- Ms. Kate Friedrich, International Admissions Advisor
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. Heather Garcia, International Student Services Assistant
I serve as the main point of contact for international students. I support students with immigration, engagement, and advisement concerns.
Academic Credentials: B.S. in exceptional student education with ESOL endorsement, Indian River State College (Fort Pierce, Florida); Ed.M. curriculum and instruction with specialization in TESOL, University of South Florida (Tampa, Florida)
Brief Biography: I was born and raised in South Florida. I moved to New York in 2021. I have worked with culturally diverse students for over seven years. I truly enjoy collaborating with international students and learning from their unique backgrounds. In my personal life, I like to spend time with my two children and husband. We are a very active family and appreciate the natural beauty of the Adirondack Coast. We enjoy hiking, going to the beach, and cooking new kinds of cuisine.
Places I have visited: I absolutely love to travel and learn from other cultures. Internationally, I have traveled to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Canada. In addition, I have visited 26 states within the United States. Aside from trying new foods, when visiting new destinations, I like to look for state or national parks. I am a nature enthusiast and love to take in the views of protected areas.
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: There are so many wonderful things to enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh; however, one of my favorites is walking the Saranac River Trail.
Favorite experience as a GEO staff member: I get satisfaction from seeing students succeed. I truly enjoy fostering lifelong relationships with students and hearing of all their accomplishments within our campus and after graduation.
Best advice for prospective international students: Mindset is so important. Have a growth mindset and be open to opportunities. I don’t think we, as humans, realize how much our way of thinking affects our actions or inactions. So, stay positive and believe in your abilities.
- Ms. Beckie Greenhaw, Office Assistant, Study Abroad & ExchangesBeckie 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.
- Ms. 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! 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.
- Mr. Peter Rodenberg, International Admissions Advisor
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
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 16 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 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. Jackie Girard Vogl, Associate Vice President, Global Education
I provide leadership for the staff and get involved in all aspects of our office activities: international recruitment and admission, international student services and study away.
By watching our incoming international students and outgoing study abroad students encounter all sorts of challenges (i.e., academic, financial, social, etc.) with amazing maturity and resourcefulness, I have learned that all things are possible if you are committed to excellence and willing to give support and accept help from your friends.
Academic Credentials: B.A. classics, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts); Ed.M. administration, planning, and social policy, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Brief Biography: My life, both professionally and personally, is never boring. My days are spent interacting with prospective students, current students, alumni, professionals worldwide, and on-campus colleagues (mostly via e-mail). My evenings are spent with my family of three sons and my husband, Steve. On the weekends, I enjoy the many outdoor activities available in the North Country: cycling, running, hiking, skiing, etc. I've particularly enjoyed working with some talented international students over the past many years, many of whom I am pleased to call friends now that they are out there in the “real world.”
Places I have visited: I have traveled to more than 70 countries! I've enjoyed all of my travels and am always intrigued by both the differences and similarities in cultures and behaviors.
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: I love orientation week! It's busy and exhausting, but so great to meet all the new students IN PERSON (and sometimes their families) after the months of interacting via email, WhatsApp, and Skype. And once winter begins, I look forward to watching our women’s hockey team play and win in the Stafford Ice Arena.
Favorite experience as a GEO staff member: Meeting the families of the students I know at graduation. I feel privileged to have a close relationship with many students, both international students and students who have studied abroad, and I am honored to be present as they prepare to continue their lives beyond our campus community.
Best advice for prospective international students: Always attend class, be on time, and be willing to participate in classroom discussions. Students should recognize that some of the most important things they will learn at university are taught outside of the classroom, so get involved and seize the opportunities around you. In the words of Pliny the Elder in the first century, “Fortune favors the bold!”