Getting to know Holly Oberle, PhD

Associate Professor of International Politics

You may remember the September 2022 article “Learning abroad GJHS/CMU Style”. If not, we talked about how Grand Junction High School and Colorado Mesa University partnered up to send students to Kenya to learn, deliver books to schools, and earn college credit. Well, we had the chance to catch up with Dr. Holly Oberle and learn more about her and her ambitions of creating a much bigger study abroad program for CMU.

Dr. Oberle is a Colorado native but never made it west of Vail while growing up on the front range. “I love the outdoors”, she said with a smile when asked about what she likes to do. Interestingly, during her 15 years of living and working abroad, she didn’t find the outdoor scene to be as prevalent as it is in the western United State, especially here in our valley, which was one of the big reasons why she moved here. 

The other big reason is that she found her dream job at Colorado Mesa University. “I saw the very job I was looking, which was amazing because I was hoping to find an International Relations/Political Science position. Not only was it stateside, it was in Colorado”. At this time, Dr. Oberle was working for the Wenzhou Keun University (a branch of New Jersey University located in China). “I only worked at the university for a few months. I thought I was going to have a regular, fun winter vacation in Thailand. But COVID hit and getting back into China was extremely difficult”. Dr. Oberly then shared that leaving Asia was going to be a big challenge also, so she booked one of the last flights headed for the United States. When she got home, she worked remotely for Wenzhou Keun University until she found CMU.    

Dr. Oberle had so many great experiences to share from getting her doctorate degree from Frie Univercitat (a university in Berlin) to fellowships in Isreal, to teaching at the Asian University for Women and several other abroad stories. With all these experiences, she hopes to build opportunities for CMU students and bring more international experiences to them, to create personalized experiences, and a yearly study abroad program that is affordable to the average CMU student.

"I thought I was going to have a regular, fun winter vacation in Thailand. But COVID hit"

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