Alex Eliades
International Exchange Program Coordinator

Alex is looking forward to joining the Legacy International team as a Program Coordinator for the Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program. He has become a proud practitioner and advocate of

international exchange through his experiences as a Management and Operations intern for the Fulbright Association, a student liaison for the Iraqi Young Leadership Program, and a participant in programs based in Thailand, Mexico, and Japan. He holds a Master of Arts from American University in US Foreign Policy and a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University with a double-major in History and Political Science. In his free time Alex enjoys recording music and performing improv comedy.

Arshelle Carter
TechGirls Program Manager

Arshelle believes in the value of international exchange programs and looks forward to supporting TechGirls as a Program Coordinator! Through her experiences studying, volunteering, and working abroad, she 

developed an appreciation for international education. Arshelle coordinated the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Indonesia for two years after serving as a grantee herself. She enjoyed facilitating education initiatives in the country and working to empower young people. Additionally, Arshelle has assisted government and non-profit projects in Mexico, Suriname, and across Southeast Asia. Arshelle graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in International Studies and a B.S. in Business Management.

Brittany Corn
TechGirls Program Manager

Brittany recently returned stateside after teaching English in Spain for the last five years and obtaining a Master’s degree in International Education at the Universidad de Alcalá. Brittany also

has experience working in both the legal field and in higher education with international students and scholars. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Studies: Global Justice and Policy from James Madison University. 

 

Faatima Campbell
TechGirls Program Coordinator

Faatima Campbell is a public service professional. Community, Commitment, Communication and Collaboration are the four guiding principles that frame her professional journey. Through her work experience,

volunteering to empower young people, and studying abroad; she’s cherishes the value of international education.  She believes international exchange programs support the development of a global mindset.  She looks forward to joining the TechGirls team as Program Coordinator.  

Faatima founded The Books for Bachana project to support school libraries in South Africa. She has served as a school administrator, and is a TFA Alumni.  Faatima has incorporated her work experience, and education, to develop leadership workshops for adolescents and young adults. In 2019, she supported the Code Guilford Initiative in partnership with Apple; facilitating workshops for underrepresented youth to gain exposure to the exciting world of computer science, and STEM-based career opportunities.  

Her mission is to empower young people by curating real-world experiences necessary to spark their unique abilities. She is excited to broaden her global perspective on education through the lens of TechGirls participants. Faatima, believes knowledge is power, but knowledge also fuels purpose. 

When she is not empowering young people through tech; she is a connoisseur of good cuisine aka “foodie”, and splurges on various crafts such as candle-making, decoupage upcycling as a medium of sustainability and envisioning the possibilities in STEM education!

Gabrielle Gonzalez
TechGirls Program Associate

Gabrielle is motivated by the belief that all people are entitled to an education, economic security, and social equity, and she is interested in how programs can be employed to promote that. Gabrielle has

interned with the National Science Foundation where she researched how to get girls engaged in STEM, and is excited to bring that knowledge to the TechGirls program! She has also participated in a Webinar from J-PAL that covered the importance of MERL in international programs, volunteered with The Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentallly Ill in Jamaica, and extensively researched the ways that gender and poverty intersect in an international context. Gabrielle graduated from James Madison University in 2021 with a major in Justice Studies, a concentration in Global Justice and Policy, and minors in Economics, Humanitarian Affairs, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys pottery, running, and singing in the Fairfax County Choir!

Holden Mershon
Professional Fellows Program Coordinator

Committed to the principles of diversity, respect, and equity, Holden brings his passion for international exchange to the Program Coordinator position for the Professional Fellows Program.

He previously worked at Amideast in the Communications department. Holden has lived and studied in Morocco and Jordan, where he experienced how cross-cultural relationships can radically impact people's lives. He graduated from William & Mary with a BA in Government and minor in Arabic Language and Literature.

Katie Curiel
Project Director, International Exchange Programs

 Katie uses her more than two decades of experience in higher education, global development, social impact, and entrepreneurship, combined with her passion for helping to meet the global challenges

and opportunities of today's world by directing international exchange programs at Legacy International. Since 2000, she has traveled, lived, and worked in 19 countries, and has particular expertise in the MENA region, Asia, and all of North America, including Mexico. She has collaborated with startups, governments, businesses, NGOs, foundations, and individuals around the world, working closely with over 8,000 international, at-risk, multicultural, and high-achieving students and professionals from over 100 countries. In these capacities, she has managed strategic plans, projects, and partnerships with some of the world's leading higher education and global institutions. Katie speaks intermediate Arabic, is fluent in Spanish, and is an avid cross-culture immersionist, speaker, teacher, nature-lover, dancer, cook, and traveler.  

Leila Baz 
Human Resources Manager

As Program Director for various Legacy adult professional exchange programs, Ms. Baz has designed and delivered numerous projects for citizens from Azerbaijan, Morocco,

Egypt, Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Focuses have included NGO development, education reform, youth advocacy, conflict resolution, public health, and civic education & citizen engagement. As Staff Director for Legacy’s annual Global Youth Village, she oversees seasonal staff hiring, and coordinates the day to day operations and risk management for this residential program. She also spearheads all outreach and screening for both temporary and permanent staff for Legacy.
Marlene Ginsberg
Senior Development Specialist

Ms. Ginsberg has 35 years non-profit experience, including 20 years directing professional development programs for citizens of Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,

Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Topics included NGO development, religion and society, business development, women’s issues, and civic education and engagement. With activities both in the US and in the counterpart country, she has wide travel experience and is fluent in Spanish, conversant in Russian and French. In addition, she has produced two documentaries that have aired on the Discovery Channel.
Mary Helmig
Vice President

Ms. Helmig has 30 years non-profit experience, including directing U.S. Department of State Exchange programs,  professional development initiatives and youth leadership programs.  Her work in Indonesia,

Iraq, across the MENA region and with many US Embassies worldwide has addressed topics of  NGO development, social cohesion, religion and society, business development, women’s economic prosperity, STEM training, and civic education and engagement. With activities both in the US and in the counterpart countries, she has experience leading US speaker and training groups abroad. Ms. Helmig is involved in the design, funding, and program and financial administration of Legacy’s projects.   

Mitra Nafissian Rash
Senior Program Officer

Mitra holds an MA and AbD in International Relations from New York University.  Having previously worked at the United Nations in New York, she serves as Legacy’s ECOSOC representative. During her

30+ years at Legacy she has directed professional development projects funded by the U.S. Department of State in the areas of of leadership development, women’s empowerment, public health and NGO development.  She speaks four languages fluently and directed the NSLI-Y Arabic Language Institute in Morocco.  Mitra is a key designer of curriculum for in-person and virtual programs and serves as an adjunct professor of international relations at Randolph College and the university of Lynchburg in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Molly Pyle
TechGirls Program Coordinator

Molly is inspired and energized by the ingenuity of young people and believes that global education and youth empowerment are crucial to investing in communities and

creating long-term sustainable impacts. She is committed to advocating for gender equity and equipping young women to advance in STEM fields. Studying abroad and working with international students sparked Molly's passion for cross-cultural education, which led to interning for the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan supporting students in Kabul. Her AmeriCorps service years with City Year allowed her to foster student growth in academic and social-emotional capacities and facilitate projects to benefit school communities amidst COVID-19. Molly holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Kansas State University, where she was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Outside TechGirls responsibilities, she enjoys walking dogs, hiking, and frequenting thrift stores for bargains.

Sarah Schneider

Sarah directs Legacy's Professional Fellows Program for economic empowerment in the MENA region. Originally from Massachusetts, Sarah has a B.A. in Classics from Boston University.

She worked at the Department of Defense for seven years as an international programs officer and an analyst covering Russia and the Central Asian States. Sarah was also posted for three years to the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Amman, Jordan as the executive assistant to the Defense Attaché, and then became a management consultant for a defense contracting firm before joining Legacy International. Sarah is committed to promoting equal opportunity and creating strong international partnerships. 

Sarah Cockey
Professional Fellows Program Manager

Due to her own experiences as a participant in international exchange in both Panama and Egypt, Sarah is passionate about citizen diplomacy and how international exchange can

 contribute to building bridges of peace and understanding across cultures. She is fluent in Spanish and Egyptian Arabic, and holds an M.A. in International Peace & Conflict Studies from American University and a B.S. in International Affairs/Political Science from Florida State University. Sarah has previously worked with the Fund for Peace and the International Rescue Committee, and has also worked as a dialogue facilitator, interpreter, and language instructor. She is trained in Eastern Mennonite University's STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) program and is a trained mediator through the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County. Sarah is from Spokane, Washington, and in her free time she enjoys dance, reading fiction, and playing the piano. She looks forward to joining the Legacy International team as a Program Manager for the Professional Fellows Program.

Shanti Thompson
Executive Vice President

Ms. Thompson is involved in the design, funding, and program and financial administration of Legacy’s projects. She has over 35 years’ experience directing initiatives, developing training programs and

curricula in leadership, pluralism, conflict prevention and resolution, cross-cultural communication, and civic education. Ms. Thompson has authored three published curricula and has directed projects in the U.S., Spain, Russia, and Ukraine. She has visited 23 different nations, and worked closely with adults and teens from Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia and Ukraine.

Theresa Kozelka
TechGirls Program Manager

Following her experience as a Youth in Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, Theresa returned to the US excited to design and expand international exchange opportunities for youth and young professionals.

As the Program Coordinator for the Professional Fellows Economic Empowerment Program, the Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program and the Skills for Success Professional Development Immersion Program, Theresa designed and implemented professional development programming for over 100 youth and young professionals from across the Middle East and North Africa. Theresa graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Philosophy and a Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. She is excited to now lend her expertise to the global expansion of TechGirls.