The Ganzo! Team

Alex Eckhart | Founder and Author

Some kids wanted to be firefighters when they grew up. Alex wanted to speak Italian. He’d studied in Siena, Florence, and Rome, where he graduated from The American University of Rome. He worked as an Activities Director for his university’s Student Life program, teaching cooking lessons, leading city excursions and facilitating back-door tours of local Italian businesses such as gelaterias and hand-bound journal shops.  Noting how difficult it was for many students to immerse into the Italian culture, Alex made it his mission compile an exciting and colorful guidebook, entirely dedicated to the Italian study abroad experience.

Lillian Lingham | Director of Outreach & Communication

Lillian had an incredible study experience in Florence and has traveled extensively throughout Europe. Her language skills are impressive, having acquired conversational fluency in both Italian and French. She has a passion for international education exchange for that reason she has come on board as the GANZO! Outreach and Communications Director.

Chase Nelson | Webmaster and Project Manager

Chase aka “Cesare”, studied abroad through the Syracuse program in Florence, and after college, decided to move back to Italy to work and live. He got his TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, taught English, bar-tended, and fully immersed himself in Florentine life. It took an ankle-shattering bike accident to get him back state-side, but he’s still able to quench his thirst for “la dolce vita” by spending time in San Francisco’s many Italian cafes.

Riley Kovatch | Author & Lead Researcher

Riley had the opportunity to enroll in Milan’s prestigious Bocconi School of Business while an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. When he wasn’t rocking out graduate level finance classes, he was shooting off bombas at 30′ to the amazement of the Italians in his intramural soccer league. Riley is Ganzo’s most recent return from the boot and full of insights into the Italian Study Abroad Experience.

Martino Strozza | Italian Culture Authority

Martino was Alex’s first close Italian friend during his time studying in Florence. Martino helped guide Alex on his path to Italian cultural competency, through long hours of conversation and Vespa rides around Tuscany. Alex in turn, introduced Martino to American culture and gave him his first real English lessons. Martino has since married a beautiful American girl, moved to California, and now sits as the GANZO! Italian Culture Expert.

Svetlana Saitsky | Contributing Photographer

The only thing Svetlana loved more than her time living and studying in Rome at the American University in Rome, was taking photos of the experience. The only thing better than the experience of photographing beautiful and meaningful moments, sights, places and people in Rome, is having these photographs featured in Ganzo!

Liz Fletcher | Contributing Photographer

After one semester studying abroad, Liz decided to leave her home college, and transfer to The American University of Rome as a full-time, degree-seeking student. Fortune favors the bold, and Liz has had the time of her life! Now a graduate of The American University of Rome, that one life-changing experience of coming to Italy has forever changed the course of her life.  Liz’s vivid photography is featured throughout the GANZO! website and guidebook.

Alana Joy Eckhart | Contributing Photographer

Alana Joy came to Italy for a culinary apprenticeship in one of Rome’s top restaurants and it turns out she’s great with more than knives and saucepans. Her eye for capturing the simple beauty of everyday Italian life was perfect for the Ganzo! project and her images are loved by all who see them.

Sabrina Garibean | Contributing Photographer

During one of the busiest semesters of research, Sabrina was by Alex’s side, taking photos, and capturing every aspect of Italian life and culture. Her patience and quick reflexes are responsible for many unforgettable moments captured and featured in GANZO!