CEA Directory

custom programs Leadership

Ahmad Refky

Director of Custom & Faculty Led Programs
Ahmad is originally from Cairo, Egypt, where he lived for 22 years. His first foray into study abroad came when he lived in the U.S. as an exchange student during his senior year of high school. That experience inspired him to work in international education, where he has built his career over the past decade. After graduating with a BA in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, Ahmad immigrated to the U.S. in 2001, where he pursued his graduate studies at DePaul University and studied abroad in The Netherlands as part of the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society.

Ahmad’s first position in the study abroad field was as a Group Study Exchange Coordinator at The Rotary Foundation, where he worked on short-term exchange programs for young professionals interested in learning how their vocations are practiced internationally. Next, as a Training and Development Manager at the Center for Cultural Interchange, Ahmad trained field staff on J-1 visa regulations and worked with vendors to develop an online application and monitoring system for exchange students. He was also the Illinois Regional Director, responsible for recruiting field staff and placing students with qualified host families during their academic year in the U.S. Finally, Ahmad served as a College Relations Manager for Customized Programs at IES Abroad. During his four-year tenure, he oversaw the development of short-term, quarter, and semester-long programs for schools in 17 states, and represented the organization in regional, national, and international conferences.

An avid traveler, Ahmad has traveled to Lebanon, Indonesia, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. He looks forward to traveling to Italy, Spain, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and maybe one day Antarctica.
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custom programs Team

Jayna Winn

Manager - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
As Custom & Faculty-Led Program Coordinator, Jayna Winn works closely with university staff and faculty to develop and coordinate custom programs that meet their specific needs. Drawing upon her experience in intercultural education, she helps ensure that each program provides students with exceptional academic, cultural, and personal growth opportunities.

Jayna holds a Master of Arts in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Utah. Before joining CEA, she served as Program Coordinator for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Additionally, she managed international teams and partnerships for a digital marketing company and coordinated custom vacation packages for a travel agency. Jayna is a member of NAFSA and has presented and facilitated at regional conferences.

Jayna spent time working and studying abroad in Peru, Costa Rica, England, and India. She has found the following to be key to her success internationally: “Find the wonder and humor in every intercultural interaction. If you begin to feel frustration creeping up, try to simply embrace the differences instead. Only then can you begin to learn from them. And when in doubt, find a way to laugh together!”
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Marquisa Regnier

Coordinator - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
Custom and Faculty-Led Program Coordinator Marquisa Regnier works with our University Relations team, faculty and staff at U.S. universities, and with our overseas Program Directors to develop and coordinate custom programs for students studying in Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, England and Ireland.

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!”
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Michelle Esche

Student Services Coordinator - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
Custom Program Advisor Michelle Esche helps faculty and students prepare for their overseas experience. She provides support and advice on topics including housing, flights, medical insurance, visas, cell phone, and packing—all with the goal of ensuring that students and faculty have the information they need for a successful experience abroad.

Michelle brings a background in international education to her role at CEA. A graduate of DePaul University, Michelle earned her degree in Communication Studies with minors in Business Administration and Spanish. Before joining the Custom Programs Team, Michelle was a CEA Site Specialist; in this role, she advised hundreds of students through the pre-departure process on topics such as course registration, visas, and housing selection, and collaborated with international team members to align student messaging.

As an undergraduate, Michelle studied abroad through the 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. When she’s working with study abroad students, Michelle often offers the following advice: “If you have the opportunity to study abroad, don’t think twice—just go! Studying abroad requires a lot of planning and preparation, but in the end it is more than worth it. Learning about a new culture and studying in a different country involves navigating new and unfamiliar situations, but that’s the beauty of studying abroad! Keep an open mind and you will be surprised with how much you learn about your host country and yourself.”
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Kristyn Orgill

Student Services Coordinator - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
I grew up in Utah and started traveling internationally at age 18. My first experience outside of the U.S. was in Madrid, Spain, and I will never forget arriving there and realizing what a different world I had entered. I loved every minute of that travel experience and I haven’t stopped since!

I studied International Studies and German at the University of Utah and studied abroad for a year at the University of Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany. One of my favorite memories of my study abroad experience was attending Volksfest—a local version of Oktoberfest in Stuttgart—and participating in an event that’s saturated in German music, food, and tradition.

One of my favorite benefits of my study abroad experience was the additional travel I was able to fit in; along with travelling all over Germany during my year abroad, I also visited Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, and Sweden. Studying in Germany was a life-changing experience that has inspired me to help others to study abroad themselves. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I moved to Mexico for almost two years, where I learned a new language and experienced a fascinating new culture. I travelled extensively in Mexico, and now consider it a second home.

As a Site Specialist with CEA, I get to tell students about one of the most rewarding things that they will ever do and to help them find the right program and destination. Outside of work, I love to study languages, hang out with friends and family, and to travel every chance that I get.

Did you know? I played the viola with my university’s orchestra while studying abroad and loved every minute of it!
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