Allison Blizzard connects with world educators via Fulbright program
Last spring, Allison Blizzard, director of the Office of International Student Services, traveled to Russia for a five-city tour that included Moscow and St. Petersburg. She made the trip for more than just the rich history and the famous architecture of these cities; she was seeking connections with educators from across the globe.
Blizzard was one of only five community college administrators in the US to be selected this year for the Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) Program, a well-known and highly regarded opportunity for community college leaders to expand their knowledge of, and develop long-lasting collaboration, with their counterparts abroad.
Although there are Fulbright programs located in India, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, France and Germany, Blizzard applied for the program to Russia because of the many programs PCC has in common with their universities and technical colleges.
“PCC possesses great potential to make such an endeavor meaningful for students, faculty, and staff,” Blizzard said. “Russia was of exceptional interest. We also have, on average, about five students from Russia attending PCC each year.”
The process was highly competitive, with multiple rounds of selection. Of the five community college staff to be selected this year, Blizzard was the only awardee from the West Coast.
The intensive, two-week program was packed with opportunities to learn about the host country’s education system as well as to establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues.
During the program she met with representatives from the Kochoubey Center in Pushkin, and the American Center, the Education USA Center, the YEAR Program, and the US Embassy in Moscow. She also met with administrators, faculty, and students from eleven institutions of higher education and vocational training, such as the St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering and the Russian State Hydrometeorological University.
She is excited about using what she learned during the program at the Office of International Student Services (OISS) at PCC, where she leads a team of more than 18 staff members. They work to provide wrap-around services (from recruitment to admission to orientation to advising) for approximately 600 international students from more than 70 countries.
Blizzard also returned with a range of ideas for potential collaboration, such as experiences for PCC faculty in Russia, short-term programs for students, and collaborative online international learning opportunities, which she will be offering workshops on in the coming academic year.
“If any faculty or administrators are interested in these opportunities, please reach out to me,” said Blizzard, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (971) 722-7146.