Traveling with Flying Jayhawks soon? Get to know your hosts from the KU Alumni Association, KU Endowment and many of our other partners on The Hill. We make every effort to send a University host when possible in order to enhance your experience and make each trip unique. Who will you travel with next?
Tegan Thornberry, d’05, g’09
Director of Marketing, Membership and Business Development
Tegan oversees the Flying Jayhawks program and leads membership efforts. From selecting the travel schedule to sending brochures; answering questions to hosting your trips, Tegan is your go-to person for all things travel. Adopted from Seoul, South Korea, her travel adventures started when she was nine months old. Tegan earned degrees in sport management and sport studies from KU. An Overland Park native, she lettered as a member of the women’s golf team and as a student manager for men’s basketball. After college, Tegan worked nine years in the KU Athletic department in different travel and operations capacities. During her days in athletics she was able to see most of the United States through her stops in different college towns for games, tournaments, meets, and events.
Keep up with Traveling Tegs as she makes her way across the globe. Whether she is hosting trips or learning more about upcoming locations, she loves traveling the world and meeting new people. The most exciting part is getting to experience it with fellow Jayhawks.
Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:
Number of countries visited: 35 and counting
Favorite travel destinations: Switzerland and Greece
Trips on your bucket list: Australia/New Zealand, India, and the Amazon
Travel tip: Always pack extra clothes and essentials in your carry-on luggage!
Legends of the Nile
Brad Eland, b’09, g’11
Vice President of Alumni and Student Programs
I have always loved to travel and the opportunity to travel with the Flying Jayhawks has greatly expanded my horizons in just a few short years of working at KUAA. There is no place I’d rather live than Lawrence, Kansas, but I must admit my travel bucket list is extremely long. I always jump at the chance to experience new places and cultures that are vastly different from what I experienced growing up in the small northwest Kansas town of Hoxie. Growing up, there were plenty of domestic trips that allowed me to experience many great destinations, but for me, the cliché is true that a passport has been a life-changer.
At KUAA, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to interact with so many incredible Jayhawks with amazing life stories through our diverse alumni program offerings. I’m also lucky to have a wife who has also been bitten by the travel bug that we hope to pass on to our children as well. We hope to roam far and wide with friends, family and fellow Jayhawks for many years to come. I also anticipate my bucket list only growing longer after each trip upon hearing about the great experiences my coworkers and fellow passengers share along the way.
Number of countries visited: 15
Favorite travel destinations: Prague, Czech Republic; Los Cabos, Mexico
Trips on your bucket list: Santorini, London, Scotland (golf trip), France, Spain, Brazil, Australia
Travel tip: Invest in high quality luggage and headphones for long trips and dressing in layers is key to handle unpredictable weather.
Cruising the Baltic Sea
Vice President for Marketing, Membership and Business Development
In addition to membership and business development responsibilities, I work with Tegan Thornberry to plan and market the Flying Jayhawks program. I’ve had the great fortune to travel personally and professionally throughout my 30-year career in banking, golf association management and now alumni relations. No matter where I go, I always meet great people and learn about different parts of the world, which is what makes traveling with Flying Jayhawks so great. I grew up in a small western Kansas town and never dreamed I would have the opportunity to experience places like China, Singapore, Russia and Barcelona. I always say, ‘You never know who you might meet when traveling’ – I met my significant other, Andy, while we were both traveling on business. Thank goodness for the vacant seat in the exit row during a flight from Dallas to San Antonio. We’ve been together for 15 years and love to travel.
One of my favorite travel memories is from the Flying Jayhawks trip to China I hosted in 2012. I’m a shoe fanatic and realized as soon as I landed in Beijing that so too is every young woman and man living in China. Throughout my trip in China I discreetly captured photos of every shoe style imaginable with the help of all of my fellow Flying Jayhawks travelers. Unique shoe sightings became a game for our entire group. I hope to create a piece of artwork some day from all of the crazy shoe photos I saved.
Number of countries visited: 18 and counting
Favorite travel destinations: Switzerland, Estonia and Spain
Trips on your bucket list: Italy, Australia and New Zealand
Travel tip: Purchase trip insurance – you never know what might happen. Pack comfortable shoes – most Flying Jayhawks trips include walking tours and you want to be able to enjoy the sites and not be worried about your feet! Lastly, enjoy the local food and beverages – don’t be afraid to try new things.
Island Life Greece
Cruise the Face of Europe
China & the Yangtze River
Heather Hawkins, j’06
Executive Assistant to the President and Coordinator of Donor Relations
This will be my very first time traveling internationally and (sadly!) the first time I’ll experience the ocean. This small town Kansas girl is ready to see part of the world outside the US and even more thrilled to get to experience it with a handful of amazing Jayhawks!
Number of countries visited: 1 (I’m a travel newbie!)
Favorite travel destinations: Washington, D.C. is my favorite! I love the history and the feeling that you’re walking amongst the spirits of America’s greatest leaders.
Trips on your bucket list: Australia, Brazil, Paris
Travel tip: Take lots of pictures – it’s the best way to share your adventures with your families and friends.
Kelsey Hill, c’12
Assistant Director of Kansas City Programs
I love traveling and immersing myself in the culture of whatever country I am in. It is so interesting to learn about their history and what makes them unique. I haven’t been to very many places, but being able to travel with the Flying Jayhawks has awakened my curiosity about new places and experiences!
Number of countries visited: 5
Favorite travel destinations: I loved Switzerland! The Alps are so breathtakingly beautiful it is hard to describe to people! I would say Mount Pilatus was my favorite place in particular!
Trips on your bucket list: I would love to see Greece and all of the history that comes with that country. I would also enjoying going somewhere tropical like Fiji!
Travel tip: Pack essentials in your carry on, because you might be on a 10 day trip and your luggage may not arrive for 7 days—-and you’re going to need those extra set of contacts!
Holland and Belgium
David Johnston, j’94, g’06
Vice President of Marketing and Digital Media
David grew up in a “KU” family that traveled coast to coast, seeing much of the country from the back of the family station wagon with his twin brother, Peter, while sister Emily rode in the coveted “middle seat” all to herself. From this vantage point, he was able to tour classic American destinations, from the Grand Canyon to Monticello. The Johnstons even enjoyed a European vacation.
As a student at KU in the early 90’s, Johnston traveled with the KU track and cross country teams as a long-distance runner. The cross country All-American was able to travel to Mexico and Canada for competitions. He honeymooned with his wife, Sara, by taking a Disney Cruise, and today, they enjoy traveling with their three children, Sydney, Sophia and Austin. The Johnstons are planning a return trip to DisneyWorld soon!
Number of countries visited: 5 (plus 47 states- still need to visit the Dakotas and Montana!)
Favorite travel destinations: I loved Paris when I visited there with my family, but one of my favorite memories was travelling to Vancouver in British Columbia with the KU cross country team back when I was a student. Beautiful city!
Trips on your bucket list: Sydney (my oldest daughter was named for this Olympic city).
Travel tip: Always travel with Jayhawk stickers. I always stick some on my luggage and I wear them on the road. You’d be amazed how often you hear somebody say “Rock Chalk!”
Southern Culture & Civil War
Nick Kallail, d’04, l’07
Assistant Vice President of Alumni and Career Programs
My favorite part of traveling is meeting people from all across the world and connecting over similar interests. I love exploring new foods with a beer or a glass of wine. You are more likely to find me relaxing and people watching than in a line to see something I can easily access online. It’s about the experiences!
Number of countries visited: 7
Favorite travel destinations: Lebanon
Trips on your bucket list: Dubai, Greek Isles
Travel tip: Tourist things are always a letdown. Make a friend and check out the real deal.
Baltic and Scandinavian Treasures
Chris Lazzarino, j’86
Associate Editor, Kansas Alumni magazine
Me with my friend Tini, a Munich gal who I met during our 2003 flying Jayhawks trip to Provence, when she joined us for our meet-the-locals dinner. (She was student teaching in Aix-em-Provence at the time.) We sat next to each other and have been close friends ever since. This photo was taken in Bern, when Tini drove up from Geneva, where she now teaches, to join us for lunch during the 2013 Great Journeys Through Europe Trip.
Number of countries visited: 13
Favorite travel destinations: Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Lisbon, Munich
Trips on your bucket list: Ireland, Scandinavia, Japan
Travel tip: Buy yourself one nice trip gift instead of a bunch of trinkets.
Paradores & Pousadas
Alps in Kitzbuhel
Danny Lewis, d’04
Director of Donor Relations and Athletic Programs
Every time I leave the country it is a great reminder of how special a place KU is. A day does not go by that I don’t get stopped if I’m wearing my KU gear. My favorite memory was on our China and Tibet trip in 2007. We were gone during the Orange Bowl football season.
So needless to say we stopped by many Americas on business (asking if we were still winning our Football games) in China but many locals who either attended KU or had a son, daughter, cousin, grandkid etc. They all had such great things to say about their experience or their families’ experience. I always find that awesome!
Number of countries visited: 24
Favorite travel destinations: Egypt, Cuba, China, Tibet
Trips on your bucket list: Cambodia, Vietnam, African Safari
Travel tip: Go with the flow, something is bound to be late or get lost. Don’t let it ruin your experience. Remember, you’re on vacation.
Amazon River Journey
Legends of the Nile
China, Tibet & the Yangtze River
Pacific Northwest Cruise
I feel so very fortunate to be able to work at a place where I can use my education and experience as an accountant, while also having the opportunity to travel the world with some really amazing Jayhawks! I never dreamed that I would someday have the great fortune of traveling to see such beautiful places as the countryside of Italy, the turquoise blue water of Belize, or the white sandy beaches of Mexico. Every adventure no matter how far you go has something new and exciting to experience. All you have to do is embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.
Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:
Number of countries visited: 6
Favorite travel destinations: Favorite travel destinations: Italy was absolutely amazing with its beautiful countryside, majestic architecture and unique and delicious red wine. The Normandy region of France with its rich history ranks a very close second.
Trips on your bucket list: Australia, New Zealand, Turks & Caicos, African Safari, Greece
Travel tip: Pack lightly with multi-use in mind for everything. Take lots of pictures…you can never take too many! Immerse yourself in the local traditions – food, drink, and activities. Try new things!
Kara Rodriguez, j’10
Assistant Director of Digital Media
I know it’s cliche – but travel really does do the mind, body and soul some good. Whether it’s a relaxing beach vacation, an educational voyage abroad or simply a domestic road trip, each and every opportunity to explore is a gift.
I’m lucky enough to work at a company where travel is encouraged, have a husband who enjoys a good road trip and a daughter who we can (usually) take anywhere. My husband, daughter and I love to spend a long weekend finding new “hot spots” around the midwest, visiting family along the west coast and making time for friends all over the country.
Number of countries visited: 6
Favorite travel destinations: Cozumel, Belgium
Trips on your bucket list: Italy, Greece, Germany and Spain
Travel tip: Always, always, always bring an extra pair of contact lenses.
Danny Woods, j’12
Assistant Director of Legacy Relations and Alumni Programs
Traveling, to me, is the most important thing a person can do. You not only learn a lot about the new location and culture you are immersing yourself in, but you learn a lot about yourself as well. Each place is unique as is each individual that travels there. As one location offers something to one traveler, it can offer a completely different experience to the next. For me, that experience often times comes in the form of local cuisine. Traveling is literal food for thought. The world is filled with different flavors and I’m trying to experience them all.
Number of countries visited: 4
Favorite travel destinations: Machu Picchu is absolutely breathtaking, not only from the altitude, but from the view as well.
Trips on your bucket list: I base all of my bucket list locations on Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. With that said, I have Paris, Australia and Rome on my bucket list for now.
Travel tip: Pack your own toilet paper
Susan Younger, f’91
I am so excited to go back to Sorrento. My husband Jerry and I hosted the trip in 2001, and I can’t believe that was 15 years ago! It was on that trip that I discovered the mosaics in Pompei, an experience that has greatly influenced my art work. We also hiked all the way up Mount Vesuvius. I made Jerry carry heavy bottles of wine because I wanted to surprise everyone with a toast, but when we arrived at the top, they said “no outside wine allowed.” Luckily they took pity on us, because it was an amazing experience to stand at the top of the world and make a toast to Italy and KU.
I love to travel. I’ve lived in England, skied in Austria, gotten really lost in Mexico, and watched my son get married in a traditional Hakka wedding in China. But the best experiences, hands down, are the Flying Jayhawks trips! The people, the incredible destinations, and the thoughtful planning that goes into these trips make them truly unique. Italy and Peru are tied as favorites.
Number of countries visited: 12
Favorite travel destinations: Italy, Peru and China
Trips on your bucket list: Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland
Travel tip: Bring a back up battery charger for your phone (those international trips are long!) Pack only the things that have multiple/flexible uses! I’ve been trying to pack lighter, but always find that I bring waaayy too many shoes.