JETAANY Contacts



Officer Name Email
President Brenda McKinney president [at]
Vice President Alex Varney vicepresident [at]
Secretary Ronda Rutherford secretary [at]
Treasurer Fernando Rojas treasurer [at]
Community Development Andy Shartzer community [at]
Membership and Career Development Ryan Hata membership [at]
Country Representative/ Monica Yuki monica.yuki [at]
Board of Directors Chair
Professional Outreach & Development Steven Horowitz professional [at]
Magazine Editor Justin Tedaldi magazine [at]
Social Media Julio Perez media [at]
Book Club Christy Jones bookclub [at]
Webmaster Lee-Sean Huang webmaster [at]
New Jersey Sub-Chapter Representatives Beata Wilk & Lesley Jacobs Robinson njrep [at]
Pittsburgh Sub-Chapter Representatives Smitha Prasadh pittsburghrep [at]
Philadelphia Sub-Chapter Representatives May Tsun, Kate Uhlrich phillyrep [at]
Long Island Sub-Chapter Representative <vacant> longislandrep [at]



Brenda McKinney
Hyogo-Ken ALT
President 2018 – present
Vice President 2017 – 2018

Originally from Minnesota, Brenda was a high school ALT in Hyogo-ken (between Kobe and Himeji Castle) from 2006-2009. While on JET, she served on Hyogo AJET for all three years, and in her final year, Brenda was elected to the National AJET Council. As a Block Rep and National Advertising Liaison in 2008-2009, Brenda enjoyed the opportunity to engage further with the wider JET community through prefecture events, assisting with Tokyo Orientation, and engaging in biannual opinion exchanges with MEXT and MOFA. Since returning from Japan, Brenda has been actively engaged in JETAA chapters in Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., New Zealand, and New York, most recently serving as JETAANY’s vice president. In addition to JET, Brenda is also an alumna of the Fulbright program, AmeriCorps JD Program, Concordia Language Villages, and she has professionally served at the White House, United Nations, State Department and USAID. She is a full-time attorney and educator based in NYC and holds a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) from Boston College, a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and earned a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Loyola University Chicago School of Law as a Civitas Childlaw Fellow. In her free time, Brenda enjoys being with friends and family, running long distances slowly, exploring museums, traveling (now in over 70 countries), and supporting programs that foster community, grow understanding, support education, and promote responsible citizenship.

epsonscan003 Alex Varney
Saga-shi CIR, 2011-2014
Vice President 2018 – present
Career Development 2017 – 2018
Secretary 2016-2017

Raised in Chappaqua, NY, Alex graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Japanese Studies. His interests led him to a formative travel experience to Japan in high school, a study abroad during college at Doshisha University, an internship in Tokyo, and finally the JET Programme. On JET, he had the pleasure of serving as the CIR for Saga City where he was involved in planning and executing major international events such as Saga’s Annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, facilitating sister city relations and exchange programs, promoting international and cross cultural understanding via lectures, presentations, and community outreach, the city’s monthly newsletter, translation,interpretation, and English language education. In addition, he served as Saga’s Prefectural AJET representative and volunteered with the AJET Peer Support Group, an anonymous and confidential listening and referral service. Currently Alex works at an integrated Marketing Communications firm in New York City where he works with foreign companies looking to do US market entry as well as Startups. He enjoys world travel, staying current with world affairs, and listening to music in a variety of languages.

Ronda Rutherford
Osaka-fu ALT, 2008-2009
Secretary 2017 – present

Originally from a suburb of Seattle, Ronda graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in comparative literature and Germanics. During that time, she studied abroad in Austria and Germany and also taught English at summer camps in China through WorldTeach. On the JET Programme, she was an ALT at a high school in Suita-shi, Osaka-fu, where she participated in the tea ceremony and English clubs, took Japanese language and cooking classes, sang karaoke (of course!), and traveled around Japan as much as possible. Since then, Ronda received an MA in German literature from UCLA, spent seven months teaching English at elementary schools in France through TAPIF, and worked as an assistant at a law firm. In her current role at Cultural Vistas, she coordinates internships in Germany and Brazil for US students and processes visa applications for traineeships in Switzerland and France. In her free time, she enjoys watching plays and musicals, hiking, playing guitar, and kayaking.

Fernando Rojas
Fukui-ken ALT, 2008-2010
Treasurer 2017 – present

A native New Yorker, Fernando spent 2 years in Fukui as an ALT from 2008 to 2010. He taught at two junior high schools; one with 500 students, another with just 30 students! During this time in Fukui, he managed to get his driver’s license and drive around Hokuriku and Chubu during Golden Week (tip: take local roads, avoid highways), picked up Japanese calligraphy as a hobby (which he still continues to this day), and learned to make delicious Japanese food from his host family. He also volunteered in the Fukui JET community’s visit to the local orphanage and at the Roman Catholic Church in town.

Prior to joining JET, he received his BA in Architecture from Columbia University, where he specialized in Japanese art and architecture. His interest in Japan began when he took a beginner Japanese class as a freshman. From that point on, he took whatever class on Japan he could take; history, art history, painting, landscape architecture, etc. You name it, he probably took it. As a senior, he was looking for opportunities to go to Japan and remembered a slide shown by the professor in the first Japanese class he took as a freshman. It was for the JET program.

Shortly after returning from Fukui, Fernando served as the unofficial NJ subchapter representative. He also volunteer with other organizations in the city including NY de Volunteer and MASA program in the South Bronx. He is currently the Program Manager for the Japan ICU Foundation where he manages the foundation’s scholarships, grants, and special programs. He has also worked at the Social Science Research Council. As treasurer of JETAANY, he looks forward to applying his non-profit experience to support JETAANY and the JET community.

Andy Shartzer
Shizuoka ALT, 2014-2016
Community Development 2018 – present
Events Coordinator 2017 – 2018

Growing up as a military brat, Andy was born on the West Coast but eventually ended up as an East Coaster, with brief stints in Nebraska and Tennessee. Andy attended the University of Virginia and has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering while also studying abroad for a semester at the University of Nottingham in the UK. After graduation, he moved to Washington, DC where he worked as an environmental consultant. Eager to get more in touch with his heritage, Andy participated in the JET Programme as an ALT. He was lucky enough to be placed in Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka-ken from 2014-2016, teaching at a local technical high school. During his time in Japan, he strived to contribute to both his school and community as much as possible. Andy worked with several of his students to write articles for the Shizuoka Board of Education’s annual English newspaper, the Shizuoka Chronicle. Andy also served as an Event Coordinator for Shizuoka AJET, where he helped promote grassroots intercultural exchange through events such as a hanami picnic, a visit to a local Buddhist temple, and a trip to the national summer sumo tournament in Tokyo.

Andy currently works as a Business Development Representative for the Japan External Trade Organization, working with and assisting U.S. companies interested in entering the Japanese market. In his free time, Andy enjoys improv, DJing, writing, blogging, and traveling. He is excited to be involved in JETAANY and is looking forward to giving back to JET, JETAA, and the greater U.S-Japan community.

ryanhata Ryan Hata
Tottori, 2014-2017
Membership and Career Development 2018 – present

Ryan Hata was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He then moved to Los Angeles where he received his B.A. in Communication Studies from Loyola Marymount University. It was there where he developed a critical consciousness and discovered injustices against minorities, which prompted him to move to San Francisco where he received his M.A. in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. Upon graduation, he wanted to learn more about his ancestral heritage and decided to move to Japan while working on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program teaching at Aoya Senior High School in Tottori. While in Tottori from 2014-2017, he served on Tottori AJET, Asian Pacific Islander (API) AJET, and National AJET in various capacities all three years. Since returning from Japan, Ryan has moved to New York to continue his pursuit of social justice while working towards an advanced degree in Higher and Post-Secondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. In his free time, he enjoys watching sporting events, playing basketball, swimming, hiking, and traveling. Ultimately, Ryan is excited join the JETAANY leadership team and give back to the greater JET community!

monicayuki Monica Yuki
Saitama-ken ALT, 2002-2004
JETAANY Board of Directors Chairman 2015-present
JETAA USA Country Representative 2015-Present
President 2011-2015
Vice-President 2009-2011
Social Chair, 2006-2009

Originally from Malibu, California, Monica attended the University of Colorado and has a B.S. in Business Administration with a double emphasis in Marketing and Human Resource Management. After graduating, she decided to trade the Rocky Mountains for the Kanto Plain and participated in the JET Programme. While serving as a high school ALT in Iruma-shi, Saitama-ken from 2002-2004, Monica developed a greater appreciation for Japanese culture and her family heritage. During her time in Japan, Monica performed in several traditional Japanese dance performances, joined the Ikebana club and coached her high school’s girl’s softball team.

Now residing in New York City, Monica is the Research Director for Parade Magazine at AMG Parade. When not researching the hottest trends in consumer purchasing habits, Monica keeps herself busy playing softball, and volleyball. She is currently the Vice President of the Alpha Chi Omega Alumni Chapter in NYC and is involved in many NY Cares philanthropic activities. Her competitive spirit and passion for the outdoors has sparked an interest in competing in half ironmans, triathlons and duathlons in and around the NY area.

Steven Horowitz
Aichi-ken, Kariya-shi ALT 1992-1994
Professional Outreach & Development 2009-Present
JETAANY Newsletter Editor 2002-2008JETAANY Board of Directors 2011-Present

A New Jersey native, Steven is a lawyer by training and works as a grant writer for a non-profit organization in New York. After JET, he went to Duke Law School and spent time working for two Japanese law firms and studying at Waseda University before moving to New York to work for a law firm. In 2002 he began serving as the editor of the JETAANY Newsletter (now the JQ Magazine) and in 2005 was JETAANY’s representative at the JETAA International Meeting in Japan. He used his role as Newsletter editor to reach out to newsletter editors in other chapters, eventually leading him to create the Writers Interpreters Translators (WIT) Group and in 2008 as a resource for the JET alum community. His goal is to help JET alums connect with each other and find and create work opportunities for themselves. In addition to his JETAANY work, Steven is also the creator of Bankruptcy Bill, a cartoon about bankruptcy lawyers (and few bankruptcy haiku too!) Steven lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter, is a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op, and can often be found playing ultimate frisbee in or near Prospect Park. You can connect with him via LinkedIn and learn more about him through his blog.

Justin Tedaldi
Kobe-shi CIR, 2001-2002
JETAANY Magazine Editor 2008-Present, JETAANY Board of Directors 2012-present

Straight outta Long Island, Justin Tedaldi (Kobe-shi CIR, 2001-02) has served as editor JQ magazine editor since 2008, and has conducted exclusive interviews with Bryan Lee O’Malley,  Bruce Feiler, Andrew W.K., Ace Frehley, Rick NielsenHikaru Utada, Jero and Puffy AmiYumi. For more stories, View his NY Japanese Culture page at

JETAANY bio pic -brett rawson Brett Rawson
Akita-ken, ALT 2007-2009
Career Development Chair 2013 – 2016
Rameneeers Captain

Currently calling Brooklyn his home, Brett is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at The New School. While his concentration is in non-fiction, his focus is on improving his poor penmanship, which most closely resembles the font Wingdings.

Brett is originally from Seattle, WA. He seized a B.A. in Economics from Whitman College, but unsure he had reached his steady state of interest, he decided to put his degree to flexible use and participated on JET for two years. He lived in Kisakata, a coastal town at the southwest tip of the prefecture, where he taught English at two elementary schools, one junior high school, had a weekly eikaiwa, and studied Japanese archery. Returning to the states during the Great Recession, he hop-scotched from an internet company to law firm to private day school. Meanwhile, he held various positions in the Pacific Northwest JET Alumni Association (PNWJETAA), including Newsletter Coordinator, Vice President, and Transitions Coordinator. Since moving to New York in August 2013, he’s enjoyed getting to the know the JETAANY crew and looks forward to promoting JETAANY’s professional efforts.

Lee-Sean Huang Lee-Sean Huang
Oita-ken, Nakatsu-shi ALT, 2003-2006
JETAANY Webmaster 2006-Present

Born in Taiwan and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Lee-Sean graduated from Harvard in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government.  After graduation, Lee-Sean moved to Nakatsu City in Oita Prefecture on the southern Japanese island Kyushu, where he worked as an Assistant Language Teacher for three years.

Lee-Sean moved to New York in 2006, and began volunteering as the webmaster of shortly thereafter. In 2008, Lee-Sean worked with Steven Horowitz to launch, a site for the JET alumni freelance and professional community.

Lee-Sean is a cofounder and creative director at Foossa and is a faculty member at SVA’s MFA Design for Social Innovation program. He has previously worked with a range of non-profits including, Human Rights Watch, Creative Commons, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He is a trustee of the Awesome Foundation New York, and co-founder of Hepnova Multimedia.

Catch Lee-Sean online at

Beata Wilk head shot Beata Wilk
Fukui-ken, ALT 2004-2008
JETAA New Jersey Subchapter Rep 2013 – Present

Originally a Communications major, Beata attended Seton Hall University because of it’s famed college radio station- WSOU. When she took Japanese to fulfill her language requirements, she fell in love with Japanese culture and quickly declared Asian Studies as a second major. In 1999, she did a summer exchange at Sophia University in Tokyo. She completed her B.A. in Communications and Asian Studies and went on to grad school, also at Seton Hall University, to complete her M.A. in Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese history.

She spent the next four years in the beautiful Japanese inaka of Fukui-ken. She loved her JET Programme placement in Fukui-ken and worked 3 years at “Haru-chu”, where she joined the school’s broadcast club, helped a student-formed punk band with their renditions of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ and Clash songs, and started a journal writing project in the elective English classes. Her last year in Japan, Beata worked for Fukui City’s Board of Education and dispatched to 23 different elementary schools as an EALT. During her time on JET, Beata joined a local taiko group, played soccer and ultimate frisbee on the Fukui JET teams, volunteered at a local radio station- Tannan FM, and performed in two bi-lingual plays co-produced by the Fukui International Club and FJET.

Currently Beata is a licensed insurance agent and works at MG Services in Garfield.She lives in New Jersey, her home state, and serves as the JETAANY NJ subchapter representative. You can connect with her on Linkedin or Facebook. She looks forward to seeing you at events and is always open to ideas and suggestions.

Lesley Robinson Lesley Jacobs Robins
Gunma-ken, ALT 2008-2009
JETAA New Jersey Subchapter Rep 2013 – Present

As the Assistant Director for International Programs, Lesley (Jacobs) Robinson is responsible for the operations and management of Davis International Center-initiated programs and marketing at Princeton University and also serves as an International Student Advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to working at the Davis IC, Lesley worked as the Senior Manager of Partnerships at Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS), a non-profit volunteer abroad organization. While at CCS, Lesley volunteered in Costa Rica, Peru and Ghana. Lesley began her career in the field of international education as a Study Abroad Advisor at The University of Tulsa. Motivated by her passion to encourage students to engage in opportunities abroad, Lesley earned a master’s degree in global and international education with an emphasis in peace education from Drexel University. While a graduate student, Lesley also spent a year in Takasaki, Gunma, Japan teaching English to high school students with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Lesley’s master’s thesis focused on creative ways to internationalize the Japanese high school classroom. As an undergraduate student, Lesley studied abroad in Quebec, France and Spain. She earned her Bachelor’s in Arts from The University of Tulsa in Communications (emphasis Public Relations) and French. Lesley is from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

amy boots photo Amy Boots
Okinawa ALT, 2008-2010
JETAA Pittsburgh Subchapter Rep 2014 – Present

Amy first encountered Japan as a young child through a Japanese family friend.  Her interest in Japan blossomed through that relationship to an interest in Japanese language, culture, and manga.  She studied Japanese in high school and at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Amy was a elementary-junior high JET in Okinawa from 2008-2010, where she enjoyed the tropical environs by learning scuba, running, and a little karate.  She still picks at the sanshin from time to time. Amy is currently the Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania.

KatherineUhlrich Kate Uhlrich
Shiga-ken, ALT 2010-2014
JETAA Philadelphia Subchapter rep 2014- present

Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, Kate studied English linguistics in college. She moved to Shiga in 2010, despite being a vegetarian and speaking limited Japanese. From 2010-2012, she taught oral communication at four high schools during the week and traveled extensively on weekends. From 2012-2014, she became a Shiga Prefectural Advisor, working at the prefectural office during the week and sleeping on weekends. In her free time, she studied kitsuke (the art of wearing kimono), tea ceremony, and koto. In August 2014, she moved to Philadelphia to pursue a graduate degree in Intercultural Communication. She misses wagashi.


MayTsun May Tsun
Ehime-ken, ALT 2008-2010
JETAA Philadelphia Subchapter rep 2014- present

I’m May. I flew out of my hometown in Los Angeles to teach deep in the inaka of Ehime Prefecture from 2008-2010. I moved back to the US to reside in Pennsylvania, where I spend time in the greater Philadelphia area watching Doctor Who, running around taking pictures in the art museum, taking LOTR epic walks (partly because I have an improvised sense of direction), and giving very long answers to short questions from friends and strangers alike. I love listening to stories and meeting nice people. Pleased to make your acquaintance!


blank person JETAA Long Island Subchapter

If you reside on Long Island and are interested in this subchapter representative position please contact Pam Kavalam vicepresident [at]