Meet the Study Abroad Staff at AFS-USA!

Guiding people through the many options available through AFS for studying, volunteering, and traveling abroad is our passion. Our staff reflects this passion through their experience, knowledge, and dedication to making sure every AFS applicant finds the program that best suits their goals and interests.

We invite you to get to know all of our team members working to make your AFS experience your own. If at any time you're unsure about which person to contact, just call or email us:

Study Abroad Specialists

Your AFS Study Abroad Specialist is your personal guide to planning your AFS experience. With a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience in living and studying abroad, they're focused on finding the program and placement that's right for you, answering all of your questions along the way. Your Study Abroad Specialist will be with you from the time you first contact AFS until it's time to depart for your host country!

Kory Eylmann

Sr. Study Abroad Specialist

I work with students participating in year or semester programs that depart in the fall. I also help manage and serve as a resource for the Study Abroad Outreach Associates, liaise with our Information Technology department, and work with our system developers. I caught the travel bug my first year of college during a 10-day program in Germany. Less than a year later, I found myself studying in China for a semester; I even had an opportunity to spend a week in Tibet and since still think it’s the most naturally beautiful place in the world. Shortly after returning from China, I was off to Germany for two months of language immersion in Münster and four months at Universität Trier. Before joining AFS a few years ago, I returned to Münster, my home away from home, to teach English through the Fulbright Program. I’ve explored over 15 countries and hope to add a few more soon! My favorite activities while traveling? Without a doubt, trying new foods and doing my best to only speak the local language.

Christina "Tina" King

Study Abroad Specialist

I work with applicants who are interested in our programs that depart in the winter and spring for a year or semester. I actually took part in one of these spring programs - I studied abroad with AFS in Panama the second semester of my junior year in school. That experience has shaped so much of my life; not only leading me to work for AFS, but also leading me to volunteer for a summer in northern India and study for one semester in Brazil in college. My love for travel and international immersion was sparked by and has been fueled by AFS, and now carries over into every aspect of my life. My favorite travel destination? Though I almost always go for beachy weather, I’d have to say Moscow!

Justin DeAndrade

Study Abroad Specialist

I work with our summer programs along with my colleague, Mia. My international experience began in 2007 when I spent a semester in Honduras with AFS. This opportunity sparked my passion for travel and intercultural learning. My AFS experience also led me to study International Relations at Brown University. While at Brown I spent a semester in Barcelona, Spain where I was able to travel to many destinations throughout Europe. I am excited to be part of the AFS-USA team and to help students embark on these life-changing adventures!

Katrina Gorres
Study Abroad Specialist

I assist students and parents through the application process, whether it is selecting a country or walking through steps of the application online. Outside of AFS, I enjoy dancing and cooking and sometimes both at the same time. I always try to laugh at some point in the day especially during times that are stressful and even upsetting. When the world seems it’s at its darkest hour, both figuratively and literally, creating room to escape and indulge in laughter makes it a little bit easier to work through the knots of the day. I’ve studied abroad in Europe in a semester program with St. John’s University that allowed me to spend about 6 weeks in Paris, Rome, and Seville each. While it wasn’t enough time to fully immerse myself in the culture like our students, I definitely learned my lesson on how to relearn aspects on what I thought I already knew. I hope that the knowledge I’ve gained from my experience will promote the importance of having a malleable perspective and absorbing attitude throughout a semester or year abroad.

Kristin Etzold

Study Abroad Specialist

My name is Kristin! I’m that person you will find walking and reading a book at the same time or singing my heart out to karaoke. In my work, I assist students who are exploring AFS as a study abroad options. Traveling to France with AFS was certainly a highlight of my year and a half here so far. Earning my degree in anthropology and linguistics led me to truly believe the way we learn a language can help shape our thoughts. After learning German in school for years, I found AFS in order to pursue my goal of becoming fluent. I didn’t make the birthday cutoff and applied to Argentina instead! As an AFSer in 2008, I traveled to a new city where I learned a new language from scratch and got to know my “second” parents and my older sister! As the oldest of 4 here in the U.S. that was a big deal for me. My host siblings are still my closest friends and it’s a joy telling parents and students how incredibly important your host family will become.

Mia Polizzotto

Study Abroad Specialist

I currently work with students applying to AFS Summer Programs, alongside my colleague, Justin. My travels have provided me with endless excitement and adventure! I studied abroad in Granada, Spain for a semester during my 2nd year of college. My study abroad experience provided me with the opportunity for extensive travel and language immersion. During my study abroad semester, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. After returning home from Spain, I decided to declare a double major in International Relations and Spanish. In addition to traveling, I love watching home decorating shows on TV and going to the beach.

Renee Atkinson

Study Abroad Specialist

Like many others that work for AFS, I have a passion for travel and education. My travels and Italian studies have brought me all over the globe from Jamaica to Italy and the Philippines and various other countries where I was able to live like a local. In addition to travel, I also love culture, history, sports, music, dancing, and food! I want to share all of my stories with others and hopefully inspire people to travel and learn more about the various people and cultures of the world.

Study Abroad Associates

Study Abroad Associates join our team during the months of February-July, helping Study Abroad Specialists provide exceptional service and outreach to all AFS applicants.

Argina Girsang

Study Abroad Associate

Coming Soon!

Brittany Hooper

Study Abroad Associate

I assist students in finding the AFS program and destination that best suits their interests and, in turn, help them get started with the application process. Before I was even in middle school, I was fascinated with other cultures, specifically Chinese and Japanese cultures. Years later, at Ramapo College of New Jersey, I double-majored in Spanish and International Studies, with a minor in Latin American Studies. During my undergraduate career, I studied abroad three times: twice in Spain and once in Costa Rica. I fully immersed myself in the cultures by living with a host family each time, along with taking my required classes in Spanish. I even had the opportunity to backpack around Europe three weeks prior to my third and final study abroad trip in college. Each time I’ve gone away, I’ve returned back to the U.S. wanting more. I’m thrilled to be at AFS-USA, helping students go abroad and receive their exciting global experiences - just like I did!

Jon Meyer

Study Abroad Associate

At AFS, I assist students with the application process, particularly those interested in European locations. I recently graduated from New York University with a master’s in European Studies, with a focus on German culture and cultural policy and a bachelor’s in European Studies and Political Science. During my time at NYU, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Germany, taking classes in both German and English. In addition, I had the opportunity to do archival research in Berlin working with historical documents. Since then, I’ve traveled throughout Europe experiencing all the unique cultures and peoples the continent has to offer. I’m excited to be here at AFS-USA to help others explore the world and its various cultures!

Kelsey Janes

Study Abroad Associate

Coming soon!

Mandy Sherer

Study Abroad Associate

Coming soon!

AFS Scholarships Team

Our AFS Scholarships Team helps AFS applicants and their parents navigate the financial commitments of the AFS experience. Each year, the team helps applicants fulfill their AFS dream by awarding scholarships and advising on ways to raise the funds needed to finance their AFS programs.

Laszlo Fejos

Scholarships Manager

Growing up, I have been exposed to various different cultures as my family has been an AFS host family on many occasions. Later, I decided to follow my AFS brothers’ and sisters’ path and became an exchange student myself. I studied abroad in France with AFS and became an AFS volunteer after my return. This intercultural exposure lead me to join AFS-USA and work in the Scholarships Team to help future AFSers in fulfilling their study abroad dreams. In my role, I oversee AFS-USA’s extensive merit- and need-based scholarship offerings. Outside of work, I usually spend time with my daughter, wife and cocker spaniel.

Alyssa Morga
Scholarships Advisor

Here at AFS, I help students complete their applications and help to offer need-based and merit-based scholarships. I got my start in the International Education world when I studied abroad to Italy in high school, and haven’t stopped exploring since! Some of my favorite adventures abroad were when I studied in La Rochelle, France in order to complete my International Studies Degree, and when I traveled to Krakow, Poland to teach English! When I’m not travelling or practicing my languages, I spend time outside hiking or exploring New York City, reading, and cooking! I’m excited to help students live their dreams of studying abroad!

Visas, Documents, and Data

Tracking host families, communications, travel information, and securing permissions from consulates to travel abroad can involve a lot of documents and data! AFS staff are here to help you stay organized, every step of the way.

Danny Pneuman

Visa Specialist

I work with AFS' global staff and consulates to ensure that all AFS applicants are able to acquire their visas, residence permits, and other types of travel documents prior to their departure. Whenever you have visa, passport and citizenship questions, please feel welcome to reach out to me! In my two years working with AFS, I have also become involved in the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group and LGBT Exchange, where I partner with other AFS staff and volunteers to foster equity and inclusion across our organization. Before working with AFS, I organized study abroad trips for college students to Ghana and Venezuela and led an antiwar and social justice organization in Milwaukee. Outside of work, I volunteer with social justice organizations and you can often find me marching and protesting around New York City.

Erjona Koni

Administrative Coordinator

I have enjoyed working at AFS for the past three years and being part of this big diverse family. Before my current position, I worked in the Marketing Department of AFS, helping promote our programs. Now, I track host family information, direct communications, and work on data management. At a very early age, I started studying foreign languages and realized how much I loved traveling to new places and learning about different cultures. This inspired me to intern at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy here in NYC. I have traveled through all of Europe, the Caribbean, and Brazil, and I speak five languages. Airports are my favorite, that’s where new journeys and experiences begin!

Faces of America

AFS-USA Faces of America (FoA) Scholarship program provides high-achieving students from low-income families a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad. By partnering with community-based organizations and schools in underrepresented communities, FoA has awarded scholarships to more than 2,120 outstanding teenagers and introduced them to a world of possibilities.

Shameeka Leacock

Program Specialist-Diversity Initiatives

I was born and raised in New York City before attending undergraduate school at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. While at UMass, I became involved in various cultural and students groups such as the Black Student Union. After graduation, I returned to NYC where I joined AFS-USA's Travel and Logistics Department followed by a position as the Program Specialist for Diversity Initiatives. As Program Specialist, I support scholarship programs including the Faces of America and BP Global Citizen of Tomorrow Scholarship. Both scholarships are designed to provide students from underrepresented communities with an opportunity to participate in an AFS study abroad experience. I enjoy partnering with community based organizations and schools to promote AFS programs! On a personal note, I love traveling with friends and playing tennis.

Pamela Escalante

Study Abroad Advisor

I am originally from El Salvador. I am fluent in both English and Spanish. While I was in High School I joined a two week study abroad program to France and Italy which helped me gain interest in other cultures. During my time in college, I was offered the opportunity to spend a summer studying in Spain and then a semester in Mexico.


AFSNext offers programs for high school graduates from age 18 and up. Adults of all ages can join global volunteer projects, teach abroad, or pursue university courses while experiencing a new culture. You can learn more about the programs here.

Niki DePalo

Program Innovation Specialist

I have been working at AFS since March 2016, and I am part of the Program Innovation Team. I help coordinate Global Prep programs, and I am the AFSNext Study Abroad Specialist. Like everyone at AFS, I love traveling. I worked in Spain for four years, so my home away from home is in Madrid. I visited five continents by the time I was 24 years old, and I’m always looking to travel to new places! In my free time, I try to keep my plants alive at the office.

Camilla Paquette

Manager of Program Innovation - Outbound

My work at AFS has been the perfect culmination of the years I've spent working abroad, traveling, and gaining experience in the nonprofit sector. My love affair with becoming a global citizen began, like most people at AFS, when I studied abroad in high school. Little did I know that those weeks I spent in Spain as a teenager would transform into another study abroad experience in Thailand for college, then a teaching position in Thailand, a year-long volunteer role in Chile, a job as a cook at a villa in Italy, and thousands of travel memories in 30+ other countries. Now, six years later, I continue to have the pleasure of fostering a love of intercultural experiences in others through my role as Manager of Program Innovation. When I'm not working to discover new opportunities for teenagers and adults, I'm at home hanging out with my newborn son, or planning my little family's next adventure!

Jenny Davis

Manager of Program Innovation - Inbound

I work primarily with summer programs that take place in the USA – such as the new Global Prep USA program in San Diego, where students from the United States and around the world gather for a very unique international experience. I’ve been involved with AFS for many years, as a host mom, a parent to an AFSer, an AFS volunteer, and as a staff member. I was born in Tokyo, Japan; have an Indonesian daughter-in-law, and many AFS ‘sons and daughters’ around the world.

Department Oversight

Our department aims to provide the best customer service possible through the coordination efforts of a team of managers and directors. By setting and monitoring the department's quality standards and team priorities, our senior management (below) works with the goal of making the AFS application experience seamless, easy, and fun! If you have comments, questions, or concerns regarding any aspect of our service, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Tim Reveri

Manager, Educational Relationships & New Business Development

My interest in international education started in high school. I was lucky enough to have a history teacher who really engaged me in class, and offered me an opportunity to participate in a student summit in Prague at the end of my Junior year. After that, I was hooked. I went on a year-long exchange program in my senior year to eight different countries across Europe, Oceania, and Africa and participated in a research project on how student leadership manifested across different cultures. That program ultimately led to my decision to pursue a degree in International Relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland (though my friends still insist I actually went to Hogwarts). After college, I went to work for AFS in the Support Department, helping AFS participants from the US and abroad have fun and safe exchanges. After working in that Department for three years, I moved into this new role to help identify new programs and opportunities to spread the AFS mission. My favorite part of my work is getting to hear from the students who've been truly transformed by going abroad and immersing themselves in a new culture. I feel pretty lucky to work in a place where that's my everyday!

Caitlin Schneider

Director of Customer Experiencer

I work with all of the Study Abroad Specialists and with our AFS international partners around the world to facilitate the implementation of our intercultural exchange programs. My passion for international travel began in high school and continued through my higher education and professional experiences. I’ve been to many countries around the world, including China, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, and I lived in Tanzania for a semester in graduate school. I believe that living abroad is the best way to truly immerse yourself in a particular culture and really learn about a country, including the communication styles, values, customs, and languages. The experiences I’ve had have been some of the most valuable of my life, and I am very pleased to be heading a department that works hard every day to offer young people the opportunity to learn and grow through intercultural exchange!

Melvin Harmon

Sr. Director, Customer Experience & Program Innovation

When I was 17, I left my small town in North Carolina to spend a year in Malaysia through AFS. Little did I know that my AFS year would be the most pivotal and impactful experience I would ever have. It shaped who I am today and continues to influence my world view and my ability to be a contributing global citizen. My entire adult life and career have been dedicated to helping provide similar life-changing programs to young people throughout the world, and this endeavor has taken me to more than 50 nations in all corners of the globe. Today, at AFS-USA, I'm proud to lead an exceptionally dedicated and knowledgeable team of professionals, all focused on the goal of creating the next generation of skilled, empowered, and globally-minded citizens. In my spare time, I look after a colony of twelve New York City feral cats and help with community efforts to curb the feral and abandoned cat population. In addition to having been an AFS student myself, I've also been an AFS volunteer and a host parent (eight times)!