Clarkson University has named Colleen Thapalia as the new Director of International Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University’s Capital Region Campus in Schenectady.
“Clarkson’s graduate programs are in fields that are highly sought after by international students,” noted Kerop Janoyan, Dean of the Graduate School. “To get the word out about everything the University has to offer, we aimed to bring in someone with the experience and enthusiasm to reach a global audience.”
Attracting international graduate students to Clarkson’s Potsdam and Capital Region campuses is one way to meet the Clarkson@125 strategic plan goal of expanding the University’s world reach and diversity.
Reflecting on the strategic goal, Thapalia recalled a recent campus tour she took, where she saw Clarkson’s intensely collaborative and hands-on approach to education. Working together in teams will give all graduate students, US and international, an opportunity to master the intercultural and communication skills needed in the workplace and the larger community, she noted.
“I am passionate about the power of education,” Thapalia said. “In my daily work, I see how earning a degree in the US can help an international student’s life, and by extension the life of the student’s family.”
A native of Guilderland, NY, Thapalia’s background includes service in the Peace Corps and as a United Nations volunteer. She comes to Clarkson after a 14-year tenure at The College of Saint Rose. She has served on the national board of NAGAP, The Association for Graduate Enrollment Management, and is a Trainer Corps member of NAFSA, Association of International Educators.
“I have a lot of experience with different educational systems, so it’s usually pretty easy for me to tell if a student has the necessary background for the program he or she is interested in.” Thapalia said.
While Thapalia’s new role includes travel, much of her outreach to prospective students will be virtual, “In a digital world, it’s still the quality of relationships that draws students to Clarkson,” Thapalia said. “I’m honored that my voice will be one of the first international applicants hear, through email and online information sessions.”
Thapalia recently returned from a two-week recruiting trip to India and Nepal, She was excited to recruit the world’s brightest students to come to Clarkson.
“South Asian families place a great deal of importance on their children being academically qualified, especially in fields of science and technology,” she said. “With Clarkson’s strong reputation and alumni outcomes, the prospective students I met were excited about the possibilities to join our academic community. I look forward to seeing their applications come in over the next days and weeks.”
Thapalia has degrees from NYU and Cornell, and recently celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband, Pawan. The couple has two adult children, Tess and Kieran.