Legacy’s staff is a group of highly dedicated individuals. Our combined experience in cross-cultural training, conflict resolution, community development and exchange programs gives us the ability to meet the needs of those experiencing great changes. Our staff team brings together people from a wide range of backgrounds. Among our staff are individuals fluent in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, French, and Spanish; conversant in Russian; and with basic skills in Bahasa Indonesia and Croatian.  We have a wide network of colleagues who join us for specific projects and contribute their expertise.


Arshelle Carter
TechGirls Program Coordinator

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.

Bernadette LaMontagne
TechGirls Program Manager

Bernadette is committed to supporting the empowerment of individuals, communities and institutions worldwide. She has 10 years of experience in the field of international exchange, including for

programs such as the State Department International Visitors Leadership Program and Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. In support of international exchange programs (and to hone her French and Arabic skills), Bernadette has travelled to Morocco and the West Bank. She has background in International Studies and Political Science at the University of Connecticut, where she completed her  MA and PhD. Bernadette has special skills in adapting curriculums for virtual and in-person programming. Her passion for female empowerment makes her a great fit for TechGirls. 

Brittany Corn
TechGirls Program Coordinator

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. 


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!

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.

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. 

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.