Meet Our Central Office Staff

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.

Julie Anne Larison
Executive Director

JulieJulie 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. She has published numerous articles and served as an assistant editor for a six-volume book series on Civil War Confederate generals. 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 an MS in Organizational Leadership at Elizabethtown College.

Contact Julie for general concerns:

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.

Stephen photo1

Dr. Stephen Burwood
Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Stephen Burwood was born and raised in Exeter, England. He gained degrees at the University of Warwick and the University of Sussex. After teaching History in high schools in Malvern and London, he slaked his academic thirst with graduate degrees at Binghamton University in New York. He has taught at universities in New York, Michigan and Oklahoma as well as serving for six years as the founding Chair of American Studies at Staffordshire University in England. For the past 15 years, he has worked full-time in international education. Stephen’s scholarly interests have been in U.S. and comparative history. He is an author or editor of eight books and more than 20 articles. As an administrator, he continues to research and publish and has found an unexpected bonus—the intellectual freedom to read any kind of history, to range broadly across academic disciplines and to feel no guilt in reading fiction!

Contact Stephen for programs and academic concerns:

Kate PhotoKate Gerdes
Director of Short-term Programs and Marketing

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. She is excited to help make studying abroad through BCA accessible to more students through engaging and affordable short-term experiences.

Contact Kate for short-term and customized programs and marketing:

Rachel PhotoRachel Helwig
Director of Programs & Health and Safety

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:

Megan PhotoMegan Bell
Program Advisor and Marketing Specialist

Megan Bell studied abroad on BCA’s Cheltenham, England program in the spring of 2013 and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. She began her career as a web content writer and continues to use these skills today as she writes web content, reviews and posts blogs, and overseas the website’s SEO. Serving as BCA’s Program Advisor, Megan helps students complete their application, answers program questions and provides important pre-departure information. As an alumna, she knows the unparalleled quality of BCA’s programs firsthand and is eager to share her experience with prospective students and other alumni. Passionate about the organization and her experience, Megan is excited to be in this role, encouraging students to take advantage of this opportunity and study abroad.

Contact Megan for admissions-related questions and interest in writing blogs:

summer-photo_2Summer Walter
Design & Media Specialist

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:

Seth Photo (2)Seth Weil
Campus Relations Manager

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 as well as 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 three years of professional experience in education abroad programming and administration.  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 and fairs:

1490LuAnne Harley, Campus Relations Representative

LuAnne Harley’s first connection with BCA was as a student in Barcelona (where she also took her first of many Sevillana dance lessons!). She later served as Resident Director for two delightful years in Xalapa, Mexico.  Her experience abroad, travels, interest in other cultures, as well as her Spanish fluency, has connected to a variety of life-giving work throughout her career. She currently serves as a language interpreter for a non-profit medical clinic and as an artist-in-residence/musician presenting programs of music, stories, and folk dance from around the globe to multi-generational audiences. As a BCA representative, LuAnne encourages students to engage with the community and build bridges of peace. She looks forward to meeting with study abroad advisors, students and faculty.

Contact LuAnne for U.S. mid-west region campus visits:

Daryl PhotoDaryl Holland
Office Administrator

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 transcripts and TerraDotta application system questions:

 

BCA Central Office will be closed Monday, May 29th for Memorial Day