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Office of International Programs

Philip Plourde, Executive Director

Philip Plourde

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

Kathleen Sihler, Secretary

Kathleen's Role

As OIP secretary, Kathleen assists with budget management and tracking, preparations and registration for visiting international scholars, daily office operations, internal procedures and processes and general problem solving for staff, international scholars and students.

Kathleen's commitment to internationalization at UNI

Kathleen's travel experiences and interest in history and the arts align to strengthen her belief in the value and richness of other cultures, languages, histories and faiths.  She is thrilled to have daily work that helps to facilitate these aspects of the UNI mission.

Education and other roles

Kathleen has a Bachelor's of Music Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master's of Music Performance from SUNY-Stony Brook.  She continues her first professional life as Principal Viola with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and values her second professional life as the former Operations and Education Director for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.  She feels very fortunate to have started her third professional life with the Office of International Programs and the broader international community at UNI.

More about Kathleen

Kathleen enjoys music, food, art, history, reading, travel, walking and nature, especially if any and all of those can be enjoyed with her husband, two daughters and good friends.  Kathleen also appreciates having two places that she can call home - the state of Iowa, since her arrival in 1991, and her beloved home state of Oregon.  


Office of International Programs

Kirstin Samuels, Office Assistant

Kirsten Samuels

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.