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.



Thais Weiss Krishnaveni Balarishnan, Global Leadership Program Coordinator
Krishnaveni Balakrishnan is currently pursuing a MPH graduate degree in the department Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). During her academic career, she was involved in a number of service related activities, and research efforts. As an individual of African-American and Indian heritage, she enjoys celebrating both her cultures. She has traveled to India several times since she was young, and has been involved in various global engagement efforts throughout her undergraduate and graduate career. Regarding research, she has presented her work at several conferences, and her research interests include immigrant and refugee health, chronic disease prevention, racial health disparities, global health, and community based participatory research. Krishnaveni received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from UNCG in 2015.



David Chen, Graduate Assistant for Data Assessment David Chen, Graduate Assistant for Data Assessment
David Chen is pursuing a PhD in Educational Research Methodology in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). He is of Chinese and French descent, but was born and raised in Maryland. His interest in research and evaluation has extended to several fields including psychology, child welfare, and education. Over the last several years, David worked at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), School of Social Work as a research analyst, where he examined the use of evidence-based practices as alternatives to out-of-home placements. David received his Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland in 2012.