CYA Administration Staff are always available to offer an outstanding level of support and encouragement to each student, from first contact to delivery of final transcripts and continuing on through their alumni status. 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.
Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees
Alexis Phylactopoulos has been at the helm of CYA since 1986, originally as its Director and later as President. In his new position of Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees as of July 2023, he will offer support and advise to the new President of CYA, with whom he will jointly design CYA’s strategic goals and vision. As Executive Chair, Alexis Phylactopoulos will maintain his presence at CYA, functioning as the public face of CYA and representing the institution in Greece and abroad.
Mr. Phylactopoulos’ first degree is from the University of Athens and his post-graduate degrees from Princeton University and the University of Cambridge. His specialization is the Law of the Sea. He has served as Director of Press and Information Service of the Greek Embassies in Washington D.C. and Mexico City. He is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Athens College, member of the Board of Directors of the Greek Archaeological Society, Secretary of the Board of AAECG (Association of American Educational and Cultural Organizations of Greece), member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and member of the General Assembly of EUASA (the European Association of Study Abroad). He is also President of the Princeton Alumni Club of Greece, and has served as a Board member of companies and educational institutions.
Theoni Scourta has ten years of experience at CYA, having served with great success as Academic Director since 2013 and, more recently, as Executive Vice President and Head of Academic Affairs. She was appointed President of CYA effective July 2013.
Theoni Scourta was born in Patras, Greece. She is an art historian with a research interest in contemporary art. She received an MA from California State University, Los Angeles, in Art History and another MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Indianapolis. She has taught for more than 25 years in the US and Greece. She served as an assistant to the head of the Greek EPP-ED delegation to the European Parliament in Brussels for five years, after which she returned to Athens to head the academic department of AKTO Art & Design College before joining CYA.
Executive Vice President for 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.
Assistant to the Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees
Elina 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.
Assistant to the President
Sofia holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Education, and Psychology from University of Ioannina. She has also received a B.A. in English Language and an M.A. in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, from the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens. Sofia has worked as an English language teacher and as a tutor to university students. She joined CYA in 2023.
Director of Studies
Dr. Angelos Papadopoulos was appointed Director of Studies effective July 2023.
Angelos Papadopoulos has been teaching at CYA since 2013. He holds a BSc in Archaeology from the University of Bournemouth and an MA in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. After receiving his PhD from the University of Liverpool he was employed by the Department of Antiquities in Cyprus.
His research interests focus on the prehistory of the Eastern Mediterranean, especially the interconnections between the Aegean, Cyprus and the Levant, Bronze Age iconography, warfare and burial practices, while his publications focus on the above topics.
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.
Academic Advisor 2023-24
Rosa Vasilaki holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Bristol (UK) and a PhD in History from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France). She has taught history and sociology on undergraduate and postgraduate level and conducted research in a number of universities in Greece, Israel and the UK.
Rosa Vasilaki has been teaching at CYA since 2019.
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Front Desk Coordinator
After a career in Travel and hospitality where she worked for companies such as Thomas Cook, Aegean Airlines, GulfAir, Travelport, Classical Hotels, to name a few, Maro Georgoutsou joined CYA in Summer 2022 as Front Desk Coordinator. Her people skills and vast knowledge of Greece make her the ideal person to welcome our students and our visitors and help them with any questions about their everyday life in Athens and Greece in general.
Human Resources Coordinator
After following a successful career at “Hygeia” Hospital, Katerina joined CYA in 2022, as Coordinator of HR. She has a Master’s degree in Health Unit Management, from Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), with a focus on performance evaluation. With a deep understanding of emotional communication and a track record in navigating challenging situations, Katerina brings a unique skill set to the CYA team.
Staff Assistant – Safety & Security
Alex Makropoulos holds a BA in Sociology from the American College of Greece (Deree) and an MA in International Human Recourses from the University of Northampton, UK. Alex has worked with CYA through the years, starting as a part-timer while he was still a student. He has worked for multinationals and at the U.S. Embassy in Athens in various clerical & administrative positions and he has volunteered at the municipality level on educational projects for K-12 students of underprivileged families.
Alex’s current duties at CYA involve emergency communications, safety and security. He is also one of the field study group leaders.
Staff Assistant – Student Records
Anthi Papageorgiou 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 and has worked in various positions of the organization. She is currently assisting the Registrar, and is responsible for student records. Her responsibilities include the creation and update of physical and digital academic records, and the generation of academic timetables, schedules, and reports. She also participates regularly in the field study trips as a group leader.
Staff Assistant – Library
Yiota Vouzna studied Photography and Video Arts in Athens. She enjoys a challenge, a trait evident in her print, advertising, web and publishing work which spans 21 years. She lived in London for three years where she worked for asos.com as a Catwalk Video Producer, Stills Photographer, and Image Editor. Yiota cooperates with G Design Studio, an award winning design consultancy based in Athens, specializing in commercial photography. She has been a member of the Choir of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) since 2013.
Yiota joined CYA in 2010 where she works as an assistant librarian and a field study group leader.
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.
Vassilis 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.
Spiros was born and raised in Corfu, Greece. He holds advanced degrees in Graphic Design and Illustration from Middlesex University and AKTO Art and Design College. Spiros joined CYA as an award-winning digital designer with over 20 years of experience in the field. His many skills include web design, logo creation, advertisement development, and both industrial and fashion design.
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.
Educational Travel & Short-Term Programs
Short Term Programs Manager
Vasso Matrakouka was born and raised in Athens. She studied Travel and Tourism Management in the School of Tourism in Anavyssos, Greece. She also holds a B.A. in Human Communication from the University of Indianapolis Athens Campus. After working for several years in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry in Greece and Europe, Vasso joined CYA in 2011 where she is managing the Short Term Programs Department coordinating field study, summer courses as well as faculty led programs.
Short Term Programs Coordinator
Vassilis 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.
Short-Term Project Administrator
Evgenia Ghizas was born in Germany and grew up in Toronto, Canada where she studied environmental geography. She worked many years in the finance area of a major Canadian bank before returning to Greece in 1991. While in Greece, she worked in finance and her last position before joining CYA in 2015 was Controller and Bursar at the Athens Campus of the University of Indianapolis.
Short-Term Project Administrator
Sophia Dede was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She has graduated from the department of Turkish and Modern Asian Studies of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and holds an M.A. in Mediterranean Studies from the University of the Peloponnese. With a strong academic foundation, she transitioned into the role of an accomplished administrative professional with extensive work experience focused on education and tourism.
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. Ms. Malliou has a B.A. in Accounting from the Pireaus Technical Institute and an MA in Banking from Hellenic Open University.
Vana Bika joined CYA in 2001. She holds a B.A. in Accounting from the Technological Education institute and she also received a BA in Business Administration from the University of Piraeus while working at CYA.
Housing & Catering
Housing and Catering Manager
Born and raised in Athens, Olympia has received a BA in Sociology from Panteios University and a Master’s in Philosophy from the University of Athens. She currently studies Body Psychotherapy and Psychology through the University of Strasbourg. Olympia had been working with study abroad programs as Housing Manager and Student Advisor for more than 7 years before joining CYA in January 2022. She has also served as special advisor to the Greek Secretary General for Civil Protection.
Housing Dept. Assistant
Housing Dept. Assistant
Makis Kypriotis spent his teen years between South Africa, Greece, and the U.S. He relocated from New York in 2021 to join CYA. Makis is a certified electrician by trade and a perfectionist by nature.
Director of Strategic Planning
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)
Student Affairs Advisor
Jennifer Holland helps students with any personal problems they may encounter. Whether you are having difficulties with roommates, adjustment problems, homesickness, or just want someone to share your excitement with, she is available to discuss personal or sensitive issues in private, and in general to give encouragement and help. Born in New York, Jennifer is a CYA alumna who joined the staff in 1999 and now lives in Athens with her daughter Anais.
Student Affairs Advisor
Angela Kouvara was born and raised in Athens. After studying Greek Literature in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, she got her MsC in Cultural Organization Management. She has worked for many years in the Communications Department of several cultural institutions and publication houses. As a part of the Student Affairs Department, Angela is looking forward to sharing with the students her enthusiasm about Greek culture and civilization, as well as helping them get the most out of their stay in Greece!
North American Office
Associate Director – North America
Rachael Bittick (CYA Fall ’17)
Rachael Bittick joined the CYA North American team in May 2021. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, she dove head first into exploring Student Affairs within the field of Higher Education. As an enthusiastic and passionate Fall ’17 alumna, she proudly represented CYA as a Campus Representative during our Fall 2019 fair season. She is thrilled to be back in the CYA family and is looking forward to working with students as they prepare to embark on their study abroad adventure!
Bursar and Manager of the North American Office
Social Media Coordinator – North American Office
Marisa Hopwood joined the CYA team in November 2021. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Smith College with a minor in Film and Media Studies. This led her to a career in social media management where she spent her first few years working in the entertainment industry. Studying abroad was one of Marisa’s most transformative college experiences, and it created a passion for the conjunction of travel and higher education. Marisa is thrilled to bring her social media talents to CYA and help students experience similarly life-changing adventures abroad.
Student & University Relations Coordinator
Annie Dawson joined the CYA team in August 2022. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Community Psychology at St. Cloud State University, Annie pursued her passion for higher education and international education while obtaining her Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Student Affairs at Fort Hays State University. Having spent the summer after her first year of college in Alnwick, England, Annie discovered how impactful an international experience in college can be. She has worked in the study abroad field since returning from England and is excited to continue working with students who want to explore the world with CYA!
Campus Relations Representatives
Campus Relations Representative
Tessa studied Classics and Psychology at Lewis and Clark College, where she participated in a faculty-led CYA program in Fall 2019, and later, after graduation, the summer excavation program in June 2021. The hands-on experience of her CYA programs proved to be the most beneficial and enjoyable part of her academic studies, and encouraged her to pursue her master’s degree. She completed her master’s in Classical Art and Archaeology at King’s College London in 2022. Tessa’s time with CYA created amazing memories and lifelong friendships, and she is excited to share her passion for study abroad as a Campus Relations Representative.
Campus Relations Representative
Hannah graduated from Haverford College in May 2023 where she studied Classics and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her love of travel and Greek history led her to CYA which allowed her to study abroad in Athens in spring 2022. The incredible opportunities that CYA provides academically, socially and culturally fostered lifelong friendships and irreplaceable memories that she hopes to help current students achieve as a Campus Relations Representative.
Campus Relations Representative
Leighton Young attended Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, from 2019 to 2023, majoring in Government and Classical Civilization. At Colby, he managed the student-run Mary Low Coffee House and was the student director of Colby’s Orientation program in 2022. He attended CYA in the spring of 2022, where he studied Ancient History, Sculpture, Archaeology, and Modern Greek. Studying at CYA allowed him to further explore his academic passions as well as connect to his cultural roots as a Greek-American. To this day, he continues to connect and travel with the life-long friends he made in Greece. He is extremely excited to carry over his passion for working with students and advocating for international education as a Campus Relations Representative!