Our Staff

Melinda Samis | Executive Director

Melinda founded International Summerstays (now ANDEO) in 1981. She has set foot on the soil of many countries, loves being able to read Mexican poets in their native language, and has opened her own home to students from South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Traveling memory: "Being in a small village in France on September 11, 2001 and having all the neighbors stop by to extend their heartfelt wishes for my country."

Kellie Irish | Program Coordinator - Short Term College Programs

Kellie lived in Japan for four years, one of those with a wonderful host family. She has a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a focus on Japanese. Her love of cultures and adventure has taken her to twenty-two countries on four continents. Traveling memories: "Relaxing in a Japanese hot spring during snowfall after a long day of snowboarding; watching the sunrise in the Serengeti."

Rebecca Gundle | Teen Programs Manager

Rebecca got her first taste of international travel at the age of four when her family spent four months in Central America. Ever since then, she has been hooked! After high school, she backpacked through Europe and Southeast Asia and then studied Latin American Studies & Anthropology and Teaching. Before joining ANDEO, Rebecca taught at middle- and high schools. She speaks Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, lived with host families in Mexico and Brazil, and collected passport stamps from twenty-three countries on five continents. Memorable travel moments: “Learning to make tamales from my host mother and host sister in Oaxaca, Mexico; bicycling through the countryside in Laos.”

Hayley Moore | Program Coordinator - Long Term College Students and Volunteer Internship Programs

Hayley discovered her passion for different cultures when she hosted a Turkish student in high school. Since then, she has been to Turkey several times to be hosted by her exchange student's family, and has traveled throughout Cyprus and Jordan. Hayley graduated from Portland State University with a BA in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East, and a minor in Turkish language. She enjoys helping students and families make lasting connections through ANDEO. Favorite travel memories: Learning how to make stuffed grape leaves from my Turkish friend’s mother, using the leaves from their grape vines. Driving along the Dead Sea during a striking sunset, on my way to explore the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.

Annie Leverich | Program Coordinator - Teen Programs

Annie loves to see smiles around the world, and is dedicated to the cause of encouraging international travel. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and French from Grinnell College, and seeks out the fascinating intersection between language and culture everywhere she goes. From southern France to metropolitan Vietnam to the mountains of Morocco, Annie has taken great pleasure in making connections that last and eating just plain old delicious food. Favorite travel memory:  Hiring a friendly and knowledgable tuk-tuk driver known as "Batman" in Battambang, Cambodia, who took us to see the bat caves at Sampeou Mountain. Every evening at dusk, thousands of bats (some locals say millions!) exit the cave in beautiful cloud-like swarms for about 40 minutes to go feed for the evening. Who knew bats could be so elegant? Thanks, Batman!

Maia Erickson | Program Coordinator - Teen Programs

Inspired by her high school foreign language teacher, Maia embarked on her first homestay program at 17 to spend a year abroad in northeast Brazil. Since then, Maia has been fascinated by the power of language study to build understanding across cultures. During college Maia studied French and Arabic and spent several months in another homestay in Morocco.  Maia holds a B.A. in Conflict Studies from Lewis & Clark College, and she is happy to be in Portland helping the next wave of students develop their own love for language and cultural exchange! Favorite travel memory: One day I went with my classmates in Morocco to see a fog-harvesting project in the hills near Agadir.  “Fog-harvesting” is a way to trap fog water in fine nets, making it accessible to communities where other water is scarce.  After spending too long at the site (fascinated with fog!), we were sent bushwhacking down the far side of the ridge to meet our bus. We scrambled through cacti and spiky argan trees, all of us tired and dusty, while our guide glided ahead wearing a full three-piece silver suit and spotless snakeskin shoes -- never once breaking a sweat! 

Julie Padbury | Local Area Coordinator  - Tigard/Tualatin/Sherwood areas

Julie has a BA in Liberal Arts from Portland State University. She studied French and German at Oregon State University, and is currently learning Spanish. After high school she toured as a performing artist with Holiday on Ice International in Europe, which took her to Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, England, Wales, Czechoslovakia, Spain and Italy. She has 4 children and has hosted students from France, Italy, Spain and Japan over a span of 14 years, starting when her kids were just 2, 3, 4 and 5 years old. Most memorable travel moment: "My fellow ice-skaters and I were walking the back streets of Tours in France after a long show day. We met some locals who wanted to know why we were in town. They didn’t understand “ ice-skating with Holiday on Ice” in French…but then I saw a L’Espoir newspaper on the cobblestone street that just happen to have an article about our show and full spread of pictures of us in full costume and ice-skates on the back page. It was quite the coincidence, as we didn’t even know the press had been covering our show. I still have that newspaper today!"

Emily Greenblatt | Programs Associate - Teen and College Programs

Emily earned her MA in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and she is happy to be living back in her home state of Oregon. Emily has lived in homestays across  Asia, Europe, and Latin America. She has traveled abroad as a study abroad student, a program volunteer, an exchange worker, and a backpacker. When Emily’s not playing matchmaker among students and families at ANDEO, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and planning her future travels! Favorite travel memory: "Being sent off from the train station at the end of my homestay as a high school study abroad student in Spain. I waved goodbye as my Spanish host family and about twenty of my Spanish and international friends waved back and cheered.”