Global Engagement

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Global Engagement Staff

Penelope PynesPenelope Pynes, Director
As the Associate Provost for International Programs, Penelope leads the internationalization efforts at UNCG. Since 1995, she has worked to promote student/faculty exchange at UNCG and in the state. She piloted the Baden-Württemberg state-to-state program, which led to the establishment of UNC’s system-wide exchange program housed at UNCG. In 2005, she represented the UNC system in an administrative exchange at the Ministry of Science and Arts in Baden-Württemberg. Penelope facilitates diversity and intercultural workshops on and off campus to prepare faculty and students for successful experiences abroad. She is a former Fulbright scholar to Heidelberg, Germany, and was awarded a Rotary Club Study Exchange Scholarship to Norway. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in Germanic linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



Patrick LiljaPatrick Lilja, Assistant Director
Patrick possesses more than a decade of experience in the fields of English as a Second Language and International Education having held positions as a teacher, a teacher trainer, and an administrator. Curious about places and ideas he has traveled to over 50 countries and spent several years living in Japan. He has presented at several national and international conferences including: English USA, TESOL, and NAFSA. He was a 2014 participant in the NAFSA Academy and a member of the NAFSA Region VI leadership team. He is also familiar with accreditation through his work as a site reviewer for The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Cornell University and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the SIT Graduate Institute.



Thais Weiss Thais Weiss, Administrative Assistant
Thais Weiss is the new administrative assistant for the Global Engagement office. She was born and raised in Brazil and moved to Chapel Hill in 2010 where she graduated with a double major in Global Studies and Geography. Thais has developed a strong interest in sustainable development and global communities. In 2015, she traveled to Spain and Germany to study renewable energy and sustainable city design. Thais' previous job was as a research assistant and video editor for Climate Stories NC, a multimedia storytelling project about North Carolinians whose lives have been affected by climate change. Since moving to Greensboro this past May, Thais has gotten involved with Black Diamond: A Public Backyard, a project that aims to enable people to live more sustainable lives by providing an outdoor community space for the Greensboro community to engage in various activities.



Nicole Hawks Nicole Hawks, Graduate Assistant
Nicole Hawks grew up in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina and received her B.A. in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). During this time she researched political geography aspects of the migration crisis in Europe and presented her findings at the 10th Annual Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research Expo at UNCG in the spring semester of 2016. She’s currently pursuing her M.A. in Applied Geography. Her most recent adventure in the geography department was a field course in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California during the summer of 2016. Over the course of this trip she studied volcanism, biogeography and geomorphology while taking long walks and asking locals how they took their coffee. Nicole has also studied and practiced studio art for fifteen years, predominantly in drawing, painting, sculpting and ceramics. When she’s not working on an artistic project she’s reading anything she finds interesting, trying new recipes, playing games and gardening. She hopes to travel more and complete her B.F.A. in 3D design in the future, and looks forward to pursuing her role as the co-editor of the eNewsworthy.



Bin Luo Bin Luo, Graduate Assistant
Bin Luo is a graduate assistant for data assessment in Global Engagement office. He received his B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from South China University of Technology in 2012. He then worked at China Southern Airlines as a web developer for 2 years. He completed his M.A. in Mathematics with a concentration in Applied Statistics at UNCG in 2016. He’s currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Computational Mathematics at UNCG.



Thais Weiss April Snell, Graduate Assistant
April Snell received her B.A. from UNCG and is currently pursuing her M.A. within UNCG’s Peace and Conflict Studies Program. While working on her undergraduate degree she was awarded a Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in South Africa at Stellenbosch University and completed the Learning Sustainable Community Engagement (LSCE) Program with distinction. During her time at Stellenbosch University she created a musical arts program connecting the area’s primary school, Lynedoch with the music consortium of Stellenbosch University. She also created a life skills curriculum and taught this curriculum to 6th graders of Lynedoch. April has also volunteered with the United Nations Association of South Africa, teaching reading comprehension skills to the youth of the Kyamundi Legacy Center. Her experience in South Africa revealed the importance of education and building self-confidence within our local and global community. In her free time, April enjoys DJing at WUAG 103.1 FM, where she has created and currently produces a radio show “Air International Flight #103.1”. Air International features our “glocal” community, faculty, staff and students who have studied abroad or who are having a positive impact on our local/global community. She is currently the Global Leadership Program Coordinator within the QEP Global and International Programs Center.