Ballot for AAFSW Executive Board Candidates – 2016

    All AAFSW members are encouraged to vote for AAFSW Executive Board candidates, who will
    serve two-year terms (through July 2018). To vote for a candidate, place a check next to the name. You may also vote for write-in candidates.

    Bios of the Executive Board candidates can be found below the ballot.

    Please note that the positions of AAFSW Treasurer and AAFSW Secretary are still open. If you are interested in either of these positions, please email

    Name of voting AAFSW member (required)

    AAFSW President:

    AAFSW 1st Vice President:

    AAFSW 2nd Vice President:

    AAFSW Assistant Treasurer:

    Write in candidates:







    Bios of AAFSW Executive Board Candidates

    Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD. – Candidate for AAFSW President

    Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen was born in California and raised in Athens, Greece, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from the University of Greece (1987). As a NATO Fellow and a University of California President’s Fellow, she continued her studies in her native California where she earned a Master’s of Science in Geophysics (1989), a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences (1993), and Master’s in Environmental Science and Management (1999).

    Combining geophysics and mineralogy, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen also studied Gemology and
    Gemstone Grading as well as Jewelry Appraising and Designing, earning the Fellow of the
    Gemological Association Diploma (1989) and her Gemological Institute of America Certificates (1990-997). Presently, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen is taking graduate courses at the University of Virginia (Curry School of Education) to complete her Teaching Credentials.

    Raised in Europe, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen was educated in five languages (English, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian), a great attribute when she leads field trips domestically and abroad as a Freelance Consultant.

    Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has been involved with the Dept. of State since 2001, living in Argentina, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, etc., and she has been an AAFSW member since 2014. Her
    involvement with the Dept. of State and AAFSW helps Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen to explore her interests in how geo-cultural‐politics affect environmental international policy, strategies, and practices around the world, especially regarding energy resources, the climate, and waste management.

    Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen would like to be the AAFSW President to expand its members’ awareness regarding everybody’s duties, rights, and responsibilities within the diplomatic life and beyond. Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen wants everyone in the Foreign Service Community to feel included and its members to consider AAFSW their anchor wherever in the world they are, whatever stage of their lives they may be.

    Melissa Hess – Candidate for 1st Vice President

    Melissa Hess is Deputy Director in the Crisis Management Training division at FSI and has worked in that office since 2005.  As a civil servant, she served 15 months in Iraq—as Political Officer for the Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team and then TDY as the Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah.  Prior to this, she was a member of FLO, where she coordinated the Strategic Networking Assistance Program—a global employment program for Foreign Service spouses.  A Foreign Service spouse for 22 years, she accompanied her husband on assignments to Nigeria, Russia, Algeria, Egypt, and Ukraine.  Melissa and Patricia Linderman are co-authors of The Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad and co-editors of Realities of Foreign Service Life, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.  In 1998, she created Foreign Service Livelines, the first website for Foreign Service spouses, which was purchased by AAFSW in 1999.  She holds a Master’s degree in Education and has taught English as a Second Language in Europe, Africa, and the U.S.

    Sandy Taylor – Candidate for 2nd Vice President

    Sandy Taylor is currently President of the Young Musical Scholars Foundation. She is a member of AAFSW, former second vice president of AAFSW, Welcome to Washington Diplomatic Liaison chair, and volunteers at the White House.

    Sandy has resided in the U.S., Taiwan, Japan and Australia. Sandy has completed the Harvard Kennedy School's Governance as Leadership program and is a member of Harvard DC Alumni. She managed the American Institute in Taiwan Distribution Center. As Country Director for the Pearl S. Buck International's Taiwan office, she raised funds for philanthropic causes in Taiwan. As a result of successful fund raising to rebuild a hospital damaged in the 1999 earthquake, she was invited to the Vatican to meet Pope John Paul and participate in an hour-long Vatican radio show about the earthquake relief project. As Assistant Director of the British Trade and Cultural Office in 1997, she coordinated a visit by former Prime Minister Thatcher.

    Troella Tyznik – Candidate for Assistant Treasurer

    Troella Tyznik has the desire as well as the qualifications to help AAFSW as Assistant
    Treasurer. In Tokyo, she served for two years as Foreign Exchange Head Cashier. She also worked for two years in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Head Cashier at the Navy Exchange, handling hundreds of thousands of dollars each day for U.S. personnel and foreign nationals. She was also responsible for millions of dollars of Fed funds as a proofreader for the People's Bank of the Tri States, Alabama, Florida and Georgia, for four and a half years. She reports that numbers and math are her motto!

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