Our Team

Sol Abroad recognizes the importance of knowledgeable, friendly, and well-trained onsite staff. Our onsite directors and staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with any needs. The onsite directors will be your program leader and will be there to lead and guide you during your study abroad experience. Our programs also have assistant directors that help manage the programs, especially during excursions and cultural activities. Sol Abroad directors are usually host-country nationals with cross-cultural experience. All of our directors have experience working with groups and have international experience (travel and work) and have studied abroad themselves as students. 

  • Elisha Smith

    Elisha was born and raised in Austin, Texas. Initially enrolling at Texas A&M University to pursue Physical Therapy, she became involved with a group on campus that facilitated events an...

    Elisha was born and raised in Austin, Texas. Initially enrolling at Texas A&M University to pursue Physical Therapy, she became involved with a group on campus that facilitated events and conversation between US and International Students. This was such a great experience that Elisha decided to follow a degree path that highlighted her love for other cultures; she graduated in 2011 with a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Communication and Media Studies. Elisha is also a Sol Alumni! She spent the Spring Semester of 2010 studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. This was one of the highlights of her college experience and she still keeps in-touch with her host family and Oaxacan friends. Her experience ignited a passion to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone and explore another culture. After graduation, Elisha moved back to Austin and worked for a tech startup for a year and a half. She managed recruiting and worked on marketing outreach projects. Elisha joined the Sol Team in May 2013 and is thrilled to have the opportunity to fulfill her passion for helping students go abroad! Elisha spends her free time doing anything active, including half-marathons, pick-up soccer, and dancing to 80?s music in her apartment!
    Email: elisha@solabroad.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elisha.smith.545?fref=ts
    University Attended: Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas)
    Year Graduated: 2011
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Allison Hradecky

    Born and raised on southern hospitality, Allison calls Sugar Land, Texas home. Growing up in a wonderfully large family, Allison fell in love with traveling more and more with each trip she ...

    Born and raised on southern hospitality, Allison calls Sugar Land, Texas home. Growing up in a wonderfully large family, Allison fell in love with traveling more and more with each trip she took to visit relatives and friends all over the country. The idea of studying abroad had always appealed to her, but it wasn’t until her time at the University of Houston did she seriously consider it a possibility. In the fall of 2010, Allison’s Spanish class was visited by Sol Education Abroad and learned about all of their amazing programs and was hooked. That day she went home and decided it was time to step out of her comfort zone and go on an adventure. Before she knew it, she was in Buenos Aires, Argentina having the time of her life. After her three week program had ended, she decided that it wasn’t enough time! That following summer she signed up for another Sol adventure in Granada, Spain. Her time abroad was the highlight of her collegiate experience and opened her eyes to what international travel can teach you. After graduation, Allison worked in the marketing and public relations world for about three years before deciding to follow her passion and pursue a career in international education. She joined to Sol team in the spring of 2015 and is thrilled to help others go abroad, learn Spanish, and have the experience of a lifetime! Allison loves being around water, whether it be at a beach or by a lake, practicing yoga, enjoying a glass of red wine with friends, and trying new foods!
    Email: allison@soleducation.com
    University Attended: University of Houston (Houston)
    Year Graduated: 2013

  • Stephanie Piña

    Stephanie was born and raised in El Paso, TX in a household that always had loud ranchera and balada music since both of her parents are from Mexico and wanted for her to grow up knowing abo...

    Stephanie was born and raised in El Paso, TX in a household that always had loud ranchera and balada music since both of her parents are from Mexico and wanted for her to grow up knowing about her culture. She is the oldest of 3, has a younger sister and brother. She has always dreamed of becoming a Longhorn since she was in the 7th grade and in 2010 she became the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend a four-year university. At UT Austin, she double majored in Government and International Relations & Global Studies, and double minored in Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Studies. During her time at UT Stephanie was involved in many student organizations, work-study, and early onto her academic career she focused on becoming a trilingual by learning Brazilian Portuguese. In fall of 2013, she studied abroad in Porto Alegre, Brazil on an exchange program with UT. She decided to do a semester abroad to better her language skills and become an effective trilingual. She loved it there so much that midway through her program she decided to extend her stay in Brazil for another semester! In the spring of 2014, Stephanie finished her year abroad in Belo Horizonte, Brazil where she was blessed with the opportunity to immerse herself into that region' culture and adapt to the local lingo! Upon returning to the States, Stephanie accepted a position with Study Abroad at UT as a Peer Advisor where she absolutely fell in love with the field of international education. Her experiences abroad and with UT Study Abroad is what ultimately led her to join the Dream Team at SOL upon graduating from UT in the spring of 2015. She is not only thrilled about working with SOL, she is elated to be staying in Austin, but is mostly excited about paying it forward to students who also dream about studying abroad. Stephanie is the biggest dog lover, she has 3 Chihuahua dogs back in El Paso, loves to cook her mom’s Mexican recipes, is a major sports fan (Baseball, Soccer, you name it), and is obsessed with Shakira, Brazilian Sertanejo singer/songwriter Luan Santana, Juanes, and of course, country music. She also loves meeting new people who are passionate about investing in their international education. So if you are one who has never left the country, or if you are looking to going abroad for a third time, Stephanie would love to talk to you today!
    Email: stephanie@soleducation.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010012684118
    University Attended: The University of Texas at Austin (Austin)
    Year Graduated: 2015
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Tanya Galvan

    Tanya was born in Harlingen, Texas. She was raised by her abuelos and spoke only Spanish until the age of five. After moving in with her parents, and attending the first grade she became bil...

    Tanya was born in Harlingen, Texas. She was raised by her abuelos and spoke only Spanish until the age of five. After moving in with her parents, and attending the first grade she became bilingual and learned English. Growing up in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and living only 30 minutes from the Mexico border gave her the opportunity to be constantly surrounded by the TexMex culture. She is the middle child, having an older sister and younger brother. She became a Tía in 2015 and enjoys giving her niece Aggie gear to wear during football season. Tanya is a dog lover with two dachshunds back home named Titan and Hercules, and is hopeful she will gain her mom’s green thumb for gardening, and dad’s aptitude for cars. Her sister was the first in the family to attend a four year university and inspired Tanya to make the jump and leave the valley to attend Texas A&M University. It was there that she became heavily involved with a few on campus organizations focused on helping first generation college students like her. Through these amazing organizations she was able to make her first international trip to Paris, France! She realized that traveling and giving back were two things she was passionate about. During her sophomore year she recognized college was the perfect opportunity to study abroad! She made an appointment with the study abroad office, and ultimately chose to study abroad with Sol Education Abroad because it felt like a personable experience. She packed her bags and headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the summer of 2014. She was able to experience the capital of the country during the World Cup! She quickly learned that Argentine Spanish and empanadas are very different from the ones she grew up with. She became close with her group of companions and professor and still keeps in touch with them. During her time in college Tanya held a variety of jobs from being a server, bus driver, and a personal banker. After graduating with a degree in economics in 2016 she luckily stumbled upon an opening at SOL, and thought that if she had one of the best experiences of her life with SOL, why not work for them? Now she is part of the dream team, and is excited to be able to help students find a way to make their study abroad dreams a reality. During her free time Tanya likes being outdoors, trying new foods, enjoying the music scene in Austin, and loves going to the theatre.
    Email: tanya@solabroad.com
    University Attended: Texas A&M University (College Station)
    Year Graduated: 2016
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Brent Hunter

    Brent Hunter was raised in Brenham, a small town in central Texas. As a high school student he developed a passionate interest in the Spanish language. Beyond his love of language, he also t...

    Brent Hunter was raised in Brenham, a small town in central Texas. As a high school student he developed a passionate interest in the Spanish language. Beyond his love of language, he also took great interest in the outdoors and environmental conservation. As a result of these interests, Brent studied at the University of Texas at Austin, where he double-majored in Field Biology and Spanish Linguistics. He later completed an MBA in International Business at St. Edward's University, also located in Austin. It was not until college that Brent discovered the inspiring possibilities offered by study abroad programs. For his first experience, he traveled to Mérida, Venezuela on a summer study abroad program. Later, he completed his MBA coursework while studying abroad in Costa Rica. He has been hooked on the importance of study abroad ever since! Brent has always enjoyed working with students and is a natural guide. As an Eagle Scout he worked during the summers as a counselor at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Brent has worked for many years now as an overseas program director for student groups in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Spain. He loves sharing unique cultures and places with others. Brent's other interests include hiking, rock climbing, yoga, biking, art, and reading contemporary Spanish literature.
    Email: brent@solabroad.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brentsol
    University Attended: The University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward's University
    Year Graduated: 1998
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Esteban Lardone

    Esteban Lardone was born in Patagonia, southern Argentina. With his mother being a history teacher, Esteban began reading Latin American literature at a very early age, falling in love with ...

    Esteban Lardone was born in Patagonia, southern Argentina. With his mother being a history teacher, Esteban began reading Latin American literature at a very early age, falling in love with his native Spanish language. He was fortunate enough to attend high school in Norway when he moved there with his family. This experience sparked his passion for the outdoors, and he spent most of his weekends exploring the fjords near his home. His last year of high school was completed in Mexico City, and after graduation he spent the summer backpacking and kayaking his way through Baja California. Esteban attended the University of Texas at Austin, obtaining a degree in Management Information Systems. Upon graduating, Esteban worked for several years in the corporate tech environment, but increasing travel to various parts of the globe saw him eventually transition from the cubicle life to pursue a career in study abroad programs. He has worked as onsite directors in all 4 our locations and knows our programs like the back of his hand. Esteban became a study abroad director for Sol Education Abroad in 2005. Esteban has a passion for the Spanish language, loves to rock climb, teaches yoga in his spare time, and helps run a non-profit organization in the coffee growing region of México.
    Email: esteban@solabroad.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/estebanlardone
    University Attended: The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
    Year Graduated: 2001
    Languages Spoken: Portuguese, Spanish

  • Ginger Joyner

    Ginger Joyner was born in Illinois and has lived in many states as well as one station in Jakarta, Indonesia before settling down on Texas for a permanent residence. She obtained her MBA in...

    Ginger Joyner was born in Illinois and has lived in many states as well as one station in Jakarta, Indonesia before settling down on Texas for a permanent residence. She obtained her MBA in Accounting through the University of Phoenix in 2007 while working in the Accounting field for both big and small entities in a variety of industries. In 2010 she started her own bookkeeping business as part of one of her life-long dreams. She now lives with her husband and teenage son along with four wonderful Great Danes in the beautiful hill country outside Austin, TX. For relaxation she likes to ride her motorcycle with her husband, carpentry and read a good book.
    Email: ginger@solabroad.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com
    University Attended: University of Phoenix (Phoenix)
    Year Graduated: 2007
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Hong Tran

    Hong Tran has been running Sol Education Abroad's accounting department since 2005 and is a key member of our team....

    Hong Tran has been running Sol Education Abroad's accounting department since 2005 and is a key member of our team.
    Email: hong@solabroad.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Austin.Dad?fref=ts
    University Attended: The University of Texas at Austin (Austin)
    Year Graduated: 2000
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Raul Garza

    Raul is SOL's creative mind! Our catalogue, our website and our content originates here....

    Raul is SOL's creative mind! Our catalogue, our website and our content originates here.
    Email: raul@solabroad.com
    University Attended: St. Edward's University (Austin)
    Year Graduated: 2001
    Languages Spoken: Spanish

  • Olive

    Olive is originally from Canada but is now a naturalized Texan. Her time abroad prepared her for her role as Chief Morale Coordinator at SOL. Olive’s positive energy and relaxed attitude h...

    Olive is originally from Canada but is now a naturalized Texan. Her time abroad prepared her for her role as Chief Morale Coordinator at SOL. Olive’s positive energy and relaxed attitude help SOL coordinators provide the very best level of customer service on a daily basis. Olive looks forward to meeting you at SOL Headquarters and letting you rub her belly for good luck on your program abroad!
    Email: olive@solabroad.com
    University Attended: University of Texas (Austin)
    Year Graduated: 2010
    Languages Spoken: Spanish