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 10 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

Emily Merson
Co-founder and CEO

Is the co-founder and CEO of Global Experiences. Since founding the company with Stephen Reilly, in 2001 Emily has grown the program to 11 cities globally, and expanding the global team to over 40. 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 6,000 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 organization’s award winning career development program. In 2015 she was awarded the Enterprising Women’s Magazine Award, and lead GE to 2 goabroad.com 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 Rielly

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 State’s 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.

Jessica Burns

Jessica Burns
Vice President Global Programs

Jessica Burns is our VP of Global Programs responsible for overseeing all programs, global partnerships, and program management. After graduating from the University of Maryland at College Park, Jessica spent time living in Barcelona, Spain where she studied Spanish and became an avid soccer fan. While living in Spain, Jessica developed life-long friendships and traveled to many European cities. Originally from Maryland, Jessica

enjoys spending time with her family and . She currently lives in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Carri Orrison

Carri Orrison
Director of Institutional Partnerships

Carri Orrison is our Director for Institutional Partnerships and is thrilled to working with Global Experiences. Originally from Maine she feels happy when she’s 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’s traveled to France, Italy, Greece and Australia. She’s a mom to two brilliant, talented, sporty kids and one furry dog.

Alex Paisner

Alex Paisner
Director of Enrollment

Alex Paisner is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Global Experiences. He brings his own experience as an alumnus of GE’s Dublin program to the team, as well as experience from his travels throughout Australia, Italy, Ireland, Costa Rica, and the Israel. Alex brings his own experience as an alumnus of GE’s Dublin program to the team, as well as experience from his travels throughout Australia, Italy, Ireland, Costa Rica, Portugal, and the Israel.

He has joined the Global Experiences team to help introduce students to the same great opportunity he had as a program participant. A graduate of the George Washington University in Washington DC, Alex has a degree in Business Administration, and is the point of contact for GE’s marketing efforts and social media. Away from the office Alex can be found on the water, where his passion is sailing. He has worked at Global Experiences since 2009.

Melissa Vivian

Melissa Vivian
Director of Academic Internships

Melissa Vivian is the Director of Academic Internships for Global Experiences. Prior to her current role, Melissa was the European Placement Director based in London. Melissa Vivian is a licensed professional counselor and lecturer with a master’s 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.

Kelly M. Holland

Kelly M. Holland
Institutional Relations Manager

Kelly Holland is the Institutional Relations Manager 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.

Peter Ballagh

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.

Inma Lopez

Inma Lopez
Barcelona Program Director

I earned a Bachelor’s 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 immersed 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’.

Chrissie Friedrichsen

Chrissie Friedrichsen
Program 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

Brian Brinkman

Brian Brinkman
Program Manager

Brian is a Program Manager at Global Experiences who discovered his passion for international travel during his time at The University of Montana while studying European & Islamic History. He first traveled overseas with The School for International Training. From there he spent two years teaching English in South Korea, book-ended by a year apprenticing as a cook at a nose-to-tail restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Following his most recent

year in the Seoul exurb of Osan, Brian and his wife embarked on a trip of a lifetime: a four-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia & India. His experiences traveling, teaching, and living abroad have had a profound impact on his life. It’s his hope that he can help to inspire our interns to embrace the vast opportunities for travel and engage with the world with a more global perspective.

Carlie Kidd

Carlie Kidd
Admissions Counselor

Carlie is a Senior Admissions Counselor for Global Experiences, Carlie has a passion for traveling, exploring new places, and meeting new people. She graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from University of Maryland. Having traveled to Europe, Carlie was inspired to pursue a travel abroad program in Sydney, Australia. During her time in Sydney she traveled down the east coast, which included a scuba diving excursion on the Great Barrier Reef,

skydiving over the Coral Sea, and sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. After her semester at the University of Sydney, Carlie took a cultural excursion into Thailand and Indonesia and traveled to different cities such as Ubud, and to remote islands like Phi Phi Island. One of the reasons Carlie enjoys working with the GE team is that she is able to encourage others to participate in what she has found to be an immensely rewarding experience. During her spare time, Carlie enjoys performing in musical theater productions around Annapolis.

Augusta Viccellio

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.

Jen Mackin

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 to England, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Malta and the Netherlands. 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 give prospective interns the same amazing opportunities that she had

Sam Needleman

Sam Needleman
University Enrollment Coordinator 

Sam works as our University Enrollment Coordinator at Global Experiences.  He developed his love of all things international after his family sponsored a Liberian refugee in the 1990’s. He first traveled internationally to the United Kingdom with his high school rugby team and was hooked! Sam has since lived on four continents and traveled to 27 different countries! He studied abroad on the Gold Coast of Australia during college. After graduation he moved to

South Korea and taught English there for three years. From Korea he went on a six month thirteen country trip across Europe and Asia; living in the South of France and working at a French summer camp for the last month of his trip. Sam’s experience traveling abroad serve as motivation to get other young people out there! As a Global Experiences employee he hopes to be a catalyst for other people’s life-changing experiences.

Jaci Corvino

Jaci Corvino
Account Manager

Jaci Corvino is our Human Resources and Accounts Administrator. Jaci is on target to graduate with a BS in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College. Originally from the Midwest, this is Jaci’s second time living in the Northeast. Prior to arriving in Maryland, she lived in Southeast Kansas, Kentucky & Maine. Jaci’s passionate exploration of new experiences has granted her the opportunity to witness sunrises on

Mt. Desert Island Maine, camping in the Blue Hills of Kentucky, and deep red sunsets on her family’s 400 acre farm in Kansas. Jaci has never met a stranger and loves the challenge of meeting new people in each of her life experiences.

Amy Wilson

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.

Joe Gruendl

Joe Gruendl
CFO

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.

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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