Program Manager and Instructor

Elizabeth Bucrek

Liz Bucrek is the program manager and instructor for Carolina Navigators, and helps to provide K-14 educators and students with global education resources created by UNC students who have intercultural expertise. She began working in the field of education in 2003. Liz has worked as a secondary French and Spanish teacher, as an instructional coach, and as the Director of the Academy of International Studies at Carrboro High School.

Originally from Michigan, Liz has studied abroad in France, taught English in Spain, and has traveled to 24 countries in North America, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her Master’s Degree at NC State University. She enjoys sharing her passion for global education with teachers and students! Outside of work, Liz keeps busy teaching Zumba Fitness and Yoga classes.

Email:     Phone: (919) 843-6860



Sarah Ithipathachai

My name is Sarah Ithipathachai and I am a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill double-majoring in Journalism and Communications. As the daughter of a Thai immigrant, I’ve learned that understanding and developing an appreciation for other cultures is vital to society. While I served as Student Body President of my high school in Greenville, North Carolina, I initiated the celebration of nationally recognized diversity months by my school’s administration. I have traveled to London and Paris and expect to study in Thailand as a Phillips Ambassador before graduating from UNC. I am excited to work with Carolina Navigators to inspire children across North Carolina to travel and learn more about the great world in which we live.

Jake Gerardi

My name is Jake Gerardi, and I’m a first-year student from near Syracuse, New York I am a member of the Campus Y’s Global Gap Year Fellowship (‘19-’20), through which I completed service internships in Havana, Cuba (BarrioHabana) and in Navajo Nation (DigDeep Right to Water) along with lots of shoestring personal travel. I am a dual major in American Indian / Indigenous Studies and Contemporary European Studies, and I will be minoring in either Spanish or Russian. I love learning about languages and cultures other than my own, and I am working with Carolina Navigators to help spread greater global awareness than I had before participating in GGYF. I also am very interested in the study of Indigenous culture and language and understanding politics within a post-colonial framework, working towards greater Indigenous sovereignty and pursuing our self-determination independent of the settler governments of the US and Canada.

Ava Elliott

My name is Ava Elliott and I am a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill. I am double majoring in Spanish and Global Studies, with a concentration in Latin America. I also am minoring in marine biology. Throughout elementary and middle school I was part of a dual language program where I spent half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. Through this program I was able to learn about the vibrant, diverse Latin culture. I have also had the privilege of traveling to Cuba, Costa Rica, and Spain. I attended a language school in Costa Rica while staying with a host family. In Cuba I volunteered through a program called Globe Aware in the city of Havana, helping prevent erosion with the creation of gardens. Throughout these experiences I have developed a passion for learning about other cultures and am excited to share that passion with others while working for Carolina Navigators.

Cynthia Liu

My name is Cynthia Liu and I’m a sophomore double majoring in Journalism and French & Francophone Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. I’ve grown up in a Chinese-American household, and I’ve also had the opportunity to study and intern in China on several occasions in addition to visiting my extended family there. In high school, I studied abroad in Paris with CIEE’s Global Navigator program, where I spent a month learning French and living with a French host family. I love learning languages and traveling, and the global experiences I’m lucky enough to have had so many wonderful people and perspectives introduced to me! I’m excited to join the Carolina Navigators in promoting global education and working to improve its accessibility for all students.


Michelle Jamanca

My name is Michelle Jamanca and I’m a freshman at UNC from Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m interested in majoring in Global Studies or Social Work. I grew up in a Peruvian household, and have had the opportunity to visit Peru a couple of times. I hope to visit more Spanish speaking counties in the future, as well as study abroad in Europe. I wanted to work with Carolina Navigators because I love learning and teaching about cultures. I think it is very important for kids to learn about cultures from a young age, and I would love to be a part of that!


Sammie Rivera

My name is Samantha Rivera, I am senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. My majors are Management & Society and Global Studies and I am minoring in Arabic. I chose to combine two of my passions together in my studies. I would like to work abroad in the future or with a nonprofit that assists refugees. I am of Salvadorian heritage and feel passionate about spreading cultural awareness. I believe learning more about each other’s cultures brings more unity. I look forward to my growth within Carolina Navigators, as this organization aligns with my goals of promoting international education through these culture kits. I hope to inspire others to go out into world and explore new things!