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Office of International Programs

Philip Plourde, Executive Director

Phil’s Role

As executive director, Office of International Programs (OIP), Phil’s primary responsibility is to provide guidance and oversight for the units within the OIP umbrella: Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP), International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), and Study Abroad Center (SAC). Moreover, the work involves facilitating relationships between UNI and partners abroad in order to provide opportunities for UNI faculty, students, and staff to become engaged internationally.  Finally, the position works to enhance support for internationals arriving to campus for study, research, and other collaboration.

Phil’s commitment to internationalization at UNI

Phil’s goal is for CIEP, ISSO, and SAC to work cooperatively and support each other’s efforts in internationalizing the UNI experience and bringing cultural diversity to the campus.  His work has afforded him the opportunity to work with a variety of UNI faculty, students, and staff and assist them in their aspirations for research, study, and teaching abroad. In addition, he has maintained a goal to provide internationals on campus as much access as possible to all that UNI has to offer.

Education and other roles

Phil has master’s degrees in International Affairs and Applied Linguistics from Ohio University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western New England University.  He has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and a World Teach Volunteer in Thailand. Phil’s background includes teaching inner city youth in a Jobs Corps Program in Massachusetts, teaching in an English language camp for Japanese university students in Pennsylvania, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Illinois, teaching stints at Vanderbilt University and Southern Illinois University in the U.S., serving on the Executive Board of the University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP) consortium, and presenting workshops to faculty in Thailand and Russia.

More about Phil

Phil enjoys trying new dishes and walking the family dog, Sadie.  “It always amazes me how closely connected food is to culture,” says Phil, “Eating is a common experience where nearly everyone has something to say.” 

Office of International Programs

Beccy Johnson, Secretary III

Beccy’s Role

Rebecca (Beccy) Johnson is the Secretary for the Office of International Programs.  She has been with International Programs since September of 2010 and with the University of Northern Iowa since October 1992. 

Beccy’s commitment to internationalization at UNI

Beccy works to bring international visiting scholars to UNI. Since she has never traveled internationally herself, she enjoys seeing the world through other people’s eyes.  She has a great respect for international students who travel abroad to learn in a diverse world.  For most of the students this is their first time leaving home, and that can be a scary thing. 

Education and other roles

Beccy graduated from Central High School in Waterloo Iowa and received a Diploma in Business Office Clerical from the Hawkeye Institute of Technology, also in Waterloo.  She served on the UNI Merit Personnel Advisory Committee and is also a recipient of the UNI Panther First Award and the Governor’s Volunteer Award for her mentoring with Promise Jobs. 

Beccy served as the State of Iowa Clerical Policy Chair for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  She served as the UNI Local 2659 Treasurer for several years and has been a State Clerical Negotiator for three contracts.  Beccy is the Entertainment Committee Chair for the Black Hawk County Relay For Life having held that position in 2013, 2014, 2015 as well as Event Co-chair in 2014.   She is currently serving as faculty adviser to the UNI Colleges Against Cancer organization.

More about Beccy

Beccy lives for her grandchildren and she along with her husband Dan are raising two granddaughters, one of which they have adopted.  She enjoys going to the family cabin in Northeast Iowa, traveling, and the occasional trip to the casino.  She is blessed to be a 17 year cancer survivor.

Office of International Programs

Kirstin Samuels, Office Assistant

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Kirstin’s Role:

Assisting the Executive Director of International Programs, attending to various office tasks such as writing articles for the OIP newsletter, working with incoming visiting scholars and covering the reception desk.

Kirstin’s commitment to internationalization at UNI:

Since Kirstin has traveled internationally and experienced many different traditions and cultures, she has a strong interest in learning more and actually pursuing a career in international relations.  She loves meeting new people and learning about their experiences and what their life has been like.


Kirstin is a current undergrad student at UNI pursuing her bachelors in Human Resource Management with the intention of becoming an International HR Consultant.

More about Kirstin:  

Kirstin is from Wisconsin, but Iowa has always been like a second home.  She loves to travel and go on new adventures.  At home she spends time with her family and friends enjoying the Wisconsin lakes.  While at UNI she enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and explore new places.