Richard Pacheco

Richard Pacheco is American Friend’s new 2024 summer intern. Originally from Tucson,
Arizona, Richard studied at the University of Arizona, with a degree in Political Science and a
minor in German. During his last year of undergraduate studies, he attended in Stuttgart,
Germany, on a study abroad program. There, he attended the University of Stuttgart for an entire
year. During this time, he became thoroughly versed in German culture and language. Since his
return, Richard has been accepted into the School of International Service’s United States
Foreign Policy and National Security master’s program at American University. Richard aims to
combine his knowledge of German and U.S. foreign policy to foster stronger transatlantic
relations. By interning at American Friends, he hopes to take yet another step toward achieving
his goal.

Christian Haenel

Christian Haenel began his tenure as president of American Friends of AvH on January 1, 2023. He holds a master’s degree in history (with a focus on American history) and economics. His academic studies led him to the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Christian began his career as a trainee in leadership development at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Stuttgart, Germany, one of Europe’s largest private foundations. In that capacity he also worked at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan. He rose through the ranks at Bosch, becoming the Senior Vice President of international relations, and ultimately a member of the executive board of directors and senior vice president of future issues and foundation development. Christian led various national and international teams, coordinated high numbers of staff across units and functions and co-led diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which resulted in a significant increase in diversity among qualified applicants. He also co-led the strategic re-launch of Bosch’s international relations portfolio. Christian is also a member of the board of directors of Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit exchange organization located in Washington, DC, and Berlin, Germany.

Ilonka R. Oszvald

Ilonka joined American Friends of AvH in 2015 and has over two decades of experience with nonprofit organizations with an international focus. She managed publications at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2006 to 2015. Prior to joining Carnegie, she was publications and research program coordinator at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (now the German-American Institute). An alumna of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program, she served as an application reviewer and interviewer at the Japanese Embassy for over a decade. Ilonka has an MA in German and European Studies from Georgetown and a BA in German and Modern European Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada, which included a year’s study at the University of Augsburg. She speaks German, Japanese, Hungarian, and basic French. A lifelong athlete, Ilonka coaches gymnastics on weekends and competes in figure skating.

Jessica Strattard Hamilton

Jessica has extensive experience in nonprofit fundraising, specializing in donor cultivation, board development, and annual giving. Before joining American Friends of AvH in 2021, she served as a consultant for nonprofit organizations nationwide, helping her clients find their voice and engage donors around their missions. She previously served as director of development at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, assistant director of development and external relations at Hudson Guild in New York City, and fundraising manager at the United Way of Metro Chicago. Jessica has an MPPA from Northwestern University, an MA in journalism from Michigan State University, and a BA in political science from the University of Michigan.

Madeline Friedrich

Madeline Friedrich joined American Friends in April 2022 as Communications and Event Program Coordinator. She completed her German-French double-degree in Transnational Communication and Cooperation in Germany, France, and the United States, with a focus on theater studies at the intersection of rising political challenges in the 21st century. Before joining American Friends, she worked as a Communications and PR intern at the renowned Le Carreau national theater in France and also served as assistant to the director of the Deutsch-Franzoesische Hochschule in Saarbruecken, Germany. Madeline speaks German, English, and French fluently, and is a native of Germany. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new coffee shops and the city of Washington, DC.

Sebrena Geier

Sebrena Geier received her BA in political economy with a minor in French from Hillsdale College in Michigan. Prior to joining American Friends in May 2023, she worked in the education and security fields. As a student, she assisted foreign and native students with networking and advancement through the Washington, DC-based foreign policy organization, the Alexander Hamilton Society, and university club settings. Her academic work included research into anthropological changes based on literature and religious perception in the Middle East and the United States, culminating in a thesis investigating the impact of trends in rural American food poverty. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys foreign films, informal wellness coaching, reading religious and political commentaries, and being involved in whatever community she finds herself.