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.
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 President
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.
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.
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 2022-23
Dr. Athena Hadji is an academic, curator and author. She holds a Ph.D. in archaeology, anthropology and art history by The University of California Berkeley. Her work encompasses a wide range of theoretical approaches and media.
She has lectured and published extensively on prehistoric Aegean sculpture, contemporary street art, urban crisis and its manifestations, receptions of antiquity and the Arcadian ideal, early travelers in Greece, early 20th century trade in antiquities, and idealized versions of the past in cultural heritage management. She has received numerous awards and distinctions as a scholar from, among others, the Fulbright and Onassis Foundations. As a curator she taught at the Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar at Kenyon College.
Her latest novel, The Sea Fled, has been shortlisted for two national awards and received an honorary award from the Municipality of Rhodes. Currently, she teaches History of Art and Architecture at the Hellenic Open University, Urban Anthropology at the National School of Public Administration and is an ISRF Fellow for her Athenian graffiti and street art research project.
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.
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.
Staff Assistant – Safety & Security
Alex 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.
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
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 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
Ana graduated from Lewis & Clark College in May of 2021 where she double majored in International Affairs and Classics. Her enthusiasm for traveling and appreciation for cross-cultural engagement led her to study abroad at CYA in the fall of 2019. Studying in Greece also aligned well with her areas of studies and every day brought her joy, adventure, and new understandings. She left CYA with landmark memories and lifelong friends. When she longs to be back in Greece, she breaks out her Greek cookbook and video chats with the close friends she created there. Ana is excited to work as a Campus Relations Representative and share her appreciation for CYA with other students.
Campus Relations Representative
Samantha Jewell attended CYA in Spring 2021 and Summer Session I 2021, where she studied ancient Greek, art history, and political science, and took part in an archaeological excavation on the island of Despotiko. Though she studied abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic when travel in Greece and Europe was severely limited, CYA still provided her with an incredible experience and lifelong friends. Since then, she has worked as a Student Peer Advisor at the University of California, Irvine Study Abroad Center where she talked frequently with students about studying abroad and worked on the marketing team to provide materials for social media and different events. After graduating from UC Irvine in 2022 with a B.A. in Classics and double minors in Archaeology and Political Science, she is thrilled to be a Campus Relations Representative for CYA and share her excitement for study abroad!
Campus Relations Representative
Jacki studied psychology and classics at Lawrence University from Fall 2019 through Fall 2021, and she is now completing work on her B.S. in Psychology online at Liberty University. She fulfilled her dreams of studying abroad in Fall 2020 with CYA, learning about Greek art, mythology, language, sports, and culture. Jacki describes her time in Greece as one of the best and most transformative times of her life, and she is so excited to continue sharing her love of CYA as a Campus Relations Representative.