US Participants

Nicholas Abbott


I’m from the Chicago area and I’m studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. Professionally, I’d like to work on big things that move like boats, airplanes or trains and my education will give me the tools and knowledge I need to design and build useful and unique new machines and systems.

While in College, I’m also a Team Manager for the Varsity Men’s Lacrosse Team. I’m in charge of the team responsible for the video replay system. My team films games from various angles, and I’m on the sidelines feeding clips to the coaches on their Microsoft Surface tablets. The intersection of sports and technology is a growing space, and I know our work contributed to winning the National Championship my Freshman year.

My Greek heritage is very important to me. I attended Ionian Village two years ago, and had previously toured Greece with my family. I was not lucky enough to have a YiaYia in my home to pass the Greek language to me organically. My trips to Greece have given me enough exposure to say a few words and I’m looking forward to deepening my Greek language skills by immersing myself in Greece.

Christian Anagnostou


Christian Anagnostou is a third-year business administration student with an emphasis in management and wine business strategies at Sonoma State University.  Prior to transferring to SSU, he earned is associate’s degree in both business administration and economics from Canada College in his hometown of Redwood City, California. His love of playing music from early childhood has spurred his involvement in numerous musical organizations. With his mellophone and notable marching ability, he’s performed in over 35 competitions across the United States as a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps winning a bronze and gold medal at the DCI World Championships. In his spare time, he takes pride in cultivating, managing and producing wine at the Anagnostou family vineyard in Sonoma, California.  Other than making wine and music, he enjoys freehand drawing, photography and working out.

Vasiliki Argeroplos


I am a rising Sophomore at Vanderbilt University studying Economics and Computer Science. I am excited about this program and looking forward to meeting everyone. My mother is from Dombrena, Greece and my father is from Sparta, Greece.  I have learned to speak Greek through Greek school, private lessons, and speaking to my grandparents. I have been in the FDF, Greek dance group, at my church since I was 7 years old so I know how to Greek dance and enjoy it tremendously. I am very connected to my Greek heritage, faith, and culture and cannot wait to strengthen all three of these areas through Heritage Greece.

Frances Asbury


My name is Frances Asbury and I am a rising senior at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. I am a Religious Studies and Political Science double major and I minor in Mathematics. I love music, reading, walking, and my dogs, and I am so excited to be visiting Greece for the first time!

Alex Assimoglou


Hey everyone! My name is Alex, and I am a senior at Appalachian State University. Charlotte, NC is where I reside outside of school, but I am originally from Orlando, FL. At ASU I am a criminal justice major and work as an intern at a law firm outside of Charlotte.  I am an involved member of the Nu Alpha chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta. When I am not in school, I enjoy hiking with my friends and of course watching Netflix. In Greece, I have family that live on the island of Corfu. I am so thankful to have been selected for the opportunity to explore the country I have grown up hearing so much about. I am most excited to experience the beautiful beaches and visit the ancient archaeological sites. Additionally, I have a huge sweet tooth and cannot wait to try baklava abroad. This is truly a dream come true, and I am excited to embark on this journey with students just like me.

Lucas Bennett


I am a 19 year old originally from a small town in New Jersey, currently attending George Washington University in DC. I am studying business economics and public policy, and my interests outside of school include basketball, running, books, movies and politics. My Greek heritage, which I get from my mother’s side of the family, has always been a part of my life through church, holidays, and cultural festivals and events. However, before the opportunity to go to Greece this summer, I never felt I got to explore my heritage in depth. When I heard about the opportunity from a friend, I knew I had to take advantage of it. I cannot wait to learn about Greek language, culture and cuisine, and to explore the amazing natural and historical sites Greece has to offer.

Christina Bordenet


My name is Christina Bordenet and I am from Barrington, Illinois! I am currently studying Nursing at the University of Iowa with a minor in Global Health Studies. At Iowa, I am the Recording Secretary for my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and will be serving on Iowa CHAARG’s exec team as VP Media this upcoming school year. I also conduct research with a faculty member in the College of Nursing on care strategies for patients with dementia. I am also a family representative for Dance Marathon and ran the Chicago Marathon this past year FTK and will be running it again come the fall! I love working with kids – my jobs both on campus and at home involve working with them! This spring break, I participated on Hawkeye Service Teams with fifteen other individuals on an alternative spring break trip to serve the greater Louisville community.

I am so excited to participate in Heritage Greece 2018 – I have never been, and I am can’t to experience it for the first time and learn more about what it truly means to be Greek and experience my culture and heritage firsthand!

Sophia Callanan


Hi! My name is Sophia Callanan and I am from Columbus, Ohio. I am going into my Junior year at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina studying Business Administration. I am a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, as well as being an admissions ambassador on campus. This upcoming fall semester I will be studying abroad through Semester at Sea traveling around the world by ship. I am extremely excited to explore my Greek heritage through this amazing opportunity!

Clare Clifford


Hello! My name is Clare, and I currently attend State University of New York – New Paltz as an accounting major. I live in New York, but was born in Mesa, Arizona.  I love to hike, learn new things, and kayak.  I also love to teach local businesses how to become more efficient with their operations/bookkeeping and use social media effectively. I hope that one day I can pursue a career in tax policy!

Alexandra Collias


My name is Alexandra Collias, but most people call me Alex! I’m from Chelmsford, MA and I’m currently a junior at UMass Lowell working towards my degree in biology. I also work in a research lab on campus where we study invertebrate locomotion and feeding mechanisms! I played rugby for four semesters, until I got injured, but I still love being active and going to the gym. I also really enjoy hiking, painting, and being outside. I grew up very close to the Greek side of my family, and I have always wanted to learn more about Greek culture. I love exploring new places and am so excited for this opportunity to explore Greece!

George Costidis


George grew up in Middletown, NJ, and is a parishioner of St. George in Ocean Township, NJ. He is currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and is studying Philosophy, Politics, Economics with a minor in Law and Society. Outside of class, he is an active member of his fraternity and the school newspaper. To relax, you can find him on the soccer field or listening to music. George is extremely proud of his Greek heritage and culture. He was a star Greek dancer in his GOYA days and can always be found at his local Greek restaurant.

Stella Dalkouras


Hi, my name is Stella Dalkouras and I’m from Boston Massachusetts.  I’m currently a junior at Boston College studying biology.  I have an older sister, a younger sister and a dog named Lily.  I love traveling, running and trying new things.  I grew up speaking Greek so I’m excited to immerse myself in Greece and learn so much more.  I love Greek food, so I’m especially excited for our meals throughout the trip!  I love meeting new people, so I can’t wait to explore Greece with you all!

Mara Delta


My name is Mara Delta and I’m currently a Sophomore at Oberlin College in Ohio. I am a prospective Political Science major and potential French minor. I look forward to connecting with the history of my grandparents and father, engaging with the local people, visiting the sights, and learning more about Greek life and culture.

Louie Dietrich


My name is Louie and I’m currently attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. I am majoring in Hospitality Management and I would like to eventually end up somewhere in hotel and resort management. Some things I like are greek dancing and the outdoors.

Noah Duclos


I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and have just finished my Junior year at the University of Florida. I’m studying Classics with a special focus on ancient language. My great grandparents immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island, and I’ll be the first person in my direct family to go back to Greece and get in touch with our heritage. As a Classics student I’m very excited to see all the ancient sites, but I’m even more excited to learn more about my family’s culture and experience it firsthand!

Harrison Dulgarian


My name is Harrison Dulgarian and I am from Manhattan Beach, California. I study International Relations with a minor in Greek at the University of Alabama. My Grandfather came over to America from Greece in 1959 in order to work and send money back to his family. I am very excited to visit my homeland with fellow Greek-Americans.

Nicole Economides


Nicole Economides was born and raised in New Jersey and just finished her Senior year at Villanova University (Go Cats!). She majored in Accounting with minors in Finance and International Business. On campus, Nicole was involved with her sorority Alpha Phi, the Accounting Society, tutoring off campus and intramural volleyball, as well as closely following the championship basketball team. After graduation, Nicole will be working for Deloitte as an Auditor come October in New York City. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing and spending time with her family and dog Lola.

Alyssa Eliopulos


Hi, my name is Alyssa Eliopulos and I attend Washington State University. I am from Torrance, CA and attend St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach. I was a cheerleader for 8 years, a Girl Scout for 12 years, and have been involved in GOYA my entire life. I completed my Gold Award for Girl Scouts in 2016. I became a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association, taught CPR classes to members of my parish, and raised money in order to buy an Automated External Defibrillator for my church. I love to volunteer at church, especially for GOYA events such as the annual ARC (Association of Retarded Citizens) Dinner, Pediatric Therapy Network Respite Night, and our annual Greek Festival. I particularly enjoy sharing the wonderful Greek culture with various members of the community during the festival. I am so thankful that I got into the Heritage Greece Program and look forward to exploring Greece and my heritage for the first time!

Evangelia (Lia) Frankis


My name is Evangelia (Lia) Frankis and I am from Long Island, New York! I am a rising sophomore in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College studying Finance, Accounting, and Communications! I love playing tennis and hanging out with my friends. At school, I am involved in the Hellenic Society, Boston College TV, a volunteer service group, and a mentorship program. I have been to Greece a few times before and I am super excited to go back this summer, especially with people that have the same love for Greek culture as me! Can’t wait to meet all of you super soon!!

Basilios Frentzas


My name is Basilios Frentzas, and I just graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this May with a degree in Actuarial Science.  When I’m not crunching numbers, I really enjoy listening to music and spending time with others.  In college, I played the saxophone in the jazz bands and studied music with a jazz professor outside of my academic efforts.

Chris Godas


Γεια σας! I’m Chris, and I come from a big Greek family with a restaurant (though it’s not as fun as it seems in the movies). I’m a Chinese major, and thanks to several semesters in China, I speak fluent Mandarin. I have a passion for languages and am always looking to perfect my Greek or begin another tongue. Beyond travelling and restaurant work, I love building an extensive and international friend circle, and one day I hope to professionally pursue a career in the instruction or research of foreign languages and translation.

Evan Goodson


Evan is originally from Slidell, Louisiana, and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona. He has lived in Tucson since he was 7 years old. He is studying Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona, Evan enjoys Greek dancing and competing at FDF, being a Greek musician for over 10 groups at FDF, being in charge of OCF for Southern Arizona, competing in autocross events, and helping on ranches and farms to gain experience for his future! Evan was baptized in Greece, and loves his heritage more than most people think he does! He plays multiple traditional Greek instruments and loves the musical aspect of our Greek culture. He is so excited to be joining everyone in Greece to further his experience in his Greek heritage and making new friends!

Alexis Grias


Hello, my name is Alexis Grias and I am a senior at James Madison University in Virginia! I’m a psych major and plan to work for the government as a psychologist. I love to travel, try new foods, quote my favorite movies, and experience new cultures! I have always dreamed of going to Greece with my father’s side of the family, so I was so excited to be given this opportunity to explore my culture even more. I love anything and everything pertaining to the Greek culture; most of my friends still call me Greek because of it. I’m excited to learn more of the Greek language, try all of my favorite Greek dishes, and I can’t wait to walk on the famous beaches of Greece. Opa!

Amara Grubor


Hello! My name is Amara Grubor. I am 22 years old, and a student the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I am working on completing my major in Communication, minor in Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies with a certificate in Digital Arts and Culture. My three favorite things to do are eat, nap, and exercise! A fun fact is that I was a gymnast my whole life, and I actually went Greece when I was 8 years old. My family and I attended the gymnastics events at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. I can’t wait to experience this amazing country as an adult and drink frappe under the Grecian sun.

Alex Gumas


Hi, my name is Alex Gumas. I have grown up in the bay area surrounded by greek culture and family. My childhood consisted of countless Sunday Greek dinners, lessons from YiaYia and Papou, Greek Easters, and many more events with my Greek family. I am 50% Greek, but that half of my identity means the world to me. I am beyond excited to be accepted by Heritage Greece and to be given the chance to experience my culture first hand. ​

Sophia Heller


Sophia Heller is a freshman undergraduate student at Indiana University Bloomington. She is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lives with her parents and younger brother. Sophia is an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing, and intends to attain a second degree in Computer Science. While not concentrating on her schoolwork, Sophia is an avid reader and seamstress, and frequently participates in musical theater, singing, dancing, and other theatrical performances. She is third-generation Greek-American and is greatly looking forward to learning more about her Greek identity through Heritage Greece 2018. Sophia enjoys cooking (and eating) Greek food with her mother, who is the biggest influence on her Greek heritage. Through her passion for the Classics, Sophia went on a trip with her high school Latin club last summer to visit the capitals of several Scandinavian countries, and is no less eager to leave the country again, now venturing for the first time to Greece.

John Heretakis


Thank you for this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity
So grateful to be a part of Heritage Greece 2018

Marcel Isper


Hi! I’m Marcel and I’m a rising senior at the George Washington University. I’m studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry. I am from Baltimore, Maryland but I’m a first-generation Syrian American with Greek roots! I’m basically a DC native, where I’ve spent most of my life exploring museums and taking trips around the mall. I’m very excited to be a part of Heritage Greece and dance my way through the country with new friends!

Kate Kanavas


My name is Kate Kanavas and I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I currently attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, where I am studying Communication Studies and am thinking about minoring in Modern Greek Studies. I’m the youngest of three siblings and I have two dogs and a cat. I am a member of the Delta Gamma sorority and in my spare time I enjoy reading, walking my dogs, and going to the beach. My favorite place in Greece is the island of Crete (where my family is from), and I look forward to seeing more of this beautiful country and all that it has to offer!

Mary Jacobsen

My name is Mary Jacobsen and I am a junior at University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, where I’m majoring in Geography. I am half Greek and half Irish. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and have lived in Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, but have spent the majority of my time in Jacksonville, FL. I like to play sports, workout, go to the beach, go to concerts, and be with my family. I hope to do a lot more traveling once I graduate and hope I can find a career that allows me to do so.

Adrianna Karalis


Hi! I’m Adrianna Karalis and I am a Junior at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. I am a double major in Mathematics and Secondary Education. Also, I am a part of the National Honor Society for Ancient Greek. I spend most of my freetime as a college cheerleader and with friends. I love traveling, being with my family, and love new experiences. I’m a chronic napper, Netflix addict, and a huge lover of Gyros! I can’t wait to meet you all and learn more about our heritage!

Diana Kawka


Hi, I’m Diana Kawka. I’m from a suburb outside of Chicago. I’ll be a sophomore at the University of Alabama in the fall and I’m majoring in civil engineering with a minor in Spanish and potentially a minor in political science. I plan on going to law school. When I was younger, I went to Greek school, but my family became less involved when I got older. I’m excited to see what I’ve been missing and travel to Greece for the first time!

Arianna Kazemi


Hi! My name is Arianna Kazemi and I am from just outside of Boston. I am a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where I am a biochemistry and informatics double major. At UMass, I am the secretary of the Science Outreach Club which educates K-8 children about the physical sciences. I am half Greek and half Iranian and am looking forward to learning more about my Greek heritage this summer!

Christina Kerner


Christina is a rising senior at Harvard. She grew up in University Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  Christina is a pre-medical student and enjoys creating art, especially drawings and paintings. At Harvard, Christina serves as President of the Hellenic Society and enjoys Greek dancing. Although her Greek heritage has been a major part of her life, she has never visited Greece before. She is very excited to experience Greece for the first time and to meet all of the Heritage Greece students!

Yanni Kevas


My name is Yanni Kevas, I am a sophomore at the University of Maryland from Baltimore, Maryland. I am studying Physiology and Neurobiology, and plan to attend medical school after I graduate. I am also minoring in Greek, so I hope to learn how to fluently speak the language and learn more about my culture. Outside of the classroom, I participate in various pre-med clubs, such as the American Medical Student Association and SHARE (Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment). I also play club soccer on campus, and I have been playing soccer since I was 4 years old, so it has definitely been a huge part of my life.

Georgia Kollias


Hi! My name is Georgia Kollias and I am from Wilmington, DE. I am a sophomore at Tufts University in Medford, MA, studying Mathematics with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (ELS).

At Tufts I am a starter on the DivI Women’s Fencing Team and sing in the Tufts University Concert Choir. I have been fencing for 9 years, having competed in Junior Olympics and National Championships. In addition, I studied classical piano for 13 years and classical voice for 8. In 2015 and 2017 I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall as a part of their Honors Performance Series. What’s more, I picked up the ukulele as a fun hobby.

I am very excited to join the Heritage Greece program! I grew up in a family with two Greek parents, an older sister, and my yiayia. I primarily connected with my Greek roots through dance. I participated in the Pan-Macedonian Greek Dance Troop in Media, PA, my last two years of high school.

I cannot wait for Heritage Greece to give me the opportunity to improve my language skills, immerse myself in my culture, and meet other Greek-Americans just as passionate about their Hellenic roots.

Christiana Konugres


Christiana is honored to be a part of the Heritage Greece Program! Christiana is from Seattle, WA and this fall she will become a registered nurse (RN)! Christiana has made the Dean’s list every quarter, is an active member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, and is the executive assistant of the Student Nursing Organization (SNO) which volunteers with many organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House near The Seattle Children’s Hospital. When she is not studying, she enjoys spending time by the ocean, playing the violin, volunteering annually at various Greek Orthodox-Christian summer camps as a counselor/lifeguard, volunteering at the Seattle Greek Festival, and hanging out with her three younger siblings (who she loves very much!). Christiana is beyond excited for Heritage Greece 2018!

Cody Kuenzler


Hey! I’m Cody Kuenzler from Boston, MA. I am 22 years old and I earned my Bachelor’s Degree at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.

David Lilla


David Lilla is a student at The George Washington University studying Finance and Economics. He is originally from Hershey, Pennsylvania and has lived in many other states across the US. At GW, David is a Consultant for the Community Engagement Consulting Fellowship program and a member of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. David enjoys political discussions, running and traveling.

David is very excited to be a part of the Heritage Greece 2018 program and can’t wait to meet all the other participants!

Katherine Michael


My name is Katherine Michael, and I’m from Potomac, MD. I study Kinesiology at the University of Maryland in College Park, and plan to attend Physical Therapy school after graduation. I’m really interested in health and sports, and have a love for traveling to new places.

Marisa Mortari


My name is Marisa Mortari. I grew up in Minnesota and I currently go to the University of Iowa. I am a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.  Some of my favorite hobbies include Greek dancing, working out, cooking, reading, and going out to eat with my friends. I am so excited for Heritage Greece and I can’t wait to meet lots of new Greek friends!

Christopher Nacopoulos


My name is Christopher Nacopoulos and I’m from Westford, Massachusetts. I am a rising sophomore at Bentley University majoring in Corporate Finance and Accounting. I am a member of Bentley’s Microfinance Group and a stock analyst for Bentley’s Investment Group. I’m active in my Greek community through AHEPA and the Sons of Pericles. I can’t wait to participate in this year’s Heritage Greece program!

Elene Nakas


My name is Elene Nakas and I am a senior studying Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, with a minor in Technology Entrepreneurship. I have been an active member of the Greek Heritage Society on campus, serving as both Vice President and President. On campus, I also serve on the board of the Biomedical Engineering Society and do research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. I have been active in my home parish, Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, MD, by serving as GOYA President, going to Greek school and Greek dancing competitively at FDF. My Greek heritage is integral to my identity and I can’t wait to further explore Greece this summer, while meeting fellow Greek-Americans!

Christina Nastos


My name is Christina Nastos, and I’m a junior at Cornell University studying Policy Analysis and Management. At school, I’m very involved with the Cornell Fashion Collective, a club that organizes the annual fashion show, and the Panhellenic Council, the governing body of Cornell’s 13 sororities. My parents, brothers, and I live on Long Island, and I’m so excited for the Heritage Trip!

James Nigzus


When I was ten years old I found out I had Greek heritage. Ever since then I’ve been trying to learn more about my culture and heritage. When I heard about this program, I jumped at the chance to sign up for it.

Dena Pappas


Dena was born and raised in Houston, Texas and has her degree in Early Childhood Education from Louisiana State University. She has started teaching her first year at Grace School Houston and absolutely adores her first grade students. In between lesson planning and having fun with her students, Dena loves to relax on the beach, spend time with her family, and travel.

Elena Philippou


Hi everyone! My name is Elena Philippou and I am from Walnut Creek, California. As a second-year honors student at California State University Long Beach, I am currently studying Communications and am minoring in Marketing. At school, I am a campus tour guide to prospective students. I enjoy public speaking and being around other people, so this job has taught me a lot. I am also involved in Greek life on campus as a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority. I grew up speaking Greek since my parents are both Greek immigrants, my mom from Athens and my dad from Cyprus. I’m so excited to be participating in this program where I can meet new people and explore Greece!

Christina Poerstel


My name is Christina Poerstel! I am a junior in the honors college at Towson University. I am studying Elementary Education and currently teaching in two third grade classrooms. I have served on the Executive Committee for my sorority Zeta Tau Alpha for the past year. Over the past four summers, I’ve been an assistant swim coach teaching kids 3-18 years old how to improve their swimming skills. I am also a campus manager for a custom t-shirt company University Tees.  I am so excited to make new friends and memories that will last a lifetime on this Greek Heritage trip!

Christian Roumelis


My name is Christian Roumelis and I’m a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin studying Hydrogeology. I’ve grown up in Texas my whole life and I am excited to experience Europe for the first time. I love the environment, playing tennis, reading, and rocks!

Alexandra Sakellos


My name is Alexandra Sakellos and I am a college junior studying Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. I am from Flemington, New Jersey and I attend St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. I love the beach and I am excited for Heritage Greece because I have never been to Greece before! Some things I am looking forward on this trip are traveling to new places, making new friends and learning how to cook delicious Greek food! Some of my favorite Greek foods are gyros, pastitsio and baklava but I love anything that my Papou makes. It is my lifetime goal to learn how to cook like him. I also love dogs and I am hoping to meet a furry friend on this trip that I can bring back home with me!

Joe Sciales


Hey! My name is Joe Sciales and I’m rising sophomore at Brown University, majoring in English with hopes of attending law school in the future. I’m pretty involved in theater and performing at Brown, and I’m also a competitive gymnast. My entire life, I’ve grown up in northern New Jersey, with a half-Greek, half-Italian family. As a kid, I spent my Saturday mornings in Greek school and my Sundays in church. This year, I made the decision to reconnect with my roots and continue learning the language I had started as a child, while simultaneously continuing with italian. I’m super excited for Heritage Greece to take me back to the homeland of my yiayia, and explore my culture!

Elena Sotos


My name is Elena and I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I’m a rising sophomore at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign and I study new media in the School of Fine and Applied Arts. I hope to find an interdisciplinary use for my art that will better society, whether that be through activism, product design or maybe even urban planning! During my free time, I love to read, ride my bike and cook. Growing up in a Greek household has taught me that food brings people together and keeping friends and family close makes everything better. I love my culture and I’m excited to learn more about it at Heritage Greece.

Madeline (Maddy) Szubert


Hi! My name is Madeline (Maddy) Szubert, and I am from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I just completed my second year at the University of Kentucky. I am double-majoring in neuroscience and chemistry as well as pursuing a minor in Spanish. I am on a pre-med track with hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon. On campus, I actively participate in our Orthodox Christian Fellowship chapter. I am also the Fundraising Chair for UK’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. Last but not least, I am a chemistry tutor. I am a Maid of Athena from afar and participated in Assumption’s (Chicago, IL) GOYA all throughout high school. I also participated in the Junior Olympics and choir for many years for my church. I love sports, particularly hockey, baseball—Go Cubs!—and college basketball. In my free time, you can find me binging Netflix, listening to music, exploring new places, or driving around to absolutely nowhere!

Despite being Greek, Polish, and Mexican, my Greek heritage consumes every aspect of my life, so I am super excited to visit the Motherland for the first time and see where my mother’s side comes from and share this experience with new people!

Michael Taormina


Hello! My name is Michael Taormina and I was born in New York City and raised in Oakland, California until I was nine years old when I moved back to Brooklyn, New York. I went to Midwood High School in Brooklyn, and currently I’m an Exercise Science major with a medical sciences concentration at Ithaca College. Some of my passions include playing baseball, playing the saxophone and of course socializing with new or old friends. Most importantly, I am motivated by all of my family to succeed and call upon them for inspiration when I need it. I am really excited to take on this adventure!!

Alex Teplitz

My name is Alex Teplitz and I am excited to be able to travel to Greece between my undergraduate and graduate school. I am 22 and have just graduated from UCF. This is the perfect time in my life to be able to take a once in a life time trip and I know it will be a memorable experience. I hope that one day I may get to live in Greece and hope that this trip can give me feeling of what it may be like.

Kalli Vellis


I graduated from Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA, in 2017. I am currently a student at the University of Redlands and am pursuing a major in biology. In High school, I was on the Woman’s Waterpolo team and the Swim team for four years. I currently am on the Woman’s Waterpolo team for the university of Redlands. I was in Greek dancing and participated in FDF. From my freshman to senior year of high school, I was a Sunday School Teacher for Pre-K and Kindergarten children, at my church Annunciation Cathedral of San Francisco. For the past five years I have been a swim instructor, at Burlingame Aquatic Club, teaching children and adults of various ages how to swim and become a more proficient swimmer. Fun fact about myself is that I have an addicted to Cheese its.

Mary Catherine Vletas


I’m Mary Catherine and I just graduated from The University of Texas at Austin.  I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health. Getting to study sports and health was incredible, and I’m excited to work in the cardiac rehab field where I can bridge my undergrad to my graduate studies. I’m looking at a future of applying to medical school, traveling and maybe rescuing a puppy! I’m a Texas native, originally from Houston, but I love living here in Austin. I am very excited to trade the queso for tzatziki and explore the country that has so profoundly shaped my life.

Isabella Vliss


Isabella is a Greek-Mexican American from Southern California. She is finishing her second year at Irvine Valley College studying, Linguistics & Anthropology and Spanish. At her college, she is a very active student involved in the Honors Program and a Student Ambassador. Outside of class, she is at work either leading a school tour, an art project, or helping with the cultural festivals at Bowers Museum and Bowers Kidseum. She is also passionate about learning new languages and is thrilled to learn Greek this summer (she speaks Spanish and Japanese!). Isabella loves to travel and eat her way through all the different places she gets to visit. She is thankful for the Heritage Greece program giving her the opportunity to visit Greece for the first time in her life!

Kristen Vrionis


Hi! My name is Kristen Vrionis, and I am from the Bay Area. I am a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, where I majored in Industrial and Systems Engineering and also received my masters in Engineering Management. I am excited to return to Greece and learn more about my heritage, and also improve my Greek a little too.

Kasiani Wolfe


My name is Kasi I am currently a senior at Chaminade High School and will be attending the University of Alabama next year majoring in nursing.

Constantina Halakos


My name is Constantina (Dia) Halakos and I am from Wilmington, De. I am a rising sophomore at the University of Delaware where I am studying political science with a minor in communications. On campus, I am on the board for OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) and am Vice President of the Hellenic Society. Outside of school, I enjoy playing tennis and hanging out with friends.

My family’s roots coupled with my love for our culture and faith have inspired me to learn about the nation and the people we call home, and to personally experience it in a way I never have before. Growing up I have been greatly involved with my church community,  participating in basketball leagues and Greek dance. I have learned a lot of the language through church and speaking with family members, especially my parents and grandparents. I am looking forward to Heritage Greece and the opportunity to bond over a shared love and connection to the beautiful nation my family calls home.