Board of Directors

Kate Thersleff


ALT – Wakayama-ken 2005-08

Kate is a Minnesota native who is working in the healthcare field. She remains active in the local Japanese community and can sometimes be found practicing her Japanese on Saturdays at the Japanese Speaking group. She is excited to step into a new roll of President on JETAAMN this year. She would love to hear from you if you have any questions about JETAAMN, JET, or about the Japanese community in Minnesota! Please e-mail her here.

Mark Whitley


markALT – Kobe-shi 2013-16

Born and raised in Northeast Minneapolis, Mark is the newest member of the JETAAMN Board. Until recently, he worked as an ALT in Kobe and volunteering at Kobe Gaidai University of Foreign Studies. In his spare time, Mark loves to study Japanese, make video blogs primarily for his Japanese audience, and surf social media. He currently works in HR Benefits Administration but is exploring ways to further his career.

He is looking forward to getting involved with the JETAAMN community!

Emma Maddy

Emma MaddyCo-Events Coordinator

ALT – Nagano-ken 2008-09

Emma is an estate planning and business attorney at Stinson Leonard Street in Minneapolis. Emma jumped into event coordination as a swing dancer in Madison, WI, and loves anything having to do with restaurants, travel, or cuddly animals. She’d love to talk about Japan, food, drink, swing dancing, or event ideas!

Sarah Rogers-Tanner

Co-Events Coordinator

ALT – Kyoto-fu 2009-2011sarah-pic

Sarah is a Minnesota native who studied abroad in Nagasaki and lived in Ujitawara-cho, Kyoto-fu for two years as an ALT. Following her teaching in Japan, she moved to New York City where she attended Columbia University and attained her masters degree in Elementary Inclusive Education. While in New York, Sarah had the pleasure of being involved with the JET Alumni Association of New York. Sarah moved back to Minnesota in 2013 and is currently working as a third grade teacher. Besides spending a whole lot of time with 8 and 9 year-olds, Sarah loves to practice yoga, meditate and loves being outside.

Michael “Mike” Barloon

Social Media Coordinator

ALT – Kobe-shi 2011-14Profile Pic for Mike Barloon

Recently returning from Kobe, Mike is eager to stay connected with JET and the Japanese community back in his home state of Minnesota. In addition to substitute teaching around the metro area, he uses his interests in social media to help the community stay informed with news and upcoming events.

In his free time, he enjoys movies, exploring and eating out.

Come check out JETAAMN’s Facebook and Twitter for updated news and upcoming events!

Ellen Q. Jaquette

WebmasterProfile Pic for Ellen Q. Jaquette

ALT – Niigata-ken 2004-06

Ellen is happy to serve as JETAAMN’s resident webmaster. When she’s not making WordPress bend to her will, you can catch her performing improv comedy at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, or digging into a good book as only a true librarian can.

Stefanie Benham

Email CoordinatorProfile Pic for Stefanie Benham

ALT – Saitama-ken 2009-13

Hailing from the northwest suburbs outside of Minneapolis, Stefanie currently works two jobs and still spends too much time on the Internet. When she’s not joking around on Twitter or Facebook, she’s usually playing video games, sewing, and podcasting.

Mario Acito

Membership CoordinatorProfile Pic for Mario Acito

ALT – Kyoto-fu 2010-13

Mario is a Saint Paul native and participated on JET in Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture. He now works technical communications for Boston Scientific. He is a lover of all things Japanese and strives to bring the things he loves about Japan back home. He is excited to be involved with JETAAMN!