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Our Team

Our Team

The Smithsonian Student Adventures team is made up of truly exceptional individuals who are committed to guiding the next generation of global leaders. Our international staff has an intimate understanding of the local environment, language and culture of our host destinations, helping to ensure that our adventures are as smooth, safe, and authentic as possible. Our Program Leaders have traveled extensively and hail from the world’s top colleges and universities. They are extraordinary guides, teachers, mentors and friends. Read more about who we are below!

Our Team On Average…

100%

Are first aid & CPR certified

50%

Worked for non-profits

40%

Worked in higher education

90%

Worked in K-12 education

2.8

Languages spoken

19

countries visited

14

Age started traveling

Leaders Have Attended

  • Amherst College
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • Colby College
  • College of William and Mary
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Earlham College
  • Emory University
  • Fordham University
  • Georgetown University
  • Grinnell College
  • Harvard University
  • Heilongjiang University
  • Indiana University
  • Keene State College
  • King’s College
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • London School of Economics
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Middlebury College
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Peking University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Skidmore College
  • Stanford University
  • The New School
  • Universidad de Barcelona
  • Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • Universidad de Costa Rica
  • Universidad de Complutense
  • Universidad de El Salvador
  • Universidad de Granada
  • Universidad de Palermo
  • Universidad San Francisco de Quito
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Denver
  • University of Kansas
  • University of London
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Walden University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College
  • Williams College
  • Yale University
  • Luke Mueller Business Lead

    Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

    During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Now settled in Denver, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans. Luke has traveled to 60+ countries on five continents and is fluent in Spanish.

    • Paul Laurie Business Lead

      Santa Clara University – B.A. Marketing and International Business

      Santa Clara University – B.A. Marketing and International Business

      During college, Paul spent a semester abroad studying Spanish and European Commerce in Madrid, Spain. After graduation, he embarked on a three-year journey that took him all over the world. He traveled from Times Square to Tierra del Fuego and from Siberia to Singapore, enjoying distinct cultures, great food and meeting lifelong friends every step of the way. Among other positions, Paul worked as a fashion photographer and on Wall Street before returning to his real passion for student travel. Paul has traveled to 80+countries in pursuit of the best meal under $5 and making additions to his antique globe collection.

      • Gabriel Duncan Business Lead

        Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government

        While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith in and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.

        • Becca Sheffield Admissions

          Colorado State University – B.A. Communication Studies and Spanish
          Middlebury Institute of International Studies – M.A. International Education Management

          After her first study abroad experience in Lima, Peru in college, Becca knew she had found her passion for helping others have meaningful experiences across cultures. After teaching Spanish to learners of all ages and working in the non-profit sector, Becca decided to pursue her Master’s degree in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Now she is pursuing her dream of helping students have incredible experiences abroad, when she isn’t hiking, salsa dancing, or quoting movie lines.

          • Brandon Perlow Senior Outreach

            University of Wisconsin – B.S. Political Science, History, and European Studies
            London School of Economics – M.S. Public Policy & Administration

            University of Wisconsin – B.S. Political Science, History, and European Studies

            London School of Economics – M.S. Public Policy & Administration

            Brandon was born and raised in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. As a 12 year old, he had the opportunity to travel on a student program to England, Scotland, and Wales, and ever since, he has been hooked on learning through travel. He was graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, History, and European Studies, with honors, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, also earned a Master of Science in Public Policy and Administration, with merit, from the London School of Economics. Since then, he has toured the Greater Midwest as a public speaker on topics related to student travel and CQ – Cultural Intelligence. He has visited all 7 continents, 35 countries, and all 50 states – all before he turned 25. He is an avid marathon runner and pilot, and most recently he summited Mt. Kilimanjaro!

            • Esteban Arguedas Country Operations, Costa Rica Operations

              Earlham College – B.A. Non-Profit and Business Administration, Minor in French

              Born and raised in Costa Rica, Esteban has spent the last seven years of his life traveling around the world and fostering his education in the U.S. Esteban has a strong background in cross-cultural education and developing business projects that strive for sustainable and social development. While attending college in Indiana, Esteban spent a semester abroad in France. During his free time Esteban loves reading, playing soccer, surfing, hiking, drinking a good cup of coffee, and dancing to Latino rhythms. These days Esteban has moved back to Costa Rica and loves leading awesome SSA programs in his home country!

              • Jordan Sparrow Country Operations

                University of Kansas – B.A. Latin American Studies; Global and International Studies, Minor in Brazilian Studies

                Jordan is a Midwesterner at heart, born and raised in Kansas City.  He spent his first summer after high school in Guatemala where he began learning Spanish and cultivated a deep interest in everything Latin America.  In college, Jordan spent almost half of his university career studying abroad in both Costa Rica and Brazil.  During that time, he mastered language skills in both Spanish and Portuguese, spent a lot of time at the beach and met the love of his life in Costa Rica. After college, he moved to Costa Rica where he taught Portuguese to Costa Ricans and began his career in student travel.  After almost six years of living in Costa Rica, Jordan, his partner and their two dogs moved to Denver where they currently live.  As with the rest of the SSA team, Jordan has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.  Jordan is passionate about languages, history, social justice and eating great food.

                • Lacey Merkel Admissions

                  University of Arizona – B.S. in Spanish and Portuguese, Minor in Business

                  Lacey is originally from Flagstaff, Arizona but has been spending her summers in Denver since she was a kid. Originally a business major, she decided to spend her sophomore year studying in Viña Del Mar, Chile. This is where she truly found her passion for travel and learning about other cultures. When she returned to Arizona, she changed her focus to learning Spanish and Portuguese and decided to pursue her TEFL certificate. After graduation, Lacey moved to Fortaleza, Brazil and taught English to high school students, pilots and doctors. She then moved to Denver and continued teaching English. In her free time she enjoys live music, snowboarding, traveling and of course eating amazing “hole-in-the-wall” food.

                  • Lukas Bratcher Regional Outreach

                    Whitworth University – B.A. Speech Communication

                    Lukas was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the South Pacific and North America. To this day, he still can’t talk about Europe without telling stories of the time he spent in Scotland. Even though he now resides in Washington State, the Middle East will always feel like a second home to him. His B.A. in Speech Communication focused on public speaking, which has awarded him with opportunities to give presentations and to sit on many panels with topics including cultural competence, life with a physical disability, economics, leadership and even a little stand-up comedy. Since graduating, he has worked for an international manufacturing company and in international educational student travel. In his spare time, if you can keep up with his speed and enthusiasm for exploration, you will find Lukas outside enjoying beautiful weather and making new friends around every corner.

                    • Morrison Mast Conservation Programs

                      College of William and Mary – B.S. Biology and Environmental Science & Policy

                      Morrison is an obsessive and experienced traveler, having been to 50+ countries in pursuit of the life-changing experiences offered by the wild places of the world. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and broken French, he is an avid wildlife photographer whose favorite subjects are beetles, spiders, and the oft overlooked microcosms they inhabit. Morrison is a percussionist at heart and has performed nationally and internationally with groups ranging in style from symphonic to experimental rock and traditional Turkish music. During his undergraduate years, Morrison conducted research in Brazil and Madagascar with conservation organizations that are actively working with communities to strike a sustainable balance between humans and the ecosystems that support them. Education is surely the most rewarding aspect of his work; Morrison constantly strives to inspire positive change by communicating his overwhelming awe of the natural world to others. Morrison hopes to build a career in biodiversity conservation and is currently in charge of developing and implementing new Conservation Expeditions.

                      • William Loyd Regional Outreach

                        University of Oregon – B.A. Political Science, Minor in Spanish

                        The youngest of five siblings and a product of Boulder, Colorado, Will has always had a strong interest in the outdoors, progressive social action and a general curiosity about life. Recognizing his passion for language and service at a young age, Will jumped at the chance to travel to Costa Rica on a service program that was serendipitously offered in his high school Spanish class. Since then, Will’s desire to make a positive impact on the world has led him to be a sub-committee member of both the International Affairs and Politics and Media planning committees of the Conference on World Affairs at CU Boulder. Will is a news paper junkie and considers himself a lifelong learner, passionate Colorado sports fan and loyal friend.

                        • Amanda Zenick
                          Amanda Zenick Peru Operations

                          UC Santa Barbara – B.A. Sociology
                          San Diego State University – M.A. Latin American Studies

                          Amanda has spent the past 10 years living, studying and working in different areas of Peru.  Independent travel during university initially brought her to Lima, and she now has visited almost every area of the country, lived and worked in Lima and Cusco, and has extended family and friends throughout the country.  Her M.A. in Latin American Studies focused on responsible travel in Peru, and she returned to the country multiple times for internships and research during the course of study.  After graduation, she accepted a position in Cusco, and has been there ever since. In her spare time, Amanda is ideally out trekking around Cusco, or visiting a new village or weekend market.

                          • Devin Toletti
                            Devin Toletti Germany Operations

                            Bologna University – B.A. Political Science and International Relations

                            Born to an Italian father and a Canadian-Austrian mother, Devin grew
                            up in Varese which is in Northern Italy between Milan and Switzerland.
                            He grew up with a love for winter sports, dividing his winters between
                            hockey and skiing. In summer he would enjoy mountain biking around the
                            Alps and try to waterski as much as possible. After finishing
                            school, in the English section of the European School, he went to
                            Bologna University and achieved a B.A in Political Science and
                            International Relations. In Bologna he also discovered his passion for
                            food and teaching. Devin is now living in the exciting capital of
                            Germany, Berlin, where he is a bike tour guide, part time cook, and
                            English teacher.

                            • Esteban Arguedas Country Operations, Costa Rica Operations

                              Earlham College – B.A. Non-Profit and Business Administration, Minor in French

                              Born and raised in Costa Rica, Esteban has spent the last seven years of his life traveling around the world and fostering his education in the U.S. Esteban has a strong background in cross-cultural education and developing business projects that strive for sustainable and social development. While attending college in Indiana, Esteban spent a semester abroad in France. During his free time Esteban loves reading, playing soccer, surfing, hiking, drinking a good cup of coffee, and dancing to Latino rhythms. These days Esteban has moved back to Costa Rica and loves leading awesome SSA programs in his home country!

                              • Fabiola Hudicourt Canada Operations

                                University of Montreal – B.S. International Relations
                                Institute of Development Studies in Switzerland – Masters in Development Studies 

                                Fabiola grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, until she was eighteen. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Montreal, Canada, and a Master’s in Development Studies from the Institute of International Relations and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Fabiola has been traveling since she was five years old but her passion for traveling started when she spent time in Barcelona to study Spanish. She has been travelling ever since on a regular basis and has been to 20+ countries, across Canada and the U.S. She has volunteered for many organizations, including the Canadian Council for International Relations in Montreal, the Canadian Red Cross and Ten Thousand Villages in Vancouver. She has worked as a fair trade development agent in Quebec City and as a project manager for development projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She has a passion for languages and speaks fluently French, English, Haitian Creole and conversational Spanish. She is currently learning German, too! A mother of two, she is looking forward to discover the world with her children.

                                • Gregg Brill South Africa Operations

                                  Rhodes University – Bsc in Environmental Science and Icthyology
                                  Stellenbosch University – MSc in Environmental Science
                                  University of Cape Town – PhD in Environmental Science

                                  Gregg Brill was born in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and spent much of his childhood brought up on a dairy farm. It was here that a keen interest in nature was foundered. Gregg has undertaken numerous environmental and social projects around the world, including turtle conservation in Madagascar, coral reef rehabilitation in the Seychelles, revegetation initiatives in Thailand and South Africa, as well as wildlife management and conservation in South Africa and Australia. Gregg has travelled to over 50 countries across six continents, and has lived in four of them.

                                  • Guillermo Montoya Guatemala Operations

                                    Universidad Rafael Landivar – B.A. Marketing with emphasis on Advertising
                                    Postgraduate studies in Business Management, Costa Rica and India

                                    Guillermo was born and raised in Guatemala. He has traveled throughout North and Central America, and parts of Europe and India. His first intercultural experience took place in North Dakota and Canada as an exchange student. He then volunteered with an international organization in Guatemala that provides educational opportunities to young students. Through this organization, he became a guide for a Latin American student group in Norway and Denmark, giving him the opportunity to explore several European countries and find his traveler spirit. Guillermo lives in Antigua, Guatemala, where he works to support independent coffee farmers and an artisan community and leads programs throughout Central America. He speaks both Spanish and English and enjoys adventure travel, photography and history.

                                    • Hassana Hedrick Diallo Senegal Operations, Assistant

                                      The Evergreen State College – Business Management and Entrepreneurship

                                      Hassana graduated from The Evergreen State College in Washington state, with a degree focusing on business management and entrepreneurship. He was born in the rural community of Dindefelo, in southeastern Senegal and lived there until the age of 10, when he was adopted by Peace Corps Volunteers who had served in his village and who brought him back to the U.S.. He learned English and attended school in Olympia, Washington and Washington, D.C., where he attended The Maret Schooland graduating from Olympia High School. He returned every year or two to Senegal, never losing his native languages or his connection with Senegalese culture. After graduating from college, he worked in two positions in the Washington state government focused on customer relations and training.
A year after his father returned to Senegal to become the Peace Corps Country Director, he also returned to Senegal to start a new venture focused on the agricultural supply chain. While doing this, he has worked with and mentored several Peace Corps Volunteers in the Kedougou region. Hassana has traveled throughout West Africa and some parts of Europe. He speaks English, French, Pulaar and Wolof.

                                      • Jillian Schultz China Country Director, Program Leader

                                        Columbia University – B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies
                                        Columbia University – M.A. Art History

                                        Jillian hails from Chicago and recently relocated to Los Angeles after five years in Beijing. She studied art history and Asian studies as an undergrad and received her M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. Before relocating to China, she spent five years working in the Asian Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. While in Beijing, she served as the Director of International Programs at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. She has curated and produced exhibitions and educational programing in China, the U.K., Europe, and most recently, Ethiopia. Jillian is an avid yogi and completed a 200 hour intensive teacher training in Bali. Jillian loves seeing live music, biking, being in/near the ocean, and making the people around her laugh. She never feels more alive than when she’s navigating the streets of China, sampling local delicacies and seeking out the best bargains she can find.

                                        • Jordan Sparrow Country Operations

                                          University of Kansas – B.A. Latin American Studies; Global and International Studies, Minor in Brazilian Studies

                                          Jordan is a Midwesterner at heart, born and raised in Kansas City.  He spent his first summer after high school in Guatemala where he began learning Spanish and cultivated a deep interest in everything Latin America.  In college, Jordan spent almost half of his university career studying abroad in both Costa Rica and Brazil.  During that time, he mastered language skills in both Spanish and Portuguese, spent a lot of time at the beach and met the love of his life in Costa Rica. After college, he moved to Costa Rica where he taught Portuguese to Costa Ricans and began his career in student travel.  After almost six years of living in Costa Rica, Jordan, his partner and their two dogs moved to Denver where they currently live.  As with the rest of the SSA team, Jordan has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.  Jordan is passionate about languages, history, social justice and eating great food.

                                          • Kender Reece Japan Operations

                                            Earlham College – B.A. in Neuroscience

                                            Kender is a native of Brooklyn, NY. Raised by immigrant parents she has always been fascinated by different cultures and how they shape one’s personality. From the age of ten she participated in an academic summer camp program that took her throughout the US, South America, Europe and Asia. She graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, in 2013, where she majored in Neuroscience. At Earlham Kender was able to form close relationships with several international students fuelling her passion for learning about and experiencing different cultures. She was also reminded of her time in Asia and longed to return. In 2014 she returned to Japan as a member of the JET program. Presently she is teaching English at a high school in west Tokyo. Starting as an attempt to learn Japanese, Kender has become an active member of her community. She enjoys walking around her charming old town getting to know all of its inhabitants. When she isn’t struggling to climb mountains with her local pals, she is playing local festivals with her city’s Japanese drum team, doing Jujutsu or enjoying a lazy Sunday at an onsen.

                                            • Laurene Heuguelot Thailand Operations

                                              The International Film & Television School in Paris – B.S. in Video Editing

                                              Born and raised in Paris, after working for a couple of years in the television industry, Laurene decided to volunteer with elephants in Thailand. After few months, she was offered the position of volunteer coordinator. She learned everything about the animal welfare issue within the Southeast Asia context. She worked for four years in several wildlife rescue centers in Thailand, and raised awareness to hundreds of young international volunteers about this matter. Laurene lives now in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, where she loves living amongst the local people, helping animals in need, and educating local communities and also foreigners about humane care of stray animals. Aside from her passion for animal welfare, she loves the Thai culture and delicious Thai food, and volunteers to help the Thai children who are victims of trafficking.

                                              • Martin Wilson Spain Operations, Morocco Operations

                                                Lewis & Clark College – B.A. Psychology, major course study in Spanish

                                                Martín’s thirst for adventure began when, as a boy growing up in rural New Mexico, his parents would pack up their ‘70s vintage Suburban and head south to the coastal regions of Old Mexico. He later spent his junior year in Seville, Spain while studying Psychology at Lewis and Clark College, which is world-renowned for its overseas experiences. Ten years later the opportunity popped up for him to return to Spain and he jumped at the chance. Seven years later and still going strong, Martín uses Madrid as his base, and when he’s not organizing trips for students or teaching at the Universidad Europea de Madrid, he spends his time ticking off European and north African countries from his list of “must visits” and, as often as possible, skiing the back-country, surfing atrociously, and sailing the Cantabrian sea.

                                                 

                                                • Maximillian Mishkin East Coast Operations

                                                  College of William and Mary – B.A. Public Policy & Sculptural Art

                                                  Max is a long-distance hiker, conservation land manager and professional photographer. While he loves international travel, Max’s ideal trip is long-term and culturally-immersive. Max started his professional life in political and legal organizing. Having worked for a senator, a state political party, a governor and a US president, Max decided to pursue his passion for enjoying and protecting great natural spaces. In 2014, Max quit his job in a Connecticut legal firm, opted-out of law school and hiked the Appalachian Trail. His 2185.3 mile journey from Georgia to Maine took five months and transformed his life. Upon completing his pilgrimage, Max began working in Appalachian Trail management. Max believes that our greatest responsibility in a complex and global community is to better our understanding of other people and our environment. To that end, Max has collectively spent well over 15,000 hours in the backcountry of the United States, traversing over 4000 miles of trails and meeting thousands of adventurers along the way.

                                                  • Micheal McKeon Manchester Italy Operations

                                                    Lewis and Clark College – B.A. in Communications

                                                    Born in Denver, Colorado Mike earned a B.A. in Communications from Lewis and Clark College. After college Mike moved to Siena, Italy where he had studied abroad. In 2004 he co-founded the study abroad program Siena Italian Studies where he is a program coordinator and Service-Learning coordinator. He also founded an English language program for the Siena public elementary schools and kindergartens and is on the board of directors for the city’s “Le Mura” organization that protects, maintains, and promotes Siena’s medieval walls. He is an experienced translator having worked with the AC Siena professional soccer team and a local culinary school. Mike has traveled extensively throughout Italy and Europe. He is fluent in Italian and can converse in Spanish and French. When not working with students you can probably find Mike in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes or somewhere outside enjoying fresh air.

                                                    • Natalia Angel Ecuador Operations

                                                      International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus Rotterdam University – M.A. Development Studies, Environment and Sustainable Development

                                                      Born in Cali, Colombia, nestled in a family-oriented, tropical environment surrounded by dance and nature, Natalia grew up between two countries during her childhood and youth: Ecuador and Colombia. From a very young age she developed strong skills in intercultural understanding, particularly between Latin American sister nations. Through her passion and talent in athletics, she has had opportunities to travel to many different countries and cities in South America. Natalia studied at a university in Germany, which allowed her to travel around Europe, where she experienced a vast array of countries and Western cultures. She later pursued a master’s degree in social studies in Holland, focusing on environmental studies. She completed research on natural biosphere reserves in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the issues facing indigenous communities there. After many adventures and experiences, Natalia fell in love with Ecuador’s natural and cultural diversity and has lived and worked in several different places along the coast, highlands, mountains and Amazon regions of the country.

                                                      • Natalia Boquet Argentina Operations

                                                        College Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)- Degree in Lettres, Technical degree in Film Directing

                                                        Natalia was born and has always lived in Buenos Aires, where she graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires with a degree in Lettres and from CIEVYC with a technical degree in Film Directing.
                                                        She co-founded a Spanish School when she was 24, just after her first solo travel, which started a long saga that took her to more than 20 countries in South America, Europe and Asia.
                                                        Natalia lives with a beautiful white cat that loves hunting doves to offer them up to her. She loves plants, red wine, sci-fi movies, thai food, live music, biking, cooking, reading and, of course, traveling.

                                                        • Rebecca Hughes Senegal Operations

                                                          University of Oregon – B.A. International Studies

                                                          Rebecca grew up spending most of her summers in Oslo, Norway with her mother’s family. This coupled with speaking Norwegian made her curious to explore other languages and cultures. After studying French in high school, Rebecca took a gap year and spent two months navigating the busy souks of Morocco. This inspired her to major in International Studies at the University of Oregon where she studied abroad in both France and Senegal. Rebecca loved living in francophone Africa and exploring the Senegalese countryside so much that she returned to Senegal after college to work at the American School. Rebecca also manages a business where she works with local artisans to create accessories and home decor out of handmade textiles.

                                                          • Sarah Hofmann France Operations

                                                            Carnegie Mellon University, B.A. Francophone Studies and Anthropology; Columbia University, M.A. Cultural Studies

                                                            Born in Tokyo, Sarah was raised in an Ecuadorian-American family in Singapore, Paris and the D.C. suburbs. Basically, she had no choice : she was going to be an implicated world citizen whether she liked it or not. After finishing a self-defined undergraduate major in Francophone literature, Anthropology and Painting – with a semester-long stint in Bamako, Mali squeezed in – she continued to study, travel and work in the francophone world. Since completing her undergraduate studies she has lived in the French antilles, worked in Haiti, completed a Masters in Paris, braved the mean streets of NYC, and taught French in Dakar, Senegal. She has now landed in Bordeaux in the south of France where she has learned that biking along the Garonne River can, in fact, give a person a whole other take on life.

                                                            • Simone Mangili Italy Operations

                                                              Bard College – B.A. Community, Regional and Environmental Studies
                                                              Cornell University – M.A. Regional Planning

                                                              Having completed numerous service-learning, travel and study abroad programs himself, Simone has worked at a leadership camp, lead service-learning programs, served as facilitator and mentor in study abroad programs, and taught college-level courses in urban planning and sustainability in cities worldwide. His professional experience is international and ranges from designing participatory planning processes to developing public spaces and green infrastructure. From managing long-term planning to real estate consulting and development. He is currently the Project and Operations Manager at Torino Strategica where he is managing the development of a 10-year Strategic Plan for the City of Turin and its metropolitan area.

                                                              • Sol Alba Argentina Operations

                                                                Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes – M.A. Dramatic Arts 

                                                                Sol, daughter of an Argentinean mother and Uruguayan father was born in Cali, Colombia where she spent the first three years of her life. She spent the rest of her childhood in Ciudad de La Plata in Argentina before making the move to Buenos Aires for her university studies. Sol has her masters in Dramatic Arts (acting) and is currently an actress in Buenos Aires. She has done theatrical performances, short film and TV commercials in Argentina and in other parts of the world. She has also worked for eight years as a theatre producer for several shows. 

                                                                Outside of her career, Sol enjoys practicing yoga, running and writing.  She loves cooking, nature, traveling, listening to music, reading, creating things with her hands, and hanging out with her pet turtle. 

                                                                • Tommy Tyson Program Leader

                                                                  University of Denver – B.A. Spanish, Minors in History and Hebrew

                                                                  Tommy is a recent college graduate from the University of Denver. His hobbies include camping, basketball, studying history, traveling, and learning languages. He is fluent in Spanish, and also speaks Hebrew as well. He first developed his love of languages and Latin American culture at the age of ten on a mission trip in Mexico. This experience and the subsequent trips to follow inspired him to study Spanish in school, and to pursue more development work in other areas of Latin America as well. During a semester abroad in college in Cusco, Peru, Tommy had the pleasure of working alongside ProWorld Peru in rural communities like Ocurruro, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Tommy also has spent time building houses in El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity.

                                                                  • William Loh Oceania Operations

                                                                    The University of Sydney- BSc. (Hons), PhD. Marine Biology

                                                                    William’s love of Nature began in Malaysia where he was born, and nurtured in Australia where he grew up from the age of 13. Since graduating from Sydney University, he has worked as a national park officer, research station officer, marine biologist, geneticist, microbiologist and an educator. William has published research papers on corals, sponges, seagrass, algae, fishes, sea-slugs, clams and the effects of climate change on coral reefs. He has a passion for being a hands-on, knee-deep in mud teacher and has led field programs in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for students from Australia, the USA, Germany and Japan. He has traveled extensively in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, the USA, South East Asia, southern Africa and other parts of the world. In his spare time, William can be found stalking marine and terrestrial wildlife for his hobby of Nature photography. Because of his upbringing in two countries, William speaks three languages (English, Malay/Indonesian and Cantonese Chinese).

                                                                    • Adam Schreiber
                                                                      Adam Schreiber Program Leader

                                                                      Middlebury College – B.A. in International and Global Studies (Concentrations on Latin American, Spanish language, and Sociology and Anthropology)

                                                                      Adam was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and went to the same high school as Directors Paul, Gabe, and Luke. His experience in Costa Rica as a program participant in 2008 exposed him to the joy and excitement of travel and convinced him that studying Spanish was a way of opening up a world of new experiences. Six years later, Adam is extremely excited to help give others that same opportunity. At Middlebury, Adam played rugby for four years and made trips to a number of national tournaments. He spent his Junior spring semester abroad in Tucumán, Argentina, where he was directly enrolled in courses at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. On that same trip he was able to travel to a number of other areas in Argentina as well as spend a month farming and otherwise hopping around southwestern Brazil. Adam is fluent in Spanish and has begun studying Portuguese, which he plans to continue in the future. He’s only been to a handful of countries so far but he is more eager than ever to get out and explore, especially in Central and South America. He loves playing just about all sports, playing the drums, hiking, fishing, watching sunsets, swimming in the ocean, and eating new foods.

                                                                      • Amanda Gibson
                                                                        Amanda Gibson Program Leader

                                                                        College of William & Mary – B.A. Anthropology and Hispanic Studies

                                                                        While an undergraduate doing field research in Brazil, Amanda learned from conservation gurus that to save animal species you have to work with people. She is currently applying this motto in Armila, Panama, where she does everything from teaching labs on decomposition to digging tanks for tilapia, all in the name of sea turtles. In her free time, she drinks limes in coconuts and gets teased for her Spanish accent (due to another study abroad experience in the Iberian continent).

                                                                        • Angela Steele
                                                                          Angela Steele Program Leader

                                                                          Stanford University – B.A. Cultural & Social Anthropology

                                                                          Enrolling in Chinese on a whim freshman year, Angela never knew it would lead to years of study and a lifetime’s worth of adventures. Angela first traveled to China in 2004, spending six months studying Chinese language and culture at Capital Normal University and Peking University. She became friends with many urban artists, dancers and musicians and wrote her undergraduate thesis on Hip Hop in Beijing. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Cultural & Social Anthropology where she played Women’s Rugby and was the MVP of the 2006 National Championship Team. As a 2007-2008 Fulbright Scholar, Angela documented Hip Hop culture in 13 Chinese cities. Angela has traveled extensively in China and is always learning something new about ancient and modern Chinese culture.

                                                                          • Anna Walters
                                                                            Anna Walters Program Leader

                                                                            Harvard University – B.A. in Folklore and Mythology; Certificate in Latin American Studies

                                                                            Anna’s first experience living and traveling abroad was in the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. After a fascinating and transformative summer there teaching English, living with a host-family and swimming with sea lions, Anna focused her studies on Latin America. Her undergraduate thesis research took her to Cuba to conduct field research on dance and music traditions. She returned to Ecuador as a writer for the Let’s Go budget travel guidebook covering the highlands, beaches and mangrove swamps of northwest Ecuador uncovering local legends and secret surf breaks along the way. And for fun, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Costa Rica. Anna is an avid backcountry adventurer and dedicated to experiential education. She led backpacking trips for the Harvard’s Freshman Outdoor Orientation program. Currently based in Los Angeles, Anna is the California Director for MindFish Test Prep developing college preparatory classes for high school students. She can also be found on the stage, hiking in Malibu, and learning to skateboard on the boardwalk.

                                                                            • Bretton Rodriguez
                                                                              Bretton Rodriguez Program Leader

                                                                              University of Chicago – B.A. History
                                                                              University of York – M.A Literature
                                                                              Notre Dame University – PHD candidate

                                                                              While an undergraduate, Brett made several trips to Spain, which included spending time in Málaga studying Spanish and working on an archaeological dig at the former Roman city of Tiermes outside of Segovia. After graduation, Brett moved to Santiago, Chile, where he taught English for six months to a wide variety of students before backpacking through Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Argentina. Upon returning to the United States, Brett worked as a newspaper correspondent before leaving to do an M.A. at the University of York in England. Having received his degree, he briefly returned to Chicago before moving to Huajuapan de León in the Mexican state of Oaxaca to teach English at la Universidad de la Tecnología de la Mixteca. Recently, Brett has returned to the United States and is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Notre Dame.

                                                                              • Chamby Zepeda
                                                                                Chamby Zepeda Program Leader

                                                                                Wheaton College – B.A. Spanish
                                                                                Middlebury College – M.A. Spanish Language, Lit & Culture

                                                                                Chamby was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and immigrated to the United States in 1982 at the age of four. He was raised in Maine, and then ventured to Massachusetts graduating from Wheaton College with a degree in Spanish and a minor in Latin American Studies. During college, his teaching career began with a one-month experience of teaching English to Korean children at Sogang Language School, an English ski camp in Seoul. After college he worked as a research assistant in the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, and then returned to his hometown in Oakland, Maine to teach Spanish for three years. Upon beginning a two-year teaching stay at the Hotchkiss School, he enrolled at Middlebury College, where he received his Master’s in Spanish language, literature and culture. After graduating, he worked as a Spanish teacher, dorm parent, and coach at the Taft School in Watertown, CT. Over the years, he has also accrued extensive experience in volunteering abroad in places like El Salvador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia, China, Tibet, Peru, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and South Africa. Last year, he was a co-leader for a group in Costa Rica. His passions are Spanish, traveling the world, his dog Sebago, and playing guitar whenever he has time. Chamby is currently teaching Spanish at the Wilmington Friends School in Wilmington, Delaware, and is looking forward to another great summer in Costa Rica!

                                                                                • Champion Kittiwan
                                                                                  Champion Kittiwan Program Leader

                                                                                  Payap University – B.A. English
                                                                                  Barcelona Institute of International Studies – M.A. International Relations

                                                                                  Champion is a native of Chiang Mai, Thailand. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Payap University in Chiang Mai, and it was during these undergraduate years that he was transformed into a global citizen. He majored in English and moved into the international dormitory where he met and lived with hundreds of exchange students from the Thai and Southeast Asian Studies Program while volunteering as the Program’s assistant to provide the students with language and cultural guidance in and around Northern Thailand and the Mekong River Basin. Inspired and encouraged by this amazing cross-cultural experience to go see the world himself, Champion took his turn to study for one year at the Claremont Colleges in California, before spending his last undergraduate semester in The Gambia as the first (and still the only!) Thai student. In West Africa, under a full scholarship from the Ministry of Education of Thailand, Champion worked for a non-profit and enjoyed listening to traditional Gambian music and sipping Attaya with locals, in addition to studying at the university and conducting his senior thesis.

                                                                                  After graduation, Champion became a Buddhist monk and lived at a forest monastery outside Chiang Mai for three months during a Buddhist Lent. He then followed his global development passion by pursuing a Master’s in International Relations in Barcelona, Spain, before applying his knowledge of foreign affairs into practice by participating in the Model United Nations in Barcelona and working for the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand. Champion is fluent in English and Thai, can get around using Spanish (pretty much!), and is currently learning Chinese. He enjoys travelling, taking photos, and meeting people during his free time, and cannot wait to spend this summer on more amazing student adventures!

                                                                                  • Jillian Schultz
                                                                                    Jillian Schultz China Country Director, Program Leader

                                                                                    Columbia University – B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies
                                                                                    Columbia University – M.A. Art History

                                                                                    Jillian hails from Chicago and recently relocated to Los Angeles after five years in Beijing. She studied art history and Asian studies as an undergrad and received her M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. Before relocating to China, she spent five years working in the Asian Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. While in Beijing, she served as the Director of International Programs at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. She has curated and produced exhibitions and educational programing in China, the U.K., Europe, and most recently, Ethiopia. Jillian is an avid yogi and completed a 200 hour intensive teacher training in Bali. Jillian loves seeing live music, biking, being in/near the ocean, and making the people around her laugh. She never feels more alive than when she’s navigating the streets of China, sampling local delicacies and seeking out the best bargains she can find.

                                                                                    • Mairéad O’Grady
                                                                                      Mairéad O’Grady Program Leader

                                                                                      Grinnell College – B.A. Music and French

                                                                                      Mairéad is thrilled to be a part of the team as a veteran leader to Senegal and the first leader to Thailand, two of her favorite places on earth. Growing up in Milton, MA, Mairéad had the incredible opportunity to attend a public school French immersion program and was bilingual by age seven. Figuring that France was easy enough to visit on her own, Mairéad chose to spend a semester studying in Senegal in 2008, and she fell in love with the country and people within days of her arrival. (She has been back almost every year since!) While in Senegal, Mairéad taught English to a group of young Senegalese women, which inspired her to pursue teaching abroad after graduation. She spent the following year teaching English at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a Grinnell Corps fellow. While there, she also directed a high school musical, rode elephants, emceed a wedding in three languages, and led bicycle tours and hiking trips in and around the city. Mairéad is now the Director of Admissions and French teacher at The School for Ethics and Global Leadership (SEGL), a semester program in Washington DC for highly motivated high school juniors to study global affairs, international relations, and ethical frameworks of leadership in our nation’s capital. She also coordinates SEGL’s summer abroad programs and runs marathons in her free time.

                                                                                      • Savannah Johnson
                                                                                        Savannah Johnson Program Leader

                                                                                        Colorado College – B.A. Sociology, Minors in Global Education and Feminist & Gender Studies

                                                                                        Savannah is a firm believer in the power of informed impulsivity and has an insatiable travel bug, which, together, have propelled her adventures to six of the seven continents, so far. Through her studies of and experiences in the social world, she has been able to empirically substantiate risk-taking and reap the benefits of living outside her comfort zone. This is something she loves encouraging young people to do too. As such, she spent 8 weeks of the school year backpacking with high school students in Colorado and Utah before taking up residence in Amman, Jordan to study Arabic, work on a documentary film, and teach English Language and Literature at an American International School. Savannah is a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified teacher, certified in CPR/AED/First Aid and Mental Health First Aid, and is very excited to be returning to Thailand, where she taught and traveled in 2013.

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