Meet the team

Leave the world a better place than how you found it

Christian Alyea

Owner, Cofounder, & Business Developer

Christian is a lover of the world and passionate about sharing cultures as much as possible. He has spent the majority of his life studying abroad, traveling the globe and leading study abroad groups. His mission is to make study abroad more accessible. Study Abroad and International travel greatly enriched his life and he wants to share the same experiences with as many as possible.

+1 (972) 464-9609

Leonardo Gubinelli

Owner, Cofounder, & Business Developer

Leonardo is a passionate entrepreneur, starting his career in travel more than a decade ago when he began working for Expedia after graduating from London Metropolitan University with a degree in International Business. Italian born, but world citizen at heart. He co-founded SAA, with the mission to show students how traveling and studying abroad can change their lives, just as it changed his.

+1 202 910 6318

Alessio Mazzolini

Chief Operating Officer

Alessio is an enthusiastic person that loves to travel and discover new frontiers.
His passion for travel started at a young age, where he had the chance to discover new places, cultures, and meet incredible people that changed his life.
Now his mission is to share his travel knowledge by providing the best possible experiences to young travelers, hoping that he can somehow enhance people’s lives through travel.

+34 664 85 06 25

Paulo Tavares

Account & Product Manager

Paulo is a linguist and a firm believer in learning through travel. In 2013, he was awarded a BA Honors in French and Spanish, and it was during his Erasmus program in France and Spain, as part of a year abroad experience, that he understood the life-changing benefits of traveling. Studying abroad will help you develop personally, professionally, and academically in order to succeed in today’s world.

James Adkins

Director of Institutional Partnerships NAFSA Regions VIII, X, and XI

James first experienced the wonders of study abroad during a semester in Italy. Holding a BFA and MFA in Sculpture, when not working in his studio he has been teaching Studio Art and Art History courses at the collegiate level since 2013. Inspired by his semester in Italy and subsequent time spent in France, he helped to establish new study abroad departments at two different colleges.


PJ Shoulders

Director of Institutional Partnerships (NAFSA Region VII) and Marketing

Studying abroad for a year in Germany during high school changed PJ’s life. She went on to complete an internship with a Fortune 500 company in Germany and earn her degree in International Studies. Since then, she has held many positions at both study abroad providers and U.S. universities. A 1st gen college student, she wants to help all students have access to similar opportunities. She especially enjoys helping faculty develop their own short-term study abroad programs since these create more access for more students.


Kevin Yochim

Director of Institutional Partnerships NAFSA Regions I, II, IV, and XII

Kevin is passionate about travel: nothing excites him more than wandering the streets of a new city or hiking a new peak. He has visited over 20 countries and 45 U.S. states, including studying in Argentina, working in Costa Rica and Spain, and volunteering in the Dominican Republic. His goal is to empower young leaders to find sustainable solutions to critical global issues.


Francesco Restuccia

Italy and France Country Manager

Francesco is a PhD in Philosophy of Art and a professional Tour Leader. He grew up in Rome and Milan, but during his studies he lived in Paris, Berlin, and São Paulo, Brazil. Since 2014, Francesco has been leading programs for SAA programs to Italy with Christian.Traveling and studying are his passions and he thinks no learning is possible without exploring. He is currently a teacher assistant at the University of Rome La Sapienza and he is using his knowledge in history and art to develop educational tours for the Study Abroad Association.

Federico Orpello

Account Manager & Program Coordinator

Federico has a passionate and optimistic outlook on life and a curiosity to explore the world. He continually strives to expand his knowledge and understanding of different environments and cultures. He enjoys being challenged by new opportunities and continually strives for excellence in all endeavors. Travelling has changed his perspective on life and he wants to share the same passion with as many students as possible.

Antonio Cacciapuoti

Program Coordinator

Antonio’s life changes after a journey of six months without a break in Southeast Asia and his travel experience grows considerably. He has a passion to travel the world and he wants to encourage people to immerse themselves in new cultures and adventures, show how travel has the ability to teach people to mature their personality and give them a broader view of the planet, thus learning to respect ourselves, others and our nature.

Tamara Animobono

Head of Partnerships

Tamara is a passionate and enthusiastic girl who firmly believes in traveling for personal growth. Born in Italy, she chose solo travel and soon understood the meaning of the saying: “The only limit in life is your own mind”. During the years and the experiences, she also began to see by how much beauty we are surrounded and how important it is to respect our planet and protect it in all the ways we can, every day.

Philip Gouliaris

Program Coordinator, Sales

Philip comes from Greece, did his degree abroad and was fascinated by different people and cultures. Focused his studies in understanding and working with cultural differences with a Master’s in International Management. He is a very passionate team member who loves travelling and exploring new places. He believes that travelling is the best way to expand yourself and create a better understanding about the world around us.

Matt Fenton

Business and Strategy and Tech Advisor

Matt Fenton is the current CEO of Inspired Ventures, a platform that connects brands and charities with influencers in order to leverage brand activation and social/ environmental impact. With his extensive knowledge of building travel and tech companies, Matt has helped some of the biggest travel brands such as TUI. He believes that travel can be a key driver of social and environmental change, and specializes in helping people step out of their comfort zone by using the power of technology and content.

Jstyn Strain

Editor & Videographer

Jstyn was born and raised in the Sacramento California area and traveled much of the U.S. growing up. Jstyn traveled to London with the Study Abroad Association and fell in love with traveling abroad, then began working with them in 2015.
His goals are to help create a more globally connected and understanding world through videography and photography and show off the beauty of land and cultures.

Alessandra Bernacchia

Graphic Designer

Alessandra is a graphic designer and a passionate traveler. She is always looking for inspiration, landscapes to admire and cultures to discover. She travels whenever she has the chance because she believes that the world is too big for one life and we shouldn’t miss any opportunity to see another hidden corner of it.

Board of advisors

Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke is a seasoned international education professional with over 25 years of experience in the field. During her tenure as Director of Education Abroad at Edge Hill University in the UK, Jane developed relationships with U.S. colleges and universities which resulted in increasing numbers of U.S. students having a study abroad experience on the Edge Hill campus in the north of England. Jane is active in NAFSA, having served as NAFSA’s Region III Chair in 2014, as a coach for NAFSA’s Academy Program, and a presenter with NAFSA’s Trainer Corp.


Tanith Fowler

Currently working as Assistant Director at the Graduate School at Hood College, Tanith brings over 20 years of work experience in the field of international higher education in the Washington, DC area at various universities, non-profit organizations, and international education companies. Tanith oversaw study abroad and global education at George Mason University and the Catholic University of America. She then worked at NAFSA: Association of International Educators in support of study abroad and diversity-leadership initiatives. Most recently, Tanith worked as Director of Membership & Outreach at the College Consortium of International Studies (CCIS).

Gregory Malveaux

Dr. Gregory F. Malveaux (Montgomery College), has been a study abroad coordinator and international education director in higher education for over a decade. He is co-chairperson of the Maryland Community College International Education Consortium and serves on the board for the CCIS. In addition, he wrote, Study Abroad Opportunities for Community College Students and Strategies for Global Learning. He has traveled to more than sixty countries and has led student, faculty, and community-based study abroad programs to Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, and Europe.