Study Abroad Staff
Brooke Layhee, Coordinator of Study Away
As the coordinator of study away, I oversee program administration, planning, budgeting, marketing and recruitment and advise on all study away programming. My goal is to get you out into the world! This could be a short-term, semester-length, or academic year study abroad through one of our 17 international partners, or a study away experience at another university in North America through our National Student Exchange program. With over 700 programs in SUNY, there really is something for everyone! Our office will also assist with your preparations before you leave via our extensive pre-departure orientation and will assist with your credit transfer upon return.
Academic credentials: M.S. in student affairs and higher education and a B.A in mathematics, both from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Personal biography: I’m a Plattsburgh native, growing up not too far outside of the city. I absolutely love where I’m from and having grown up in the Adirondacks is what inspired me to want to see more. My family is what drove my desire for travel and we took advantage wherever possible. I knew in high school that I wanted to study abroad during college — so that is what I did! It led me to my passion for international education, where I can work with college students looking for a life changing experience. After graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh, I found my graduate program here at Plattsburgh, which ultimately led to my career here in the GEO office!
Places I have visited: I absolutely love traveling and exploring new areas! When studying in England, I traveled throughout Europe as much as possible, including Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and I spent over two weeks in Italy, with some time in a little Italian villages with friends over the holidays. I’ve also traveled quite a bit within the U.S with my family, including Hawaii, cities in Canada, and other countries like Mexico, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic. I hope to expand my travels further west in the U.S and across Europe into Asia as soon as I can — or anywhere I can get myself to!
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: Of course studying abroad was my absolute favorite activity! I truly believe this activity solidified my future career path and life goals. This could be the same for you! While here though, I really enjoy the many different events taking place across campus. I suggest stepping out of your comfort zone and going to a club’s event you may not normally attend, or looking for different ways to get involved to enrich your experience as much as possible.
Favorite experience as GEO staff member: I love watching the transformation in students, from being apprehensive about the journey they are about to embark on, to the pure confidence they have when they return. They’ve often caught the travel bug too and they’re excitedly awaiting their next adventure. I get to see that passion grow and develop within them, which is extremely rewarding.
Best advice for prospective study abroad students: As one of my favorite professors from graduate school said, “tolerate the distress”, and I’ve found this applies to a lot in life. We are here to support you through something that is very much “the unknown”. It is “the unknown” for many. Do not let that hold you back! Embrace it! You’ll be surprised with how quickly you learn and grow throughout this process. Take the leap! You’ll certainly be glad that you did.
Ellen Miller, Graduate Assistant
My role is to advise and assist you on all matters related to study away. I’m here to help you choose a program, successfully complete the application process, and prepare you for your experience through our office’s extensive pre-departure orientation. Studying away is a confusing and thorough process, but I always encourage you to ask questions! All questions are welcome and you can never ask too many.
Academic credentials: M.S. in student affairs and higher education, SUNY Plattsburgh (continuing); B.A. in communication studies, SUNY Plattsburgh; Exchange student at University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.
Personal biography: I was born in Zhaoqing, China, but from a very young age, I was raised in a small city in the North Country called Ogdensburg. Before enrolling at SUNY Plattsburgh, it was my dream to make study abroad a part of my college experience. With the extensive help and support of the Global Education Office, I was able to make that dream come true! It led me to where I am today, and now my new dream is to pay my experience forward by helping other students see what the world has to offer.
Places I have visited: England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and various cities in the U.S. Though my list is small now, I hope to expand my travel inventory in the upcoming years.
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: Studying abroad, of course! You’ll hear study away alumni say this often, but this experience was the most important time of my life. It gave me more than I ever could have imagined: my best friend, growth, a completely different outlook, and inspiration to enter the field of international education. When back on my home campus, my favorite way to spend time is playing a few matches with the co-ed, pick-up volleyball club.
Favorite experience as GEO staff member: I love pre-departure orientation. The anticipation of a room full of soon-to-be study away students is exciting and sending them off after all their hard work is indescribable. I’m very passionate about making sure students feel ready to study away, so equipping them with the knowledge they’ll need is something I truly enjoy.
Best advice for prospective study abroad students: Be in the moment! I know that sounds cheesy, but studying away comes with a lot of strong and unexpected emotions, and I’ve found that the best way to handle that is to let yourself feel and experience them. It’s a way to process all that’s happening around you, and help you better understand yourself as an individual.