Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Meet our team

Erik Simons

Erik Simons, Assistant Director of Scholar Services
Erik currently leads a team that supports the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, staff, and researchers by providing assistance in obtaining appropriate immigration status and assistance in adjusting to the US. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from DePauw University and a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University. Erik has lived and worked in Spain and traveled extensively in Europe and South America. He enjoys serving as a resource for international students and believes international education can be a powerful tool for teaching people about themselves and others.

David Lawson

David Lawson, Coordinator

International Scholar Advisor
David is a coordinator in International Student and Scholar Services with primary responsibility for the J scholar program and advising F and J students. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from East Tennessee State University and a master’s in counseling from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. David is originally from Maryville, Tennessee. After his undergraduate degree he lived in Nairobi, Kenya, for two years. He believes that personal intercultural contact presents a great opportunity for a richer self-understanding and expanding one’s horizon.

Brian Todd

Brian Todd, Coordinator

International Student Advisor
Brian is a coordinator in International Student and Scholar Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Carson-Newman University and a master’s degree in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee. Brian has previously worked in international admissions and advising in the community college and liberal arts college settings. He has significant experience traveling and recruiting in Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Brian enjoys welcoming people from around the world to Knoxville as well as hiking in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other places in the East Tennessee region.

Yevie Teyfukova, Coordinator

International Student Advisor
Yevie is a coordinator in International Student and Scholar Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Yevie also holds a master’s in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Originally from the former Soviet Union, she has studied in Russia and has traveled extensively throughout Russia, Eastern Europe, and Israel. Yevie enjoys learning languages, exploring new countries and cultures, and supporting international students throughout their time in the US.

Elizabeth Clevenger, Coordinator

International Student Advisor

Elizabeth Clevenger is a coordinator in International Student and Scholar Services. She holds bachelor’s degrees in international relations and human development/family studies from Samford University and a master’s degree in intercultural studies/teaching English to speakers of other languages from Wheaton College. She has previous experience in international student/scholar advising and programming, international admissions, adult ESL, and international scholarship programs. Elizabeth is a native Tennessean who looks forward to welcoming students and scholars from around the world to beautiful East Tennessee. She enjoys trying new recipes, kayaking, and reading.

Rachel Babich, Administrative Specialist II
Rachel has worked with international and domestic students studying abroad for the past nine years. In her most recent position, she helped over 6,000 high school students study abroad. Rachel is looking forward to working with a wider range of students again and being part of the UT community. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new restaurants, traveling, and is learning how to garden.

Paul Keener, Graduate Assistant

Paul is a graduate assistant in International Student and Scholar Services. He is a PhD candidate in the department of political science and serves as the vice-president of the Political Science Graduate Student Association. His research interests include international relations, game theory, and East-Asian studies. Before coming to U.T. he spent four years in China teaching English, working in international business, and earning his masters in China Studies from the Ocean University of China. His undergraduate is in political science with a subfield focus in international relations from the Citadel. His hobbies include reading, writing, and video games.