Reach the World helped to create the concept of virtual exchange in 1998 and continues to be a leader in the field. Founder Heather Halstead was an early pioneer of virtual exchange, sailing 25,000 miles around the globe equipped with an early satellite transmitter, in order to create a proof of concept. Partnering with Teachers College and the Eiffel Project, Heather connected her journey to Third Grade classrooms in Title I public elementary schools in Harlem, NY. Through this effort, the field of virtual exchange began to grow.


Beginning in 2009, Reach the World invented a new IT system, which allowed volunteer travelers to communicate with classrooms via the Web. Together, RTW and the Institute of Learning Technologies incubated RTW’s Traveler Program, which matches volunteer travelers and PK-12 classrooms for one-on-one exchanges. In the last 14 years, RTW has welcomed the Fulbright Program, the Peace Corps, and the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program as key partners. RTW also collaborates with a broad set of campus and association partners.


In 2019, Reach the World relaunched its Explorer Program, partnering with the 2019 Weddell Sea Expedition as its lead education-and-outreach partner. Through RTW’s Explorer Program, world-famous explorers can broaden the impact of their explorations by inviting youth to embark on virtual exchange journeys, with them as the guide. RTW’s Explorer Programs engage large and diverse student audiences while building a legacy for explorers’ and scientists’ fieldwork.


In 2022, Reach the World partnered with the Endurance22 expedition as its lead education-and-outreach partner. 32,000 youth (and counting) traveled virtually with RTW to Antarctica in search of Sir. Ernest Shackleton’s lost ice ship, Endurance. RTW also joined the U.S. Science Support Program as an education and outreach partner, assisting research scientists in driving a broader impact from their fieldwork while modeling careers in scientific research and exploration.


Heather Halstead, Executive Director
Timothy Jacob, Director, Traveler and Explorer Programs
Christopher Ahearn, Chief of Staff
Anne Ledvina, Development Manager
Jessica Wurzbacher, Manager, K-12 Programs
Katri Okamoto, Event Manager
Andrew Han, Sr. Associate, Traveler and Explorer Programs
Jeffrey Wiener, Young Mind Interactive, Educational Design Consultant
Melinda Smith, Solution Architect (Consultant)


Katy Huberty, Global Director of Research, Morgan Stanley (Board Chair)
Bob Altman, Executive Producer, Altman International Productions
Jane Atherton, Managing Director, Temasek
Melissa Biggs Bradley, CEO & Founder, Indagare Travel
Potoula Chresomales, SVP, Product Management, Skillsoft
John Delaney, Senior Advisor, Virgin Voyages
Michael Granne, Partner, Provenzano Granne & Bader LLP
Heather Halstead, Executive Director, Reach the World
Kendal Kalata, HR Executive, Kalata Consulting, LLC
Oliver Plunkett, CEO, Ocean Infinity
Vishal Saxena, Chief Technology Officer, Reorg
Nic Tat
Brian Zerr, Senior Vice President, Business Continuity Management & Enterprise Resiliency, American Express


Elizabeth Porter, Equity Research, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley (Chair)
Thibaud Chaligne, Managing Director, Risk Management, Morgan Stanley
James Duong
Sayako Seto, VP, Analytics Product Management & Commercialization, Experian
Sanya Thapa, Associate Partner, Synpulse
Richard Wiese, Explorer and Host, “Born to Explore”


Kieran Kenny, Internet Equity Research, Vice President, Morgan Stanley (Co-Chair)
Nicholas Zigerelli, Municipal Credit Trading, Vice President, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Co-Chair)
Mark Bahreini, Investment Banking Associate, Ferghana Partners
Andrea Balarezo
Tyler Bordick, Buy Side Relationship Manager, Bloomberg LP
Nicholas Cantafio, Manufacturing Engineer at Northeast Electronics Corp.
Akhil Chittajallu, Associate, PPC Enterprises
Mudit Gupta, Business Operations & Strategy, Google
Ryan Kilgallon Associate, General Atlantic
Sean Klein, Private Equity Associate, 3i Group

Wei Li, Analyst, TD Ameritrade
Sophia Lubrano, Associate Investment Specialist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Conor McVeigh, Assistant Vice President, Barclays
Naomi Michael, Associate, Boston Consulting Group
Grace Missakian, Investor, Picus Capital
Julia Patterson, Sr. Member Development Associate, The Conference Board
Olivia Petas, Senior Analyst, Goldman Sachs
Elizabeth Santoro, Product Manager, Meta
Will Stark, Senior Manager, Bain & Company
Sarah Stein, Head of Corporate Communications, Rockefeller Capital Management