Office of International Education

International Training Staff

Project Director

Diana Parks

Diana ParksDiana Parks has served as project director for International Training Programs at CSU, Chico for over 20 years.  She has managed over 70 federally-funded projects including Teacher Training, Civic Education, Agriculture, Journalism, NGO Development, and Leadership Training programs. Ms. Parks has traveled professionally and personally in more than 47 countries, including to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia for participant selection and follow-on to training programs.  She holds a Master's Degree in Bilingual Education.

Ms. Parks lived and worked overseas in India (as a Peace Corp volunteer), Chile and Honduras, providing her with a cultural sensitivity that enables her to work effectively with individuals from a variety of countries.  Her extensive management and international experience ensures a professional and successful outcome of all CSU, Chico international training programs. Her interaction with international groups provides continuity and helps participants to focus on training objectives. 

Academic Director

Maris Thompson

Maris Thompson profile photoMaris Thompson, associate professor in the School of Education, won a Maggie Award from the Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center in spring 2015 and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society for Leadership and Success in spring 2018, and has continuously pursued excellence in teaching and scholarship.

Her three research areas include: immigration and schooling, literacy and teacher education, and diversity and equity in education. She is also interested in the German American experience and understanding the connections between previous histories of anti-immigrant feeling with today’s immigration climate.  She has actively published in all of these areas completing a book and three journal articles since she was tenured in 2014. She has worked diligently to research co-teaching pedagogy and conduct a number workshops in our region around co-teaching for our area K-12 partner schools.

Project Manager

Karissa Ringel

Karissa RingelKarissa Ringel will serve as the project manager for this program, and will be responsible for program logistics and coordination. Ms. Ringel has been involved in running more than 20 programs through International Training Programs, with experience in project management, logistical support, intercultural communication, and project administration. She has both traveled and lived internationally in over 20 different countries, with extended experiences in Thailand, Colombia, and Australia.

Ms. Ringel holds a BA in International Relations and a Masters degree in Teaching International Languages. She is especially interested in the intersection of technology and education, and is currently focused on helping students and professionals utilize current technologies to mindfully reflect on international experience. She especially enjoys welcoming participants to her hometown of Chico, and sharing all of her favorite places and activities with individuals from around the globe.

Project Coordinator

Emily LeBlanc

Emily LeBlanc profile photoEmily LeBlanc will be the program coordinator for this program, handling day-to-day tasks and guiding the program from start to finish. She is a public relations and digital marketing specialist based in Chico, CA. Though it is Ms. LeBlanc's first role with International Training Programs, her experience with event coordination and digital marketing gives her a solid base understanding of the program. Ms. LeBlanc has lived and traveled to a variety of countries with the most experience in Israel, Thailand, and Italy. 

Ms. LeBlanc's passions include event management, nonprofit development, and international relations. With a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations and Business Administration, she welcomes new challenges and experiences. Ms. LeBlanc looks forward to meeting the participants and introducing them to our culture while learning about their cultures.