Meet The Team

Passion for global education and a shared vision for greater cross-cultural understanding binds our team together, and we love what we do. We have dedicated ourselves to building cultural bridges.

Robert Fried, CO-Founder and Executive Director
Robert co-founded his first organization, the Chinese Language Institute, in 2009 while studying abroad in Beijing. CLI has since hosted over 3,000 students in China from more than 45 countries and 200 universities.

In 2013, CLI began developing global faculty-led programs in Africa, Europe, South Asia, and Latin America. This effort evolved into Solstice Education.

Robert holds a BA in political science and communication from Virginia Tech, where he served as visiting professor for the spring 2019 semester to teach Management Theory & Leadership Practice, a core requirement for Virginia Tech business majors. Robert holds an MBA/MA joint master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bradford Fried, Co-Founder and Academic Director
Bradford embarked on his first study abroad experience—hosted by Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) in Guilin, China—in the summer and fall of 2001. He returned to GXNU in 2004 and went on to become the university’s longest-serving foreign professor, a post he held for 13 years, including four as GXNU’s Director of International Staff.

In 2009 he and his brother Robert founded the Chinese Language Institute and in 2013, they launched Solstice Education to develop the organization’s global efforts. Bradford’s depth of experience and passion for cross-cultural learning are infused into every aspect of Solstice’s pedagogy.

Bradford holds a BA in philosophy from Lewis and Clark College and an MA in teaching Chinese as a foreign language from Guangxi Normal University. Commencing September 2019, he is working toward a PhD in education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Nancy Fried, Director of Enrollment
Nancy knows what it is like to prepare students to travel abroad. She first did so when her oldest son, Bradford, studied in China in 2001, and again when Bradford’s younger brother, Robert, ventured to China to visit him in 2007.

When the brothers went on to establish a school in China, she joined the team as Admissions Manager. In the decade since, Nancy has guided over 2,000 students through the many pre-departure steps required for a successful global journey. In 2013, she trained her replacement at CLI and now oversees enrollment for Solstice’s global programs.

Nancy’s passion for cultural exchange and her dedication to each student’s positive experience typify Solstice’s foundational values.
Anias Stambolis-D'Agostino, Program director
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Anias was first enticed by cross-cultural learning in high school when she began studying Mandarin for fun.

After a summer abroad in the northern coastal city of Qingdao, China, Anias vowed to return to the Middle Kingdom in order to improve her language skills and deepen her understanding of contemporary Chinese society.

She moved to Solstice’s China headquarters of Guilin in fall 2016 and joined the Solstice team as Program Manager in summer 2017. Anias enjoys eating 麻辣烫 málàtàng, analyzing popular culture, and biking through the Guilin countryside. Anias graduated cum laude from Bard College with a BA in Asian studies.
Lea Simmons, Program Manager
Lea is originally from Maryland and has ventured to more than 12 countries. In 2011, she had the opportunity to study abroad with Solstice’s sister organization, CLI, and found inspiration in its welcoming community and Guilin’s idyllic landscape.

In addition to her experience in China, Lea studied for a semester in Granada, Spain and for eight weeks in Cairo, Egypt before graduating from Howard University summa cum laude.

As Solstice Program Manager based near Washington DC, Lea is committed to sharing study abroad opportunities with as many students as she can so that everyone has a chance to experience immersion-based travel and growth as a global citizen.
Anne Meredith, Program Manager
Originally from Maryland, Anne has lived internationally for nearly 15 years, including extended stays in France and China.

From 2013-2015, she pursued a master’s degree taught entirely in Chinese at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. After graduation, Anne worked at a Shanghai-based education start-up for four years before joining the Solstice team. Anne has traveled to over 30 countries and loves helping Solstice students discover the world beyond their borders.

In addition to her MA, Anne holds a BA in English and French literature from the University of Maryland and is proficient in French and fluent in Chinese.
Echo Zhan, Accountant
Echo grew up in a typical Chinese village, and although her hometown is near Beijing, its traditional essence has been preserved through many decades of change in China.

Echo earned her BA and MA in Chinese Literature at Guangxi Normal University, and later earned several accounting certifications as her role at Solstice expanded to include a range of administrative tasks. Echo joined the CLI/Solstice team in January 2010 and remains one the organization’s longest-tenured members.

For Echo, Solstice provides a window to the world beyond China’s borders. She knows Chinese culture well and considers herself to be very traditional in nature. At the same time, she is constantly seeking to learn about new cultures and ways of thinking through her interactions with CLI and Solstice students.

Our Values

Our Values

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