Trip Leaders


David Meissner teaches Spanish and World Cultures at Dawson. David has studied abroad in high school and college, worked as a volunteer in rural Latin America, and traveled to more than 30 countries. Through the Amigos de las Américas volunteer program, he supervised American teenagers working on agricultural development projects in indigenous villages in the Andes. After spending six months in Ecuador, he backpacked throughout South America, from Patagonia to the Caribbean. His educational background includes bachelors’ degrees in Spanish and International Relations and a master’s degree in Childhood Education. In addition to leading the Ecuador trip, David is the Director of Dawson Global Adventures.


Contact David at (303) 665-6679 x643 or at

Marisa Mellizo, a Spanish teacher at Fairview High School, will be the co-leader of DGA’s Ecuador trip. Marisa grew up in a Spanish-speaking household in the United States and has taught high school Spanish for 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in ESL and currently teaches Levels 4 and 5 IB at Fairview. Marisa is an experienced trip leader and devoted salsa dancer who looks forward to supporting students as they immerse themselves in Spanish during their time in Ecuador.








Sumant Bhat is Dawson’s Middle School Dean. Before coming to Dawson, he was the Director of Experiential Education at the Meadowbrook School in Massachusetts, where he led international student trips. Sumant grew up in Chicago and has visited his parents’ native India numerous times. He is excited to introduce American students to the many wonders of India.


Contact Sumant at (303) 665-6679 x434 or at



Christina Fakharzadeh will be the co-leader of DGA’s trip to India. Christina has traveled to more than fifty countries and is currently the Director of Global Exchange at the Kent Denver School. She also teaches middle school social studies, which includes a unit on comparative world religions with a focus on Ancient India and Hinduism. An experienced educator, world traveler, and trip leader, Christina is thrilled to co-lead this journey and help guide DGA travelers through the many new cultural experiences they will have in India.









Melissa Barker teaches environmental science and biology at Dawson. As the school’s Director of Experiential Education, she also coordinates all Winterim and outdoor trips for students in the Middle School and Upper School. Melissa is an avid skier, cyclist, and backpacker who has led many wilderness trips for high school students and is a certified Wilderness First Responder. In 2012, she spent five weeks conducting research with scientists in the Arctic.


Contact Melissa at (303) 665-6679 x447 or at





                                                       DGA Program Director, David Meissner, will be the co-leader on the Iceland trip.