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About IITOURS.COM Tour Leaders Lead a Group! Testimonials & Comments


Mellissa Wither, Ph.D., M.H.S founded Innovative Immersion Tour Programs in 1997, after working for several years in the tour business. She learned Spanish while living in Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala. She received a B.A. degree from UC Berkeley in World Development with an emphasis on Latin America, a M.H.S. degree in International Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Ph.D. from UCLA in Community Health Sciences. She has traveled to over 40 countries and has studied 4 foreign languages, including a language immersion program in Indonesia. 



Jorge Valverde has been with the company since the beginning, leading tours to Peru, Costa Rica and Spain. He has been described as ‘charming” and “adventurous” by many students. He is from Venezuela and received his B.A. degree in Political Science in that country. He later moved to Costa Rica, where he studied International Relations with an emphasis on business, receiving his Master’s degree in 1997. He has traveled to over 20 countries. He is a true diplomat and is fun-loving and adventurous.







Michael Dolan is a middle school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California. He has a BS from Whittier College and a Master’s in Education Administration. He enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, including boating in Lake Tahoe, camping, hiking, fishing, and working on his farm. He is known for his sense of humor and is often described as vivacious and dedicated. He leads our Costa Rica and Mexico tours.