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Global Education Office Staff

The Global Education Office at SUNY Plattsburgh is home to International Admissions, International Student Services and Study Abroad and Exchanges.

Staff Directory


Ms. Kate Friedrich, International Admissions Advisor & ISS Support

Phone: 518-564-3291
Email: [email protected]

I assist with international admissions. I am responsible for reviewing applications for prospective students and making them aware of the opportunities here at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Academic credentials: M.S. college and agency counseling, SUNY Plattsburgh; M.Ed. English education, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Minn.); B.A. English, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Minn.).

Brief biography: I grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota. During college, I studied abroad in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, I learned how to study and live in another culture. I hope that my experience helps me to better understand and assist international students at SUNY Plattsburgh. I came to SUNY Plattsburgh to attend graduate school. I love my beautiful new home which also has many lakes.

Places I have visited: I have gotten to visit many places in Asia and Europe through personal and professional travel. Some of my favorite places have been Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, Cambodia, Japan, Greece and Turkey. I want to visit Ethiopia, India, Senegal, Chile, and a 1,000 other places.

Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh Activity: SUNY Plattsburgh and the city of Plattsburgh have great places to eat and enjoy time with others. One of my favorite activities is to visit restaurants with a group of good friends.

Favorite experience as a GEO staff member: I love orientation at GEO! It is an exciting time to meet new students and help them transition to a new culture. I love assisting students with taking their first steps to success at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Best advice for prospective international students: College is what you make of it. This means that you determine what kind of experience you have here. I hope that your experience at college is amazing!

Ms. Beckie Greenhaw, Office Assistant, Study Abroad & Exchanges

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

Beckie has been with study abroad and exchanges since August 2005. She holds an associate degree in business administration from Clinton Community College and is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Beckie has visited many places and enjoys being part of helping students on their journey to study abroad. Personally, Beckie enjoys being a mom, photography, swimming, and traveling.

Mr. Andy Lang, Director

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

As director, I lead the three GEO teams: International recruitment and admissions, international student services and study away. And, I also provide leadership to the entire campus community on international engagement and programming.

What I enjoy most about global education is watching young people accept the challenge to go abroad or to another state to new everything, not knowing how they will react, but knowing they will have to adapt.  It can be scary, sometimes embarrassing. Most of the time, it is just a fun adventure though with ups and downs. No matter how “international” you are or are not, it will challenge you. And, that is how you grow, learn who you are and figure out what you want to do (or not, which is just as important) in life!  

Academic credentials: B.A. French English translation, McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada); M.A. French University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA)

Brief biography:  I grew up on a dairy farm in Appalachian Ohio. I also had the opportunity to attend high school in France, which is where the international education bug bit me a long time ago. When I returned, I started college at McGill University in Montreal and eventually completed a master’s degree back home in Ohio. Since then, I have worked in international education full time at universities in the U.S. and Canada. And, this is my second position at SUNY Plattsburgh. I was here form 2005–2008 as manager of study abroad and exchanges. Plattsburgh is a wonderful place to live, work and pursue an education! 

Places I have visited: I have traveled to about 40 countries around the globe. Antarctica and the moon are on the bucket list! 

Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: I love everything about the fall and fall activities on campus and in the area. Each new school year also represents a fresh start, new people and new 

Favorite experience as a GEO staff member: My favorite experience is meeting students from all over New York, the U.S. and the world and learning about from where they come! My second best experience is hearing from these students after they have graduated. I love to hear about how you are doing, what you are doing and where else you have been!  

Best advice for students: Try, participate, engage, repeat!  Try as many new opportunities as you can. Commit to finishing what you start. And, always treat others how you want to be treated, especially when it is difficult to do so.

Ms. Brooke Layhee, Coordinator of Study Away

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

As the senior 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! 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: 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. 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”. Embrace it! Take the leap! You’ll certainly be glad that you did.

Ms. Cathy Rafferty, Office Assistant

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

Cathy serves all three areas of GEO as our Office Assistant, and she is likely to be one of the first friendly faces you meet when you come to our office. She joined GEO in 2022 after working on campus in the Mail Room starting in 2016. Cathy grew up locally in Redford, N.Y. A fun fact about her is that she has a twin sister who looks just like her!

Cathy has spent time traveling in the U.S., including as far away as Montana. She dreams of traveling to see Europe. One of her favorite things to do in her free time is to spend it with her darling two-year old granddaughter

Mr. Peter Rodenberg, International Admissions Advisor

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

Academic credentials: I have an M.A. in T.E.S.L. (Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Central Missouri and a B.S. in history from the University of Central Missouri.

Personal biography: I grew up in the small town of Warrensburg, Missouri about 45 minutes outside of Kansas City. My college life was quite colorful and included performing in a number of bands, extensive travel and studying abroad in the Netherlands. My study abroad experience was one of the key moments in my life as it really started my journey into international education. After graduating with my T.E.S.L. degree I moved to Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China and taught English at Jiaxing University for seven years. My study abroad experience, in addition to my time in China, has led me to GEO at SUNY Plattsburgh and I couldn’t be happier!

Places I’ve visited: While studying abroad in the Netherlands, I had the opportunity to travel to many countries in Europe including Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, the Czech Republic and more! In Asia, I was able to travel throughout China and Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Although I have been to 20 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, I have never been to the Southern Hemisphere, but I hope to change that very soon!

Best advice for prospective international students: Ask questions and participate in class! If you don’t know something, someone else in the class probably doesn’t know either, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or for a different explanation. Additionally, it is important to participate in the class. American classrooms often contain discussions so don’t shy away from sharing your opinions and perspectives with your classmates and instructors. In fact, as a former teacher, I can tell you that instructors are thrilled when students ask questions and participate in discussions as it shows them that you are paying attention, interested in the class content and trying your best to make the most of the opportunity provided.

Ms. Michelle St. Onge, Assistant Director

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

My role in the Global Education Office is to help international students around the world discover the amazing things that SUNY Plattsburgh has to offer them. I spend most of my time working on communication and marketing materials, and helping newly accepted students make the decision to enroll here for their U.S. studies.

Academic credentials: M.A., higher education and student affairs, Bowling Green State University (Ohio), M.A., guidance and counseling, Bowling Green State University (Ohio), B.A., psychology, University of Vermont.

Brief biography: I have worked in GEO for 17 years. During that time I have held positions in study abroad, intercollegiate athletics, student affairs, and the career development center. I grew up in Vermont, but I have also lived and worked in Bowling Green, Ohio; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; and Syracuse, N.Y. before settling my family here in Peru, a small town south of Plattsburgh.

While in graduate school in Ohio, I worked for the Center for International Programs, where I advised international student clubs, assisted with admissions functions, and planned large scale international events for the campus and community. I have also worked professionally as a residence hall director, career counselor, and corporate trainer. When I am not working, I spend my time playing djembe in a West African drumming group, working out in the gym or running, listening and dancing to live music, brushing up my French language skills, and trying new foods from all over the world.

Places I have visited: Business travels include South Africa, Vietnam, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, and Denmark. Personal travels have taken me to Dominican Republic, France, Spain, Morocco, and Jamaica. I was a French minor in college and had the opportunity to study abroad for a summer semester in Avignon, France.

Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: I love to visit in the GEO office! Everyone is so friendly, fun, and interesting. It is amazing to me how much you can learn from people with backgrounds different from your own. 

Favorite experience as GEO staff member: When I first started in GEO, I was the PICL Coordinator. I have fond memories of receiving email and phone calls from community partners and international students with showers of thanks for matching them with each other. I got an unforgettable feeling of satisfaction from helping new students feel more comfortable and connected with our campus and community.

Best advice for prospective international students: Come ready to experience all that our campus and community have to offer. Many of the things that you will learn from your time here will come from experiences that will happen outside of the traditional classroom. The second piece of advice I have to offer is to ask lots of questions, including asking for help when you need it.

Ms. Amanda Suriel, International Student Advisor

Phone: 518-564-3287
Email: [email protected]

My primary role involves supporting all SUNY Plattsburgh international students. This includes maintaining immigration records, processing employment authorizations, and student outreach regarding various compliance concerns.  As a resource to international students, my goal is to assist and provide guidance for students from when they arrive at orientation through their graduation and OPT process. 

Academic Credentials: B.A. communication studies, SUNY Plattsburgh; M.S. student affairs and higher education, SUNY Plattsburgh

Something About Me: As a transplant from New York City, I never imagined leaving the five boroughs I called home to move to a small town. Yet, six years later, I am raising my family in this tight-knit community and loving it. As a first-generation, Latina student, and now a staff member, I believe that representation matters. It has been my pleasure to help students from cultures similar to mine feel at home.  I enjoy learning about and advocating for students who come from diverse backgrounds. As a person from a collectivist culture, I deeply value the sense of community amongst campus and the opportunity to work as a group towards a common goal. 

Places I have visited: Though I have not been privileged enough to travel to many places, I do dream to one day be able to go abroad! For now, the furthest place I have traveled is to Italy. The place I have most frequently visited is Puerto Rico. The place that will always be home to me is Brooklyn, NY. 

Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: I always look forward to the many cultural events that take place on campus. As a foodie, I enjoy attending events where different cuisines are available (i.e. Tiranga United’s Diwali Festival, V-Nation Food Festival, etc.)

Favorite experience as a GEO staff member: There are many GEO experiences that I enjoy, but my overall favorite is orientation! As the transportation coordinator, I assist students with their arrivals to campus and get a first-hand look at who they are. I enjoy the conversations of what they expect SUNY Plattsburgh to be like and sharing some advice on how to dive right into this new chapter of their lives. 

Best advice for prospective international students: The adventure of a lifetime awaits! Though the idea of studying in another country may seem daunting, there are so many opportunities to learn and grow academically and as a person. It’s okay to be afraid AND also be willing to leap into this experience. Always keep in mind that that GEO is with you every step of the way! So what are YOU waiting for?

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