinese and half Vietnamese), she studied as an exchange student at the Monash University in Australia before coming to study in Hong Kong. Her global background has enabled her to connect with people from diverse cultures and communicate in cross-cultural settings. Sally is fluent in four languages (English, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Cantonese) and has a long-term career aspiration to work in the United Nations.


Wendy Hsiao

Program Intern

Ms. Wendy Hsiao is a sophomore at Pepperdine University. Growing up in Taiwan with a multi-cultural and multi-language background, Wendy has developed a passion for international education from a young age.  Wendy is interested in helping international students adapt to new environments and overcome challenges while study abroad.

Besides her study, Wendy has devoted her time in community service and voluntarism. Back in Taiwan, she organized community events through Big Hands Hold Small hands, to help low-income households children learn English.  Through her volunteering work at the Hsuan-Kuan Institutional Care, Wendy helped care for mentally challenged seniors in Taiwan regularly.  

Wendy is also eager to learn about legislation and government policies. Selected as a research intern in the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Wendy researched and advocated on Taiwanese long-term care policies to help advance senior citizens' wellbeing.


We are delighted to partner with organizations that are committed to international education and to serving international students and families. Our activities are focused in the Mid-Atlantic region in the United States, but we also work with institutional partners worldwide. We look forward to meeting you. Please contact us at info@washingtoncie.org or (301) 785-3892.

ENGLISH NOW! is an English language school in Bethesda, Maryland, that serves the Washington, D.C.-area international community. English Now! takes a highly relational approach to language education, offering classes for students of all levels with a maximum class size of six students per group class. English Now! is delighted to support the efforts of WCIE to serve international teens, their families, and the educators that serve them.

English Now! is delighted to host orientations for WCIE Student Service Learning (SSL) programs for international teens and to support organization of WCIE community service efforts in Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as across the Washington, D.C. area. In addition, English Now! hosts preparation sessions for WCIE Exploring Diplomacy programs, and hopes to host programs related to international student mental health and well-being.


PacificLink is an organization that creates educational opportunities for youth from Asia to develop character, purpose and life skills so they will impact the world now and in the future.

We have four programs:

 SchoolLink  program places students from Asia in U.S. private high school. It is designed specifically so that students will have a rewarding experience that helps them grow and mature into successful people of good character. We maintain an ongoing relationship between our organization, the parents in Asia and the U.S. high school. Relationship based on trust and respect among partners will alleviate any future problems.

YouthLink  equips emerging leaders from Asia to make a difference in their communities. We have summer and winter short-term programs that equip youth to become servant leaders who impact their families, schools and communities.Our programs includes: Winter Immersion program, Summer Science Institute, IDEA Institute (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Action).

FamilyLink  short-term family program helps parents pass on values to their kids. We offer life-changing, purpose-driven family vacations that will impact marriage, parenting skills and family dynamics for a lifetime. We organize FamilyLink trips in California, Chicago, Michigan and around the United States!

CollegeLink Our CollegeLink program is a “road map” to top college admission. We partner together with Future Enlightened to provide college advising service to international students. We have developed a comprehensive curricular system and college advising process for international students. The college admission advisor will meet with the student every three weeks during 10th grade year and then almost every week during 11th and 12th grade.