Ms. Liza Bedard, Office Assistant (International Student Services)
My main areas of focus in the Global Education Office are maintaining GEO financial accounts and supporting the admission staff with the acceptance process for all newly accepted international students.
Academic credentials: I am currently working on an A.S. in human development with a concentration in criminal behavior through SUNY Empire State College.
Personal biography: I grew up in a small town about 30 minutes from Plattsburgh, I moved to the Plattsburgh area shortly after I graduated high school. Looking for a change I moved to the Saratoga Springs, N.Y. working for Empire State College in the student accounting and graduate student services department. After seven years in Saratoga I decided I was ready to return home to the Plattsburgh area where I have found a great experience working in the Global Education Office here at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Places I have visited: I have visited several places within the United States and in addition I have visited Mexico, the Bahamas and Aruba.
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: The interaction with all the students.
Favorite experience as GEO staff member: I enjoy international orientation. It is a great time to meet new students and a great feeling that I can assist them with their new experience.
Best advice for prospective international students: We have several activities and programs; take advantage of all that you can to make your experience here the most amazing.
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. Beckie Greenhaw, Office Assistant (Study Abroad & Exchanges)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.
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.
Ms. Amelia Lushia, Assistant Director (International Student Services)
I am the primary immigration resource for all SUNY Plattsburgh international students (specifically those with F-1 and J-1 visa status). My role is in some ways is like a cross-cultural facilitator, assisting students with the opportunities available to them within their visa type, advocating for them here on-campus and as a liaison with governmental agencies as needed.
Academic credentials: B.A. psychology, SUNY New Paltz; M.A. applied linguistics (teaching English to speakers of other languages), University of Illinois at Chicago.
Personal biography: Growing up in a small town in upstate N.Y., I always loved meeting people from other parts of the world. Those friends inspired me to travel, study and work abroad. I love working as an international student advisor because I can continue to meet people from other cultures and backgrounds. I moved to Plattsburgh in 2009 after falling in love and marrying a “North Country Boy”. We now have 2 small children that keep us very busy! I love that we live in a beautiful, rural area yet still a short drive from amazing cities like Montreal, Lake Placid and Burlington.
Places I have visited: After graduating high-school, I was a Rotary exchange student in the French-speaking part of Belgium for one year. During that time I was able to travel to many places in Western Europe and visit good friends in Norway (who we often still visit). After receiving my master’s degree, I lived and worked in Mozambique (Africa) as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. I made sure to take the opportunity to travel to South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia before I came back to the states! Since that time I have traveled to a different cities in China for work, plus my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Argentina. I still need to visit Australia, Antarctica, and many other places!
Favorite SUNY Plattsburgh activity: I love orientation. To me, it’s like Christmas, meeting new international students who are so excited to be here and working with orientation leaders who are amazing people with generous hearts.
Favorite experience as GEO staff member: Watching the new international students laughing, and yelling while playing outdoor summer games at the welcome picnic for orientation. It is so much fun and connects us as human beings no matter where we are from.
Best advice for prospective international students: You are a risk taker because you decided to study abroad. I encourage you to continue to take positive “risks” by joining clubs and sports which will provide you with opportunities that will enhance your experience here! Also, it is always OK to ask for help. The only stupid question is the one you do not ask.
Ms. 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.
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, International Recruitment & Admissions Specialist
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 almost 14 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 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 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. I'm also partial to attending PICL potluck dinners and social events.
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
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 & 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?
Email: [email protected]
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!”