About Pan Atlantic
Our sister organization, Pan Atlantic Exchanges, specializes in international exchange programs for university students, and recent graduates who are non-US citizens. It shares our mission to create cultural experiences of the highest quality for our program participants.
Our senior staff are listed below, but we are supported in addition by volunteers, host families, and Area Representatives who share our vision and contribute mightily to our mission.
Spencer Jones, President
Spencer is a product of high school exchange. He was an exchange student in Bormio, Italy in 1978, in Santiago, Chile in 1981, has been a host father to a student from Madrid, Spain in 2010, and has a son who was an exchange student in Madrid, Spain in 2011. Before joining Pan Atlantic Spencer worked at CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange. During his nearly 8 year tenure at CIEE Spencer was responsible for diverse operational divisions, creating significant growth in areas such as High School and GAP year, Teach Abroad, Undergraduate Study Abroad, Enterprise Foundations and Insurance. Prior to CIEE, Spencer held leadership roles at a variety of firms in the United States and Latin America. He is a graduate of Williams College. He and his wife are the parents of four somewhat adult sons.
Vickie McCormack, Vice President
Vickie started traveling at a young age, as part of a military family, spending most of her youth moving to new states or countries. She understands what it is to be the new kid in school and has a special appreciation of how to support our students. Prior to coming to Pan Atlantic Foundation she spent 12 years at CIEE as the head of their High School division. In addition to CIEE she has experience with both youth and senior educational travel programs with long term positions at EF Educational Tours and Road Scholar. She holds a degree in Foreign Affairs and speaks fluent Spanish and lives in Maine with her twin daughters and husband. International exchange is not something she only believes in, it is in her blood. Her work at Pan Atlantic allows her to play a small part in making the world a more peaceful place and for this she is honored.
Laura Whelan, Senior Director
Laura is from a small town in upstate NY, a place she never thought she would leave until she began her international adventures in college. She studied abroad in London, England in 1997 and Belize City, Belize in 1998, and has since traveled to 27 different countries. She has hosted students from Thailand, Germany and Tunisia. Before joining Pan Atlantic, Laura was the Director of the High School Program at CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange for over 10 years. Prior to joining CIEE she was the Assistant Director of Youth Leadership and Peace-building Programs at SIT, a leader on the Child Labor Education and Action project, and a volunteer in Lima, Peru with Accion por los Ninos as an advocate for the rights of working children to have access to education, health care and judicial recourse. Laura holds her M.A. in International Education Non-profit Management from the School for International Training. She currently lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and two young children.
Jacki Hartford, Director
Jacki was born in New Jersey, but raised in the heart of the Midwest and currently works from a field office outside of Kansas City, Kansas. She has spent over a decade working in student exchange. However, she spent many years working in the areas of administration and banking, before finding her passion in the field of international cultural and educational exchange. Beginning as a host family, she has gone on to host 14 young people, whom she now calls family, from all over the world. After witnessing the impact these young people had on her family, schools, and community she joined the staff at CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange. Following her start as a Local Coordinator. She moved on to the positions of Regional Director and Director of Training. She has worked Pre-Departure Orientations for students and their natural families in Europe, has participated in conducting Orientations in the United States, and has overseen hundreds of student placements with families throughout the United States. She attended Johnson County Community College and is a proud grandmother of one and mother of two married sons.
Angela Manetta, Senior Regional Director
Angela was brought up in Louisiana where food, music, and culture are a big part of life. Three of her favorite things. Living abroad after joining the USAF further deepened that love of learning about other cultures. Thus, the journey began 20+ years ago to immerse herself into the field of student exchange. She has worked at CIEE in Portland, Maine and Greenheart International in Chicago, Illinois. She has been a host for over 20 international students from around the globe. Her love of travel has afforded her to visit more than 20 countries while stopping to say hello to some of her former students. Angela has 6 children and all but one has traveled, studied, or lived abroad. The youngest can’t wait to travel! She resides in Texas with her husband. She loves cooking and is especially fond of trying new international recipes. Changing people’s worldview one hosting experience at a time is her goal and desire to share what has been so freely given to her.
Zhenya Soshnikava, Program Coordinator
Zhenya is originally from Belarus. She attended High School in the United States and knows everything about being a new student at a new school in a new country. Zhenya graduated from the City University of New York with a degree in Organizational Psychology. She spent some time traveling to new places like Barbados and Israel after graduating from school before she accepted the job with CIEE: council on international educational exchange as an Enrollment Coordinator. There she spent 5 years making other people’s dreams come true aka issuing travel documents to the participants. In the course of her career at CIEE, she became an advocate for international education seeing as to how it changed people’s lives including her own. Zhenya is passionate about our exchange students and is committed to provide the best experience for their exchange year. She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband-to-be and Bear, the cat.
Allison Nichols, Regional Director
Allison has worked with Pan Atlantic from day one as an Area Representative. She brings with her a wealth of experience in direct sales as well as several years of experience in the exchange industry. Professionally trained as a nurse, she also brings the compassion needed for that role into her role as a Regional Director. She worked in a busy Emergency Department for over 20 years where she served a diverse population due to the robust international program at the University of Kansas. She assisted her husband, Stan, who was a youth pastor in supporting/coaching teenagers and their families. She has traveled within the U.S. and overseas as a volunteer doing ministry work and regularly interacted with people from varied cultural backgrounds. She lives in Missouri, is a happily married mother to three adult children and “Yaya” to two precious grandsons. Allison believes that people and holidays should be thoroughly celebrated, is a reluctant dog mom and makes a mean lasagna. She is enthusiastic and passionate in her support of exchange students, host families and Area Representatives. She truly believes her work allows her to make the world a better place, one student at a time!
Megan Nichols, Field Support Coordinator
Megan is a Kansas girl transplanted to the wonderful state of Missouri! Although reluctant to make the move initially, she can’t imagine life outside of the Show Me State! Megan was homeschooled most of her academic journey until attending college where she studied Floriculture and Horticulture Design. It didn’t take long to realize that though she enjoyed the creative outlet of floral arrangements, she didn’t see herself making it a career. After a few years of working various jobs gaining experience, she was hired as the Assistant to the CEO at a local ministry/nonprofit in Missouri. It was during her time with this organization that she found her true niche: administrative work. Megan spent the next four years honing her new-found love of spreadsheets, project management, event planning, and learning all the ins and outs of being an admin. Yep, she really does weirdly enjoy it all! As her time with the ministry came to an end, she started exploring other opportunities and came across an opening at Pan Atlantic Foundation that was in need of a Megan-sized filling! When she’s not giddily tracking data on spreadsheets or crafting social media graphics for our students, you can find her eating tacos, thrifting with her mom and sister, playing board games with her son, watching reruns of her favorite shows, or inhaling iced coffee. She’s left-handed, quick-witted, can wiggle her ears, and creating elaborate Halloween costumes for her son is her superpower!
Macia Kemper, Regional Director
Macia lives on a farm in NW Missouri with her husband Pete where they raise corn, soybeans and hay. Along with the row crop they raise cattle. She is the mother to six adult children who are spread out around the United States. She enjoys visiting them when she can, traveling, walking with friends, and reading. She is also Mimi to one grandson with another on the way.
In 2014 after reading a Facebook post about Rose from China she discovered the passion of international exchange. Rose came to her small town and her mission of bringing the world to rural America began. After Rose returned to China there have been over 100 exchange students in the NW Missouri area from all over the world. She comes to us from CIEE where she was a host mom, local coordinator, and Regional Director. As a Regional Director, Macia has managed and developed several states in the Midwest. She is proud of having the top placing team for multiple years.
Macia is excited for this new chapter with Pan Atlantic Foundation and is looking forward to continuing doing what she loves, changing people’s lives by exposing them to world cultures through international exchange.
Katie Wheatley, Program Coordinator
Katie lives in a beautiful small town in Kentucky with her husband and 2 dogs. She loves the outdoors and enjoys camping, hiking and being on the lake. She became involved with exchange by first becoming host parents, but it ended up being so much more. Their first experience as host parents changed them and they began to see the world differently, they found a passion for culture; learning about other’s and sharing their own. That passion led her to become an Area Representative and then part of the Pan Atlantic full time team. She believes strongly that Pan Atlantic Foundation are working together to make the world a smaller place. She and her husband Paul love sharing their country, home, life and culture as much as possible. It gives them a profound sense of purpose and pride. She couldn’t imagine her life without this program.
Maria Lorello, Operations Coordinator
Maria is a native Mainer, born and raised here in the Portland area. After graduating from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in communications, Maria began working at a small public relations agency in Portland before deciding to pursue a career path with a more academic focus. She landed at the University of New England as an enrollment counselor, guiding new and prospective students through all aspects of the application process, as well as through the transition from applicant to student. Maria is a strong advocate for student travel, having spent 8 months on direct exchange to Radboud University in the Netherlands, after which traveled throughout many countries including Denmark, Italy, Germany and Spain. Maria currently lives in South Portland with her husband Victor, her daughter Lucia, and Carl, her soul cat.
Mary Primbs, Regional Director
Mary is a native Oregonian and lives in a small town just south of Portland with her 3 sons. Mary is completing a communications and business administration degree from Portland State University. She became the first Area Representative in Oregon in 2018 and is now a Regional Manager developing the Northwest. She enjoys baking, gardening, hiking, salsa dancing and watching her son’s basketball games. Mary’s passion is working with international students and helping to make sure their year in America is the best it can be.
Semone Thomas, Regional Manager
A favorite quote: Out of many one People. This is the Jamaican motto. A Jamaican by birth, the Midwest has been Semone’s home now for more than 20 years. She lives in Menomonie WI with her husband Bernd who is from Germany. They have three adult daughters and one granddaughter. Her son- in-law Zwade is from Grenada. They love to travel and experience new cultures. Semone has been involved in student exchange since 2004 after first starting out as a host parent for a high school teen from South Korea. Then 5 years later as Local Coordinator. Over years with ASSE & World Heritage, she has worked with over 700 students. Additionally, she works as a substitute teacher. She is looking forward to continuing those efforts with Pan Atlantic.
Donni Mize, Regional Director
Donni lives in Middle Tennessee and loves being a Tennessean but also has roots in Iowa and Missouri. She was born in Iowa but left to attend college and play basketball in Missouri where she met her husband. They raised their kids in Missouri until they moved to Murfreesboro, TN in 2014. Donni is newer to the international exchange world, starting in 2018 as a Regional Director with CIEE and hosting their first exchange student from Italy, but she has always loved learning about different cultures and traveling. She came from a sales background where she is no stranger to networking and building rapport quickly with people from various backgrounds. Her values of excellent customer service and building employee relationships quickly transferred into the high school exchange field. When Donni has free time she enjoys gardening, crafts, volunteering at church and as the State Coordinator for My Faith Votes. Her passion with high school exchange is seeing the lifelong connections between the families and students and knowing a better understanding between cultures is being fostered.