Meet the Quest Team!

We are a team of experienced professionals who are passionate about offering international student exchange experiences.

Lisa
Laviolette Stone

President/CEO
Languages: Danish, Swedish

My father was Canadian; my grandparents came to America speaking only French and growing up I thought that was really cool. I was determined to learn to speak French so I could travel to exotic French speaking countries and practice saying merci beaucoup. After visiting relatives in Quebec at age eight, I discovered that Canadians put vinegar on their French fries, yuck- suddenly it was un-cool to learn to speak French. From the mind of an eight year old that made all the sense in the world to me. Since then I have traveled to twenty-five countries, have tried french fries with remoulade, gravy, mustard, cheese, mayonnaise, curry, chili, garlic, au jus, and tzatziki and each time I taste these cultural delicacies, I have the desire to learn the language of that country.

I grew up in Michigan, left home at age twenty and have since lived in California, Denmark, Greece and Washington DC. While living abroad I experienced the amazing differences as well as similarities in people from around the world. Living abroad evoked such a profound change in me that I just knew that I wanted to find a way to give this opportunity to as many individuals as I could~ pay it forward~ so to speak. I have now been pursuing that dream for the last twenty years and cannot imagine my life without international friends, students, travel, languages, cultural awareness and yes, even french fries, which were the catalyst for my quest to learn and explore!

Annie
Liu

F-1 Program Director
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin

I was born in Hong Kong, but my family immigrated to San Francisco when I was one year old. Growing up, TVB (Hong Kong’s main television broadcasting channel) was a primary staple in my family life and I learned how to speak and read Cantonese through watching Hong Kong television. As a child, I always wondered if the images I had of China were faint memories from when I lived there as an infant or if it was something I imagined. My first real experience with China didn’t arrive until I was in middle school, but once I landed in Hong Kong’s airport, I knew I had fallen in love with China.

Even though my area of study is currently bound to the limits of Asia, my love for working with students knows no bounds. While in college, I tutored hundreds of students in East Asian history and Mandarin. After college I worked several years as a college admissions consultant for a private test prep and college admissions company. I also spent a year working in Guangzhou to help Chinese and other foreign students apply to colleges in the United States. I am so blessed to be part of the Quest Exchange team because I can continue to combine my passion for learning different cultures and working with students. I hope that one day I can work with you to bring your study abroad dream come true.

Job Description
I work with the F-1 and ASE programs and oversee the Field Manager and staff. In addition to working with student applications, I obtain school acceptance for our students, provide training for Quest Local Coordinators, and manage school, host family, and student relationships. 

Jeannette
Cooper

Study Abroad Program Manager
Languages: Spanish, French

Growing up in small town Indiana as the daughter of European immigrants, I learned how to be a cultural liaison at an early age. I was always mediating cultural misunderstandings and language barriers. I now view my childhood as the first leg of fieldwork as an amateur anthropologist. I eventually went on to become an official anthropologist by getting an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and a Masters from the University of Chicago.

After graduate school, I worked as an Urban Anthropologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago where I facilitated the Cultural Connections (CC) program. The CC Program connected high school and college students with over 25 different ethnic and cultural communities to facilitate cross-cultural understanding. From then on and for the last 15 years, I have continued to manage youth development programs in the fields of anthropology, environmental education, and urban gardening.

I am thrilled to have landed at Quest Exchange where I can help students explore the world and themselves in different cultural contexts. My study abroad experiences in Australia and Guatemala were some of the most defining periods of my life. My time in each of those countries forever changed who and how I was in the world. These opportunities, along with international trips to various parts of the world, including nine European countries, four Latin American countries, and several countries in the South Pacific and the Caribbean have indeed confirmed for me that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”.

I look forward to working with you and your families to help facilitate your international adventure! I know it will be an incomparable and enriching experience for you and an honor for me to be instrumental in that process!

Sarah
Wondratschek

Operations Manager
Languages: German

When I did my exchange year in the United States in 2007, I fell in love with the country, its culture and people right away. I made experiences for a lifetime and found a second home with my host family, which I was able to obtain until today. Originally, I am from a small town in Germany, not very far from Frankfurt. However, ever since my High School year abroad I have been interested in seeing the world, whether it was Canada, Thailand, other places in the United States and countries all over Europe.

After graduating from High School, I went on to study English and German Studies at the University of Mannheim, Germany and this time has provided me with a strong background in many aspects of different cultures and languages.

It was my mother who started her own student exchange agency when I was about 19 and she was the one who truly got me passionate about this business. During these past years I have been working for her company in Germany and I was able to see a lot of happy students taking on their own adventure of studying abroad and advise them on their way there. It has been very rewarding for me to work with international students from different backgrounds.

Ten years after my first adventure in the United States started, I find myself living in the United States, working for Quest Exchange.  I am very excited to be working with all our partners and continuing my passion for different countries and cultures.

As Manager of Operations, I provide Salesforce and systems support to partners, local coordinators, and school officials. Additionally, I ensure all office and technical operations run smoothly while identifying process improvement opportunities.

Nicola
Van Den Handel

Field Manager F-1
Languages: German, Swedish

Travel is the most intense mode of learning. Growing up in Germany, I was following my father’s advice to travel and learn languages. I followed him on many business trips and at the age of 14 I took my first language class trip to England. I traveled all over Europe and North America and took a trip to Asia. My passion for other countries and cultures influenced my career and I got a degree in Travel and Tourism in Germany. Shortly after that, I moved to England to continue my studies. After living in Sweden for several years and working with High School exchange students I decided to continue my studies in San Francisco and during that time, I traveled around Central America. It was important for me to share my experience with my children and raising them bilingual in German and English; we traveled every year to Europe to explore different countries and cultures. We had two different German Au Pair’s living with us while I was supporting a youth group in the Florida Keys. Having lived in several countries and understanding the languages and cultures early on helped me make friends worldwide. Travel is a great education and I am very excited to work as part of the Quest Team to help exchange students gain a great learning experience.

As the Field Manager for the F-1 inbound program my main responsibilities are to ensure all students are placed and applications are accepted by our schools. Additionally, I provide counseling for students and host families. I oversee local coordinators and work closely with the F-1 Program Director.

Derek
Vallentin

Marketing Intern
Languages: Danish

“To travel is to live” (of the world famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen) is one of the most used and famous quotes in my home country Denmark, and I totally agree. My passion for travelling started at a young age and it’s something which brings me a lot of joy. I feel that to be rich in experiences, learning new languages, cultures and meeting new people, are the best and most rewarding memories of my life, both socially and academically. I like to travel with old friends, classmates and family, but whilst travelling I find it very encouraging also to make some new friends along the way. I’ve been in most European countries, but I’ve also visited countries outside of Europe, such as India, which gave me a most wonderful and culturally rich experience.

My fascination for travelling and living abroad was further developed and started in high school. My international studies class frequently travelled to different European countries. Prior to our graduation we also went on a trip to the U.S. visiting Boston, Washington DC and New York. As my classmates went home I stayed in the U.S. a bit longer, living with some family friends in San Diego. This trip got me excited about the possibility of studying and working abroad. I fell in love with USA and especially the extraordinarily open and friendly-minded citizens whom you meet wherever you go.

I feel this is an exciting opportunity for me to live in San Francisco and be a part of Quest Exchange. As the newest intern, I hope I can make a difference for young people with a penchant for the same foreign adventures I have and knowing this makes it even more meaningful for me.

I am passionate about tennis and soccer which I’ve been playing and coaching for several years. Lately I’ve also worked as a substitute teacher in a high school so I’m used to guiding and working with teenagers. This experience will certainly be a benefit for me when I return to Denmark to pursue my university education in the International Business Program.

Thomas
Enriquez

Social Media Manager
Languages: Spanish

My life motto is, “If you’re not living with nervousness or excitement, then you aren’t really living.” This motto is something that I truly try to live by. My parents introduced me to this quote when I mentioned I wanted to join a studying abroad program at the age of 17. My high school Spanish teacher recommended studying Spanish abroad to so I could improve my Spanish speaking skills and gain the experience of being self-sufficient in a third-world country. At first, I was filled with nervousness and anxiety with the idea of living in Panama, but here I am, four years later, looking back at what an exhilarating experience it was.

I was exposed to new people, food, cultures, and even a completely new school. It was my first taste of the “real world.” I had to quickly learn to step outside of my comfort zone and interact with a new culture. Taking on the experience away from home, encouraged me not only to use my bilingual skills but also enabled me to put myself out there to experience adulthood and life, outside of my daily routine.

I was born and raised in America’s finest city— San Diego, California. I moved out at the age of 18 to pursue my college career at San Francisco State University. Currently, I am enrolled as a full-time college student, while doing an internship at Quest Exchange as a Social Media Manager. My decision to pursue a job at Quest Exchange was because of its mission statement. I want to help young individuals to learn and educate themselves while experiencing a different part of the world.

As a Social Media Manager, I analyze social media in the student exchange industry, develop and post regular social media content, while tracking our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Quest Blog accounts.

Marleina
Rodriquez

Donations & Fundraising Intern
Languages: Spanish

To travel is to expose yourself to new ways of seeing the world. Born and raised in Miami, FL to Cuban parents, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a city that is frequently regarded as being a melting pot of cultures. It was this constant exposure to individuals of different backgrounds and ways of thinking that invoked my passion for travel and learning about the world and its affairs. I majored in International Relations at Florida State University with a specialization in Middle Eastern Studies, Religion, and Policy. Upon graduating, I moved directly to Washington D.C. in order to find opportunities that permitted me to exercise my passion.

Soon after moving, I began working for the Institute of International Education where I helped international students secure admission into American universities, find research opportunities in their field of study, and acclimate to life in the United States. From there, I became the Assistant Director of Growth and Development at the International Language Academy, where I oversaw international partnerships, marketing campaigns, and development efforts. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of Quest and I am eager to assist in their mission.

I am the team leader for the Donations and Fundraising Program. I work to bring awareness of Quest’s mission to individuals and companies who want to pay it forward by giving donations that make a difference.

Brittney
Rodriguez

Marketing Manager Intern
Languages: Spanish

During my summer after the fourth grade, my mother encouraged me to live with extended family in Mexico to perfect my Spanish and learn about my heritage straight from the source.

That summer not only taught me independence but it made me fall in love with the authenticity of the food, the religion, site-seeing, the people and the beach. This sprouted in me a desire to travel and learn about different cultures at a very young age. Each year, for two weeks, my family participates in a program where we host young Chinese exchange students. And each year I cannot wait to show them around my hometown, the capital Sacramento, California.

Now, at twenty-one years old I have been to twenty-one countries and will be graduating from San Francisco State University in May 2018 with a Business-Marketing degree. During my time at SFSU, I was blessed with the chance to study abroad at one of the best Universities in Denmark; Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences. I fell in love with this process and for this reason, I love to promote and market Quest Exchange’s programs. While exploring outside of the U.S. I have seen things and have met people that have given me valuable experiences, now I want to help give others students the chance to globalize and expand themselves with similar opportunities. My passion for non-profits, traveling, and business affairs has lead me to Quest Exchange.

As Marketing Manager, I work with program development, with a current focus on the Study Abroad and Scholarship programs. I create marketing strategies, review industry trends and implement processes that help Quest promote its programs.

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