Flying Jayhawks Hosts

img_fj_hostsTraveling 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

Assistant Director of Membership and Business Development

Flying Jayhawks Host - Tegan ThornberryTegan 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:

Timeless Treasures, April 28—May 6, 2017
Great Journey Through Europe, June 15—25, 2017
Machu Picchu to the Galapagos, Sept. 5—19, 2017

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!

Past trips:

Grand Danube Passage
Celtic Lands
Panama Canal
European Coastal Civilizations

The Great Journey Through Europe
Discover Southeast Alaska
Island Life – Ancient Greece and Turkey

Baltic Sea

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.

Past trips:
Cruising the Baltic Sea

Symphony on the Blue Danube

Teri Harris

Vice President for 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.

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Island Life Greece, Sept. 18—26, 2017

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.

Past trips:
Cruise the Face of Europe

Baltic Treasures

China & the Yangtze River

Heather Hawkins, j’06

Executive Assistant to the President and Coordinator of Donor Relations

Flying Jayhawks Host - Heather HawkinsThis 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.

Past trips:
Celtic Lands


Kelsey Hill, c’12

Assistant Director of Kansas City Programs<

Flying Jayhawks Host - Kelsey HillI 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!

Past trips:
Holland and Belgium

Great Journey through Europe

Kentucky Derby

David Johnston, j’94, g’06

Vice President of Marketing and Digital Media

David JohnstonDavid 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!”

Past trips:
Southern Culture & Civil War


Susan Younger, f’91

Creative Director

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.

Past trips:
Italy Sorrento



Danny Woods, j’12

Assistant Director of Legacy Relations and Alumni Programs

Danny WoodsTraveling, 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.

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Mediterranean Radiance, October 7—17, 2017

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

Past trips: none

Danny Lewis, d’04

Director of Donor Relations and Athletic Programs

Danny LewisEvery 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!

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Mediterranean Radiance, October 7—17, 2017

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.

Past trips:
Pearls of the Mediterranean
Coastal Maine and New Brunswick

Cuban Discovery

Amazon River Journey

Legends of the Nile
China, Tibet & the Yangtze River

Pacific Northwest Cruise

Jacey Krehbiel, d’12, g’16

Assistant Director of Alumni Programs

Jacey KrehbielGrowing up my family took a vacation every summer. We mostly traveled throughout the U.S., but occasionally we were adventurous and left the country. My parents were very diligent in ensuring that our vacations always held some sort of educational value. I always appreciated the fact that when I was sitting in my history classes in junior high and high school we always talked about places that I had seen in person.

As an adult, the purpose of my travel has shifted from going to see places to visiting familiar faces. I have had some amazing adventures visiting friends from college. Additionally, as a sports fan and someone who appreciates active vacations, I make sure to get a snow skiing trip in at least once a year. Some of my favorite sporting events I have traveled to in recent years include the Final Four, Champions Classic games and The Masters.

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Celtic Lands, May 16—25, 2017

Number of countries visited: 13

Favorite travel destinations: Colorado Ski Resorts, New England, Austria

Trips on your bucket list: A train ride through the Canadian Rockies and going to the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby

Travel tip: Always pack necessities in your carry on and DON’T always trust online reviews

Past trips:
Tahitian Jewels

Nick Kallail, d’04, l’07

Assistant Vice President of Alumni and Career Programs

Nick KallailMy 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!

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Baltic and Scandinavian Treasures, August 22—September 2, 2017

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.

Past trips: None

Jodi Nachtigal


Italypic2I 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:

Normandy, August 28—September 5, 2017

Number of countries visited: 5

Favorite travel destinations: Italy was absolutely amazing with it’s beautiful countryside, majestic architecture, and unique and delicious red wine. But I will always love the beaches and sunshine in Mexico too!

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!

Past trips:

Chris Lazzarino, j’86

Associate Editor, Kansas Alumni magazine

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 9.05.18 AMMe 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.

Upcoming Flying Jayhawks trips:

Scotland, August 23—31, 2017

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.

Past trips:
Great Journey Through Europe

Paradores & Pousadas

Alps in Kitzbuhel