Admissions

Contact Admissions

Semester at Sea welcomes curious, engaged students of any sex, gender identity, race, disability status, veteran status, nationality, or ethnicity to apply to travel the world as part of our living and learning community.

We are excited for you to take this step, and we are happy to help.

Our admissions counselors are located in regions across the U.S., and we have a dedicated counselor to support international students. Please contact your appropriate counselor by the region in which your school is located. If you are not currently enrolled at a college or university, please contact a counselor based on your current address. 

For general questions regarding the application process or program, contact the Office of Admission by calling 1.800.854.0195, emailing admission@semesteratsea.org, or contacting an admissions counselor directly (see below).

Student Admissions and Enrollment Team

Amy Lepp
Regional Director of Enrollment (West)
Amy Lepp
Regional Director of Enrollment (West)

Admissions Region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Amy embarked on her journey with SAS in 2018, sailing on the Spring and Fall 2019 voyages as the Assistant Director of Field Programs. Having had the best experience on the ship, she returned to ISE in 2021 to join the Enrollment team. Amy’s love for international adventures and experiential learning has taken her around the world, from facilitating service-learning programs in Tanzania, England, the Galapagos, and Alaska; working at international events like the World’s Fair and U.S. Open; leading wine tours on the California Central Coast; and making magic at the Walt Disney World resort. While not working, Amy enjoys hiking, singing, tennis, line dancing, spending time in nature, and snuggling cats. And traveling of course!

  • Home Base
    California
  • Education
    Amy earned her MS in Counseling from California State University, Fresno and her BS in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Montafon, Austria
Whitney Cohen
Regional Director of Enrollment (Midwest & International)
Whitney Cohen
Regional Director of Enrollment (Midwest & International)

Admissions Region: International Students + Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Whitney Cohen joined ISE in Fall 2021 after working in international student admissions for 7 years. Originally from California, she studied abroad in the UK and Tanzania during college and loves helping students achieve their own study abroad goals. While she’s no stranger to living out of a suitcase (or backpack!) she loves coming home to the Midwest and the fur-filled house she shares with her dog and 2 cats.

  • Home Base
    Michigan
  • Education
    Whitney earned a MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute and a BA in International Studies from University of Evansville.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Kigali, Rwanda
Hannah Zimmerer
Regional Director of Enrollment (Southeast)
Hannah Zimmerer
Regional Director of Enrollment (Southeast)

Admissions Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee

Hannah Zimmerer sailed as a student on the Fall 2017 Semester at Sea Voyage. After graduating college, she started her career in higher education by working in undergraduate admissions and helping students find their path after high school. She joined the ISE team in the summer of 2021, which was a dream come true for her! In Hannah’s role, she works with students from the Southeastern area of the US to help them find their home in the Semester at Sea community. When she is not working, Hannah enjoys exploring new places and trying new foods. She is also always on the lookout for new dog-friendly places to bring her NewfyPoo, Willett.

  • Home Base
    Kentucky
  • Education
    Hannah earned a BA in Communication and Journalism from the University of St. Thomas and she is currently working on a MBA at the University of South Carolina – Aiken.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    My favorite travel destinations are Japan, Finland, and the Czech Republic!
Holly Tawil
Senior Regional Director of Enrollment (Northeast & Texas)
Holly Tawil
Senior Regional Director of Enrollment (Northeast & Texas)

Admissions Region: Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia

Holly (she/her) fell in love with the program after sailing in 2010 and she still stays in touch with many of her shipmates to this day! Prior to joining ISE, Holly worked in a variety of university roles including on-campus housing, student conduct, and undergraduate admissions. She enjoys visiting universities to talk about Semester at Sea and is always on the lookout for local restaurants in college towns – suggestions welcome! In addition to working with prospective students and universities, Holly also works with the Diversity Peer Mentor program to connect prospective students with SAS alumni of similar backgrounds, identities, and experiences. In her free time, Holly enjoys flying kites, cycling, and live music.

  • Home Base
    Virginia
  • Education
    Holly earned her M.Ed in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University and a BA in Sociology from St. Edward’s University.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Colombia
Kelly Wilkinson
Director of Enrollment and University Relations
Kelly Wilkinson
Director of Enrollment and University Relations

Kelly Wilkinson has been working in the field of Education Abroad since 2004. He has worked for ISE previously and has made his triumphant return in 2022 and could not be happier to be back. After sailing as a student in Fall 1999, Kelly was inspired to live abroad. He realized this by spending 2.5 years in Chile, Bolivia, Honduras, and Mexico. Kelly is passionate about building strong relationships with institutional partners. So if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact him. Outside of work, Kelly is enjoying life with his wife and son. He plays the guitar and will often just sing whatever random lyrics come to him. He’s always planning his next adventure, and is currently eyeing the Azores, so once he visits, perhaps he will be updating his bio.

  • Home Base
    Texas
  • Education
    Kelly earned a MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    The next one.
Jason Hughes
Vice President of Marketing & Recruiting
Jason Hughes
Vice President of Marketing & Recruiting

Jason oversees marketing, communications and recruiting for Semester at Sea, working alongside Kelly Wilkinson and the Regional Directors to build strong relationships with study abroad offices, universities, and prospective students and parents. Prior to joining ISE in July, Hughes was the Chief Marketing Officer at Colorado School of Mines and has held similar roles at the University of Northern Colorado and Beloit College. In 2008, Hughes sailed aboard our previous ship, the MV Explorer, while serving Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

  • Home Base
    Colorado

Chat With Student Alumni!

Do you want to learn more about sailing on Semester at Sea from a fellow student? Connect with student alumni through our Global Ambassador program.

Student Support Services and Student Affairs Team

Once a student has confirmed their spot on an upcoming voyage by paying their deposit, our Student Services team will help with course registration, passport and visas, medical clearance, and more. Students will find their assigned advisor in their deposit confirmation email.

Lisa Chesson
Student Support Services Advisor
Lisa Chesson
Student Support Services Advisor

Lisa has been with ISE for almost five years. Prior to working here she had not heard of Semester at Sea before. She sailed on the Fall 2016 voyage and was excited to join the team after sailing. Being part of a team that creates these life changing voyages is inspiring. Lisa works with students to help them prepare for a journey of a lifetime. She knows what it takes to prepare for one of these voyages. There are always a lot of questions that come up and that’s where she can help. When not working with students she spends her time daydreaming about her next travel adventure.

  • Home Base
    Colorado
  • Education
    Lisa has a degree in Hotel and Resort Management.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Any place that has a warm sandy beach!
Carlos Vazquez
Student Support Services Advisor
Carlos Vazquez
Student Support Services Advisor

Carlos sailed with Semester at Sea during the Fall 2019 voyage and current advisor with the Student Support Service department. During his voyage, Carlos was selected as an Inclusive Engagement Scholar and member of the Impact Cohort. It is with this experience and his extensive experience working with undergraduate students, Carlos is passionate to ensure students can receive the opportunity to participate in Semester at Sea. Outside of work, you can find Carlos actively following the NBA, taking a hike, or hanging out with his cat.

  • Home Base
    Colorado
  • Education
    Carlos attended the University of Idaho.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Mexico!
Phillip DuVentre
Student Affairs Program Manager

Phillip DuVentre (he/him/his) began his career at ISE last year, 2021. He sailed as Assistant Dean of Students on Spring ’22 voyage after having sailed as a Resident Director on Spring ’17 and Spring ’20 voyages respectively. He has worked in Student Life in a variety of roles including residential life, traditional study abroad, international education, and served as a Posse Mentor. He does diversity consulting and presented at several conferences including Diversity Abroad, ACPA(American College Personnel Association), and ACSD(Association of Christians in Student Development). Phillip enjoys watching and playing athletic competitions, riding his vintage tandem bike, driving, and pranking incoming telemarketing cold calls.

  • Home Base
    California
  • Education
    Phillip eared his MS in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University and his BA in Business Administration from Murray State University.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Miami, Florida
Whitney Grist
Director of Participant Success
Whitney Grist
Director of Participant Success

Whitney (she/her) is a two-time alumna of Semester at Sea, having sailed on the Spring 2006 Voyage as a student & the Spring 2015 Voyage in a staff role as the Advancement Coordinator. Following the Spring 2015 Voyage, Whitney began working for the organization as the Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement and then transitioned in 2018 to be the Director of Lifelong Learning. Whitney is passionate about the mission of the program and believes that Lifelong Learners are a critical part of the inter-generational shipboard community. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, she now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, son, and two dogs.

  • Home Base
    Colorado
  • Education
    Whitney earned her BA in Sociology from the University of San Diego.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Tokyo, Japan
Kate Lilly
Director of Student Support Services
Kate Lilly
Director of Student Support Services

Kate Lilly has been a part of the Semester at Sea team since 2019. Her connection and love for the program started back on the Spring 2007 voyage. Her experience as a student sparked her career in international education and she returned as a staff member in the Field Office on the Spring 2018 voyage. Kate is passionate about helping students access transformative experiences through travel, and enjoys photography, and hiking with her dog Dax in Colorado!

  • Home Base
    Colorado
  • Education
    Kate earned her BA in Psychology from University of San Diego.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    Urubamba, Peru
Laura Strohminger
Vice President of Student Affairs
Laura Strohminger
Vice President of Student Affairs

Laura Strohminger has been connected to the Semester at Sea program for over 20 years, sailing as a Resident Director on the Fall 2001 Voyage. The experience transformed her life and led her on a path of exploring the world and the role she plays in it as an educator. Laura served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia and lived in northern India for a year. She returned to sail as the Assistant Dean of Student Life on the Spring 2010 Voyage and the Dean of Student Life on the Fall 2016 Voyage. She joined the ISE team in June of 2016.

  • Home Base
    Colorado
  • Education
    Laura earned a MA College Student Personnel.
  • Favorite Travel Destination
    India

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.