The BCA Study Abroad Central Office is located in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania on the campus of Elizabethtown College. Our staff is comprised of experienced professionals who are knowledgeable in all areas of study abroad, including health and safety, academic programming, cross-cultural understanding, experiential learning and student services. We are committed to designing and helping students achieve academically and culturally rewarding experiences.
Program Management & Support
Rachel Helwig comes to BCA with more than 10 years experience in the field of international education. In her role with BCA, Rachel directs health and safety policies and procedures as well as provides course and visa advising for enrolled students. She also assists with the placements of international students as part of our mission to provide academic opportunities for international students who are enrolled at our host universities. Prior to joining BCA, Rachel was Assistant Dean for International & Off-Campus Study at Franklin & Marshall College where she was responsible for managing off-campus study advising, including course approval workshops, pre-departure orientations, and returnee programs. Rachel earned a Master’s in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh and prior to joining Franklin & Marshall, she served as an Education Abroad Adviser and International Student Services Program Coordinator at The Pennsylvania State University.
Contact Rachel for health and safety concerns, visa questions, and student course advising:
Victoria studied abroad in Grantham, England in 2015 and again in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein in 2016. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Global Studies. Serving as BCA’s Program Advisor, Victoria helps students complete their application, answers program questions, and provides important pre-departure information. Having studied abroad herself, she knows the unparalleled benefits studying abroad provides academically, professionally, and personally. Passionate about the organization and her experience, Victoria is excited to be in this role and encourages students to take advantage of this opportunity and study abroad.
Contact Victoria for admissions-related questions:
Kyle Kopko, Ph.D.
Academic Program Advisor
Dr. Kyle Kopko serves as BCA’s academic program advisor and is an Elizabethtown College Dean and political science associate professor. Kyle works with BCA’s Academic Council to ensure the quality of BCA academic courses, as well as provides program support for curriculum evaluation, honors and internship courses and other specialized scholarship opportunities for BCA students.
Marketing & Campus Relations
Kate Ruhl Gerdes started her career in international education as the Program Assistant at BCA Study Abroad and continued her career as a Study Abroad Advisor at Towson University. In her role at BCA, Kate works to design and coordinate short-term study abroad programs for BCA and customized programs for various institutions across the U.S. Her commitment to study abroad stems from her undergraduate semester study abroad experiences in New Zealand and Italy and her experience leading the BCA Morocco summer program in 2009.
Summer holds a BFA in Graphic Design and minor in Media Studies from Colorado State University. She was fortunate to have lived abroad during her high school years—a summer in France and a year in Bolivia with Rotary Youth Exchange. During college, Summer studied abroad with Semester at Sea aboard the MV World Odyssey. Serving as BCA’s Design & Media Specialist, Summer designs for print and digital and manages BCA’s social media programming. An adventurer at heart, Summer is excited to share experiences about traveling abroad and living in different cultural spaces. Make sure you follow us @BCAStudyAbroad ! #BCAStudyAbroad
Contact Summer to share your study abroad experiences and stories via blogs or social takeovers:
Seth grew up outside of Washington D.C. and has been traveling since he was a year old. Seth graduated from Juniata College with a B.S. in Biopsychology where he spent a semester his junior year studying in Newcastle, Australia and participated two short term programs in the Dominican Republic and Cordoba, Argentina. Through the experiences he had during his study abroad programs, Seth developed a passion for working in International Education in order to provide these same experiences to other students. Seth has more than five years of professional experience in education abroad programming and administration. In his role at BCA Study Abroad Seth manages relationships with college\university partners, leads strategic enrollment initiatives, and works with students to make study abroad a reality. He has traveled to over 18 countries and has been on every continent except Antarctica. When he is not working, Seth likes to run, swim, bike, hike, kayak, go camping, and cook.
Contact Seth for campus visits, fairs, affiliation, and general program questions.
SWeil@BCAStudyAbroad.org, 717-874-9252(Mobile) 717-361-6605 (Office)
Liz attends Elizabethtown College to pursue a communications major with a business minor. She knew even before attending college that she would take part in a study abroad program and found herself in Dunedin, New Zealand with BCA’s help. While there, she was able to see the “eighth” wonder of the world, go on runs with her flatmates, and take part in a Maori performing arts class, where they kindly accepted her despite her singing ability. At Etown College, she runs cross country and track with her friends and roommates and is part of the student-run communications agency Jay Firm. Liz is excited to use her time with BCA to help others find their way across seas and have an experience of a lifetime.
General Operations & Finance
Julie Larison joined BCA in 2007 and in her role as Executive Director manages daily operations and strategic priorities. Julie has 28 years professional experience with 12 years in higher education administration at Salem Academy & College, Guilford College, and Washington State University. Prior to entering higher education, Julie served as an editor for a national book and magazine publishing company and as a writer and account executive in the Pacific Northwest marketing agency. An interest in the field of international education was sparked at the age of 16 when Julie played viola in an orchestra that traveled throughout Europe, and, then again, during her tenure at Salem College when she was fortunate to work with international students, inspiring her decision to enter the field of international education. Julie earned a BA in English from Pennsylvania State University, State College, and studying MS in Organizational Leadership at Elizabethtown College.
Contact Julie for general concerns:
- JLarison@BCAStudyAbroad.org, 717-361-6620
Stephen Valentine, MBA
Director of Finance
Stephen Valentine manages BCA’s financial operations. A graduate of Cedarville University and Lebanon Valley College, Stephen has more than 16 years experience in the field of accounting, financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, cash flow management and asset management.
Daryl Holland was born and raised in Syracuse, New York and moved to PA in 2011 to be closer to her family. She has been in the Administrative/Accounting field for more than 10 years and is excited to be working at BCA Study Abroad. Daryl loves to read, scrapbook, bike, hike and hang out with family and friends.
Contact Daryl for billing or general finance questions:
- DHolland@BCAStudyAbroad.org, 717-361-6611