Meet the Team

The Learn International family shares a little about themselves and they would love to hear from you.


Learn director cara simon poses for a professional headshot wearing a brown jacket.

Cara Simon


Co-Founder and COO

Contact Cara for all Student Services, Student Health & Safety, Marketing and Employment

Email: [email protected]

She adores the field of IE and the impact it has on student growth, success and development. Cara is originally from upstate New York, where there are lots of trees and no sky-scrapers. She earned a BA from SUNY Geneseo and then pursued her MSW from Stony Brook University, followed by a stint in the South Pacific. After working as a Wilderness Therapist and Clinical Social Worker, she decided to switch careers into International Education and received her MA in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.

She is currently working on her Professional Certification in International Education from Forum on Education Abroad; an enriching experience, despite training herself to do “homework” again!

Cara lives for travel and exploring new places, cultures, people, which has guided her to live and work in Australia, Honduras and Costa Rica prior to the Republic of Ireland. She loves anything outdoors, a good book, and that she can access Netflix from almost anywhere in the world.
chris lawlor

Chris Lawlor

MSc, MsC

Founder and CEO

Contact Chris for all New Partnerships and Program Development and future customised programs

Email: [email protected]

Chris embraces education in all its forms. He is either building international education programs for Learn International’s partners or enrolling in post grad programs to ‘keep the brain healthy and alive!’. After completing his undergrad with a double major in Archaeology and Geography, he completed a M.Sc. in Sustainable Development which included a multi-country European study abroad trip. 

From that point on, the wanderlust was instilled in Chris and he went on to live and work in international education in New Zealand, Australia, France, USA before returning to Ireland to work with Dublin City University. He undertook a second M.Sc. in Business & Entrepreneurship before starting Learn International in 2013.

Despite the considerable amount of work travel that he does, Chris remains an avid adventurer and jumps at any chance to visit and explore new countries and destinations. He is currently working towards his third Marathon and failing miserably at mastering kite-boarding.

Key People

Aideen learn international emplyee

Aideen Calnan


Executive Assistant

Contact Aideen for general queries

Email: [email protected]

Aideen is originally from Dublin and joined the Learn International team in November 2018 as an executive assistant.  She graduated from Trinity College Dublin in the 90’s and went on to do a Masters degree at Queens University Belfast.  Having worked in Ohio, Northern Ireland and Dublin, she took a few years off to travel and raise 2 beautiful daughters.  Aideen moved to The Cayman Islands in 2014, for the sun, then to Austria in 2017, for the mountains and returned to Ireland in the Summer of 2018, for the good Irish weather!!


Aideen loves meeting and getting to know people from different backgrounds and cultures.  She is also an avid gardener and enjoys hiking in the nearby Wicklow mountains.

Giada Lagana

Giada Lagana


Customised - Faculty-led Programs Coordinator

Originally from Italy, Giada fell in love with Ireland and with Northern Irish history when she was seventeen. She was finally able to move to Galway five years ago and she was awarded her PhD in Political Science in January 2018. Her thesis is entitled ‘The genesis of the Europeanisation of the Northern Ireland peace process’. She started out as an historian, completing her undergraduate studies in modern and contemporary history at the University of Pavia (Italy). She then obtained an MA in International Relations and History at the University of La Rochelle (France).

Giada has always loved learning and teaching people about new cultures and observing cultural awareness grow throughout different  experiences. She invested great time and energy in introducing Northern Irish history in Italy and France and she organized a number of public event and conferences throughout Europe. During her four years in France, she also worked as a tourist guide, translator and groups coordinator in the Basque Country and in the region of Bordeaux.  In her free time, she loves swimming and … crocheting! She knits and crochet most of her own clothes.

learn international logo, 2019 edition. navy background with international colored in pink

Eva Wittenberg


Customised Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator

Eva is originally from Düsseldorf, an art & culture metropolis and fashion city in West Germany. She always enjoyed travelling and got on the airplane to OZ in her early twenties.  After one year of Australian sun she moved to Scotland. She worked as a language assistant and mentor for foreign students and completed her undergraduate studies in Edinburgh Napier University with BA (hons) in Languages and Cultural Studies which included an Erasmus exchange to La Rochelle, West France.

Love brought her back to France and after almost a decade of enjoying la belle vie en France she completed a Masters degree in Training and Educational Programme Management for Ecological Transition and Sustainable Development. Having enjoyed life abroad, she and her husband decided to raise their three kids multilingual in Ireland.

Emmalyne Smith

Emmalyne Smith


Education Abroad Coordinator

Contact Emmalyne for all advising queries related to Dublin City University International Summer School and Freshman Abroad Programs.

Email: [email protected]

Emmalyne is originally from Iowa, a state located in the midwest of the United States. She earned a B.A. from Loras College in International Studies and Music and completed her M.A. at the Institute of Technology Tallaght Dublin.

Emmalyne is originally from Iowa, a state located in the midwest of the United States. She earned a B.A. from Loras College in International Studies and Music and completed her M.A. at the Institute of Technology Tallaght Dublin.

As an undergrad she studied abroad in Ireland for a semester and became highly involved at Loras College as a Study Abroad Ambassador. After her incredible experience studying abroad, she made the decision to return to do a Masters program in Ireland. She recently completed her graduate program in Humanities through IT Tallaght in Dublin.

Emmalyne loves the outdoors and activities such as hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking and much more. Her music interests involve voice performance and playing the piano. She enjoys sharing her favorite experiences and places in Ireland to those making the voyage.  Her experience in international education has encouraged her to assist others on their journey studying abroad.

kristian chervenock

Kristian Chervenock


Relationships Coordinator

Contact Kristian for Outreach in the USA and Existing Partnership queries

Email: [email protected]

Kristian is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, however he has spent most of his life living and working in the US. He completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in International Relations and a post graduate and Master’s degree from Western Washington University (TESOL/TEFL Certification and an M.Ed in Education Administration).

Like so many others in the field of international education, Kristian’s pathway was born organically; spawned from his love for international travel and adventure. He was fortunate to be introduced to travel at a very young age, primarily thanks to his Danish mother who would routinely take Kristian to Denmark for holiday visits with his Viking relatives. His first solo-trip was spent backpacking around Europe immediately after graduation, and shortly after, a year-long visit to Australia where he tried his best to become a real surfer (that never really materialized however). After Australia, Kristian headed off to Japan to teach English—a career and a country that he enjoyed immensely.

After nearly twenty years spent in the dreary Northwest, Kristian (and most members of his immediate family) headed South (to New Mexico) in search of sunnier and warmer climates. It’s safe to say that the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico’s motto) is really more like the Land of Entrapment, because it would take a small army to haul Kristian out of his desert bliss. Where else in the world can you hike, camp, bicycle, swim, and sit around a campfire with a guitar and some good friends ALL YEAR ROUND?

Kristian realized that he needed to find a job to support his hobbies, so he fell back on what he was most passionate about (globetrotting). He wandered into the study abroad office at New Mexico University and ended up spending the next 13 years of his life managing a portfolio of international initiatives at NMSU from study abroad and international student and scholar services to the intensive English program and overseas partnership and business development.  He managed to squeeze another degree too; this time a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction with a dissertation focused on best practices in international student recruitment, enrollment management and retention.

You’ll never know where you’ll end up in life, so don’t pass up the opportunity to throw on that backpack, board that bus or plane, and GET OUT THERE!

learn international logo, 2019 edition. navy background with international colored in pink

Jessica Byrne


Program Development Coordinator

Contact Jessica for program development queries

Email: [email protected]

Jessica’s introduction to International Education came when she started working as an international student mentor in 2010 while studying for her BA in Music & History. She loved the experience and knew that she wanted to make a career in International Education after she graduated. Since then she has worked in both Irish and US universities, study abroad providers, and with international students from across the world.

Having missed out on the chance to study abroad during her degree, Jessica moved to Berlin after graduating where she worked for 18 months, exploring the country on weekends and learning the language. Earlier this year she moved to Reykjavik, Iceland in search of another adventure and colder climate!

Jessica loves to travel and is grateful to have a career which has allowed her to visit countless countries over the years and meet many new people. She is glad she has been able to take her career with her across countries and hopes to welcome many students to Iceland in future!

Learn International

Anna Zlotorzynska

Accounts Coordinator

Contact Anna for all accounts, payments and invoicing queries

Email: [email protected]

learn international logo, 2019 edition. navy background with international colored in pink

Bernadette Silva


Marketing Coordinator

Bernadette assists with graphics and visual communication materials for Learn International. She is the marketing guru. She has a Bachelor of Individualized Studies with specializations in English, History, Digital Filmmaking and Animation/Visual Effects from New Mexico State University

She has also studied at Maynooth University in Ireland and the University of Kent in England and served as a Congressional Page at the U.S. House of Representatives with the 111th Congress. Bernadette also works with Lipstick Angels, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing comfort and dignity to hospital patients

learn international logo, 2019 edition. navy background with international colored in pink

Dave Erbach

MA in progress

Graduate Intern

Dave was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A. He attended the University of Michigan where he completed a BA in History and a Teaching Certification Program. The next three years were spent in Cairo, Egypt where Dave taught high school history at an international school. In addition to teaching, Dave also built an after-school program for middle school students around the three pillars of community service, outdoor adventure, and youth leadership. These experiences led him back to the U.S. to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute. He is currently in the process of finishing that degree.

Dave’s passion is in joining young people on a process of self-actualization, often through international or intercultural experiences. Since graduating university, he has spent his summers leading youth programs both in the U.S. and around the world. He recently returned from one such course in Vietnam. Dave’s dream is to help create study abroad opportunities that are accessible to folks who have been historically excluded from those international experiences that have been so important to him in his life.

As you can tell, Dave loves to travel. In addition to the places mentioned above, he has studied abroad in Rome, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked in the Sahara, traveled around India, devoured street food in Malaysia, volunteered on a farm in Hawaii, and stopped off for quick visits in many other beautiful places. He also enjoys practicing Spanish (pero necesita practicar más), exercising, and taking long walks along the canal.