Connecting underserved students with educational travel

At EF, we’re committed to helping as many students as possible see the world. Often, that process starts by helping educators and parents understand just how invaluable travel is to their students’ education, and why they should make these kinds of experiential learning opportunities a priority. That’s exactly what Dr. Carrie A. Olson, Melissa A. Torres, and Karina Marquez Gandara came to discuss at the most recent EF Global Education Symposium.

Together, the panel consisted of an educational travel researcher, the CEO of a professional association, and a former student traveler, respectively. They dove into research-backed qualitative and quantitative data around educational travel, as well as ways to make access to these kinds of experiences more equitable. By the end of their presentation, the in-audience crowd of educators and school administrators left fully inspired to show even more students the world.

Watch their full presentation below to see how you can help make travel more inclusive and accessible to all.


Want to know more about the presenters?
Check out their bios.


Carrie Olson, a panelist who spoke alongside Melissa Torres from the Forum on Education Abroad

Dr. Carrie Olson

Adjunct Professor, University of Denver


Dr. Carrie Olson is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Denver and is an independent contractor for the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights and the USHMM.  She taught in Denver Public Schools (DPS) for over 30 years and has traveled with over 800 students to Washington, D.C. and Europe. She is the current President of the DPS Board of Education, and is passionate about making educational travel accessible for students who want to explore the world.

Melissa Torres, the Forum on Education Abroad's President and CEO

Melissa Torres

President & CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad


Melissa Torres is The Forum on Education Abroad’s President and CEO and has two decades of experience in higher education and program development. She previously served as Vice President for Academic Programs at IES Abroad where she supervised 36 international study abroad centers in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Melissa served as Chair of The Forum’s Outcomes Assessment and Research committee for three years, was a member of NAFSA’s Work, Internships, Volunteering and Research Abroad (WIVRA) subcommittee, and was a founding member of the Business International Studies Network (BISNet) Business Colloquium.

Karina Marquez Gandara, a student panelist who spoke alongside the president of the Forum on Education Abroad

Karina Marquez Gandara

Student, University of Northern Colorado


Karina is 22 years old, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and is a first-generation student. She is currently studying at the University of Northern Colorado and is pursuing a double major in Criminal Justice and Business Administration with an emphasis in Management, a minor in Psychology, and an HR certificate. She also traveled with Dr. Carrie Olson to Washington, D.C. in 2011 and to Europe in 2013, and has since then found a passion for travel.

Read EF’s Educational Impact Report

Dive even deeper into the data behind the impact of educational travel.

Sarah McLaughlin

Sarah is a senior copywriter at EF Education First. When she isn’t writing, you can find her browsing through bookshops, trying to cook, or going to improv class (which is basically just an excuse for adults to play make-believe).

Hundreds of destinations.
Endless possibilities.

Contact us Browse tours