Meet the VACorps Team.

Sean Walpole

Finance & Faculty Programming

Sean Walpole graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2002 with a Bachelor of Social Science in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Sean is a South African with extensive experience working with international students and university professors and describes his position at the VACorps as his dream job. He has a passion for travel and an insatiable desire for exploration. Since 2001, Sean has organized and led trips to Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and along the Garden Route in South Africa. He provides all logistical support for university faculty-led programs in South Africa facilitated by VACorps. In his spare time, Sean has also taught more than 300 people to SCUBA dive! He is one of the most enthusiastic and hard-working individuals you will ever meet!

Oliver Hagan

VACorps Partnerships

Oliver is a proud graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (’05). He fell in love with South Africa in 2003 while an exchange student at the University of Cape Town and later returned to the country in 2005 to work as a PADI SCUBA instructor after failing to find a job as a magazine editor in New York City. This early professional setback allowed him to return to South Africa and eventually discover his dream career within the field of international education. When not engaged in VACorps affairs, Oliver can be found hiking, mountain biking, trail running, training for triathlons or surfing one of Cape Town’s many amazing waves.

Thomas Hill

Program Admissions

Thomas Hill graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in the spring of 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a minor in Athletic Training. Originally from the city of Thunder Bay in Canada, Thomas first came through the program as an intern in the fall of 2012 working as a pediatric physiotherapist at local school in Belville. After completing his internship he decided to pursue other interests and now has the privilege of heading the applications team here at VAC. As an ardent traveler and adventurer, Thomas brings both passion and knowledge to interns as someone with great insight of both the program and the city. When he’s not out pursuing his next adventure or indulging in the many spoils Cape Town has to offer, he can be found surfing, scuba diving, on his bikes, or running with our local club. He is a great source for interns unsure of what to expect in Cape Town, and will communicate with you every step of the way to assure your best possible stay here in the Mother City. If you ever need to get in touch, be sure to contact him at thomas@vacorps.com

Athena Lamberis

Program Advisor

Athena Lamberis, also known as Tina, was born in the multicultural town of Evanston, IL, USA with a passion for education and travel. She first touched down in South Africa in 2005, during a semester exchange at University of Kwa-Zulu/Natal in Durban, where she continued her studies in Education, Socio-linguistics, and Ethnographic Studies. She has lived, worked and studied in over twelve countries around the world before graduating from Michigan State University. Cape Town has been home since 2008, where her love for cross-cultural experiences, natural beauty and the search for the next best meal collides. She has a wealth of knowledge to connect you to adventures that align with your personal interests and can answer any of your questions about living, studying and working internationally.

Loyiso Jaji

Program Advisor 

Loyiso is the only true “Capetionian” on our team, having spent his entire life living in the majestic city of Cape Town. He has a professional background in sales and marketing and loves working with people. Interns will get to know him for his friendly nature and famous smile. Outside of his work at VACorps, Loyiso is a popular DJ who goes by the name, DJ Lloyd. When he gets the dance floor moving, he is at his happiest!

Kuselwa Webhu

Program Advisor

Kuselwa, also known as Kous Kous or Kusie is notorious for her laughter and smiles, which in turn makes everyone around her feel happy! She loves music and dancing and spending time on the beach in summer. Kuselwa has been making friends with VACorps interns for years while working at FOREX and for the Mama’s Kitchen meal plan — but now she’s officially on the VACorps staff as a program assistant. She enjoys showing interns around Cape Town and explaining cultural differences and Xhosa phrases. Kuselwa is originally from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape province but has been living in Cape Town for many many years.

Carmen Kingwill

Program Advisor

Carmen Kingwill, better known as Carms, is a born and bred adventure-loving Saffa (South African). She Au-Paired in America for a year, has travelled and been a Teen Counsellor at an Adventure Camp in Europe to children from 27 countries. Carmen therefore has an understanding of various cultures and what it is like to visit a foreign country.

She studied Educational and Sport Psychology in the USA, did an Honours Degree in Sport Science with majors in Child Development and Psychology and studied Education and Business Project Management. Carmen has a passion for serving and connecting with people and loves the outdoor and adventure sports. She enjoys organizing events such as hikes, cycles, beach days, Boardgames and movie nights or fundraisers for local charities. She worked at an orphan village in rural KZN and in 2014 moved to Cape Town to start working with local businesses and organisations and was involved in helping with upliftment and training in the townships.

Carmen is passionate about South Africa and loves exploring and being involved in different sporting, cultural and religious events in Cape Town. She has built an extensive network in South Africa, but specifically in Cape Town, and therefore she will be a valuable asset to you as you embark on your journey in South Africa.

Kholosa Potwana

Program Advisor, Culture Series Facilitator and Xhosa Language Instructor

Kholosa Potwana also known as Kholi is an enthusiast. Born, bred and buttered (as South Africans like to put it) in Cape Town but originally from Eastern Cape, South Africa. Kholi is a facilitator, artist, and entrepreneur. She has a passionate and loving personality and is warm and adventurous. With a deep passion for people, she likes mountains, traveling, and reading books. When not involved in these activities she can be found listening to South African music: kwaito, jazz, hip-hop, and soul. With experience in leading groups on different projects, Kholi is your girl when it comes to familiarising yourself with the locals. She has completed the Spirit of the Wild Intuitive guiding course in 2008, which puts you in capable hands for local walks and making you feel comfortable in the most unfamiliar of environments.

Leanne Hagan

Program Advisor

Originally from Johannesburg, Leanne Hagan is a born and bred South African. Following the completion of her Business Science Honors degree in finance from the University of Cape Town, she spent three years working and traveling the globe.  Convinced that Cape Town truly is the most beautiful city in the world, she decided to settle in the Mother City.  Leanne is a qualified CFA and prior to joining VACorps in 2019 spent 12 years working on the field of finance.  In her free time, Leanne is an avid cyclist, triathlete and outdoor adventurer. She enjoys nothing more than spending time on the on “The Mountain” with her three dogs and husband, Oliver.

Jon Wilson

Safety Officer

Native to Cape Town, Jon was involved with VACorps back when the program first started as director of local support & outreach. He then went on to work with the police department where he served almost 10 years of service. At the moment, he’s involved in a tech company and now our VACorps after-hours safety officer. When he’s not helping others, he can be found scuba diving and spending time outside with his dog.

Dina and Juno

Program Mascots

Dina and Juno are sisters from a farm in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. They graduated from the school of cuteness at birth and have been honing their skills to perfection ever since. When you visit the VACorps office, there is a good chance that you will be greeted at the door by one of these loveable hounds. When not hard at work the office, Dina and Juno can be found enjoying the great outdoors. Dina is a Jack Russell swimming champion and loves hanging out in her custom made wetsuit on Sean’s dive boat anytime the VACorps Scuba Club goes for a weekend dive. Juno’s ultimate lifelong goal is to actually catch one of the wily squirrels in Newlands Forest and until that day, subscribes to the belief that one “should never give up on your dreams!” In their spare time, Juno and Dina love comforting interns who miss their dogs from home— their cuddles are world-class!