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New Faces in International Programs!

Posted: April 25, 2016

This past year has brought about some significant changes in the Office of International Programs with the addition of team members Daniel Tobin, Ruth Mendum, Ann Stone, Paige Castellanos, and Blair Cooper. Join us in welcoming them to the office!

Dr. Daniel Tobin is the instructor and coordinator of the international agriculture (INTAG) minor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. His main tasks in that title involve research on agricultural issues as well as coordinating with students in their pursuit of the minor.  He also instructs several courses including the senior capstone course (INTAG 490) and Introduction to International Agriculture (INTAG 100).  Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College in 2004, he later received a master’s in Agricultural and Extension Education and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Extension Education and International Agriculture and Development from Penn State.   Prior to working at Penn State, he has done past work in South America.  In his spare time, Dr. Tobin enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling to various locations.  He also enjoys walking his dog and time with his son Abe.

Dr. Ruth Mendum, Associate Director for Gender Initiatives for the International Programs office, performs research on gender-related issues associated with agriculture and provides support for gender projects like the Gender Research and Integrated Training (GRIT) sessions.  She earned a BA from the University of Virginia in German literature and languages and a master’s from Cornell in German literature and a Ph.D. from Penn State in rural sociology and women’s studies.  In addition to her background in German literature, she has also focused on democracy-based leadership and what that means for gender issues and research.  In her leisure time, she is an avid gardener and knitter and is learning Dutch and French.  She also enjoys spending time with her two children.

Dr. Paige Castellanos is a post-doctoral scholar and contributes to the Women in Agriculture Network (WAgN): Honduras project.   Her responsibilities include managing the many facets of the project, communicating between the Penn State team and at Zamorano University in Honduras, as well as researching the participation of women in horticulture production and distribution.  She is also coordinating a certificate program in Gender and Agriculture for this project. Additionally, Dr. Castellanos instructs an embedded course on Local Rural Development with travel to Costa Rica.  This is also where she conducted her dissertation research for her dual-title in Rural Sociology and International Agriculture and Development at Penn State.  She holds a Master’s of International Affairs and a Bachelor of Science degree in French with an option in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management, both from Penn State.  Prior to completing her graduate degrees, she worked as a hotel General Manager. She loves to travel and languages.  She spends most of her free time with her family and young daughter.  

Ann Stone is the Administrative Staff Assistant in the office.  She takes a lead in providing administrative support, and that could include general office management, budget management, and event planning. Ann began her career as an administrative aide at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving as a constituent liaison and financial management officer for a state legislator from the Philadelphia area. She later relocated to the D.C. area and served as a program coordinator with a private volunteer organization, ADRA International.  She is also involved in the newly developed Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network at Penn State.  Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, biking, gardening, refurbishing her 180 year old farmhouse, and being #1 fan of three teenaged sons and their varied activities.

Blair Cooper, a former intern, is now providing temporary administrative assistance to the office on special projects.  He earned a degree in political science and a minor in business from Penn State in 2013.  In addition to that, he received a Master of International Affairs degree from Penn State in 2015.  While also being in school, he worked as a research assistant in the School of International Affairs at PSU prior to being employed in the International Programs office.  In his spare time, he enjoys running as well as mountain biking and hiking when the weather is decent.  He also enjoys playing games like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.