Dr. Don Hawkins, Solimar International’s Chairman and Principal is an expert in tourism policy, strategic planning, workforce development and management education with 52 years of international experience. Don held the endowed Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy Chair at the George Washington University School of Business. In 2003, he received the first World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ulysses Prize for individual accomplishments in the creation and dissemination of knowledge in the area of tourism policy and strategic management. In 2012, he was elected as Vice Chairman of the UNWT0 Affiliates Council and appointed as Special Advisor to the UNWTO Secretary General for the Knowledge Network. He was the Founder and Chairman of the SAVE Travel Alliance, serves on the Board of Directors of the Ulysses Foundation and is Chairman Emeritus of Sustainable Travel International and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance
Don has consulted all over the world including North American, Caribbean, Latin American, European, African, Middle East, and Asia/Pacific Regions. His doctoral degree was in Park Management, awarded by New York University in 1967. He is credited with over 114 publications, including books, journal articles, monographs, project reports and educational materials.
Chris Seek oversees the strategic direction of the sustainable tourism company while ensuring the organization’s work supports environmental conservation, cultural heritage preservation, and enhances the lives of local residents. Based in Washington DC, Chris manages Solimar’s staff of more then 20 tourism professionals working in over 17 countries. Chris leads new business efforts, strategic partnerships, and ensures all of Solimar’s clients are able to connect to the tourism market.
Over the last 12 years with Solimar, Chris has applied his professional background in marketing and corporate social responsibility with his own personal travel experiences (more then 50 countries) to design sustainable tourism development strategies that provide tangible results to both our clients and targeted beneficiaries. Prior to working in tourism, Chris worked as a marketing professional for Fortune 500 clients including Heineken, Sony, Perrier, GE, and others. Chris holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Wake Forest University and a Masters of Business Administration from American University with concentrations in Sustainable Destination Management and Integrated Marketing Communications.
Jim Phillips has 30 years of experience in international tourism consulting, including strategic planning for tourism development, small business and microenterprise development, hotel and tourism-related investment promotion, marketing and promotion, feasibility studies and economic impact analyzes. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Jim worked for Arthur Andersen LLP and Arthur Consulting Group International, completing assignments in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East. Jim also served as Director of Tourism Development Programs for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Latin America and the Caribbean, where he conducted programs and events for more than 30 countries in the LA/C region. Programs included hotel investment missions and conferences, investment promotion strategy development, tourism planning, and product development and assessment missions. Work at the Commerce Department also included providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses to establish and operate a range of tourism and export-oriented enterprises.
Jim holds a Bachelor's degree in economics from Eckerd College and a Master's degree in International Business from the American Graduate School of International Management, Thunderbird campus.
Natalie Sellier has over fifteen years of professional experience in finance, accounting, business planning and project management. Natalie originally joined Solimar in 2007, utilizing her business background and passion for travel to assist small tourism enterprises and destination management organizations achieve financial sustainability by way of strategic business planning, public-private partnerships, and market linkages. As Chief Operating Officer, Natalie has assumed leadership over Solimar’s internal operations, oversees contracting and financial management, and assists technical staff achieve programmatic objectives. Natalie brings technical expertise through her involvement in the implementation of over 100 technical programs and is well-versed in the intricacies of both federal and donor contracting and cost accounting standards.
Natalie holds a Bachelor's in Business Administration from James Madison University and a Master's in Business Administration from The George Washington University with a degree focus in sustainable destination management.
Derek Schimmel has a passion for storytelling as a means of building tourism marketing experiences. He has worked as a consultant to various government ministries and tourism operators in creating new product development strategies, focusing primarily on community-based tourism. Along with his work in sustainable tourism, Derek utilizes his five-plus years experience in digital marketing to educate and assist destinations in the various methods of building an effective online strategy. He has visited over 50 countries, traveling both professionally and leisurely, and has garnered an innate ability to communicate, consult and interact with local people and tourism operators across the globe.
Derek has BA with Honor's in Journalism from The University of Colorado - Boulder and a Masters in Tourism Administration from The George Washington University with a focus on sustainable destination management.
Mr. Ivane Vashakmadze brings more than 30 years of working experience in tourism sector as mountain climber and guide, resort operator and development consultant. He has worked as a project manager and lead consultant for the international cooperation projects with various donor organizations and public institutions such as World Bank, USAID, EU, KfW, GiZ, SDC, ADA, WWF etc. Amongst the other specific tasks, he has been working on tourism sector national and regional strategies, institutional policy, protected areas (National Parks) and eco-tourism planning, cultural heritage management, tourism economic assessment and land use planning and urban planning, mountain resorts management and adventure tourism operations.
Mr. Vashakmadze has also experience to work in public sector as a deputy general manager of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation, acting head of Georgian National Tourism Administration and GM of government JSC "Gudauri ski resort".
He has solid experience of developing tourism sector initiatives and recommendations for tourism strategy, assisting public institutions in heritage management and policy regulations, developing employment opportunities and SME development projects within tourism sector, assessing investment proposals for regional development and tourism, supporting business initiatives in tourism and hospitality services, implementing small scale pilot project in mountainous areas etc. In addition, he has been engaged in conducting tourism scoping assessment in Central Asian countries under USAID CTJ project.
Mr. Vashakmadze is a member of several organizations in tourism sector. He is a Co-Founder and board member of "Georgian Mountain Guide Association", steering committee member of "Adventure Tourism Leaders school", board member of bio-farming association "Elkana", founder member of "European Mountain Forum" and Co-founder of "European Mountain Forum" / "Global Mountain Forum", Member of World Bank experts group, etc...
António D.M. Gusmão is currently serving as the Senior Business Development Specialist for USAID's Tourism For All Project in Timor-Leste. António has more than 20 years working experience both in the private and public sectors. Antonio has dedicated more than 10 years in the development of tourism sector while served as a national adviser to the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry with specific assignment to the directorate of Finance and Administration, Directorate of Research and Development and the Directorate of Tourism Planning and Development. Antonio has a long employment with different USAID projects in community development as well as with Australian funded project (AUSAID) managing high profile interventions in the areas of tourism, agribusiness, rural distribution, and manufacturing. Antonio holds a Bachelor degree in Economics from the Catholic University of Atma Jaya in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With over 22 years of professional experience - both at national and multinational level, Dr. Josaphat Kweka has worked on a wide range of policy and development issues, including: Special Economic Zones (SEZs), SMEs and Private Sector Development, Trade Policy, Regional Integration, Assessment of Transit Trade (including Transit Corridors), Growth and Poverty Reduction, Tourism Development, Industrial Policy and Strategy. Josaphat has solid experience in managing and delivering policy research and dialogue, programme design and evaluation. Output of his work ranges from academic publications, commissioned studies reports, policy notes, capacity building courses, policy dialogues and presentations in workshops and conferences for academic or policy dialogue. Advisory work has been conducted for various clients such as the Government of Tanzania, International Agencies (including The World Bank, UNCTAD and UNDP; Regional Economic Communities (EAC and SADC), Private sector and research organizations. The recent occupation as Country Director for TradeMark East Africa enhanced Josaphat’s leadership skills and led to building strong partnership and an increasing portfolio of impactful results on trade and development in Tanzania. Josaphat has a Ph.D degree in Economics from the University of Nottingham (UK), a Master and Bachelor of Arts Degrees also in Economics from the University of Dar-es-Salaam.
Chloe King is a PADI Divemaster and avid ocean advocate, leading marine research projects in Indonesia and Timor-Leste as a Boren Scholar, Projects for Peace Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar. Adopting tools from political ecology, behavioral economics, and marine science, her work analyzes the ways in which sustainable tourism development can be utilized to achieve long-term marine conservation goals. As a 2019-20 Fulbright Scholar, she spent a year in Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia analyzing how tourism can help improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of local ecosystems and communities in response to crises like climate change and Covid-19.
Chloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is obtaining Masters degrees in Marine Systems and Policies and Conservation Leadership at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge as a Marshall Scholar.
Jenny Lundt was born and raised in the lesser known gem of Idaho, she has spent her life dealing with the intricacies of tourism and marketing as non Idahoans have made her bear the brunt of thousands of potato jokes, not understanding the stunning landscapes of the Rocky Mountains that exist right at her doorstep. She fell in love with traveling at a young age and has since had the privilege of visiting 81 countries spanning 6 continents including many long term immersive experiences: five months each in Morocco, Thailand, and Nepal; over two months each in Jordan, Brazil, Timor-Leste, and Indonesia; and spent over a month in Ecuador, Italy, and Romania. She has a passion for social media, development work, marketing, improving livelihoods, visiting lesser known destinations. Through this remote internship, she is excited to build a more concrete understanding of how to combine these passions in a sustainable and change minded way. After receiving a Projects for Peace fellowship with the Kathryn Davis Foundation with fellow staff member Chloe King, the two spent summer 2019 in Timor-Leste doing independent research on ecotourism prospects on the island as they pertain to local livelihoods. In a natural continuation of her research and emotional investment in the well being of the gorgeous island of Atauro, she will be working with the Timor-Leste Tourism For All project and looks forward to getting the word out about this incredibly unique and pristine location.
Chloe is a recent graduate from the George Washington University, where she received a BA in International Affairs with a degree focus in Geographic Information Systems and Sustainability.
Maria Lucia Prinz started working in tourism 15 years ago as a tour guide while studying ecotourism in Guatemala City. When graduated from the university, she started working in Peten, Guatemala, developing community based tourism enterprises and linking theses enterprises to support conservation.
Since then she has helped develop a number of ecotourism enterprises in Central, South America, Africa and the Caribbean and specializes in product development, staff training in tourism operations and nature guide training through a proven methodology. She also has expertise in the areas of business planning, product development, sales and marketing.
Juan Luna-Kelser made a career at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). In the last ten years of his career, he concentrated his efforts in the planning, designing, and managing of tourism investment loan projects, as well as technical assistance operations. Since his retirement from the IDB in January 2007, Juan has been advising and consulting for Solimar International and continues to be engaged by bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, as well as NGOs and private clients for the development and implementation of sustainable tourism projects in various countries.
Currently, Juan is a Sr. Research Scholar at the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University’s School of Business. He holds a Masters degree in Tourism Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Destination Management from George Washington University, as well as a Masters degree in Political Science from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. He earned his Bachelors degree in Political Science at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California. Juan is originally from Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Over the last twenty years, Matt Humke has pioneered an approach to building community-based tourism enterprises that directly support biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation efforts in protected areas throughout the developing world. First working with Native American communities such as the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, next as Rare Conservation's Senior Manager of Enterprises in Latin America & the Caribbean, and now managing Solimar's small business development projects around the world.
The community-based tourism enterprises Matt has helped to establish, such as "La Ruta Moskitia" in Honduras, have generated more than $5 million for local economies over the last ten years. The success of these enterprises in conservation and poverty alleviation has resulted in a number of the industry's top honors, including a Tourism for Tomorrow award, a Responsible Tourism award, and inclusion on both Condé Nast Traveler's "Green List" and National Geographic Adventure's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth".
Natasha Martin is an adventure tourism marketing expert. She has experience working with private sector, government and trade associations, and has worked with clients around the world from Greenland to Namibia. She currently conducting research into the motivations and preferences of Asian adventure travellers, and working with destinations and companies to help them reach this growing segment.
Natasha has a BA in African History from Concordia University and a Masters of Tourism Administration from The George Washington University. Natasha speaks French and Spanish and is based in Hong Kong.
Bradley Weiss is a tourism development consultant who has worked with Solimar on numerous assignments over the past ten years. Most notably, he spent four years with Solimar in Ethiopia leading the private sector competitiveness and workforce development efforts for a Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) Project. During this period, he also lent support to a similar GSTA project in Uganda.
Previously, he worked at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), where he mobilized educational institutions to aid member nations in areas such as training, knowledge management, and strategic planning. He has also gathered experience in tourism development through consulting engagements in countries such as Mozambique, Ecuador, Philippines, Botswana, Peru, Madagascar, Vanuatu, Kenya, Brazil, Armenia, Mali, Panama, Rwanda, Seychelles, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Lesotho, São Tome e Príncipe, Cape Verde, and Zambia. His consulting work in these countries, conducted primarily through World Bank and USAID-financed initiatives, has been in the areas of tourism policy & planning, capacity building, marketing, public-private dialogues, quality standards, shared economy, and community enterprise development.
Bradley holds Master’s degrees from the George Washington University in Tourism Administration and Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) in International Tourism and Hotel Management.
Olivier Messmer joined Solimar in September 2008 to work on USAID-Dominican Republic Sustainable Tourism Alliance program. With a strong knowledge of the eco-tourism sector, Olivier was responsible for community tourism product development, including helping to promote and link these new enterprises to the market. Since 2010, Olivier has mainly worked in African destinations (including the Marrakech and Fez Medinas, High Atlas and Sahara desert in Morocco, Benin, Madagascar and Ghana) where he was in charge of several tourism development projects financed by USAID, The World Bank, Millenium Challenge Corporation, UNDP and GIZ. Olivier has extensive experience managing international development projects in Western Africa and a wide network of European Tour Operator contacts, particularly in France. Olivier has over 15 years experience in tourism marketing, tourism product development, development of public private partnerships and tourism investment promotion. Olivier holds a joint Erasmus Master degree in International Business from Bordeaux Business School, France and the University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Hitesh Mehta is one of the world’s leading authorities, practitioners and researchers on sustainable tourism and ecotourism physical planning and both the landscape architectural and architectural aspects of ecolodges. In July 2006, National Geographic Adventure magazine identified Mr. Mehta as one of five Sustainable Tourism Pioneers in the world.
Hitesh has over 27 years’ experience and having worked and consulted in over 57 countries spanning six continents. He is a multi-International award winning designer with Awards in Landscape Architecture, Planning, Architecture, Urban Design, Creative Writing and Publishing, and Interior Design. He is also an Adjunct Professor and the author of three books, including the recently published “Authentic Ecolodges” by world renowned publisher - Harper Collins and what is considered the Bible on Ecolodges - International Ecolodge Guidelines. A strong proponent of Authentic Ecotourism, Hitesh is currently the Chair of the “Standards and Ethics Committee” of TIES. Additionally, Hitesh was Captain and is a Hall of Fame Cricket player from Kenya. He is also a professional Photographer.
Catherine Carter has held various hotel management & senior leadership roles during her 18-year profession in hospitality, including a long-standing career within Starwood Hotels & Resorts (later acquired Marriott International). Well-established as an industry expert, she has been responsible for leading a team of Global Account Executives & Managers focused on increasing Marriott’s preference, loyalty and profitability share across the US Corporate account portfolio (up to $599M in annual revenue). During her career as Director of Sales & Marketing, Catherine supervised teams of more than two dozen directors, managers and associates, with an emphasis on maximizing topline revenue and implementing strategic marketing campaigns to complement the team’s sales efforts on both the national and local levels. Catherine served on Choose Chicago's Big 12 Committee solving for the major obstacles facing the convention business in the downtown Chicago market. Through a strategic partnership, she engaged DePaul University's Hospitality students to conduct research and understand the business impact of the 20% supply growth in the Chicago market.
Catherine has extensive experience in hotel operations and sales, including renovations, redeployment, collective bargaining, and corporate acquisition. She was a member of the Starwood GPS Council from 2012 to 2014 providing feedback and piloting special new projects at the corporate level. She received both her Bachelor of Business Administration and her Masters of Tourism Administration from The George Washington University School of Business. An avid volunteer, she has devoted time to food banks, local schools and pet adoption organizations.
Aditya Dhanwatay is a nature tourism expert and conservationist based in Nagpur, India. Aditya continuously works on new initiatives related to tourism and conservation to further improve the circumstances for nature, wildlife and people. He co-owns TigerTrails, a wild get-away, deep inside tiger country, and a previous winner of the Best in Wildlife Conservation, World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM. He has worked on Habitat regeneration, improvement of underground water strata by ground water harvesting, human-wildlife conflict mitigation as well as participation of local people through the village eco development program.
As Vice President of the Vidarbha Tiger Research Foundation, Aditya has also served as a member on Maharashtra State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority to implement a Riparian Buffer Zone Conservation program that protects the corridors connecting Pench – Nagzira – Navegaon – Tadoba landscape.
Zarmine has an extensive track record of entrepreneurial and marketing leadership in The United States, Russia, and Armenia. After receiving her MBA degree she left a career in corporate banking to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams through founding and operating a successful art gallery in Los Angeles and curating over 50 art exhibitions. Zarmine gained strong brand recognition through successful marketing and publicity campaigns around the world that contributed to several successful art exhibitions. She also co-founded and managed a first-time annual multi-gallery art fair in Los Angeles which attracted over 6,000 attendees. Zarmine also pursued her dream to become a dancer and opened an international dance studio in Los Angeles, which now ranks number two in the city.
She moved to Armenia in 2010 to contribute to her home country and has worked in the fields of marketing, fundraising, project management, and development. As the Project Manager of Tatev Revival Project at the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia, Zarmine successfully led one of the large-scale tourism development projects in Armenia. Other positions she has held include Development Director of the RVVZ Foundation and Dilijan International School of Armenia (UWC Dilijan), and Communications Director at the American University of Armenia. From 2016 to 2018, Zarmine was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the newly established State Tourism Committee of Armenia. During her chairmanship, Armenia experienced over 18% growth in tourism numbers. Zarmine is currently working with Solimar and the USAID-funded MyArmenia project to implement marketing activities that promote cultural tourism throughout the country.
Zarmine also currently teaches Integrated Marketing Communications, Tourism Management, Marketing in Tourism, Sales Management, Branding, and Consumer Behavior at the Public Administration Academy of the RA, the American University of Armenia and the French University of Armenia. Zarmine also serves as a guest speaker at various conferences and training workshops, covering topics such as community development and current issues in tourism.
Anastasia is finishing up her final semester at American University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Studies and a Spanish Translation certification. Anastasia was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. In addition to her first language of Georgian, Anastasia speaks English, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic. Anastasia loves to travel and explore new cultures, and she spent an incredible semester studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco. She is interested in exploring careers in international development and peace and global conflict resolution. She is excited to learn more about sustainable tourism and gain real world experience in the field.
Mason is a graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in Public Relations. Prior to joining the Solimar International team, Mason lived in Australia where he spent his winters working alongside the indigenous Jawoyn People at Nitmiluk National Park, and his summers living in the city of Melbourne and backpacking Southeast Asia. Previously, Mason served as Sponsorship Coordinator for the international nonprofit Children of Uganda, and as an AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader based in Denver, Colorado. Mason is a passionate thrifter, avid adventurer, and strong believer in the power of using sustainable practices to minimize negative environmental, economic and cultural impacts. Mason plans to use his experience with Solimar International as a stepping stone towards a career in Ecotourism.
Nino is passionate about travel and believes that sharing culture and creating new connections makes life better. Therefore, she is determined to further spread the idea of sustainable tourism and see how tourism changes in this digital world.
Last year, with a friend, Nino started a project Sight Georgia to share the information through a website about travel and culture in Georgia. We want to inspire people to travel in Georgia and discover amazing spots, heartwarming hospitality and experience unforgettable moments. Previously, she has been working as an event manager and a project coordinator for several years in the tourism industry with experience in marketing. She was also a travel consultant for Swiss travel agency for 5 years.
Nino holds a BSc in Social Science and Governance and is currently an Orange Knowledge Program fellow doing master studies in Tourism, Society and Environment at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.
Marco is at his last semester of the Master’s in Tourism within the Global Tourism Development track at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally from a small town in central Italy, he moved to Denmark right after high school to pursue his dream studies. Marco has always been interested in venturing out his comfort zone and in learning new cultures thus, he spent every bit of free time travelling around Europe and ended up deciding to spend a semester in Barcelona, Spain where he deepened his knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Sustainability in tourism development has become a great interest of his and he hopes to build a career supporting destinations worldwide in their effort to become more sustainable.
Cailey is a graduate of the University of Limerick with a masters degree in International Tourism. She also holds an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in International Relations and Geography. Her love of travel and adventure led her to work on small expedition ships after college, sailing everywhere from Alaska to Antarctica. Following graduate school she pursued this passion for outdoor travel and began working in field operations for an active travel company. This work allowed her to experience life in some of the world’s leading tourist destinations including Jackson Hole, Hawaii, and the South of France. Cailey is an avid hiker, cyclist, and stand up paddle boarder always looking for ways to incorporate activity into her travels. While she relishes her nomadic lifestyle she always finds her way back home to Upstate New York where she spends most of her time eating and working at her family’s restaurant. She is looking to blend her experiences in hospitality, operations, development, and outdoor recreation to help destinations make tourism work for both the environment and the local community.
Hannah is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. While studying at Pitt, Hannah earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication along with a minor in History and a certificate in Spanish. Hannah enjoys traveling and being outdoors. She has been to many National and State Parks within the US, as well as in Ireland, Italy, and Canada. While in Ireland, Hannah experienced her first taste of geotourism and is looking forward to furthering her knowledge of the intricacies of geotourism.
Shelby is a senior at George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs. Shelby is originally from Lexington, Kentucky where she discovered her passion for environmental sustainability and social justice. Prior to joining the Solimar International team, Shelby has worked with nonprofits, including Sister Cities International and Feeding Kentucky, and as a research assistant on projects pertaining to gender and climate resilience.
Shelby plans to pursue environmental law and use her experience with Solimar International as an important step toward a career in equitable international development.
Daniela is a junior at The George Washington University pursuing a degree in International Affairs, with minors in Geography and Italian Language and Literature. She is excited to gain valuable experience in tourism development, as this internship ties together two of her greatest passions: travel and sustainable development. Daniela is eager to learn more about how tourism can promote a better livelihood for local communities and hopes, in the future, to pursue a career in development consulting.
Amina Abrafi Ahmed
I am currently a graduate student studying Tourism Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Tourism at the George Washington University. I come from Ghana, West Africa.
My enthusiasm to develop tourism began in my final year when I was working on my thesis in my first degree. It revealed that tourism is important and needs to be built into a developing nation’s industry.
Prior to my masters, I run a consultancy with a team who shared in the vision of improving tourist’s experience and sparking innovation to sustain and promote tourism in Ghana and Africa as whole. I look forward to being a sustainable tourism expert and running a tourism institution in Africa that will train young people to master the intricacies of tourism development and train them to be entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. I believe my experience with Solimar International is going to be a perfect fit in my career journey of being an expert in the tourism industry.
Maddy is currently a sophomore at George Washington University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Health as well as a minor in sustainability. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and love my city, so I’m very interested in learning more about how to attract people to great places like Pittsburgh! In the past I have been involved in laboratory research and various volunteer experiences, so I am excited to develop some consulting skills and learn more about business strategies. I hope to study abroad in my upcoming undergraduate years and fully pursue my love for traveling, and I’m anxious to learn all about what sustainable tourism has to offer!
Mehak is a senior at American University pursuing degrees in International Relations and International Business with concentrations in international political economy, global health and environmental sustainability. At American University, Mehak explores her passion for advocating for others through her role as Director of the university’s Center for Advocacy and Student Equity, where she leads a team of 35 students to provide confidential consultations to students facing potential code violations and understanding university policies and procedures, alongside engaging in several advocacy initiatives to strengthen the student voice. Mehak also has a strong background in public relations and digital media through her previous internship at the Optical Society of America and the CORE Group. In addition to her experience in communications, Mehak has also served as the Assistant Head Delegate for American University's Model United Nations Team, where she was responsible for coaching delegates to compete in simulations and tackle current international issues. She also assisted delegates in conducting research and developing policy ideas, gathering knowledge of how to craft solutions in multiple realms of international affairs along the way.
Stephanie is currently a senior at the University of Missouri, Columbia pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Parks, Recreation, Sport and Tourism with an emphasis in Tourism Development. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Stephanie actually started out with a career in teaching kindergarten. After realizing she could contribute to public service in a different way, Stephanie uprooted her life to pursue a degree in tourism, as travel has been a lifelong love of hers. Through road trips across state lines and country borders, Stephanie has gotten to know some of the oddest and charming destinations that most have never even imagined. With sustainable tourism, Stephanie hopes to bring what experience she’s gained as an educator to inform others about the merits of traveling outside their comfort zone, while shining a light on more deserving obscure destinations.