JETAANY Contacts


Officer Name Email
President Andy Shartzer president [at]
Vice President Ryan Hata vicepresident [at]
Secretary Ramez Kafrouni secretary [at]
Treasurer Mike Buonadonna treasurer [at]
Outreach Chair Samantha Bronster outreach [at]
Career Development Specialist Cara Lam career [at]
Board of Directors Chair Monica Yuki monica.yuki [at]
Professional Outreach & Development Steven Horowitz professional [at]
Magazine Editor Justin Tedaldi magazine [at]
Book Club Christy Jones bookclub [at]
Webmaster Lee-Sean Huang webmaster [at]
Language Chair Ashley Matarama language [at]
Sub-Chapter Representatives    
New Jersey Sub-Chapter Representatives Alexis Palmer njrep [at]
Pittsburgh Sub-Chapter President Smitha Prasadh outreach [at]
Philadelphia Sub-Chapter Representatives Chelsea Chang phillyrep [at]
Long Island Sub-Chapter Representative <vacant> longislandrep [at]
Andy Shartzer
Shizuoka ALT, 2014-2016
President 2019 – Present
Community Development 2018 – 2019
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.


Ryan Hata
Tottori, 2014-2017
Vice President 2020-present
Membership and Career Development 2018 – 2020

Ryan Hata was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. 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 and received an advanced degree in Higher and Post-Secondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He currently works for the Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business part of Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys watching sporting events, playing basketball, swimming, hiking, and traveling.


Mike Buonadonna
Akita, ALT, 2007-2009
Treasurer 2020-present

Born and raised in New Jersey, Mike is an alumn of Rutgers University and was an ALT in Akita Prefecture from 2007 to 2009, teaching junior high and elementary students. Following his JET years, Mike moved to Honolulu and earned an MBA through a joint program between the University of Hawaii’s Shidler School of Business and the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. His bi-lingual career spans numerous corporate functions in medical device and life science companies including sales, marketing, project management, finance and business planning, focused on the Japanese market or on Japanese products and services imported to the U.S. Mike also lived in the Boston area for a few years where he began actively supporting NEJETAA and eventually served a year as Vice President. He brings confidence and experience to the role of Treasurer and is eager to advance the important work we continue to do as cultural ambassadors and catalysts for friendship and prosperity between America and Japan.
He is fluent in Japanese and trains in the Kendo and Iaido arts of Japanese swordsmanship. You can also catch him running, training for strength and endurance, or on a day (or several) of back-country hiking.

Ramez Kafrouni
Niigata, ALT, 2016-2018
Secretary, 2021-present
Communications Coordinator, 2019-2021

Born on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast, and raised mostly in Sydney, Australia, Ramez graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts in Media. After working full-time in the field for a few years, Ramez applied for the JET Programme, where he would serve as a junior high school and elementary school ALT for two years, in Joetsu, Niigata, right on the doorsteps of the Sea of Japan. In Joetsu, Ramez was involved in several community initiatives, including a fortnightly English chatroom, as well as teaching locals English, and other cross-cultural events.

After JET, Ramez moved to New York City and moved back into the field of media, though remains passionate about grass-roots internationalisation and continues studying Japanese.

Ashley Matarama
Kyoto-fu, ALT, 2014-2016
Language Chair, 2021-present

Ashley was born and raised in New Jersey and has a B.F.A in Animation and Illustration from Montclair State University. She studied Japanese for four years in high school prior to becoming an ALT in Kyotanabe City. Her goal as Language Chair is to continue studying the Japanese language alongside fellow japanophiles and the local Japanese community, fostering an environment of open communication and passionate, continued learning.

Samantha Bronster
Aomori ALT, 2017-2019
Outreach Chair

I was a JET in Aomori from 2017-2019. I majored in Japanese studies in college and have lived in Japan for a total of about three years. I’m very excited to be working with JETAANY as Outreach Chair! I have always been very interested in pop culture and its power to both entertain and influence the way people think. I think events like anime conventions and festivals are great ways to get people interested in Japan and in the JET Program, so I would like to get us involved in more of them! I’m also looking forward to getting more involved in the JETAA community in general. I hope to meet many new people this year!

Cara Lam
Niigata ALT, 2016-2018
Career Development Specialist 2021 – Present

Cara was born in Australia and grew up in Hong Kong. After she received her B.A. in Psychology and Egyptology from UCLA, she moved to Joetsu City in Niigata Prefecture as a junior high school JET ALT. During her stay between 2016-2018, Cara volunteered in many events through the Joetsu International Network. She hosted large-scale events such as summer English camps, biweekly English conversation groups, cooking classes, and lectures. On the side, she documented her life in Japan through hundreds of YouTube videos on her channel Caradventures, as well as through blog posts on popular websites such as Gaijinpot, MATCHA, Metropolitan, and TaikenJapan. She especially enjoyed speaking about her experiences as an Asian foreigner in Japan. Currently, she is a New York-based UX Content Strategist at a fintech consulting firm. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hiking and kayaking in national parks or sweating out at boot camp workouts. And she still blogs! Check out her posts at

monicayuki Monica Yuki
Saitama-ken ALT, 2002-2004
JETAANY Board of Directors Chairman 2015-present
JETAA USA Country Representative 2015-2020
USJETAA Board of Directors 2017-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 2002-2008
JETAANY Board of Directors 2011-2018 JETAA USA Board of Advisors, 2011-2018 Founder,

Steven is Director of Legal English Programs at St. John’s University School of Law where he has the good fortune to work with two other JET alumni! He has a JD from Duke Law School, an MA TESOL from CUNY-Hunter College, a CELTA Certificate, and a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also studied law at Waseda University and interned for Japanese law firms. 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 which evolved into 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 which he does through the JETwit Jobs Google Group. And he’s also established the JET Alum Parents Facebook Group for JET alum parents throughout the world. Steven lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children, is a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op, and can occasionally be found playing ultimate frisbee in or near Prospect Park. You can connect with him via LinkedIn.

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’MalleyBruce Feiler, Andrew W.K., Ace Frehley, Rick Nielsen, Hikaru Utada, Jero and Puffy AmiYumi. For more stories, View his NY Japanese Culture page at

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

Christy Jones
Nagasaki ALT
JETAANY Board of Directors
Book Club Leader

Christy Jones is the Director of Special Events at Japan Society, an American nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the people of Japan and the United States closer together through programs in arts & culture, business & policy, and education. Having joined Japan Society in 2001 as an assistant in the Lectures Program, Christy now plans the Society’s fundraising and cultivation events. While in college, Christy studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka and later spent three years living and working in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Shimabara City as an ALT in the JET Program. She graduated from Duke University with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a certificate in Asian & African Languages & Literature. In her free time Christy enjoys reading, photography, amassing craft materials for future projects, talking about cats, and entertaining in her Brooklyn apartment. She has been organizing JETAANY’s Book Club since 2014.

Alexis Palmer
Tottori ALT, 2016-2018
New Jersey Subchapter Representative 

Alexis grew up in Fishers, Indiana and received her B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture at Ball State University. During college, she studied abroad for one semester at Sapporo University in Hokkaido. Upon graduation, she worked as an ALT at one elementary school and one junior high school in the town of Chizu in Tottori Prefecture. After two years, she returned to her alma mater and received her M.A. in Political Science with a focus in International Relations. Initially struggling to find a job due to COVID-19, she worked part-time at her dad’s brewery and began volunteering as the Marketing Coordinator of JETAA Chicago. Alexis currently works as a Security Assistant at the Consulate-General of Japan in New York and lives in Little Ferry, New Jersey. In her free time, she enjoys running/playing sports, watching movies, reading, cooking and traveling. 

Smitha Prasadh
Tokushima, ALT, 2005-2007
Pittsburgh Sub Chapter President, 2014-Present

Smitha was born in India and moved to the US as a baby. An Atlanta native, Smitha did her undergrad at Georgia Tech, where she got a BS in media/technology studies and graphic design, with a minor in Japanese. After JET, she moved to Pittsburgh for a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design, studying human-centered and user experience design and graduating in 2011. Her master’s thesis was on developing a resource to help people experiencing reverse culture shock, focusing on American JET alumni. After two years in Boston for work, she returned to Pittsburgh in 2013. Since then, she’s taken on UX design and research work with a tangible real-world impact, focusing on civic tech, engineering, healthcare, logistics, intercultural issues, and nonprofits/social-good. She also mentors junior designers and speaks occasionally at conferences in the US and abroad.

Smitha was an elementary and junior high school ALT in Tokushima Prefecture from 2005 to 2007. While on JET, she was the webmaster and messageboard moderator for Tokushima’s AJET community, and did bilingual print design and illustration for JET community events. She became the Pittsburgh subchapter president in 2014 and assembled a board of active local members in 2017. Her aim has been to elevate JETAA’s presence in SW PA to serve JET alumni and applicants locally, while connecting the subchapter with the broader JETAA network.

On the side, Smitha plays violin and viola, volunteers with 412 Food Rescue (a food waste/insecurity nonprofit) and social justice events, reads SF/science/history books, travels, sings karaoke (with friends or in the car), and cuddles with her cat, Neville.

Chelsea Chang
Tottori ALT, 2015-2017
Philadelphia Sub Chapter Representative 2020-Present

Chelsea was part of the JET Program 2015-2017 after graduating from Rutgers University. She was placed in a high school located in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture.  After JET she went back to Rutgers University to get a Masters in Social Work.  She is currently working with clients who have substance abuse and mental health issues, and as the Philly representative, she enjoys organizing events outside of work.