I have lived in Minnesota since 2008 and am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I received my Bachelors degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and had the opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain during that time. This experience changed me as an individual and sparked my career in International Education. I spent eight years living in Chicago working in the field and received my Masters degree in Multicultural Communications from DePaul University.
I have caught the travel bug and love to travel internationally when I can. Those who know me well know that I have a love for trying new foods from all over the world. I enjoy spending time with close family and friends and watching Wisconsin football (Go Packers!).
Samba DiengAssistant Director
I moved to St Paul, Minnesota from the State of Illinois, where I spent almost two years in International Education at the University of Illinois- Springfield Campus. I am originally from Senegal, where half of my family still resides. I came to the United States in 2001 as an international student and obtained my B.A. in political science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and my M.S. degree in international relations and political science at Indiana State University. I have been in many countries and I strive to tour the world by the age of 50.
Those who know me very well will tell you that I love the game of basketball and I am a great fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. I also love to cook and try food from all over the globe. My greatest life pursuit to this day is to visit the planet of Mars but do not hold me to it because I know it will not happen. Upon arrival to the University of St Thomas and after some interaction with your peers, you will come to realize that the atmosphere of the institution and the modest and outgoing nature of the students will all be in line with your desire to join the campus community. We look forward to your participation in campus activities and help in enriching our institution in its entirety.
Sarah ChurchillIntercultural Programs Coordinator
Hello! Due to my parent’s work, I spent most of my childhood in Japan, living in Kanazawa, Kobe and Tokyo. I absolutely loved my time in Japan and enjoy going back to visit when I am able. I first came to Minnesota to attend St. Olaf College in 2003. I received my B.A. in Psychology and Family Studies. While at St. Olaf College I was able to study abroad in Rome, Italy.
In 2010 I came to the University of St. Thomas to continue my education in the Leadership in Student Affairs program. During my time as a graduate student I was able to work as a Graduate Assistant in International Student Services. I graduated in May 2012 and am extremely excited to now continue working with International Students as the Intercultural Programs Coordinator. Please stop in anytime and say hello!
Shoko HanzawaOffice Coordinator
I am originally from Japan and most of my family are still there. I first came to the US when I was a high school exchange student. I spent a year in a tiny town with a population of 1,000+ in Wisconsin. I received my Bachelors in International Affairs from Meiji Gakuin University in Kanagawa, Japan. During that time, I had an opportunity to study at the University of California Berkeley. This one-year experience opened up my world, made me realize so many opportunities and changed the direction of my life entirely. I received my Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. Upon graduation, I spent a few years, working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Croatia and Afghanistan. I came to Minnesota in 2006 after spending five years in Burma.
I love meeting people from different parts of the world and learning about different cultures. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy playing piano and take private lessons – my favorite composer is Chopin.
Welcome to the University of St. Thomas. It is a great community to be in as a university student. Please drop by to say “Hi” at our office.
Laura NoppeGraduate Assistant
I am an original Wisconsinite, but have lived in Minnesota for six years (that makes me a Minnesconsinite!). I have a B.A. from Saint Cloud State University in Travel/Tourism and am currently pursuing my Master’s in Leadership in Student Affairs at St. Thomas. As an undergraduate I have had the opportunity to study and travel in South Africa, Croatia, Greece, Italy, and England. I love to travel and experience new cultures –especially through food, music, and art!
When I have leisure time I love exploring the Twin Cities (I find new treasures every day in this great place!), finding amazing restaurants, going to music events, and watching Packer football!
It is my pleasure to welcome you and have you join us at the University of St. Thomas. I know you will find our community to be wonderful, and I encourage you to explore and share with us in the office as you experience Minnesota!