Our mission is to create educational opportunities for Chinese youth so they will develop character, life purpose and skills so they will succeed in college and beyond.
Pacific Link International Educational Services (PLIES) was established in 1997 to provide summer and winter camps and U.S. high school study abroad programs for Asian youth. By 2011 we launched our high school diploma program in partnership with U.S. high schools. Our U.S. headquarters is in South Bend, Indiana at Innovation Park University of Notre Dame. Hundreds of students have been brought to America in various summer and year-round educational programs since 1997.
Meet Our Leadership Team
We are passionate about raising up new leaders and connecting Asia with the United States of America.
Lisa Nagle – CEO/Executive Director
Lisa has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations. She has also served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for a leadership development company which offers consulting services that have impacted thousands of leaders in many countries in Asia and Africa. Lisa has a master’s degree in Asian Studies and International Business from Seton Hall University (1996), an Executive Management Certificate from the University of Notre Dame (2011) and a B.A. in political science from Colorado State University (1988). She worked for U.S. Senator William Armstrong in Washington D.C. 1988-92 and she was President of the U.S. Senate Toastmasters. She serves on the board of directors of three youth and leadership development organizations.
Rick Mann – Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Rick has a passion for equipping leaders and organizations to create remarkable value for their stakeholders. This passion finds expression at the Skinner School of Business and Technology where he provides academic oversight of on-campus and online programs for adult students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He also teaches graduate courses on topics of leadership and strategy. Earlier in his career, Rick worked for a number of years in China teaching at the university level as well as training and supervising teachers in China. For four years, he chaired an international association of colleges and universities in over 60 countries. Rick has a BS from Western Michigan University in 1978, an MA and PhD from Ohio State University in 1986, and an MBA from University of Minnesota in 2009.
Dave Short – Director of Partnerships
Dave has served as the National Director of Alpha in a Student Context for almost 9 years. His role included tactical and operational responsibilities such as program development, strategic partnerships, communication/marketing, resources and training. He and his wife Valerie also operate a successful Host Family program in the Chicago area which has served more than 2,000 international students from 7 universities along with hosting over 1000 Asian officials in the past 10 years. Dave has traveled extensively in and outside of the United States. Dave, Valerie and their two daughters served in Southeast Asia for all of 2013 to promote the use of Alpha throughout the region. Dave and Valerie have five children. They reside in Chicago.
Linda Zhang – Director of Business Operations
Linda Zhang has held several positions across different fields during the past years. She was educated in China and worked as a book editor for ten years before coming to the States. While in the States, Linda studied the fields of computer science and accounting at the college level and later joined Compu Capital as an accounting specialist in 2004. Linda’s latest position was with Penn Harris Madison school system as a substitute teacher. Linda’s background is unique because of her education and work experience in both China and America.
Donald McLaughlin – Entrepreneurship Camp Director
A graduate of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, Donald spent more than twenty years in the financial services industry with both AG Edwards and Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor to both individual and institutional clients. For the past 17 years he has served as a major gifts development officer with Prison Fellowship, Teen Mania, Taylor University and Discovery Institute. He currently serves as Director of Operations for Anchorsaway, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He also was the co-Founder of the Michiana Free-Net, which was the first publicly available internet service in the Michiana area. Donald enjoys reading, traveling, and music and lives in Granger Indiana with his wife. They have 2 grown daughters, two sons-in-law and 2 grandchildren.
Adela Penagos – College Admissions Advisor
Adela came to the United States from Mexico and has spent the past 16 years advising highly talented students about the academic, personal, social, and leadership opportunities at their disposal. Adela was the Associate Dean of Academic Advising at Harvard for two years. She was a member of the Harvard College Fulbright U.S. Student Programs Evaluations Committee and the Pre-Law Advising Committee. Prior to her time at Harvard, she worked at the University of Notre Dame for twelve years in various roles. During her time at Notre Dame, she worked in transfer admissions, admissions to non-Notre Dame Study Abroad Programs, and served in the Selection Committee for the Alliance of Catholic Education (ACE), reviewing applications, interviewing prospective candidates, and selecting students to participate in one of the nation’s premier programs of Service through Teaching. Furthermore, she was one of the pre-law and pre-med advisors. She has a BA in Modern Languages from Knox College, an MA in Spanish Literature from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in Hispanic Language and Literatures from Boston University.
Pam Mulder – Director at Valley Christian School
Pam has been married for 37 years. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She loves Mexican food, sea food and coffee! Here interests include: knitting, gardening, shopping. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. She and her husband have 4 adult children.
James Brannon – California Program Director
James Brannon is the US Program Director of Pacific Link International Educational Services. Because of his parents’ work, James spent the first part of his life in China, going through the Chinese public education system before moving to Los Angeles for university. He graduated from Biola University with a B.S. in Biochemistry. During the majority of his time in college, James served in leadership with the International Students Association on campus while working extensively with international students at local high schools on both volunteer and work basis. Despite his educational background in science, James worked a year in sales during college, starting and running his own business selling educational products.