Meet the Study Abroad Staff of AFS-USA and AFSNext!

Guiding people through the many options available through AFS for studying, volunteering, interning, teaching, 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!

Justin DeAndrade

Manager, Customer Experience

I work closely with our Study Abroad/AFSNext Specialists and the Director of Customer Experience to assist in the operation of our outbound programs and to ensure a seamless customer experience. As a former AFSer, I benefited first-hand from the transformative experience of an AFS program. My semester abroad with AFS in Honduras sparked my passion for travel and intercultural learning. This led me to study International Relations at Brown University during which I spent a semester in Barcelona, Spain. I have been able to travel extensively throughout Latin America and Europe and hope to continue adding new destinations to my list. I am excited to be part of the AFS-USA team and to help others embark on these life-changing adventures!

Johanna Jordan

Study Abroad Specialist

I work with some of our West Coast applicants as they navigate the application process. My international experience started at a young age. Since then I have been lucky enough to live in Ireland, to spend a few summers in India, and to sail on Semester At Sea in high school and in college. Before joining AFS I worked with the Girl Scouts on Long Island and served with AmeriCorps at a psychiatric facility for youth in Georgia. Here at AFS, I hope to use these experiences to combine my love of travel with my passion for youth development. I am excited to help our students as they prepare themselves for the trip of a lifetime!

Argina Girsang

Study Abroad Specialist

My name is Argina Girsang and I am a Study Abroad/AFSNext Specialist for applicants throughout the Central part of the United States. I graduated from St. Lawrence University, a small liberal arts school where I majored in Government and minored in Arabic, I studied abroad for one semester in London and another in Amman, Jordan through an AFS partner organization called AMIDEAST. While being in London was very fun, and to be honest comparable to New York City, I believe that being in Jordan changed my life. It was the first time that I ever felt truly out of my comfort zone, going into a country that I did not understand the language, barely knew the alphabet and cultural norms were very different from what I am used to. In my spare time, I hang out with my dog Pistachio, a mini Australian Shepherd mix and am on a never-ending quest to find the best tzatziki sauce in NYC!

Katrina Gorres

Study Abroad Specialist

I assist applicants and parents who reside in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States through the application process, whether it is selecting a country or walking through the steps of the application online. Outside of AFS, I enjoy dancing and cooking and sometimes both at the same time. I’ve studied abroad in Europe on a semester program through St. John's University which allowed me to spend 6 weeks in Paris, Rome, and Seville. I hope the intercultual knowledge I’ve gained from my experience will promote the importance of having a malleable perspective and attitude throughout a semester or year abroad.

Emily Haas

Study Abroad Specialist

My name is Emily and I am the Study Abroad/AFSNext Specialist for applicants in the Pacific Northwest! From a young age, I’ve been passionate about travel and experiencing different places. In college, I spent my entire Junior Year aboard. The first half of the year I lived in England and traveled throughout Western Europe, and the second half of the year I lived in Cameroon in Sub-Saharan Africa. Both of these experiences further enhanced my passion for international exchange and awareness of different cultures. So much so, that after college I moved to Thailand to teach English for two years! I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel across Southeast Asia and parts of India. Most recently, I spent last summer working in Cape Town, South Africa as a part of the fulfillment of my Master’s Degree in International Affairs. I am thrilled to be part of the AFS-USA team and I’m excited to help students have the same life-changing experiences I’ve had.

Hartley Cavallaro

Study Abroad Specialist

I work with applicants and parents by guiding them through the AFS and AFSNext application processes. I graduated from Pace University in Manhattan where I majored in Political Science and minored in Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies. I studied abroad in Hungary for one semester during my Junior year of college and was fortunate enough to travel throughout much of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East during that time. I have always had a passion for traveling and cause-driven work, which is what led me to AFS. Not only am I helping young people travel, I am sending them journeys that will have a lasting positive impact on their lives. Outside of AFS, I am a huge foodie and keep a list of cafés, bars, and restaurants that I am working my way through. I also love playing tourist in New York City!

Arista Ely

Study Abroad Specialist

I support applicants throughout New England and the Northeast region of the US. Before I became a Study Abroad/AFSNext Specialist, I worked as an AFS volunteer in my home state of Rhode Island where I discovered the vast network of dedicated volunteers that AFS has cultivated over the years- not just in my community but all over the world! In college, I majored in International Relations and Anthropology. I have always been fascinated by the concept of ‘culture’ and all that is encompassed within a society. During my Junior year, I studied abroad in Italy and traveled throughout Western Europe. While pursuing my Masters in International Development from the University of Denver, I studied abroad in Bosnia-Herzegovina and traveled throughout Eastern Europe. Trying to communicate with someone in a foreign language is something I think everyone should experience in their lifetime. It can be frustrating and embarrassing at times but it forces you to be present and connect with another person on a basic human level. I’m proud to be part of the AFS team because each study abroad program offers a truly unique and immersive cultural experience.

Timothy Meyers
Study Abroad Specialist
(646) 751-2083

I work with new and prospective exchange students to help them through the application process.  My path to cultural exchange started in college when I spent a semester in Cuenca, Ecuador, where I developed an affinity for travel.  Upon graduation, I spent a year teaching English in Linares, Spain and later was fortunate enough to travel, work and volunteer in various locations throughout South America.  These were easily the most influential experiences of my life and I am proud to promote the AFS mission by connecting our world’s cultures.

Study Abroad Associates

Study Abroad Associates join our team during the months of February-August, helping Study Abroad Specialists, during our busiest (and most exciting time of the year) to provide exceptional service and outreach to all AFS applicants.

AFS Scholarships & Diversity Initiatives 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. In addition to scholarships, AFS-USA's 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.

Scholarships Advisor

Kaitlin Green
Study Abroad Specialist, Faces of America

At AFS, I am the Study Abroad Specialist for Faces of America. I assist the Diversity Initiatives Team in partnering with community-based organizations to support students in their Study Abroad adventure. My study abroad experience started on a summer program to Spain with my high school. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where I was able to study abroad for a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduation, I moved to Madrid, Spain where I was an assistant English teacher for three years and earned a Master’s degree in International Education. I also had the opportunity to teach English for two years in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I am committed to and passionate about the study abroad experience and the invaluable learning that occurs when students study abroad. Originally from Minnesota, I am excited to explore New York and to eat all the bagels!

Amy Kiana-Rendon
Amy-Kiana Rendon
Senior Scholarships Advisor

I work primarily in making sure that staff and students are up-to-date with scholarship information and that knowledge of scholarship opportunities is being promoted throughout the country. I did my undergrad at Alvernia University where I studied Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. My life changed when I went to Ecuador to visit family and ended up staying for about 5 months. In Ecuador, I visited many villages and cities and even got the opportunity to teach English to kids for a period of time. During my spare time, I love popping into bookstores to find great books to read, walk around New York City (where I was born and raised), and traveling.

Shameeka Leacock

Manager, Scholarships & 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 student 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. I currently serve as the Scholarships and Diversity Initiatives Manager, where I support scholarships and various diversity initiatives at AFS. 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.

Visas, Documents, and Data Management

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

Tameka Taylor
Visa & Compliance Specialist

Micaela Callahan
Visa & Compliance Specialist


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.

Hillary Weinberger
Sr. AFSNext Specialist

I have been working with AFS in a number of capacities since January of 2014. I have helped send US students abroad and bring international students in to the US. For a period of time I acted as the District Representative for all AFS Volunteers in Rhode Island. I have been a host sibling 8 times. Currently, I am the Sr. AFSNext Specialist, helping all of our 18+ customers find opportunities to study, teach, volunteer, and intern abroad. I run the AFSNext Instagram account, so make sure you check it out and give us a like! I lived in Panama for three years as a child, but I don’t speak Spanish. I lived in Israel for one year as a Junior in college, but I don’t speak Hebrew. When I was 15 I went abroad for the first time on my own. I flew on a double-decker plane to Dubai. I have lead three AFS Global Prep summer trips and have traveled extensively on my own. In the fall of 2017, I packed a backpack and spent 5 weeks traveling from Rome to Madrid. As a passionate hiker, canoeist, and tree climber, I explore the world by land and sea. I only look forward to returning home so that I can convince more people like you to get out and explore.

Jenevieve Goldman
AFSNext Specialist

I work with AFSNext in order to help 18+ participants find the perfect program and work through their application process. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in international peace-building programs since a very young age. I first attended an International summer camp in France when I was eleven years old, in which I proved to myself and to my family that I can make myself at home wherever I am. A summer program in Argentina at the age of fourteen compelled me to study abroad in Buenos Aires for a year during college, an experience which not only deepened my capacity to make any place my home, but also opened me up to the entire Spanish speaking world! My Argentine host family are still among some of my favorite people I’ve ever met. I have been humbled by the impact that global friendship can have on the trajectories of our lives, and I am so happy to be working with AFS-USA in order to create those experiences for others!

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 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.

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 worldview 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)!