custom programs Leadership
Jayna holds a Master of Arts in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Utah. Before joining CEA, she worked in the field as a Program Coordinator at MIIS and through consulting projects focused on program design and assessment. Additionally, Jayna spent five years managing international teams and partnerships for a digital marketing agency, where she developed an intercultural training program. Jayna is a member of NAFSA and has presented and facilitated at regional conferences.
Jayna has spent time working and/or studying abroad in Peru, Costa Rica, England, and India. An avid traveler, she has also had the opportunity to explore Australia and Israel, as well as several countries in Latin America, Europe, and Africa.
custom programs Team
Marquisa brings years of international education experience to her role at CEA. Prior to joining the CEA team, Marquisa worked with another study abroad organization where she helped students travel to Spain, Thailand, and the Czech Republic. After studying abroad and taking classes strictly in Spanish during semesters in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Madrid, Spain, Marquisa graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a dual degree in International Studies and Spanish Language.
Marquisa has visited Mexico, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and France in her journeys, and would like to visit Brazil and Thailand. Her advice to students going abroad is this: “Leap outside of your comfort zone! You’ll find that when you’re abroad, that zone is very small in comparison to the giant world we have to explore, so go where the locals go, eat WHEN and where the locals eat, shop where the locals shop, and adapt to their way of life as much as you can! You’ll have ups and downs, but when looking back on it later, you’ll realize these were some of the most amazing and important times of your life. Enjoy!”
Michelle Esche works closely with university staff and faculty, alongside CEA’s University Relations team and international Program Directors, to develop and facilitate high-quality custom programs that meet and support both university and student needs.
Michelle holds a Master of Arts in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from DePaul University. Before transitioning to her most recent role, Michelle was a CEA Student Services Coordinator for custom programs. In this role, she advised hundreds of students through the pre-departure process on topics such as course registration, visas, and housing selection.
As an undergraduate, Michelle studied abroad through DePaul University’s Madrid custom program; she attended La Universidad Complutense de Madrid to complete her Spanish minor. While studying abroad, Michelle took the opportunity to travel throughout Spain and Europe, where she visited destinations including Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Lisbon.
Sarah Becker, in her role as the Custom & Faculty-Led Program Coordinator, works closely with professors and administrators at colleges and universities to create and execute short-term custom or faculty-led study abroad programs in Argentina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, and Spain. With extensive experience in the field of international education, Sarah works to develop motivating programs that challenge students to learn through experience.
Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Global Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish, and has participated and administered various study, teach, and service learning programs in Argentina, Colombia, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. Immediately prior to joining CEA, Sarah worked as the on-site Program Director of an English teaching program in Colombia, and uses her field experience directly to the development of her programs.
Sarah’s advice to students who want to live abroad is to “forget any expectations you may have going into your experience. Don’t compare this experience to others you may have had elsewhere, and keep your mind open to trying new things!”
Alyssa works on the Custom Programs team, which organizes unique study and internship abroad programs for CEA’s U.S. university partners. Alyssa has worked in higher education in many different capacities, including as a study abroad advisor at Northern Kentucky University and as a program manager for a science outreach initiative at Arizona State University. Alyssa studied abroad in Russia while pursuing a degree in biology and international studies, using funding from scholarships offered by the United States Departments of State and Homeland Security, for which she has since served as a judge and reader. She is passionate about helping students find creative ways to fund their international education and make the most of their time abroad. She had a life-changing experience while studying abroad and wants other young people to have the same opportunity.
Kat’s role serves as a collaborative link between CEA’s Custom Programs and University Relations teams. She works with colleagues at CEA and with our university partners to expand CEA custom program options and align program development with university needs.
Kat has worked in education abroad since 2011, serving in both student services and university relations roles before joining CEA in 2020. In her previous role, she worked with students studying in Vietnam, Japan, mainland China and Taiwan, Italy, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Colombia, India, and Jordan. Inspired by multilingual friends as a child, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies at the George Washington University and studied abroad with an intensive language program in China. Since Kat’s first trip outside North America during college, she’s visited countries across Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. She always enjoys learning some of the language, trying new food, and visiting local museums! Kat is based in Austin, Texas.