Staff Profiles


John Peters, Ph.D.
Dean of International Programs
Acting Dean of Marist Italy
Assoc. Professor of Economics

As an Education Abroad professional dedicated to the art and science of study abroad, John splits the bulk of his time between the Marist Poughkeepsie and Florence Campuses, while working to support Marist students abroad on six continents (sorry, no Antarctica program). John sees his life’s work that of developing and helping to connect students with innovative, empowering international and intercultural experiences. John holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Southern California, an MA in Economics and an MA in International Studies from Ohio University, and a BA with majors in Economics and Japanese from California State University, Sacramento. When not working to support international programs, staff, and students, John enjoys spending time with his two young daughters who are usually busy either eating gelato or learning to speak Italian.

Vanessa Nicho-Peters in Florence, Italy

Vanessa Nichol-Peters

Vanessa is a Zimbabwean by birth, South African by descent, US American by naturalization, and Italian by her love for Italy and the Marist-LdM programs. She holds BA, MA, and MBA degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, University of KwaZulu Natal, and Ohio University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in History from the University of Witwaterstrand in South Africa. Vanessa has worked in Education Abroad for 15 years, and when not working to support the Marist-LdM programs, she stays busy with research and writing her doctoral dissertation. If she had spare time, she would enjoy gardening and growing organic vegetables.

Bradford MillerBradford Miller
Assistant Director

Brad has a BA in Classics and Fine Arts from Harvard university, an MEd in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University and a ML in Latin from the University of Florida. Brad was previously the Dean of Students of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Brad is Academic Adviser to all Marist-LdM students in Florence, Director of the summer Florence Pre-College Program, and assists with the operational and financial management of the Branch Campus. Brad has been living in Florence since 2008, and in his free time enjoys adventures on his Vespa as well as offering his best tactical and motivational advice to Florence-based US American football team Guelfi Firenze, for which he serves as Offensive Coordinator.

Christie Alfaro in Rome, ItalyChristie Alfaro
Assistant Director

Christie received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marist College. She has been working with Marist-LdM programs since 2005. Christie is based at the Marist Poughkeepsie campus coordinating the BA and Freshman Florence Experience (FFE) programs. She has a passion for traveling, gardening, books of all kinds, and photography. Her free time is spent at home in the beautiful rolling hills of upstate New York with her son and husband.

Carol Toufali

Carol Toufali
Senior Coordinator

Carol holds a BA in Spanish from SUNY Plattsburgh, with studies abroad in Mexico and Spain, and an MPA from Marist College. Between degrees Carol enjoyed teaching English as a second language at the Berlitz School in Madrid, Spain and later at the American Cultural Center in Fes, Morocco for several years. Carol has coordinated Marist International Programs since 1995. Outside Marist, Carol is a weed-warrior, Lowe’s lover, classical music and film aficionado, wife, and mom.

Stephanie Elmessaoudi in Florence, ItalyStephanie Elmessoudi
Resident Director

Stephanie earned her BS in Criminal Justice from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration at Marist. She started working on the Marist Poughkeepsie campus in 2011 and made her debut to the Florence campus in 2012. Her undergraduate study abroad experience and love for discovering new cultures drives her enthusiasm for traveling. Her other interests include reading, going to the beach, and finding the best cappuccino in Florence. She coordinates and supports residential life, cultural transition, and the permit of stay process for the BA, MA, and FFE programs.

Diane RalstonDiane Ralston
Marist-LdM Office Assistant

Diane joined the Marist-LdM staff in January 2013 after 14 years working in the Marist Office of Student Financial Services. She works closely with Marist-LdM programs in coordinating registration as well as handling day to day office processes. Diane is currently pursuing her BS in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Leadership in Marist’s online program, and is the proud mother of a recent Marist College graduate. When Diane is not working or studying, she enjoys camping and re-purposing items found at antique stores and flea markets

Joe GiacaloneJoe Giacalone
Executive Director of International Recruitment

Joe is a member of the Admission Review Committee. He is responsible for directing all efforts to advise and enroll international students and US citizens living abroad for both the Poughkeepsie, New York, as well as Florence, Italy campuses. Joe was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. While studying at Marist he took advantage of the many opportunities the college had to offer, including studying abroad at the Florence Branch Campus; an internship in New York City; participation in various intramural sports; volunteer work; and three campus jobs.

Deborah Holtman in Florence, ItalyDeborah Holtman
Assistant Registrar

Deborah is the Assistant Registrar for International Affairs and works with registrations, equivalencies, and grades for the Italy campus, as well as serving as the Designated School Official and Responsible Officer for international students coming to Marist College. She has a MS from Pace University in Counseling and is a Chemical Dependency Counselor in her spare time.  She enjoys bike riding and kayaking on the weekends.


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