Professional Staff

Leann Cherkasky Makhni

Leann Cherkasky Makhni

Director of International House

Leann has been working at the International House since the early ‘90’s. She is married, and has two wonderful children.  She loves travel, reading, gardening, and getting to know people from all parts of the world.

Leann was born in Rochester, NY. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the Residential College at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Master’s Degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, CA.  She speaks French and Spanish proficiently and has studied several other languages extensively. 

Kristen Pendleton

Kristen Pendleton

Community Operations Manager

Kristen Pendleton was born in San José, CA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies from U.C. Berkeley and a Master’s in International Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She speaks Spanish and some Portuguese. Kristen loves food, travel, world music, and learning about other cultures.

Resident Staff

Our resident staff consists of one Head Resident and four Resident Advisors (RAs). These individuals are here to help you adjust to life in San José and to plan fun activities for you. They are students too, and understand your busy lifestyle. All of our RAs are here to provide you a comfortable, enriching experience at the International House.

Resident Staff


Momoko Iwagami


Head Resident

Konnichiwa, I grew up in the big city of Tokyo, when I was eighteen I began my journey of studying in the United States. I studied three years in Seattle before making my way to SJSU. I am an enthusiastic participant in life, and the opportunities that I have to meet people from all over the world at the I-house inspires me, our global family who have taught me so much about different cultures and peoples. I have a deep respect and love for nature and the outdoors, I am passionate about learning (I am a currently business major at SJSU) but I also love to teach, I love sharing both my culture and language with people.


 Melvin Mcelrath


Resident Advisor

Hey, I'm Melvin McElrath. I am 3rd year at San Jose State University and I'm studying Art/ Studio Practice. I really enjoy hanging out with others and just going places. I really love drawing too and video games, that's what I do in my free time ;P I am also a fan of puns and pranks. I've been in the I-House for three years now and every semester is awesome and amazing :)


Sirichon Boonprakob (Fonn)


Resident Advisor

I'm from Thailand and been living in different parts of the United States for 2 years before doing my Master's degree (Urban Planning) here at SJSU. Traveling is my passion. Apart from visiting new places around the world, meeting new people and trying new things are also something I'm fond of.


Enrique Padilla


Resident Advisor

Born in the States, raised in Nicaragua. Finishing my degree in software engineering albeit want my career more inclined towards people. I love meeting and interacting with new people, which makes me love what I do at the international house! I'm extremely competitive, but always enjoy a good challenge. Sports, video games, or books, you name it and I will probably enjoy it :) 


Alicia Bogart

 Serena Organ

Resident Advisor

I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Growing up in this diverse region during the tech boom provided me the opportunity to use the latest technology as it emerged. The digital focus never detracted from my love of writing- analog and digital. Writing evolved from anonymous, introspective poetry to public speaking, representation, and now into Public Relations on behalf of the causes I love most: diversity, equal rights, and the arts. Studying at SJSU and living at the I-House are privledges for which I feel grateful.


 Johnny Chia

 Yeri Lee

Network Administrator

Born in Lima, Peru. I am a grad student of software engineering at San Jose State University. The I-House is giving me a great opportunity to meet new people and learn many different cultures. I really like meeting new people, cars, motorsports and go-karts. My favorite food? Japanese food of course!


Student Council 

Student Council Officers help organize meetings in which activities for the house are planned and vote on them. Organizing trips, buying new products for the house, and most importantly, listening to what the IHouse residents want are only some of the many things our Student Council Officers do for IHouse.

 Student Council Spring 2015

Office Aides

Residents work in the I-House Office Monday to Friday responding to e-mails, performing database entry, filing, creating flyers and other creative endeavors, providing services such as vacuum and key check-out, and helping us make our residents feel at home.


Office Aide 1 Office Aide 2 Office Aide 3