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CEA CAPA's Story

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CEA CAPA Advantage

CEA Study Abroad and CAPA: The Global Education Network have come together in a commitment to academic excellence, integrity, and innovation in learning abroad. As one organization, CEA CAPA Education Abroad, we are better preparing students to live, work, and thrive in a globally interdependent and diverse world.

By choosing CEA CAPA, you gain an experienced partner in study abroad who provides you with the value-added toolbox you need to support your internationalization efforts. As our global network grows, we look forward to collaborating with you and your team to advance the future of study abroad.

To request more information, contact your Regional Director or call 1-877.449.2775.

CEA CAPA focuses on academic excellence in all that we do. Through our organization-wide student learning objectives, scaffolded slate of co-curricular and field-based activities, focus on faculty development and engagement, close collaboration with our Schools of Record, and approach to assessment and evaluation, we ensure that academics is at the center of our programs and student experience abroad.

CEA Advantage

CEA CAPA Inclusivity Statement

Inclusivity is more than just a word to us, it’s a core value for CEA CAPA. We believe inclusive practices cultivate curiosity, innovation, and the ability to provide unparalleled global experiences. We are an organization where we want all individuals to feel valued, recognized and supported. We are committed to taking continuous action, holding ourselves accountable, actively seeking feedback, and being transparent in our work. We invite you, our CEA CAPA community, to engage with us on this journey.

Our Mission & Values

Increasing Access To Study Abroad

CEA CAPA is committed to increasing equitable access to education abroad while providing students a framework to explore and challenge their identities, both through diverse global communities as well as the students we bring together.

Increasing Access Through Funding

We commit more than $2 million to our scholarship and grant programs each year, including a range of Opportunity scholarship that awards students up to $5,000 toward study abroad costs.

Increasing Access through Partnerships

Strategic partnerships within higher education help us reach a broader student population. For instance, we’ve developed a program that provides first-generation students with grants and awards to cover the cost of obtaining their first passport. We also connect with students through our partnership with Sigma Lambda Beta, a traditionally Hispanic fraternity.

Increasing Access through Custom & Faculty-led Programs

We partner with faculty to create short-term, faculty-led programs that resonate with a broad spectrum of students. Examples include programs for first-generation students to San José, Costa Rica and Rome, Italy; a program that explores Paris’ LGBTQIA+ culture; and programs designed specifically for STEM students.

Increasing Access through Peer Advising

Our Content Creators and Alumni Ambassador programs allow students to connect with their peers while they’re abroad and when they return to their home campuses. Both programs allow prospective students to reach out to a familiar face and ask questions about the realities of life abroad.

Our Leadership

Beth Stiller
Chief Executive Officer

Beth has more than 25 years of experience in global business management. She began her career in Canada working for major retail brands and has since held leadership roles at both private and publicly held companies. Beth is known for driving innovation and helping to create positive change for organizations. Throughout her career, she has been involved in a wide range of operational strategy and organizational development, and is a driver of innovation with a proven track record of achieving results through aligning and motivating teams around bold visions.

Prior to joining CEA CAPA Education Abroad, Beth was the CEO of Massage Envy, a franchise organization that focuses on providing wellness services for more than one million members across 1,100 locations in 49 states. One of the most rewarding parts of her role was launching student scholarship and school grant programs to expand opportunities and increase access for more students. Prior to Massage Envy, Beth led the Global Sourcing team at Walgreens with offices in Hong Kong, the U.K., and the U.S. Beth is passionate about creating strong and positive work cultures and creating an inclusive and collaborative environment. She was the first female head of the company and was named one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona in 2023, and is proud to be the first female leader of CEA CAPA.

She holds a degree in business from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Born and raised in Canada, Beth is an avid golfer and skier. She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband Daniel and their two boys.

Emilia Keric
Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel

Emilia Keric, JD, CHC, is the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for CEA CAPA. In this capacity she manages all legal affairs for the organization and oversees the HR, risk management, and corporate governance functions. Prior to joining CEA CAPA, Emilia was the SVP and General Counsel at MedAvail Technologies, an innovative healthcare technology company, where she led the legal, compliance, and human resources teams. In previous years, she was the Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel for CommUnityCare, a health system in Austin, Texas, that provides healthcare to underserved populations, and through key strategic academic affiliations, hosts medical school and residency programs at its sites.

Emilia is passionate about collaborating with teams, leadership development, and fostering inclusive work environments that value diversity.

She was born in the UK and lived in the former Yugoslavia prior to emigrating to the U.S. with her family. She holds a law degree from New York Law School and a BA in Spanish and Philosophy from the University of Illinois. As part of her undergraduate experience, Emilia spent a year studying abroad in Rome and Madrid. Emilia is fluent in English and Spanish.

Jack Spitzer
Chief Financial Officer

Jack brings more than 25 years of experience in finance leadership and related roles. Jack has dedicated his career to finance transformation, efficiency, automation, and process improvement. He is deeply passionate about being impactful through service, high-performing teams, strong relationships, and a positive culture. 

Most recently, he was the CFO of Plexus Worldwide. Before his tenure at Plexus, Jack served as the VP of Finance & Treasurer at Isagenix International. Prior to Isagenix, Jack spent 15 years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company, where he held diverse global roles encompassing Finance, Accounting, Six Sigma, and IT. 

At Starwood, Jack was the Head of Global Treasury Operations, where he oversaw Treasury, Merchant Services, and Corporate Receivables across 110 countries. During his tenure, Starwood transitioned from a small North America REIT to a globally recognized hotel operator, culminating in its acquisition by Marriott. In recognition of his team's outstanding achievements in finance automation projects, Jack's team received the prestigious Adam Smith Award from Treasury Today in London in 2010. 

Jack holds an MBA from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Beyond his professional endeavors, Jack enjoys spending quality time with his family, exploring new destinations through travel, and indulging in his passion for learning, including on the topics of space exploration and leadership studies. 


Ricardo Valencia
Chief Global Inclusion & Impact Officer

Ricardo Lopez Valencia has honed his corporate and executive acumen over twenty-five years and knows that exemplary executive teams are robust, effective social systems. He is known for developing a virtuous cycle of respect, trust, and candor to create well-functioning, successful teams who have chemistry that cannot be quantified; where one superior quality builds on another.

Ricardo is an experienced executive with a strong entrepreneurial spirit whose professional success has been achieved through a commitment to people, equitable access, social betterment, and bottom-line results. He blends inspiration in teams with strategic skills rooted in the following disciplines: collaborative leadership, multiple team coordination, market insight and research, disciplined communication and public relations, cultural literacy, development of comprehensive distribution platforms, and brand development resulting in successful and executable business strategies. Following his principles, he has done well for himself and his family. As a leader, Ricardo continues to achieve for his family, the company he works for, and for those he cares about.   

Chris Dolan
Chief Revenue Officer

Chris Dolan is the Chief Revenue Officer for CEA CAPA Education Abroad. Chris has 15 years of experience leading sales, marketing, and business development strategies. Chris brings a proven track record of delivering results and a unique perspective on go to market strategies for the education abroad field.  

Before joining CEA CAPA, Chris was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales & Partnerships at Sezzle, a fintech payment startup he joined as an early employee and helped grow to $100M+ revenue and a public listing on the NASDAQ. During his six-year tenure at Sezzle, Chris led various initiatives including setting the initial partnerships strategy, building a corporate strategy function, spearheading international expansion efforts, leading enterprise sales, and serving as a member of Sezzle’s senior leadership team.   

Chris began his career in consulting, advising Fortune 500 clients on consumer insights, marketing strategy, and innovation management. He then transitioned to brand management at General Mills, where he led successful marketing campaigns and product development for brands like Betty Crocker, Big G Cereals, and Liberté. 

Chris is passionate about spearheading strategic initiatives, fostering innovation, and promoting cross-functional collaboration within purpose-driven organizations. He is a lifelong learner who thrives on delving into new business challenges or areas of knowledge. 

Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Tufts University and an M.B.A from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. During his time at Tufts, he studied abroad on the Gold Coast of Australia at Griffith University, which added a valuable international experience and global perspective to his undergraduate education. 

Chris resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Danielle and their two sons. He enjoys traveling, reading, running, playing basketball, skiing, and scuba diving whenever he gets the chance. 



Simon Finch
Executive Vice President, Global Operations

Simon Finch overseas Global Operations across CEA CAPA’s 23 locations in 12 countries. Simon leads the skilled and dedicated team that delivers our programs and ensures the health and safety of our participants. Prior to joining CEA CAPA in 2022, Simon served as Managing Director for UK Schools at Compass Group, a food, hospitality, and support services company that serves the education sector in the UK and Ireland. Previously, Simon was the CEO for Office Depot Canada, and has held several CFO and other financial leadership positions for multinational companies and financial institutions.

Chris DeRusha
Senior Vice President of Information Technology
Chris DeRusha joins CEA CAPA with over 16 years of IT management experience. His career path in IT started at a young age while helping a neighborhood computer shop build new PCs. This led to his desire to pursue his bachelor's degree in computer science. Since then, Chris has worked for manufacturing, engineering, and medical organizations. He now has extensive experience designing and leading in the implementation of robust corporate networks with the security and redundancy required to maintain business stability. Maximizing interdepartmental collaboration, efficiencies, and productivity through thoughtful and smart use of IT resources is his passion. Chris recognized early on in his career that IT was not just a service, but a provider of tools and ideas to help company departments work better, together.
Craig Kench
Senior Vice President of Global Career and Internship Programs
Based in London, Craig is responsible for the strategic growth, development, implementation, and quality assurance of career and internship programs across all of CEA CAPA's global destinations. Since joining the organization in 2011, Craig has created a network of over 2,000 internship partners across the globe and created diverse experiential frameworks that have served over 500 U.S. institutions. Craig oversees the delivery of CEA CAPA services to maximize our students' personal and professional development and growth of employer related skills and competencies. Craig is an active member of the international higher education community and regularly presents at conferences and writes publications for the field. 

Prior to joining CEA CAPA, Craig managed educational facilities around the London area, worked for the UK government, and spent 10 years working and studying in the U.S. He holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Walsh University. Craig is originally from Gibraltar, raised in England, and is a former professional football (soccer) player.
Louis Berends, PhD
Dean & Vice President of Academic Partnerships

Dr. Louis “Lou” Berends comes to CEA CAPA from Syracuse University where he most recently held positions as Director of Strategic and International Partnerships, and Director of Academic Programs under the Provost’s Office. Under Lou's leadership, Syracuse Abroad increased study abroad participation and is ranked highly as a national leader in study abroad. Lou has worked extensively in international education at U.S. universities and providers of global education since 2000. He holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago in cultural and educational policy studies with a concentration in comparative and international education.

Additionally, Lou studied at Brunel University (Uxbridge, UK), the University of Oxford (St. Catherine's College), as well as in Rome, Italy, and has visited and conducted research in numerous countries. Lou is a first-generation college student and also comes from a low-income background and as a result is a strong advocate for increasing access to global learning for all under-represented students. Furthermore, Lou has presented many papers in various settings including Harvard's Graduate School of Education, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the Forum on Education Abroad, and NAFSA (among others).

Lou’s recent publications include being a contributing author in the book from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) entitled, Mentored Undergraduate Research in Global Contexts: Integrated High-Impact Practices for Student Success (2024), and book co-editor with Dr. Kate Patch, SIO at Grinnell College, on high-impact educational practices, Undergraduate Research Abroad: Approaches, Models and Challenges (2020). Lou serves on Wake Forest University’s Center for Research on Abroad and International Student Engagement (RAISE) and is the current Chair of the Forum on Education Abroad’s Research Advisory Group.

Andrea Custodi, PhD
Dean & Vice President of Academic and Strategic Initiatives

As Dean & Vice President of Academic and Strategic Initiatives, Andrea Custodi, PhD, oversees evaluation and assessment, teaching and learning, and faculty engagement and development at CEA CAPA. She also serves as academic point on program development and direct enroll relationships with overseas institutional partners, and supports CEA CAPA's thought leadership in the field through publications, presentations, and work with our Advisory Board. Andrea comes to CEA CAPA with over 20 years of experience in senior leadership at education abroad organizations: from a small liberal arts consortium operating in South India, to Arcadia and IFSA's Alliance for Global Education, and most recently as Senior Director of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at CET Academic Programs. She also brings an extensive record of service to the field. Andrea most recently served on AIEA's Publications & Resources and Conference Committees; she has chaired The Forum on Education Abroad’s Curriculum Committee, Standards Committee, and Outcomes Assessment Committee, and served as a member of the Forum Council, the Ethics Committee, and the Trained Facilitator Corps. Andrea holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from The George Washington University, with an academic background spanning South Asian religious studies, feminist, psychoanalytic, and critical theory, and international politics. She is fluent in French and Italian, and has lived, worked, or studied abroad in Italy, France, Switzerland, and Nepal.

Stina Dufour, Ed.D.
Dean of Global Programs and Academic Administration
Stina Dufour, Ed.D, is the Dean of Global Programs & Academic Administration for CEA CAPA Education Abroad. Dr. Dufour oversees CEA CAPA's study center-delivered academics to ensure alignment with U.S. higher education academic policies and procedures. She also manages the School of Record relationship, including quality assurance protocols, curricular approvals, and academic records fulfillment. Before joining CEA CAPA in April 2021, Stina served in increasingly responsible roles at the Office of Global Affairs at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. For more than ten years, she was the Office's lead contact with the University Registrar and worked closely with faculty from every Steinhardt department to co-create curricula at NYU's study centers and with other international partners. Stina holds an EdD in Higher Education Administration and an MA in International Education from NYU and a BA (magna cum laude) in Sociology and Scandinavian Studies from North Park University, Chicago. Stina entered the field of education abroad in 2009 and after living for several formative years in Scandinavia, and studying abroad in Jönköping, Sweden. She regularly volunteers her time with the Forum as a peer reviewer for Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad and authored a chapter in NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad for Advisors and Administrators, 5th Edition (2022).
Tim Boubek
Vice President, Institutional Relations - West

Tim Boubek is the Vice President, Institutional Relations - West. CEA CAPA established its Institutional Relations department to serve as a vital resource to enhance university outreach efforts throughout the U.S. Tim leads the team of CEA CAPA West Regional Directors to foster collaborative relationships with university partners, and provides U.S. institutions with a keen knowledge of CEA CAPA operations, from student recruitment, admissions, and planning through their time abroad and return to their U.S. campus.

Tim brings many years of study abroad experience to the position, having served previously in several operational capacities at CEA CAPA. A current member of NAFSA, he graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement - Criminal Justice and a minor in Business Administration. He earned a certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix.


  • AIEA: Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Paul Hopkinson
Vice President, Institutional Relations - Central

A native of Massachusetts, Paul is based in Austin, Texas, having joined CEA CAPA in 2018. He oversees a talented team of Regional Directors working with institutional partners in the central US. Paul has focused his career working with students and administrators in higher education. Prior to CEA CAPA, Paul served as a Bilingual Admission Counselor and Academic Advisor at St. Edward’s University, Director of Internships and Service-Learning at International Studies Abroad, and Director of Institutional Relations with EF College Study Tours. Paul also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and has led service-learning projects to Peru. He holds a dual B.A. in Spanish and Communication from Stonehill College and earned his MA in Spanish from Texas State University. When he's not on an airplane visiting institutional partners, Paul enjoys eating brisket at barbecue spots around Texas, walking his Boxer, and rocking out at live music venues with his wife and daughter.

Eryn Kudzinski
Vice President of Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management

As Vice President, Eryn oversees and provides strategic leadership to the organization’s health, safety, security and risk management practices. Eryn works closely with CEA CAPA team members across the U.S. and internationally, as well as directly with our U.S. partner institutions, to ensure that our coordination of emergency response protocols is seamless and that our CEA CAPA staff is abreast of the most current health and safety issues in the field.

Eryn joined the CEA CAPA team in May 2021 after gaining 15 years of experience in international education at the Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA), with eight years serving in a full-time health and safety role. Eryn also lived abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica, to gain hands-on experience with study abroad students in an international setting. She has also held roles in academic affairs and program advising in education abroad and has a well-rounded view of the many facets of our field.

Eryn is well connected in the field of education abroad and risk management and has collaborated on several presentations at the Forum on Education Abroad conference, holds memberships in OSAC, Pulse, and the Forum, and has co-authored several health and safety publications in the field.

If you have any questions about the development and coordination of CEA CAPA programs and services that promote student well-being, or questions about safety, security and risk management, please contact her directly:

Stacy McKay Benander
Vice President, Institutional Relations - East

Based in the Naples, Florida, Stacy is a veteran of the international education field. Prior to joining CEA CAPA, she served for 15 years as the Founder and President of Athena Study Abroad. She received the Enlightened Employer Award at the Women in International Education (WIE) Awards in Berlin, Germany, has been named twice to the Forty Under 40 list for business professionals (in both Columbus, Ohio, and Western Pennsylvania), and was named the recipient of NAFSA Region VI's esteemed Leo Dowling Award of Excellence. Stacy served as a Founding Executive Team Member of the women's leadership and advocacy group the Global Leadership League, has served on NAFSA's Trainer Corps, and was a founding member of the Global Learning Collective. She has also served as the Director of the International Office at Ohio Dominican University and was an International Student and Scholar Advisor at The Ohio State University. Stacy earned her MA degree in Educational Policy and Leadership (Social and Cultural Foundations) from The Ohio State University, and her BA degree as a double-major in Spanish and Communications/Public Relations from John Carroll University.

Jodi Melichar
Vice President of Enrollment & Advising

Jodi is responsible for the strategic oversight and management of the Enrollment and Advising Department. She joined the CEA CAPA team in 2006, as the Manager of US Program Services.

Since joining CEA CAPA, she has held a variety of leadership roles including Director of Pre-departure Services, and Vice President of Global Program Services. Prior to joining CAPA, Jodi worked for STA Travel serving as a manager for The George Washington University and Boston University branch offices. In addition to this, she spent four years leading tours in India, Nepal, and Vietnam for Intrepid Travel, an Australian-based adventure travel company. Through her studies in India as well as her own travel, and experience as an international tour leader, she learned firsthand the importance of thorough advising and pre-departure preparation to set the framework for a culturally rich and safe time abroad.

Shawna Parker
Vice President of Communications & Strategic Engagement

Shawna has worked in international education and related fields for more than 20 years. As the Vice President of Communications and Strategic Engagement for CEA CAPA, she oversees all aspects of CEA CAPA’s communications and partner marketing. She has previously served as the Director of Marketing for World Learning, an international education and nongovernmental institution that is the umbrella organization for the School for International Training (SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate programs), and The Experiment in International Living. She is the co-chair of the NAFSA Rainbow SIG. She holds a degree in Political Science from Smith College. In addition to her work in international education, Shawna has experience in sales and marketing consulting and as a book editor, designer, and publisher.

Darin Smith-Gaddis
Vice President of Academic Inclusion Strategies
Darin leads global Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging policy development and implementation, ensuring that CEA CAPA delivers measurable growth in student access, and drives increased value for institutional partners across our portfolio of programs. Prior to joining CEA CAPA, Darin developed study abroad programs funded by the US Department of State and built nationwide partnerships to provide scalable enrollment solutions for minority students at AFS Intercultural Programs USA. Darin holds an M.P.A. in Public Sector Management and Leadership from California State University, Northridge, and a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University. A Diversity Abroad Rising Star Finalist in 2019, Darin authored the NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad 5th Edition Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Education Abroad Office chapter, has served on the Global Inclusion Conference Global Student Leadership Summit planning committee, and is a frequent presenter on the intersection of justice, equity, diversity, and education abroad policy. He serves as a board member for the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools in Los Angeles California, and participated in study abroad programs to Brazil, Croatia, and the Czech Republic.
Aaron Yerkes
Vice President of Partnership Development

Aaron joins the CEA CAPA team after spending 19 years at the Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA). He served the organization through a variety of roles, most recently as the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Engagement, where he managed their nationwide recruitment team and custom program division. Prior to serving as the AVP for Institutional Engagement, Aaron served as the Field Director, Great Lakes Region and Enrollment Manager, where he was responsible for increasing program participation, growing the number of affiliated programs, as well as expanding the base of sending institutions across a 9-state region. He also served as the Senior Program Advisor for programs in the U.K. and New Zealand, where he actively engaged with students, parents, and advisors to educate them on programs that fit students’ academic needs, as well as exploring ways to remove barriers to make students’ dreams of studying abroad a reality.

Aaron is a graduate of Butler University and holds a BS degree in Finance. During his undergraduate experience, Aaron studied abroad in London, England at Birkbeck, University of London. His time abroad was so transformative for him that he wanted to devote his professional career to promoting life changing, international experiences to other students.

When Aaron is not advocating for students to learn abroad, he can be found planning his next travel adventure and spending time with his family. He is an avid hiker, skier, and golfer, and enjoys seeing live music and collecting vinyl records. Aaron is also very active in his community, engaging and volunteering with a number of organizations throughout his community, specifically with the Indiana Humane Society, Second Helpings, and Newfields.