Meet the Staff
CYA staff are always available to offer an outstanding level of support and encouragement to each student, from first contact to delivery of final transcripts. Counselors and advisors are on hand to both help students with problems and organize engaging extra-curricular activities. All staff have an open-door policy and take pride in living up to the Greek tradition of hospitality.
Alexis Phylactopoulos is responsible for the overall direction, operation, and development of the International Center for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies (DIKEMES) and College Year in Athens. Mr. Phylactopoulos (Mr. Phyl) earned his first degree from the Law School of the University of Athens and his post-graduate degrees from Princeton University (The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs), and the University of Cambridge (Wolfson College). In his professional career, he first served as a diplomat for the Greek government in Washington, D.C. (1976–1981), where he directed the Greek Embassy’s Press and Information Service. He subsequently served in the same capacity in Mexico City (1981–1984). Upon returning to Athens, he served as Director of External Relations at the Federation of Greek Industries. He assumed the Directorship of College Year in Athens in 1986.
Assistant to the PresidentElina studied Mass Media and Communication at the National University of Athens and at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, where she received an M.A. in Communication.
She has worked in publications and electronic media since 1998. In her most recent job she was the Editorial Coordinator of the Greek Edition of National Geographic. Elina joined CYA in 2016.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Theoni Scourta was born in Patras, Greece. She is an art historian with research interest in contemporary art. She received an M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles in Art History and another M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Indianapolis. She has taught for more than 25 years both in the US and in Greece. She served as advisor to the head of the Greek EPP-ED delegation to European Parliament in Brussels for 5 years, after which she returned to Athens to head the academic department of AKTO Art & Design College. She joined the CYA administration in spring 2013.
Registrar - Fundraising Officer
Maria Tshahas was born in Ikaria, Greece but grew up in Northwest Indiana. She received an MS Ed from Indiana University Northwest. She taught in the US before moving back to Greece in 1999 and started working at the University of Indianapolis, Athens Campus as an Admissions Officer and Registrar. She joined CYA in 2014.
Georgia Katsarou joined CYA in 2006 and is responsible for all library activities. She received her B.S. in Librarianship in 2001 from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens and her M.S. in 2005 from the University of Aberystwyth. In 2015 she was trained on Managing Archival Photographs through distance learning by the Archives Association of British Columbia.
Despina Iosif is a historian of theology. She received a BA in History and Archaeology and an MA in Ancient History from the University of Crete and a PhD in Early Christianity from University College London. She conducted her post-doc on Late Antiquity at the University of Thessaly and research on Monotheism at the Fondation Hardt in Geneva. Among her academic publications are the following books: Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service, (Gorgias Press, 2013), Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, (Katarti, co-authored with M. Triantafyllou, 2008) and The Byzantine Empire, (OTEK, 2008), and articles: ''Augustine on Religious Coercion'' in Augustine. Literature in Context, (Cambridge University Press, 2017), ‘“Early Christian Aloofness and Participation in the Pagan World”, in Cults, Creeds and Identities, (Peeters, 2013), and “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Illness as Demon Possession in the World of the First Christian Ascetics and Monks”, (Mental Health, Religion and Culture, Routledge Journals, 2011). She has taught at University College London, University of Komotini, University of Crete and University of Zaragoza. She presently also teaches for the Hellenic Open University.
Read her full CV
Vice President of Administration
Peggy Myresiotou was born in Athens. After studying business administration and travel & tourism, she worked as an accredited travel agent in New York City for 15 years. Returning to Greece in 1991, she served as Human Resources assistant for a U.S. multinational corporation and subsequently as assistant to the managing director of a Greek bank. Ms. Myresiotou joined CYA in November 2003.
Strategic Planning Manager
Popi Triantafyllidou was born in Athens. She received her B.S. in Business Administration specializing in Management and Computer Programming. She joined College Year in Athens / DIKEMES in 2011, with over 20 years of experience in multinational environments.
Jennifer Holland (CYA '99)
Jennifer Holland assists students at the front desk and organizes students` social activities and events. Born in New York, she is a CYA alumna. Ms. Holland joined the staff in 1999 and now lives in Athens with her daughter Anais. She is currently working on a Masters in counseling.
Project Administrative Assistant
Staff AssistantAnthi studied Mass Media and Communication at the National University of Athens. She worked for several years in polling companies as administrative assistant and as an editor of various news websites. Anthi joined CYA in 2013.
Executive Director of Student Affairs
Nadia Meliniotis is in charge of Student Affairs. After completing the German High School in Athens, she attended Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations. She received her Master’s Degree at La Verne University (Athens branch) in Counseling Education/Education–Special Emphasis. Mrs. Meliniotis joined CYA in 1989 and deals with students’ welfare, concentrating on the interpersonal, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, recreational, and health aspects.
Housing / Food
Director of Housing and Catering
Popi Baloglu supervises the dining room and is responsible for the general maintenance of the CYA apartments. A Greek who was born in Istanbul, Ms. Baloglu also lived in South Africa and the United States. She studied engineering drafting and worked as a draftsman for eight years. She came to Greece and joined CYA in 1988.
Housing & Catering Assistant
Educational Travel & Short-Term Programs
Short Term Programs Coordinator
Vasso Matrakouka was born in Athens and studied travel and tourism. She also has a B.A. in Human Communication from the University of Indianapolis. After working in tourism in Greece and Europe, Vasso joined CYA in 2011 where she is responsible for coordinating field trips and 3rd party customized programs.
Short Term Programs AssistantVassilis was born in New York, USA, and holds a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management from the Technological Institute of Thessaloniki. He has experience in the travel and tourism industry working for tour operators and hotels. Before joining CYA in 2015 he worked for Delice Hotel Apartments where he held the position of reservations executive for 10 years.
Maria Malliou joined the DIKEMES/CYA family in 1995 as an accountant and currently deals with financial affairs. She was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where she lived before her family moved to Athens. In 1996 Ms. Malliou received her B.A. from the Pireaus Technical Institute Accounting Department.
Development OfficerVassilis Simopoulos was born and raised in Athens, Greece, but holds dual citizenship in Greece and the United States. He received a BA degree in Communication from the University of Southern California and a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Government from Harvard University. His professional interests focused in various service and non-profit organizations in the public as well as in the private sector when he served in the Hellenic Government first as a Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Lifelong Learning and afterward as Head of Communications at the General Secretariat for Youth. In 2015 he returned to the private sector where he served as Project Manager for the non-profits Lascaris foundation and HOPEgenesis NPO.
Social Media Coordinator
Sofia Stavropoulou was born in Greece and studied Painting and Printmaking in Scotland, at the Glasgow School of Art. Sofia coordinates CYA’s social media outlets. As a part of the CYA MediaLab team, she is interested in sharing all the fantastic things that happen at CYA.
Digital Content CoordinatorTina holds a BA in Business Administration from the Technological Institute of Athens and an MA in Marketing Communications from Bournemouth University. She has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing positions in Greece and the UK. She has experience in digital marketing, event organizing and public relations.
Associate Director of AdministrationIsabelle Bitman joined the CYA team in July 2018 after completing a year traveling and working in New Zealand. She is a strong advocate for study abroad and studied abroad for four semesters (in England, Italy, and South Africa) while completing her Bachelor’s degree. In 2015, Isabelle completed her Masters in International Educational Development with a focus in Higher Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. In her position as Associate Director of Administration, Isabelle is the primary study abroad liaison and university relations point-of-contact.
Campus Relations ManagerAlexia Lingaas is a strong advocate for international education and studying abroad. While pursuing her Bachelor's in International Affairs at Northeastern University, Alexia had the opportunity to study abroad in Greece, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Morocco. Following her abroad experiences, Alexia pursued her Masters in International Higher Education also at Northeastern. She joined CYA in 2016 and is responsible for CYA's outreach efforts at US Colleges and Universities.
Senior Coordinator of Student RelationsGrace Twardy joined the CYA team at the Cambridge office in September 2017. Grace advises students from the point they express interest in CYA until they depart for Greece, addressing issues related to: program inquiries; application procedures; visas; and pre-departure. She also provides support to our outreach efforts on U.S. campuses. Grace holds a Bachelor's in Global Studies & Spanish from Providence College and has studied abroad in Nicaragua, Tijuana, and Seville.
Administrative Support CoordinatorHailey Lovett joined the CYA North American team in May 2018. She graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. While pursuing her degree, she studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland focusing on international business. Upon returning, she joined Providence College's Global Ambassador program and worked in the Center for International Studies. Hailey has traveled throughout Ireland, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom. She is excited to be a part of CYA students' study abroad experience and to be working with the CYA Ambassadors!
Erica Huffman (CYA '93)
Director of Alumni Relations
Erica Huffman (CYA ’93) is a native of Portland, OR, and graduated from Whitman College in 1995 with a degree in History. She has traveled to Australia, Fiji, American Samoa, Turkey, throughout Europe and the former USSR and has lived abroad in New Zealand, Guatemala, and Athens. She joined CYA staff in Athens in 1997 and later transferred to the North American Office where she has held several positions. Currently she is Director of Alumni Relations and is responsible for the Class Agent Program, updating and tracking alumni information, the alumni newsletter THE OWL, reaching out to alumni and organizing alumni events.