Three new leaders will soon join the University of Utah’s Office for Global Engagement (OGE). The three will offer vision and oversight for outgoing student mobility; support for incoming international students and scholars; and program development and risk mitigation, respectively.
- Alexandra Wallace will fill the role of director for Learning Abroad in mid-May.
- Anastasia Fynn will become the U's new director of International Student & Scholar Services in July.
- Parker Pflaum will join the office as the new associate director for Global Engagement and Risk Management at the beginning of June.
“These are critical roles for our campus as we strive to meet this moment of engaging globally in a pandemic-impacted world,” said Brian Gibson, the U’s chief global officer. “Each of these individuals was selected for the wealth of personal and professional experience, and deep regard for the importance of international education they offer.”
Gibson noted that the incoming directors’ efforts will focus on ushering in, “a new era of collaboration, both within OGE, as well as with other administrative offices and academic units at the U. Our campus will benefit greatly from their leadership as we seek to be even more globally engaged as an institution."
Learn more about each of the new directors below.
Alexandra Wallace joins the University of Utah as the director of Learning Abroad. Having initiated a variety of learning abroad programs throughout her career, in particular freshman year programs, her professional expertise will be critical as OGE works to reimagine and restructure the U’s approach to learning abroad.
Wallace will be responsible for providing leadership to the Learning Abroad team and serving as a campus advocate for academic programs abroad. She has been in the field of International Education for well over a decade, with a background in English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in China, South Korea and Costa Rica; F-1 student advising; and faculty-led program development and implementation.
Most recently, she served as the manager of Global Faculty-Led Programs at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. There, Wallace worked to develop new programs with faculty, mapped out short-term and semester programs with providers and tirelessly ensured students’ success abroad.
"I believe the world needs international education now more than ever. Our students can impact their communities by learning abroad and building bridges with others," said Wallace. "I'm excited to join a team that strives to provide programming that creates a sustainable community that puts diversity, inclusion and equity in its core values."
Wallace traces her passion for international education back to her semester abroad as an undergraduate student in Nanjing, China. While in her master's program, she also completed a month-long, faculty-led program in Costa Rica, where she received her TESOL certificate. Wallace has a B.A. in International Relations and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arkansas. She also holds an M.A. in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute.
In her free time, Wallace enjoys making tagines, shopping for antiques and, of course, exploring the world.
As an international student and an immigrant from Ghana, Anastasia Fynn’s lived experience will inform her empathetic approach to leading the U’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services. “I am eager to leverage my deep understanding of international student life and immigration policies to help facilitate student resettlement and transition procedures,” said Fynn.
Fynn has a decade of experience in international education, and was most recently the Director for International Student & Scholar Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. She brings experience in providing strategic vision and leadership, ensuring immigration compliance, training and coaching, overseeing operations and workflow management, liaising with campus stakeholders and providing programmatic support for international students and scholars services.
Fynn is passionate about international student advocacy and believes there is a direct correlation between academic success and immigration compliance. To this end, she volunteers for several International Education organizations, such as the Association of International Education (NAFSA).
“I believe in an interdependent world, where it is essential for students, faculty, and staff to have the opportunity to become personally and intellectually familiar with the people, ideas and customs of other nations,” Fynn said. “Such interaction not only promotes a universal perspective and intellectual growth, but it also contributes to the cultural and economic well-being of the university.”
Fynn holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of Ghana and an MBA in International Business from Strayer University. She enjoys cooking and sharing new recipes, travel, reading, watching "Jeopardy" and spending time with her family.
Parker Pflaum has lived in numerous countries and personally contributed to multiple learning abroad programs—both as participant and planner. This background makes him intimately familiar with the inherent risks facing students who study abroad. Parker’s entrepreneurial background will be especially useful as OGE spearheads a number of new initiatives and programs.
"I'm looking forward to thoughtfully developing new opportunities—especially for underrepresented and diverse students—to participate in off-campus programs. I hope to help resolve any process barriers and roadblocks which prevent or discourage students from studying abroad," said Pflaum. He will also be tasked with monitoring the U’s post-pandemic risk management processes to ensure participant health and wellbeing.
Pflaum was most recently assistant director of Study Away and Global Learning at Concordia College, where he led a team that increased study abroad participation to pre-pandemic levels, managed over 70 learning abroad programs, and built out several new programs and partnerships.
For nine years, Pflaum lived out of a backpack on the road, managing experiential and immersive cultural-exchange programs for Where There Be Dragons (an international school in Boulder, Colorado) in 15 developing countries. He holds an M.A. in East Asian Regional Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in Chinese and History from the University of Florida.
Pflaum enjoys getting lost in cities, high and low brow reading, biking in urban areas, gardening and walking really long distances.