Our Team


Excellence Through Experienced Staff

ATA’s uncommon staff is truly “at home” in the world. Combined, we have over 325 years experience in the travel industry, and we speak 15 different languages – from Mandarin to French, Arabic to Japanese. The fact that we have lived in, and traveled to, more than 40 countries gives us an insider’s view that helps us design travel experiences that go beyond the surface.


David Parry – Chairman

Dave proves that there is no cure for the itch to travel the world. His most memorable moments include sneaking into Russia twice; standing in Wyoming’s South Pass where so many pioneers crossed; criss-crossing Russia and China in the bad old days… Read more >


Kate Simpson – President

Kate, daughter of an American diplomat, spent most of her youth in France, where she was born. Fluent in French, Kate settled on a more “exotic” language in college, where she fell in love with Mandarin and all things Chinese. Kate has lived and studied in Australia, Algeria, Ireland and Taiwan... Read more >


Chase Poffenberger – Executive Vice President

Chase is a veteran of Academic Travel, having begun her career as a China Program Designer just three short months before the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing that redirected her job, and her life! She has since worn many hats during her tenure… Read more >


Mark Lenhart – Executive Director of CET Academic Programs

Mark has worked for CET since 1990, when he began as Resident Director of CET’s Harbin Chinese Language Program. After nearly five years studying and working in China, he became CET’s Director in 1995… Read more >

Visit www.cetacademicprograms to read more about our CET staff and programs.


Sarah Saleh –Vice President of Finance & Administration

Sarah came to ATA from an unlikely field of study: classical music. A French horn player who received a Bachelors of Music degree, she got the travel bug on orchestra tours in Europe, and spent a year in Florence, Italy, before joining ATA over twenty years ago… Read more >


Jocelyn Flint – Director of Communications

Jocelyn’s tenure with the organization started in 2001 within ATA’s study abroad division, CET. Jocelyn first served as Academic Director of CET’s Chinese Language program in Beijing and then relocated to the United States in 2003 to take on the role of China Programs Manager… Read More >


Ben Peacock – Director of Technology

Ben earned a BA in Chinese Language from the University of Michigan (2001) and an MA in International Education from The George Washington University (2010)… Read More>


Emma Impavido – Director of Educational Travel Programs 

Emma Impavido was born in the UK. She spent 3 years as a child in Paris and was bitten by the travel bug at an early age. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and spent extended periods in Venice, Milan, and the south of France… Read more >


Samantha Barrie – Senior Program Manager

Samantha Barrie grew up in the Washington, DC area and attended Northwestern University and New York University.  She holds a BA in Arts Management and Theatre & Film Production. She has been on the artistic staffs of some of the country’s most prestigious non-profit theatres, including The Public Theater and Roundabout Theatre in New York and The Old Globe in San Diego… Read more >


Jennifer Kefer – Senior Program Manger

Jennifer is a lawyer by training and was Vice President at a boutique environmental consulting firm, where she practiced climate and energy policy. Jennifer is a life-long student with a deep curiosity about the world… Read more>


Julie Elias – Program Manager

Julie is a Baltimore native with a passion for exploring new places and ideas. She graduated from Dickinson College with a B.A. in American Studies, and studied abroad in Norwich, England. After graduating she took the summer off and visited… Read more >


Kate Desvenain – Director of Clients Services

Kate began traveling in high school as an exchange student to South Africa during the Apartheid era. This experience awakened her political sensibilities, and led her to study Political Science (B.A. ‘90) and International Affairs… Read more >


Operations –  Booked Guests on ATA Operated Trips

Megan Burden, Manager of Guest Services | 202 349-0681 x 7381 Read More>

Cara Hissey, Senior Guest Services Advisor | 202-349-0674 x 7375 Read More>

Kristen Sotzing, Guest Services Advisor | 202-349-7323 x 7323 Read More>

Grace Soriano, Guest Services Advisor | 202-349-7357 x 7357 Read More>


Reservations/Call Center

John Scaggs, Senior Reservations Specialist | 202-349-7353 x 7353 Read More>

Marie Freeman, Reservations Specalist | 202 349-0673 x 7376 Read More>

Maxwell Durbin, Reservations Specialist | 202-750-8071 x 7373 Read More>


Melinda Schrom – Director of Marketing 

Melinda is an Arizona native and spent her childhood traveling across the United States camping and hiking in the National Parks. While attending Arizona State, she had the opportunity to study abroad in France and work for a French company as a marketing intern in Paris. After receiving her B.S. in Marketing and a minor in French, she spent a year in Aurillac, France.… Read more >


Wade Jennings – Creative Manager 

Wade was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and spent most of his childhood exploring the many miles of beaches and surfing the waves at Assateague Island’s National Seashore. As a competitive cyclist, he spent years racing in the U.S. pro-am circuit, as well as training abroad in places such as the Sierra Nevadas in the region of Granada and Almería in Spain… Read more >


Megan Hayes– Marketing and Production Coordinator

Megan graduated from James Madison University with a BS in Corporate Communication, and a minor in Creative Writing. Prior to her position on the Sales and Creative Team, Megan worked on the Reservations Team here at ATA. Megan is … Read more >


Titus Yao – Director of Human Resources and Administration

Titus began his career in Human Resources in 2005 while in undergrad at the University of Florida. In 2010, Titus studied abroad during grad school in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan where he fell in love with traveling abroad. He has spent his career working in international and domestic HR roles… Read more >


Meredith Akery – Senior Manager, Finance and Accounting

Meredith studied abroad in Madrid while studying Spanish and Law at The College of New Jersey. She worked in Education Abroad in NYC at CUNY and LIU Global while earning her MSEd in Higher Education Administration at Baruch College… Read more >


Brooke Masterson– Accounting Associate 

Brooke grew up in Baltimore, MD and attended Coastal Carolina University. She earned her BA in Psychology and a minor in Health Promotions. During her senior year at Coastal Carolina University, she participated in a study abroad program to Sierra Leone, Africa. This experience ignited her love of travel… Read more >