Canadian Studies Program

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Additional Alumni Profiles

Mary Beth Warner, Class of 1990

Mary Beth Warner is a 1990 graduate in the program and is senior manager of employee development for Reliant Pharmaceuticals.

“I learned at Plattsburgh State to work hard, take chances and if it’s not what you want, build your own next step.”

My Non-Traditional Approach Enhanced My Career

“Through SUNY Plattsburgh, I was able to undertake three semesters abroad — one in Ottawa (Carleton), one in Quebec (Laval for French Language) and Paris. Two of these internships gave me much needed real world experience working for the Canadian Government. Graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh with these types of experiences gave me an edge against other candidates when competing for jobs.

“In each of my jobs since graduation, as director of the Vermont-Canada Trade Office, as an international sales representative for A.N. Derringer, as international trade director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and as deputy commissioner in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, I needed to be able to demonstrate cultural understanding, strength in foreign languages and international trade initiatives.

“Additionally, I had the wonderful benefit of serving on numerous regional commissions discussing globalization in the South. When talking about this important issue, I always think back to what I was able to learn at SUNY Plattsburgh — learn a foreign language, develop an understanding of a culture, get a tangible business skill and you’ll succeed.”

And, what great adventures I’ve had along the way…

“Travel throughout Europe, Latin America and Japan. Meeting foreign royalty as I was coordinating their travel in Kentucky. Hosting foreign business people during the Kentucky Derby. Seeing the Canadian Rockies while promoting the Kentucky thoroughbred industry. Helping companies sell products overseas. Opening trade offices in Mexico and South America. Traveling with Governors on overseas missions... Almost makes you wonder why I left the international scene…”

Jim Jordan, Class of 1997

Jim Jordan is a 1997 graduate of the Canadian studies program. His most recent work experience was in the New York State Legislature for Senator Balboni.

Transferring Here Allowed Me to Do Things I Had Never Envisioned

“I transferred to Plattsburgh State in the fall of 1995, after an intermittent and rather unimpressive stint at McGill University. While looking into possible alternatives, the Canadian studies program certainly seemed to be an interesting option. During my subsequent 2½ years at Plattsburgh, the irony became that I was able to engage in much more interesting academic pursuits than if I had stayed at McGill.

“Even though I worked in the New York State Legislature the experiences I had and the knowledge I gained during my time at the Canadian studies program have continued to serve me very well.”

“Events such as the Rural Quebec Trip (I attended in both 1995 and 1996), the Quebec Summer Seminar (I attended as a student assistant in 1996 and 1997), and various and sundry trips to Ottawa and Montreal all enabled me to interact with a variety of personalities in politics, economics and academia that I could not have envisioned doing at McGill.”

My Internship in Ottawa Gave Me Invaluable Experience in Politics

“The capstone of my experience was, beyond a doubt, my internship that I pursued during January–May of 1997. I attended Carleton University in Ottawa and, during my time there, I served as a student intern in the office of David Kilgour, who at the time was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. I worked 3 days per week and took two courses at Carleton, and I enjoyed that experience immensely. I had always had an interest in Canadian politics, as well as a strong interest in the workings of the legislative branch of government, and this internship both reinforced my interest as well as provided me with invaluable experience when I was brought onto Senator Balboni’s team here in Albany.

“After graduating from Plattsburgh State, I obtained my master’s in public administration from the University at Albany, specializing in the areas of legislative administration and decision making and management science. My experience in Ottawa certainly was helpful during my graduate studies and provided me with a practical component to the academic discussions that took place in this setting.”

Canadian Studies Continues to Be Useful to My Career

“In early 2003, Senator Balboni was appointed as chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs. In this capacity, he has examined virtually all facets of New York State government’s preparation and response capabilities in the area of disaster preparedness, homeland security, and related topics. To this end, border security has been one of the issues that he has examined.

“During a legislative hearing held in Buffalo in March 2003, the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo provided a statement as to some of the initiatives that the Government of Canada had been pursuing, both jointly with the U.S. and also of its own accord. Through that first initial meeting between Consul General Marsham and Senator Balboni, Senator Balboni has maintained and broadened his contacts with the Government of Canada, culminating in two notable events. The first was a late November 2003 lunch meeting at the residence of Consul General Wallin in New York City with then-Deputy Prime Minister Manley, to which I was invited.

“The second event was an event in February 2004 that was jointly sponsored by the Consulates General in Buffalo and New York City, and involved a first-of-its-kind reception for state legislators in Albany to introduce them and broaden their understanding of the relationship between New York State and Canada. In that event, I was the primary point of contact for the Consulates General to assist them in logistics, planning and providing general advice and pointers.

“Therefore, even though I worked in the New York State Legislature — where one would not expect to have many Canadian-centered issues arise — the experiences I had and the knowledge I gained during my time at the Canadian studies program have continued to serve me — and Senator Balboni — very well.”


Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

For further information about Canadian studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Dr. Pat Hoffmann
Center for the Study of Canada 205
Phone: (518) 564-2301