IPS Leadership


Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies

Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela was named the Vice-Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies and Professor in the College of Education effective January 2015 . Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Mabokela was the Assistant Dean for International Studies in the College of Education and Professor of Higher Education at Michigan State University. Originally from South Africa, she received her BA in Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated with a Master’s in Labor and Industrial Relations and Ph.D in Educational Policy Studies, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She started teaching at Michigan State University as a visiting Assistant Professor in 1999 and was named full professor with tenure and 2010. A former Fulbright New Century Scholar Fellow in 2006, Mabokela has raised more than $27 million to support her research and other scholarly activities. Her research examines experiences of mariginalized populations in higher education and aims to inform institutional policies that affect these groups. She is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of seven books and has published extensively in national and international journals.


Sandra Allain, Coordinator for Strategic Initiatives - Latin America

Sandra joined International Programs and Studies in January 2014. Before joining IPS she worked for six years in the field of International Education as Coordinator for International Agreements and International Cooperation at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia and has lived abroad in the United States, Paraguay, Guatemala and Honduras. She works with academic units and IPS units related to Latin America to facilitate the development of new relationships with partner institutions in the region and assist the management of existing ones. She will also assist in developing and coordinating training programs with organizations in Latin America. Sandra has a Law Degree from Universidad del Rosario in Colombia and holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration on Global Studies in Education at Illinois.


Tim Barnes, Director, Illinois Strategic International Partnerships

Tim Barnes joined International Programs and Studies in 1998, and has worked in the offices of Overseas Projects and Foreign Visitors (OPFV), East Asian and Pacific Exchange Programs (EAEP), and Institutional and Faculty International Collaboration (IFIC) prior to assuming his current position as director of Illinois Strategic International Partnerships (ISIP). Tim now manages all formal institutional linkages between the Urbana-Champaign campus and international partners, as well as fostering increased international engagement among faculty and serving as the campus liaison officer for the Fulbright Senior Scholar program.


Becky Billman, Assistant Director for Human Resources

Becky Billman joined International Programs and Studies in 1997. As Assistant Director for Human Resources for IPS, she provides management and oversight of human resource related activities for all units reporting to the Associate Provost for International Affairs.  She serves as a member of the Senior Management Team providing guidance to the APIA on matters related to the leadership of IPS and internationalization of the campus, as well as serving as liaison for the APIA to campus and university human resource office. She also serves as Affirmative Action Officer, Intake Specialist, and Departmental Classifier. Becky earned a BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Illinois-Springfield.


Denise Esworthy, Human Resources Associate

Denise joined International Programs and Studies in 2014...


Caroline Ewing, International Scholarship Specialist

Caroline Ewing joined International Programs and Studies (IPS) in January 2015. In her capacity as International Scholarship Specialist, Caroline directs the scholarship selection process and collaborates with campus partners to promote and evaluate the impact of scholarships used by current students to study abroad. Prior to joining IPS, Caroline worked in Scholar Recruitment in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She earned her B.A. in Intercultural Studies from Lincoln Christian University and is pursuing her M.Ed. in Higher Education at the University of Illinois.



Linda Franklin, Staff Clerk

Linda started at the University of Illinois in February 2002 as a secretary in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine. In April 2008, she accepted a position as Office Support Specialist with International Programs & Studies (IPS), providing support for both financial and human resource responsibilities for IPS and International Centers Administrative Services (ICAS).


Amy Hubbard, Office Manager

Amy joined the University in 2008 and brings with her 20 years of Administrative and Event Planning experience. She comes to us most recently from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) where she performed as the Assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of OSP. Amy serves as assistant to Bryan Endres and will also be responsible for managing the daily operations of the IPS Executive Office.


Lauren Karplus, International Visitors and Protocol Specialist

Lauren joined International Programs and Studies in September 2014. As International Visitors and Protocol Specialist, she serves as the campus protocol officer, ensuring visiting dignitaries are extended all proper courtesies by the University by coordinating their itineraries and acting as an escort for international visitors to campus. Prior to joining IPS, she served for two years in the United States Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Swaziland. She has an M.A. in Political Science from Illinois State University and a B.A. in International Studies and German from the University of Illinois.


Rajeev Malik, Acting Associate Director, International Programs and Studies; Director, Illinois International Training

Rajeev Malik is the Acting Associate Director in the Offices of the Associate Provost for International Affairs and International Programs & Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as the director for Illinois International Training.  He has been at Illinois since 2002.  Before coming to the University of Illinois, he worked in International Business Development with Wolfram Research and Management Consulting with A.T. Kearney.  He has a B.A. in History from McGill University and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago.


Veerle Opgenhaffen, Associate Director for Advancement

Veerle joined International Programs and Studies (IPS) in August 2014. As Associate Director of Advancement for IPS she provides management and leadership to the unit’s communications, stewardship, and fundraising efforts, working closely with numerous units across the campus that have an international dimension to their work and scholarship, as well as with a vast network of donors, alumni, current and prospective students. Prior to joining IPS, she spent seven years as the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, where she oversaw the Center’s operational management, fundraising, and communications efforts. Previously, she worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York as a Communications Associate. Veerle earned her B.A. in International Affairs and Languages from Antioch College (1996) and her M.A. In International Affairs and Human Rights from the New School University (2003).


Paul Roberts, Network Specialist I


Nicole Tami, Director of International Student Integration

Nicole Tami joined the International Programs and Studies staff shortly after completing her doctorate degree in cultural anthropology. Working with academic and administrative units across campus, she manages and facilitates international student integration and engagement at Illinois. This involves coordinating targeted outreach for international students, organizing cross-cultural training for faculty and staff who serve our international student population, expanding existing resources, and developing new tools and platforms for meeting the needs of our growing international community.

Matt VanderZalm, Communications Coordinator

Matt VanderZalm came to International Programs and Studies in September 2007 with a strong background in journalism.  His responsibilities include serving as the managing editor of the Illinois International Review; creating and implementing project-oriented communications plans for international programs; serving as writer and editor for Global Viewpoint; serving as the editor of the Illinois International Update; facilitating media contact by creating press releases, public service announcements and news advisories; and serving as the primary liaison between IPS and the University of Illinois News Bureau.


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