President and CEO
After completion of his studies at the University of Oklahoma, Greg began his career with international exchange programs. Shortly after his employment began in 1988, Greg was asked to take on the role of President, as he still serves today. Over the years United Studies has seen thousands of students from a variety of countries, successfully complete programs offered through United Studies. Greg has been very involved with the development of international exchange on a global level. Much of his involvement places a focus on the safely, health and welfare for international participants. Greg served on the Board of the Council on Standards for International Exchange and Travel (CSIET). Over his six year term with CSIET, he served on the Executive Committee, Model School Policy Committee, as well as Secretary and Treasurer. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, hiking, running and travel. Greg has three sons and a daughter from Russia.
Program Director, Work and Travel
Samantha Hess came to United Studies in January of 2013 to serve as Program Director for our J1 Summer Work and Travel Program. Samantha previously has 21 years of teaching experience at the Wynne School District in Wynne, Arkansas. She enjoys working with participants from other countries, learning about their cultures and helping them to be successful in their stay in the United States. Samantha holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from Arkansas State University. Samantha has two children and is currently fostering a Min Pin named Daisy.
Director of Student Services, Work and Travel
Marque comes to us with a Higher Education Administration background with a focus on student living experiences and diversity education. After having studied at Truman State as a music major and the University of Denver in college student development, she worked for several public and private universities administering campus living spaces that included event planning; recruiting, hiring, and supervising; as well as, partnering with neighboring departments, such as the International Student Service program.
Director of Student Services, High School Programs
Rene’ began her adult life as a registered nurse. She fell into hosting a French student, and loved helping so much that she began working for the organization. She has been a champion of exchange students almost as long as she has been a parent to her three biological children. Her family is world wide as is her knowledge of all things exchange. Rene’ knows the business and the heart of working with exchange students better than most. Her family has hosted 30 students and all three of her children have been exchange students. She has made exchange her life’s focus. Along with her love of animals and family, exchange students bring her joy. Always on the go, René not only wrangles exchange students, and host families, she wrangles horses and stray dogs. You can contact her to talk about mostly anything. René is also the first point of contact for international partners looking to send students to United Studies.
Director of Compliance, High School Programs
Vanessa’s adventures in international education began with her study of German in middle school, which would eventually lead her to study abroad in Freiburg, Germany. After completing her bachelor’s degree in German and Economics, she worked for the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). She then earned a Master’s degree in Multicultural and Multilingual Education and taught middle and high school English language learners. Vanessa is thrilled to now be facilitating exchanges as part of the United Studies team. She lives with her husband and daughter in the Washington, D.C., area and enjoys reading, dancing, traveling, and dabbling in new languages.
Outreach Director, High School Programs
Heather’s degree in Early Childhood Education has prepared her well for her role as Outreach Director. Knowing how to share with others, appreciate differences, use words when upset and laugh at the silly things has been invaluable as a member of the international exchange community. It is with a sense of joy and community that Heather connects with students, area reps, and those interested in student exchange. She and her husband have one biological daughter and many international children whom they have hosted since 2006. Representing the Mitten State, Heather is happy to be a part of the United Studies team and to continue to expand her knowledge of our world through student exchange.