The ICEE Team
There are some jobs out there that we all dream of having someday. One of these “dream jobs” is that of an ICEE Academic Director. These individuals are experienced world travelers and participate in extensive annual training. ICEE’s Academic Directors will share their insights and experience with you and quietly inspire you with their passion for the work they do and the places you'll explore. It takes a pretty special someone to dedicate their working life to ensuring complete strangers get the most out of their international experiences – but no-one ever said our leaders weren’t special.
Your Academic Director is your go-to point of contact, your guide, your professor, and your source for any travel-related questions. He or she will...
- Point you toward the hidden places most non-locals never see.
- Make sure you get you from A to B, including handling all transportation details and tickets.
- Tell you about the best restaurants, cafes, and bars.
- Share local anecdotes and stories.
- Handle all hotel arrangements and check-ins, restaurant bookings, and technical details.
- Help you organize any extra activities.
- Suggest the best ways to fill your free time.
- Introduce you to friendly locals you would otherwise never get to meet.
Our local partners are the greatest. We’ve known from the start that the best individuals to show you the heart of a destination are, funnily enough, the ones that live there. These are our partners: guides and friendly locals who know their countries back to front, from every backstreet bar to every hidden gallery. They’re what makes ICEE special.
Heading up each program is a team of talented, dynamic trip leaders who have extensive experience in the field. Here are a few of our outstanding trip leaders who may accompany you on your ICEE study tour:
Jason Phillips, PhD, CTLDr. Jason Phillips is an adventurer, tour leader, author, and rescue diver. His journey to becoming Executive Director of the International Center for Exploration and Education reads like an adventure novel with numerous twists, turns, and lucky coincidences. But throughout, Jason’s love of travel made it seem that he was predestined to lead international study tours for college students.
After earning his undergraduate degree at Penn State, Jason spent a few years scheduling pipelines for Shell Oil before going on to pursue his MBA at Texas A&M University. Dr. Phillips then went on to pursue his PhD at Penn State, focusing on transportation issues. Since earning his doctorate, Jason has carved out a successful career as a university professor while simultaneously pursuing a number of his other interests including environmental preservation and international education.
Jason’s passion for environmental preservation resulted in his being a founding member of a nonprofit to help mitigate the devastating impact of over-development in Pennsylvania. After several years of leading the nonprofit, organizing residents, and coordinating multiple simultaneous legal battles, Dr. Phillips was able to claim unprecedented successes including a $33.5 million concession from a major US developer.
When he isn’t teaching, Dr. Phillips has led numerous student expeditions worldwide. With a deep appreciation of history and cultures, Jason works to engage people in those subjects during his adventures with students. Jason’s work has taken him to some of the less-travelled corners of the world, including North Korea, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and remote areas of Nepal to lend assistance just after the 2015 earthquake. During his travels, he has learned to understand very different places worldwide by forming close bonds with the people who live there. Dr. Phillips is a firm believer that connecting students with both fellow student travelers and the places they visit together gives life a deeper meaning for everyone.
Jason's most recent long-term project and passionate labor of love is developing an internship and affiliate program staffed by former study tour participants in order to help develop their full entrepreneurial potential. He feels honored to have been able to travel and work with so many great students since leading his first college study tour in 1993.
Dr. Diane M. Phillips, Ph.D.
ICEE's Program Director received her Ph.D. in Marketing from Penn State University. She is currently a Professor of Marketing at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia where she teaches a variety of courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. She teaches courses in marketing strategy, consumer behavior, branding, customer value, and sustainability. She has received two university-wide awards for teaching excellence while at Saint Joseph's University. Dr. Phillips has published her research in a variety of international journals.
Dr. Phillips has lead numerous successful international study tours to a variety of locations including: New Zealand, Fiji, Poland, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and France. She is a PADI-certified Advanced Open Water Diver and also has earned a number of PADI specialty certifications.
Aussie adventurer Toby Grieve has hiked the entire world famous Bibbulmun track in Western Australia which stretches nearly 1,000km (621 miles) from Kalamunda to the town of Albany. He has also participated in expeditions to 1,000-year-old temples in Cambodia and done diving with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. His desire to see what lies over the next rise has provided him with countless opportunities to experience all that the world has to offer. Toby is also an accomplished professional chef.
Carissa Hope Stein
An adventurer in her own right, Carissa serves as the Project Manager for design projects at ICEE. A world traveler, some of her most recent travels include stops in Australia and New Zealand. She is currently finishing her degree in Graphic Design at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).
Olav Stubhaug Drangsland
Olav joined ICEE in 2013 as its Media Manager. As a university student in Norway, he has studied acting and film and also has experience from his participation in several short films, theatre plays, music videos, and documentaries. Whenever possible. Olav joins ICEE study tours as the official ICEE photographer and film maker.
A teacher in every sense of the word, Stephanie has been part of the ICEE family since 2012 and is ICEE's Quality Control Manager. Her travels with ICEE have taken her to Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Jordan, and New Zealand.