Shannon Rose is the UO Alumni Association’s new associate director for international engagement.

How many countries have Ducks?

We have 14,931 alumni living in 147 countries, from one person in Macedonia to more than 2,200 living in Japan.

What are your goals?

My overall goal is a lofty one – to increase people’s affinity and affection toward the university, so that they don’t feel disconnected living half a world away. I want to make sure that you stay informed about the great things that are happening here on campus. My other goal is to increase the number of chapters that we have abroad.

What’s the most exciting thing happening right now?

We have a new alumni group forming in Shanghai, and our alumni in Indonesia are taking a lot of pride in working to establish themselves as an official chapter. We have about 1,000 Ducks living around Jakarta. A large number attended the UO during the 1980s and the 1990s, and they’ve stayed in contact. They’ve held a kickoff event, and I’m in touch with their leadership about how to keep the momentum going. We also have alumni groups organizing in Taiwan and Riyadh. It’s all very exciting! 

What do chapters do?

Some chapters focus on raising money for scholarships. Others do send-off events for freshmen from their country, and these are very popular as are watch parties for Duck games. I also help arrange some events around faculty members’ international travels or develop experiences for international alumni traveling back to Eugene. Our global Ducks are always interested in hearing about new research discoveries and developments on campus.

What things can alumni ask you to help with?

I’m delighted to arrange for campus tours and help you make contacts if you’re planning a trip to campus—but I’m also available to help you if you’re going from one country to another. Say you get a job in Tokyo. I’m a resource for you. You can e-mail me about when you’re planning to go. I would put you in touch with Takuya Kuronuma, one of our most outstanding alumni ambassadors. He would introduce you to people and invite you to chapter meetings and events. Right away, you would have a group of friends ready to help you navigate your new life in Japan.

Will you be traveling to meet with alumni abroad?

Yes. I’m working on my travel strategy for this year and next. I want to make sure that I use our resources as well as possible by meeting with key volunteers and helping professors who are on working trips abroad

Other than flying, what’s your favorite way to travel?

My pink Vespa. When I was an exchange student in Spain in high school, we primarily got around town on a scooter and it was so fun!

Are you involved with international students who are studying at the UO now?

On campus, our alumni association hosts some of the international student coffee hours. It’s a time for them to mingle and share their experiences while learning more about student organizations on campus. We’re looking forward to putting together special programs this year.

What else is coming up?

I’m working with James Chang, director of our Duck Career Network, to develop some webinars and online coffee hours at times that will be good for our international alumni.

What would you most like our readers to know?

I like hearing stories! Please tell me about your experiences while on campus and your experiences as alumni living internationally. I want to hear about your favorite memories. I’d also like to know what things have helped you stay connected with university since you became alumni.

What is your background?

I’ve been with the UO Alumni Association for three years this month. I came on as the executive assistant, and since then I’ve worked with our board of directors and managed the alumni travel program. Previously, I worked ten years for Project Kesher, an international grassroots organization based in Chicago. I have a degree in international political economy from Carthage College and a master’s in political science from Loyola University in Chicago. I was raised in Michigan but I’m a proudly Adopted Duck now!

Best way to contact you?

I’m happy to connect via LinkedIn or Facebook.

Interview by Melody Ward Leslie, editor, Global Ducks