Meet the Team

Our success – our people. Behind any successful organization stands a diverse group of committed people. Our staff of over 30 people spans four continents, five time zones, and 12 cities. Our main U.S. office is located in the historic center of Annapolis, Maryland; we welcome your visit anytime. From our home office we personally connect with all program participants from the initial phone call up until your arrival in your host city. All of the Global Experiences team members have personal experience living and working abroad and are here to pay it forward!

Emily Merson
Co-founder and CEO

Emily is the co-founder and CEO of Global Experiences. Since co-founding in 2001, Emily has grown the program to 11 cities globally, and expanding the global team. In 2013 Emily took over as CEO and has focused her attention on expanding partnerships with universities and colleges in the US and building an award winning global career readiness program. Global Experiences has helped almost 8,000 young professionals further their career through international professional experience and global understanding.

Emily was the driving force behind Global Experiences innovative partnership with Gallup Education in 2012 that lead to the organizations award winning career development program. In 2015 she was awarded the Enterprising Womens Magazine Award, and lead GE to 2 innovation awards and inclusion in the Inc5000. Emily has served on the NAFSA committee for Work Internship and Volunteer since 2015 and has presented at national and international conferences on the topics of international education, internships and career development. Emily is originally from Sydney, Australia and holds three passports (Australia, US and UK) and has degrees from the UNSW in Sydney, Australia, and Uppsala University in Sweden. Emily is passionate about innovation in the US Education system and changing the lives of young people through global engagement and career development experiences.

Stephen M. Reilly
Co-founder and President

Stephen was one of the two founders of Global Experiences and lead its development for over 10 years as CEO. In 2012 Steve was recruited to take over as the Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, the US- based alumni association for the US Department of States flagship exchange program and the largest Fulbright Alumni association in the world. Prior to starting Global Experiences in 2001, Steve traveled extensively throughout the world and lived on 4 continents and visited over 50 countries.

Carri Orrison
Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships

Carri Orrison is our Senior Director for Institutional Partnerships and is thrilled to working with Global Experiences. Originally from Maine she feels happy when she is near water so working in Annapolis is a dream come true.She graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania with a degree in French and was on the tennis team at this Division III school.

After graduating she moved to the Washington DC area and spent 13 years working at the Australian Embassy assisting students get to Australia, advisors understand educational system and ensuring everyone knew that Australia has more to offer besides beaches and beer. She also worked for The Scholar Ship which was a semester study program (based on a ship) which sent US and non-US students around the world to study and develop cultural awareness. She has traveled to France, Italy, Greece and Australia. She is a mom to two brilliant, talented, sporty kids and one furry dog.

Kelly M. Holland
Associate Director for Institutional Partnerships

Kelly Holland is the Associate Director for Institutional Partnerships for Global Experiences. In her role she works closely with university partners around the United States on marketing, promotion, and ensuring a successful experience for both intern and office. A Pennsylvania native, Kelly first left the U.S. at age 20 to spent a semester in Granada, Spain with the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS). She returned several years later to teach English for the Spanish Ministry of Education in Andalucia.

Kelly holds an M.Ed. in Comparative and International Education from Lehigh University, and a B.A. in International Business and Spanish from Moravian College. Kelly was previously the Associate Director of Study Abroad at Towson University in Maryland, and Interim Director of Study Abroad at Eastern Illinois University in Illinois. Her travels cross more than 25 countries and counting including favorites like Hungary, Greece, Spain, and Turkey. If she doesn't have her nose in a book, Kelly can be found in the kitchen cooking or baking.

Melissa Buerkett
Director of Academic Internships

Melissa Buerkett is the Director of Academic Internships for Global Experiences. Prior to her current role, Melissa was the European Placement Director based in London. Melissa is a licensed professional counselor and lecturer with a masters degree in Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. Melissa has been working in higher education for several years, counseling, teaching and supervising the internships of college students in New York City and London. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and has extensive international experience, studying abroad at Oxford University, working on a fishing and boat in Australia and serving as the European Placement and London Program Director for Global Experiences.

Melissa has special academic and clinical interests in the areas of career development, well-being, experiential education and wilderness therapy, and practices strengths-based counseling. Her own Top 5 Gallup Strengths are Communication, Maximizer, Adaptability, Woo and Achiever.

Dr. Shawntia Key
Global Program Director

Shawntia joins Global Experiences with more than ten years experience in international education. Shawntia discovered her love of international education through working with the international student organizations in college which eventually lead to studying abroad in Japan and working in China. Shawntia received a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other langauges) certificate; BA in international studies; MA in international education; and EdD in higher education management. Shawntia will lead our global program and advisor team, oversea program delivery, program development, and housing and location partner agreements.

Chrissie Friedrichsen
Programs Manager

Chrissie Friedrichsen is a Program Manager at Global Experiences and responsible for helping interns prepare for their internship program. Before moving into this role, she also worked as an Internship Consultant for two and a half years. While earning a B.S. in Marketing and Logistics at the University of Maryland, College Park, Chrissie studied abroad in Rome, Italy. She fell in love with Europe and traveling in general, and is always looking for the next adventure abroad.

After university, Chrissie lived in Mexico working as a location coordinator for a travel company. She continued to gain valuable work experience as an event planner in Breckenridge, Colorado before returning to Annapolis, Maryland to settle down and be closer to her family. She enjoys seeing young people travel the world while exploring their career options.

Larry Komrower
Programs Manager

Larry is a Programs Manager with Global Experiences, and he loves helping students get the most out of their international internship programs. Prior to joining the GE team, he spent four years working in the study abroad offices at Marymount University and Texas A&M University. Larry’s experience abroad includes a semester in Paris, France, two years as an English language assistant in Annecy, France and in Almansa, Spain, and two summers in St. Brieuc, France. He has also led student groups overseas to Barbados, Belize, and the Netherlands.

Larry holds an MA in French linguistics from Indiana University Bloomington and a BA in French with a minor in theater from Ithaca College. In his spare time, you can find him in the kitchen baking or at the dog park playing with his corgi, Teddy.

Jen Mackin
Program Advisor

Jen Mackin is an Program Advisor for Global Experiences. She graduated with a B.A. in history from Ursinus College and was previously a teacher. She has traveled throughout Europe, her favorite destination being London. Jen went on a trip to Spain in high school with her Spanish teachers and caught the travel bug and has never looked back! She participated in GE's London program in 2013 and had the experience of a lifetime. She is excited to help future interns to have the the same amazing opportunity that she had!

Sara Morgan Watters
Program Advisor

Sara Morgan Watters is the Program Advisor for all students going to Dublin, New York, and Washington, D.C. for Global Experiences. In her role she works closely with students to prepare them for their internship and time abroad. A Maryland native, Sara Morgans first abroad experience was a summer in Ecuador. After graduating college she went on to live in Barcelona for several years where she worked as an English teacher.

Sara Morgan holds an MS in Cross-Cultural Psychology from Victoria University of Wellington, and a B.A. in Psychology from St. Marys College of Maryland. Sara Morgan has lived and traveled to almost 20 countries including her favorites being Spain, New Zealand, and Norway. Outside of advising students, you will likely find her pursuing some of her hobbies in sports such as sailing or field hockey.

Amy Wilson
Placement Coordinator

Amy is an office assistant at Global Experiences. She brings years of knowledge as a program consultant to a role that includes managing employer relationships in Sydney, New York, and Washington, DC. Amy Wilson is a longtime employee of Global Experiences. In her previous role she helped connect students to employers in some of our program locations, and is excited to further our alumni efforts. Amy has traveled to South Africa, Portugal, and many other countries.

Hailey Morris
Student Accounts Coordinator

Hailey is the Student Accounts Coordinator for Global Experiences. While studying at Virginia Tech, Hailey spent a summer studying in Madrid, Spain in 2014 and had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and France. She is looking forward to combining her passions for travel and higher education to help students grow professionally in an international setting. She holds two Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish. Outside of work you will either find her in the kitchen or at the driving range.

Augusta Viccellio
Admissions Manager

Augusta is Admissions Counselor who has unique experiences volunteering in Tanzania and living in Paris. She brings her passion for travel and works to help others have similar experiences. Born in Olympia WA, Augusta moved to Annapolis at the age of 2 and considers Maryland home. She realized her dream of visiting Africa during college, when she spent three months interning in an orphanage and primary school in Tanzania. After graduating with a degree in Sociology and History from Indiana University in Bloomington, Augusta spent a year as an au pair in Paris.

Hooked on travel and experiencing new cultures, Augusta worked a variety of jobs to fund travel to London (to watch her cousin run in the Olympics), Madrid, and Dubai. As an employee of Global Experiences Augusta looks forward to helping others have their own unique life-changing experiences.

Katherine Adams
Admissions Counselor

Katherine is an Admission Counselor for Global Experiences. During her undergrad at the University of Delaware, Katherine got her first taste of international travel while studying abroad for a semester in Paris. Upon graduating with a B.S. in Marketing with a minor in Entrepreneurship, she decided to move back to Paris to work as an au pair for two amazing years. In 2016, she decided to ditch baguettes and escargot for Vegemite and Tim Tams and move all the way to Melbourne, Australia. She spent a year working, traveling, and enthusing over the AFL- go Bulldogs! Throughout her extensive international travels, Katherine has visited over 20 countries and 5 continents! She now works at GE and is ecstatic about helping others embark on their life-changing international journeys.

Ashleigh Franks
Admissions Counselor

Ashleigh is an Admissions Counselor at Global Experiences. While studying Marketing at Virginia Tech, she spent a semester abroad on the Gold Coast of Australia. She fell in love with the Australian culture and climate and moved back to Sydney for a year after graduating. More recently, she spent two years living abroad in Munich, where she worked as a native English teacher and enjoyed exploring Europe.Throughout her travels, she has been fortunate enough to visit more than 20 countries. Now, she is back in Annapolis and looks forward to helping others embark on their life changing adventures abroad!

Andrew Parr
Admissions Counselor

Andrew is an Admissions Counselor at Global Experiences. A Pennsylvanian-native, he moved to the Annapolis area in 2013 to teach English and theatre in a public high school. While at the school, he re-established the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) via the assistance of the Goethe-Institut with a Gymnasium in Germany. The program has been successfully running for the last four years. In his free time, Andrew can usually be found in one of two places: the theatre or the gym. He teaches at a local dance studio and writes theatre reviews for the Baltimore-DC Metro area. He enjoys spending time with friends, family, coffee, and his two chinchillas, Pinot and Brie.

Brooke Matta
Admissions Counselor

Brooke is an Admissions Counselor for Global Experiences. Born and raised in Virginia, she loves living near the mountains and the ocean. She has studied abroad in Costa Rica, taught English in Spain and Colombia, and now resides in Maryland with her fiancé and dog. She holds B.A.s in International Affairs and Sociology, and developed a passion for international education during her time in Costa Rica. She’s thrilled to be working at GE and supporting people who love going abroad as much as she does! Besides traveling, her favorite hobbies are hiking, cooking, reading, and yoga.

Kayla Lucrezi
Admissions Counselor

Kayla is an Admissions Counselor from Williams, Oregon. Kayla graduated from Rollins College in Florida with a B.A in Anthropology and a minor in Archaeology, and studied Peace and Conflict in Serbia. While abroad, she had the opportunity to travel around Eastern Europe and check off a huge thing on her bucket list- exploring Bran Castle in Brasov, Romania (where she proudly bought a souvenir keychain). Kayla loves reading and nature (especially mountains) and can often be found outside, lost in a new book. She is thrilled to be helping others explore new cultures and experiences.

Emily TahaBurt
Admissions Counselor

Emily is an Admissions Counselor at Global Experiences. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt and Annapolis, MD, and graduated with a degree in International Studies from Macalester College. She completed study abroad programs in Jordan and Oman focusing on Arabic language and Middle Eastern Studies. She feels very lucky to have traveled throughout parts of Europe for the first time in 2016 for four months, and completed a work exchange in Montefegatesi, Italy for one month. She then moved to Ireland for a year where she lived in Dublin and spent the summertime in Cork. Some of her favorite travel experiences include a Game of Thrones tour just outside of Belfast, seeing Hamilton in London, and visiting Petra in Jordan.

Molly Haskell
Marketing Manager

Molly is our Marketing Manager joining us after living in Sydney, Australia, for the last five years. After graduating from East Carolina University, she hopped on a one way flight to Sydney and worked in marketing where she gained extensive experience in direct and digital marketing, lead generation, advertising, social media, partnerships, project management, and events. While living in Sydney, Molly formed life-long friendships, instilled a newfound love for Tim Tams (not Vegemite though), and had the opportunity to travel across Asia. She is originally from a farm outside Philadelphia but loves to venture out and explore new places.

Lydia Theologus
Student Experience & Marketing Coordinator

Lydia is part of the team at GE as the Student Experience & Marketing Coordinator! Growing up in a huge Greek family, Lydia learned at a young age how important it was to embrace different cultures. After spending a month in Greece in a Greek Orthodox summer camp when she was 15, she knew that she had caught the travel bug.

Graduating from Salisbury University in 2016 with a dual degree in Public Relations and Psychology, Lydia was first connected with GE when she spent her fall semester of her senior completing a three-month marketing internship in Florence, Italy. As an alumna of one of our programs, she loves knowing that she is able to help countless students have the same invaluable experience as she did!

Dan Bliss
Content Coordinator

Dan is the Content Coordinator for Global Experiences. Born in Alaska and raised in the army, he lived in over eleven locations around the world and went to nine schools before graduating from Temple University in 2015. Dan was part of our Stockholm program in 2017 and loved every minute of his time in Sweden. After his internship, he ended up staying abroad and ended up living in Berlin, Germany for six months. When he got back to the United States, Dan decided to come intern at our Annapolis headquarters and grew into his current position as Content Coordinator. Dan loves large amounts of coffee, the arts, and anything to do with writing.

Christopher Woodson
Account Manager

Christopher is our Human Resources and Accounts Administrator. Christopher has 10 years in accounting work experience from Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Financial Analysis of grants. Christopher holds bachelor degrees from Howard University, as well as DeVry University. Go Bison!

Christopher is a fun loving, gregarious, astute self-proclaimed Steagle (Steelers & Eagles fan) who enjoys long bike rides along the water, and plenty of tasty food. My Philosophy: Coffee + Math = Accounting.

Joe Gruendl

Joe is the CFO of Global Experiences, responsible for the organization’s financial health and strategic planning. When not looking after the organization’s financial planning, Joe spends his time with his three children, or enjoying a round of golf.

Duncan Hamshere
London Program Director

Duncan Hamshere is our London Program Director. Duncan is delighted to have joined Global Experiences. Duncan is originally from Manchester in northern England but has had a varied international career taking him to a number of different countries, including roles working as a services manager for the UK National Recognition and Information Centre, as a Development Manager at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and most recently as a senior international trade Advisor for the UK Government. Duncan is a qualified teacher and has worked in and travelled to over 40 countries.

Carmen Chamorro
London Location Coordinator

Carmen is the London Location Coordinator for Global Experiences. In her role she works closely with the students to ensure a successful intern experience in London. A Spanish native, she loves learning about new places and cultures and strongly believes that travelling helps people get the best of themselves. She has been living in 4 different countries and has extensively travelled the world.

Carmen has a portfolio career and a wide range of experiences to ensure she can connect with each of the interns in a personalised way. She is a certified life and executive coach and has done many courses in Mindfulness, as well as two years of university study in Psychology. With a degree in Architecture, she is a registered architect and has commercial experience working in corporate environments, having worked for 8 years at Foster + Partners, one of the biggest architectural firms in the world. She has also worked in many other areas: event organiser, blogger, graphic designer, teacher, waitress, PR, strawberry picker, media runner, writer, sales…

Carmen is really passionate about people and education and wants to get the best out of each student so that they can enjoy their time in London as much as possible.

Peter Ballagh
Dublin Program Director

Peter Ballagh is the Director of the Dublin Program with responsibility for Placements, Programming and Student Welfare. He joined GE in 2013 and has a background in secondary school teaching and training as well as experience in the field of cultural tourism as a tour guide in Dublin and consultant with the Heritage Council of Ireland. He has been an active member of the EU Election Observation Missions since 2002 and has completed numerous missions throughout Africa and Asia.

Ana Iris Ramgrab
Dublin Location Coordinator

Ana Iris is the Dublin Location Coordinator for Global Experiences. She holds a BA in Journalism and and an MA in English Literature, combining two of her greatest loves: films and books (the other one is coffee). Ana Iris has over 10 years’ experience with exchange programs, language travel and student support, and enjoys helping people discover more about the world and themselves through education and travelling. She has been to 19 countries - so far.

Inma Lopez
Barcelona Program Director

I earned a Bachelors degree in English Studies in the University of Granada, as well as a degree in Tourism and Conference and Events Management from the University of Edinburgh. I have an extensive experience in the Study Abroad industry with on-site directing programs in Barcelona for many years, as well as organizing and leading trips and activities as tour leader, and working as a tour guide showing the clients the taste of the culture, history and personality of this captivating city through walking, gastronomy and cultural tours.

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Granada and before moving to Barcelona in 2008 I traveled throughout Europe, Morocco, and the U.S. and lived in several cities of Europe such as Toulouse, London, Liverpool and Edinburgh for many years.

What I love the most about this job is the huge impact that I make on students' lives through my guidance and how their lives change thanks to the experience of living abroad and getting immerse in the culture. I would recommend students to Take your study abroad experience as something that is part of growing up and enjoy this unique opportunity to the fullest because this chance may only happen once in your lifetime.

Rachel Smith
Italy Program Director

Rachel is the Italy Program Director and Program Advisor for Italy and France locations. She started with Global Experiences in 2014 as a Location Coordinator in Florence, Italy and has grown her career within the company. She has lived in Florence since 2013, speaks fluent Italian and has a bilingual dog Stella. Rachel has two bachelor degrees and a masters degree in Art History and considers herself an expert in "all-things-Italian."

Camilla Salaorni
Florence Location Coordinator

Camilla is a true Florentine and grew up and attended college here although she has traveled a lot to other places including the US, Greece, Turkey, Jordan and most of European countries. She briefly considered a career in archeology and but eventually went on to study history and culture of the Near East. After her second bachelor degree she decided to change directions and get a certification to teach Italian. She also became a official Florence city guide and is qualified to conduct tours. Camilla loves sunny days, blues music, good food from all around the world and to visit other countries. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and going to the seaside.

Anna Fornabaio
Italy Placement Director

Anna Fornabaio is the Italy Placement Director for Global Experiences. Born in a little town in the south of Italy, she moved to Arezzo in Tuscany when she was 14 years old. She currently lives in Florence, where she has been working closely with employers in Milan and Florence for over nine years. Anna studied Political Science at university and received her master’s in Event Planning and Management of European Study Abroad Programs. As a student, Anna interned and studied abroad in Brussels, so she has been in our interns’ shoes and is familiar with the experience they are about to embark upon. While interning abroad is a wonderful experience, she recognizes that it can be challenging. Not only is she there to help find our interns find a life-changing internship, but she’s also also there to help them adjust to their new life in Italy!

Andrea Hay
Sydney Program Director

Andrea Hay is the Sydney Program Director for Global Experiences. Andrea works to ensure that the interns have a great experience in Sydney with successful and fulfilling internships. Andrea holds a B.A in Recreation Management from RMIT, Australia. Though she originally hails from Eastern Europe, Andrea moved to the Australian outback at age 11 and has been on the move ever since. She lived in Washington DC for 15 years, returning to Sydney to be closer to family in 2012. She has traveled to more than 25 countries with Cuba, Egypt and Tahiti among her favorites. When she is not traveling, or working, Andrea is super mum to three wonderful daughters.

Kristi Philius
New York City Location Coordinator

Kristi is the New York City Location Coordinator who is passionate about inspiring more people of color to take part in international experiences. Originally from New York City, she found it easy to adjust to Annapolis living because she did her undergraduate studies not too far away at Morgan State University in Baltimore. While at Morgan, she was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for a study abroad program on the beautiful island of Cyprus. From that day on, Kristi has always been an advocate of International Education which led her to get a Masters from New York University in Media, Culture and Communication with a focus on Global and Transcultural Communication. While she is not helping prospective interns plan out their future, she loves to travel, prepare vegan meals and binge watching Netflix series with her dog.

Victoria Bishop
Washington D.C. Location Coordinator

Victoria is the Washington, D.C. Location Coordinator for GE. She is a GE alumna and interned in D.C. in 2014. Her mission is to ensure interns have a fantastic cultural and learning experience!

Victoria holds a B.S. in Sociology and Applied Statistics from the University of South Alabama, and she is currently an MPA candidate at American University. She was adopted from China and grew up in Sweet Home Alabama. Her favorite places she has traveled have been Rwanda, Alaska, and Ireland.

Amy Skoba
Milan Location Coordinator

Amy Skoba is the Milan Location Coordinator for Global Experiences. In her role she works closely with students on the ground to provide support and ensure a smooth and rewarding experience for all involved. She holds a B.S. in Marketing, and minor in International Business from the University of Dayton.

Amy has enjoyed exploring many countries, including the US where she is from, and more than 15 others. During college, she studied abroad in Augsburg, Germany; and following graduation, she ventured to Milan as an au pair before deciding to make it her home. Amy loves working for Global Experiences because it offers students the trifecta of professional development, experiential learning, and international adventure.

Qinqin Gan
Shanghai Location Coordinator

Qinqin Gan is Shanghai Location Coordinator. In her role she works closely with students and host companies to ensure a successful experience for both interns and host companies. Originally from Hubei province, Qinqin has moved to Shanghai since 2006 and worked as a Chinese-English interpreter and English-speaking tour guide as part time job.

Graduated with English education major, and have worked in an international company as an export sales, Qinqin has a deep understanding about international business, culture and customs. She has travelled to USA and majorities countries in Asia, she is always looking forwards to traveling to the next destination.

Join The Global Experiences Team

For candidates with the right skills, values, and enthusiasm to enhance our team, we welcome your applications.

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